• Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)

    by Published on February 7th, 2012 04:28 AM     Number of Views: 6280 

    Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearlfishers) - Analyses of the opera

    It premiered on September 30, 1863
    Music by Georges Bizet (10.25.1838-6.3.1875)
    Libretto by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré

    (This article is the first one of two - another one with more details exist, and there is a link to it at the bottom of this one)

    Poor Bizet, he never saw the astounding success of his Carmen, which premièred in March 1875 and was initially very poorly received by the critics and public. Obsessed by what he believed to be his failure as an opera composer and under severe stress, Bizet suffered two heart attacks in rapid succession, and died in three months. At the time of his premature death at the age of 36, the consensus was that he was a concert music composer who shouldn't have messed with opera (in spite of the fact that in his short life he composed 30 of them, although only 6 survived in some sort of performing version). Here are some of the adjectives thrown at Carmen by critics right after the première: "dull," "obscure," "vulgar," "undramatic," "unoriginal," "suffocating," and "contemptible."
    by Published on February 4th, 2012 06:26 PM     Number of Views: 7434 
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    Metropolitan Opera production by Robert Carsen, Set and Costume designs by Michael Levine, Lighting design by Jean Kalman, Choreographer Serge Bennathan, Stage Director Peter McClintock

    New York City, Metropolitan Opera House, February 2007

    This beautiful minimalistic production opens with a fall foliage cascade with the isolated figure of Eugene Onegin on the center of the stage, over simple tall walls.
    by Published on February 4th, 2012 04:34 PM     Number of Views: 12548 
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    Conductor- Vassily Nebolsin, Moscow 1936

    Onegin - Panteleimon Nortsov
    Lensky - Sergei Lemeshev
    Tatyana - Glafira Joukovskaya
    Olga - Bronislava Zlatogorova
    Larina - Maria Boutienina
    Filipyevna - Konkordiya Antarova
    Gremin - Alexander Pirogov
    Triquet - Ivan Kovalenko

    This is the first recorded Onegin, and a worthy candidate to be also the best.
    by Published on February 4th, 2012 02:50 PM     Number of Views: 5804 
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    YEVGÉNY ONÉGIN (Евгений Онегин - Eugene Onegin)
    Lyric Scenes in Three Acts (1879)
    Music by Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky - Пётр Ильич Чайковский (1840-1893)
    Libretto by the composer, his brother Modest, and Konstantin Stepanovich Shilovsky, after Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin's novel in verse (1833)

    Setting and time setting - A country estate in Russia, and St. Petersburg, circa 1820
    Approximate running time - 2 hours and 30 minutes

    Characters and voices

    Larina, a landowner - mezzo soprano
    Tatyana, her daughter, a teenager - soprano
    Olga, Tatyana's older sister - contralto
    Filipyevna - an old nursemaid - mezzo soprano
    Yevgeny Onegin - landowner and playboy - baritone
    Lensky - his friend, a poet, the Larins' neighbor and Olga's intended - tenor
    Prince Gremin - Tatyana's husband in the third act - bass
    A Company Commander - bass
    Zaretsky - Lensky's second and duel organizer - bass
    Triquet - a Frenchman - tenor
    Guillot - a valet de chambre, Onegin's man - silent
    Peasants, ballroom guests, landowners, officers
    by Published on February 4th, 2012 03:19 AM     Number of Views: 5639 
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    An interesting fact surrounding this opera is that it came a long way after a very slow start: it premiered as a student production (at the Malïy Theater in Moscow, on March 29, 1879, with student singers from the Moscow Conservatory), and only got a professional performance at the Bolshoi one year and ten months later, on January 23, 1881.

    Reception wasn't that great, especially as compared to the wild success of Maid of Orleans. Many critics complained that Tchaikovsky shouldn't have messed with one of Russia's most beloved works of literature.

    Outside Russia the initial reception was lukewarm as well, and it was slow to conquer other European cities, being seen as a Russian curiosity.
    by Published on February 3rd, 2012 02:12 PM     Number of Views: 4081 

    There is a very interesting symposium/festival coming up in March in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, sponsored ...
    by Published on February 3rd, 2012 12:25 AM     Number of Views: 10947 

    So that our readers can follow the opera while they read the musical analysis scene by scene, here is the first complete recording of Eugene Onegin, made in 1936. It was allegedly the soundtrack for a film that was never made.

