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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

T’was the night before New Years - a guest post by GPP

Newly revised and once again, with my sincerest apologies to the ghost of
Clement Clarke Moore!

T’was the night before New Years and all through the Met
Idle chatter expanded to grand tête-à-têtes
The stockings were held up from garters with care,
As freshly smoothed legs stung from shaving, (or Nair).
The lovely and well heeled strode carpets of red,
While visions of Milanov danced in some heads.
Some told of nights’ past and of old opera glories,
(While others preferred much more risquéier stories. )

Then the chandeliers rose and one heard so much clatter,
As the shushrats were shushing all pre-curtain chatter.
Then a diva so glam’rous (it must be Renee!)
Looked perplexed at her program, “What the . . . ‘Rondine?’”
But before she could exit, the house lights were dimmed
And La Gheorghiu appeared, flapper skirt, hat wide-brimmed.
“Chi il bel sogno di Doretta,” the piano started,
Then a crude blast was heard, oh God, someone has . . . .
Whispered one: “That’s appropriate I can’t stand Puccini,”
Snapped his partner, “Oh, it’s lovely, quit being so queeny!”

Memories of other nights, we begin to remember
How opera’s the best way to end a December,
So give us cadenzas, and bel canto trills,
And tonic and dominant and all else that thrills.

Give us Handel, and Strauss, Debussy and Bellini
Give us nights that’ll thrill ev’n Signor Tommassini.
And bring on the rare stuff, Mercadante and others
And broadcast ‘em all while we’ve still got Toll Brothers!

Yes, those operas by Mozart, Wagner, Donizetti
We love them mit Schnitzel or con la spaghetti
Yet hours of parlando and leitmotifs galore,
Will, no matter how beautiful, cause someone to snore.

Just make sure that our Butterfly dies by the blade,
And not from a gunshot wound fired by her maid,
And make sure that a gentle soul, like Violetta
Won’t be required to lap dance, through her difficult stretta . . .
Don’t let Salome die as she hangs from a rope
As staged by some hack, wacked out, weird regie dope.

For ‘tis opera we love, and ev’n though we may fight,
Or poke fun at others who don’t see the light,
I ask you to please raise your champagne (or beer)
And join me in toasting a new Opera-L Year!

Happy New Year, Everybody!


Monday, December 29, 2008

Phoenix Opera building its own sets

Does the Phoenix Opera read OGR?

I am beginning to wonder, after seeing this article from the Phoenix Business Journal

A short article, with a particularly trenchant quote:
"After the “Aida” performances Jan. 30 and Feb. 1 at the Orpheum Theatre, the sets likely will be sent to Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, N.Y., where they will be rented out to other companies, Castellano said."

Hmm...who does that sound like?

An amazing concept - save money, and create an additional income stream.

OG shakes her head in disbelief

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays one and all

Thanks for sticking around in 2008! See you in 2009.
Be safe, be careful, and hug everyone you love, unless they have the flu, then wave from a distance. ;)
I would say more, but Jussi says it the best -

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Roberto Alagna receives Legion D'Honneur

Yesterday Roberto Alagna received the Légion d'honneur order from the French President Sarkozy.

A few days before, he received a much higher honor from the French...his image is now in the Museum Grevin, the famous wax museum, among the immortals.

OG wants to know...isn't this the same award they gave to Jerry Lewis? ;)

OG recommends the following recording:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Opera is not immune to the recession

Warning: rant ahead!

After last month's announcement that our own Michigan Opera Theater had to cancel productions, we now have the announcement regarding the Baltimore Opera:,0,685458.story

I have been associated with both of these companies, and have a great amount of respect for both Dr. D and Michael Harrison.

Personally, I am not a huge supporter of the unions, and I feel that the highly inflated salaries of both unions and the excessive spending in the non-union areas contribute to this issue.

As a former designer, I used to be appalled at my colleagues who would spend thousands upon tens of thousands on fancy fabrics, real antiques and other items to decorate singers and stage.

When I was in Chicago, I was a union stagehand for a few months. It just seemed ODD to be paid to not work. It seemed odd to have our lunches and dinners catered in. It went against everything I had experienced to date, and I never liked it.

Another instance was the production where an audio engineer had a paid assistant, IMHO, far too much like "I'm getting my girlfriend a paid gig" than an actual assistant, especially since she just sat around doing nothing while I as producer had to pay her a salary. I am perfectly happy to pay a salary if someone actually works, and these companies should really start looking at their structure.

