Monday, January 23, 2017
Soprano Renee Fleming has been entertaining and thrilling audiences for a long time. Still, there is excitement when we get a new recording by this fine artist. Her new CD is titled ‘Distant Light’, and it features the following: Samuel Barber: Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24 Bjork: Virus Joga All is Full of Love, arr. Hans Ek Hillborg: ‘The Strand Settings’ the world premiere recording. All selections performed by Renée Fleming (soprano), with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Sakari Oramo conducting. ‘Distant Light’ is Renée Fleming’s first journey into the amazing world of Scandinavian music. For her first new studio album in three years she has chosen to inspire us with a daring mix of music. The title comes from a poem in a new song cycle dedicated to Renée and here receiving its world premiere recording: Anders Hillborg’s ‘The Strand Settings’. “At once atmospheric, elegiac and unsettling, the work was crafted with Ms. Fleming’s creamy voice in mind”, wrote the New York Times at its first performance in 2013. One of Sweden’s brightest star composers Hillborg has a close relationship with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic where this recording was made in February 2016 with its principal conductor Sakari Oramo. Renée couples this with three songs by Björk in specially commissioned orchestrations by the brilliant Swedish composer and arranger Hans Ek, recorded here for the first time. Why Björk? Both she and Renée are recipients of Sweden’s Polar Music Prize. Both dare to be original. In the fascinating booklet interview Renée talks about her admiration for Björk: “Her originality is breathtaking. She just blazes her own path forward”. Renée chooses the songs which mean the most to her personally and musically. The Guardian wrote a few days ago: “As a vehicle for the soaring purity of Fleming’s voice, and as an evocation of Strand’s very finely etched sensibility, Hillborg’s settings are genuinely beautiful and their cumulative effect is powerful…” Here is Renee Fleming:
Droit du seigneur…OMG The Harvard College Opera Society , formerly the Dunster House Opera Society, began 25 years as the University’s premier undergraduate company. HCO now presents one full-length opera each February with an entirely-undergraduate cast and production team. This year’s Le Nozze di Figaro features over 50 students from Harvard College, Boston Conservatory, New England Conservatory, and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. According to stage director Joule Voelz, “Our 25th-Anniversary production attempts to capture the timeless quality of Mozart’s musical exploration of love and human weakness. In the vaguely 18th-century Rene Magritte-inspired palace of Count Almaviva, our familiar cast of characters meet to play out a day of folly. Members of our eclectic ensemble all sport distinctive quirks: Marcellina an aging flapper, Basilio a carnival barker, and more. It’s not a period piece, but rather an anti-period piece that aims to suspend disbelief for the sake of comedy that cuts across all limits of time and space.” HOC’s Marriage of Figaro runs on February 1st, 3rd and 4th at 7:00 PM, with an additional matinee on February 5th at 2:00 PM at Agassiz Theater on the Harvard University campus (10 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA). Tickets ($10-$20) may be purchased through the Harvard Box Office (1350 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA – 617.496.2222) or at the door pending availability. Tickets to the opening night performance on February 1st will be free. Conductor Sasha Scolnik-Brower ’17 has led multiple orchestras during his time at Harvard including the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra, Mozart Society Orchestra, and the Bach Society Orchestra. As a cellist, he is currently enrolled in the dual degree program of Harvard University and the New England Conservatory in the studio of Paul Katz. Stage Director Joule Voelz returns with her second production with the company. Most recently, she staged HCO’s spring 2016 production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and assistant directed the New York dell’Arte Opera Ensemble’s summer production of Massenet’s Manon. The Harvard College Opera Society, formerly the Dunster House Opera Society, was founded in 1992 by Dunster House students as the premier undergraduate opera company dedicated to making opera more accessible to the greater Harvard community. Harvard College Opera presents one full-length opera each February with an entirely undergraduate cast and production team. Throughout the academic year, HCO hosts a variety of smaller-scale events, from opera screenings to free recitals of songs, arias, and opera scenes. 