• Exclusive Interviews

    by Published on April 3rd, 2018 11:01 AM
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    We met the excellent bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni on the occasion of his March 22, 2018 recital of Italian and American art songs with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, at the Kimmel Center. A review of this show and the program can be found by clicking [here]. We talked about his choice of songs and he gave us a brief update on how his career is progressing, after his first interview with us six years ago.
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    by Published on March 28th, 2018 06:45 PM
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    After our spectacular interview with Maestro Riccardo Muti, we are now publishing the words of another giant of Italian music, Salvatore Sciarrino, the most important living Italian composer. Mr. Sciarrino is delightful and possesses great erudition. He speaks in a very literary manner, and likely would have produced even more sophisticated words, but since the interview was conducted in Italian, Mr. Sciarrino said he tried to "keep it simple" so that the translation would be easier. Well, it wasn't simple... His answers are deep and meaningful. We believe this is one of the best interviews we ever published on Opera Lively. ...
    by Published on February 16th, 2018 11:16 PM
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    Dear readers, prepare to get more closely acquainted with perhaps the most important artist ever interviewed by Opera Lively, the great Riccardo Muti, arguably the best opera conductor in the world. It is fitting that Maestro Muti is our 250th interviewee, given that such a round number seems to beg for a very special one. While we had some epic interviews with many of the leading singers, composers, conductors, administrators, and stage directors in the business (consult the widget on the top left corner of our Home page and click on Exclusive Interviews for the full list), it is hard to top Maestro Muti's passion, erudition, depth of knowledge, and wealth of information that he is willing to share with us, from his memories of his prestigious career that spans more than half a century. His words are really fascinating and informative. If there is an interview that truly deserves the "must read" label, this is the one. ...
    by Published on January 28th, 2018 09:45 PM
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    [First of all, we have not included the diacritic marks in the title of this article because they cause problems with the URL links in our software; the correct spelling of the artist's name is Željko Lučić]

    Opera Lively met the excellent baritone Željko Lučić in his dressing room backstage at the Metropolitan Opera House on January 23, 2018 for a pleasant chat about Tosca, which we later continued by email, resulting in this interesting dialogue-like interview you are about to read. The singer had just delivered another fabulous performance of the role of Scarpia, in the gorgeous Sir David McVicar new production that we attended in person and reviewed recently (read our review by clicking [here]), which was, four days later, shown worldwide on Met Live in HD, to universal acclaim.
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    by Published on January 28th, 2018 03:28 PM
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    In 2015 Opera Lively extensively interviewed the great tenor Roberto Alagna, in one of our most interesting pieces to date. That must-read article can be consulted by clicking [here]. On January 25, 2018, we had the pleasure of meeting the singer again, backstage at the Met in his dressing room, after his extraordinary performances of Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, and Canio in Pagliacci. Our review of the show can be read [here], with many production pictures.

    Roberto was extremely kind to Opera Lively, agreeing with a mini-interview of about ten questions and some follow-up dialogue, in spite of the fatigue of two strenuous roles back-to-back, and a very long line of fans who were eager to get an autograph and a selfie with the artist. We voluntarily kept the interview short because it was past midnight, but Roberto gave us no sign that he wanted to rush it through, and most likely would have answered more questions if we had asked them.
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    by Published on January 25th, 2018 02:02 PM
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    Opera Lively met the adorable and intelligent soprano Aleksandra Kurzak at the Press Lounge of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City for a lovely interview, on the occasion of her performance as Nedda in Pagliacci. Aleksandra is outspoken and a straight shooter, unafraid of courageously spelling out her ideas. This Poland-born singer is notable for being fast-thinking and for expressing herself very well in English, a language that is foreign to her. She is very self-confident and charming, and one can understand why her husband Roberto Alagna spoke so highly of her during his extraordinary interview with us (read it by clicking [here]). Also see our review of Aleksandra's Pagliacci by clicking [here]. Read Aleksandra's interesting answers to Opera Lively's questions, below. You'll see how she comes across as very genuine.
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    by Published on December 10th, 2017 04:12 PM
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    This interview with the great French singer Sandrine Piau is being published very late for no fault of the artist, and we apologize for it. But even if it is no longer timely, it is still very interesting given Ms. Piau's intelligence and profound insights regarding the character Despina in Così fan tutte, which in the summer of 2016 she was singing for the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. This piece is therefore to be situated in our extensive coverage of that edition of the festival. We made a portal where we listed links to all the articles we published about Aix, and our readers can consult the other numerous interviews and reviews by clicking [here]. ...
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    This is our last piece that was still incomplete, for our extensive coverage of the 2016 Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. You can consult the numerous other interviews, reviews, and pictorial blogs in our coverage portal, by clicking [here]. This is not an Opera Lively exclusive interview, but rather a public Q&A session that we attended and recorded. The singer was so thorough in describing her experiences, that it became unnecessary to interview her in person, since she covered everything that we might have wanted to ask her. She particularly addressed in a very interesting way, how the stage director shaped the festival's production of Handel's oratorio Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, staged like an opera. Sabine sang - and very well - the main female role. ...
    by Published on December 3rd, 2017 03:45 AM
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    Bernard Foccroulle is a prestigious organist and composer for the organ and chamber orchestra, and an opera administrator who directed the La Monnaie opera company in Brussels from 1992 until 2007, and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence from 2007 until the present.

