Saturday, July 30, 2016
Will things start livening up at the Proms next month ? In July, the fare predictable with rehashed reheated leftovers which were good first time round but not so exciting second time round. Maybe this pasteurized blandness represents the Future if Classical Music, as defined by government thinktanks and BBC suits who think the public can't cope with real sustenance. Sir Henry Wood must be rolling in his grave ! He believed that the public would rise to the challenge of interesting work, and that ordinary people could develop listening skills. Now, instead we get pablum like Ten Pieces, catering to the lowest possible denominator, and to those don't even want to pay attention. "We don't like experts!" the end of civilization ? So here we are, coming to the halfway point in this year's Proms, what do we have ahead ? On Monday 1/8 I'm looking forward to John Storgårds conducting Neilsen 5 and Jörg Widmann's Armonica for glass harmonica. On 4/8, Oliver Knussen conducts Reinbert de Leeuw Der nächtliche Wanderer On 8/8 Esa Pekka Salonen conducts Schoenberg A Survivor from Warsaw, with Mahler's First interesting combination ! Janacek The Makropulos Affair on 19/8 will be a high point, with Karita Mattila and Jiří Bělohlávek. I'll be listening to a lot (eg Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla with the CBSO) but, while there are good things, there's a lot of not so good and little that's thrilling. Somr odd mismatches between performer and repertoire. So on to September when things wake up. Baldur Brönnimann conducts a very interesting late nighter on 29 with Ensemble Intercontemporain. and on 49 Mark Elder conducts thge OAE in Rossini's Semiramide. In the Last Week, the Big Bands : The Berlin Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin and Staatskapplle Dresden with Rattle, Barenboim and Thielemann. The media are playing this up as some kind of battle, but that's silly. People really into music don't need to play games with musicians as pawns. At this level there's no "competition", just excellence. All is not lost, yet.
Opera Holland Park, London Silly voices, silly walks and gags about Hollywood kisses abound in Oliver Platt’s production of Rossini’s comic take on Cinderella Like the fairytale on which Rossini’s opera is based, Opera Holland Park’s new La Cenerentola feels familiar – and it’s a lot of fun. Oliver Platt’s production uses a vaguely period setting inhabited by characters who evidently enjoy a modern sense of irony, despite their corsets, top hats, riding jackets and powdered wigs (a motley wardrobe designed by Neil Irish). The wicked stepfather and sisters revel in garish Technicolor, on a collision course with the prince’s altogether classier monochrome. Emma Brunton’s choreography swings between stasis and hyperactivity, the chorus often synched with comical precision to Rossini’s music. There are silly voices and silly walks, gags about height, Hollywood kisses and even baldness.As ringleader in the OHP big top, Dane Lam was endlessly energetic and uncompromising on rhythmic detail. And if the balance wasn’t always perfect, the City of London Sinfonia’s wind and brass made compelling arguments for pushing forwards, while the strings, ever suave, kept their cool. Continue reading...
The Royal Albert Hall © David Samuel 2012 Prom 2: Mussorgsky – Boris Godunov (16 July) Boris is back - and conveniently for us, compiling this list in date order means the Royal Opera House Prom comes out on top. With a cast led by bass-baritone Bryn Terfel and conducted by Antonio Pappano , this concert performance of Mussorgsky ’s operatic masterpiece tells the tragic tale of a Russian Tsar plagued by guilt. The semi-staged performance is preceded by a workshop from the BBC Singers , where aspiring performers can join in with some of the opera’s choruses. Prom 5: Beethoven — Missa Solemnis (19 July) Fresh from conducting Verdi ’s epic Il trovatore on the Covent Garden stage, Gianandrea Noseda is at the helm of – if possible – an even larger masterpiece. Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis was composed over four years towards the end of the composer’s life and is considered to be is one of his supreme achievements. With a stellar cast of singers including soprano Camilla Nylund, mezzo-soprano Birgit Remmert, tenor Stuart Skelton, bass Hanno Müller-Brachmann, the Hallé Choir , Manchester Chamber Choir and BBC Philharmonic , the effect is sure to be breathtaking. Proms 10 and 11: Wagner and Tippett (23 July) A full day of Wagner may feel relatively short for those attuned to his lengthy operas – but for newcomers to this composer’s work, 11 July should serve as an introduction. Prom 10 at 11am showcases the 'Ride of the Valkyries' from Die Walküre in a family-friendly performance, alongside other classical staples from the BBC’s Ten Pieces series – music designed to open up the world of classical music to children and young people. The evening’s Prom 11 includes the final scene from Die Walküre, alongside