I am not suggesting layoffs - not at all. I spent 16 years in this industry, and am far too familiar with the "its not my job" attitude of union employees. The industry should revert back to model where everyone does what is needed to bring a production together - none of this "we have to wait until this person shows up so we can move this stack of cable, wood, boxes to that point over there."

Pick up the f-ing box and move it, ok?

I always enjoyed my work, and I made a comfortable living while NON-union. I have never been able to reconcile myself to the excessive spending, and the fact that I was once sacked from a design job for NOT spending enough.

That company probably wishes they had someone like me around now, and no it wasn't either of the 2 listed above.

Personally I think opera companies need to re-think their approach to spending, and keep in mind that what they essentially do is create a "simulation", not a reality...

I doubt highly that someone is going to storm out after buying their ticket and complain that the costume fabric should have cost another $100/yard.

And how about giving Americans jobs? Yes, I *know* that opera is an international industry, but the truth is that American companies, once they get to a certain threshold, are perfectly happy to start hiring singers/designers/conductors from outside of the US.

Sure, the reverse is true, but we all know that the balance tips far too much to one side. Offering a few comprimario roles to Americans doesn't cut it.

And the argument that the audience deserves big box office stars? Sure they do, and that is why we have the Met.

Because I love this industry more than anything else, it saddens me greatly to know that these types of cutbacks are happening.

Thoughts, comments, brickbats?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Life is NOT the same after Tristan und Isolde

You've got that right, maestro.

Hats off to Maestro Barenboim and the cast of today's Met broadcast - one that I think will be for the record books.

To date, I have not been a "Wagnerite", actually far from it, and it took the skills (and what skills they are!!!) of having Daniel Barenboim at the helm of the Met orchestra to convince me to not only LIKE this opera but move it tout suite into my top ten.

Not to dismiss the work of Maestro Levine, who is no sluch on the podium, but but but...

See? I'm speechless.
Aw hell, I was trying not to CRY during the overture.


Internet radio and bandwidth costs

No, it won't be one of *those* posts - the kind where we beg for $$ due to bandwidth issues.
(but hey...if you want to help...)

Recently I engaged in a rather spirited discussion on a newsgroup with a woman who thought it was perfectly OK to record Internet radio for later use, and didn't seem to think she was doing anything wrong when I pointed out the following:

1 - at the very least, the act of recording Internet radio is stealing bandwidth, which is mighty expensive when you stream live, as I do on

2 - radio content is often under copyright - which means this is no less wrong than borrowing a CD, making a copy, and then making multiple copies for others.

Some tips from 3 years in the trenches:
If you run a Shoutcast station, please check your DNAS logs for bandwidth hogs. Sure, its great to have lots of listeners, but if you have people who leave it on for days on end, kick them off. Make them come bakc and VISIT your site once in a while.

If you see 2-3 IP addresses that match in a row, thats usually a content scraper.

And above all, listen to your own station once in a while, and make sure its top-notch.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

2008 Classical Grammy Award Nominees - lots of vocal treats


Cecilia Bartoli; Adam Fischer; Orchestra La Scintilla [Decca Records]

O'Regan, Tarik: Threshold Of Night.
Craig Hella Johnson, conductor; Company Of Strings; Company Of Voices & Conspirare [Harmonia Mundi]

Schoenberg/Sibelius: Violin Concertos.
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor; Hilary Hahn; Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra [Deutsche Grammophon]

Spotless Rose: Hymns To The Virgin Mary
Charles Bruffy, conductor; Phoenix Chorale; [Chandos]

Weill: Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny.
James Conlon, conductor; Anthony Dean Griffey, Patti LuPone & Audra McDonald; Donnie Ray Albert, John Easterlin, Steven Humes, Mel Ulrich & Robert Wörle; Los Angeles Opera Chorus; Los Angeles Opera Orchestra [EuroArts]

D'Indy: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1.
Rumon Gamba, conductor (Iceland Symphony Orchestra) [Chandos]

Glazunov: Symphony No. 6, La Mer, Introduction And Dance From Salome
José Serebrier, conductor (Royal Scottish National Orchestra) [Warner Classics & Jazz]

Prokofiev: Scythian Suite, Op. 20
Alan Gilbert, conductor (Chicago Symphony Orchestra) [CSO Resound]

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4
Bernard Haitink, conductor (Chicago Symphony Orchestra) [CSO Resound]

