When R&B singer R. Kelly [NSFW] released the cover art for his [NSFW] upcoming CD late last week, we lol'd. Between the Moonwalker fedora, the Phantom of the Opera mask and the Yeezus leather pants, he's all over the place.
OC slapped some strings over the image above, but the real version's not safe for work.
At a recent PBS event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, actress Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith Crawley on Downton Abbey, wore a piano-themed Moschino Cheap and Chic drop-waist, little black dress with a piano-key hemline.
Milan Fashion Week kicked off its Spring/Summer 2014 Menswear collections this morning with textiles-icon Ermenegildo Zegna in stylist Stefano Pilati's highly-anticipated debut collection after a drama-filled departure from Yves Saint Laurent last year.
Sadly, we'll miss MFW day one's afterhours with its adorably-awkward male models -- we'll be at Teatro alla Scala, livetweeting the final chapter of Cassiers Wagner Ring Cycle. Join us! @operachic@teatroallascala@matteobordone
What is singing? Voice coaches often try to demystify it, call it a mere
vibration of vocal cords due to a movement of air. But that is a lie.
Singing is nakedness. And it is a far more fathomless form of nakedness
than that achieved by the removal of clothes.
As early spring plummets our circadian rhythm earthbound and pangs of Lent leak from our iPod (oh dear, how embarrassing), Il Sole 24 Ore rounds up Western Europe's best Spring Break classical music offerings and it's not all Passions, Oratorios or Resurrections: Tomorrow La Scala opens a Gergiev-led Macbeth, spared from
the strike-hammer that cancels the April 7 replication; Rome's Teatro dell'Opera gets a new Fura dels Baus Saint-Saëns Samson
et Dalila; Barenboim & Staatskapelle Berlin do Villazon & Pape in a Mozart
Requiem for the Konzerte Festtage; and the Osterfestspiele Salzburg glides through a
Thielemann Parsifal run with the Staatskapelle Dresden.
Top stories this week: Crazy weather we're having here. It's March and there's snow on the ground. Did you lose weight? No? A new haircut? No? Ah. Well, you look good anyway. How about those 2013-14
season announcements? Bayerische Staatsoper
and Wiener Staatsoper. And New York City Opera. Beef & iron Goliaths to the NYCO's willowy David. Impressive in quantity >>
quality. Oh. We tried to email it to you, but it was too, uhhhhh -- it was too big.
Bayerische Staatsoper backpedals with GM Nikolaus
Bachler & MD designate Kirill Petrenko to commemorate the 50th anniversary
of the Munich National Theatre, plus a Strauss 150th birthday gala chaser. New productions include Die Frau ohne Schatten by Krzysztof
Warlikowski in November, Verdi's Forza by Martin Kušej in December (with
Harteros/Kaufmann), La clemenza by Jan Bosse in Feb 2014, Rake's Progress in
April 2014 and Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Die Soldaten in May 2014. The 2014
Munich Opera Festival opens with Guillaume Tell in June and continues with
Monteverdi's L’Orfeo in July. The season also includes replications I Capuleti e i
Montecchi, Wozzeck (with Keenlyside), Carmen, La Calisto, L'elisir, Lucrezia
Borgia, Rusalka, Hansel und Gretel, Cosi, Don Giovanni, Le Nozze, Zauberfloete,
Boris Godunov, Le Contes, La Boheme, Tosca, Butterfly, Turandot, L’Enfant et
les sortilèges/Der Zwerg, Barbiere (Florez), La Cenerentola, Turco in Italia,
Ariadne, Salome, Rosenkavalier, Onegin, Macbeth (Keenlyside/Trebs), Rigoletto,
Boccanegra, Travaiata (Damrau/Villazon/ Hampson/Nucci), Trovatore, Der
Fliegende Hollander, Parsifal and Babylon.
Wiener Staatsoper announced its 2013-14 season, which promises
to be thickly engorged with Jonas Kaufmann Dick jokes *opens Burrberry trenchcoat, lowers Ray-Bans, looks you dead in the eye* Check out my Kaufmann dick puns...like what you see? The German tenor's been
cast as Dick Johnson against Nina Stemme in Fanciulla. Replications include Traviata, Carmen (Rinat Shaham), Tosca (Angela Gheorghiu),
Otello (Hvorostovsky), Tristan und Isolde, Simon Boccanegra (Thomas Hampson),
Barbiere, Aida, Don Carlo, Der Rosenkavalier, Anna Bolena, La Fille (Florez),
Un Ballo, L'elisir, Butterfly (Domingo), Zauberfloete, Henze's Pollicino,
Fidelio, Cenerentola, Fliedermaus, Nozze, Don Giovanni, Cosi, Tosca, Boris
Godunov, Rusalka, Cav/Pag, Salome, Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, Massenet’s
Manon, Onegin, Wozzeck, Rigoletto, Lohengrin, Ariadne, Parsifal, Nabucco,
Gounod’s Faust, Gioradano's Andrea Chenier, Norma, La Clemenza, Traviata, Les
Contes, Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried and Gotterdammerung.