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    Please bear with me for an important disclosure (or skip it if you don't care for Legalese).

    This interview is not an Opera Lively exclusive. It resulted from a mini-press conference held in Mr. Foccroulle’s office in Aix-en-Provence in July of 2016. Opera Lively was invited with three other press organizations; one journalist from each. So while some of the questions were asked by Opera Lively, others were asked by the other three organizations’ representatives. ...
    by Published on December 2nd, 2017 09:22 PM
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    This interview was done two and a half years ago, on May 6, 2005, on the occasion of Stephen Costello's role in the Metropolitan Opera production of The Merry Widow. We contacted the singer and his agents repeatedly to get the final text reviewed. We sent the full text to then repeatedly. We never got an answer. Meanwhile the singer changed agents and we tried the new agent too, still to no avail. So, we never published it.

    However, this is a pity because such interviews take a lot of preparation time, execution, transcribing, editing, and our readers deserve to have access to the text, which the artist had agreed upon providing. So we are belatedly considering that the lack of response is implicit indication that the agent had no desire to make any suggestions or corrections to the text, and we are publishing the interview today. However, we will not publicize this interview the usual way with Facebook and Twitter notices, but will simply paste it here on the website. If later the artist has any objection to any material here, he can use the Contact Us form (available by scrolling down to the bottom of any of our pages and clicking on the link) and request changes or deletions, and we'll oblige. ...
    by Published on November 30th, 2017 12:35 AM
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    The interview you are about to read was very pleasant, and turned into a lively dialogue between two people who love opera, and one who doesn't only love it with a passion, but also performs it to the highest level of quality. Opera Lively was in Berlin visiting the Staatsoper and the Komische Oper, and James Weber and Luiz Gazzola, our two envoys, had the pleasure of chatting for over one hour with one of the best bass-baritones in the world specializing in contemporary music, the great Otto Katzameier. For various reasons unrelated to the artist, it took us a long time to transcribe and publish this piece, and we apologize to the artist. But it's never too late to catch up, especially given that his answers were so compelling. We believe that this interview is essential, for what it does for the understanding of the importance of contemporary opera. Luiz is a big fan of the subgenre, and Jim is not (or not yet, Luiz hopes), which brought about some interesting dynamics to the dialogue. Enjoy! ...
    by Published on November 23rd, 2017 07:13 PM
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    We are honored to have interviewed in person one of the most prominent figures in all of opera, the prestigious stage director and opera company/festival administrator Jürgen Flimm, who was the artistic director of the Salzburg Festival and the Intendant, among others, of the Berlin Staatsoper (which I would call one of the top five opera companies in the world). He just recently (in April 2018) passed the baton to his successor at the Berlin Staatsoper, Matthias Schulz. At the time, when we talked with him, he still held the position. We chatted about his production of Salvatore Sciarrino's contemporary opera Luci Mie Traditrice. This interview, then, is another one in this cycle (we also interviewed the two lead singers and the conductor for this performance). Unfortunately for various reasons that have nothing to do with the artist, there was a delay in transcribing and publishing this piece, for which we apologize. ...
    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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