Thread: Opera Small Talk

          
   
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  1. #1291
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    There may well be some puzzled faces in Bucharest in September.

    Academy of Ancient Music are performing Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and L'incoronazione di Poppea as part of the George Enescu music festival on consecutive nights, 18 September and 19 September respectively.

    However the Festival website has them the other way round. I emailed AAM and they confirmed their dates were correct. I have tickets for both nights so it doesn't matter to me but I'm expecting some mystified looks as we settle down to Ulisse!

    Gorgeous venue!

    "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

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  3. #1292
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    That really looks amazing

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    I would love to go there.

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  5. #1293
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    There may well be some puzzled faces in Bucharest in September.

    Academy of Ancient Music are performing Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and L'incoronazione di Poppea as part of the George Enescu music festival on consecutive nights, 18 September and 19 September respectively.

    However the Festival website has them the other way round. I emailed AAM and they confirmed their dates were correct. I have tickets for both nights so it doesn't matter to me but I'm expecting some mystified looks as we settle down to Ulisse!

    Gorgeous venue!

    I would not mind that much myself...Both operas are gorgeous...
    Last edited by Soave_Fanciulla; March 22nd, 2015 at 02:20 AM. Reason: Someone else's post added to mine!
    Natalie

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  7. #1294
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Successful total conversion!

    Oh wow, yesterday I came back home after five and a half hours in a friend's home, demonstrating to him (and later to his wife) why opera is the greatest art form.

    It all started with my son's request for a letter of recommendation. This friend is a prominent professor at a leading university and my son wanted his recommendation for a scholarship. I hadn't seen him for a while, and when my son asked me if I could call him to request the letter, we reconnected in the "long time no see" mode. He asked me what I was doing tonight, I said "just watching the Duke game at the NCAA tournament" and he said "me too, come watch it with me." My wife and his wife thought that watching a basketball game wasn't the best use of their time, and they went out together with some other female friends.

    So, I got there at 6 PM. The Duke game was scheduled for 7:10 PM. My friend asked me, "what have you been doing lately?" "Opera journalism" I said. "Whaaaat???" "Yep, I've been interviewing opera singers." "Why would you want to talk to a bunch of fat ladies?" said my friend.

    "Hmm... fat ladies? Allow me to demonstrate. Get me your laptop."

    For the next five hours I played YouTube clips for him, and showed him our Opera Lively interviews with various artists. We ended up not watching the basketball game.

    We started with Elina Garanca. I played a black-and-white clip with her and my friend just couldn't believe it. He was mesmerized by her voice, and by her aristocratic good looks. I told him, "wait until you see her blue eyes in a color clip." Next I played Elina and Anna singing the Barcarolle. My friend's jaw dropped.

    He said "there's no way opera singers can be this beautiful. This must be an exception."

    "Not so, not so." I bombarded him next with Isabel Leonard and Miah Persson. Then I showed him our interviews with Alyson Cambridge, Ginger Costa-Jackson, and Joyce DiDonato. He read several questions and answers and looked at their pictures. He said "these ladies are not only extremely beautiful and with gorgeous voices, but they are also very smart! They are as beautiful as Hollywood actresses but much more cultured and articulate!"

    I upped the sex appeal several notches by showing him Barbara Hannigan in her underwear in Lulu, Nadja Michael's spectacular body, and Kristine Opolais' extremely sensual Traviata scene when she disrobes during "Sempre Libera."

    With my heterosexual male friend completely hooked by now, I went for the jugular, and added to the sex appeal the phenomenal timbre of voice and uncanny coloratura (matching the glass harmonica) of Anna Netrebko in the Met's Lucia di Lammermoor.

    It did it. My friend had goosebumps and teary eyes. He said this was one of the most beautiful things he had ever seen and heard in his entire life.

    I said "let's listen to some guys." He said, "well, it can't be as good. These women sing like angels and look fabulous and sexy. Guys won't be able to match it, at least not for me."

    I said, "hmm, maybe the sexy side is not all - just listen, and tell me what you think."

    I showed him a young Pavarotti singing "Una furtiva lagrima,", Leopold Simoneau singing "Je crois entendre encore" and Plácido Domingo singing "E lucevan le stelle."

    Again, the effect was devastating. More goosebumps, and more teary eyes. He said he did listen to a male opera singer once, Andrea Bocelli, and liked him. I said, "Hell, no! This is not an opera singer. I'll show you the difference." I played an abominable clip of Bocelli murdering "Pour mon ame" and then Larry Brownlee beautifully interpreting it. My friend understood the difference.

    We went back to Anna's flirtatious clip in Giuditta's "Meine lippen" to demonstrate the power of her unamplified voice, and then I showed him her Willy Decker "Sempre Libera" scene. My friend said "she is the best performing artist I've ever seen." Diana Damrau's Gilda in "Caro nome" and Erika Miklosa's Queen of the Night were added to the mix, and he marveled at the coloratura.

    And so on and so forth... we continued to see clips and to read interviews.

    His wife came back home. He said to her "now I understand why Luiz likes opera" and showed her a picture of Barbara Hannigan practically naked in Lulu. The wife was shocked. She said this couldn't be the picture of a serious opera singer. I explained to her what Lulu is about and why it needs to be played this way, and showed her other more modest pictures of Barbara. She calmed down.

    My friend excitedly told his wife "you need to listen to this amazing voice-matching-glass-harmonica scene; it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen!!"

