CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 12, 2012
Galina Vishnevskaya Russian opera singer, wife of Rostropovich Galina Vishnevskaya, 86, a world-renowned Russian opera diva who with her husband defied the Soviet regime to give shelter to writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn and suffered exile from her homeland, died Tuesday in Moscow. Moscow's Opera Center, which Vishnevskaya created, announced her death but did not state the cause. Vishnevskaya, celebrated internationally for her rich soprano voice, married cellist Mstislav Rostropovich in 1955.
December 11, 2012 |
Lisa della Casa, a Swiss-born soprano known for her sweet voice and exquisite elegance, has died at 93, the Vienna Opera announced Tuesday. The late English music critic Sir Neville Cardus reportedly once said of Della Casa that one should go to her concerts twice: once to listen, once to look. The soprano "possessed an instrument of crystalline purity," a Times reviewer wrote about her landmark recording of Richard Strauss' "Four Last Songs.
December 6, 2012 |
As an Anglophile, I'm as pathetic as the next chap. My idea of a good time is to be in London, drinking at lunch with some well-lubricated British journalist friends, stumbling out when it's getting dark, tea at a fancy hotel and then theater in the evening. Then repeat. And yes, when I'm not in London (that is, almost all the time), I rarely miss an episode of "Downton Abbey. " But at least I have the decency to be ashamed about it. The shameless popularity of this blue-blood soap opera, which starts its third season in the U.S. next month, is astonishing.
December 5, 2012 |
Leaders at Los Angeles Opera are breathing a little easier now that a huge financial burden has been lifted from their shoulders. L.A. Opera is announcing Wednesday that it has fully repaid a $14 million emergency loan it received in 2009, a loan obtained with the help of Los Angeles County. With this step, the company is now looking forward, hoping to add more productions to future seasons and mix in more contemporary operas. The opera company repaid half of the principal in January in order to save money on interest payments.
November 23, 2012 |
Looking to put a child sex-abuse scandal behind it, the BBC has named a major figure from classical opera as its director general. Tony Hall has served as the chief executive of the Royal Opera House in London since 2001. His job at the BBC is expected to begin in March. Hall's appointment may seem a bit arbitrary at first glance - the equivalent of making the Metropolitan Opera's Peter Gelb the head of CNN. But the hire isn't as random as it appears. Before the Royal Opera House, Hall worked at the BBC for close to 30 years, heading the BBC News for part of that.
November 19, 2012 |
Between 2004 and 2008, Los Angeles Opera was home to the most beautiful "Madame Butterfly" in America. But it was no doubt time to retire Robert Wilson's glowing, ascetic, stylized production, already 11 years old when it first arrived here from Paris and requiring enormous care to present properly. During that same period, San Francisco Opera mounted a more commonplace - and when it came to lighting and movement, sloppier - staging of Puccini's ever-present opera. This "Butterfly" has flown south.
November 17, 2012 |
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - But what he really wants to do is conduct … For the next three weeks Eric Owens is playing the supporting role of Sharpless in Los Angeles Opera's "Madame Butterfly," but at age 42, the Philadelphia-born singer has earned a leading position that few can claim: Right now Owens is the voice of the Metropolitan Opera. Literally, his deep bass-baritone is the voice-over on the Met's television commercials and promos this season, and figuratively, Owens is arguably the company's standout performer over the last two seasons.
November 15, 2012 |
Shakespeare's song-filled final play, "The Tempest," is most magical and musical. And his most musicked. More than 50 "Tempest" operas are said to have been written, and many more "Tempest"-inspired, to say nothing of incidental music for the play (Purcell's and Sibelius' are of special note) or "Tempest" film scores (Michael Nyman's for Peter Greenaway's "Prospero's Books" being especially notable). Two "Tempest" operas came our way this week. The Metropolitan Opera is staging Thomas Adès' "The Tempest," and the HD broadcast in cinemas was Saturday (with an encore showing slated for Nov. 28)
November 14, 2012 |
What is the sound of a man drowning? Near the end of Alban Berg's "Wozzeck," a 20th century masterpiece about the inevitable humiliation of army life, the protagonist, having slit the throat of his mistress, drowns in a pond as he tries to dispose of the knife. It is not a terrible moment but an end of suffering. Wozzeck is not a terrible man but a victim who becomes, as victims often do when tables are turned, an oppressor. The orchestral effect is that of the release of the final air bubbles, a brief second during an otherwise unrelievedly intense 90-minute opera, and something easy to miss in the opera house.
November 11, 2012
When we first reported on the Fuoco wallpaper back in 2010, we noted that the design by the New York firm Trove essentially wrapped a room in history, a frozen-in-time moment inside Teatro La Fenice of Venice, Italy. Destroyed by fire in 1836, the opera house -- pictured here after the reconstruction -- burned to the ground again in 1996. The visual drama of the space, however, lives on a bit longer thanks to Anthropologie. The store has announced that its website will sell Trove's design as pre-pasted wallpaper "for easy consumer application.