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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
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
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.
Three operatic works staged this week at Crane as part of opera composition contest
Chris BrockWatertown Daily Times
Opera is getting a huge shoutout at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music this week as students prepare productions of three new operatic works to be staged Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Six accomplished composers and librettists from around the country have traveled to Potsdam to work with the Crane Opera Ensemble and Orchestra, leading up to the public performances, featuring the winners of the 2014 Domenic J. Pellicciotti Opera Composition Prize.
David Budbill and Erik Nielsen to Reprise A Fleeting Animal Opera
Amy LillySeven Days VT
After Brookfield composer Erik Nielsen finished writing his first opera, A Fleeting Animal, in 2000, he says, "I couldn't write a note of music for six months. It drained me. It was a tremendous undertaking." The work was commissioned by Vermont Opera Theater in Montpelier and written with librettist David Budbill of Wolcott, who drew its plot from his poem-turned-play Judevine. It premiered in October that year with acclaimed performances at three Vermont venues. Then it disappeared from view.
Soprano Renee Fleming at 55: 'I May Leave Well Enough Alone'
ReutersThe New York Times
Super Bowl fans heard her hit a creamy "high A" note when she sang "The Star Spangled Banner" in February, and she has a jazzy new Christmas album. But people who want to see Renee Fleming in the operas that made her "America's sweetheart" better hurry.
Opera Now artist of the month: British soprano Mary Bevan
Owen MortimerClassical Music Magazine
The Bevan family are every music marketeer’s dream. A musical dynasty with their own family choir, at least three members of the current generation are already pursuing successful careers in opera. Elder sister Sophie was the Young Artist category winner at the first ever International Opera Awards and now Mary, who received this year’s Critics’ Circle Exceptional Young Talent Award, is enjoying her own meteoric rise.
When Stalin Met Lady MacBeth
Brian MoynahanThe Daily Beast
Dmitri Shostakovich’s opera, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, was a hit in Russia until the night Stalin walked out on a Bolshoi performance. Then things soured in a hurry.
Remember Radiolab's Episode On Lucy The Chimp? Well, Now It's An Opera
Bonnie North and Audrey NowakowskiWUWM Milwaukee Public Radio
Thanks to Radiolab's story on the life of Lucy the chimpanzee, Lucy: The Opera now exists. Creators of the opera, John Glover and Kelly Rourke, were inspired by the episode to learn more, which lead them to Dr. Temerlin's memoir. Psychologist Maurice Temerlin and his wife adopted a day-old chimp, whom they named Lucy, in 1964.
The Hand That Rules the Chorus
Zachary WoolfeThe New York Times
Once the rehearsal process for a production at the Metropolitan Opera moves from basement rooms to the main auditorium, Donald Palumbo, the company’s chorus master since 2007, gets uncomfortable sitting down. He walks restlessly up and down the aisles, score in hand, watching the stage, conferring with the conductor, making notes in his head.

Savannah Music Fest runs gamut from opera to Americana
Joshua PeacockDo Savannah
The 26th annual Savannah Music Festival is set to offer one of the largest programs in the festival’s history, as well as a new addition that is sure to appease repeat patrons.
Musical America Names Director Peter Sellars Artist of the Year
Brian WiseOperavore
Musical America has named opera and theater director Peter Sellars as its 2015 Artist of the Year. The announcement comes less than a month after his iconoclastic production of Bach's St. Matthew Passion was staged by the Berlin Philharmonic at the Park Avenue Armory.
Portland Opera Turns 50 This Year—and One Woman Has Been There For It All
Aaron ScottMonthly Portland Theater
In 1964, Portland Opera staged its first show, Die Fledermaus, in Madison High School’s cafeteria. Frances Britt was a chorus girl with the fledgling company, which had branched off from a city-organized event. Since then, she’s been involved in almost every one of the opera’s 219 productions. After swapping her role as singer for the backstage duties of costume manager in 1982, Britt has sewn thousands of outfits, creating new ones for the company’s original productions and altering costumes from shows rented from other opera houses. As Portland Opera begins its 50th-anniversary season this month (with Die Fledermaus, of course) we talk with the woman, now 78, who has seen, and dressed, it all.
Enrico Caruso’s love letters have the passion of a Puccini opera
Dalya AlbergeThe Guardian
The previously unpublished private papers of Enrico Caruso, one of the greatest singers of the last century, have come to light for the first time. Love letters with the passion of a Puccini opera are among hundreds of documents charting his rise to world fame and his troubled personal life.
Opera in the Age of Anxiety
Keith CernyTheater Jones
 If you talk to virtually any board leader of any American opera company about their audience—or a General Director, for that matter—you are likely to hear three, interrelated concerns. The first is that opera audiences, and opera donors, are “aging out,” and are not being replaced with enthusiastic supporters from the next generation. The second concern is that the opera audience is not sufficiently representative of the community, in terms of income and ethnic background. 
Portland Opera at 50: grander and weirder than you thought
David StablerThe Oregonian
You think you know your local opera company. They're the folks who put on the "Carmens" and the "Toscas." The people who let us enjoy powerful, unamplified voices pushed to the limits. Who give us moments of tenderness, sweetness and sorrow.

