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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
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Artist Headlines
Dallas Opera Expands Titus Series
Opera News DeskBroadway World
Beginning in 2015, the series will be expanded to include an annual recital to showcase the previous year's Marilyn Horne Competition winners.
When Opera Singers Groove to the Motown Sound
Fred PlotkinWQXR
A surprising number of opera singers take an interest in the music of 1960s Motown, Fred Plotkin writes. Which Motown song do you think could work in a recital repertoire?
Just Asking: Opera singer Soloman Howard on the football field vs. the stage
Joe HeimWashington Post
When I tell people I sing opera, they say, “Why? There’s so many things you could have done. Why opera?” Well, that’s what my gift is. People will say opera’s boring. And I’ll say, “Have you ever really experienced the grandeur of opera on a large scale?”And most of them have never been to an opera to know how emotional it can be and how it encompasses all of the areas of performing arts and how physically demanding it is.
San Diego Opera's Keltner stepping down
James ChuteU-T San Diego
Karen Keltner, conductor of the San Diego Opera for more than three decades, is stepping down. Keltner’s last appearance as resident conductor will be Feb. 1, 2015, the final performance of the opera’s season opening production of “La Boheme” at the San Diego Civic Theatre.
Sioux City native tells of international success in opera
Ally KarsynSioux City Journal
Growing up in Sioux City, opera singer John Osborn dabbled in a bit of everything from sports like baseball, football and track to being an altar boy. Somewhere between church carnivals and Cub Scouts, he found time to do music and theater, too....
US funds an opera about its ugliest massacre
Norman LebrechtSlippedisc.com
The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded $80,000 towards the production costs of an opera on the 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam, when more than 300 civilians were slaughtered by US forces.The opera was commissioned by the Kronos quartet from composer Jonathan Berger and librettist Harriet Chessman. It is scheduled for pemiere in 2015 at Stanford University, where Berger is a music professor. He says: ‘I think it will be a reasonably abstract performance… We’re not going to have war scenes set out on the stage…No blood and gore.’
Irene Dalis, Opera Singer and Company Founder, Dies at 89
William YardleyThe New York Times
Irene Dalis, a versatile and fiery mezzo-soprano who starred at the Metropolitan Opera for two decades before building a second career as the director of Opera San José, an innovative company she founded in her California hometown, died on Sunday in nearby Saratoga, Calif. She was 89.
Gotham Chamber Opera Presents 'The Tempest Songbook' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Jaime PriscoClassicalite
The Tempest Songbook is comprised of incidental music for The Tempest composed in 1695 and attributed to Henry Purcell and Kaija Saariaho's 2004 Tempest Songbook for soprano, baritone and period instrument ensemble. This is the show's U.S. and world-stage premiere.

The performance will be a co-production with the Martha Graham Dance Co. The Martha Graham Dance Co. has received international acclaim from audiences in more than 50 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Smithsonian Sheet Music for Sale
Andrew R. ChowArtsBeat (The New York Times)
The Smithsonian Institution has teamed up with Sheet Music Plus, an online retailer of music manuscripts, to sell digitized sheet music from the Smithsonian’s collection. More than 400 titles went online this week, including music by Franz Liszt, Irving Berlin and the Broadway composer Harry Tierney.
Impresario Irene Dalis of Opera San José dies at 89
Joshua KosmanSan Francisco Chronicle
Irene Dalis, the San Jose native who established a starry international career as an operatic mezzo-soprano before returning to found and run Opera San José for 30 years, died Sunday in San Jose after a brief illness. She was 89.
Five Singers Win Opera News Award
Allan Kozinn ArtsBeat (NYT)
Opera News will honor five singers with its 2015 Opera News Award, a prize given annually by the magazine to recognize contributions to the opera world. The winners, who will received their awards at a gala at the Plaza Hotel on April 19, are the tenor Piotr Beczala; the bass-baritone Samuel Ramey; the bass Ferruccio Furlanetto; and the sopranos Sondra Radvanovsky and Teresa Stratas.
Cast announced for Puccini opera in Savannah
Linda SicklerSavannah Morning News
Full-fledged opera is coming to the 2015 Savannah Music Festival. A collaboration between the Savannah VOICE Festival and Savannah Music Festival will result in the performance of two Puccini operas during the first weekend of the music festival. The full cast, including some local singers, has been announced.
Russian opera diva Anna Netrebko invited to sing in east Ukrainian Donetsk
StaffTASS
World-acclaimed Russian opera singer, Anna Netrebko, who donated one million roubles (18,980 U.S. dollars) to the opera and ballet theatre in the war-gripped east Ukrainian city of Donetsk, has been invited to sing at this theatre after the warfare is over, the theatre’s director general Yevgeny Denisenko said in an interview with the Thursday issue of the Izvestia newspaper.
Opera singer regains voice after escaping domestic abuse
Ryan WhiteCTV News Calgary
The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter will be at capacity this holiday season, assisting women and children in their attempts to escape abuse. Barbara King was unaware of the shelter’s existence until she required help in 2008. The former gymnastics champion relocated to Calgary from Quebec after rediscovering her love of singing opera.


