• Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)

    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.
    by Published on January 11th, 2018 02:40 AM
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    As usual, we are starting our coverage of our beloved partner company Opera Carolina's winter opera, which this season will be Verdi's spectacular Rigoletto on February 11, 15, and 17, 2018. See the Press Release by clicking [here], where you will find links to tickets and other information about the show.

    Opera Lively will attend and review the show. We interviewed the artists who are singing the three leading roles.
    by Published on January 1st, 2018 11:37 PM
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    Our partner company Greensboro Opera has been putting together some very compelling shows ever since the company's rebirth under the leadership of Artistic Director David Holley. This time, the company will be presenting Rossini's The Barber of Seville with a very good cast. We at Opera Lively know some of the singers already from other productions and can vouch for their quality, and the ones until unknown to us look great when we look at their artistic biographies and video clips. It's always great to see a well-sung production of this beloved opera, so, dear readers, don't miss it! There will be two performances: on January 12 at 7:30 PM, and January 14 at 2 PM, at the UNCG Auditorium, 408 Tate Street, in Greensboro, North Carolina. Click [here] for tickets, and [here] to know more about the cast. Opera Lively is interviewing the singers; see below. THE REVIEW OF THE SHOW IS NOW IN. CLICK [HERE]
    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. ...
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    In the Summer of 2016 Opera Lively sent to Berlin two envoys, journalist James Weber and chief editor Luiz Gazzola, to interview artists and review operas presented by the Berlin Staatsoper and the Komische Oper Berlin, and to review operas by the Deutsche Oper Berlin. To facilitate navigation between the various reviews and interviews, we created this coverage portal with links to each piece.

    Our coverage contains five ...
    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.


    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 October 26th, 2017 06:42 PM
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    Our partner company Opera Carolina will be presenting a contemporary opera on Saturday November 4 at 8 PM (a performance that Opera Lively will attend and review), and Thursday November 9th at 7:30 PM, in Charlotte, NC, USA, at the Belk Theater of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. The work is Cyrano, with music by David DiChiera, and a French libretto (with projected English titles) by Bernard Uzan, who is the stage director for this production. The opera premiered at the Michigan Opera Theater in 2007, and had subsequent performances by Philadelphia Opera and Florida Grand Opera. It is based on Cyrano de Bergerac, the famous stage play by Rostand that has inspired an opera by Alfano and several movies, such as Roxanne (spelled in the movie with two Ns) with Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. ...
    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 ...
    by Published on September 23rd, 2017 01:20 PM
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    The excellent company Piedmont Opera in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is presenting the phenomenal, ...
    by Published on September 21st, 2017 02:07 PM

    Our beloved company Piedmont Opera will present in Winston-Salem, NC, the extraordinary American contemporary opera Silent Night, a 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner, with music by Kevin Puts and libretto by Mark Campbell.

    The performances are scheduled for Friday October 27 at 8 PM, Sunday October 29 at 2 PM, and Tuesday October 31 at 7:30 PM, at the Stevens Center. Tickets ($20 to $98) can be found by clicking [here] (after you click, scroll down to find the links to the three dates).

    We are aware that many in our community are not deeply in love with contemporary opera. Well, they shouldn't be any less excited about Silent Night than about any of the beloved works of the standard repertory.

    Unlike many other contemporary operas, Silent Night has had enormous success everywhere it's been shown with many sold-out performances in the United States (Saint Paul, Philadelphia, San Jose, Atlanta, Kansas City, Detroit, and Cincinnati) and abroad (Calgary and Montreal, Canada; Frankfurt, Germany; and Wexford, Ireland). It is melodious, very theatrical, poignant, and just darn beautiful.

    Its source material is the excellent Oscar-nominated 2005 movie Joyeux Noël (or Merry Christmas, which will be shown in Winston-Salem at the a/perture cinema on October 22 at 3 PM - tickets [here]) depicting a real-life episode of World War I in December 1914, when an unofficial Christmas truce on the Western Front allowed soldiers from opposing sides to gain insight into each other’s way of life.
    by Published on September 12th, 2017 02:51 AM

    The Triangle Wagner Society (TWS) in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill (the Triangle area in North Carolina, USA) has two exciting September 2017 events. They’ve had an enthusiastic response but they still have additional room. If you haven’t already done so, please reserve your spot at both events by contacting Margie Satinsky at margiesatinsky@icloud.com or 919 383-5998.