Then, suddenly, they turn 50 and you wonder, how did that happen?
Opera Star Joyce DiDonato Will Sing National Anthem at Game 7
Karen CrouseThe New York Times
The Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie was not the only person with Kansas City ties who spent Tuesday fervently hoping for the opportunity to perform on Wednesday at a World Series Game 7. The opera singer Joyce DiDonato, who grew up in Kansas City as an avid baseball fan, got the call from Major League Baseball to sing the national anthem for the game, should it be necessary.
In a Busy Train Station, a Postmodern Opera Takes Shape
Julie BaumgardnerThe New York Times
“Most people think of opera as institutionalized, like museums,” confides the director Yuval Sharon. “I believe that opera is an emerging art. If you look at developments in all the other fields — visual, theater, music, architecture — everything is moving toward the interdisciplinary; and the interdisciplinary is the kernel of what opera is.” 
Portland Opera makes dramatic move to summer seasons beginning in 2016: 'We want to avoid death by 1,000 paper cuts'
David StablerThe Oregonian
Portland Opera is planning to undergo the biggest change in its 50-year history. Beginning in 2016, the company will perform its entire season in a compressed, 12-week summer period.
Opera Southwest premieres long-forgotten Hamlet opera
StaffAlbuquerque Journal
For Artistic Director Anthony Barrese this was a labor of passion, perhaps obsession. But labor certainly and nonetheless a formidable task. The fruits of his painstaking work at long last came to fruition on Sunday at the National Hispanic Cultural Center when Opera Southwest gave the stunning premiere of the long lost and forgotten “Amleto” (Hamlet) by Franco Faccio. The opera had been performed only once before, the 1865 premiere given by an ailing tenor badly received, causing Faccio to withdraw the work and never compose again.
Sarasota Opera caters to connoisseurs and opera-phobes
Marty ClearBradenton Herald
If you're not an opera fan, your image of the art form is probably shaped by the stereotypes from TV sitcoms or movies. People in tuxedoes sitting in balcony boxes. A large woman in a Viking helmet and pigtails over-emoting as she sings foreign words with an annoying voice. Men who have been forced to attend by their wives falling asleep as the opera stretches into it sixth hour. Or maybe you've just heard opera on the radio and you think it's unintelligible. Those perceptions are wrong.
Florida Grand Opera comes to Hialeah
Marisol MedinaMiami Herald
The visit is part of Opera Lab, a Florida Grand Opera program that visits South Florida high schools throughout the school year to show students how opera can relate to their classes, how they can learn about backstage careers and how to appreciate the centuries-old art form.
Opera for the impatient
Carrie SeidmanSarasota Herald Tribune
Opera, one of the world's most venerable and enduring art forms, has struggled in recent years. Aging patrons, an air of elitism, steep ticket prices, a younger generation's unfamiliarity with the art form and increased competition for the entertainment dollar have all contributed to a gradual decline in attendance.
The Anti-'Klinghoffer' Protests Are the Best Thing That Could Happen to the Metropolitan Opera
Raphael MagarikNew Repbulic
John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer opened at the Metropolitan Opera Monday night amid angry protests. The opera is based on the real-life, 1985 hijacking of a cruise-ship by Palestinian terrorists and their brutal killing of Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound, 69-year-old American Jew. Inside Lincoln Center, the opera opened with paired choruses—a tense Chorus of Exiled Palestinians and a mournful Chorus of Exiled Jews—while outside, demonstrators shouted, somewhat less mellifluously, “Terror is not art!”
Florentine Opera Offers Residencies For Young Conductors
Bonnie North and Audrey NowakowskiWUWM
A collaboration between The Solti Foundation U.S. and Florentine Opera offers two emerging conductors, one now and one in the spring, private coaching and mentorship as well as opportunities to conduct staging/orchestra rehearsals.
Stickboy a bold gambit for Vancouver Opera
David Gordon DukeThe Vancouver Sun
Even before it opens tonight at the Vancouver Playhouse, Vancouver Opera’s Stickboy (by writer Shane Koyczan and composer Neil Weisensel) has already made its mark on opera culture.

