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Tosca - Lyric Opera Chicago 23 Oct 2009|12:58

mood | rushed

A very good, but not great performance.  What ever happened to casting singers known for Italian repetoire to sing Puccini?  And thank goodness I wasn't at The Met!

Read the entire review at my journal:

What's the worst or best performance of Tosca you've seen?

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Singing Blogger 22 Oct 2009|21:47

Hey everyone!

I've started to blog specifically about singing and life as a singer. I'm sure I'll be writing about questions that coming up in lessons as well as the build up to concerts, auditions and performances.

I really hope you'll check it out and bookmark it! :) I've just written an entry about how I figured out I had a voice!

( Turn to the Music )

Because it's about singing, I'd love if you would comment with your own experiences/thoughts etc! I'm going to post this in a few communities.

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Music Madness weekend - Gounod's Faust 19 Oct 2009|18:42


My apologies that this post isn't totally opera related, but skip the second half if it isn't of interest: 
This is my first post to this community.  If you don't want journal links and prefer the text be copied direct, just let me know.
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A review of the LA Opera production of Siegfried 05 Oct 2009|12:52

I bought ticket's for last night's performance of Siegfried way back in August after I had just read the synopses of the operas in the Ring cycle and before I had actually seen any of them. My boyfriend and I then proceeded to watch the first two operas via VHS tapes available at the LA Central Library (I actually had to buy a VCR to watch them- these video tapes were the only available video productions of the Ring in the LA library system). We watched (and really enjoyed) traditional productions of Das Rheingold and Die Walkure as performed in Bayreuth in 1981 with Pierre Boulez conducting.

What we saw last night was possibly one of the worst productions of any opera I've seen live, broadcast, or on video.

5 hours of no set, no props and no actingCollapse )
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Brilliant Opera 04 Aug 2009|00:06

You may be familiar with the budget label Brilliant Classics. Actually, they're a sort of superbudget label based, IIRC, in the Netherlands.

Now they have a sublabel, Brilliant Opera Collection, which consists of EMI recordings now licensed to Brilliant. There are some golden oldies, and some not so old but still gold.
I have, to date, three of them: Callas singing Norma, Callas singing Tosca (with DiStefano and Gobbi), and the Furtwangler recording of Tristan and Isolde that featured Flagstad singing Isolde, and (he was an up and coming baritone in those days), Fischer Dieskau as Kurwenal. And Suthaus as Tristan. Apparently more than a few of these recordings have been available in one format or another from EMI, but these are a good deal--for instance, 21.99 USD for the 4 CD Tristan. Technical sound quality seems good overall (all the three I have are mono, of course), and the packaging is pleasant. The only drawback is that the libretti are available only through the website, and only in the original language.

One batch of recordings has been released, and a second batch is apparently due in the fall. More details at
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New Member 30 Jul 2009|09:43


I can't believe I didn't think to do this sooner. I've had this LJ for 7 years, I think and have loved opera for at least 8 years longer than that. I started loving opera when I was 12. My grandfather sent me a cassette (remember those?) he'd recorded with classical music and at the very end of it was a piece from Carmen. It was maybe about four minutes long but I rewound it and listened to it over and over again. When I got enough money I went and bought a four disc set of the opera.

Eventually I started going to operas at the NYCO but the year after that I decided I was ready to move to the Met and that's where I've been watching operas since.

At this point I can't really remember how many I've seen. As soon as I have the count down I always remember one or two more.

Annick Massis and Natalie Dessay are definitely tied for my favorite soprano and (duh) Anna Netrebko comes in second to those two. I love her voice, but it doesn't have the same light sound as the previous two.

In tenors I happen to love Juan Diego Florez and Jose Cura. Yes I know, Cura isn't always a tenor, but that's probably what I like best about him.

