Don’t be in such a hurry, cher public: linger a while to discuss off=topic and general interest subjects.
Born on this day in 1812 writer Charles Dickens
(hard to find video representation of operatic versions of Great Expectations (Argento’s Miss Havisham’s Fire rev. one-acter Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night), Arthur Benjamin’s Tale of Two Cities and Thea Musgrave’s A Christmas Carol)
Born on this day in 1896 tenor Galliano Masini
Born on this day in 1913 conductor Oskar Danon
Born on this day in 1915 conductor Carlo Felice Cillario
Born on this day in 1923 artistic administrator and writer George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood
Happy 81st birthday tenor Stuart Burrows
Happy 75th birthday baritone Norman Welsby
Ilona Steingruber’s Lulu has really grown on me, the past year. That 1949 recording, conducted by Herbert Häfner, sounds like an operetta gone off the rails. Insteading of making the work less frightening, the effect is actually the opposite. Fascinating recording!
Required viewing -- Hunted (Documentary about homophobia in Russia):
While some of you watched Anna Netrebko, we sailed over to BAM for opening night of Billy Budd. Review on Superconductor.
Amazing Alberto Zedda yesterday in Antwerp, conducting Rossini’s Otello for the first time. The 86 year old maestro had lost none of his passion for the composer, and was as animated and brilliant as ever. Rarely did the orchestra sound as ardent and beautiful.
Triumphs for Gregory Kunde (Otello) and Carmen Romeu (Desdemona) too. Kunde was amazing, a powerful, masculine sound, with a beautiful timbre, fearless. I loved Romeu, who looked fabulous in her little black dress, and has a vibrant sound, and a special edge to her voice that suited the character very well, both in the more dramatic passages, and in that stunning third act.
In April, Bartoli and Osborn will do this production (“the fridge Rossini”) in Paris, but Zedda, and this cast should not be missed.
So happy that you were able to attend Zedda’s Otello. He is indeed amazing both as a conductor and a teacher. He has played a big role in the Rossini renaissance ( the most recent one) and people seem to love to work with him.
He also “single handedly” trains the next generation of young Rossini singers at the Accademia Rossiniana in Pesaro, Italy every summer.
Obviously, I’m a fan.
I was happy to be there! There was a loud Viva Zedda! from the audience when the orchestra returned after intermission. People were thrilled to have him back, as they should. He looked a little small for his tux, but I could not believe he was 86! Outstanding first act finale, brilliant second act, with a few singers getting overexcited there, but it all came together in act three, which was a miracle. Romeu there just meltingly beautiful. She is a Pesaro singer, not, like the Emilia, the fine Raffaela Lupinacci?
I have a ticket for a Bartoli/Osborn evening in Paris, but I doubt that will be as exciting as yesterday night.
Thanks for the report, Buster. Lucky you! Did you hear that Zedda fainted during a concert performance of La Donna del Lago last summer in Pesaro? After a short time he returned to the podium in his shirtsleeves and finished the performance.
A few years ago Palm Beach Opera brought in Zedda to conduct L’Italiana, and he raised the (usually mediocre) playing level of the orchestra by several notches. They also allowed him to pick some of the singers, and he cast two Pesaro regulars in the lead roles (Enkelejda Shkosa and Lorenzo Regazzo).
My pleasure -- for the Zedda/Otello fans:
For those who have ordered tickets for this years Festspiele I went into the box office yesterday and asked about the stand of things. They said they are overwhelmed with requests and it will take between 4 and 6 for them to sort things out and then to do a lottery as to who gets what. No need to call up or write before that since the longer they are held up the longer it will take. The things most in demand are Tosca, Macbeth and Forza and for those who ordered things other than that, it looks very promising. The Tosca was the first thing to sell out on the Saturday of the counter sale. For Macbeth it took longer since everyone was only able to buy two tickets instead of the regular 4. So everyone just needs to be patient.
Born on this day in 1906 bass-baritone Ferdinand Frantz
Born on this day in 1912 soprano Ilona Steingruber
Born on this day in 1914 tenor Giacinto Prandelli
Born on this day in 1915 conductor Newell Jenkins
Born on this day in 1927 opera stage director Nathaniel Merrill
Happy 71st birthday baritone Malcolm Donnelly
This is for Camille who asked about her a few days ago.
Gun-Brit Barkmin kann, mit einigen Anzeichen von Anstrengung, mit Defiziten in der Tiefe, die Salome absolut singen (wenn sie es auch extrem wortundeutlich tut), und das will etwas heißen. Aber sie tut es „vom Blatt“, und das, was sie sich als Gesten eingelernt hat, mag vielleicht an sich „richtig“ sein, wirkt aber nicht sonderlich interessant. Der Tiefpunkt ist diesbezüglich der Tanz – mit seinem halben Königreich hätte Herodes schwer überzahlt, der war nicht einmal ein kleines Ringlein wert. Die Dame ist nicht fürs Feurige. Doch seien wir gerecht – ein (nicht ganz nachvollziehbarer) Jubelsturm empfing die Sängerin am Ende: Es ist offenbar noch eine wirkungsvolle Partie, selbst wenn man ihr eine Menge schuldig bleibt…
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