2017 marks Harvard College Opera’s fourth year performing in the historic Agassiz Theater after leaving its residency in Dunster House in 2013. About the performers: At Harvard University Hunter York (Figaro) has previously performed in shows with Lowell House Opera, Harvard College Opera (HCO), and the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan Players. His most recent role was in HCO’s 2016 production as Sellem in The Rake’s Progress, and his most recent performance was a masterclass in November with Sherezade Panthaki. He is currently studying voice under Thomas Jones. A proud member of the Board of Harvard College Opera, Arianna Paz (Susanna) is thrilled to be singing Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. During her time at Harvard, Arianna has performed in Ruddigore; or, the Witch’s Curse (Rose Maybud), The Rake’s Progress (Anne Trulove Cover/Chorus), H.M.S. Pinnafore; or, the Lass That Loved a Sailor (Cousin Hebe), and Into the Woods (Cinderella). She is on the board of the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan Players and recently joined Harvard’s oldest all-female a cappella group, The Radcliffe Pitches. Arianna was also a participant in master classes with Anna Gasteyer and Laura Osnes. Prior to Harvard, Arianna studied at the CAP21 Musical Theatre Conservatory in New York City, worked as a classical voice intern at the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, and performed in numerous cabaret shows at the Metropolitan Room in New York City. Christina Bianco (Countess Almaviva), the current president of Harvard College Opera, has also been involved in productions with the Harvard Early Music Society, the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert & Sullivan Players, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club. This summer she interned with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Documentary Group, and the Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble. Christina is a lyric soprano and has been singing ever since she was 12 years old. She was the winner of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition (2012) and the Bel Canto Foundation Competition (2012). She performed as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and sang the National Anthem at a Chicago Cubs game. She has additionally performed in concerts in Italy and Russia. Christina has performed in masterclasses with Renee Fleming, Edwin Outwater, Duain Wolfe, Martin Katz, among others. . A recent graduate of Harvard College, Maddie Studt (Cherubino) has been an active performer on campus for the last four years. As a soloist, she appeared with the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum and the Harvard Glee Club, singing major works such as Copland’s “In the Beginning” and Brahms’ “Alto Rhapsody.” Her previous opera credits include Baba (cover) in HCO’s 2016 production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and Orfeo in an independent production of Glück’s Orfeo ed Euridice. This spring, she will appear in the role of Utusan in Opera Brittenica’s production of Noli Mi Tangere. Praised by The Boston Musical Intelligencer for her “surpassingly lovely, remarkably mature alto,” and her “burnished gold sound,” Maddie has been hailed as “an exceptionally promising young voice.” She studies voice privately with Carol Mastrodomenico and plans to pursue voice professionally. The post Saying “I Do” and “Yes We Can” to Le Nozze appeared first on The Boston Musical Intelligencer .
This is not how La Cieca hoped to begin her week. She has not even reached the Björk selections yet, but the Barber Knoxville already has her skin crawling. In this gratingly fussy performance, Renée Fleming doesn’t sound Southern. In fact, she doesn’t even sound Earthian.
There are two generations of composers in this post and in volume #2, with Brahms and Reger as the main pillars. Dvořák and Bruch are in the older generation but they were still composing in the 20th century as you can see from Rusalka and from the Concerto for clarinet and viola. The best known works here are Dvořák's and Brahms' piano quintets, in good performances not yet appeared in Davide's Summer/Winter series. While if you are looking for a new composer try Vítězslav Novák, it might be interesting. Max Reger (1873-1916) Trio for violin, viola and piano op. 2 Trio for violin, violoncello and piano op. 102 Trio Parnassus Gunther Teuffl viola MDG 303 0751-2 (1998) [flac, cue, log, scans] Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) The three String Quartets Hugo Wolf (1860-1903) String Quartet Lasalle Quartet Deutsche Grammophone 437 128-2 (1981) [flac, cue, log, scans] Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) Piano Quintet op. 34 Musikvereinsquartett André Previn piano Philips 412 608 (1985) [flac, cue, log, scans] Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) Piano Quintet op. 81 String Quartet op. 51 Takács Quartet Andreas Haefliger piano Decca 466 197-2 (1999) [flac, cue, log, scans] Franz Liszt (1811-1886) Fantasy and Fugue on the chorale "Ad nos, ad salutarem undam" Julius Reubke (1834-1856) Der 94ste Psalm. Sonata for the organ Max Reger (1873-1916) Fantasy on the Chorale "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" Christian Schmitt Goll organ at the Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern, 2000 Ars Musici/Primavera AMP 5109-2 (2001) [flac, cue, log, scans] Max Reger (1873-1916) Fantasy and Fugue on B-A-C-H Introduction and Passacaglia in D minor Fantasy on the chorale "Wie schön leucht' uns der Morgenstern" Twelve pieces for the organ: Kyrie, Gloria, Benedictus Arvid Gast Steinmeyer organ at Christuskirche Mannheim, 1911 Motette CD 11511 (1991) [flac, cue, log, scans] Max Reger (1873-1916) Complete Chorale Fantasias Wouter van der Broek