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While I did have an assigned seat in the Koussevitzky Music Shed, I immediately chose the outdoor setting instead. I was one of thousands as mentioned who enjoyed this open-air amphitheatre. Prime seating seemed to be under the many tall leafy trees. Families, couples, seniors, babies - it was a who's who of people that I didn't know. While watching and listening from my lawn chair one from the s and not the new fold-ups , I discovered important facts that I was unaware of: This is a colorful place - the newly cut green grass, blue sky with wisps of off-white clouds, tablecloths of flowers, and a sea of motley colored umbrellas.
The clang of bells alerted those with seats inside the shed and outside that the concert was set to start. My critiques of music are far from expert, which is why this article does not focus on the soft strings, trumpet alerts, and dynamic percussion. As far as this layman is concerned, Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D, Opus 61 featuring Arabella Steinbacher deserved the long standing ovation which it and she received. Following intermission, Dvorak's Symphony No. Not that anyone would notice, but I was among those lawn listeners who stood and applauded in awe.
Was the music really captured in the breezes that surrounded me? My place on the lawn became a small expedition, as I walked the entire perimeter to the high bushes setting the division line between Tanglewood and the Berkshire mountains and lake. My secret place apparently not so secret as others had been on my same course was the maze of trees, grass, shrubs, and vineyard.
Not quite edible yet, blue and green grapes hung disorderly on their vines. I ran into three teens who said to each other that they were lost, but they didn't seem to care. When I arrived, I had asked the gatekeepers, sitting on small stools between the parking lot and the box office, if they were able to hear the concert from their distant location. How sad it would be to sit so close and not appreciate the music.
They smiled and answered, "Yes. Want to know even more about theatrical events in the Pioneer Valley and beyond, including news, previews, audition notices and youth performances? Check out the Pioneer Valley Theatre newsletter at www. Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond.
Mom listened faithfully to Saturday matinees broadcast directly from the Metropolitan Opera. Actually, she started this habit when she was a youngster and has rarely missed a literal beat in the past 70 years. Therefore, if I was home on any given Saturday, I was more or less forced to hear opera. Roberto Alagana in Verdi's "Don Carlo" December 11, During my elementary school years, this music was torture to my ears. How could it compete with Elvis, Joey Dee, and the doo-wop quartets? So, I grabbed my Ginny doll, went to my room, and closed the door for some peace from this noise. A few years passed, and I received the gift of a tiny transistor radio that only got the AM dial.
I hid around the corner of the den to listen. Mom never noticed me - I think. I'm in high school, and that seed of music appreciation that began 16 years prior, didn't quite blossom but, at the very least, germinated. Among the remaining six, was "Un belle di" from "Madama Butterfly. Did my undiscerning ears finally detect true beauty in music - unbelievable beauty and emotion - from opera?
Perhaps a bit ashamed to admit it, the answer was "yes. I think the answer is "both. The series runs from December through May.
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This is FREE opera at its very best. I now try to run my Saturday comings and goings with an approximate three-hour time span to sit by the stereo for opera listening. Mom often said that she was "glued to the radio" for the Texaco Opera Broadcasts now sponsored by the Toll Brothers. While I didn't exactly become glued, it was difficult to pull me away from any piece composed by Puccini, Verdi, Bizet, or Donezetti. However, listening to Wagner once was enough. Save for vacations and otherwise special occasions, I have been faithful to these live Met broadcasts for decades.
Basically, there was only thing that could pry me away from the matinees on radio - the matinees at the movies. Before the movie series began, there must have been so many practical questions. Only time would tell for the responses. Would traditional opera goers not attend live performances? Would they go to these movies instead? Would those who might have thought about going to New York, abandon that idea for a trip a few miles down the road to the cinema? Can one put a dollar value on music? Then there are sociological questions. Is opera for the elite?
Will someone under age 50 be the youngest person in the audience? It seems that one of the Met's plans was to increase audience numbers. According to Executive Director Peter Gelb, the series has surpassed the goal. Yet, that in itself has been criticized by those who believe that the appeal of live opera has been undermined. Those onstage are not "just" the world's best singers; they are among the best of today's actors.
