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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Missing piece of Mozart music debuts

A piece of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which had lain undiscovered in a French library for years, has had its first public performance.

The two minute-long piece was played by violinist Daniel Cuiller before a small audience in Nantes, western France.

The sheet music was found by staff at the city's library, and authenticated as an original work of the Austrian composer last September.

The score is on display at Nantes Castle until 22 February.

Dr Ulrich Leisinger from the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, who authenticated the score, said it was an important discovery.

It is composed of two musical pieces with a missing portion at the top.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Day of Firsts - political and musical

Today *is* a historic occasion, what with the swearing-in of the first African-American President of the United States, Barack Obama. Good luck to him on what has to be the toughest job ever.

In keeping with the news musical, let us go back to another historic first - the first African-American conductor of an orchestra - the Berlin Philharmonic, led by Rudolph Dunbar. In the 1940's - a significant event.

Thanks to An Overgrown Path for letting me trackback to his excellent article and photos.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

George Mott's opera photos - WOW

George Mott is a participant on the infamous opera-l newsgroup - I have been on there myself on and off since 1996.

Recently he posted links to his photos of the opera ERCOLE AMANTE in Amsterdam by Cavalli - and oh my god, is this singer really wearing injection-molded plastic?

Here is the full slideshow of the photos - George you do great work!

PS - for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, in the US these types of productions are known as Eurotrash.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Johnny Knoxville accuses "wardrobe girl" of bomb plant in luggage


Ok, back in the day, I used to be one of those "wardrobe girls" that Knoxville seems to think is a perfectly acceptable scapegoat.

Hello? The "wardrobe girl" packed your personal luggage, Johnny Knoxville?

You're not that famous you dumb f*ck.

You're no better than anyone else who had a few minutes of fame and is desperately trying to get it back by pulling outrageous stunts.

There is an old rule in the theater/performing arts/film world that there are 3 people you never piss off: the stage manager, the wardrobe person, or the lighting crew, otherwise you are guaranteed to go onstage/onset:

In the Dark.

Friday, January 16, 2009

LA Opera announces its new season

OperaGal is very happy to see the LA Opera 2009-2010 season contains not only the promised Ring cycle, but some solid recitals and TAMERLANE.

Placido is going to sing this year too! The man just does.not.stop. And we are eternally grateful. Thanks, PD

...OG sighs and wishes she had a trust fund to go to LA...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Busy this week


OperaGal will be busy this week, so very little operatic posting, or otherwise. (maybe)

I am making LOTS of these draft stopper thingies and if you are trying to save a few $$ on your heat bills, order one today.

Yesterday we went to the Press Preview for the NAIAS 2009 (thats North American Auto Show to you)

word one - the new Taurus? SWANKY. VERY SWANKY. Even sexy. (photos later today)

Operatic note: OG would appreciate it if the Met would stop scheduling their HD broadcasts on days with horrible weather, since the ONLY HD movie theater is one hell of a drive away.

Met folks - please check the Farmers Almanac before posting your schedule, as I would like to see just one Met production before I die.

Thank you.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Monsters* *and Prodigies: A History of the Castrati - sans cheval

Leave your scissors at home...


Thu, Feb 5-Sat, Feb 7, 8 pm

Novellus Theater at YBCA

700 Howard Street @ 3rd, San Francisco, CA

$30 Regular/$25 YBCA Member/Student/Senior/Teacher

415.978.ARTS (2787) or
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) presents Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes, one of Mexico's leading experimental theater groups, in its Bay Area debut. The company is slated to perform /Monsters* *and Prodigies: A History of the Castrati /which takes audiences on a delicious musical romp through operatic history, zooming in on the life of the castrati, a baroque cultural phenomenon symbolizing an unyielding search for beauty and purity in a society of decadence.