Meek but mighty New York City Opera also rolled out its
new season announcemenet via newly-appointed MD/conductor Jayce Ogren (who goes
live on September 1) + GM/AD George Steel (who was included in the Observer's
recent list of 25 rising New Yorker stars, in good company with delicious Ronan Farrow
& Ivanka Trump). Comprised of four works from modern to baroque, the season bows
with the American premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole (in co-pro with
BAM on Sept. 17-28 at the Howard Gilman Opera House) & the rarely-staged
Endimione by JC Bach (Feb. 8–16, 2014 at El Museo del Barrio), rounded out by
new productions of Bartók's Bluebeard’s Castle (Feb. 28-March 15, 2014 at St.
Ann’s Warehouse) and Nozze (April 19–26, 2014 at New York City Center).
On the business side, the ROH announced its new ceo ->
Alex Beard, the current deputy director of Tate (since 2002), to start with
the 2013/14 season.
Hugo Shirley roundtabled with rumoured-Milan-bound Alexander Pereira, Salzburg's current intendant for April's Opera Magazine on fund raising, festival projects and the death of shock-&-awe Regietheater: "In Germany we have seen all these people running on stage and making pissy in the corner. [ed: lol x lol x lol] I think this is over and we are demanding that the stage directors are telling the story -- in a modern or traditional way, I don't mind. At the end of the day, there's only a good production or a bad production."
In Naples, Neil Fisher broke mozzarella
with Maestro Nicola Luisotti during his San Carlo Verdi
Requiem about his upcoming ROH Nabucco for The Times. Said the maestro on live music vs.
the distilled experience: “Music has to be live. You sit in the opera
house with somebody else and you live an experience. It’s like love —
you can’t make love by phone or internet. Well, you can, but in bed,
with a person, is better.” Which reminds us of OC's 2009 interview with Matt Poland for Splice
Today, when grilled about our insistence of live opera over HD simulcasts/CDs: "The unamplified voice -- nothing like it, ever.
YouTube and HD simulcasts
have created this impression that opera is best enjoyed from afar, it's
not true, the true visceral experience is there in the opera house, and
it always will be. It's the difference between having sex and watching a
porno. It's sad that one has to point this out."
The Royal Opera House is diving into polemic-lite to inaugurate its new series called The Big Question and asks if opera and ballet are elitist. The debate, vaguely framed, is cast through a wide, egalitarian net: "To help make the debate as wide as possible, we would actively
encourage people with no experience of opera and ballet – or those who
actively dislike the art forms – to come along."
C'mon. The big question for OC is :why pander to people who
think opera is elitist (or even worse, distilled to the image above)? Because the b-side argument inferrer is the untapped masses who'd rather spend their disposable income on Mamma Mia
matinee tix or Yankees vs. Tigers, so if that's the case, just
commission a season full of operas about Rihanna's and Chris Brown's punch drunk love (literally) or The
Kardashians (I dieci Kardashian) and you'll make a love connection between butts and red velvet-upholstered seats. Or replace Mahler's Fifth Symphony with The Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony and hand everyone a cigarette lighter. Luckily that's as unlikely as Ryan Lochte becoming a SAT math tutor. Unlike other cultural arenas, opera (and its unfairly neglected BFF symphony) carries the connotation that it needs a cipher to appreciate it. But you don't need a cheat code to connect with opera's archetypal meat -- love/betrayal/forgiveness/justice/revenge. When did such a pure artform become so complicated? Wait. Don't answer that. Don't answer that. Don't answer that. Indoctrinate them all and let Beethoven sort 'em out.
If you're an opera/ballet-loving elitist, you can listen to it all go down from your Eames
lounger (while the opera/ballet-hating bourgeoisie can listen from their Ikea horsemeat chairs) on Monday, March 11, live-streamed from the Royal Opera House/Telegraph websites at 8pm UK time. The panel of tangential opera peeps is moderated by Telegraph Arts editor Sarah Crompton who rolled out an editorial in Thursday's paper. *tents fingers to nose*
As we bid Fashion Week goodbye (gone till September), we look to its swan song city, Paris, where the academy arts mixed with fashion -- Wagner Lieder on the runway, opera singer progeny in the first row and cutom made pointe shoes.
Exhibit A: English actress Rebecca Hall, daughter of American opera singer Maria Ewing, took in Miu Miu Fall/Winter 2013 in a stretch denim tube dress (above).
Exhibit D: a private performance by French dancer Marie-Agnes Gillot and Vincent Chaillet at Carine Roitfeld's black tie ball at the Paris Shangri-La Hotel to celebrate her CR Fashion Book 2 issue. The ballet-centric edition features an editorial, Fancy Footwork, with NYCB dancer Faye Arthurs modelling custom-made ballet shoes (with New York Giants wide receiver Ramses Barden).
Every once in a while, Balmain-shoulder-to-Margiela-shoulder at Milan Fashion Week runway shows, we've felt that same operatic rush from the blowback of strutting waifs in sharply-cut Armani silks as a particularly well-etched Rheingold Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla. Which is why we were curious to hear Carolina Herrera's newly-commissioned classical-lite piece for her NYFW Fall 2013 RTW collection. Above, Tom Hodge's "Capriccio for Carolina", based on Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata, bowed at Herrera's show today.
