Friday, April 30, 2010

Christine Brewer and Alan Held Featured in SLSO All-Wagner Program, May 1 and May 2

Christine Brewer by Christian Steiner

The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra will present a program of "Wagner’s Greatest Hits" on Saturday, May 1, at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 2, at 3:00 p.m.

David Robertson will conduct as the SLSO is joined by Whitaker guest artists Christine Brewer, soprano, and Alan Held, bass-baritone, in an all-Wagner evening.

Works to be performed are:
Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin
Three Excerpts from Act III of Die Meistersinger
Prelude & Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde
"Ride of the Valkyries" and the final scene of Die Walküre
A "PreConcert Perspective" lecture by David Robertson will be held one hour prior to each concert.

Renée Fleming Stars in Met Saturday Matinee Broadcast and Hi-Def Transmission

The Saturday matinee broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera will be Gioachino Rossini' Armida. Classic 99.1 KFUO-FM will carry the broadcast beginning at 12:00 noon (CT). Approximate running time is 3 hours, 50 minutes.

A high-definition live transmission of Armida will also be presented at the AMC Esquire 7 Theatre on Clayton Road, The St. Louis Mills 18 in the St. Louis Mills Mall, and AMC Chesterfield 14 Cinemas in the Chesterfield Mall. Click here for ticket information.

From the Met website:
Renée Fleming stars in the title role of Mary Zimmerman's Met premiere production, opposite no fewer than six tenors. "This [is] Ms. Fleming's show," the New York Times says. "Armida belongs at the Met. And the company has the right star in place." Lawrence Brownlee sings Rinaldo, and Riccardo Frizza conducts. Zimmerman describes the opera as "a buried treasure, a box of jewels." The fanciful story of the sorceress who enthralls men in her island prison of sensual delights, she says, "has an epic, enchanted quality and a tremendous visual element."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tosca Met's Saturday Matinee Broadcast

Jonas Kaufmann and Patricia Racette.
Photo by Cory Weaver/Metropolitan Opera.

The Metropolitan Opera presents Tosca by Giacomo Puccini as the Saturday matinee on April 24. Classic 99.1 KFUO-FM will carry the broadcast beginning at 12:00 noon (CT). Approximate running time 3 hours, 3 minutes.

From the Met's website:
Patricia Racette sings the title role for the first time at the Met, stepping in for Karita Mattila, who is ill. Luc Bondy's season-opening new production also stars Jonas Kaufmann and Marcello Giordani, who share the role of Cavaradossi, and Bryn Terfel and George Gagnidze, who alternate as Scarpia.
In his April 15 review, "Boos Become Bravos at the Met," in the New York Times, Anthony Tommasini said
Wednesday’s Tosca was one of the most exciting performances of the Met season to date, thanks to three exceptional singers, all performing their roles for the first time at the Met. Patricia Racette, an inexplicably underrated soprano, brought a richly expressive voice and raw emotion to her wrenching portrayal of Tosca. Jonas Kaufmann, currently the hottest tenor in opera, was an impetuous and vocally smoldering Mario Cavaradossi, singing with vulnerable tenderness one moment and burnished power the next. And the bass-baritone Bryn Terfel commandeered the stage with his vocally chilling and shockingly lusty Scarpia.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Opera and Its Discontents," a Talk by Mary Zimmerman, Thursday Afternoon at Washington University

On-location photo of Kate Healy as Aphrodite and Sally Wippman as Iris in Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses. Photo by David Kilper/WUSTL Photo Services.

By Liam Otten; reposted from Washington University's Record

Playwright Mary Zimmerman, whose production of Armida will be the Met's high-definition broadcast on May 1, will lecture on "Opera and Its Discontents" at 4:00 p.m. Thursday, April 22, in Room 276 in the Danforth University Center. The talk is sponsored by the Performing Arts Department and by the Department of Classics and the Center for the Humanities. For more information, call the Performing Arts Department at (314) 935-5858.

Also, beginning this weekend, the Performing Arts Department will present Zimmerman's hypnotic, Tony Award-winning Metamorphoses, an adaptation of myths by the Roman poet Ovid, as its spring Mainstage production.

Performances will take place in Edison Theatre at 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 23 and 24; and at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, April 25. Performances continue the following weekend at 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 30 and May 1; and at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, May 2.

Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. Tickets are $15, or $10 for children, students, seniors and Washington University faculty and staff. Tickets are available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and through all MetroTix outlets.

