Sack of Rome Sack of Rome

Finding Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia on the Academy of Vocal Arts calendar was both a pleasure and something of a surprise—the latter because the work is far from central repertoire, even in a conservatory.

on March 01, 2024 at 9:00 AM
Giving head voice Giving head voice

Anna Bolena might be the earliest of Donizetti’s operas that might have name recognition to a non-specialist audience.

on November 24, 2023 at 10:00 AM
So a fool returns to his Philly So a fool returns to his Philly

Updating opera settings is, of course, expected; I’d wager in most houses more often than not it’s now the norm. Still, few in my experience have the specificity and local immediacy of Don Pasquale at the Academy of Vocal Arts.

on February 24, 2023 at 9:08 AM
The sense of dramatic thrust The sense of dramatic thrust

Soprano Lydia Grindatto confirmed the fine impression she had made at Giargiari vocal competition with a charismatic, thoroughly inhabited performance that showed careful preparation in every aspect.

on November 25, 2022 at 11:27 AM
They are the champions They are the champions

This is likely the best Giargiari Bel Canto competition year in my experience, evidenced in several important ways.

on October 12, 2022 at 9:46 AM
Doing something right Doing something right

There was something very Russian—indeed, Chekhovian—about the mix of joy and tears, as the Academy of Vocal Arts performed Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin

on March 01, 2022 at 2:31 PM
Ghena Meirson 1957-2021 Ghena Meirson 1957-2021

April is the cruelest month, the song tells us—but this year, it was a week later. Ghenady Meirson, Philadelphia’s master of Russian Opera and coach extraordinaire, died on May 8.

on May 11, 2021 at 11:26 AM
Bel canto, from a distance Bel canto, from a distance

I’ll just note that Cameron and I listened separately; we didn’t compare notes; and on our own, came up with the same list of top three singers… none of whom were among the actual winners.

on October 28, 2020 at 11:38 AM
Music, give us hope Music, give us hope

It was hard for me not to get choked up, watching two of AVA’s most promising young graduates having to make this opportunity for themselves, and doing it with such palpable good humor.

on September 10, 2020 at 10:46 AM
Dormant spring Dormant spring

AVA met the challenge with a delightful, if necessarily truncated, video recital that allowed each singer to participate in the now-familiar Zoom platform.

on May 23, 2020 at 1:37 PM
Favorite things Favorite things

Donizetti’s La Favorite remains a relative rarity in the repertoire, especially in the original French version.

on February 19, 2020 at 12:12 PM
The opposite of sex The opposite of sex

Since 1934, Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts has been preparing emerging artists for operatic careers.

on November 14, 2019 at 3:21 PM
Suddenly spinto Suddenly spinto

When soprano Yihan Duan started to sing her aria, you could feel an almost electric charge that something special was happening.

on October 11, 2019 at 11:05 AM
That’s how they’ve done it That’s how they’ve done it

Così fan tutte, Mozart’s final Italian comedy with Lorenzo Da Ponte, is this season’s heaviest lift for Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA).

on March 08, 2019 at 1:45 PM
What’s done cannot be Undine What’s done cannot be Undine

Academy of Vocal Arts’ Rusalka—surprisingly, only their second venture in many years into the Slavic repertoire—left a divided impression.

on January 30, 2019 at 11:42 AM
Romance holiday Romance holiday

Russian repertoire figures very centrally in AVA’s mission.

on December 22, 2018 at 11:38 AM
Tales of the unexpected Tales of the unexpected

In the Academy of Vocal Arts’s (AVA) clever pairing of two Puccini works, there was every reason to expect the fix was in.

on November 09, 2018 at 10:56 AM
Bigger than usual Bigger than usual

Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts, a top-tier advanced training program for singers launching professional careers, always sends off their artists in style.

on May 10, 2018 at 1:27 PM