Organs at Grote Kerk, Breda & Stevenskerk, Nijmegen Brilliant Classics (2004). Recorded 1989-1990 [flac, cue, log, scans] Max Bruch (1838-1920) Concerto for clarinet, viola and orchestra Romanza for viola and orchestra Eight pieces for clarinet, viola and piano Paul Meyer clarinet, Gerard Caussé viola, René Duchable piano Orchestre de l'Opéra de Lyon Kent Nagano Erato 2292-45483-2 (1990) [flac, cue, log, scans] Vítězslav Novák (1870-1949) Pan. Symphonic Poem Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra Zdenek Bílek Marco Polo 8.223325 (1990) [flac, cue, log, scans] Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) Rusalka Renée Fleming, Ben Heppner, Dolora Zajick, Franz Hawlata, Eva Urbanová, The Kühn Mixed Choir Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Charles Mackerras Decca 460 568-2 (1998) [flac, cue, log, scans] Franz Lehár (1870-1948) Gold und Silber; waltzes from: Die lustige Witwe, Wo die Lerche singt, Giuditta, Der Graf von Luxemburg, Zigeunerliebe, Eva Wiener Johann Strauss-Orchester Willi Boskovsky EMI CDC 7 47020 2 (1983) [flac, cue, log, scans] Antonio Smareglia (1854-1929) Orchestral music from the operas Cornelius Schut, Il vassallo di Szigeth, Oceana, Preziosa, Bianca da Cervia Lithuanian Symphony Orchestra, Vilnius Silvano Frontalini Bongiovanni GB 2142-2 (1994) [flac, cue, log, scans] Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) 21 Hungarian Dances Wiener Philharmoniker Claudio Abbado Deutsche Grammophon 410 615-2 (1982) [flac, cue, log, scans]
Andris Nelsons © 2016 Marco Borggreve. Photo by Marco Borggreve Composer Richard Strauss saw the trio ‘Hab mir’s gelobt’ as Der Rosenkavalier 's emotional highpoint. He loved this particular composition so much in fact, that it was sung at his funeral. The trio is sung by the love triangle at the opera’s heart: the Marschallin and Sophie, the sopranos, and Octavian, a young man played by a mezzo-soprano. Strauss was so enamoured with his composition that it was sung at his funeral – a performance which saw each of the three singers break down in tears with emotion. So what makes it tick, and so worthy of such adulation from its composer? Where does it take place in the opera? ‘Hab mir’s gelobt’ is sung towards the end of the opera, in Act III. Octavian’s successful plot to shame the womanizing Baron Ochs – and so save the young Sophie from a ghastly marriage – has caused considerable confusion. Octavian’s lover the Marschallin arrives, and persuades her cousin Ochs to give up his engagement. Sophie becomes aware of Octavian and the Marschallin’s relationship. She is distressed, and Octavian hesitates to choose between his old and his new love. The Marschallin realizes how much the young couple care for each other, and decides to release Octavian so he can marry Sophie. What do the lyrics mean? Each character initially expresses separate thoughts. The Marschallin recalls that she promised to give up Octavian when he fell in love with a younger woman, but regrets that it’s happened so fast; Octavian feels strangely remorseful and confused; Sophie is bewildered by the situation, and overcome by awe of the Marschallin. As the trio builds to its musical climax, the characters’ thoughts become more unified. Octavian and Sophie forget everything but their overwhelming love for each other, while the Marschallin hopes for their happiness and blesses their union. What makes the music so memorable? Strauss’s versatile writing for the soprano voice inspired him to wonderfully acute characterization in this trio. The Marschallin’s seamless lyrical phrases illustrate her nobility and thoughtfulness; Sophie’s soaring silvery voice reveals her innocent idealism; while Strauss conveys Octavian’s impetuosity and passion through quicker, shorter phrases, rising in pitch as his emotions intensify. Other memorable aspects of the trio include its beautiful melody – a noble reinterpretation of the comic waltz sung by Octavian earlier in Act III in his disguise as a maidservant – and the rich textures, soaring lines for Sophie and the Marschallin and sensual shift of key as the music reaches its climax. Finally, Strauss’s use of a host of motifs from earlier in the opera makes us feel that the characters have gained emotional wisdom through their experiences. Der Rosenkavalier’s other musical highlights Strauss adored the soprano voice, so it’s not surprising that some of the greatest highlights from the opera include Octavian and the Marschallin’s love duet in Act I, the Marschallin’s delicately-scored Act I monologue on the passing of time and Octavian and Sophie’s rapturous Act II love duet. However, there’s also plenty of good comic music, particularly Baron Ochs’s hedonistic monologue and rapid trio with the Marschallin and Octavian in Act I, and the farcical supper scene in Act III. And, this being Vienna, one shouldn’t forget Der Rosenkavalier’s glorious waltzes, above all Ochs’s ‘Mit mir’, which brings Act II to a brilliantly-scored, exuberant close. Classic recordings Der Rosenkavalier is Strauss’s most popular opera, so there’s a glut of excellent recordings. For an authentically Viennese experience, try Erich Kleiber ’s 1954 recording with the Vienna Philharmonic and the ardent Octavian of Sena Jurinac on Naxos. Other classic options include Herbert von Karajan ’s 