    Friday, September 15, 2017, 7:30 p.m. Tenor Jay Hunter Morris, who has sung in many operas by Wagner and who will appear in the NC Opera production of Cold Mountain, will join the TWS for an informal program at a private home in Chapel Hill. He’ll talk about “What It’s Like to Sing a Six Hour Opera” followed by Q & A. The event is free and open to members only (click [here] to become a member) . The specific address and driving directions will be provided to all those who are coming.

    Jay's career highlights include performances at major opera houses around the world. In 2013 he won a Grammy for his portrayal of Siegfried at the Metropolitan Opera, performed his first Tristan in Valencia with Zubin Mehta and appeared in the Gurrelieder in Vienna with Kent Nagano. He was seen on PBS in the role of Captain Ahab in the San Francisco Opera’s production of Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick. Other recent appearances include the role of Teague in Cold Mountain in Santa Fe and Philadelphia, Tristan in Warsaw and Beijing, Siegfried in Budapest and Houston and Ahab in LA and Dallas. He will perform Siegfried in a new production in Helsinki with Esa Pekka Salonen. In 2013 Jay’s book Diary of a Redneck Opera Zinger was published by Opera Lively Press (buy it by clicking here).

    Jay as Siegfried (photo credit Ken Howard):

    Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 7:30 p.m. Bryan Gilliam, PhD, Professor of Music and Germanic Languages and Bass Fellow at Duke University will be Triangle Wagner Society's guest for a lecture on “The Influence of Wagner on Strauss”. Thanks to the hospitality of TWS member Nancy von Hoenacker, the event will be held at SearStone, 17001 Searstone Drive, Cary, NC 27513 (Winston Clubhouse Ballroom). The event is free for members and $15/person for those who wish to come as a guest.

    Dr. Gilliam was the TWS’s first guest speaker in 2016 and the Society is delighted to welcome him back. Dr. Gilliam is an internationally recognized expert on Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss who speaks regularly in both Salzburg and Bayreuth. He’s written extensively on late 19th and early 20th century German music including Rounding Wagner’s Mountain: Richard Strauss and Modern German Opera (2014).


    NC Opera has two upcoming performances of Jennifer Higdon’s opera Cold Mountain, Thursday, September 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 1 at 2:00 p.m. at the Memorial Auditorium (UNC Chapel Hill campus, North Carolina). Jay Hunter Morris will be singing the role of Teague. Visit www.ncopera.org for tickets which are selling out fast but are still available, starting at $25.


    At Opera Lively, we are happy to support the Triangle Wagner Society. Join it for the annual dues of $100, by visiting www.trianglewagnersociety.com - this is a good occasion to join, to have access to Jay's members only talk.

    The Society depends on annual dues and donations to support their growth. Please consider making a donation today. Additional information is available at the web site above (they accept credit card payments through PayPal). If you have questions, contact Jane Lynch, Secretary/Interim Treasurer, at janilu@mindspring.com or call (919) 383-5998.
    by Published on April 16th, 2017 11:38 PM
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    Our excellent partners Opera Carolina will be showing a Puccini opera that is rarely staged around here: La Fanciulla del West.

    This opera that is notable for its exquisite written-through score and was Puccini's own favorite is inaugurating an important step for Opera Carolina: its first international cooperation, with the Teatro di Giglio in Puccini’s hometown of Lucca, Italy, the Teatro Lirico in Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, and the New York City Opera.

    Charlotte will have the privilege of counting on world-class major star Marcello Giordani in the leading male role, and acclaimed Italian stage director Ivan Stefanutti. Sets and digital projections were built by Opera Carolina. New costumes are by Atelier Nicolao, Venice, Italy. Maestro Meena conducts.
    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.
    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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