Meryl Streep on for biopic of off-key opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins
Ben ChildThe Guardian
Meryl Streep is to star in a biopic of the famously awful opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins for director Stephen Frears, reports Variety.
Colorful productions of Opera Week celebrate the vocal arts
Mary Kunz Goldman The Buffalo News
Like Viva Vivaldi and “Baba Yaga,” Opera Week is fast becoming an autumn tradition for music-minded Western New Yorkers.

Every year, the celebration – which burst on the scene in 2012 – seems to get a little bit richer. This year’s festival, which kicks off today with a ceremony in the Buffalo and Erie County Central Library, celebrates more than opera. It embraces a wide variety of vocal arts.
Twin Cities Opera and Choral Composer Stephen Paulus Dies at 65
Ian HalubiakClassicalite
A leading figure in Minnesota's classical composing circle and an author of nearly 60 orchestral scores, 10 operas and 150 choral pieces, Stephen Paulus has died. He was 65. The Twin Cities composer, who might be best known for his 1982 opera The Postman Always Rings Twice, suffered a stroke last year that had been affecting his health up until he died Sunday, Oct. 19.

Indiana University Opera Hopes to Score in Football Stadium
Brian WiseOperavore
In the heart of basketball country, Indiana University's football team has long elicited collective sighs and groans. The school generates the second-lowest football revenue in the Big Ten and historically has had trouble filling 52,000-seat Memorial Stadium. The team's fall record is 3-3 – in advance of a daunting match-up Saturday against Michigan State.

All too aware of this, Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music announced Friday that it will present a live simulcast of its production of Puccini's La boheme on the stadium's Jumbotron. The simulcast, dubbed "Opera in the End Zone," will take place on October 24. Tickets will be free.  
De Blasio Blasts Giuliani For Protesting ‘Klinghoffer’ Opera
Ross BarkanNew York Observer
“I don’t want to judge something that I haven’t seen. I think that there’s a serious problem today in the world that has nothing to do with this opera. I’ve spoken about it many times,” he said. “There’s an anti-Semitism problem in this world today, particularly in Western Europe that worries me greatly. That’s where my focus is.”
Multimedia opera probes Wikileaks and Chelsea Manning
Noah HurowitzBrooklyn Daily
"The Source,” a new opera premiering at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Oct. 22–25, is all about espionage and information. The composer of the piece said he wrote the play after he became fascinated by how Americans interact with an array of data far too vast for any one person to consume.
The Depth of Klinghoffer: What Does the Controversy Say about Freedom of Expression?
Fred PlotkinOperavore
There is an opera at the Metropolitan Opera right now that is causing a great deal of discussion in the media and among the public in which an innocent man is murdered onstage and his killer sings an exultant aria. This opera is Macbeth by Giuseppe Verdi.
Lori Laitman and Dana Gioia Talk About Their New Opera, Opening This Week at Virginia Tech
Susan Dormady EisenbergHuffington Post
The premiere of a new American opera is always a cause for celebration, and a work for children is especially heartening since today's youth should be tomorrow's audience. But the rehearsal phase of Lori Laitman and Dana Gioia's The Three Feathers also offered "something rare," according to Ruth Waalkes, executive director of the Center for the Arts and associate provost for the arts at Virginia Tech, where the opera debuts this week.
Vancouver Opera tackles issue of bullying with ‘Stick Boy’
Ben WilsonNews1311
It’s a provocative, emotional opera that looks at the issue of bullying and what it can do to a young person. Vancouver Opera is presenting the world premiere of “Stick Boy.”
Opera Ithaca launches with 'Bluebeard's Castle'
Barbara Adamsithaca Journal
What began as a stand-alone creative project among four artists — two singers, a pianist and choreographer — ended with founding a new professional opera company in Ithaca.
How Millennials Are Reshaping Charity And Online Giving
Elise HuNPR
Millennials are spending — and giving away their cash — a lot differently than previous generations, and that's changing the game for giving, and for the charities that depend on it.
An Opera Under Fire
Zachary WoolfeThe New York Times
When the arts play with contemporary history, they play with fire. The Metropolitan Opera has learned this lesson anew in the furious protests that have raged in advance of the company premiere, on Monday, of John Adams’s ruminative, unsettled, unsettling 1991 operatic masterpiece, “The Death of Klinghoffer.” Another simple, straightforward title concealing another story of seething pain from the recent past, “Klinghoffer” is a reflection on the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro by Palestine Liberation Front militants, who murdered Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled Jewish-American passenger.

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

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