Antonio Pappano tickled the ivories and tucked into some grub to raise money for Arca Italia Onlus (an org for handicap kids) at a private reception in Rome. He was joined by violinist Grazia Raimondi and cellist Luigi Piovano.
“I could have opened a stationery shop and
wrapped gifts. I would love to be a bookbinder. If I were starting all over
again, I’d be a carpenter. My carpenter makes so much money, and, hey, he’s
an artist too.”
Forget 2008 as the Chinese Year of the Female Earth Rat. Instead it's the Chinese Year of the Female Soprano Netrebko. Already 11 months into 2008, la Anna has won an award (or two), sang at a few VIP concerts, relaunched her website, filmed a movie, and even managed to pop out a baby boy with fiance Erwin Schrott. Whoever ain't widdit gotta move widdit!
Now La Anna is poised for her fourth solo Deutsche Grammophon release, and in celebration of the November 11, 2008 drop, DG has given her the royal treatment with a minisite [warning: embedded sound filez]. She's also boasting a whole ethereal butterfly themed photoshoot...methinks the Russian opera singer has been partying with the ex-Mottola Glitter star??
Titled "Souvenirs", Anna fans will be offered a standard version of the CD, or a super deluxe ~limited edition~ package for a little more $$$. The souped-up version includes, in addition to the CD, "a DVD of behind-the-scenes
footage, interviews and musical excerpts; [a] beautiful booklet; three
postcards and one poster of Netrebko."
Her new CD includes operetta works & melodies by Strauss, Grieg, Dvorák, and Rimsky-Korsakov, among others. Special guests include Polish tenor Piotr Beczala (for Richard Heuberger's Der Opernball "Im chambre séparée"), Elīna Garanča (for Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann Barcarolle), and wee little choirboy Andrew Swait (for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem "Pie Jesu").
Out of all the tracks, we're looking forward to Anna's take on the traditional Jewish song "Schlof sche, mein Vögele", sung in Yiddish. omg this shayner maidel is gonna make us plotz in our tsimmes. \O_O\ hey /O_O/ ho \^_^/ wee!!!
[all images above courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon found here]
Teatro Comunale di Bologna's new season -- without the big bucks of bigger venues such as la Scala -- looks oh so promising! Aside from a killer symphonic season (with stop-overs by James Conlon, José Cura, Heidi Grant Murphy, Wayne Marshall, and official O.C. gurl-crush, Kate Aldrich who'll wrap her creamy mezzo around the mysterious genius of Das Lied Von Der Erde), we're looking forward to the opera: the season opens on November 15 with Heinrich August Marschner's blood-curdling opera, Der Vampyr, with Roberto Abbado conducting Pier Luigi Pizzi's production. Boo!
Just back from krazy nite at la Scala where the 2007-08 voice recital season has ended on a deliciously wacky tone, with Anne Sofie Von Otter who thanks to a weirdikinz program dressed up as -- in this order -- scholar of Scandinavian music (not ABBA, mercifully but the slightly more obscure Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Ture Rangström and Lars-Erik Larsson), Fauré and Schubert ragazza romantica, Richard Strauss fangirl, Reynaldo Hahn chanteuse (oh how we love Reynaldo, also thanks to OC point man, dashing young conductor Francesco Maria Colombo), Joseph Canteloube aka Joe Cantaloupe; and then she went all Cabaret on la Scala's collectively grey mousie conservative's consciousness: Kurt Weill and Ralph Benatzky, by0tches, then Ennio Morricone's heartbreaking "The Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti", lyrics by Joan Baez, and we suspect this was the first time anything written by Joan Baez was ever played at la Scala; then George Gershwin -- Slap That Bass! -- and Richard Rodgers's "Bewitched" -- where we hoped against all hope that la Otter would wiggle her nose like Elizabeth Montgomery used to, but she didn't.
This, by the way, was the conservative part of the night.
Then came the encores. But you'll have to wait until tomorrow to hear all about that.
Event chairman Roberto Bolle was spotted on Friday night in Rome for amFAR's second annual "Cinema Against AIDS" event. Bolle was looking the hawtness, and posed in black tie on the red carpet with Scala colleague Beatrice Carbone. In addition to Bolle, the glamorous night boasted event chairmen celebs Alan Cumming, Lapo Elkann, and Diane Kruger.
The VIP guests partied at Galleria Borghese for cocktails, dinner, dancing, and a live auction, with ticket prices ranging from individual stubs @ $2,000 USD up to $125,000 USD for a table of ten.