Walden, Chris: Symphony No. 1, The Four Elements
Chris Walden, conductor (Hollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra) [Origin Classical]

Dun: The First Emperor
Tan Dun, conductor; Michelle DeYoung, Plácido Domingo, Elizabeth Futral, Paul Groves, Wu Hsing-Kuo & Hao Jiang Tian; Jay David Saks, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus) [EMI Classics]

Lully: Psyché
Paul O´Dette & Stephen Stubbs, conductors; Colin Balzer, Karina Gauvin, Carolyn Sampson & Aaron Sheehan; Renate Wolter-Seevers, producer (Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra; Boston Early Music Festival Chorus) [CPO]

Monteverdi: L'Orfeo
Rinaldo Alessandrini, conductor; Sara Mingardo, Monica Piccinini, Anna Simboli & Furio Zanasi; Jean-Pierre Loisil, producer (Concerto Italiano) [Naive Classique]

Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin
Valery Gergiev, conductor; Renée Fleming, Dmitri Hvorostovsky & Ramón Vargas; Jay David Saks, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus) [Decca]

Weill: Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny
James Conlon, conductor; Anthony Dean Griffey, Patti LuPone & Audra McDonald; Fred Vogler, producer (Donnie Ray Albert, John Easterlin, Steven Humes, Mel Ulrich & Robert Wörle; Los Angeles Opera Orchestra; Los Angeles Opera Chorus) [EuroArts]

O'Regan, Tarik: Threshold Of Night
Craig Hella Johnson, conductor (Company Of Strings; Company Of Voices & Conspirare) [Harmonia Mundi]

Rheinberger: Sacred Choral Works
Charles Bruffy, conductor (Kansas City Chorale & Phoenix Bach Choir) [Chandos]

Symphony Of Psalms
Sir Simon Rattle, conductor; Simon Halsey, chorus master (Berliner Philharmoniker; Rundfunkchor Berlin) [EMI Classics]

Szymanowski, Karol: Stabat Mater
Antoni Wit, conductor; Henryk Wojnarowski, chorus master (Jaroslaw Brek, Iwona Hossa & Ewa Marciniec; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra; Warsaw Philharmonic Choir) [Naxos]

Tippett: A Child Of Our Time
Colin Davis, conductor; Joseph Cullen, chorus master (Steve Davislim, Mihoko Fujimura, Matthew Rose & Indra Thomas; London Symphony Orchestra; London Symphony Chorus) [LSO Live]

Bloch/Lees:Violin Concertos
John McLaughlin Williams, conductor; Elmar Oliveira (National Symphony Orchestra Of Ukraine) [Artek]

Harrison: Pipa Concerto
Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor; Wu Man (Chicago Symphony Orchestra) [CSO Resound]

Mozart: Piano Concertos 17 & 20
Leif Ove Andsnes (Norwegian Chamber Orchestra) [EMI Classics]

Saint-Saëns: Piano Concertos 2 & 5
Charles Dutoit, conductor; Jean-Yves Thibaudet (L'Orchestre De La Suisse Romande) [Decca Records]

Schoenberg/Sibelius: Violin Concertos
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor; Hilary Hahn (Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra) [Deutsche Grammophon]

In A State Of Jazz
Marc-André Hamelin [Hyperion]

Piano Music Of Salonen, Stucky, And Lutoslawski
Gloria Cheng [Telarc]

Red Cliff Capriccio
Wei Li [First Impression Music]

Cameron Carpenter [Telarc]

Strange Toys
Joan Jeanrenaud [Talking House Records]

Brahms: String Quartet Op. 51, No. 2, Piano Quintet Op. 34
Stephen Hough; Takács Quartet [Hyperion]

Carter, Elliott: String Quartets Nos. 1 And 5
Pacifica Quartet [Naxos]

Folk Songs
Trio Mediaeval [ECM New Series]

Right Through The Bone - Julius Röntgen Chamber Music
ARC Ensemble [RCA Red Seal]

String Poetic
Jennifer Koh & Reiko Uchida [Cedille Records]

Øyvind Gimse, conductor; TrondheimSolistene [2L (Lindberg Lyd)]

Dun: Pipa Concerto; Hayashi: Viola Concerto; Takemitsu: Nostalgia
Roman Balashov, conductor; Yuri Bashmet; Moscow Soloists (Wu Man) [Onyx Classics]