Anyway, as the season will start soon enough, I hope to hear awesome things about all the operas I will have to miss because of school.
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The Rape of Lucretia 28 Jul 2009|22:17

I just wanted to get this straight.... Brittens Rape of Lucretia is:

-meant to be a female Jesus story
-is Christian porn
-is a plotless, depressing mess
-all of the above

I hear Billy Budd is the one to make time for if you're going to want operatic Britten. Loved Peter Grimes, but Rape of Lucretia... Is that all, Britten? It is all.
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Placido Domingo and Virginia Tola in Moscow 13 Jul 2009|15:25


Placido Domingo, one of the "Three Tenors" dream team which elevated football into operatic art, insists that "if I rest, I rust". And, true to his word, the 68-year-old maintains a packed performing schedule while directing two major American opera houses and even finding time to learn new parts. Ten years ago, at an age when most stars are already content to rest on their laurels, Domingo opted to learn Russian and tackle Hermann from Tchaikovsky's "Queen of Spades", one of the heaviest roles in the repertoire. Sunday's concert at the oligarchs' retreat in Barvikha is likely was lighter fare. With a vast repertoire to draw on he's unlikely to suffer from any shortage of material, while Argentinian soprano Virginia Tola has sung with him a few duets. Like most things at Barvikha it's not cheap, with top-priced seats going for 99,000. But a personal audience with a living legend tends to cost.
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Greetings 22 May 2009|13:34

My favourites are Don Giovanni, Ring and Billy Budd. Also love most Verdis and Puccinis. I'm quite addicted to basses and baritones (especially barihunks *blush*), and I love evil characters.

Who do you think is opera history's most wicked baddie?
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greetings from a newbie 17 Mar 2009|22:47

thoughts on Sunday's Met 125/Domingo 40 gala? :)
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Ivan Dzerzhinsky's 1937 work "Podnyataya Tselina," and, uh, hello! 03 Mar 2009|08:25

Hello, folks. Theater tech with a growing interest in people singing in foreign languages onstage here, and more and more lately it's been in the form of a kind of classical musical >.>

Nice community you've got here. Hope you're all having a great day.

So, in any case today I got a-hold of my old copies of the Best of the Red Army Choir, looking specifically for the seventh track on the second disk, which is an excerpt from what I assume is the opening of a failed propaganda piece. I've no idea why, but it appeals to me and I'd like to know where I can so much as get a hint of more, at least enough to discern the value of the entire piece.

The work is called Podnyataya Tselina, if we use passable transliteration and the likeliest Google search string. This more or less translates to 'Virgin Soil Upturned,' and is a work dating from 1937, composed in Russian by Ivan Ivanovich Dzerzhinsky, who you Russian Opera fans may or may not remember in association with Quiet Flows the Don, which he published about two years previously and met success with; Stalin saw propaganda value, catapulted Dzerzhinsky into a very temporary household name status, and told him to make more of the same. Unfortunately, Virgin Soil Unturned seems to have flopped, but it was still pushed whenever possible - for example, by being jammed into Red Army Choir performances. But in any case!

Suggestions of where a man might find a free copy or buy a legitimate one, or even get a hint of the rest of this, er, score? Opening? Song? Would be great, and I would love and cherish each of you in the platonic but militant Slavic way. Yes, I have already applied the full talents of our friend Google; yes, I have attempted to sort this out with my various Russian connections. So far, no luck. My utmost appreciation for time taken in reading this post.
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star trek opera 18 Feb 2009|20:13

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HELP. 09 Feb 2009|14:51

I write for my university fine arts magazine, and my editor wants me to write about "any raunchy love songs in opera" for Valentines Day. I can only think of a couple off the top of my head, and they're not so much raunchy as innuendo-y (the duet between Susanna and the Count in Figaro, the Papageno/Papageno duet to a lesser extent, etc), which will be just fine.

So. Can anyone recommend me songs? I realize it's a ridiculous request, but please bear with me. My magazine does weird things to get people interested in opera.
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Query: How to get people to attend an Opera Event 04 Feb 2009|11:38


I am a board member for a local opera group called Opera Bel Cantanti.  They are having problems this year attracting an audience fhis season though in the previous five years, they have had good attendance.  We suppose it is:

A. Because Bel Cantanti had to move theaters due to it longer being available for rent. 

B. The new base theater is too far away

C. Economy

MOST Important: How are you specifically contacted/learn about Opera events that aren't Washington National Opera or The Met?

Would you be interested in attending an event this weekend in the Washington Metro Area (Bethesda, Alexandria)?

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Translation: Not the One you know 30 Jan 2009|10:14

Personally, I love to do opera in English.  I don't know any other language well enough that I can memorize with out memorizing the translation too.  It was a great disappointment to me that Germany does all their operas in German, France does all their operas in French, and Italians in Italian.  Why are we the only ones not to have Mainstream opera houses not using the vernacular?

