Thread: Opera Small Talk

          
   
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  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Oh wow, this gives me ideas for the Natalie Dessay interview. Maybe we should do a video interview with her, instead of just using the digital voice recorder!
    A tip that I learnt the hard way... if you get to do a video interview, however tempting it is to say a lot of "mmm"s, "I see"s, "aha"s etc, whilst they talk to confirm that you either get it or know what they're talking about, practise nodding. You've no idea how annoying it is (and how much time it takes!) to have to edit out all your own noises from the finished piece

  2. #17
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    The February issue of "Das Opernglas" contains a feature interview with Roberto Alagna (also the issue's "cover boy"). Some interesting items from that interview:
    - He's had a total of three tumors removed in his career, including one in the sinus cavity and another in the chest. The procedure to remove the former sounds horrific -- jaw broken, teeth extracted, bone removed. He said this surgery disturbed the entire vocal apparatus, which one can well believe just from reading the description.
    - In the "coming year" -- apparently the 2012/2013 season -- he and Draculette will be singing together in La Boheme at Covent Garden.
    - He says he sometimes has problems in his relationship with her because she wants him to slow down a little, take some breaks -- but he wants to sing all the time.
    - He's going to sing Verdi's Otello in Nimes in 2013. He contends that Verdi never intended this role to be sung by a big dramatic "half baritone" voice; this tradition developed in the mid-20th century. He will also be singing Calaf this summer in Orange.
    - An unspecified composer is supposedly working on an opera for him based on Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's Les Variations énigmatiques. (Alain Delon created one of the two roles in this drama in the theater). The operatic version will likewise have only two roles, but instead of being written for tenor and baritone, both are being written for tenor. Alagna says he asked Vittorio Grigolo to sing the other role, but the latter was supposedly worried about the modern compositional style and said "no thanks." This interview obviously was conducted a few months ago, since Alagna says he plans to ask Jonas Kaufmann if he'd be interested when he sees den Jonas in New York. (Wonder what Kaufmann's response was). Another opera written for Alagna is titled Il mago Houdini.
    - He also gives his version of the spat with Alain Lombard prior to the Paris Opera's staging of Faust. (Lombard claimed he left the production because of a conflict with the tenor.) Alagna says he was always courteous toward the maestro, but the conductor would only work with the singers on portions of the music -- there was never a full rehearsal. Alagna himself was going to drop out of the production because he felt the preparations were inadquate, but then "someone" persuaded Lombard to leave instead. Lombard came up with the tale of his conflict with Alagna to save face -- or at least so says Alagna.

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  4. #18
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Roberto Alagna seems like such a nice guy. I wonder how he ended up marrying that... hm, I better not say it.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  5. #19
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    The February issue of "Das Opernglas" contains a feature interview with Roberto Alagna (also the issue's "cover boy"). Some interesting items from that interview:
    - He's had a total of three tumors removed in his career, including one in the sinus cavity and another in the chest. The procedure to remove the former sounds horrific -- jaw broken, teeth extracted, bone removed. He said this surgery disturbed the entire vocal apparatus, which one can well believe just from reading the description.
    - In the "coming year" -- apparently the 2012/2013 season -- he and Draculette will be singing together in La Boheme at Covent Garden.
    - He says he sometimes has problems in his relationship with her because she wants him to slow down a little, take some breaks -- but he wants to sing all the time.
    - He's going to sing Verdi's Otello in Nimes in 2013. He contends that Verdi never intended this role to be sung by a big dramatic "half baritone" voice; this tradition developed in the mid-20th century. He will also be singing Calaf this summer in Orange.
    - An unspecified composer is supposedly working on an opera for him based on Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's Les Variations énigmatiques. (Alain Delon created one of the two roles in this drama in the theater). The operatic version will likewise have only two roles, but instead of being written for tenor and baritone, both are being written for tenor. Alagna says he asked Vittorio Grigolo to sing the other role, but the latter was supposedly worried about the modern compositional style and said "no thanks." This interview obviously was conducted a few months ago, since Alagna says he plans to ask Jonas Kaufmann if he'd be interested when he sees den Jonas in New York. (Wonder what Kaufmann's response was). Another opera written for Alagna is titled Il mago Houdini.
    - He also gives his version of the spat with Alain Lombard prior to the Paris Opera's staging of Faust. (Lombard claimed he left the production because of a conflict with the tenor.) Alagna says he was always courteous toward the maestro, but the conductor would only work with the singers on portions of the music -- there was never a full rehearsal. Alagna himself was going to drop out of the production because he felt the preparations were inadquate, but then "someone" persuaded Lombard to leave instead. Lombard came up with the tale of his conflict with Alagna to save face -- or at least so says Alagna.
    Very interesting, thanks Mary. The operation on his sinus cavity sounds horrendous, glad he made it through.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

  6. #20
    Senior Member Involved Member CountessAdele's Avatar
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    I don't have a story yet, but maybe I will come Feb. 11th! I've got airline tickets and opera tickets, I am good to go! You know....if the weather holds up...toi toi toi!
    Only the positive!

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  8. #21
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    pretentious obnoxious guy next to me in Götterdämmerung:

    him: "ugh, there's no golden curtain"

    me: "ok..." (I could've told him that Wagner wanted to play down the sensationalizing spectacle in the build and aesthetic of the theater house, but I didn't want to be all intellectual and I was in pre-show meditation)

    him: "you kids are too young to remember the golden curtain"

    me: "i've seen it on dvds"

    him: "well one thing I know, is once you don't see the golden curtain you know there's trouble"
    ...
    "no clapping until the curtain is down. Wagner rules."

