“[J]udging singers in their 20s is truly difficult, especially with so much at stake for the finalists, including a $15,000 cash prize for each winner. Comparably gifted pianists in their 20s are much more likely to be technically assured and finished performers. Operatic voices, though, need long nurturing. Most young singers are still working out elements of their technique. Inevitably, the judges for these auditions are assessing the potential of the finalists as much as their actual performances. Moreover, as was made clear by the documentary film ‘The Audition,’ which followed the last round of the 2007 competition, performing in this concert could not be more high-pressure.” [Need You Ask?]
“A cover article this weekend about choosing the Top 10 classical composers misstates, at one point, the length of time that opera had existed as of 1750, when Bach died. As the article correctly conveys in other references, opera had been around for roughly 150 years then, not ‘a half-century’.” La Cieca is sure the article’s author, Anthony Tommasini, 162, regrets the error. [NYT]
Lincoln Center’s Great Performers presents Diana Damrau on Saturday, December 10th, joined by Xavier de Maistre on harp, performing works by Debussy, Strauss, Fauré, and more. A regular at the Met Opera, Damrau has been called “a soprano of matchless intelligence” (Guardian).
“One of the greatest proponents of the German lied tradition” (New York Times), baritone Christian Gerhaher performs an all-Mahler program on Saturday, December 17th, featuring Gerold Huber on piano. The Telegraph calls him “the most moving singer in the world.”
Both performances are at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.
“…whenever he was joined by the baritone Simon Keenlyside, who sang Rodrigo, the Marquis of Posa and Carlo’s devoted friend, Mr. Alagna opened up in every way.”
Well, wouldn’t you? [NYT]
“Enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Jovanovich also began taking paying jobs around town. His first mention in The New York Times came in a 1996 review of the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players in The Gondoliers at Symphony Space. Anthony Tommasini noted Mr. Jovanovich’s bright voice and strapping physique…” [NYT]
“It is in the Wagner repertory that Ms. Brewer has truly frustrated her fans. She has sung Isolde magnificently, though so far only in the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s ‘Tristan Project,’ which used Bill Viola’s videos, while Ms. Brewer and the other lead singers performed as in a concert, with music stands and vocal scores.” [NYT]
La Cieca must say that, for a chick, Katharina Wagner sure doesn’t talk much. But perhaps her reticence is something of a blessing, since it prevents her from spouting such facile generalizations as “…’Die Meistersinger,’ Hitler’s favorite Wagner opera.”
“Her gal-pal friends play with what look like the tails of exotic serpents and keep huge spiders as pets. I was not exactly sure what this all meant. Still, the kids squealed with delight.” No more delighted than La Cieca was when she realized that Katharina Wagner has finally caught up to Mary Zimmerman in the use of oversized arachnidae in operatic Regie! [NY Times]
“A tousle-haired and radiant young man called Ein Gast… appears” [NY Times]
“Exciting! Indomitable! Alluring! Rigid! Enormous! Pulsing! Penetrating! Riveting! The public shame of being flogged! Aching tenderness!” [NYT]