Walter Robot Infuses Cleveland Opera with Stunning Digital Display
Gabe ZaldivarTravel Pulse
Leoš Janácek's The Cunning Little Vixen got a crafty little update thanks to some brilliant collaborators who have worked with such artists as Modest Mouse.
Long Beach Opera Receives $30,000 NEA Grant For U.S. Premiere Of Marilyn Monroe Opera
StaffEverything Long Beach
Long Beach Opera (LBO) is thrilled to announce the award of $30,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). LBO is one of 917 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant, and the only organization from Long Beach represented on this year’s list of award recipients. The Artworks grant will support the U.S. premiere of Marilyn Forever by composer Gavin Bryars and librettist Marilyn Bowering.
Netrebko Donates 1M Roubles to Opera Theatre in Donetsk
Shaun WalkerThe Guardian
The Russian-Austrian opera soprano Anna Netrebko has given support to east Ukrainian separatists, posing with one of their top political leaders and holding up the flag of Novorossia, a self-declared amalgamation of territory that is seeking independence from Kiev.

Netrebko, who holds dual citizenship, was pictured with the flag during a press conference in St Petersburg over the weekend, where she announced she was donating 1m roubles (£12,000) to the Donetsk Opera Theatre.
Marina Abramovic Will Star in 'Seven Deaths' - A Film Based on Opera Singer Maria Callas
Jaime PriscoClassicalite
Performance artist, Marina Abramovic, will be filming a series of short films titled “Seven Deaths,” where she will play the part of legendary opera singer, Maria Callas. Roman Polanski will be directing the outing.
Composer Joins Warhol Opera Development in Philadelphia
Allan Kozinn The New York Times
When Opera Philadelphia announced “ANDY: A Popera,” a hybrid opera and cabaret show about Andy Warhol, the company had the cabaret side of the production fully in place: the Bearded Ladies, an experimental troupe, would put together the production, with John Jarboe directing, and with music by the group’s resident composer, Heath Allen. 

But the operatic side of the work remained a mystery until Monday, when the company said that it had engaged Dan Visconti, a 32-year-old composer whose music embraces both the rigorous side of contemporary music language and the rhythmic vitality of rock and jazz. The company also announced that the world premiere, originally planned for March, would be moved to September 2015
Show must go on in a war zone
Nataliya TrachKyivPost
It takes lead soprano singer Tetyana Plekhanova three hours to get to work. It's not because of the long commute, but because she has not been paid for months and has to walk to work. To feed herself, the opera diva trades her clothes for food. But that's not the worst part of it.