Although AmFAR throws the most high-profile HIV&AIDS fundraiser events, it wasn't hard to wrangle-up the stars, as currently, Rome is hosting the Festival Internazionale del Film [di Roma], and other celeb sightings included Mena Suvari, smatterings of the Missoni clan, the Fendis, Gael Garcia Bernal, the Ferragamos, Mathew Modine, and the DSquared boys (Dean & Dan Caten). And luckily, the entertainment factor was +10 with skanks abound (we're looking at you Valeria Marini, Silvio Muccino and Francesca Einaudi).
~*~ (Above: Andrea Osvart with identical twin bros Dean & Dan Caten of Dsquared)
We previously supplied the teaser and screenshots, now here's the full version of Angela Gheorghiu and Sting singing Don Giovanni "Là ci darem la mano" at the Petra Pavarotti memorial concert from October 12, 2008 in Jordan.
Here it is:
Now just for kicks, click here for Cheryl Crow and Pavarotti singing the same duet.
Nicoletta Mantovani is tite as hale with Italian kittyb0x liner magazine, Chi, and sold another story to them. This time, it's on her recent desert extravaganza...the Pavarotti concert in Petra, Jordan. She just talked about how Luciano wanted a big party, and how gorgeous it all was...nothing new to report. Cover and scans below.
Click on the link below for a close-up of Nicoletta and Alice, and four more big scans...
...That was a quip from one of the girls of Escala [warning: embedded autoplay filez] -- Britian's latest crossover classical artists composed of four young ELECTRONIC string players -- when pressed about about distinguishing themselves from ~serious musicians~.
ugh. Mic'd up, amped strings? We've seen it before, Poindexter! The magnificant bloat of Simon Cowell, after hearing the girls play on the second series of "Britain's Got Talent" in May 2008, vowed to turn them into international superstars. Incidentally, they lost BGT, but Cowell was nevertheless so blown away that he signed them to a £1.5 million record deal on his own label, Syco Records, and their CD is already in post production.
Daily Mail is running a piece on the four 20-something performers (two violinists, a violist, and a cellist), who routinely perform in stilettos and short, tight, sequined mini dresses.
omg plz. Hi I'm Simon Cowell and I literally have no idea who Rachmaninov is. Music without words?!! lol it's like a book without pictures! Ok brb...I've got a recording sesh with some hawt babes.
The Bulgarian National Bank announced yesterday in Sofia that they will commemorate late Bulgarian Bass Nicolai Ghiaurov with a new coin. Called "Nikolay Gyaurov", it is part of the "Renowned Bulgarian Voices" series and will be put into circulation on October 27, 2008. It is offered in a denomination of 10 Leva BGN (5 euro). Ghiaurov, the late husband of soprano Mirella Freni, passed away in 2004.
Further remembrance for the late bass is the inauguration of Fondazione Nicolai Ghiaurov, which was announced in Modena earlier this week [website still being developed]. The foundation is dedicated to youngsters for developing their opera skills, as well as an archive for all memorabilia Freni/Ghiaurov.
Freni's been teaching at Modena's Centro Universale del Bel Canto since 2002, where she heads a program for the bel canto technique.
[Updated: Bigger & Better!!] Rolando Villazón and Daniel Barenboim were at the Berlin Staatsoper earlier today for a press conference, where they spoke about their November 9, 2008 benefit concert.
The Staatskapelle, under the direction of Music Director Barenboim, will lead Villazón in a benefizkonzert to raise fund for the reconstruction of the opera house. The Mexican tenor will be singing Ottavio's »Il mio tesoro« from Don Giovanni, Tamino's »Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön« from Zauberflote, Lenski's »Kuda, kuda, kuda vi udalilis« from Onegin, Don José's »La fleur que tu m'avais jetée« from Carmen, and Pablo Sorozabal's »No puede ser«
The Staatsoper is one of Berlin's three main opera venues. Last renovated in 1986, Barenboim has been crusading for renovations, publicly denouncing the crumbling opera house as unsafe.
Click the link below for more Rolando fabulous (and 0 hai Barenboim!)
Here are screenshots from the October 12, 2008 "Omaggio a Pavarotti" in Petra, Jordan to commemorate the first year of Pavarotti's death. The memorial concert and benefit was organized by Princess Haya of Jordan & Nicoletta Mantovani, and included performers from "Pavarotti & Friends": Andrea Bocelli, Lorenzo "Jovanotti" Cherubini, Laura Pausini, Sting, and Zucchero. Other performers included: Angela Gheorghiu, Andrea Griminelli, Cynthia Lawrence, Sherrill Milnes, José Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Aleem Quandour.