/"Monsters and Prodigies/ : /A History of the Castrati /is a remarkable mise-en-scène that unearths an unprecedented artistic, social and cultural phenomenon: the history of the castrated children born in poverty who were propelled to the status of stars in the courts of Europe.
Directed by Claudio Valdés Kuri and written by the late Jorge Kuri for Mexico City's internationally acclaimed Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes, /Monsters /is a colorful and often humorous three-century journey from the decadent extremes of the Baroque period to the technological 20th century, where beauty has been annihilated by reason [sic]. With a "precise and wild gaze," the company infuses life into one of the most sublime mysteries in history. Delivered with off-the-wall humor and terrific musical aplomb, the versatile artists of Teatro De Ciertos Habitantes play-out a chronological narrative of the contradictions, extravagances and whims of the castrati. Through the juxtaposition of artistic disciplines, routines and languages, /Monsters and Prodigies/ tells the tales of castrati who lived in defiance of moral and reasonable law, in their bodies and in their souls, in an impossible coupling of freak and angel, monster and wonder.

Performed in Spanish and Italian with English subtitles, the work begins with a reflection on the role of castrati - seen as both artistic prodigies and disfigured monsters - but soon launches into a musical tour of opera history peppered with increasing doses of screwball antics and highjinks. The cast of characters includes a hoof-stomping centaur, Siamese twins who run a surgery ward out of their Naples barbershop, a gossipy opera maven and, not least, Napoleon. The audience accompanies barber-surgeon Jean-Ambroise Paré through the splendors and extravagances of the Baroque era -- an outstanding and enigmatic period in art history. Through a play within a play and an opera within an opera, with a polyphonic structure that alternates scenes, musical arias and interludes, /Monsters and Prodigies/ culminates with the outbreak of war between beauty at the service of art against scientific thinking born in the French Revolution, ending with one of the most sublime mysteries of history: the incomparable voices of the castrati. There are several versions of the production and the one performed at YBCA will not include the horse.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Seattle Opera has announced its 2009-10 season

Seattle Opera has announced its 2009-10 season:

La Traviata (October 2009)
Violette: Nuccia Focile/Eglise Gutiérrez
Alfredo: Dimitri Pittas/Francesco Demuro
Germont: Charles Taylor /Weston Hurt
Conductor: Vjekoslav Sutej

Il Trovatore (January 2010)
Leonore: Lisa Daltirus/Mary Elizabeth Williams
Manrico: Antonello Palombi/Arnold Rawls
Azucena: Malgorzata Walewska/Mary Phillips
di Luna: Gordon Hawkins/Charles Taylor
Conductor: Yves Abel
Stage Director: José María Condemi

Falstaff (February/March 2010)
Falstaff: Peter Rose/Eduardo Chama
Dame Quickley: Stephanie Blythe (all performances)
Master Ford: Simone Alberghini/David Won
Mistress Ford: Sveta Vassileva/Sally Wolf
Conductor: Riccardo Frizza
Stage Director: Peter Kazaras

Sasha Cooke makes her company debut as Meg Page.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year - Opera and Wine, redux

Happy 2009, and how cool is it that my Christmas cactus decided to start blooming today. Yes, that's me with Tom in the photo in the background - yummy! he is having quite the year singing Anthanel right now in Thais.
(yes, its official - I am too lazy to type diacriticals - so sue me)

This year, 2x a month, I will feature "Opera & Wine" where I marry my 2 favorites. I will review a DVD performance AND the wine that accompanies the DVD viewing.


2 reasons - number one, I don't actually WATCH a lot of opera, I LISTEN to it, and I know I am missing out by not watching. Yes, I prefer to watch opera in person, but don't have the $$ to go fly to X,Y or Z to go see them.

Yes, I support the home team of MOT, but will leave the reviewing of them up to the ever so lame Mark Stryker, who most likely will lose his job at the Freep soon enough anyway.

Second reason - I like wine, I make some fun discoveries by experimenting, and what the hell, why not share?

Happy 2009, remember to have your lentil soup, or black-eyed peas, or whatever your culture symbolizes as a good-luck charm for this new year.
(and if anyone can tell me what it is in Hungary, I would be most grateful)

Ciao, tutti!