When Carine Roitfeld, the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris, resigned from the Conde Nast glossy at the end of 2011, we wondered what the femme fatale would do. Take up Mahjong? Nope. Roitfeld invested a decade of Vogue lessons into a personal magazine, CR Fashion Book, which launched last year.
Issue #2 is out and the theme is ballet (which she calls a "personal obsession") and includes a feature on 37-year-old French dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet, Marie-Agnès Gillot, and another one on the new generation of emerging dancers (like Ukrainian-born Sergei Polunin) to round out the editorials.
Frankly, we thought fashion had its Black Swan moment a couple years ago, but we won't complain at finding more arts and culture in style titles.
His criteria was based on historical impact (“What I was looking for was music that changed the plot of classical music, and there’s an awful lot of classical music that didn’t change anything.”) You can pick your essentials and you can pick your friends but you cant pick your friend's essentials.
Vanity Fair rolls out its 2012 year-end recap and slips some cultural gems into the slideshow, including Valentino above, photographed by by Patrick Demarchelier at his NYC Ballet comeback from September 2012 that we wrote about here and here.
Fire up your controller + iPod. The London Philharmonic Orchestra has just released the second edition of The Greatest Video Game Music. Conductor/composer Andrew Skeet arranged Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo game themes (like Assassin's Creed, Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy and Halo) for the concert hall. We'd personally ask him about the unholy union this Wednesday via ClassicFM but we're Sir Thomas Beechless. Kissing in the blue dark. Playing pool and wild darts. Video games.
Over 215 violins, violas, cellos and bows (and guitars) will be sold to the highest bidder on November 27 at Christie's NYC Rockefeller Plaza HQ, including a 1760 Giovanni Baptista Guadagnini violin which could fetch between $400,000-600,000, and between $70,000-90,000 for a 1855 silver-mounted Joseph Henry violin bow.
One day later in London, Sotheby's will auctions manuscripts, letters and memorabilia from the family of Arturo Toscanini (including a Steinway & Sons Grand at an estimated 30,000-50,000 sterling and a handufl of anger-beaten, broken batons) inhereted by his late son Walter and his late grandson Walfredo:
The first sketches for the opening of Falstaff, a work performed by Toscanini throughout his entire conducting career, were presented to him by Verdi’s niece and have remained in the Toscanini family ever since; there is also a complete draft of the “Ave Maria”, from the Four Sacred Pieces. There are letters and manuscripts sent to him by Puccini, Boito, Leoncavallo, Catalani and Richard Strauss which have similarly never appeared on the market.
One of the highpoints, the autograph manuscript, hitherto believed lost, of Mendelssohn’s wonderful overture Die schöne Melusine, a work frequently performed by Toscanini, was given to him on the occasion of his birthday by a great performer, Rudolf Serkin. Toscanini’s engagement with other great artists is visible in his Steinway Grand Piano, played on by his son-in-law, the pianist Vladimir Horowitz. Please note that this piano is not on view at Sotheby’s London, or New York, but at the Steinway showrooms in New York.
Jessica Duchen for The Independent reframes the classical music industry's sexism as a landscape where female soloists are either marginalized or sexualized, citing the backlash over Yuja Wang's ever-shrinking concert gear and that sweaty-palm Benedetti profile in The Sun.
Classical music is a meritocracy, theoretically. The best musician wins. If only this were true. It isn't. It is deeply, appallingly sexist. This sexism is so ingrained that it's part of the industry furniture, taken for granted beyond the point of fight-back. We've been in denial about it for too long, and the problem is growing worse in today's climate of retrenchment.
Spoiler: Classical music is full of super-nerds (see above) who are awkward around the opposite sex, OC included. *pushes up glasses, walks into door*
In this dream I was again standing on the stage of the Opera House in
San Francisco, ready to lecture, and with the audience vividly
individualized before me in the strong light. I begun, spoke a few
words, and stopped, cold with fright; for I discovered that I had no
subject, no text, nothing to talk about. I choked for a while, then got
out a few words, a lame, poor attempt at humor. The house made no
response. There was a miserable pause, then another attempt, and another
failure. There were a few scornful laughs; otherwise the house was
silent, unsmilingly austere, deeply offended. I was consuming with
shame. In my distress I tried to work upon its pity. I began to make
servile apologies, mixed with gross and ill-timed flatteries, and to beg
and plead for forgiveness; this was too much, and the people broke into
insulting cries, whistlings, hootings, and cat-calls, and in the midst
of this they rose and began to struggle in a confused mass toward the
door. I stood dazed and helpless, looking out over this spectacle, and
thinking how everybody would be talking about it next day, and I could
not show myself in the streets. When the house was become wholly empty
and still, I sat down on the only chair that was on the stage and bent
my head down on the reading-desk to shut out the look of that place.
Written in blood on OC's 13-year-old crush roll, former 'N SYNC star Justin Timberlake's poised to reinvent himself with opera. This month's Star magazine reports that JT's booked a vocal coach to authenticate an opera-inspired track on his next album. Hopefully it will lead to a Motherlover/Dick in a Box operetta.