Im Wunderschoenen Monat Mai
Reinbert De Leeuw, conductor; Barbara Sukowa; Schoenberg Ensemble [Winter & Winter]

Monk: Impermanence
Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble [ECM New Series]

Spotless Rose: Hymns To The Virgin Mary
Charles Bruffy, conductor; Phoenix Chorale [Chandos]

Corigliano: Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan
Hila Plitmann (JoAnn Falletta; Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra) [Naxos]

Fussell, Charles: Wilde
Sanford Sylvan (Gil Rose; Boston Modern Orchestra Project) [BMOP/sound]

Gomidas Songs
Isabel Bayrakdarian (Eduard Topchjan; Serouj Kradjian; Chamber Players Of The Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra) [Nonesuch Records]

Cecilia Bartoli (Adam Fischer; Orchestra La Scintilla) [Decca Records]

Terezín: Theresienstadt
Anne Sofie Von Otter (Christian Gerhaher & Daniel Hope; Bengt Forsberg & Gerold Huber) [Deutsche Grammophon]

Dalbavie: Concerto Pour Flûte
Marc-André Dalbavie (Peter Eötvös) [EMI Classics]

Gandolfi: The Garden Of Cosmic Speculation
Michael Gandolfi (Robert Spano) [Telarc]

Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan
John Corigliano (JoAnn Falletta)

Violin Concerto No. 2
George Tsontakis (Douglas Boyd) [Koch Int'l Clasiscs]

Walden, Chris: Symphony No. 1, The Four Elements
Chris Walden (Chris Walden) [Origin Classical]

Gabriela Montero [EMI Classics]

Indigo Road
Ronn McFarlane [Dorian Sono Luminus]

Olde School
East Village Opera Company [Decca Records]

The Othello Syndrome
Uri Caine Ensemble [Winter & Winter]

Simple Gifts
The King's Singers [Signum Records]

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Loyal Listener Enables Upgrade

A *VERY* loyal listener in upstate New Yawk (HI Jane!) has sent a small gift that is allowing Classical Music Broadcast to:

- upgrade the memory in the computer that plays the music
- pay part of the electric bill for October.

Thanks to EVERYONE out there for your love and support!
Keep listening!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Toilet Humor

A lady who gets a special toilet that plays music to impress her fellow bridge club members. The first two to use it comment on the lovely musical selections--one heard a symphony and the other an opera--but the third remarks that it played the national anthem, so she had to stand up while using the facilities!

Apparently its not a joke in the UK

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ooof - too many leftovers

This isn't quite a cooking blog, but I have a LOT of leftovers, so I will post the occasional recipe for those Thanksgiving leftovers.

Whipped Sweet Potato Pie
4 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup apples, diced
1 tablespoon brown sugar(to put into the mix)
1 tablespoon brown sugar(for the top)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 cup melted margarine
Mix all ingredients together, except marshmallows.
Pour into well greased casserole.
Sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake 375 for about 10-15 minutes.
Add marshmallows on top and bake until marshmallows melt and the top is golden brown, 25-30 minutes in total.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

RIP Richard Hickox

Hickox was a pro-active conductor who founded two orchestras,
Recommended recording: the City of London Sinfonia and the original instrument ensemble Collegium 90, with which he recorded the outstanding series of Haydn’s masses which he said gave him most pride and pleasure.

He is likely to be remembered above all as a champion of British music.

Thank you for all you have given us.

Classical Music will be playing selections from Maestro Hickoxs' career all week in memoriam. Please tune in.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sting + Elvis Costello + Barbara Bonney = Opera??

Two of my faves from my high school years (Costello/Sting 1983, folks) and one from my grad school years (Bonney) take the opera stage?
Well, we'll see, methinks it might be a "rock opera" but with Barbara Bonney on the soundtrack recording - this might be well worth a listen.

and I'm ok with that.

(reprinted from online)
Sting, Costello, but No Fat Lady

What do you after wrapping up the biggest rock tour of the last two years? After all in August Sting finished the grueling 18 month worldwide reunion of The Police that grossed way over $300 million. This week it spawned the bestselling concert video as well.

Most rock stars would just go home and relax. Not Sting. Last night at the landmark Theatre du Chatelet in Paris he opened in an opera — yes, an opera, a real opera — written by Elvis Costello’s long time musical director Stevie Nieve and his wife Muriel Teodori, and co-starring Costello and the eldest Sting progeny, Fiction Plane leader Joe Sumner.

