miércoles, 21 de enero de 2015

Salomé en San Antonio Texas

Foto: Karen Almond

Carlos Rosas

Salomé, primera ópera que se escenifica en teatro Tobin Center, se ofreció  como uno de los eventos más sobresalientes del festival dedicado a Strauss, organizado por la Sinfónica de San Antonio. Con su director artístico, el compositor estadounidense Tobias Picker, y en su temporada inaugural, la Opera San Antonio ya comenzó a llamar la atención en el medio operístico norteamericano por su temporada poco convencional y osada con títulos, como el ya mencionado, además de Fantastic Mr. Fox de Picker, Il Segreto di Susanna de Wolf-Ferrari y La Voix Humaine de Pouenc. Así es como el nuevo director pretende darle una identidad única y diferente a la compañía, además del ofrecimiento de invitar artistas reconocidos para las producciones, situación que se recibe con beneplácito de un teatro que recién comienza. Salome se presentó  con una nueva escenografía y vestuarios que ubicaban la historia en la Belle Époque y no en la antigüedad histórica de Galilea. Sin embargo, la terraza y el comedor del palacio de Herodes de un diseño modernista y vestuarios de diversos estilos, dieron la sensación de ir en un camino opuesto al que marcaban el libreto y la música, llegando incluso mostrar una visión caricaturesca de la obra. No se intenta ser purista aquí, sino puntualizar una idea escénica que no funcionó. 
Patricia Racette, considerada la musa de Tobias Picker ya que ha dado vida a papeles principales de sus operas, encarnó por primera vez en escena el exigente papel de Salome, que ya había cantado en concierto en Chicago. De inicio su elección abría una incógnita ya que Racette ha destacado como soprano lirica, pero aquí utilizó sus recursos para proyectar y atravesar a la orquesta con capacidad sin perder el brillo y el color dramático en la voz, necesarios para transmitir el carácter siniestro del personaje. En escena actuó con mucha gestualidad y a su ‘danza de los siete velos’ le faltó un poco más desenvoltura y seducción. El director Candance Evans se encargo de la dirección escénica y de la coreografía. Alan Held fue un autoritario y resonante Jochanaan; Michelle De Young cantó con timbre oscuro y dio poca malicia a Herodías, y el tenor Allan Glassman mostró su dominio vocal y experiencia como Herodes. Discretos Brian Jadge como Narraboth y Renée Rapier como el paje. Sebastian Lang-Lessing dirigió a la orquesta (Sinfónica de San Antonio) con una aproximación casi sinfónica de la partitura, que fue detallada, libre y expresiva. 