    I played again the Lucia di Lammermoor mad scene with Anna. This time the wife was blown away. She kept repeating "Oh! My! God! This is *too* beautiful!! I'd never have imagined that opera could be this beautiful!!"

    Both asked me to bring them along next time when there is opera in town, and they are considering coming with me to the Met in early May.

    We should have some sort of "bring a friend to the opera" day. All opera lovers would do what I just did, and add more opera lovers to the public.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  8. #1295
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Guys not able to match it? You didn't show him any clips with der Jonas???

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  10. #1296
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    That was sneaky. I mean, the glass harmonica will do it every time!!

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  12. #1297
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Guys not able to match it? You didn't show him any clips with der Jonas???
    He, he, I was supposed to demonstrate at that point that sex appeal is not all... And der Jonas would have worked for his wife, not for him... But I'll catch her at some point.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  14. #1298
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    That was sneaky. I mean, the glass harmonica will do it every time!!
    True. It's just incredibly beautiful, that scene. I think that together with her recent Lady Macbeth at the Met, that Lucia was one of Anna's two best performances ever.



    The matching scene starts at 7:30 and gets phenomenal at 8:20 and on.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  16. #1299
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Successful total conversion!

    Oh wow, yesterday I came back home after five and a half hours in a friend's home, demonstrating to him (and later to his wife) why opera is the greatest art form.


    What a fab story. You must have been thrilled!!



    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    We should have some sort of "bring a friend to the opera" day. All opera lovers would do what I just did, and add more opera lovers to the public.
    I do try but when I get that 'are you mad' look I get discouraged.
    "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

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  18. #1300
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    @ sospiro - Yes, it was pretty surprising that I could keep my friend - a total opera novice in spite of being a highly educated man - interested for 5 hours, to the point of skipping the Duke game (like me, he is a passionate Duke basketball fan)! Oh well, the beautiful ladies did help, but at some point it's the art form itself that took over and he was truly able to see its greatness. Now I need to pick a really good first in-house experience to bring him along. There will be Lucia in Charlotte soon, so, if the production is good, it would be a nice one given that he liked the mad scene so much - there's also Don Giovanni in Raleigh. I hope he does come to NYC with me. Maybe he'll like the Cav-Pag I'll be seeing.

    I'm a little afraid of a possible anti-climactic experience if it's Lucia. While Opera Carolina is very good, I doubt they will have a glass harmonica, and of course I profoundly doubt they'd be able to get from their soprano, as good as she might be, an Earth-shattering, historical performance like Anna's (there aren't many sopranos in the world like Anna and we usually don't find them in regional opera houses), so, my friend might be disappointed. It's probably safer to take him up on his idea of coming to the Met with me. I want this first experience in the opera house to be truly outstanding, which would be the icing on the cake and would guarantee continuous interest in the art form for the years to come.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); March 21st, 2015 at 03:48 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  19. #1301
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    I'm a little afraid of a possible anti-climactic experience if it's Lucia. While Opera Carolina is very good, I doubt they will have a glass harmonica, and of course I profoundly doubt they'd be able to get from their soprano, as good as she might be, an Earth-shattering, historical performance like Anna's (there aren't many sopranos in the world like Anna and we usually don't find them in regional opera houses), so, my friend might be disappointed. It's probably safer to take him up on his idea of coming to the Met with me. I want this first experience in the opera house to be truly outstanding, which would be the icing on the cake and would guarantee continuous interest for the art form for the years to come.
    I think taking your friend to the Met is a great idea and he would experience the very best. It shouldn't discourage him from seeing provincial opera if he knows it won't be quite as good. I don't know about you but I always make allowances and never expect the smaller companies to be as good as ROH.
    "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

  20. #1302
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    I think taking your friend to the Met is a great idea and he would experience the very best. It shouldn't discourage him from seeing provincial opera if he knows it won't be quite as good. I don't know about you but I always make allowances and never expect the smaller companies to be as good as ROH.
    Yes, I feel like you about the regional companies and encourage them as much as I can, but I don't want my friend to have a "meh" experience, so the Met is a safer bet. While we, long-term opera lovers, will make these allowances because we already love the art form, for a novice, I'm aiming for maximum impact. He'll learn to make allowances later, but for now I want his first experience to be unforgettable. If he doesn't come to New York City with me, then probably I should take him first to a Live in HD broadcast which will never substitute for the aural experience of a live show but will have the full production values and the world-class artists.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  22. #1303
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    OK, I got it. I shouldn't have underestimated Opera Carolina. Their Lucia is excellent, with an impressive resume, very good voice, and she looks good too.







    The end of this Caro Nome clip is truly impressive, when she shows extremely good pitch control singing the end of the aria practically a capella, and her timbre of voice is great.

    She is currently singing at the Dutch National Opera, and has had many roles in prestigious houses including ENO, the Met, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and she won 3rd Prize and Audience Prize in the 2013 Operalia.

    OK, so, it looks like I should take my friend to Charlotte on April 11.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); March 21st, 2015 at 04:17 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  24. #1304
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    Luiz, this a fabulous anecdote! It's amazing how thorough a conversion can be "when it clicks". I try to preach to the unititiated with varying degrees of success.

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  26. #1305
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    I'm a huge Star Trek fan and I love Die Entführung aus dem Serail ... but together?
    "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

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