For Plekhanova and her colleagues, going to work is plain dangerous because they work in the Donetsk Opera and Ballet Theater, located in the rebel controlled territory, and have continued their practices and performance despite constant shelling in the city.
Lyric Opera Hints at How They’ll Stage the Ring Cycle
Graham MeyerChicago Magazine
t a media event Tuesday afternoon, in a windowless room deep in the bowels of the Civic Opera House, members of the creative team for Lyric Opera’s still-distant cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen gathered to hint at what audiences could expect when the four operas reach Lyric’s stage between 2016 and 2020. Those present received a few misty evocations of the character of the productions, and some negative information, too—so although we can’t really say what Lyric’s Ring is yet, we can say more about what it is not.
An Opera Offered on the Installment Plan
Allan Kozinn ArtsBeat (The New York Times)
For opera critics pondering the future of the form, the composer Lisa Bielawa’s latest work, “Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser,” offers a new twist. The work is a serial opera – serial in the television sense, not in the 12-tone sense – and although it will be filmed before live audiences, it is meant to be seen on television or online, in short installments that will be released over two years. The production will also include online extras, including video clips that look at the process of composing and staging the piece.
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Scalia? Set His Dissents to Music
Jess BravinThe Wall Street Journal
Justice Antonin Scalia , whose barbed wit entertains audiences at Supreme Court arguments, has some competition from Antonin Scalia, the fictional character. Like no justice before him, the 78-year-old jurist is being portrayed in works that draw on his words and legacy as the longest-serving sitting justice and one of the court’s most polarizing figures.
Rivals onstage, Lyric Opera stars are best of friends offstage
John von RheinChicago Sun-Times
On a recent afternoon backstage at Lyric Opera, Sondra Radvanovsky and Jamie Barton were behaving like the gal pals they are, hugging each other and singing each other's praises.

Quite the contrast to the emotional sparring partners the singers are playing in Lyric's new production of Gaetano Donizetti's “Anna Bolena” — the castoff consort Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour, Anne's lady-in-waiting and rival for the affections of the cruel King Henry VIII.
Nina Stemme: 'I have no interest in being a media product'
Rupert ChristiansenThe Telegraph
As the greatest dramatic soprano in the world returns to Covent Garden in Tristan und Isolde, she tell Rupert Christiansen how she's grown into the role and why she'll never sing crossover
Martina Arroyo Foundation celebrates 10th anniversary
Nino PantanoBrooklyn Eagle
On the evening of Nov. 17, the Martina Arroyo Foundation celebrated its 10th anniversary at the Essex House on Central Park South. Cecilia Teng, Gala chair, welcomed everyone and introduced Midge Woolsey from PBS and Brian Kellow from Opera News.
Fort Worth Opera to Showcase Works in Progress
Allan Kozinn ArtsBeat (NYT)
Time was when the best way to get a quick reading of what opera composers were thinking about and working on was to drop in at the New York City Opera’s annual Vox Contemporary Opera Lab programs, which offered first glimpses of works in progress. But the City Opera is no more, and other companies have taken up the challenge, including the Fort Worth Opera, which announced the program for its Frontiers series on Monday.
Mass art forms are falling out of fashion, director Peter Sellars warns
Hannah FurnessThe Telegraph
Mass art forms could be falling out of fashion as the younger generation no longer want to “sit in an opera house with 5,000 people”, the director Peter Sellars has said.
Opera company's strategic planner sees flowering of American projects
Casey LoganOmaha World-Herald
The art form’s future looks bright, according to Opera America President Marc Scorca, even as he acknowledges that opera faces some serious challenges in the 21st century.
Sale of New York City Opera's Remaining Assets Expected in Early 2015
Brian WiseOperavore (WQXR)
A sale of New York City Opera's remaining assets is expected take place as soon as January, after a bankruptcy court told the company it has until Dec. 18 to present a reorganization plan.
Steinberg: Opera is fini if the fat lady keeps singing
Neil SteinbergChicago Sun-Times
The good news is: advertising works. Ever since the newspaper started running an ad (Page 27 today) promoting our Sun-Times Goes to the Lyric contest, people who never brought up the subject before are asking me about opera.