Last season's series broadcast nine performances.
- Miracles of Jesus (Little Golden Book);
- Scales and Measures (Statistical Associates Blue Book Series 31).
- Troy and the Great Flood of 1913 (Images of America);
- Pope Leo the Great?
While several of the productions were called "new," this did not affect me, as the closest that I had come to the Met was radio. Susan Graham "Iphigenie en Tauride" February 26, For readers only vaguely familiar with opera, here are some helpful pointers. The plots are relatively simple for both the tragedies and comedies.
The former far outnumber the latter. And, it's not a spoiler to write that leading characters often die - by sword, jumping off cliffs, live burial, hanging, and just plain illnesses.
If the story gets even a bit confusing, a synopsis is read on the radio, or read your own on the movie's one pager, and the program book at the Met. Supertitles translated into English provide word for word text of the lyrics. One recommendation is to avoid reading on occasion. The music translates through notes and images far better than the written English. Notice that while most operas are expected by purists to appear exactly as the composer drew them, some are updated in costume and design.
Operas penned by composers Puccini, Verdi, Mozart, and Rossini are probably the best for Opera classes to attend. It is not by accident that Puccini's works are among the most well-known even by people who have never heard of opera. Of course, I had seen several PBS televised performances through the years. Live in HD, however, is much different than in front of one's TV, particularly for five excellent reasons. And, surprisingly to some, many are teens and tweens. If, for some reason, the opera is not outstanding, the accoutrements are; i.
Last season's "Aida" and "Turandot" were spectacular to see and hear. Yet, do I know of what I write? On what was the single snowy, cold, slippery, raw day that we experienced in the unusually easy winter of , I finally went to the Met. So, my answer is "yes," I can now compare the three: The opera - Puccini's "La Boheme. This was her 89th birthday gift. Lincoln Center's setting was amassed with snowflake chandeliers, red and gold everywhere, and many opera lovers dressed up. However, the latter is far from a requirement, especially for the youngsters.
It was wonderful seeing so many children appreciating the music of opera. The plot of "La Boheme" is simple. Girl meets boy girl is the aggressive one in the relationship , have one hour to fall in love, struggle though poor, have equally down-and-out friends, yet all enjoy life on the streets of Paris. Girl thinks that she is a burden to boy, leaves for another who she does not love, gets really sick, returns to boy, and dies in his arms. The gorgeous, sensual Anna Netrebko played girl, and Piotr Beczala played boy.
The sets - the disheveled artists' garret, the lavish and populated promenade of Paris, a snowy landscape - are relatively dark after all, this is one of the most tragic of tragedies set to paper yet distinct and honest. The supporting cast goes above and beyond what one would expect from secondary roles; these singers are exemplary actors as well.
Let me not forget that one voice that never stops throughout the three hours - the symphony of the Metropolitan Opera, with conductor Marco Armiliato. I used the word "simple" to describe the story. I will stick with that, yet "La Boheme," the Metropolitan Opera, the red carpet, the giant curtain, the bravos after each aria, and the experience of sitting next to other people who I didn't know but who loved what I loved is not simple. I also sat next to Mom.
For information on each opera, dates, movie theatres, and the entire Live at the Met in NYC season check www. Miscellaneous , Music , Opera. August 23, The Winter's Tale.
Books by Jonathan Dean
It's not a "history" play as royalty populating the story are fiction. It's not a comedy, because there is death. You can't tell in this picture, but Beth has to continuously pump a pedal with each foot the entire time she's playing. Can a trained pianist easily play the harmonium as well, or does it require some special training to play?
I have played organ backstage at several Seattle Opera productions, and used to have a church job which also utilized my organ training from college days. The actual playing takes a more legato, connected touch than a piano, so it does require some extra practice time for me. One of the great requirements about the opera world is that the keyboardists have a sense of adventure, as there are a variety of musical tasks involved in our jobs. Never a dull evening at the opera! Why do you enjoy working with the Young Artists?
