Saturday, July 30, 2016
Anna gets veristic, both in the recent past and the not-too-distant future. To begin with, here’s what she sounded like a couple of weeks ago in Manon Lescaut in Vienna, and La Cieca is hard pressed to think of a better high C from anybody. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ25SjoIeko This particular selection will not figure on the diva’s upcoming Verismo CD, but the rest of the programming sounds very luscious indeed. Here’s a leaked track list. Francesco Cilèa (1866 – 1950) Adriana Lecouvreur Act 1 1. “Ecco: respiro appena … Io son l’umile ancella” 3:42 Umberto Giordano (1867 – 1948) Andrea Chénier Act 3 2. “La mamma morta” 4:59 Giacomo Puccini (1858 – 1924) Madama Butterfly Act 2 3. “Un bel dì vedremo” 4:35 Turandot Act 1 4. “Signore, ascolta!” 2:41 Ruggiero Leoncavallo (1857 – 1919) Pagliacci Act 1 5. “Qual fiamma avea nel guardo! … Stridono lassù” 4:32 Alfredo Catalani (1854 – 1893) La Wally Act 1 6. “Ebben? … Ne andrò lontana” 3:55 Arrigo Boïto (1842 – 1918) Mefistofele Act 3 7. “L’altra notte in fondo al mare” 6:53 Amilcare Ponchielli (1834 – 1886) La Gioconda Act 4 8. “Suicidio! In questi fieri momenti” 4:35 Giacomo Puccini (1858 – 1924) Tosca Act 2 9. “Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore” 3:27 Anna Netrebko, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano Turandot Act 2 10. “In questa reggia” 6:12 Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov, Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano Manon Lescaut Act 2 11. “In quelle trine morbide” 2:48 Anna Netrebko, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano Act 4 12. “Tutta su me ti posa” 2:56 13. “Manon, senti, amor mio” 1:59 14. “Sei tu che piangi?” 4:38 15. “Sola perduta, abbandonata” 4:25 16. “Fra le tue braccia amore” 6:42 Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano
The first opera commission by Tanglewood was Peter Grimes. The second was Elephant Steps, with music by Stanley Silverman and libretto by Richard Foreman, who also directed the premiere in Tanglewood’s Shed on 7 August 1968. The production transferred in 1970 to Hunter Playhouse in New York City (where it won an Obie Award) and the Lake George Opera. Subtitled by its creators as “A Fearful Radio Show,” it reminded Jerome Robbins of Orson Welles’ 1938 broadcast of War of the Worlds. A critic for New York called it “The best piece of new music I’ve heard all year.” Another critic advised “not to ask what it is about; it is no more centered than life itself.” Silverman’s music, influenced by Händel, Purcell, Schoenberg, Django Reinhardt, Rodgers and Hart, and Cuban charanga, has been performed by musicians ranging from Pierre Boulez to Sting. His second opera with Foreman, Dr Selavy’s Magic Theatre, led the New York Times to describe him as “the brightest talent in this medium to come along since Leonard Bernstein.” Foreman, founder of the legendary Ontological-Hysteric Theater, creates a type of avant-garde, post-dramatic theater that unsettles and disorients received ideas and opens the doors for alternative models of perception, organization, and understanding. His more-than-60 plays, operas, films, and videos include titles such as Rhoda in Potatoland and Blvd. de Paris (I’ve Got the Shakes). Between 1968 and 1990, Silverman and Foreman further collaborated on Hotel for Criminals, American Imagination, Africanus Instructus, and Love & Science. Their one act opera Madame Adare was commissioned by New York City Opera and presented at New York State Theater as part of the 1980 American Trilogy project. It concerns a diva who has difficulty in deciding whether she should become a singer in the fashion of Barbra Streisand or Maria Callas, resolving to have a career in both styles after shooting her psychiatrist. They also joined forces—Silverman as music director and a band member, Foreman as director—of the New York Shakespeare Festival production of The Threepenny Opera starring Raul Julia and Ellen Greene which opened in 1976 at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater and transferred to the Delacorte Theater in Central Park the following summer. The production was nominated for Tony, Drama Desk, and Grammy Awards In Elephant Steps, Hartman is looking for enlightenment. He has a mysterious guru named Reinhardt. The reactionary forces keep warning him to stop seeing Reinhardt, but Reinhardt persists After visiting Nighttown, and then being abducted and grilled in a radio station, where he dreams of returning to his childhood, he finally climbs a ladder, looks in the window of Reinhardt’s house, and what he sees brings him illumination. The work was eventually recorded by CBS Masterworks