• Exclusive Interviews

    by Published on November 22nd, 2017 05:02 PM
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    For various reasons for which the artist is not responsible (in other words, it's our fault) we neglected to transcribe and publish this important and interesting interview with maestro David Robert Coleman, done in person at the Berlin Staatsoper in the summer of 2016 on the occasion of our coverage of the company's new production of Salvatore Sciarrino's gorgeous contemporary opera Luci Mie Traditrice, which Mr. Coleman conducted. We apologize to the maestro and we are catching up now, and it is a treat because his answers are very interesting. Of course lovers of contemporary music will be ecstatic (Mr. Coleman is also a composer), given that he addresses not only this opera, but also the field in general. I would think that other opera aficionados will enjoy this interview as well, to get his view on issues such as the public's reception to contemporary works. ...
    by Published on September 23rd, 2017 05:52 PM
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    The Triangle Wagner Society invited the world-famous tenor Jay Hunter Morris to a soirée in a beautiful ...
    Published on March 18th, 2017 05:46 PM
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    Nicolas Mansfield is General Manager and Artistic Director of the Nederlandse Reisopera, the Dutch National Touring Opera and Nicolas was kind enough to grant an interview to Opera Lively in the middle of a hectic run of Don Giovanni.


    Nicolas Mansfield Photo © Corbino. http://corbino.nl/

    Nicolas Mansfield (1966) was born in Reigate, Surrey. Following his studies at the University of Sheffield (music and biblical studies) and the Royal Northern College of Music (opera) he moved to the Netherlands to begin a career as a professional singer (tenor) with the Dutch Radio Chorus.
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    by Published on February 25th, 2017 02:00 PM
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    First of all our apologies to the conductor for the spelling of her name adopted by our URL above - it's a matter of not inserting special characters into the URL but her name of course is spelled Haïm.

    Opera Lively is honored to present to our readers an interview with such a prestigious conductor. It was collected this past summer in Aix-en-Provence. We did meet the charming and down-to-Earth artist in person afterwards but this interview was conducted over the phone in a plaza next to a street saxophone player and some five or six parts were omitted due to the tape recording being unintelligible - if the conductor later suggests corrections to the omitted parts or has other changes to make, we will include them (the text has been sent to her).

    This coverage is part of our Aix-en-Provence portal - see all the other interviews and articles including review of her performance by clicking [here].
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    by Published on October 9th, 2016 06:35 PM
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    Our rendition of the great interviews we collected this past summer in Aix-en-Provence continues. We apologize for the slow pace: this one, since it was conducted in French, needed to be transcribed in French, submitted to the artist, then translated into English, but the wait was worth it, because the excellent baritone Stéphane Degout who sung a superb Pelléas has very interesting insights about the symbolic aspects of the opera. Stéphane is a great singer with very acclaimed performances in the best European houses and although more rarely, he's been to this side of the pond as well, performing the same role (and three others) at the Metropolitan Opera House, and he was also seen at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
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    by Published on September 3rd, 2016 07:09 PM
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    Opera Lively traveled to Berlin this summer for in-person coverage of Cendrillon at the Komische Oper and Luce mie traditrici at the Staatsoper. The second of our five interviews related to this coverage (the first one has already appeared in our online review of Luce mie traditrici) is now being brought to our readers, and features the delightful young soprano Nadja Mchantaf who sang the title role of Massenet's opera (see our full review by clicking [here]). The charming Ms. Mchantaf is full of life and energy, and is enjoying the big push that her budding career is getting from this very successful run. We counted on the input of Dr. Andrea C. Röber, Komische Oper Press Officer, who sat with us at the table during the interview.
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    by Published on August 28th, 2016 08:18 PM
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    Continuing our publication of the interviews and reviews that resulted from our in-person coverage of the latest Festival d'Aix-en-Provence [see the portal which contains links to all articles by clicking (here)], today we are bringing to our members and readers a very interesting interview with the intelligent French bass-baritone Laurent Naouri, who sang a perfect Golaud in the gorgeous Katie Mitchell production of Pelléas et Mélisande (a full review of the show and other related interviews are also available in the portal above). Laurent's long and prestigious career boasts great roles and fantastic discography. The artist commands incredibly good English and possesses an engaging personality. Talking with him in person was a pleasure. Enjoy!
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    by Published on August 10th, 2016 01:50 AM
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    Barbara Hannigan in our opinion is simply the best interpreter of contemporary music in activity (an opinion we share with Sir Simon Rattle) - and she certainly holds her own in the Baroque and Classical repertories as well, not to forget that she is now a well-regarded conductor too. After the spectacular and deep interview that this hugely intelligent and multi-talented artist gave us on the occasion of her creation of the role of Agnès for George Benjamin's masterpiece Written on Skin, we had the pleasure of meeting her again in person at the 2016 Festival d'Aix-en-Provence in Southern France, when she sang the female title role in Pelléas et Mélisande, in arguably the best production of this opera in modern times. We had a very relaxed and informal talk in a sidewalk café in the beautiful town of Aix, discussing several psychological nuances in this opera, and a number of other topics.
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    by Published on August 3rd, 2016 11:41 PM
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    Opera Lively attended in person the fabulous Festival d'Aix-en-Provence in Southern France, in the summer of 2016. We interviewed the talented and intelligent artist Kate Lindsey who sang the role of Dorabella in Christophe Honoré's daring production of Mozart's Così fan tutte. Kate's answers are very interesting!

