Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Live From Lincoln Center Presents 2013 Richard Tucker Gala

A “dream team of opera singers” (New York Times) will light up TV screens across the country on Friday, January 10 at 9 p.m. EST (check local listings) in the national broadcast of “Richard Tucker at 100: An Opera Celebration.”

Hosted by Audra McDonald for PBS’s Emmy Award-winning Live From Lincoln Center, the telecast captures the Richard Tucker Music Foundation’s recent gala concert at Avery Fisher Hall, which honored the legendary tenor’s centennial. Isabel Leonard, the 2013 Richard Tucker Award-winner and a rising star in the U.S. and abroad will be joined by some of the biggest names in opera:

Stephanie Blythe
Stephen Costello
Joyce DiDonato
Renée Fleming
Susan Graham
Greer Grimsley
Angela Meade
Eric Owens
Ailyn Pérez
Matthew Polenzani

On the menu? Arias and ensembles by Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti, Puccini, Offenbach and more with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the New York Choral Society led by Maestro Riccardo Frizza.

I, for one, cannot wait. You know how much I love a good park-and-bark fest!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Birthday to Maria Callas.

Known in the opera world as La Divina, Maria Callas - some say opera's most celebrated and famous soprano - would have turned 90 years old today. To honor her, Google dedicated today's "Doodle" to her birthday:


Now, how about we celebrate by clicking over watching La Divina in action.

Happy Birthday, Mme. Callas.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Martina Arroyo to receive Kennedy Center Honors.

It's about darned time ... In recognition of her outstanding lifetime contribution to American culture, soprano Martina Arroyo will be one of five recipients of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday, December 8 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

Seated with President and Mrs. Obama, as well as with her fellow Honorees (actress Shirley MacLaine and musicians Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel, and Carlos Santana), the pre-eminent American soprano will be saluted with performances and tributes during the star-studded gala celebration that will be broadcast in a prime time special on CBS-TV (Dec 29 at 9pm, EST).

The honor is a fitting one, for Arroyo has devoted herself to opera over the course of a decades-long career. Since retiring from the stage, where her voice was heralded by the New York Times as “among the most glorious in the world,” the Harlem-born soprano has continued to serve the art form through the Martina Arroyo Foundation, the non-profit cultural organization she established ten years ago to provide new generations of talented young singers with the tools to pursue careers in opera and prepare them for the stage.

The primary criterion in the Kennedy Center Honors selection is excellence. From Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein:
The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world. Martina Arroyo has dazzled the world with her glorious soprano voice and continues to share her artistry with a new generation of opera singers.
Martina Arroyo as Puccini's Butterfly
Born in 1937 and raised in Harlem, Martina Arroyo went on to conquer the opera world, from the Metropolitan Opera to the Vienna State Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires to La Scala in Milan, Paris Opera to the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, and the great concert halls from Salzburg and Berlin to her hometown of New York. Few in her generation have been so fearless or so successful across the repertory, from Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and Strauss to Barber, Bolcom, Schoenberg, and Stockhausen. Her extensive recorded legacy reflects her inspired collaborations with conductors Leonard Bernstein, Karl Böhm, Rafael Kubelík, Zubin Mehta, Thomas Schippers, Colin Davis, and James Levine, and her numerous awards and accolades include a 2010 Opera Honors Award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

A most persuasive ambassador of opera, the soprano remains committed to teaching and to young artist development, and in 2003 she established her own non-profit cultural organization. Now celebrating its tenth anniversary season, the Martina Arroyo Foundation offers two intensive programs of study, coaching, and performance, both of which provide immersive preparation of complete operatic roles.

As Arroyo explains:
Having been fortunate to have a long wonderful career, I saw things that I found a young person needed to have in a career and that I hadn’t received because they weren’t available – and one of the most important points was the development of the character.… Few of us had had role study where you started on page one…to learn about your character and to develop the character from beginning through end. And not only your part, but also your colleagues’ parts. I think a thorough study of your character and the opera makes you a far better performer.
I couldn't be more pleased for Ms. Arroyo. As a teaser, here Maestro Bernstein conduction Martina Arroyo in the "Libera Me" from Verdi's Requiem. I can't ever get enough of this...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Brooklyn Academy of Music - 150 years of ups and downs.

Available for pre-order on iTunes today: BAM 150 - the feature length documentary that was 16 months in the making. Conceived by award winning director Michael Sládek, BAM 150 is a retrospective on the ups and downs that create 150 years of history for the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Featuring cuts hand chosed from hundreds of hours of performance footage, as well as interviews with the likes of: Steve Reich, Meredith Monk, Isabella Rossellini, William Forsythe, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Alan Rickman, BAM 150 offers a unique perspective on the incredible history of the cultural institution.

Don't forget to pre-order your copy on iTunes, today.

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