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Giacomo Puccini

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

May 25

Artistic director quits sparky US opera

Norman Lebrecht - Slipped discpress release: Milwaukee, Wis. (May 25, 2016) – Viswa Subbaraman today announced he will be leaving his position as artistic director of Skylight Music Theatre effective July 31, 2016, in order to focus on his conducting career and commitment to new opera works. Following his departure, he will serve as artistic advisor to Skylight through January 2017. Subbaraman made the announcement as he prepared for a 7 ½ week residency at Opera Saratoga in New York, where he will conduct the American premiere of the major new work by Philip Glass, “The Witches of Venice,” from July 1 -17, 2016. Subbaraman was appointed artistic director at Skylight in September 2012, and launched his inaugural season in 2013-14. …Among the critically acclaimed productions Subbaraman conducted at Skylight were Thomas Ades’ Powder Her Face, Hans Werner Henze’s El Cimarrón, Philip Glass’ Hydrogen Jukebox and a Bollywood version of Beethoven’s Fidelio. He also programmed traditional operas such as Puccini’s Tosca and Rossini’s La Cenerentola, reimagining them for Skylight’s 350-seat Baroque theater. Subbaraman conducted the world premiere of Somtow Sucharitkul’s The Snow Dragon, which became the Skylight Music Theatre’s first international touring production. Most recently, Subbaraman conducted Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar, a co-production between Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Wild Space Dance Company .

Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

May 22

La Scala’s opening-night Butterfly is a role virgin

Maria José Siri tells Graham Spicer she hadn’t even sung the role when Riccardo Chailly chose her to open his season. I am honoured and excited as I have been preparing to tackle this role for quite some time. I am especially happy because I have never sung before with Riccardo Chailly, and had never even sung Madam Butterfly when Maestro, who is a superlative interpreter of Puccini, heard me and chose me. I am also delighted to be singing in the critical edition of the opera, which is part of Chailly’s project at La Scala to present Puccini’s operas in their original versions. More here.




Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

May 18

Yoncheva will star at La Scala in Zeffirelli’s Boheme

The are bringing back a well-worn production to fit a new star. Full details of La Scala’s new season, announced this morning, below: ALEXANDER PEREIRA: THE 2016/2017 SEASON The opening of the 2016/2017 Season with the first version of Madame Butterfly, in the wake of Turandot and La fanciulla del West, marks a vital step in the Puccini project that is so dear to Riccardo Chailly, who on 1 January 2017 will take up his appointment as Music Director, confirming the plan to bring back to Piermarini’s Theatre the works that had their first ever performances here. It is directed by Alvis Hermanis, who is familiar to La Scala fans for two magnificent and very different shows, Die Soldaten and I due Foscari, and the leading lady Maria José Siri is a new and extraordinarily talented voice alongside Bryan Hymel’s Pinkerton. The televising of the event marks 40 years of collaboration between La Scala and the RAI since their partnership in 1976 with Otello conducted by Carlos Kleiber. 2017 opens with three major Verdi productions. Don Carlo returns in the version in five acts that has not been performed at La Scala since the edition conducted by Claudio Abbado 40 years ago. Myung-Whun Chung, a noted authority on Verdi, will conduct a fine cast, of whom we have to mention at least Ferruccio Furlanetto, Krassimira Stoyanova and Francesco Meli. Directed most efficaciously by the great Peter Stein, it translates all the dryness of the signature dramaturgy. Zubin Mehta will conduct Falstaff in the staging by Damiano Michieletto set in Casa Verdi: a decidedly Milanese production with Ambrogio Maestri in the role he is by now synonymous with. La Traviata will be back in March with the lavish staging designed by Liliana Cavani in 1990, with an exceptional protagonist, Anna Netrebko, in the prime of her artistic and interpretative maturity. And it will be the first time conducting Verdi at La Scala for Nello Santi, repository and custodian of the most authentic traditions of Italian melodrama: in October he will also be conducting the revival of Nabucco in Daniele Abbado’s show. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg by Wagner sets us off on a journey through the musical culture of German Romanticism, which pops up during the Season with two other titles: Hänsel und Gretel and Der Freischütz. Directed by Harry Kupfer, an artist who is woven into the tapestry of German theatre, with Daniele Gatti on the podium, who has already conducted two productions with this title to great acclaim. Michael Volle is simply the finest living interpreter of Sachs. While in 2016, with La cena delle beffe, we brought Verismo back to La Scala, our mission to re-appropriate the Italian repertoire continues now with bel canto. April will see the staging of Anna Bolena with a very young leading lady who comes from our Academy, Federica Lombardi, conducted by Bruno Campanella, who knows Italian melodrama of the early 1800s better than most. And in 1817 Rossini presented The thieving Magpie at La Scala: a masterpiece of the semiseria genre that returns with a great Rossini conductor, Riccardo Chailly, the debut at La Scala of the Oscar-winning director Gabriele Salvatores, and a perfect cast of actor-singers. One of the finest baritones of our time, Thomas Hampson, plays a Don Giovanni torn between vitality and disillusionment in the revival of the staging by Robert Carsen, conducted by Paavo Järvi, whose Mozart interpretation won me over in Vienna. The revival of Franco Zeffirelli’s historic Bohème, then, is the occasion of a La Scala debut for one of the soprano revelations of recent years, Sonya Yoncheva. On the podium will be Evelino Pidò, who comes from our orchestra, but despite his brilliant international career has conducted only a performance of Rigoletto at La Scala before now. The twentieth anniversary of the death of Giorgio Strehler will be marked by performing one of his most magical shows, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, conducted by the person who held him at his baptism in Salzburg in 1965: Zubin Mehta. Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel is the Academy project this year: conductor Marc Albrecht and director Sven-Eric Bechtolf will work together for months with the young artists to create a performance that is up to La Scala standards in all respects. One of the most cherished programmes the Orchestra is engaged in is the formation of an ensemble playing historical instruments: the latest step on this path is Handel’s Tamerlano, which brings one of Italy’s finest directors, Davide Livermore, to La Scala for the first time, with extraordinary singers such as Plácido Domingo and Bejun Mehta. Another important date with directing is Der Freischütz, staged by Matthias Hartmann, the former director of the Burgtheater in Vienna, and conducted by Myung-Whun Chung. To conclude the Season, we are presenting the world premiere of the new opera by Salvatore Sciarrino, Ti vedo, ti sento, mi perdo, directed by Jürgen Flimm, who is bound to the Italian composer by a friendship that strengthens their artistic affinity. It is conducted by the young Maxime Pascal, founder of an orchestra dedicated to contemporary music in Paris. The Ballet Season, which is the first one for Director Mauro Bigonzetti, is the first step along a path of progression for the Corps de Ballet of La Scala. The titles increase from six to seven, in addition to the Ballet School show, and for the second year in a row, Opening Night brings another first, Coppélia by Bigonzetti with Roberto Bolle. The historical choreographies of Balanchine, Fokin, Tetley and MacMillan are bolstered by the innovation of Eugenio Scigliano, and for the first time a piece choreographed by artists from the Corps de Ballet, who are engaged in an unprecedented challenge. Also returning is Swan Lake by Alexei Ratmansky, an artistic reconstruction of the choreography of Petipa and Ivanov. There is a considerable element of pride in the quality of the music: the ballets will be conducted by maestros such as Zubin Mehta, Paavo Järvi, Michail Jurowski, Patrick Fournillier, Felix Korobov and David Coleman. The concert programme includes the greatest living conductors. Riccardo Chailly will be on the podium for two evenings of the Symphony Season, Verdi’s Requiem in October, and the concert to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Arturo Toscanini on 25 March 1867. The Symphony Season also sees the return of legends such as Christoph von Dohnányi (who also conducts the Christmas Concert), Georges Prêtre and Bernard Haitink; while for the Extraordinary Concerts, we will listen to Mariss Jansons with the Bayerischer Rundfunk. Finally, we are delighted to welcome Riccardo Muti back to La Scala. He returns with two concerts with the Chicago Symphony, to conduct once again in the Theatre that he was Musical Director of for 19 years. Completing the programme are singing recitals, including some of the most celebrated voices on the international scene. One of the projects dearest to my heart is the “Great Shows for Children” programme, which next year, too, will bring tens of thousands of kids and their parents to La Scala to discover operas of the great repertoire in shortened form and featuring the musicians of the Academy. Added to the revival of Cinderella for Children is Il ratto dal serraglio (The Abduction from the Seraglio) by Mozart, in Italian and coinciding with the complete edition in the Opera Season, and five concerts preceded by an introduction for children. See you in your Theatre. Alexander Pereira