Jonathan Dean (Author of I Must Belong Somewhere)
Working in the orchestra for the Young Artists Program productions is especially interesting for me, because usually I am in front of the chorus as conductor, not as a player in the pit. I love the ensemble work in opera orchestras, and hearing the amazing young voices come sailing over your head is truly a unique and thrilling experience. Posted by Seattle Opera at 3: Ariadne auf Naxos Spotlight Guide.
As our Young Artists production of Ariadne auf Naxos opens next week, we thought we'd provide our popular Spotlight guide for additional background information on the opera. Find answers to all your questions about the opera, such as "Who's Who," "What's going on? View the guide in full here.
Posted by Seattle Opera at 2: It was a very exciting revelation to consider that I might one day have the opportunity to sing in such a grand production. The role of Ariadne requires a singer who can handle the Wagnerian style, and Marcy is up for the task.
Listen to the ecstatic, rapturous music with which Ariadne—sung by Deborah Voigt-yearns for Hermes, the Messenger of Death, to free her from a life she hates: Du wirst mich befreien, Mir selber mich geben, Dies lastende Leben, Du, nimm es von mir. An dich werd' ich mich ganz verlieren, Bei dir wird Ariadne sein. Thou shalt set me free, give me to myself. This burden of living, thou takest it from me. I will lose myself in thee, Ariadne will be with thee.
Check out our new online brochure! You'll hear from several of the singers themselves - talking about their upcoming roles and their experiences with Seattle Opera - plus Speight Jenkins' introduction to a few of the singers that Seattle audiences may not be familiar with, and a preview of some of the soul-stirring and stimulating music of next year's five operas.
Tuesday, March 23, Ariadne Costumes. Here Burgess shares a bit about her design process. This is your second Strauss opera with us and both have some elements of ancient Greek myth. What about his operas do you enjoy? Indeed, it is the Greek myth that has been wonderful to explore.
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I like classical elements, generally speaking, and that they appear in both operas I have had the opportunity to design at Seattle Opera is a bonus. Although both Elektra and Ariadne have elements of Greek myth, each has a very different feel. When designing a comedy versus a tragedy, how does that impact your costumes? Does it change the color choices, for example? With Ariadne , the color palette and strong use of pattern can be blown wide open.
The difference, really, is how the colors are used together on stage, creating the stage picture for each scene. In comedy, I tend to use a broader stroke. Elektra was very colorful in terms of costumes, and so is Ariadne. What role can color play in enhancing a production? Manipulating the color palette is one of my finest tools. My job as a designer is to provide visual imagery through shape and color, in support of telling the story.
All of that is, of course, seen through clothing. Personally, the manipulation of color is the aspect I enjoy playing with the most. It holds much emotional weight as we all have visceral responses to various colors. Does the choice of using strong colors come from you or from the directors?
I tend to lean towards color as an evocative element in most of my designs—in other words, I am not afraid to use it boldly. I will generally bring that to the table with my director and through the collaborative process we meld our ideas about it. When a show is going to be shopped primarily, it means that my specific design choices will be made not early and on paper—as in a built show—but through the process of seeing what is actually available. Is it difficult to find exactly what you had envisioned?
How does this process compare with a show where you have to build everything? I like the open aspect of a purchased show. The scope becomes much greater then my individual creative process. I am inspired by the shape and colors that fashion designers combine into creative clothing. In a built show, I have tighter control over the entire process. For me, both methods present their unique challenges and rewards and I am delighted to mix up the process with each project. Check out more costume photos on Facebook. Working With a New Score. Tuesday, March 16, Ariadne auf Naxos: Just what is Kazaras thinking for this production?
Monday, March 15, Making of Amelia Part 1: Starting today, Seattle Opera is debuting a new video series on the process of creating the new opera, Amelia to be premiered this May. Enjoy the first chapter in the Making of Amelia! Do you know some young music- and theater-lovers you want to introduce to opera? This fast-paced production is overflowing with colorful characters, entertaining antics, and memorable music, making it an ideal outing for new operagoers.