Tippett ’s contemplative oratorio, A Child of Our Time. Prom 14: Rossini – The Barber of Seville (25 July) There’s something of a Rossini focus at this year’s BBC Proms, and who better to celebrate the 200th anniversary of The Barber of Seville than our friends at Glyndebourne ? Danielle de Niese leads the cast as Rosina, a young girl eager to escape the elderly Count Almaviva’s affection, with comic consequences. There’s also a pre-concert talk for those wanting to learn more about the role and politics of hair-styling in 18th- and 19th-century Europe (!) with Alun Withey and historian Kathryn Hughes. Proms 27 and 30: Stravinsky (5 and 7 August) Fans of Stravinsky ’s ballet scores won’t be disappointed with this Proms Season: over the weekend of 5, 6 and 7 August, audiences will be treated to Petrushka (1947 version) , The Firebird , and The Rite of Spring , complete with pre-performance talks. Those looking to collect all the performances of Stravinsky’s works over the 58 day-long festival should also save the date for the Pulcinella Suite on 20 July . Proms at … Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare's Globe (13 August) A suitably Shakespearean recommendation in the 400th anniversary of his death. This performance takes regular Prommers away from the familiar surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall to an altogether smaller performance space: the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe . Expect English Baroque music in spades, with music by Purcell , Blow , Locke and Draghi , as well as incidental music for Shakespeare’s The Tempest . Prom 41: The Hallé – Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (16 August) Tenor Gregory Kunde stars alongside mezzo-soprano Alice Coote and the Hallé in Mahler ’s synthesis of song and symphony, Das Lied von der Erde, conducted by Mark Elder . Continuing the Season’s focus on cello music, (kicking off on the First Night with a digital light projection from Sol Gabetta), Leonard Elschenbroich will perform a London premiere: Colin Matthews’s Berceuse for Dresden, which takes inspiration from the eight bells of the Dresden church at which it was premiered. Prom 45: Janáček — The Makropulos Affair (19 August) A dream team of singers assemble for a concert performance of Janáček ’s tragic satire, The Makropulos Affair, performed under the baton of Czech conductor Jiří Běhlohlávek . Finnish soprano Karita Mattila — acclaimed for her portrayal of the opera’s heroine at New York’s Metropolitan Opera — leads the cast. Prom 59: (More) Beethoven (29 August) A rare treat to hear music from Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio . Despite his prolific musical output, the composer appeared to struggle with the overture, eventually writing four versions. This version (Leonore No. 2) is the first attempt and is thought to have been composed for the 1805 premiere – but nowadays the final version, Leonore No. 1, much lighter in style and with fresh musical material, is often heard in performance. This Prom also features András Schiff playing the Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, 'Emperor', and the Symphony No. 7, performed by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and conducted by Herbert Blomstedt . Prom 67: Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel (4 September) The conductor affectionately dubbed ‘The Dude’ is back, conducting the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in their first Proms appearance since 2011. In this Olympic year, the Proms is celebrating South American music and musicians with a premiere of Venezuelan composer Paul Desenne ’s Hipnosis mariposa, alongside Villa-Lobos ’s effervescent orchestral tribute to J. S. Bach, Bachianas Brasileiras No 2. For ballet fans, the performance ends with two dizzying works by Ravel : La Valse , originally conceived as a ballet but now frequently heard as a concert work, and the Suite No. 2 from Daphnis and Chloe . Prom 75: The Last Night of the Proms (10 September) There’s much more to the Last Night than tub-thumping Elgar and flag-waving pomp (although if that’s your cup of tea, you won’t be disappointed). Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez is the star soloist for a diverse evening of music, including 'Una furtiva lagrima’ from Donizetti’s L'elisir d'amore , 'Ah ! mes amis' from La fille du regiment , as well as a generous helping of lush English song. Jette Parker Young Artist Lauren Fagan is also set to perform in a jewel in the evening’s programme, Vaughan Williams ’ Serenade to Music, scored for 16 soloists, alongside the BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo. Don your black tie and get queuing! What are you most looking forward to seeing at this year’s BBC Proms? Let us know via the comments below. Tickets for the BBC Proms 2016 can be purchased from the Royal Albert Hall website . All Proms will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 , with a selection available to watch on BBC Four .
