• Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)

    by Published on April 5th, 2018 01:00 PM
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    Opera Lively Press in conjunction with CreateSpace has published on April 3, 2018, the third book of our opera guides series, on Tchaikovsky's masterspiece Eugene Onegin.

    It is difficult to appreciate in the 21st century how much of a novelty was Onegin, when it premiered in Moscow. Back in 1879, most of Russian and Slavic opera was devoted to political topics (A life for the Tsar, Boris Godunov, Khovanschina…), fairy tales (Ruslan and Ludmila, Rusalka, May Night…) or even biblical adaptations like Serov’s Judith. However, Onegin was centered on the life and passions of standard human beings.

    Onegin is a Romantic opera. It is also full of melody. There are no formal experiments here. It was the perfect daughter of her times. Of course, with such a skillful instrumental music composer for the orchestra as Tchaikovsky, we can find many fine details in the orchestration, as well as some motif building. But the prominent role is never in the pit: it’s in the voices of the singers.

    This Opera Lively guidebook will walk the reader through the opera’s libretto (with a new translation), musical structure (in terms that can be understood by all), circumstance of composition, trivia, and wil provide CD and DVD reviews, comments on live performances, and interviews with singers and a conductor. Enjoy!

    Available now on Amazon.com (and various international Amazon sites for the Kindle e-book): click [here] for the paperback and [here] for the Kindle edition. ...
    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.
    ...
    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 24th, 2018 04:34 PM
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    Two Opera Lively journalists - James Weber and Luiz Gazzola - will cover numerous operas and will interview artists and administrators in several opera companies located in German-speaking areas of Central Europe (and one in Slovakia) this Summer 2018. Like we did for the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence and for a previous trip to Berlin in 2016, we are publishing a portal that will centralize the links to the various performance reviews, interviews, pictorial travel blogs, and brief hotel and restaurant recommendations, which will be helpful to our readers if they also travel to these areas in the future. ...
    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 February 13th, 2018 11:45 PM
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    Opera Lively has attended and reviewed an extraordinary performance of Rigoletto at Opera Carolina in Charlotte, NC, USA. It's a must-see show; there are two more opportunities to see it on February 15 and 17, 2018; find a link to tickets on the press release page by clicking [here]. Read our review of the opening night [here], which includes many production pictures. Prior to the show we interviewed the three principal singers in the title role and the roles of Gilda and the Duke [read them (here)]. Upon attending the show in person, we were pleasantly surprised with the singer who did Maddalena, the charming and beautiful Italian mezzo-soprano Leyla Martinucci, who sang very well her part, including, being very audible during the famous quartet, which is not always the case in other renditions of this opera we've heard in person or in recordings. After the show when we went to meet the artists, we asked Leyla to also grant us an interview. She kindly accepted, resulting in this piece below. Enjoy! ...
    by Published on January 31st, 2018 12:53 AM
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    The contemporary Chamber Opera Family Secrets: Kith and Kin will have its staged world premiere in Raleigh, NC, on February 15-16, 2018 at 7:30 PM, in a production by North Carolina Opera. This is a very interesting show. Keep reading for more information. ...
    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 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]
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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. ...
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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. ...
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