    (in mind sarcasm)"WHY THANK YOU FOR ENLIGHTENING ME, ARE YOU SURE I CAN'T CLAP IN BETWEEN ARIAS???"

    "i'm just saying, your mtv generation, doesn't even know about the gold curtain..."

    best part: sleeps through most of the first act!

    this exchange was actually wonderfully amusing:

    him: "Einstein! have you ever seen Einstein on the Beach?"

    me: "I was born in '92, what do you want from me!"

    him: "there was a revival in '92"

    And, I listed for him every Wagner production I've seen, and he said none of them counted because they were on dvd's or movie theaters.

    OH and the guy on the OTHER side of us wasn't great either. He was the one who had to get in the first "bravo!" before people really started clapping. Every. Single. Act.
    and he was telling a friend who didn't know the background information, he says... "well, it's basically a fable" and I almost tore him apart, in my mind I'm all aggravated and I go "it's not a FABLE. it's a LEGEND and don't degrade it."

  9. #22
    Senior Member Involved Member Couchie's Avatar
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    Has anybody seen or know anything about Moby-Dick, a 2010 opera by Jake Heggie that premiered in Dallas? I will be going to a performance in Calgary next weekend, starring Ben Heppner. My first live opera.

  10. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Couchie View Post
    Has anybody seen or know anything about Moby-Dick, a 2010 opera by Jake Heggie that premiered in Dallas? I will be going to a performance in Calgary next weekend, starring Ben Heppner. My first live opera.
    JEALOUS. Jay Hunter Morris played Ahab, so don't go expecting Ahab to be not a tenor. (ok I really would've assumed Ahab would be ANYTHING but a tenor)

  11. #24
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanGesamtkunstwerk View Post
    pretentious obnoxious guy next to me in Götterdämmerung:

    him: "ugh, there's no golden curtain"

    me: "ok..." (I could've told him that Wagner wanted to play down the sensationalizing spectacle in the build and aesthetic of the theater house, but I didn't want to be all intellectual and I was in pre-show meditation)

    him: "you kids are too young to remember the golden curtain"

    me: "i've seen it on dvds"

    him: "well one thing I know, is once you don't see the golden curtain you know there's trouble"
    ...
    "no clapping until the curtain is down. Wagner rules."

    (in mind sarcasm)"WHY THANK YOU FOR ENLIGHTENING ME, ARE YOU SURE I CAN'T CLAP IN BETWEEN ARIAS???"

    "i'm just saying, your mtv generation, doesn't even know about the gold curtain..."

    best part: sleeps through most of the first act!

    this exchange was actually wonderfully amusing:

    him: "Einstein! have you ever seen Einstein on the Beach?"

    me: "I was born in '92, what do you want from me!"

    him: "there was a revival in '92"

    And, I listed for him every Wagner production I've seen, and he said none of them counted because they were on dvd's or movie theaters.

    OH and the guy on the OTHER side of us wasn't great either. He was the one who had to get in the first "bravo!" before people really started clapping. Every. Single. Act.
    and he was telling a friend who didn't know the background information, he says... "well, it's basically a fable" and I almost tore him apart, in my mind I'm all aggravated and I go "it's not a FABLE. it's a LEGEND and don't degrade it."
    That's one of the reasons why I rarely talk to seat neighbors in opera unless I know them (that is, when they come with me).
    You never know what kind of snob ignorant you'll get.

    You know, if I were sitting there and a young guy like you sat next to me, if anything I'd be delighted that opera continues to attract the youngsters, and would be praising him rather than trying to show misguided and prejudicial contempt like this idiot.

    MTV generation... that's outrageous. You probably know Wagner ten times better than he does. You know, like you said, Wagner requires concentration, focus, preparation... so one shouldn't talk to an ignorant seat neighbor and get angry, disrupting the whole pre-opera thing.

    I love the experience of live opera... but hate the audience. If I only could have the whole theater just for me... no audience... or absolutely well-behaved and knowledgeable audience... with no coughing...
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  12. #25
    Senior Member Involved Member Couchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanGesamtkunstwerk View Post
    JEALOUS. Jay Hunter Morris played Ahab, so don't go expecting Ahab to be not a tenor. (ok I really would've assumed Ahab would be ANYTHING but a tenor)
    Are you familiar with Ben Heppner? I'm not, but according to Wikipedia he's tackled some of Wagner's most challenging tenor roles. My expectations are quite high. Excited!

  13. #26
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Who is he playing? The whale?

    (sorry guys, ran out of self control)
    Natalie

  14. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Who is he playing? The whale?

    (sorry guys, ran out of self control)
    HAHAHHAH. all the jokes. I'll keep my eye out for this Ben Heppner good luck with the evening. I looked up clips of the show with Jay, liked it in clips... but boy oh boy, if the could score accurately and poetically channel the transcendent Melvillianness of Moby Dick, that would probably make it my favorite non-Wagner opera ever. I hope I get a chance to see it some time.

  15. #28
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Roberto Alagna seems like such a nice guy. I wonder how he ended up marrying that... hm, I better not say it.
    Yes, I think he must be a candidate for sainthood for putting up with her.

  16. #29
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Festat's Avatar
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    We're 30 people filming for five weeks with kids, big animals and torrential rain in the middle of nowhere and without electricity. All we have is the Callas Carmen and a battery CD player.


  17. #30
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Festat View Post
    We're 30 people filming for five weeks with kids, big animals and torrential rain in the middle of nowhere and without electricity. All we have is the Callas Carmen and a battery CD player.

    Sounds exciting except for the opera drought.
    Natalie

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