    Our Aix-en-Provence coverage contains several interviews, articles, and reviews (including our take on this Così). We gathered all the links on a portal that can be consulted by clicking [here]. ...
    by Published on April 8th, 2016 03:45 AM
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    American baritone Scott Hendricks is one of the most exciting and versatile opera artists of our days - he is successful in an extremely wide-ranging repertoire that includes the great Verdi baritone roles, Puccini, Strauss, Schreker, modern music (in the beginning of the year he had a great success in Rihm's Die Hamletmaschine at the Zurich Opera House) and even musical theater (in June he will sing the title role of Sweeney Todd at La Monnaie in Brussels).

    He has performed at several important opera houses and festivals: The Metropolitan Opera (where he sang Sharpless in Butterfly), the Royal Opera House Covent Garden (Scarpia), the Bavarian State Opera (Scarpia), La Monnaie (where he sang many different roles, most recently Jochanaan, Macbeth and Renato), the Liceu in Barcelona (Scarpia), the Zurich Opera (apart from Hamletmaschine he was heard as Jack Rance there), the Bregenz Festival and many more.

    He is currently back in the States for two performances of Tosca at the New Orleans Opera, tomorrow evening April 8, and Sunday April 10 matinée. Opera Lively interviewed him regarding his Scarpia, as well as his career experiences in other roles and productions. Scott's answers are very interesting. Enjoy!
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    by Published on April 1st, 2016 02:00 PM
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    Opera Lively traveled to São Paulo, Brazil, and interviewed five artists from the very dynamic Theatro São Pedro on the occasion of their staging of Condor, written by Brazilian opera composer from the 19th century Carlos Gomes. We take advantage of the occasion to get to know several fascinating topics about the state of opera in Brazil, both in the past and presently. Our 200th interview was with the greatest name of Brazilian opera, maestro Luis Fernando Malheiro. Read it [here]; it's really, truly a must-read, containing gorgeous pictures of Brazilian productions and extremely interesting comments, such as how the maestro got to stage Wagner’s Ring cycle for the first time in Brazil, in the middle of the Amazon jungle. This interview #198 with the maestro’s right hand, producer and stage director Paulo Esper, is the perfect companion for the conductor’s, since it adds more information particularly about the opera company at Theatro São Pedro, and tells us more about the training of young singers, and the Maria Callas singing competition.
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    by Published on April 1st, 2016 01:00 PM
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    Opera Lively's 200th interview couldn't be any more interesting. Maestro Luiz Fernando Malheiro is, by his own definition, the crazy man who staged two complete cycles of Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung in the middle of the Amazon Forest in the historic Teatro Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil. With 35 years of career in the operatic world, the conductor commands vast experience and has many stories to tell. We will learn from him about the environment in Brazil in the present and the past, and his heroic effort putting together the Ring. His insights about the training of young opera singers are precious.

