Potpourri of Opera News

Ciao, Opera Mavens. Lots of hot opera news this evening, mostly out of NY.

Profits decline for Metropolitan Opera broadcasts

New York Post – The Metropolitan Opera’s plan to push high-definition video performances into movie theaters worldwide to boost revenue isn’t panning out.

Protesters Demand That Met Opera Cancel Show Some Call Anti-Semitic

CBS New York – Jewish groups this week were trying to get the Metropolitan Opera to cancel an opera based on the cruise ship murder of a Jewish businessman …

Met Opera’s Peter Gelb Gives Unions Ultimatum: Contract In One Week Or Lockout

The New York Times story. Storm clouds brewing. Will the Met open Sep 22?

When Richard Strauss Faced Down American GIs
The New Yorker story by Alex Ross, author of The Rest is Noise.

Die Walküre – An Amazing View from a Dozen ROH Cameras

At this site you can see Bryn Terfel in Act 3 of the Royal Opera’s production of Die Walküre from every angle caught by the HD cameras. This goes along with comments by the Technical Director and the Stage Director as it is happening. You can even follow along with the score and the prompter’s book. Be careful. You could get hooked on this. http://www.roh.org.uk/opera-machine

David Pogue makes opera debut at Wolf Trap with Google Glass in ‘Carmen’

Washington Post http://tinyurl.com/phweql3. Technology writer David Pogue at Wolftrap with Google Glass. (Pogue, by the way, is author of Opera for Dummies.)

Opera and a Whole Lotta Lederhosen

Ciao, Opera Mavens.

Geneva has a production of La Wally available at http://tinyurl.com/nu7eu6s.
La Wally by Alfredo Catalani is rarely produced. It premiered in 1892 (verismo times) but sort of dropped off the map until the aria “Ebben? Ne andrò lontana” (“Well, then? I’ll go far away,” near the end of Act 1) was sung by American soprano Wilhelmenia Fernandez in Jean-Jacques Beineix‘s 1981 thriller movie Diva. This Geneva production has lots and lots of lederhosen and  one of the most unbelievable endings you’ll ever see (if you last that long) which might explain why La Wally doesn’t even appear in The Victor Book of the Opera, at least not in my editions.

Other Opera Streams Worth Noting

Orfeo (Christoph Willibald von Gluck)
Available now, ends July 29. La Monnaie, Brussels, new production of Berlioz’s 1859 French version with Stephanie d’Oustrac as Orfeo.

La Damnation du Faust (Hector Berlioz)
Verbier Festival OrchestraCharles Dutoit conducting Ruxandra Donose, Charles Castronovo (Merola 1998) and Willard White:

L‘Orfeo (Claudio Monteverdi)
Sunday, July 27 at 9am only: Bayerischer Staatsoper, Munich

Ariodante (Georg Friedrich Handel)
From Aix en Provence 2014 with Sarah Connolly, Patricia Petibon, Sandrine Piau, Sonia Prina, and David Portillo (Merola 2005-2006). http://tinyurl.com/om6ghyk

La Fanciulla del West (Giacomo Puccini)
July 30 through January 30, 2015: Opéra Bastille directed by Nikolaus Lehnhoff with Nina Stemme and Marco Berti conducted by Carlo Rizzi.

Headcount for SF Opera’s La Traviata at the Ballpark
A great, extremely attentive crowd of 26,000 enjoyed a perfect evening of opera in the outdoors.

Here’s an Exciting New Blog You Might Take a Look At
This blog belongs to the SF Opera Guild’s Director of Education, Andrew Berger:

See Who You Think This Voice Most Resembles
Tenor Joseph Wolverton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBsZNoCM9bg


July 2014 Performances – Part II

Ciao, Opera Mavens. Here are more opera-tunities for you  to enjoy this month:

AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS  www.americanbach.org or 415-621-7900
L’Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (Handel) – Sublime oratorio set to words by John Milton, whose poems about joyful and contemplative man inspired the composer to new heights of humanist expression. Performed by instrumentalists and singers from the 2014 ABS Academy, this lavish panoply of more than 30 arias and choruses is a musical delight and part of the 2014 ABS Festival.
Fri Jul 18 at 8pm, SF Conservatory of Music Concert Hall, 50 Oak St, San Francisco

MIDSUMMER MOZART FESTIVAL  www.midsummermozart.org or 415-596-5712
Program I: Symphony 40 – Program includes the overture to Marriage of Figaro and arias performed by mezzo Tania Mandzy Inala; George Cleve conducting.
Sat Jul 19 at 7:30pm, Bing Concert Hall, Stanford University
Sun Jul 20 at 7pm, First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Program II: Mozart Bouquet – Program includes music from Abduction from the Seraglio, Magic Flute, Clemenza di Tito performed by mezzo Anna Yelizarova and the SF Boys Chorus conducted by Ian Robertson.
Fri Jul 25 at 7:30pm, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco
Sat Jul 26 at 8pm, First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Sun Jul 27 at 3pm, Bing Concert Hall, Stanford University

LYRIC THEATRE  www.lyrictheatre.org or 408-986-1455
The Prince of Pilsen (Luders) – Widowed brewer Hans Wagner and his daughter travel to Nice where Hans is mistaken for Carl Otto, the true Prince of Pilsen; when the prince finds out he decides to take advantage of the mistake, and all are caught up in a series of romantic escapades. Tickets $26; semi-staged in English with supertitles.
Sat Jul 26 at 8pm and Sun Jul 27 at 2pm, Recital Hall, Santa Clara University