Royal Opera House

April 28

Listen: How does an opera singer’s voice actually work?

Vocal coach, Paul Farrington, and JPYA, David Junghoon Kim, at the Exploring the Voice Insight © ROH 2016. Photograph by Brian Slater Ever wondered how an opera singer manages to project their voice over a full orchestra? Or how tiny changes in posture can affect the vocal folds? Vocal coach Paul Farrington shared these secrets and more at a coaching session with Korean tenor and Jette Parker Young Artist David Junghoon Kim , as part of a recent Insights event celebrating the opening of the Wellcome Collection 's This is a Voice exhibition. Working with the aria ‘Recondita armonia’ from Act I of Puccini 's Tosca , Paul explores the 'passaggio ', the transition area between the vocal registers, which he refers to as ‘the gear box of the voice'. Read more: How opera singers take care of their voice 'If you were to drive down the road at 50 miles per hour in first or second gear, what kind of noise would the engine be making? It would really be working hard and the vocal folds are the same,' explains Paul. 'So we need to make sure that we are in the right gear for where we are in the range in order that the vocal folds are vibrating optimally'. During the session, Paul demonstrates how specific vocal techniques and movements can support a singer's passaggio. For instance, he introduces David to what he calls a 'minor and a major Shirley', recognisable diva-like movements associated with the singer Shirley Bassey . Vocal coach, Paul Farrington, and JPYA, David Junghoon Kim, at the Exploring the Voice Insight © ROH 2016. Photograph by Brian Slater Vocal coach, Paul Farrington, and JPYA, David Junghoon Kim, at the Exploring the Voice Insight © ROH 2016. Photograph by Brian Slater Vocal coach, Paul Farrington, and JPYA, David Junghoon Kim, at the Exploring the Voice Insight © ROH 2016. Photograph by Brian Slater Vocal coach, Paul Farrington, and JPYA, David Junghoon Kim, at the Exploring the Voice Insight © ROH 2016. Photograph by Brian Slater Vocal coach, Paul Farrington, and JPYA, David Junghoon Kim, at the Exploring the Voice Insight © ROH 2016. Photograph by Brian Slater Find out more about upcoming Insights events The Wellcome Collection's This is a Voice exhibition takes visitors on an acoustic journey, focusing on the meaning and emotion conveyed through rhythm, stress and intonation of the voice. Rather than the traditional understanding of the voice through linguistics, this exhibition explores its psychological and physiological origins, illustrated through paintings, manuscripts, illustrations and objects. In collaboration with the ROH, the exhibition also includes an interactive sound installation created by electronic musician Matthew Herbert . Chorus asks visitors to sing a note which is automatically added to an ever evolving chorus of voices, including performers and staff from the ROH. The installation can be heard in the exhibition space, on the Wellcome Collection website and via a listening post at the ROH's Stage Door on floral street. This is a Voice is a free exhibition at the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road. The exhibition runs until 31 July 2016. Voicings : As part of the exhibition, JPYA James Platt will be performing and demonstrating vocal exercises in a series of drop-in sessions from 12-12.20pm on 24-29 May.

Giacomo Puccini
(1858 – 1924)

Giacomo Puccini (22 December 1858 - 29 November 1924) was an Italian composer whose operas, including La bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot, are among the most frequently performed in the standard repertoire. Some of his arias, such as "O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi, "Che gelida manina" from La bohème, and "Nessun dorma" from Turandot, have become part of popular culture.



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