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The children’s hour

Ever on the avant-garde, Lyric Opera of Chicago has embraced the cutting-edge technology of “phonography” as part of their effort to attract young audiences: “The Magic Victrola is a brand-new presentation created for families with children ages 5-10…. While playing in their grandparents’ attic, two children discover a mysterious trunk filled with costumes, props, opera albums, and a beautiful vintage record player. What happens when they start to listen to the music? Scenes from beloved operas—including Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Bizet’s Carmen—magically come to life!”

As we all know, if there’s anything that fascinates today’s generation of tech-savvy kids, it’s analog sound recording on shellac discs. And what more romantic locale to associate with opera than an inaccessible, dusty room where that bad man touched you that one time?

53 comments

  • Cicciabella says:

    OT: I think people were discussing the dearth of “Verdi baritones” earlier on this week. Well, I just heard two excellent ones in Robert Carson’s Falstaff: Ambrogio Maestri (in the title role, of course), and Massimo Cavalletti as Ford, both of whom have appeared at the Met. There is baritonal hope, after all.

    The Amsterdam audience, who hadn’t seen an open-check expensive production like this one in years, applauded the scenery! I never thought I’d see the day. I swear people got misty-eyed at the sight of that enormous kitchen, which is longer here than in NY and London because the DNO stage is wider.

  • I have a feeling that this thread did not go according to plan (and expectations)

  • oedipe says:

    Another OT: I’ve just taken a look at ROH’s booking pages for their upcoming Bohème run, with 2 different casts (Gheorghiu versus Jaho). Amazing difference!

    Saturday July 12 versus Sunday July 13 unsold tickets:

    http://www.roh.org.uk/events/22908/tickets
    http://www.roh.org.uk/events/22909/tickets

    Same story for Saturday July 19 matinee versus evening performance:

    http://www.roh.org.uk/events/23056/tickets
    http://www.roh.org.uk/events/22914/tickets

    • Lady Abbado says:

      She’s not singing anything at ROH next season, so local fans won’t get to see her again until late 2015 or 2016.

      • oedipe says:

        Even more amazing than the full houses for the Gheorghiu/Grigolo dates is the ticket availability for the Jaho/Castronovo performances: apart from the Amphitheater and the Balcony, the house is EMPTY!

        • La Cieca says:

          You have to remember that ROH patrons have only 30 or 40 chances per season to hear Jaho.

          • oedipe says:

            I looks like the Paris audiences ALSO have about 30-40 chances per season to hear Jaho. Not to mention her appearances on provicial French stages, in Spain, in Germany and in Vienna. Her schedule must be busier than that of the Met.

        • Cicciabella says:

          I feel for Ms Jaho, Mr Castronovo and the rest of the team, but I’m assuming this is the existing ROH production. At one point opera-goers get bohèmed-out. I for one am no longer interested in any Bohème unless it’s a new production and/or features at least one stellar protagonist.

          • oedipe says:

            Fine. But still, your theory does not explain why the Gheorghiu/Grigolo Bohèmes, in the exact same production, are pretty much sold out.

      • Clita del Toro says:

        At which time Gheorghiu will sing the Priestess in Aida, a new role to be conquered. ;)

    • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

      What’s amazing about that? The glory hunters will always go for the overhyped proclaimed “star”. This is no testament to any artistic quality.

      • grimoaldo says:

        Lots of Londoners enjoy Angela G’s performances very much, I certainly used to. Just shows how unable we are to discern artistic quality, being so easily duped by hype and proclamations, I suppose.

      • oedipe says:

        So, when it comes to those rare singers who DO fill houses, how do you distinguish between the “overhyped proclaimed star” and the “true” artist? Let me guess: the ones you personally like are the real thing, the ones you dislike have little artistic quality, right?

        • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

          First you work for your name, then your name works for you. The latter describes perfectly Gheorghiu. So, just because those Londoners bought tickets for her doesn’t mean she’s that good. Simply she’s the more famous one that people have heard of and believe she’s good.

          • Lady Abbado says:

            Relax Guestoria, the ROH La Boheme on 15 July will be broadcast live on Youtube for all to see. You can store all your venom (never in short supply) and spit it all on Gheorghiu with that occasion :)

            How come that the operatic hierarchy is so twisted that Gheorghiu stands where Yoncheva should have? How come nobody sees the light -- Guestoria notwithstanding?

            • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

              Yes, because I will waste my life watching Gheorghiu pout her way through one of a total of three roles in her repertoire for the umpteenth time.

              What do you mean nobody? She’s cleaning up in Baden Baden where critics are rejoicing for being spared from that sociopath’s mannerisms. And let’s not do head to head comparisons because old Ange is not winning in any department.

            • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

              Now that I think about it, maybe I should watch it to see if she will throw another tantrum for them not broadcasting a recorded performance like she did in Paris.

          • oedipe says:

            Simply s/he’s the more famous one that people have heard of and believe s/he’s good.

            And of course in London, in addition to Gheorghiu, the same applies to: Netrebko, Bartoli, Domingo, Terfel, Kaufmann, Fleming, possibly Harteros, and a couple of others.

            • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

              None of those lie on old laurels. They work hard to learn new roles, act professionally, etc.

        • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

          No, oedipe, the rule is that if they slept with a French they have poor taste.

          • oedipe says:

            Which brings to mind the expression “French lover”, not devoid of a certain degree of veiled jealousy… ;)

            • Rory Williams says:

              “French Lover” from Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums. Yum!

            • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

              Jokes aside, I have no clue where this French lover myth came from. You guys don’t seem that way at all.

  • mercadante says:

    I agree, but I’ll take a crack at:

    It’s a shame they couldn’t have had the kids discover their uncle’s smart phone in the media room and start listening to his Amazon Cloud app containing Berg’s LULU, the same smart phone that contain’s uncle’s cock shots he uses for Craigslist.

    Is that closer to where this was supposed to go?

  • whatever says:

    well, to be fair, Lyric is bringing Chicago its *second* Mariachi opera — a world premiere, no less — while here in Nueva York we’re still awaiting our first. Crucar la Cara de la Luna, anyone?!?