1956 recording for EMI, with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf as a dignified, lyrical Marschallin and Otto Edelmann as a wonderfully sleazy Baron Ochs; or Georg Solti ’s 1968 Decca recording with a rather more passionate Marschallin from Régine Crespin , Helen Donath ’s exquisite Sophie and a cameo appearance from Luciano Pavarotti as the Italian Tenor. For a more contemporary take you can’t do better than Strauss expert Christian Thielemann ’s 2009 Decca recording with the perfect casting of Renée Fleming as the Marschallin, Sophie Koch as Octavian and Diana Damrau as Sophie. The wide range of DVD recordings includes John Schlesinger ’s Royal Opera production with the sublime Marschallin of Kiri Te Kanawa . More to discover Your best starting point is to sample some of Strauss’s other 14 operas. Ariadne auf Naxos shares Rosenkavalier’s mixture of comedy and profundity, but with a chamber orchestra scoring, and characters drawn from myth and commedia dell’arte. Arabella , set in 19th-century Vienna, contains some of Strauss’s loveliest duets. If you like your operas short and intense there’s much to enjoy in Salome and Elektra : emotionally charged interpretations of a biblical story and a Classical tragedy respectively. Other operatic treats include the sumptuous fairytale opera Die Frau ohne Schatten , and Strauss’s final sublime testimony to the power of music, Capriccio . Outside of opera, other wonderful Strauss works include a host of songs, several tone poems and the reflective Oboe Concerto . Looking further afield, Mozart ’s Le nozze di Figaro manifests much of the same wit and humanity as Der Rosenkavalier, while Wagner ’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg also tackles the theme of a charismatic older character who relinquishes the younger one they love, and contains a quintet equivalent to Rosenkavalier’s trio in beauty and intensity. There are also wonderful operas by Strauss’s lesser-known contemporaries: Humperdinck ’s beautiful Königskinder or Schreker ’s wild and passionate Die Gezeichneten to take but two examples. Der Rosenkavalier runs 19 December 2016–24 January 2017. Tickets are still available. The production is a co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York , and Teatro Regio, Turin , and is given with generous philanthropic support from The Monument Trust, Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Simon and Virginia Robertson, Susan and John Singer, the Friends of Covent Garden and The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund .
In this clip, filmmaker Felipe Sanguinetti offers an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes on Robert Carsen 's new Royal Opera production of Richard Strauss 's Der Rosenkavalier , as well as revealing insights into the role of a director. ‘We are interpretative artists,’ says Canadian director Carsen, who has staged many works for The Royal Opera including Verdi 's Falstaff and Poulenc ’s Dialogues des Carmélites . ‘My job in telling this story is to tell it in the most effective and visually satisfying way, but also to help the actors to discover their roles.' Luckily, Hugo von Hofmannsthal 's libretto and Strauss's lush score are in the hands of master storytellers: the brand new production features two starry casts including American sopranos Renée Fleming and Rachel Willis-Sørensen , who share the lead role of the striking Marshallin. The film captures the performers' humour and energy during the rehearsal process, as well as revealing something of the opulence of the production's designs, created by American designer Paul Steinberg . ‘The rehearsals help me arrive at what the production should be,’ reveals Carsen. 'It does not feel to me that I am imposing our idea from the outside, I am trying to find from the inside what I think the work wants.' Der Rosenkavalier runs 19 December 2016–24 January 2017. Tickets are still available. The production is a co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York , Teatro Regio, Turin , and Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires , and is given with generous philanthropic support from The Monument Trust, Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Simon and Virginia Robertson, Susan and John Singer, the Friends of Covent Garden and The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund .
Renée Fleming (February 14, 1959) is an American soprano specializing in opera and lieder. Fleming has a full lyric soprano voice. Fleming has performed coloratura, lyric, and lighter spinto soprano repertoires. She has sung roles in Italian, German, French, Czech, and Russian, aside from her native English. She also speaks fluent German and French, along with limited Italian. Her signature roles include Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart), Desdemona in Otello and Violetta in La traviata (Verdi), the title role in Rusalka (Dvo?ák), the title role in Manon and Thaïs (Massenet), the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier (Richard Strauss), and the title role in Arabella. A Richard Tucker Award winner, she regularly performs in opera houses and concert halls worldwide. In 2008 she was awarded the Swedish Polar Music Prize for her services in music.
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