Aureliano in Palmira, which gets its U.S. premiere next week, “tells the story of Roman emperor Aurelian’s 272 A.D. campaign against Queen Zenobia of Palmyra … [It] has had a fascinating journey – from highly anticipated star vehicle to underwhelming opening night to obscurity to recent rediscovery as one of Rossini’s most beautiful works.” And you’ll probably recognize the opening notes immediately.
Austin Opera seeks a General Director. The General Director provides the leadership for Austin Opera and has ultimate responsibility for the success of the company, working with the Artistic Director to ensure artistic excellence. About Austin Opera Founded in 1986, Austin Opera is committed to producing and promoting world-class opera that will entertain, enrich and educate the Central Texas community. Austin Opera delivers an extraordinary artistic experience; provides a creative environment that challenges the misconceptions of the art form; enables lifelong learning; and celebrates its part in the acclaimed Live Music scene for which the city is known. A multi-varied program selection fused with major international artists, directors, and designers has won acclaim for the company locally, nationally and internationally. Austin Opera productions consistently garner praise for production value, vocal artistry, set design and the skill of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, Richard Buckley. In 2008, the company moved to its current performance home in the Long Center for the Performing Arts and its acoustically noteworthy 2,200 seat Dell Hall. In 2015, the company underwent a successful branding campaign which resulted in a name change from Austin Lyric Opera to Austin Opera. The mission of Austin Opera is: To produce operatic performances and community outreach and educational programs that meet and preserve the highest standards of artistic excellence that culturally enrich the lives of Central Texans. This commitment is comprised of four essential goals: Presenting operatic productions that attain the highest artistic standards; Conveying the operatic art form in ways that make it intellectually and financially accessible to the most diverse as possible audience; Providing lifelong educational opportunities and programming to the community, regardless of skill, ethnicity, orientation or financial ability; Ensuring the future of the organization through consistent and responsible resource management. Each year, Austin Opera produces three mainstage operas with three performances each. A fourth production with a single performance was staged in concert format in 2015 and will be produced again in semi-staged opera format in September 2016 with The Manchurian Candidate. The season starts in the fall and ends with the final production in May. The repertoire is a mix of traditional operas along with contemporary and American operas. The most recent season included Verdi’s Aida, Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. The upcoming 30th Season repertoire includes The Flying Dutchman, The Daughter of the Regiment, and Madame Butterfly, as well as The Manchurian Candidate. In addition to its main stage performances, the company engages with the Austin community through a variety of interest groups, community outreach efforts and education programs. Key groups include the Austin Opera Guild, which provides significant financial and volunteer support to the company, and La Noche de Opera, a social and educational group for the Hispanic community. Outreach and education programs include Opera on the Town and Opera Overtures, which provide informal and informative lectures before each production, Opera Treasure Chest, a TEKS-aligned interactive program for K-4 students, and Opera By Night, which offers 5,000 free tickets to students, parents and teachers of grades 5-12 to attend dress rehearsals. A relatively new outreach program is UrbanNites at the Opera, a social event for young professionals held in conjunction with the Thursday evening performance of each production. Austin Opera has an annual operating budget of approximately $4.2 million, and a financial position strengthened by endowed and special funds of approximately $5.8m. The Company is governed by a highly engaged 45-member Board of Trustees and has an artistic and administrative staff of 16. Board President Jon Nash currently serves as the Interim General Director. Position Summary and Opportunity The General Director provides the leadership for Austin Opera and has ultimate responsibility for the success of the company, working with the Artistic Director to ensure artistic excellence. The General Director is responsible for developing and driving implementation of Austin Opera’s vision and strategic plan; developing and maintaining external relationships with donors and with other organizations; managing finances, staff, and operations; supporting the Board of Trustees; and building its profile and its resources in order to advance its artistic mission. This position offers the opportunity to lead a nationally and internationally acclaimed regional opera company, whose artistic excellence is in the capable hands of Richard Buckley, hailed for his “sublime command” of the orchestra. The company is located in the rapidly growing and highly touted city of Austin, with a vibrant cultural scene and appealing quality of life. The company’s main stage is at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, a 2200 seat hall known for outstanding acoustics. Relationships The General Director reports to the Board of Trustees through its President. The General Director has an important partnership with the Artistic