Tuesday, September 9, 2014

And off we go!!

I am very excited to welcome our 2013-14 Florentine Opera Studio Artists this week!

They are:

Julie Tabash, soprano
Lindsay Metzger, mezzo
Aaron Short, tenor
Pablo Siqueiros, baritone.

I'm looking forward to a fantastic year!!!


Friday, September 5, 2014

A new season!

Labor Day is behind us, and it's impossible for me not to get excited again about a new season.  Our Studio Artists come on contract Monday, and our Chorus is already rehearsing The Flying Dutchman.

A few short months ago, one could be forgiven for thinking that the American operatic landscape would be altered, but today the Met and San Diego Opera are back at it.

It's not always easy to be optimistic in our business, and if you throw in some of what's happening in the world around us, it can be even tougher.

But.....and I don't think I'm being a pollyanna here, this is a new season, with new performances to bring to the world.  Whether you're beginning your undergaduate degree, graduate degree, a resident artist program, another teaching year, or looking at your first year of free-lance work, I think you should feel good about the fact that in the fabric of life, what you are doing definitely goes into the positive column.

I hope what awaits you in the coming months is challenging and fulfilling.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

good to see some recognition for the arts and culture in Milwaukee!

https://www.yahoo.com/travel/7-underrated-but-intriguing-u-s-cities-you-need-to-95463264952.html

Friday, August 29, 2014

Relevance

I recommend reading the article that I have provided the link to below.  Its about an opera composer in Russia being physically attacked over the subject matter in one of his operas.

I bring this up because one of the debates going on in this country is the relevance of the arts in today's world.

But often in tough, political climates, the arts are seen as subversive (a sure sign of relevance!!)

Also, when things are going really bad, the arts become something people really relate to.....
As an example, during the German Blitz of London during World War II, the concert halls were full even though people were risking their lives by attending!  Again, relevance is not something that would even be debated with a situation like this.

Here is the article link:

http://www.sptimes.ru/story/40618

Monday, August 25, 2014

A generation of singers.....

Having just seen a very fine production of Masterclass here last week, I was reminded of the important singers we have just lost very recently:

Licia Albanese and Carlo Bergonzi.

I already posted about Licia Albanese, and I took the opportunity to listen this past weekend to recordings by Callas, Albanese, and Bergonzi.

What is fascinating is that these great artists do not have what everyone considers "beautiful sounds", but what they do have is an immediately recognizable sound  - their own sonic signature as it were.

They also all have superb interpretive skills that bear listening to by any serious student of opera.

What I think can be learned by artists like this by today's auditioning singers is that as you hone your craft and art technically and musically, don't hone it so much that the essential you gets honed away.

What makes a beautiful piece of burled wood are the imperfections and patterns that are beautiful to the eye.  An aria sung by a great artist is the aural equivalent to that piece of wood, polished, beautiful - but absolutely unique.




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Licia Albanese

I can't let the passing of a legendary singer go by unnoticed.  Licia Albanese, a true link to a by gone era of singing has passed away at 105.

She was beloved in the Verdi/Puccini repertoire, and was a favorite of Toscanini.  If my memory serves me correctly, I have in my possession a great old recording of La Boheme with Albanese, conducted by Toscanini.  This live recording is a lot of fun, not only for the great singing by the principals, but also for the slightly under pitch vocal accompaniment in the pit from the Maestro!

I highly recommend checking out some of this great artist's recordings.  While it was not the most opulent sound of singers in her fach, she was a master of style, and from all accounts, a quite affecting actress.


Monday, August 18, 2014

It's that 'tween time!

This is the that interesting time of year - the time when a lot of summer programs are winding down or over, and the seasonal resident artist programs have not started.

So, for some singers, who are involved in both types (that applies to three of our Studio Artists and our Production Stage Manager) it is a bit of a gear shift.

For those singers who are in the process of dipping their toes in the water, it is gearing up time for auditions, etc.

Whatever your particular situation might be, it might be a good time to take a bit of time and be an idealist.  By that I mean, its good to have a time when you remind yourself why you do this art form (yes, it's a business, but for the sake of this "time out" I'm referring to, let's leave the business part on the sidelines.)

I daresay most of us do "this" because we feel the need to express ourselves through the medium of the human voice, whether it be opera, concert, musical theatre, or oratorio.  The somewhat cold reality of auditioning, being rejected, jumping back up and dusting yourself off will be here soon enough - before all of that happens, try to remember why you do it.