WEST EDGE OPERA  www.westedgeopera.org or 510-841-1903
La Boheme (Puccini) – Experience anew this perennial favorite; you’ll feel as though you’re part of the action as the opera unfolds around you! In Italian with English supertitles; directed by Mark Streshinsky, Jonathan Khuner conducting.
Sat Jul 26 and Fri Aug 1 at 8pm, Sun Aug 10 at 3pm
Hydrogen Jukebox (Glass) – Alan Ginsberg’s poetry, set to Philip Glass’s pulsating lyricism, captures the heart and heartache of America. Featuring sopranos Sara Duchovnay and Molly Mahoney, mezzo Nicole Takesono, tenor Jonathan Blalock, baritone Efrain Solis (Adler 2014), and bass Kenneth Kellogg; directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer, David Möschler conducting.
Sun Jul 27 at 5pm, Sat Aug 2 and Fri Aug 8 at 8pm
The End of the Affair (Heggie) – Based on Graham Greene’s novel, the story of a woman who makes a promise she must keep that will change her whole world. Featuring soprano Carrie Hennessey, mezzo Donna Olson, baritones Philip Cutlip and Philip Skinner (Adler 1986-87); directed by Mark Streshinsky, Jonathan Khuner conducting.
Sun Aug 3 at 3pm, Thu Aug 7 and Sat Aug 9 at 8pm
All performances at Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline St (Ashby BART), Berkeley

POCKET OPERA  www.pocketopera.org or 415-972-8934
The Merry Widow (Lehar) – Soprano Lindsay Roush is Anna Glavari, who has recently become the richest woman in Europe and takes Paris by storm in this waltz-strewn romantic comedy. Presented with original English translation by Music Director Donald Pippin. Tickets $42 General, $39 Seniors.
Sun Jul 27 at 2pm, Berkeley Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley

WAFFLE OPERA  www.waffleopera.com
Cosi fan tutte (Mozart) – One night only, a special concert performance by Waffle Opera’s young artists including hot waffles, cool raffles, games, and good times for all! Tickets $25 General, $15 Seniors, Under 30, and Center members, available through brownpapertickets.com or at the door; all proceeds support our full production of Don Giovanni in October.
Sun Jul 27 at 3pm, Center for New Music, 55 Taylor St, San Francisco

OPEN OPERA  http://openopera.net/events.html
Concert in the Park – Maestra Julia Nielsen hosts this annual event, an exciting cast of young singers presenting a feast of the most famous and sensual opera duets. Featuring sopranos Eileen Meredith, Angela Moser and Cass Panuska, mezzo Lisa van der Ploeg, tenor Alex Boyer (OSJ 2008-13), and baritones Torlef Borsting (OSJ 2010-11) and Bradley Kynard accompanied by pianist James Meredith. Bring a blanket, umbrella, chair, kids and/or dogs; hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, soda, beer and wine available for purchase. *FREE* admission and parking.
Sun Jul 27 at 4pm, Orinda Community Park, 28 Orinda Way, Orinda

OPERA SAN JOSE  www.operasj.org or 408-437-4450
Opera Pops – Symphony Silicon Valley and OSJ collaborate on an evening of vocal pyrotechnics. Maestro Peter Jaffee conducts an evening of arias, songs, and comic turns from opera and operettas, featuring members of OSJ’s resident company. *FREE* event includes ice cream social!
Sun Jul 27 at 5:30pm, San Jose State University Tower Lawn (behind MLK Library at 4th and San Fernando), downtown San Jose

MEROLA OPERA PROGRAM  www.merola.org or 415-565-6427
Don Giovanni (Mozart) – With more than 2,000 romantic conquests, Don Giovanni lives life in the fast lane until a mysterious meeting with a statue begins his downward spiral; from overture to epilogue, this opera is considered by many to be Mozart’s greatest work. Directed by James Darrah, Martin Katz conducting.
Thu Jul 31 at 7:30pm and Sat Aug 2 at 2pm, Everett Auditorium, 450 Church St, SF


The Streetcar and the Operas

Ciao, Opera Mavens. Last evening a packed house at Everett Auditorium in San Francisco saw a stunning performance of Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire. Presented by this year’s crop of Merolinis, it’s a pity they are offering only two performances. The second performance is Saturday afternoon, July 12, at 2pm. If you can manage to get in, it’s a thrilling opera experience.

In other news:

Conductor Julius Rudel died last week at age 93. He conducted nine different operas at the SF Opera between 1979 and 1999.

Good news, especially for Rossini fans. You will be delighted when you stream La Gazzetta from Wallonie in Liege, Belgium. This opera was premiered four months before “Barber” and eleven months before Cenerentola. You will be amazed at how much Rossini musically borrowed from himself. In fact, the Gazzetta’s overture seems to have been transferred intact to Cenerentola. The production is kooky but fun, especially the costumes. And you will howl when the “faux Quakers” arrive near the end of Act 1. http://tinyurl.com/lghr6e5.

More good news. The Bregenz [Austria] Festival Magic Flute is now available on YouTube. Like me, many of you wanted to see it last year but timing didn’t work out. The Bregenz floating stage, with 7,000 seats, is the location for large-scale outdoor opera performances on a stage over water on the shores of Lake Constance. Opera purists may not like the David Poutney production, but it is fun and definitely spectacular. Patrick Summers, SF Opera’s Principal Guest Conductor, presides. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDu8RiZVteU. If you don’t like this Magic Flute you can pick from more than a half dozen other Magic Flutes offered by YouTube.

Le Comte Ory (Rossini comedy). From Lyon last February. http://tinyurl.com/pv3wmj6

A 2-Minute Touch of Tosca with Happy Feet.