Director, Richard Buckley. Together they fulfill the artistic mission while ensuring long-term sustainability of Austin Opera. Reporting to the General Director are: Artistic Director Director of Development Director of Administration & Finance Director of Marketing Director of Education Executive Assistant The General Director serves as an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees (non-voting). The General Director also works closely with the Austin Opera Guild and, on a collaborative basis, with the management of the Long Center for the Performing Arts and the Long Center’s two other Founding Resident Companies, the Austin Symphony and Ballet Austin. Primary Responsibilities Lead the development and execution of the company’s strategic plan, with input from the Trustees. Work with the Artistic Director to ensure the company stays true to its artistic vision while ensuring financial stability. Work with the Development Director to plan and lead Austin Opera’s fundraising efforts to provide for substantial growth in contributed income and in the donor base, providing leadership and support for the active participation of Trustees, volunteers, and staff in donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. Work with the Director of Administration and Finance to develop and implement the annual operating budget, ensuring that income and expenses are in accordance with the approved budget and that accurate financial reports are regularly provided to the Board. Work with the Director of Marketing to develop marketing and audience development strategies and tactics to support both earned and contributed revenue and to enhance the reputation of the company. Work with the Director of Education to manage the company’s education programs, working to build our relevance to the community and to increase and diversify the company’s audience and stakeholders. Work closely with the Trustees and the Austin Opera Guild to support their efforts, commitment, and leadership. Assist the Trustees in cultivating and recruiting new members. Provide strategic and staff support for the company’s largest fundraiser, the Guild’s annual Fine Wine Dinner. Recruit, develop, inspire and retain skilled and experienced staff members who can help the company achieve its artistic and financial goals. Maintain current knowledge of developments in opera/arts management, and participate in appropriate regional, national, and international organizations and activities. Work with the Artistic Director to communicate Austin Opera’s vision and secure its reputation locally and nationally, and strengthen its community presence in the local arts scene. Be a vocal, proactive advocate and the public face of Austin Opera, and represent the company’s best interests in civic issues. Candidate Profile A strategic thinker with a bias for action, who can work collaboratively to establish and communicate a vision for the company and a plan for developing sustainable resources to support it. A “people person” with exceptional networking skills and a high energy level for donor cultivation and fundraising. A business person with strong financial management skills, expertise in sales and marketing, and people management skills. An experienced executive who understands the direct shirt-sleeves involvement necessary to run a performing arts organization with a small staff on a financially sound basis, and who also understands how to work with a strong volunteer Board. A confident and respected leader who can command the trust of the board, staff, volunteers, and community, and who can represent the company to its audiences, its stakeholders and the public. An opera lover, with knowledge of and passion for the art form. Ideal Experience Education: this job requires organizational, analytical and communications skills normally acquired through the completion of a bachelor’s degree. An advanced degree or professional certification in arts management, business, or other relevant areas would be a valuable addition. Experience: at least 10 years of experience in managing comparable staff and budget; experience leading an opera or other performing arts organization would be ideal. Strong financial management skills are essential. A thorough understanding of the issues and challenges facing opera companies today would be a strong plus. Candidates should have a successful track record in building donor relationships and in soliciting and stewarding significant gifts from individuals, foundations, and corporations. Excellent communications skills (oral, written, and presentation) are required. Exposure to labor unions and contract negotiations, including experience with successful labor partnerships would be helpful. A positive attitude and a sense of humor are key attributes as well! Application Process: Interested candidates are invited to submit a letter of interest, resume and references, in confidence to: Mr. Dory Vanderhoof Senior Partner email@example.com Genovese Vanderhoof & Associates 284 St. Clair Avenue East Toronto, ON Canada M4T 1P4 firstname.lastname@example.org . For additional information: www.austinopera.org ; www.genovesevanderhoof.com .
A recording has turned up of the 19 year-old tenor singing at the Llangollen Eistedfodd in 1955 as part of the Chorus Rossini from Modena. Needless to say, his chorus won. Apparently, the recording was issued on CD by the Welsh Development Agency in 1991 but they forgot to send it out. It turned up the other day in a tray of junk. Story here. The big man returned to Llangollen 40 years later with his father as joint presidents of the Eistedfodd.
Great composers of classical music