    Eugene Onegin Vassily Nebolsin Bolshoi 1936 Tchaikovsky
    Lensky -Sergei Lemeshev
    Eugene Onegin - Panteleimon Nortsov
    Prince Gremin - Alexander Pirogov
    Tatania - Glafira Joukovskaya
    Olga - Bronislava Zlatogorova
    Larina - Maria Boutienina
    Filipievna - Konkordiya Antarova
    Triquet - Ivan Kovalenko
    Zaretsky - Anatoly Yakhontov
    Captain - Igor Mantchavin


    It's 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, Khovanshchina,...), fairy tales (Ruslan and Ludmila, Rusalka, May Night,..) or even Biblical adaptations like Serov's Judith. However, Onegin was centered in the life and passions of standard human beings.

    Onegin is a Romantic opera. It's also full of melody, there are no formal experiments here, it was the perfect daughter of her times. Of course, with such a crafted instrumental music composer for the orchestra as Tchaikovsky was, 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. Not that there is any spectacular vocal pyrotechnics, that was very far from Tchaikovsky's intention, nor do they fight a huge orchestra. He just wanted from his singers expressiveness, and flawless delivery of the text.
    by Published on February 2nd, 2012 10:56 PM  Number of Views: 3915 

    You see a content widget on your right.
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    Now click one by one on the articles to read them (Genesis, Around the Opera, etc)
    by Published on February 2nd, 2012 04:42 PM     Number of Views: 1756 

    Our partners at UNC Opera are holding masterclasses that are free and open to the public at Person Recital ...
    by Published on February 1st, 2012 04:53 AM     Number of Views: 4318 

    Our new partners UNC Opera of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences - Department of Music, will be presenting in March and April two operas by African-American composers:

    William Grant Still's HIGHWAY #1 and Samuel Coleridge Taylor's DREAM LOVERS

    The dates for the UNC Opera performances are: Sat. March 24 at 5 pm at Hill Hall Auditorium in campus (with a lecture by Judith Still at 4 on her father's work in Rm 107); Wed April 18 at 7:30 and Friday April 20 at 8 pm in Hill Hall Aud.

    Also, a community performance at the University Mall sponsored by Friends of the Library will happen on Monday April 23 at 7 pm.

    Please support your local opera companies and opera schools, and attend these performances.

    For more information, call (919) 962-1039 or click here: UNC Department of Music
    by Published on January 24th, 2012 02:57 AM     Number of Views: 5277 

    What is left of the ROH - Covent Garden current season:

    Don Giovanni

    21 | 24 | 26 | 28 | 31 January
    3 | 16 | 18 | 21 | 23 | 26 | 29 February

    Mozart and Da Ponte’s serial seducer is back! Francesca Zambello’s fiery interpretation has two great casts, with Royal Opera regulars and audience favourites Gerald Finley and Erwin Schrott sharing the title role. The first of the Mozart-Da Ponte operas this Season, it is a musical masterpiece of a work and a visual treat of a production.

    Così fan tutte
    27 | 30 January
    2 | 4 | 7 | 10 | 13 February

    The second of the three Mozart-Da Ponte operas this Season is intimate and intense. This is Mozart at his finest. Colin Davis conducts in the repertory for which he is universally acclaimed. Jonathan Miller’s staging matches contemporary elegance with eternal truths as two men wager on their girlfriends’ fidelity with uneasy results. This is fine opera, a classic production and an ideal cast.

    by Published on January 22nd, 2012 11:38 PM     Number of Views: 6113 

    Opera Carolina is reviving on January 21 (sold out), 24, 26, 28 (sold out), and 29, the beautiful Opera Omaha production by visual artist Jun Kaneko of Puccini's Madama Butterfly in Charlotte, North Carolina. Some tickets remain and can be found here (rush, they are going fast - to the point that the initial run planned for four performances was extended to five - and the production is spectacular):
    by Published on January 20th, 2012 07:58 AM  Number of Views: 5450 

    Opera Lively has published a series of articles and interviews to support North Carolina Opera's courageous production of Philip Glass' contemporary opera Les Enfants Terribles. It is very refreshing to see a regional opera company put together this kind of show, when in these troubled economic times many companies rely on more established repertoire, given the need to fill seats.

