September marks the début of Opera Chic as contributor of Corriere della Sera's "Style" magazine: in the September Issue (Vitorio Grigolo on the cover) she interviewed Juan Diego Florez and Jonas Kaufmann as you can see below...
Today's bulletin from Salvatore Licitra's doctors indicates that there are no changes in the tenor's conditions -- Licitra remains in a coma in the ICU of Garibaldi's hospital in Catania after suffering a probable cerebral hemorrhage while riding his scooter, and suffering extensive head and chest wounds in the following crash this past Saturday night.
Italian Radio RAI interviewed Salvatore Licitra's doctor who, after careful analysis of the tenor's brain scans, considers it "likely" that Licitra suffered a cerebral hemorrhage right before crashing his scooter, this past Saturday night. The singer remains in "very serious" conditions.
Sergio Pintaudi told RAI that
"the situation is very grave, very compromised, and most of all very delicate. He remains in an extremely grave coma''.
Licitra 'remains in an extremely serious coma' following a car crash last Saturday. The latest bulletin released by the doctors at Catania's Garibaldi hospital reports that 'during the night monitoring of his respiratory activity and a CAT scan of his chest revealed pulmonary complications due to the impact suffered when he came off his motorbike. As a result his lungs were carefully cleaned via a broncoscopy this morning'.
"Salvatore Licitra's conditions are stable, but severe; he is evolving unexpectedly," said Doctor Pinaudi. The head of the resuscitation department of Garibaldi Hospital, in Catania, released this report.
*** update: the police has confirmed that Licitra was not wearing a helmet while riding a scooter; he lost control, and fell. His girlfriend, who was with him, is unharmed.
The 43-year-old Italian tenor Salvatore Licitra is fighting for his life in the ICU of Garibaldi hospital in Catania, Italy: last night Licitra suffered extensive injuries to his head and chest in a car crash and has undergone surgery.
Italian tabloid magazine Chi reports that Andrea Bocelli will soon be a proud papa. His partner, Veronica Berti (above), is pregnant with the singer's third child. Bocelli has two sons from his ex-wife -- below, from a photograph taken in 2008, Amos hugs his dad and Matteo stands to the right.
"They needed to save the soprano [Angela Gheorghiu], no matter how willfully she distorted the phrasing, moment to moment. The conductor was expendable. My lowest point opening night came at the big ensemble number closing the third act. I cut off and everyone ended on cue, but she just hung on. It finally threw me. Yes, things got very wobbly after that.
"So why would I want to stay on as a traffic cop, when she was running all the red lights, anyway? Bottom line, it's a blip on the radar."
The two Israeli artists currently engaged at the Rossini Opera Festival, where Graham Vick premiered his polemic Mosè in Egitto less than 24 hours ago, spoke to ANSA about the British stage director's controversial new staging of the Rossini opera (translations all OC's kthnx).
Soprano Hila Baggio (singing in tonight's Scala di Seta, portrait above) and pianist Maria Nikitin (portrait below) both took issue with Vick's interpretation, although they agreed that fundamentalists and extremism is bad.
The danger, they explained, "is that people don't know how to distinguish and maybe one starts to think that the Israelis are responsible for these things," or that it feeds the antisemitic climate that "in recent years is in huge growth in North Europe."
Said Baggio "I haven't seen the show, neither the general, i only helped out in a few of the rehearsals, but the idea to transform Moses -- who for us is a really important figure -- into Bin Laden , is offensive. The situation in the Middle East is really serious, the smallest thing can cause damages and it doesn't make sense to bring in other complications. And, even though it is understood that an artist can express themselves in a way that they best believe, an operation like this risks to make everything more problematic."
Pianista Nikitin saw the general rehearsal and says, "the first scene is like Quentin Tarantino, with people bloody as they wander into the theater," describing how the action is also on the sides of the auditorium as well as the stage. However, speaking about how Vick transformed the Exodus as scored by Rossini into terrorists/Palestinians/Chechen people, "has nothing to do with the story of Moses, and not even with what's going on in the Middle East".
She said that the Israelis have never committed an act of terrorism as depicted by Vick: "It's never happened in our history".
She remains cautious of Vick's production: "If someone wants to use a theme like this in a piece of art, you must document it well and act with caution."
Baggio, at the end, said that she does agree with Vick that extremism is dangerous but the way in which Vick developed his concepts could be "dangerous and offensive".
Polarizing King Vick left Pesaro's audiences either loving or hating his reread of Rossini's Mosè in Egitto as applause battled with boos at the end of opening night. At one point, the loggione was so stirred-up that a fight ensued and police were called in for control.