I just fininshed a production of Orpheus in the Underword.  Now another company that I have worked with before is offering me the lead role in another production of Orpheus in the Underworld that is a different English translation.  UG!  I was hoping they would do the same translation, so I would know at least the chorus numbers already.
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Met's La Rondine 23 Jan 2009|13:05

I saw the Met Broadcast of La Rondine on Wednesday night.  It is one of the little performed Puccini opera that I hadn't heard much from.  Though the lead soprano was slightly under the weather, she sounded great.  Had she been feeling entirely well, I am sure she would have sparkled.  The woman playing Lisette was fantastic, her voice was sparkling. 

Unfortunately, once you stop listening the beautiful music and gorgeous singing, you know why it isn't performed much.  The story is a triffle, there is little struggle that resonates with the modern audience.  The soprano remarked that it was a pleasure not to play another dieing herione, but the ending is ambiguous and doesn't seem to signify much.  She, like a swallow, is set free.  I guess once I looked at the story, I was more credulous.

Lisette at the Met
The famous Soprano aria is justifiably famous
The second act quartet that ends with the love chorus
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technique question - usage of the stomach muscles when singing 20 Dec 2008|08:21

Hello everyone. My name is Jaenelle, I'm 23 years old and I've returned to voice lessons after a 9 year hiatus from it. I live in Shanghai, my teacher is Chinese, I'm a soprano, and I am starting to believe I don't have stomach muscles.

No, really.

My teacher and I have been trying to work on this problem for AGES. Well, it feels like it anyway, since September. I have lessons twice a week and I'm the only one I know who still has issues with using the stomach muscles to sing. It's gotten to the point where we have to go over exercises every lesson and I'm starting to get emotionally frustrated because it just plain does NOT seem to be working. I think I'll be using my stomach muscles and he'll tell me I sound breathy and that I'm not using them, which then gets me to become frustrated and feel like I'm not getting anywhere, even though I know I've made progress.

Basically, I need advice on the following:

- Breathing. I know you're not supposed to breathe into your chest/throat but instead breathe into your stomach and let it expand. I try doing this. It's also massive fail.
- Pulling up one part of the stomach and pushing out with the rest of the stomach plus the back when singing. My teacher described it like the muscles used when laughing or coughing, and I've tried it and I still just fail at it. I will be trying to imitate what he's trying to get me to do and it only works half the time.

I think the worst part is, I can't feel any difference. I will be using my stomach muscles (or thinking I am using them) and he'll say that it doesn't sound right and then I'll keep doing the same thing and then later it sounds wonderful... but the NEXT lesson I will have "forgotten" everything, when in reality it's just that it's not working for whatever the reason!!!

Please help. I honestly don't know what to do.

[x-posted to soprano_singers]
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Baltimore Opera Declares Bankruptcy 10 Dec 2008|12:55

Washington Opera postpones their American Ring.
The Met cancels some of their productions
Baltimore Opera cancels the rest of their season and declares bankruptcy.

This is bad.

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Mozart 02 Dec 2008|08:07

mood | curious

Who is your favorite operatic interpreter of Mozart, male or female?

5 comments|post comment
Mythical records 15 Nov 2008|21:12


Mythical records, is now taking pre-orders for their new compilation "Odyssey of Rapture" vol. 1. The album includes neo-classical compositions by Abandoned Toys, Library Tapes, The synthetic dream foundation, Hannah Fury, Samantha Bouquin, Ephemeral mists, and many more great composers/artists. The official release date is Dec. 10th 2008. The full track list includes:

1. David Reyes "The magic woods"
2. Library Tapes "The rivers turned to cobblestone"
3. Abandoned Toys "An expanding tremble"
4. Ephemeral Mists "A pale slumber"
5. Phanatos "Voyage (quest for the shores of aphrodite)"
6. Aranis "Vala"
7. The new pollutants "Kidnap theme"
8. Hana (Jeff Greinke & Anisa Romero) "Hide"
9. Michel Avannier "La rencontre"
10. The synthetic dream foundation w/ Hannah Fury "Trapeze"
11. MePhI "Crystal night"
12. Aonua "Spirit of the deep"
13. Fiona Joy Hawkins "Contemplating"
14. Samantha Bouquin "Tale for a sunken moon"
15. Scythelence "Transparent eyelids"
16. Enigma de Ultratumba "To my unrest"
17. Samanta Ray & Pete Ardron "Interuterion 3"
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