Among the aficionados who turned out for the occasion: British pop legend Marianne Faithful, and film directors Mike Figgis and JP Davidson. Mrs. Sting — Trudie Styler — was front and center, as well, with actress daughter Mickey and newly minted best selling writer from the UK Simon Astaire ("Private Privilege").

It was quite an occasion too as Sting had only on the night before performed a showcase of music on the lute in the very same theater, playing selections from his album, Songs from the Labyrinth. He heads out next week to showcase this material on a tour of Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and other far flung locales.

Like I said, he could have just gone home.

But the opera, called "Welcome to the Voice," has been percolating for some time since Nieve and Teodori began workshopping it more than eight years ago. It was only when Costello and his band decided to join The Police on tour this year that the idea hatched for Sting to participate in the recording of Welcome to the Voice (already out on CD) but to put on a professionally staged version of it here.

The lead role of Dionysos could not be more perfect for Sting, who hasn’t acted in legit theater since his successful turn in "The Threepenny Opera" on Broadway nearly two decades ago. Dionysos is a romantic lead, a Greek steel worker who falls in love with opera and dreams of being with three of its leading ladies: Carmen, Madama Butterfly, and Norma. Eventually he finds a real diva named Lily who entrances him just as much. The role, as defined by Sting incorporates not only his ever-expanding vocal range — impressive in a non rock setting — but his matinee idol good looks and athleticism.

Figgis, who directed Sting long ago in the cult movie, "Stormy Monday," was visibly impressed (as was the audience, which gave the opening night cast a ten minute ovation). "Did I know back then that he could do this? The answer is Yes!"

Costello plays the local police commissioner, a comic character. Joe Sumner, Sting’s eldest son, is his friend and enthusiast. In his black Russian hat and heavy greatcoat Costello looked like he was having a lot of fun up on stage even though he told me later he was battling a grippy flu. Sumner — whose voice is often compared favorably to his dad’s—turns out to be a natural leading man on stage, a possible find for Broadway producers looking to cast their next rock musical.

But it was the women of "Welcome to the Voice" who really set the Theatre du Chatelet on fire. The gorgeous throated, sexy divas who played the "ghosts" of Dionysos’s fevered fantasy were Marie-Ange Todorovitch as the "ghost" of Carmen, Sonya Yoncheva as Butterfly, and Anna Gabler as Norma. The magnificent Spanish singer Sylvia Schwartz won over not just a few hearts as Lily, Dionysos’s "real" object of obsession.

We’ve come a long way since days of songs like "Roxanne" and "Alison," of narrow neck ties, and thundering power pop. And even though Sting and Costello can do that any time they want, and make millions to be sure, that’s what makes "Welcome to the Voice": that much more of an achievement.

These two multi talented musicians may represent the last generation of rockers able to stretch beyond their original genres and take on other forms with so much success. (Costello has also performed with the Brodsky Quartet and a variety of pop and classical singers.) Bravo to both of them!

Welcome to the Voice: A work by Steve Nieve and Muriel Teodori continues in Paris through next week, all sold out to the top tiers of the Chatelet.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cats and Roomba vacuum

I am so buying one for Linus!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Drag Queens have all the fun

"Casta Diva" by drag diva singer LaLa McCallan

As a former costume designer and continued opera afficianado, I couldn't let this one go by without sharing!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Opera and Wine

So over at BOSSY's Poverty Party, we talked about wine.
ALWAYS a favorite subject for OG, although I think that means that I officially have become a middle-aged woman.
My 2 cents: 3-buck Chuck at Trader Joes - buy a case of it.

Anyway, I started thinking about operas that have wine drinking in them, and arias that are devoted to vino.

So here is my small list, which I will continue adding to.

Les Contes D' Hoffmann: the entire opera starts with a chorus to drinking, the "Glu, Glu"
Je suis la biere - We are beer
Je suis le vin - We are wine
(ok, techinically I am beer, I am wine, but the typical translation is "we")

Don Giovanni: The final act where the Don invites the statue to dinner.
"Vivan le femmine, Viva il buon vino"

The Brindisi from La Traviata
(link is a You Tube with the Pav and Millo: oh can;t go to any opera gathering without someone (usually who has had a few) breaking out into the Brindisi, which is actually NOT easy to sing at all.
(no amazon link for this one, but a great claymation video of the Choeur Bohemians)

Please feel free to add your own in the comments and I will add them to the post!