Gruppo Mediaset transmitted the concert via Retequattro on October 22, 2008, and O.C. took some nice pictures to share with her readers. Enjoy!
Song 1: Zucchero went first with "Miserere". He tried to do this sort of virtual duet with Pavarotti, so they showed footage of an old duet between him and Pavarotti on the jumbo-screen. Picture below.
Click the link below for a song-by-song recap, and to see like a million pictures of Laura Pausini, Andrea Griminelli, Bono, Andrea Bocelli, Angela Gheorghiu, Aleem Quandour, Cynthia Lawrence, Sherril Milnes, José Carreras, and Plácido Domingo
Here's a little teaser clip of Our Lady of Holy Cancellations, Angela Gheorghiu, and her Don Giovanni "Là ci darem la mano" duet with Sting during the Petra Pavarotti memorial concert from October 12, 2008 in Jordan. Sting's pronunciation was almost on par with Paris Hilton's shill for H3G with Claudio Amendola...and Angela was really, ummm, ^into it^. Previous coverage of the event can be found here & here & here, and O.C. is right now preparing screenshots from the historic event. Keep F5-ing, my operafiends!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* [vvvv Update vvvv] Here are screenshots from the same duet:
With news of the short-term transfer of Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham to AC Milan in January, we're psyched. Dailymail prepared a tongue-in-cheek guide for Bex, and we're linking it. Definitely -- because they included a gigantic picture of Alagna in front of la Scala when the freshly-terminated tenor returned on December 14, 2007 to snap pictures and sing, 'Addio fiorito asil, di letizia e d'amor,' from Madama Butterfly. OMG I'M HAVING A ~~FLASHBACK~~ can u stand it?
October 2008 Ventiquattro magazine ran a nice piece on that nice piece, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, the 41-year-old New Zealand baritone who favors ripped jeans, t-shirts, and kicks rather than playing dress up. Of course, half the article waxed erotic of the tall&skinny, tan&tattooed, athletic beach boy...and even mentioned his romantic travails prior to the "October Surprise"!
The article continues that Rhodes has been called "The Brad Pitt of Opera" in Australia, while The New York
Times called him a cross between Paul Bettany & Viggo Mortensen, and
the Washington Post called him a hunky version of Sting. Personally, Headquarters O.C. likes to refer to him
as John McEnroe's younger, h0tter, cawk-blocking brother.
We've heard it all before, but we'll jump at any chance to publish more TTR pictures! We'll also jump at any chance to endorse O.C. via photoshop if any poor sucka dares to wear a white t-shirt for a photoshoot! Here's the ~real~ image:
I'm addicted to you...Don't you know that you're toxic?
He sang Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti, Puccini; with Callas -- so many, many times -- and with Freni, with Moffo. Conducted by Giulini, Karajan, Abbado. He appeared 270 times at la Scala (among others, in the legendary 1956 Visconti staging of Traviata). He leaves recordings -- many of them just stunning, some of them in roles not perfect for his light beautiful tenor.
Gianni Raimondi has passed away this past Sunday at the age of 85. All opera lovers mourn one of the giants.
Echo Klassik 2008 Awards, held October 19, 2008 in Munich's Philharmonie im Gasteig, was a rousing celebration of all things klassik, but only a few ~classical stars~ posed for the paps...like the fierce bebees above: Cecilia Bartoli, Danielle de Niese, and Andrea Bocelli. Hmmm...♪♫one of things is not like the others...one of these things just doesn't belong.♪♫
Winners were determined by the jury for the best classical music recordings of the year, including DVDs and CDs. The 2008 liszt of WIN included Female Singer of the Year Cecilia Bartoli for her Maria Malibran CD, while Male Singer of the Year went to Philippe Jaroussky for his Carestini CD. Best Duet went to Netrebko & Villazón, while Danielle de Niese won for her CD of Haendel Arias...and José Carreras took home the Lifetime Achievement Award. For a full list of winners, go here.
Andrea Bocelli didn't win anything, but just came to bask in the glow of all that classical thunder. We cannot tell you how much we <3 la Ceci, but if she doesn't retire thosetwo dresses, we're gonna bust down her wardrobe and shut it all down. We don't care how many Tibetan organic silkworms died for them! Congrats to all the ~superstars~!
Let's start with Danielle de Niese's gown! Superstar, where you from, how’s it going? I know you, gotta clue, whatcha doing?
