Browsing: Art Song

Part I Although no longer at their apogee, in the 1960s the two great sopranos of the time, Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi, were still burning up the stage, and I had the great good fortune to see them. Thanks to their recordings, I had heard them when they were at the height of their careers. These memorable records, beloved by fans, divided the latter into two rival camps. At the time, I counted among my friends Georges Nicholson (for Callas) and Michel Beaulac (for Tebaldi). Each stoutly defended his idol’s merits, Nicholson being proud of Callas’ strong sense of…

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Tosca and La Cenerentola The Opéra de Montréal launches its season with the tragic story of the diva Floria Tosca, by Puccini, from September 16 to 23. Melody Moore, the American soprano who played Madame Butterfly in 2015, portrays the soprano who lets herself become manipulated by Baron Scarpia, the chief of police, played by Canadian baritone Gregory Dahl. Chilean tenor Giancarlo Monsalve will debut in his interpretation of the role of the painter Cavaradossi, Tosca’s lover. Canadian baritone Patrick Malette, former member of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, will take on the role of the fugitive, Angelotti.…

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With an impressive roster of seasoned performers and many more in training, opera is a major component of classical music in Canada. Our homegrown talent is gaining recognition abroad, and many of our singers appear regularly in the world’s great opera houses. Here’s a look at some of their diaries for 2017–2018. Soprano Layla Claire, whose Donna Elvira was warmly received by audiences at Opéra de Montréal last November, recently made a debut solo album with ATMA Classique, entitled Songbird. High point of the year for this British Columbian will be her title role in Alcina at the Bolshoi Theatre…

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Would you be willing to spend a sweltering summer evening listening to a youth orchestra in a venue with no air-conditioning? The hundreds who did avail themselves of such an opportunity on August 4 at the resplendent Chapelle Notre Dame de Bon Secours in old Montreal were delighted with the experience. The 2017 edition of l’Orchestre de la Francophonie marshalled its forces for a final time to perform a diverse programme- the Haydn Trumpet Concerto, Le Boeuf sur le toit by Darius Milhaud, and Mahler’s 4th Symphony. Since its inception in 2001, this orchestra has provided enrichment for accomplished young…

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Astana, Kazakhstan, July 24th 2017 – The names of the 14 finalists of Placido Domingo’s Operalia became known today. The competition is held within the framework of the EXPO-2017 program under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan. According to the results of the semi-finals, 14 contestants passed to the finals: the soloist of the Astana Opera, laureate of numerous international competitions, magnificent soprano Maria Mudryak (Kazakhstan), Boris Prýgl (bass-baritone, Czech Republic), Davide Giusti (tenor, Italy), Sooyeon Lee, So Young Park (sopranos), Leon Kim (baritone, Republic of Korea), Adela Zaharia (soprano, Romania), Vlada…

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I spent a morning with the great baritone in his Berlin home a couple of years before he died. Fischer-Dieskau was in morose mood. His wife Julia was out teaching, he told me twice, seeming to resent her absence. ‘I did too much,’ he confessed, regretting his dominance in Lieder, a field in which he covered not just German song but English, Russian and French. Still, sometimes too much is not enough. The present release is a 1989 duet recital he gave with his wife and the pianist Robert Höll at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, expecting that it would be…

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Of the two UK finalists in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World last weekend, many felt the English soprano Louise Alder stood a better chance than the Scottish mezzo Catriona Morison. Alder commanded the stage with unfeigned confidence, a breeziness that shines through this, her well-timed debut recording. The repertoire is bold, as well. Songs by Richard Strauss are not for wallflowers. Everything has to be just-so, shimmering on the surface and hinting at Freudian urges below. Alder, who made an opera debut as Glyndebourne’s stand-in Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier in 2014, sounds undaunted by anything Strauss can throw at…

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The texts of this song cycle were written by Sergei Yesenin between 1914 and 1920, a period of world war, revolution and civil war. Yesenin committed suicide in 1925 at the age of 30. His poetry is steeped in religious ritual, village life and bucolic imagery. The music was composed in 1977 by the contemplative, conservative Sviridov, who was born in the thick of Russia’s metamorphosis. His idiom – narrative, tonal, almost static at times – reflects the stand-off between political upheaval and the impervious cycles of nature. The half-hour cycle is sung here in an orchestral setting made specially…

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When the English contralto Norma Procter died a few weeks ago at the age of 89, readers remembered seeing Kathleen Ferrier in her audience at Norma’s London debut, at Southwark Cathedral, in 1948. This was typical Ferrier. Six years before she had been a switchboard operator in Lancashire with no hopes of a music career. Now an international star, she took every opportunity to offer support and encouragement to others on the way up. Hearing that Norma was studying in London with her own teacher, Roy Henderson, Ferrier invited her to stay over at her own West Hampstead flat rather…

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The Kurt Weill Foundation is pleased to announce the fourteen young singer/actors named as finalists for the 20th annual Lotte Lenya Competition: Curtis Bannister (31, Green Bay, WI) Gan-ya Ben-gur Akselrod (29, Tel Aviv, ISR) Felipe Bombonato (28, Gainesville, FL) Molly Dunn (28, South Orange, NJ) Jasmine Habersham (27, Macon, GA) Michael Hewitt (26, Denver, CO) Philip Kalmanovitch (32, Ottawa, ON) Marie Oppert (19, Paris, FR) Tony Potts (24, Fargo, ND) Taylor Raven (25, Fayetteville, NC) Katherine Riddle (25, Annapolis, MD) Lisa Rogali (22, Bergenfield, NJ) Bradley Smoak (32, Cary, NC) Paulina Villareal (27, Torreón, MX) The contestants represent a…

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