“How do I get those tickets?” asked the Thomas-the-Tank-Engine Metra conductor.
A Christmas Carol Becomes an Opera Thanks to a Houston Grand Opera Commission
Margaret DowningHoustonPress
Until eight months ago, British composer Iain Bell was writing in his bedroom in London. That's where he did most of his work on the world premiere we're about to see of the operatic version of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. (He's since moved to a larger place with two rooms, one of which is an office)
Unpaid Artists, and All the Ways They Can Stay That Way
Jenna DouglasSchmopera
I came across two separate articles the other day, on the topic of artists working without pay. The first was this open letter to Oprah, written by Revolva, a professional hula hoop act and vaudeville performer. Apparently, Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend tour invited Revolva to work for their San Jose stop earlier this month. The catch: she’d be working for free.
Jake Heggie's golden moment for 'Great Scott'
Janelle GelfandCincinnati.com
It's crunch time for Jake Heggie. The composer of "Dead Man Walking," "Moby-Dick" and "The End of the Affair" is in town for a workshop with the creative team of his latest opera "Great Scott. This is the golden moment where, instead of just hearing it in my head, I get to hear it coming off the page," says the 53-year-old American composer, over coffee last week at the Netherland Hilton, Downtown.
At Washington National Opera, 20-minute operas are on the right track
Anne MidgetteThe Washington Post
The Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative commissions work from young composers. This is a good thing. I am not completely ready to embrace its premise that the best way to start is by commissioning 20-minute operas, because I’m not sure exactly what writing a short-form piece proves about a composer’s ability to write an evening-length work — any more than short-story writers are all necessarily great novelists. But thanks to this program, the company is giving out four commissions every year — three 20-minute operas and a one-hour opera — and that alone is cause for celebration.
Smartphone App, Tweet Seats Add Interactivity to Philadelphia Concert Halls
David Patrick StearnsOperavore
The technological barbarians are at the gate – and are being welcomed graciously. Only three years after an errant ringtone during the New York Philharmonic’s performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony sparked an international uproar, two august Philadelphia institutions are telling audiences to keep their phones on – within particular limits.
Joyful Opera Performed In Nazi Concentration Camp Revived In Chicago
Cheryl CoreyNPR
Brundibár, a children's opera that premiered during World War II, became both a symbol of hope and resistance and a Nazi propaganda tool. Now, Petite Opera, a small company in suburban Chicago, is reprising the opera, originally performed by Jewish children held in a concentration camp in occupied Czechoslovakia.
The Sale of Manhattan, Retold From a Native American Viewpoint
James BarronThe New York Times
Peter Minuit does not come off well in Brent Michael Davids’s concert opera “Purchase of Manhattan.” The libretto by Joseph Bruchac and Mr. Davids makes Minuit, the Dutch official who arranged the transaction, sound greedy and conniving. “I see handsome profits from this ground,” Minuit sings. A few bars later, he adds, “So dark and rich, the soil is gold!” And shortly after that, “Oh, bless me, Lord, I want this land.”
Feel the Noise: How to Appreciate Peking Opera
Kipp WhittakerThe Beijinger
We can all acknowledge that Chinese opera is very different from its Western counterpart. Although someone like Andrea Bocelli would probably make a fine eunuch on the Beijing stage, the similarities between the two styles are very limited. The use of gestures, acrobats, and cacophonous music is so alien to our cultural palate, but if you approach it with an open mind, the beauty of this amazing art form will eventually reveal itself. From the details of the costumes and makeup, to the other worldly sounds coming out of the performers, there is nothing else like it. Here are a few basic concepts to help newcomers get a better understanding of this art form, and clear your path to becoming a Mei Lanfang fanboy. 
Tenor Michael Fabiano: On La Bohème, Now at San Francisco Opera
Sean MartinfieldThe Huffington Post
