05 January 2008

Wien: Wilkommen, Villazón!

AP Photo/Vienna State Opera, Axel ZeiningerThe Associated Press has the first review of Rolando Villazón's return to the stage earlier today in a performance of Werther at the Vienna Staatsoper. Reporter George Jahn says the audience's "huge expectations... were mostly - but not completely - met." Apparently the tenor's high B's sometimes failed to soar over the Massenet orchestral climaxes, but his celebrated onstage energy and presence were on full display. Villazón won several minutes of entrance applause and "a post-performance standing ovation from an audience that normally stays glued to its seats."

The indefatigable Opera Chic was (as she so often is!) first to blog the happy news, with the bonus of an exclusive eyewitness report.

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23 December 2007

Another song of the season

A concert in Vienna, 2006.

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30 August 2007

Where is style? Where is skill? Where is forethought?

Yes, another YouTube posting, but this one is something very special indeed. Legendary Zarah Leander is seen in a few moments from her 1975 triumph as Madame Armfelt in Das Lächeln einer Sommernacht (A Little Night Music) at the Theater an der Wien. La Leander also cavorts about a studio, lipsynching a medley of her hits with Les Boys. Once she lights up the cigarette, doesn't she look exactly like Bette Davis doing a musical version of The Little Foxes?

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29 June 2007

Roman holiday

Unnatural Acts of Opera returns with yet another rarity, Wagner's Rienzi in a performance from Vienna in 1997. Featured are Siegfried Jerusalem and Violeta Urmana, with Zubin Mehta wielding the baton. Unnatural Acts of Opera.

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13 April 2007

Mit Schlag

Comeback queen Montserrat Caballe shared a birthday celebration in Vienna yesterday with legendary confection the "Original Sacher-Torte." The diva was born 74 years ago, the cake first devised just over a century earlier in 1832.

The soprano sang a brief serenade to the dessert before sampling the chocolately goodness, quipping, "Calories don't exist!"

Scene of the meeting between the diva and the cake (described as 1 meter in diameter) was the Hotel Sacher, which claims the honor of producing the only authentic version of the Sachertorte, consisting of two layers of dense chocolate dough with a thin layer of apricot jam in the middle and dark chocolate icing with shreds of chocolate on the top and sides.

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02 March 2007


Part of Anna Netrebko's star turn at the Vienna Opera Ball last month. Note at the end of the clip the lovely and talented Paris Hilton sulking in Richard Lugner's loge.

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