and released as a two-LP set in 1974. Some 30 years after the premiere, I found myself in conversation with theater, film, and television actress Marilyn Sokol at a Broadway opening night party. When I mentioned that I first discovered her as the Ragtime Lady in Elephant Steps, without missing a beat she launched into her big number, “Watch Me Put My Right Foot through the Door,” delivering the entire song complete with high notes. Elephant Steps has been described as “stupendous, multi-sensory, original, diffuse, overwhelming, faintly frightening and always surprising.” To that, I’d like to add “unforgettable!” Stanley Silverman/Richard Foreman: Elephant Steps A Fearful Radio Show With Pop Singers, Opera Singers, Orchestra, Rock Band, Electronic Tape, Raga Group, Tape Recorder, Gypsy Ensemble, and Elephants ALL under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas Recorded 1973 in New York City Hartman – Philip Steele Max – Luther Enstad Otto – Larry Marshall Doctor – Roland Gagnon Rock Singer – Luther Rix Archangel – Michael Tilson Thomas Hannah – Susan Belling Ragtime Lady – Marilyn Sokol Scrubwoman – Karen Altman Post scriptum: If you missed my upload on Thursday of that evening’s Wiener Staatsoper performance of Manon Lescaut with Anna Netrebko and Marcello Giordani, you can find it here: https://www.mixcloud.com/Jungfer_Marianne_Leizmetzerin/
From the Metropolitan Opera: In order to conserve her vocal energies in a season that has included numerous performances of demanding repertory, Anna Netrebko has withdrawn from three of her eight scheduled performances of the title role in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut at the Met next season. In her place, Kristine Opolais—who starred in the premiere of the Met’s new staging earlier this year—will sing the role of Manon Lescaut on November 21, December 7, and December 10. In order to accommodate her added performances as Manon Lescaut, Ms. Opolais will withdraw from one of her scheduled performances of Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème. In her place, Hei-Kyung Hong will sing Mimì on December 8.
The cast of Wiener Staatsoper’s first-ever performance of Lulu in 1968 reads like a Who’s Who of then-contemporary Austro-German opera: the 28-year-old Anja Silja, Martha Mödl, Waldemar Kmentt, Hans Hotter, Hilde Konetzni, Manfred Jungwirth, Heinz Zednik, and Karl Böhm presiding over a production by Otto Schenk. Silja, who is still active in opera today at age 76, sang the title role in Wien 19perform Schigolch around the world into his 80s, memorably singing the part again in San Francisco in 1989. This is, of course, the original two-act version given until the death of the Widow Berg (who, some claim, was visited by Alban in her dreams and he told her not to release the third act of Lulu), which cleared the way for the discovery of exactly how much of the third act Berg did compose. This turned out to be considerably more than anyone thought and Viennese composer Frederic Cerha was engaged to complete the scoring according to Berg’s notes and fill in the missing bits. Unfortunately this was not completed in time for the Met’s premiere of the work, and—as in this performance—was concluded with the suite of the opera. With his music—particularly Wozzeck—deemed entartete Kunst (degerate art) by the Third Reich, Berg lost the will to complete the opera, turning his attention to his heartbreaking Violin Concerto, and instead composed a stand-alone concert suite which served as the finale to the opera until the legendary 1979 Paris premiere of Cerha’s edition. While the third act substantially alters the opera, turning it into a musical and dramatic palindrome, there is still much to admire in this truncated edition and serves as a showcase for the versatility of singers with reputations grounded in Wagner and Richard Strauss. Böhm’s clear, crisp conducting remains revelatory. Hereinspaziert! Alban Berg: Lulu Original Two Act Version Wiener Staatsoper Karl Böhm, conductor 16 December 1968 Lulu: Anja Silja Dr. Schön: Ernst Gutstein Alwa: Waldemar Kmentt Gräfin Geschwitz: Martha Mödl Schigolch: Hans Hotter Der Maler: William Blankenship Der Tierbändiger: Gerd Nienstedt Rodrigo: Oskar Czerwenka Der Prinz: Mario Guggia Der Theaterdirektor: Manfred Jungwirth Die Garderobiere: Hilde Konetzni Der Gymnasiast: Rohangiz Yachmi Der Kammerdiener: Heinz Zednik Der Medizinalrat: Hans Brand In case you missed it, last week I uploaded Anna Netrebko‘s performance of Richard Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder from a concert in Wien on 09 June conducted by Christian Thielemann. As always, you can find it here on my Mixcloud page.
Great opera singers