(Below: la Ceci shows off her assets)
(below: José Carreras is full of win!)
(below: Philippe Jaroussky is also full of win!)
(below: Violinist David Garrett)
Ok, you still haven't seen it all! Click on the link below for loads more photos, including Annette Dasch's omg bewbs! **snip snip snip**
Jenkins was at Harrods in London yesterday for a launch party of her "Sacred Arias". It was also a farewell party of sorts for Jenkins, who will be parting ways with Universal and climbing aboard Warner, who will preen her to break into the lucrative U.S. market. "Sacred Arias" is her 6th studio album, remixed with yummy blended vocals, featuring religious hits like, "Pie Jesu", "Panis Angelicus" and "Ave Maria".
[^^^^^UPD8^^^^^] HOLD UP W8 A MINUTE! Before you see the rest of the images from yesterday's Harrods launch (follow the link below), here are three pictures of Jenkins out&about today in London:
A couple more magical images can be found under the cut <~*mixmaster, cut faster*~>
We've been wondering what our little Peruvian lamb has been up to, hearing only small trickles of JDF news crossing our paths these past few months.
Rest assured, no news is good news, as Flórez is chillaxing in London, preparing for the Thursday night premiere of Rossini's Matilde di Shabran with the Royal Opera House. (tho this is kinda scary: "PLEASE NOTE: ACT 1 runs at 2 hours 10 minutes without a scene change [...]") omg whaaaaaa?
The show continues 5 more dates, ending on Tuesday, November 11 for its already completely sold-out run. Juan Diego Flórez will be dazzling the London audiences as Corradino with Matilde di Shabran sung by Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, and Carlo Rizzi on the podium.
While we're waiting for reviews and pics, we'll sate ourselves with this 1996 documentary when Matilde di Shabranwas sung in August of the same year at Pesaro's Rossini Opera Festival with the rookie, AAA MVP player Flórez just up from the minors, and a baby Elisabeth Futral accompanying a fresh-faced Yves Abel.
Here, Juan Diego Flórez talks about singing Corradino (in Italian with French subtitles) as a young little angnellino!
And the rest is here, with with Yves Abel, Elisabeth Futral, Patricia Spence, and some other dudes.
All That Jaz: Photographer, Bruce Weber BFF, mentor of -- among many other talented kids -- Sofia C., style icon: to inaugurate her new "Style Icons" series, Opera Chic bows to the effortless cool of Paul Jasmin, one of the most elegant men in America.
Asking Opera Chic to choose between David McVicar and Robert Carsen is as unfair as asking her to choose between Jeter and A-Rod (even if Alex's latest choice of companions is tipping way too heavily on the giant-piece-of-ho-bag side of the scale for OC's taste).
But OC was watching just the other day her dvd of Carsen's Traviata and she noticed how Carsen's decision to have money rain down on the stage so insistently, essentially negates the core of the opera -- without a proper understanding of the demi-monde, and what it means to the story, you just don't have Verdi's and Piave's story there.
Imagine our joy while reading McVicar say in an interview with The Times:
The whole point of the demi-monde is that it was a parallel night-time
society, which wealthy respectable men could dip their toes into, once
their wives were tucked up in bed. When you go to the altar you make
sure your wife is a virgin, meanwhile where do you get your sexual
experiences from? You get it from the demi-monde. What do you do while
your wife is producing the heirs? You go to the demi-monde. And you
don't tip your hat to these ladies if your wife is with you.”
McV gets it. That's also why, for example, it works to do a modern Così fan tutte, it really doesn't when you update Nozze, much more dependent on its era's social and cultural environment.
He also has unkind things to say -- from Glasgow -- to la Scala:
“Can I share a secret with you?” he asks. “La Scala does not do
top-notch. You may see the most expensive singers in the world, but
actually that performance has been turned around in three days, whereas
a Scottish Opera performance is done with time spent on it, with
commitment and intelligence and company spirit.
Now, it's not simply the rant of someone stuck in the provinces -- Scotland is lovely, still -- but a pretty informed snark from a director who's worked pretty much everywhere (except at la Scala). Not entirely correct because, for example, as last year's Chereau production of Tristan demonstrates, even after Muti's abrupt departure in early 2005 la Scala can do and still does first rate (when they're not on strike) on a worldwide scale. If they had better luck, too -- they had hired Terry Gilliam for a Andrea Chenier that just didn't happen after the director's pullout and many other mishaps widely reported at the time on Opera Chic. And that would have rocked this past season as hard as Tristan. But the main thrust of the argument makes sense: what a huge (1,000 staff) opera house with worldwide name recognition can do is in the end limited to the clarity of its artistic project.
