Smoking Venezuelan/Canary Islands temptress, mezzo Nancy Fabiola Herrera [*website has auto-play audio], has a small feature in this month's Vanity Fair España. Modeling her fiery-red Carmen look, she's buttressed by a lukewarm ~confessional~ from Juan Diego Flórez (read: bio lite). Click image for full size.
Luisi, who's been rawking the Lederhosen off the Staatskapelle Dresden & Staatsoper as Chief Conductor/Music Director since 2007, will start Zürich for the 2012/13 season. He will take the baton from Daniele Gatti, who will leave Opernhaus Zürich after his 3-season contract expires.
It's bittersweet, unlucky news for Staatskapelle & Staatsoper Dresden & Dresden's audiences, but lucky news for Luisi's pugs, who will be full of fresh, clean Swiss air!
Sir Simon Rattle is chilling in Aix-en-Provence for the July 3 premiere of Wagner's Götterdämmerung. The new, minimal Stéphane Braunschweig production is one of the offerings in this year's Festival d'Aix-en-Provence (festival #61), and is the final installment of Rattle's Aix Ring Cycle collaboration. The cast boasts Ben Heppner as Siegfried, Anne Sofie von Otter as Waltraute, Emma Vetter as Gutrune, and Katarina Dalayman as Brünnhilde.
Rattle (& the Berliner Philharmoniker) & Braunschweig will bid adieu to their Ring Cycle pact, which began in 2006 for the Festival's first Wagner cycle with Das Rheingold. It was followed by Die Walküre in 2007 (which was taped for DVD), Siegfried in 2008, and finishes with 2009's Götterdämmerung. Can Grand Théâtre de Provence contain all the Wagnerian hawtness? We will never know!
(Above: Katarina Dalayman and Anne Sofie von Otter)
Some of you have expressed
worries about my recent withdrawal from the "Carmen" -production
in Vienna. Don't be concerned! I have not yet had the operation
(it will take place in these days), but I decided I want
to be careful with my repertoire in the next year.
Opera Chic does not remember -- due to her birth date -- Michael Jackson the musical child prodigy, nor she remembers Michael Jackson the "Thriller" guy; she therefore has no nostalgia to color her evaluation of the late singer, because essentially she became aware of him when he was already a de facto has-been with legal and financial troubles, more tabloid character than pop artist -- a man whose greatness dated back to the 1970s and 1980s.
Muti, who -- appropriately -- is rehearsing the critical edition, unheard since the composer's time, of the "Missa Defunctorum" by Paisiello in Ravenna (he will also take the work to Maggio Musicale Fiorentino), remembers that he became aware of Jackson's music in the early 1980s, when the Italian maestro was Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra:
"He is without a doubt one of the most legendary, controversial (and beloved) singers of all time... His controversial story, his weaknesses, the extreme restlessness and his exhausted last days remind me of the lives of the great castrati like Caffarelli or Farinelli, who became objects of adoration and idolatry. And they often became victims of this adoration".
Then the interviewer asked the inevitable question -- did Muti ever dance to a Michael Jackson song? The maestro tersely answers: "No. I can't dance".
The two came together earlier tonight at
the Mariinsky for Montblanc's "New Voices" concert and gala, along with French actress Eva Green. Montblanc's designated winners -- Baritone Alexei
Markov & mezzo Kristina Kapustinskaya -- sang at the gala concert. The White Nights Festival kicked-off on May 21 and ends on July 19.
"I felt nauseated, I felt tired: junk food was my refuge from stress, but it really damaged my well-being. I came back to Milan from a stay in London and I decided to quit, cold turkey: calories were killing me. It was a Friday night, I threw frozen pizzas, croissants and the rest of that stuff in the trash. For three days, I detoxed: fresh fruit, veggies, lots of water. The first day was tough, I craved all that sugar and fat".
But he did manage to quit cold turkey, then immediately hired a nutritionist, and now his rock-hard abs are fueled, he explains, "by yoghurt, wild rice, farro, fish, meats, fruit and veggies" and about a gallon of mineral water a day (he found the perfect sponsor, after all).
He admits to the occasional transgression -- some chocolate, a glass of red wine, maybe a pasticcino. "Because junk food is tastier if it's the exception to the rule".
Woody Allen -- whose production of Gianni Schicchi just traveled from Los Angeles to Festival di Spoleto where it opens tomorrow night -- gave an interview a couple weeks ago to Italian daily Corriere della Sera where he said a few unsurprising things (for example, that his inspiration for the staging came to him from his beloved Italian comedies by Vittorio de Sica and Pietro Germi from the 1950s and 1960s) and quite a few surprising ones.