Based on translations of Ovid by David Slavitt, Metamorphoses weaves 10 classical Roman tales into a visually spectacular yet decidedly low-tech evening of theater.

"Metamorphoses" is predicated almost entirely on the things that theater —- and theater alone —- does best," says Henry I. Schvey, professor of drama, who directs the cast of 12.

"It's filled with gorgeous, unforgettable images, but it also allows the audience to use its own imagination," Schvey says. "There’s a real fusion of movement, image and speech."

Central to that fusion is the bold set design, which largely consists of a 15-ton pool installed on the Edison stage.

"The play explores ideas of change and transformation, all of which take place through the conduit of water," Schvey says. "So in a way, this apparently complex set is very simple: a pool, a doorway entrance, a platform for the gods, and a chandelier representing the heavens above."

"Each myth is staged individually, and there’s a kind of postmodern aspect as the play moves in and out of time," Schvey says. "Some stories are set in modern dress, others in togas. King Midas is revealed as an ordinary businessman. Zeus’ thunder bolt may be symbolized by a glowing cigarette."

"Zimmerman connects these ancient tales with the ways people still behave today," Schvey says.

Individual scenes range from the familiar (Orpheus and Eurydice, Phaeton and Apollo, Eros and Psyche) to the less well-known (Vertumnus and Pomona; Alcyone and Ceyx; King Cinyras and his daughter, Myrrha).

"Metamorphoses does not provide a conventional theatrical experience, although there is certainly thematic unity," Schvey says. "Each myth explores some aspect of love —- whether it's Midas' love of money, Orpheus' attempt to bring back his love from Hades, the spiritual union of Cupid and Psyche or the selfless generosity of an elderly couple (Philemon and Baucis), who share their humble meal with Zeus and Hermes, who come disguised as beggars."

"And there is a narrative arc," Schvey says. "The stories gradually move from love of self to love of others and finally to a sense of transcendence and cosmic change in the universe.”

The cast is composed of six male and six female actors, all of whom portray multiple characters.

"There are approximately 60 parts in Metamorphoses, so everyone takes on at least five or six roles," Schvey says. "Everyone plays at least one god and narrates at least one scene, which provides a kind of fluidity and balance among the various myths."

Other roles are distinctly nonverbal, with actors portraying trees or abstractions like Hunger, or combining to form the dark cave where Sleep resides.

"The world of Metamorphoses is a world that is magically changing," Schvey says. "Everything is given life through the physical abilities of the actors and through the willing —- and creative —- participation of the audience."

Cast members are Gadi Abramowitz, Marissa Barnathan, Kate Healy, Micah Herstand, Sam King, Artem Kreimer, Megan Lacerenza, Jonathan Levinson, Maryse Pearce, Amanda Spector, Dan Tobin and Sally Wippman.

Sets and costumes are by Michael Loui, the PAD’s scene shop foreman, and Bonnie Kruger, senior lecturer and costume director, respectively. Choreography is by Cecil Slaughter, senior lecturer in the PAD’s Dance Program. Lighting and sound are by lecturers Sean Savoie and Tim Albert.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Christine Brewer Recital in Belleville on Friday, April 23

On Friday, April 23, soprano Christine Brewer joins with Broadway actress Anna McNeely for Vocals Extraordinaire, a recital in the 2009-10 Fine Arts Series at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Belleville, Illinois.

Christine's half of the recital includes a performance of the Seven Early Songs by Alban Berg as well as several recital encores made famous by sopranos Birgit Nilsson and Helen Traubel, among others.

Anna McNeely, a fellow alumna of McKendree College, is known for her appearances on Broadway in the original company of Cats as Jennyanydots, Beauty and the Beast, and the 1989 revival of Gypsy as Miss Electra, a role she reprised in the 1993 television movie version with Bette Midler.

Alice Nelson, director of Webster University's Opera Studio will accompany both artists.

This recital is presented by the Fine Arts Committee of St. Paul's United Church of Christ.

Where: St. Paul's United Church of Christ; 115 West B Street, Belleville, Illinois.
When: Friday, April 23 @ 7:30 p.m.
Free Will Offering will be taken.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Verdi's La Traviata Met Saturday Matinee Broadcast

James Valenti and Angela Gheorghiu.
Photo by Marty Sohn/Metropolitan Opera.

The Metropolitan Opera presents La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi as the Saturday matinee on April 17. Classic 99.1 KFUO-FM will carry the broadcast beginning at 12:00 noon (CT). Approximate running time 3 hours, 5 minutes.