    Almaviva has attended the opening night, on January 19, 2012. Here is the review.
    by Published on January 13th, 2012 06:19 PM
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    Opera Lively has interviewed Mr. Eric Mitchko, general director for North Carolina Opera, a relatively young professional opera company in Raleigh, NC, in their second season of activity. The company does accumulate much longer expertise and experience, given that it resulted from the 2010 merger of two other companies - Capital Opera Raleigh, and The Opera Company of North Carolina. [Opera Lively interview # 5]
    by Published on January 11th, 2012 11:56 PM
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    Exclusive Interview: Operatic Education

    Interview with Dr. Marilyn Taylor, Chair of the Voice Department, A.J.Fletcher Opera Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and Mr. Richard Ollarsaba, young bass who is a third year student at the institute, in their Professional Artist Certificate program. [Opera Lively interviews # 3 and 4]


    The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, merged its graduate opera program with the A.J. Fletcher Foundation to create the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute. Opera Lively travelled to their very modern campus to interview one of the leading educators in the institute, Dr. Marilyn Taylor, Chair of the Voice Department.
    by Published on January 9th, 2012 02:09 AM
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    - The convoluted plot of this opera has resulted in some mockery. For many it is an example of what many detractors say of opera libretti, with confused and silly situations that defy belief. Gilbert and Sullivan parodied the baby-switching in The Gondoliers, and the Max Brother’s A Night at the Opera also makes fun of Il Trovatore.

    - What people usually complain about is that the opera is full of situations akin to magical realism, and important actions (baby burnings, kidnappings, duels, executions) take place off-stage or before the curtain opens.

    by Published on January 5th, 2012 06:19 AM     Number of Views: 2952 
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    The A. J. Fletcher Opera Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC, will present a fully staged student performance of Otto Nicolai's delightful opera Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor (The Merry Wives of Windsor).

    The students will be accompanied by a full orchestra conducted by maestro James Allbritten, the Artistic Director of both the Fletcher Institute and of Piedmont Opera, where he is also the principal conductor.
    by Published on January 3rd, 2012 04:40 AM
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    Il Trovatore - Opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi

    Written just between Rigoletto and La Traviata, Verdi’s Il Trovatore was saluted as “the triumph of melody”. Compared to its two sisters from the popular trilogy it is clearly the less polished one in terms of drama. Everything in this opera is quite straightforward. The real power of the piece lies entirely in the irresistible music, and the beautiful singing. With the possible exception of Azucena, there are no complex characters like Rigoletto or Violetta. As Caruso said: “it’s easy to perform: you just need the four best singers in the world”. Let’s talk about it in detail.

    by Published on January 2nd, 2012 06:06 PM
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    Opera Lively is pleased to announce that Anna Netrebko has granted us a short exclusive interview. Really short. Very short. But hey, it's Anna! We're very honored anyway! We love her! And it's exclusive, just for us! We thank her agent, Mr. Sean Michael Gross, for facilitating the exchange. Questions were authored by Almaviva and Soave_Fanciulla. [Added later: by now, we also have a full, long, in-person interview with Anna Netrebko; click [here] to read the long one.]

    Picture: © Opera Lively by Almaviva

    Singer: Anna Yuryevna Netrebko (Анна Юрьевна Нетребко)
    Fach: Full lyric soprano
    Voice characteristics: both high and deep, lustrous and velvety
    Moniker: "La Bellissima"
    by Published on January 1st, 2012 03:37 PM
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    Il Trovatore in Video


    This is a poorly known production from the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, from April 2005, conducted by Carlo Rizzi, with Leo Nucci as Il Conte di Luna, Dimitra Theodossiou as Leonora, Mariana Pentcheva as Azucena, Miroslave Dvorski as Manrico, Andrea Papi as Ferrando, Bernadette Lucarini as Ines, Enrico Cossuta as Ruiz, and Rafaelle Costantini as the old gipsy.
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