Unlike other opera houses, the Music Director-less Scala doesn't have one (Daniel Barenboim is a glorified guest conductor with a shining tittle -- maestro scaligero -- that does not have influence on what happens most of the season when he isn't there. And yes, they cynically re-use glorious old stagings -- Zeffirelli's, Cavani's, Strehler's -- after giving them a light dusting, when they actually could do much better [especially given the scandalously high prices of the hard-to-find tickets -- about to be raised a cool 10%]) .
Anyway kudos to David for unlocking Violetta's mystery gives you like 100,000 G @ the Xbox360, and in bocca al lupo for the new Traviata, by0tch!
"The soprano endured a different kind of fall the last time she sang in Lucrezia. That was at La Scala in Milan 10 years ago, when she heard a chorus of boos."
"Various conspiracy theories have floated in the opera world to
account for that volatile night. Whatever the circumstances, the
scandal does not appear to have left a permanent scar on the singer."
"'I finally went back to listen to it recently - a pirate recording
exists, and you can hear the booing,' Fleming says. 'I have to say
that, on the whole, the performance was really good, and from
Now, not only is big sister La Cieca is debating the matter & the audio evidence, but OC -- who over the years has heard all kind of things re: that fateful night by ear-witnesses present at la Scala, and after listening to the recording didn't think La Renée had sung that bad, but then for the loggionisti the actual performance unfolding on stage is often irrelevant -- has decided to dig out of unimpeachable Corriere della Sera's archives the story of that unlucky production.
Let's see. **All translations are Opera Chic's**, for your look-back-in-anger operatic pleasure.
"I'm in favor of crossover, obviously if the quality is high. I'd love to take part in one of Pavarotti's benefit concerts. If he calls, I'll immediately say yes"
The paper's headline: "Pavarotti let me sing with you".
Then Argentinian director Hugo de Ana, who created a disquieting copper platform for Lucrezia to stand on, and a cage (representing Alfonso's castle in Ferrara) explained that he saw Lucrezia not as a monster but as "mater dolorosa".
"At 8:32pm, after the end of the aria "Com' e' bello quale incanto", the conductor, Gianluigi Gelmetti, passed out on the podium. The orchestra kept playing for a few seconds, as the singers kept singing. People in the audience stood up, then the curtain fell [...]"
"[...] the show has been interrupted for about 30 minutes. Then Gelmetti, in his Scala debut, obtained permission from the doctor to go back to the pit. At around 9:00pm the lights went up, and the maestro was saluted by thundering applause [...]"
"[...] the reassuring "Lucrezia with a human face", Renee Fleming, a soprano whose face reminds more of the serene portrait by Pinturicchio than the bloodthirsty traditional character. It was immediately clear that, for her, the comparison with the two latest Lucrezias who appeared here in the 1970s, Leyla Gencer and Montserrat Caballe', was going to be difficult."
"Some noise came from the audience immediately during the prologo; at the end of Act I, her performance has been applauded, just like Marcello Giordani's, Michele Pertusi's and Sonia Ganassi's. But at the end of Act II and III, the problems exploded: the loggione booed the soprano, but the platea shot back in an equally forceful manner [in Italian: 'Ha
risposto in maniera altrettanto decisa"'] with 'Silence' and 'Moron, shut up'."
"In the end, the applause from the platea drowned out the loggionisti's whistles; the loggionisti called la Fleming 'boring', 'with uneven attacchi', 'useless in the trillati': in the end, 'an American lady'. Gelmetti had it worse. By the end of Act I he had trouble standing. By the end he couldn't walk over to the stage to gather the applause, even if loggionisti had criticized him, also. Exhausted, he was hospitalized in order to have some tests performed."
"Renée Fleming has been harshly attacked by isolated spectators. The truth is, she made several intonation errors over a night that would have anguished any artist, in a role with anomalous characteristics. The body of her voice is full and vibrant, especially in the centers; timbro is pleasant except for some harshness over the 'passaggio'; her diction is, for a foreigner, better than many of her colleagues."
"She was clearly prepared with care. We didn't like her tendency to slip into 'parlato'
during the recitativi and a not fully developed control of her 'messa di voce'. What counts, in the end, is that she is a first class singer, and she demonstrates it -- we'd bet that, over the coming nights, she will conquer the audience as well."
And in fact, after that unfateful night, the booing stopped.