The Met's web site says
Angela Gheorghiu recreates her famous portrayal of Verdi’s most engaging heroine. "Gheorghiu's triumph...was a searing reminder of why we go to opera in the first place," the New York Post raves about her performance, and the New York Times adds: "Her soaring phrases filled the house." James Valenti makes his Met debut as Alfredo and Thomas Hampson sings Germont.
Dave Itzkoff reports in the New York Times that "Yves Abel, who has conducted "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" and "Carmen" at the Met, [stepped in] on April 13, [and will conduct performances on] April 17, 21, and 24" following the abrupt departure of Leonard Slatkin on April 1, following his debut performance of the opera.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Soprano Joy Boland in Recital on Sunday

This Sunday, April 18th, St. Louisan soprano Joy Boland will give a recital for the Shepley Artist Series at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis. Collaborating with pianist Sandra Geary, Ms. Boland will sing Alban Berg’s Seven Early Songs, selections by French composer André Messager, Benjamin Britten’s Once on this Island as well as arias from Verdi’s La forza del destino and Puccini’s Turandot.

Winner of the 2008 Artist Presentation Society competition, Joy Boland recently made her debut with Tulsa Opera as Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor and created the role of Mary Todd Lincoln in the world premiere of Abe, the Musical for Muddy River Opera in Quincy, Illinois. She has sung extensively with Union Avenue Opera, most recently as Inez in Il Trovatore, and made her debut with Winter Opera St. Louis as Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia this past November. As a concert artist, Joy has appeared as soprano soloist with the American Kantorei under the direction of Robert Bergt. She is also a St. Louis district winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2004.

This recital is presented by the Shepley Program of Music and Art at Christ Church Cathedral.

When: Sunday, April 18th @ 2:30pm

Where: Christ Church Cathedral; 1210 Locust Street

Admission: FREE

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) Met Saturday Matinee Broadcast

The Metropolitan Opera presents Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as the Saturday matinee on April 10. Classic 99.1 KFUO-FM will carry the broadcast beginning at 12:00 noon (CT).Approximate running time 3 hours, 6 minutes.

The Met says:
Mozart’s opera comes to life in Julie Taymor’s transcendent production, with a superb ensemble cast, including Nathan Gunn as the bird-catcher Papageno. This mystical fairy tale is presented in its full-length German version.

The Cast

Conductor: Adam Fischer
Pamina: Julia Kleiter
Queen of the Night: Albina Shagimuratova
Tamino: Matthew Polenzani
Papageno: Nathan Gunn
Speaker: David Pittsinger
Sarastro: Hans-Peter König

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tickets for Union Avenue Opera Now On Sale!

Tickets for Union Avenue Opera's 16th season are now on sale. They may be obtained by calling the UAO Box Office -- open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. -- or on-line through the company's website. If you had specific tickets from last season that you'd like to keep for this season, you may call the Box Office at 314.361.2881 to secure them.

UAO's 16th season opens with Gilbert & Sullivan's silly, swashbuckling operetta The Pirates of Penzance followed by Donizetti's light, sophisticated comedy La fille du Régiment and Tchaikovsky's haunting drama The Queen of Spades (Pikovaya Dama). UAO will once again present Amahl and the Night Visitors this December.

Be sure to revisit Operatic Saint Louis in the coming weeks for further news on the upcoming season as well as fundraisers and educational events in conjunction with all three summer productions at Union Avenue Opera.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Verdi's Aida Met's Saturday Matinee Broadcast

Marco Armiliato, who will replace Leonard Slatkin for the evening performance of La Traviata on April 3, after conducting this matinee performance of Aida.

The Metropolitan Opera presents Aida by Giuseppe Verdi as the Saturday matinee on April 3. Classic 99.1 KFUO-FM will carry the broadcast beginning at 12:00 noon (CT). Approximate running time 3 hours, 31 minutes.

From the Met web site:
The Met has assembled a cast of powerful voices to match Aida's epic scale, which in this grand production uses every stage lift in the house. Shanghai-born soprano Hui He makes her Met debut in the title role, with Dolora Zajick as her rival for the affections of Salvatore Licitra’s Radamès. Carlo Guelfi is Amonasro, and Marco Armiliato conducts.
Conductor Marco Armiliato replaces Paolo Carignani, who has withdrawn due to illness. In breaking news, Armiliato will replace Leonard Slatkin for the evening performane of La Traviata on April 3, after conducting this matinee performance of Aida.