The Woodman said that opera and film don't mix very often and that he found Ingmar Bergman's film version of The Magic Flute to be "boring", unlike Joseph Losey'sDon Giovanni ("good"). Corriere's journalist correctly points out that Bergman has been a huge influence on Allen and Allen is a huge fan, and that Bergman's Magic Flute is usually considered a masterpiece: "Many people are crazy for his Magic Flute but I never really liked it, it's neither opera nor film. There's a director who's excellent at mixing opera and film: Zeffirelli". Zeffirelli is often panned by critics, the Corriere journalist points out.. "He's a great man of the theater and cinema. One of the few who can make opera accessible to a large audience. His Pagliacci and Cavalleriaproduction -- I love those two operas -- is very exciting. If he takes some liberties he does it as an artist... if you bore them, they'll never be back. It's just like baseball".
Oh, and Placido Domingo, who convinced him to do Gianni Schicchi, wants Allen to direct Così Fan Tutte. Allen, who, in the interview, repeats that for him "life without Mozart is unthinkable", admits that it's a very intimidating opera to direct.
The wing bone of a griffon vulture with five precisely drilled holes in
it is the oldest known musical instrument, a 35,000-year-old relic of
an early human society that drank beer, played flute and drums and
danced around the campfire on cold winter evenings, researchers said
That's a pretty hardcore brand of historically-informed performance.
Antonio Moral, general manager of the Spanish house, told El Pais: "Esto es histórico".
As someone who has enjoyed the privilege of basking in the art of Signor Nucci -- a humble man, he does not want to be addressed as "maestro" -- Opera Chic can only say, if you haven't heard him sing Rigoletto, you missed out on one of the (few) absolutely great, history-making performers of our time.
First, caution always fails. The only way to save an opera
company is to spend on bold new shows. Even if they flop, they
Second, more is less. The more productions you put on, the
better your chances of reducing deficits by attracting a bigger
audience and a larger sponsor base. Instead, Steel has planned
one gala and 31 performances on a budget of some $30 million.
That means every performance costs around $1 million. (Last
season, ENO staged 130 performances on a $46 million spend).
Third, the show isn’t over until the large bailiff sings.
Dragged to within sight of the bankruptcy courts, ENO averted
closure by means of artistic triumph.
Given the extreme limitations under which City Opera is now operating,
the choices Mr. Steel made in creating this tiny, last-minute season
demonstrate a positive strategic spin: a mix of the familiar and the
unusual, and a showcase for some of City Opera's historical strengths
and accomplishments such as pioneering new works and building a market
for Handel. It's a more sensible course than Mr. Mortier's wholesale
reinvention. Still, going forward -- if it can -- City Opera will once
again have to establish its market niche and find the resources to make
that vision sustainable.
June 24 seems to be a bad day (night) for ROH-goers: first Rolando Villazon cancels his recital for the reasons well known; then our Dmitri pulls out, too.
A surprised Opera Chic reader received this notice from the Royal Opera House:
I am very sorry to
be sending you an email regarding our concert this Wednesday, 24 June.
Unfortunately Dmitri Hvorostovsky is under doctors' orders to
completely rest his voice and it is with great regret that he has had
to cancel all his current engagements. We are, of course, very
disappointed not to be hearing Dmitri and hope he will soon make a full
A Hampson/Calleja/DiDonato extravaganza will replace Dmitri's show.
I wouldn't have admitted it at the time, but I was utterly unprepared
for my new position, and few things would make me happier now than the
opportunity to delete the majority of my early Times reviews
from archives and distant memories. Although I had collected records
since I was five or six, knew a good deal about contemporary
composition and played the piano acceptably, I had scant knowledge of
huge portions of the repertory and no understanding of the day-to-day
challenges and intricacies of the music world. Even more to the point,
I had not yet begun to develop much human empathy for my fellow
mortals. So I approached my new job with the prim, Robespierrean surety
and the acerbic would-be cleverness that then seemed to me the most
important qualities of a working critic.
The Times was used to steep learning curves — developing a
voice with which to speak through New York's most powerful and
prestigious newspaper is never an easy adaptation — and my editors were
good enough to keep me on.
This weekend, Josh Groban and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa were in downtown Los Angels for the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame 10th Anniversary concert. The two ~opera singers~ were inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, and were joined by conductor Thomas Wilkins, Frederica von Stade, John Williams, and some other randoms. The two inductees posed below:
Click the link below for more photos from the event!
A grimly uninteresting revival of Franco Zeffirelli's production of Aida (the one that had opened the 2006-2007 season under Riccardo Chailly's baton, when Roberto Alagna was booed off the stage right after the second performance's "Celeste Aida" aria) earlier tonight was roundly booed after his debut performance; Daniel Barenboim and Anna Smirnova (Amneris) were the main targets of the loggionisti's anger.
The AGI/Yahoo! Italia Notizie report (in Italian) is here.
Maria José Siri, as Aida, replaced Violeta Urmana who had pulled out earlier. Walter Fraccaro was Radames.