    The affable and convivial conductor received us in person in his office from where he presides over the opera company and the orchestra of Theatro São Pedro, a prominent cultural organization in São Paulo, Brazil that thanks to Maestro Malheiro is presenting 22 operas in the 2016 season, a number unheard of in Brazilian houses with ten times the São Pedro's budget (for comparison, the best funded house in the city, Theatro Municipal, is showing 4 operas this season). This is a must-read interview for all opera lovers. Enjoy!
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    by Published on March 27th, 2016 02:00 AM
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    This is a fascinating interview with the very smart, very creative avant-garde composer and conductor Huang Ruo. He is the Chinese-born creator of four operas, including the very successful Dr. Sun Yat-sen that recently had its US premiere in Santa Fe, and Paradise Interrupted shown in the 2015 Spoleto USA Festival (it will be soon at the Asia Society in New York City on April 5, 2016). This exclusive, in-person, must-read interview contains many interesting insights by one of the most talented contemporary composers in activity. It is Opera Lively's interview #173, done in the summer of 2015, but for various reasons it only now got transcribed and published, out of order. The delay doesn't detract from the content, given that Mr. Huang often talks about his music and opera in general rather than only about his exquisite piece that we were about to see when we met him in Charleston, SC. From him we can learn about ancient Chinese instruments, the state of opera in China, and the workings of his creative process, among other topics. Mr. Huang impressed us for his calm demeanor, relaxed and friendly style, and contagious smile. He patiently walked us through the complexity of his music. Enjoy!
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    by Published on March 23rd, 2016 06:00 PM
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    We had the pleasure of interviewing Alaskan-born mezzo-soprano Ms. Vivica Genaux (one of our favorite singers and a major star in the European Baroque circuits), through a video call to her house in Italy in 2012, and now we have enjoyed even more an opportunity to interview her again, this time in person in Charleston, SC, during the Spoleto USA Festival 2015 last summer, when she performed the title role in Cavalli's opera Veremonda. All fans of Baroque opera will be delighted with Ms. Genaux's deep knowledge of the art form and her descriptions of the ins and outs of performing and recording the genre, in a "must read" interview. Enjoy!
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    by Published on March 22nd, 2016 03:30 PM
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    We got to know Chinese soprano Qian Yi at the Spoleto USA Festival 2015, when she starred in Paradise Interrupted, an arresting new installation opera that centers on a woman in search of an unattainable ideal in a world activated by her lone voice. The story is inspired by the Garden of Eden and the classic Chinese opera The Peony Pavilion, and the composition merges 600-year-old Chinese music with contemporary Western music. Interactive technology enables a vast garden and a host of digital characters to interact with the protagonist and respond to her voice. Visual artist Jennifer Wen Ma directed and designed this visually stunning staging. Huang Ruo, also interviewed by Opera Lively (his piece is coming shortly) wrote the music for the piece, which is at once a continuation of tradition and entirely new. Click [here] to read Opera Lively's review of the show.

    Qian Yi has been lauded by The New York Times as “China’s reigning opera princess.” She has a very impressive career, spanning multiple media. We spoke with her in person in Charleston, SC, and collected this charming interview. We apologize for the significant delay in getting it published.
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    by Published on March 13th, 2016 08:40 AM
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    Continuing our loving and supportive relationship with contemporary opera, we are bringing to our readers coverage of Californian composer Mark Abel's Home is a Harbor, which has just been released two days ago by the Delos label on CD. The album also contains an exquisite song cycle, The Palm Trees are Restless, featuring the phenomenal Grammy winner soprano Hila Plitmann. Both pieces have been reviewed by Opera Lively [here] and [here], and today we are presenting a fascinating exclusive interview with the composer. It must be said that our initial review of Home is a Harbor had mixed feelings, but ever since, after reading the composer's defense of his piece and after giving it a second listen, our opinion of it has improved significantly. We were already very impressed with the song cycle, and now we've acquired a better understanding of the composer's artistic choices in this piece that is his first opera.
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    by Published on January 31st, 2016 11:52 PM
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    Our apologies for the delay in publishing this, but we are finally bringing to our readers a charming interview with soprano Heidi Stober. This is out of order since it is our interview #171 and we are at #190 now, but this one and a batch of others done in May of 2015 got in the back burner for various reasons that are not the singer's fault. We are slowly catching up to those. Heidi was a great Oscar in the Metropolitan Opera's Un Ballo in Maschera when we interviewed her in person at the Met Press Lounge on May 4, 2015. Her interview has a sort of human quality that our readers will appreciate, and it is very interesting, addressing not only that production, but many other aspects of her successful career in the United States and Europe.

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    by Published on September 7th, 2015 03:30 PM
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    Our apologies for the delay in publishing this, but we are finally bringing to our readers a charming interview with soprano Layla Claire, who was a spectacular Anne Trulove in the Met's latest revival of their production of The Rake's Progress. The interview happened in person at the Met Press Lounge on May 6, 2015, and addressed not only this interesting role, but other aspects of the career of this gifted artist.

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    by Published on June 19th, 2015 03:15 PM
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    Opera Lively's interview # 161 is with rising star soprano Ailyn Pérez, a sweet and charming artist. Two Opera Lively journalists met the singer in person in New York City in early February 2015 on the occasion of her Met debut, singing Micaëla alongside Roberto Alagna and Elina Garanca.
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    by Published on May 9th, 2015 02:38 PM
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    Opera Lively's interview # 162 is with German dramatic soprano Nadja Michael, the recent Judith in the Met's Bluebeard's Castle. The artist is intelligent and attractive and her answers are very thoughtful and interesting. She contributes to the understanding of this opera by Bartók with her insights, and also introduces new angles to comprehend Richard Strauss' Salome, a favorite role of hers.
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