1 - How can you forget L'Elsier D'Amore?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Want to test a ringtone?

Hi all -

I have been playing with some software, and have an mpeg-4 ringtone of the bacarolle for anyone who wants to try it.

Leave a comment, and I'll track you down and send it out!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Poverty Party Post - hi BOSSY

say *that* 10 times quickly - better than red leather yellow leather for a vocal warmup.

You will see I have added the BOSSY'S Poverty Party icon on the right - if you aren't familiar with her humorous take on damn near everything, well you just go enjoy.

TPP is for those of us in the blogosphere who might want to save a few shekels now and then.

Todays example, while not opera-related, will hopefully tweak you into looking seriously at: YOUR INSURANCE POLICY.

So my auto insurance was with that cute little esurance gal: clever commercials, committed to a paperless business model, and at the time: LOW rates.

In the time I was with them, no claims, no accidents, no NOTHING. And in return?

They raised my rates. Then, as a birthday present (mine was last week) they raised them again.

Reasoning? live in Michigan. Um what? The state with nearly double-digit inflation, and the highest unemployment in the US since 2004?

Hell to the no.

So I made a few calls, and found a comparable company, with a less cute, more irritating spokesmodel - think "tricked-out nametag". and they lowered my rate for the SAME EXACT policy by $76/month, or $912.00 a YEAR.

Thats some savings, folks.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Opera On A Dime - New York City Opera crisis - my thoughts

So there is one heck of a to-do on the opera lists about NYCO crisis, and well there should be. A lister proposed the following, and I agree, as you will see in what may be my longest posting ever on any blog...


an opera-l lister wrote:
> 7) Productions should have "minimal" sets but be innovative, try to "reuse"
> sets from the operas. I know it is risky but ideally they should design all
> the sets for all the productions in one shot. And the reuse them.
> Too risky...I can hear the critics (as well as opera-l folks) screaming about seeing the same tired staircase in Giovanni (painted black), Lucia (painted brown), Rigoletto (painted gray)and Cendrillon (painted gold)...minimal sets can sometimes be about as expensive as maximal can build beautiful, efficient sets inexpensively - lots of companies do it across the country...just not in New York City...better to share productions with other companies with very high scenic standards such as Santa Fe, St. Louis and others like that...
> But, in the end, it's all about the singing. If you don't have good singers - nay, great singers in an even, balanced cast - who cares what the set looks like? If the singer cannot draw you in musically and dramatically and connect you with all those little notes the composer put on the page...why go?
> And this CAN be done on a budget of $36 (let's round it up to $40 just to be safe) million a, Mr. Mortier, it's not enough to go wild and crazy, but we can life with that. Who wants to hang around three and a half hours just to boo the director at the curtain call? Not me!


Sign me up - back in the day when I was still designing, I costumed a Traviata for a cast of 70 on....$1700.00
2 people (my self and one of my best friends) BUILT all the women's costumes, including all the corsets/petticoats, the men wore their concert tails for Acts One and Flora's party, I built the country coats for Pere Germont/Alfredo, and damn it, we had a fine looking opera. All the fabrics were bought in New York, not your local craft store.

(anyone who wants photo proof just email me)

Thats $24 a costume, people.

And before you say "oh, it must have looked like garbage" I was famous for making really good looking period 'stumes on no money. Thats why companies hired me - because they knew it would look good and not break the budget. That meant they could spend money on, oh the orchestra and the singers. Just sayin'.

My friend (the one mentioned above) has always said he would design a Rosenkavalier for a dime if it had good singers, just so he could sit through the tech rehearsals and listen.

Back in the 1980's a terrible trend started where as a designer/stylist you were spit upon for spending less - I was actually fired from a film shoot (a modern day shoot) because I did NOT spend the entire budget, $6,000. On 2 characters, folks. 2.

Now I won't go into the whole union thing, because it is isn't my bailiwick, but opera productions don't NEED to have that expensive of production costs. They can look sumptuous and beautiful without breaking the bank. I know a designer who has designed for Ms.Fleming, and he brags about how many hundreds of dollars a yard her fabrics cost. But in a darkened theater, can you *really* tell? I say no.

;) - I think this just became a blog post.

Kelly Rinne

Music Director

Your gift keeps music on the air!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

OK, lets have a go at this

Yes, the blog over at CMB still exists, but I might as well use this one too once in a while.

Maybe I will post photos of teh kitty or something...