Tenor Michael Fabiano is superb as Rodolfo in San Francisco Opera's current presentation of La Bohème. Already acclaimed for his command of the role, Fabiano's dynamic range, musical finesse and passionate energy shine in this exciting co-production with Houston Grand Opera and Canadian Opera Company. This final entry of SFOpera's fall season is performed by two extraordinary casts and runs through Sunday, December 2. Designed by David Farley, directed by John Caird and conducted by Giuseppe Finzi, the production is a must-see experience.
What We Learned From 'The Death of Klinghoffer'
Brian LehrerWNYC
The Metropolitan Opera's production of "The Death of Klinghoffer" has generated praise and protest, with many boycotting the production. Before the opera's run ends this weekend, we explore the real events portrayed on stage, the history of art and controversy, and offer a critic's roundtable.
Lincoln Center to Rename Avery Fisher Hall
Brian WiseWQXR
Lincoln Center said Thursday that it has reached an agreement to rename Avery Fisher Hall after a large donor as it prepares for a $500 million-plus gut renovation.
For versatile Eric Owens, it's now sweet home Chicago
John von RheinChicago Tribune
Eric Owens freely admits that as a young opera singer trying to build a career a couple of decades ago, he accepted just about every role that came along, grateful just to get the experience and the exposure. "When you're a young bass or bass-baritone, you don't specialize in anything," the 44-year-old Philadelphia native said the other week between rehearsals for Lyric Opera's revival of George and Ira Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess," in which he portrays the crippled beggar Porgy.
Opera Legend Martina Arroyo Helps Others to Raise the Bar
Cheryl WillisNY1
She helped break down racial barriers in the world of opera but soprano Martina Arroyo is still hitting the high notes with a new generation of singers.
Townsend and Fresno Grand opera companies to partner
Marijke RowlandThe Modesto Bee
In what is hoped will be a precedent-setting artistic partnership, Modesto’s Townsend Opera and the Fresno Grand Opera are joining forces. Matthew Buckman, the current Townsend general and artistic director, has been named the next general director of Fresno Grand Opera. He will serve as the head of both groups, merging the two companies’ production seasons to share costs and increase reach. Both companies will remain separate entities, with their own board of directors, but will produce the same operas moving forward.
Classic French opera ‘Carmen’ gets Afro-Cuban twist
Alina ZerpaThe Miami Hurricane
Bongos fill the air as actors walk around in guayaberas and colorful dresses. Soon, the lights shut off and all eyes fall on the woman in the spotlight as she opens the play with her sultry voice while provocatively smoking a cigar. The classical French opera “Carmen” premiered Wednesday with an Afro-Cuban twist at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre and will run through Nov. 23. University of Miami students teamed up with New York’s Tectonic Theater Project to transport the opera to a 1958 Cuban setting where 14 of the 20 actors are UM students.
Opera San Jose takes on Rossini's 'The Italian Girl in Algiers' for the first time
Crystal ChowSan Jose Mercury News
In Rossini's comedy The Italian Girl in Algiers, the heroine Isabella has to figure out how to deflect the amorous moves of a very married sultan. She must be cunning, resourceful and charming. Not a problem for mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez, who will sing the part in Opera San Jose's premiere production of this seldom seen work, which runs Nov. 15-30 at the California Theatre.
Obituary: Johan Engels, Stage designer known for work at Lyric Opera
Maureen O'DonnellChicago Sun-Times
When the curtain goes up to reveal the phosphorescent dreams and menacing nightmares of Johan Engels, audiences gasp. Though the stage designer died Friday, Chicago audiences will continue to see his work for several years in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s ultramarathon of classicial music, Wagner’s “Ring” cycle.
Met Asks Stars to Share Fiscal Pain
Michael CooperThe New York Times
The Metropolitan Opera, whose financial struggles led it to cut the pay of its orchestra, chorus, stagehands and other workers last summer after a labor battle, said Wednesday that it was also asking its solo singers voluntarily to lower their fees, including some of opera’s biggest stars.
Here's a startup idea: take opera, add beer, put it in Brooklyn
Daniel RobertsFortune.com
Not every opera company has the budget of The Metropolitan Opera. But smaller companies are earning crowds and buzz thanks to unique, alternative models in creative venues.

Fall 2014 Magazine Issue
  • Are Women Different?
  • Preparing for Klinghoffer
  • Emerging Artists: Act One


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