Corriere della Sera reported -- "Applause and tensions for Moses-Bin Laden and the Police Came: During the scene with the gas masks, from the loggione came cries of 'for shame'" -- that the singers were generally applauded as well as conductor, Roberto Abbado.
Vick's new staging has also angered others: During the final dress rehearsal, Israeli soprano Hila Baggio (who's at Pesaro to sing in Rossini's Scala di Seta) protested during the first act by leaving the auditorium.
Senator PDL Elio Massimo Palmizio was so enraged with Vick's staging that he accused the British director of "inducing hatred" and even threatening him with a personal interrogation from the Minister of Culture.
The condition of the Old Testament's Jewish slaves is compared to that of the Palestinians. Moses' likeness is borrowed from Osama Bin Laden complete with a beard, a camo jacket and an Uzi.
It's Mosè in Egitto, signed by the pen of Graham Vick, the Artistic Director of the Birmingham Opera Company, who is coming to f**k up your opera house -- Pesaro to be exact -- as tonight inaugurates the production at the Rossini Opera Festival.
Vick's polemic version enlists bloodied bodies, Israeli flags, and suicide bombers (which Vick uses to symbolize the biblical plague of fire). The parting of the Red Sea and the exodus happens through a hole in the separation barrier that runs along the West Bank.
Giuseppina Manin of Corriere interviewed the British opera director and writes that the production is Vick's personal statement against fundamentalism and monotheistic religions and that the final dress rehearsal a few days ago drew out an enthusiastic applause (from where all the photos were taken) and that Vick believes that the Old Testament hid the seeds of religious fanaticism and violence.
Vick on Moses:
"It's true, he resembles Bin Laden -- on the contrary, he's an archetype. Moses summarizes in himself all of the fundamentalists. Let's not forget that every terrorist is also a freedom fighter in the eyes of someone else. And besides, Rossini presents him as always angry and threatening. His war against the Egyptians resembles very much a 'holy war' on which to speculate actual jihad. While rereading the works of Rossini, I felt the need to take into consideration how much had befallen the Middle East in the last ten years."
Manin also says that scenes in Vick's production bear witness to the torture of Guantanamo prisoners, the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis, and the 2004 Beslan massacre.
But Vick isn't necessarily grinding his political axe:
"There's no intention to provoke or to make anyone angry. I looked only to present various points of view, to push the spectator into rethinking our stories. To reflect, to participate, also emotionally. The biggest stories raise the biggest questions. It's to their merit, the sense of their continuing vitality."
Roberto Abbado conducts the Orchestra del Teatro comunale di Bologna and the cast includes Sonia Ganassi.
Graham Vick is like The Terminator of opera directors: It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.
Don't worry -- next week we'll jump right back to the present!
But now we need to hop back into the DeLorean and go back in time since we forgot to mention last week's piece for Stasera Esco, "Shiseido Cura la Bellezza dell'opera". We grilled Japanese beauty giant Shiseido on their evolving partnership with Teatro alla Scala as the first beauty company in the theater's history to have the honor.
Opera Chic has written in the past of the dark magic in Oswald Kabasta's conducting -- now a gentle soul has uploaded one of the most surprising examples of Kabasta's genius: his interpretation of Respighi's "Impressioni Brasiliane", a masterpiece by a wildly underrated composer conducted by an unjustly forgotten genius.
Colin Firth made a surprise visit this weekend to Cortona, Italy to visit the IMG-powered Tuscan Sun Festival.
The British actor took in a performance of Friday night's Schubertiade, a musical journey through the life and times of Schubert, narrated by Greta Scacchi (Carla Fracci was also in the audience).
The Cortona-based late summer classical music and lifestyle festival opened on July 30 and invited performers such as Martha Argerich, Pinchas Zukerman and Jeremy Irons (to narrate "Seduction, Smoke and Music: The love story of Chopin and George Sand). It also hosted another edition a wellness yoga class run by probably the world's richest aerobics instructor (and wife of Sting), Trudi Skyler.
Tonight closes the festival's 9th edition in a concert dedicated to an entire span of early music to bel canto -- Haendel, Bach and Boccherini to Mozart, Rossini and Donizetti -- interpreted by Russian-born cellist Nina Kotova and Valley Girl Danielle de Niese, accompanied by I Virtuosi del Teatro alla Scala ensemble.
British fashion designer, original punk rock couture girl, and all around paragon of how to still kick a$$ post-semicentenary Vivienne Westwood dipped into tonight's Claus Guth production of Cosi' fan tutte at the Salzburger Festspiele. She was escorted by her husband Andreas Kronthaler.
Will we see a Westwood-styled opera production in the near future? We can only hope!