lunes, 19 de enero de 2015

Un Ballo in maschera en Bolonia

Foto: Rocco Casaluci

Anna Galletti

Riccardo, gobernador de Boston en plena campaña política, entra a la escena con la security, y el lugar en el que aparece es la moderna sede de dicha campaña con computadoras, smart phones y luces de neón. Desde el primer momento, el riesgo para el público es dejarse llevar solamente por la dirección de Damiano Michieletto, desconcertante aunque minimalista, casi gráfica, aunque también segura, inteligente y jamás contradictoria. Para apreciarla hay que ser admirador incondicional de Michieletto o tener la capacidad de considerarla simplemente por lo que es: excepcional. No gustó a todo el público y lo que se puede decir, más allá del prejuicio que algunos tienen hacia los montajes modernos, es que le puede faltar magia. Existe el riesgo de salir del teatro con la sensación de haber recibido un golpe en el estómago en vez de  haber sido envuelto en una noche mágica. A esta sensación contribuye también la falta de una identidad precisa de los personajes. El bien y el mal, el trágico y el cómico, se mezclan y coexisten en todos los personajes. Riccardo es un político egocéntrico, narcisista y “sabelotodo”. Goza aparecer frente a tele cámaras y micrófonos, no obstante le hayan vaticinado la muerte, busca su humanidad en un amor más  deseado que real, pero el fondo ama y sufre por amor. Renato es un guardaespaldas fiel hasta la muerte, que cree totalmente en su rol, cuya fidelidad sucumbe frente a la supuesta traición de su mujer y a la vergüenza que la misma conlleva. Cuando por primera vez aparece Amelia en el escenario, en la cueva de la maga, se ve una mujer alta burguesa, algo neurótica, cuyas inquietudes de amor representan un medio para salir de la cotidianidad y que lucha hasta el último momento para poner a salvo a su enamorado. Ulrica es una buena representación entre una moderna santona y una predicadora televisiva. Con pocos ademanes y mucha altanería logra atraer a las multitudes. Sin embargo, se quedó perturbada por el destino que ella misma le profetizó a Riccardo. Oscar deja su rol de paje y se presenta como una mujer algo frívola, responsable de la oficina de prensa de Riccardo, verosímilmente no indemne a la fascinación por su jefe. Ella es fiel pero no tanto para resistir a la amenaza de un arma, frente a la que revela el disfraz de Riccardo condenándolo a muerte. Transversalmente a la opera y a los personajes, se destaca aún más que en una representación tradicional la ironía, o la liviandad de la que Verdi impregnó su ópera, y que en esta lectura moderna tal vez desemboca en claro sarcasmo. Al final de cuentas, este “Ballo” no permite que se sueñe, sino instiga a la reflexión. Aún así, tiene su magia. No se encontró solamente en las notas y en las arias de Verdi lo que la Orquesta del Teatro Comunale devolvió impecablemente bajo la dirección de Michele Mariotti, cuya manifiesta sintonía con la agrupación es garantía de éxito en lecturas meticulosas y no necesariamente previsibles; si no que surgió también de la fusión de imágenes y palabras, lo que exigió al espectador el esfuerzo de ir más allá del sentido literal del libreto y de “mirar” a la opera con los ojos de su director. Surgió, poderosa, en la tragedia final, que fue solamente humana, lejos de reflectores y micrófonos, y dejada con expediente sugestivo en manos de Riccardo quien ya muerto, le costaba alejarse de su gente. Al término, ovación para Gregory Kunde, quién en otra vida, al cansarse de ser tenor, estará sin duda en condición de entregarse con igual éxito a la carrera política. En el teatro, al final, todos los espectadores fuimos “Kundians” y en esta calidad le pedimos que por favor no lo haga y ¡siga cantando! Ovación también para Luca Salsi (Renato) cuya voz redonda y cautivadora sedujo al público. El todavía joven barítono se encuentra a un paso de llegar a la plena madurez artística, para la que quizás le falte una cierta intensidad de interpretación. Se dice con el convencimiento que él, ya excelente cantante, tenga todavía algo más que dar. Maria José Siri comenzó de manera que no persuadió totalmente, pero luego creció y ofreció lo mejor en el dueto en el que Amelia confesó su amor a Riccardo. Elena Manistina interpretó con seguridad y debida altivez el rol de la moderna maga; Beatriz Díaz se desempeñó con brillantez vocal en la interpretación de Oscar; positiva fue también la prueba de Fabrizio Beggi y Samuel Lim, enemigos jurados de Riccardo. 

domingo, 18 de enero de 2015

Cecilia Bartoli - Celebrated mezzosoprano performs three Southern California dates

For the first time in the United States, Grammy Award-winning Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli performs her best-selling recital program, “Sacrificium,” following her Grammy-winning recording of the same title, in an exclusive three-city California tour, including three dates in Southern California. Ms. Bartoli’s first West Coast appearances in six years, “Sacrificium” celebrates the art of the castrati during their golden age in the 18th century. Ms. Bartoli will be accompanied by pianist Sergio Ciomei. Southern California performance dates include Saturday and Thursday, March 21 and 26, 7:30pm, at The Broad Stage at Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, and Monday, March 23, 8pm, at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. Ms. Bartoli will conclude her tour with two performances at Cal Performances on Tuesday and Thursday, March 31 and April 2, 8pm, at Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley. Tickets are available for pre-sale to members and subscribers of The Broad Stage, Philharmonic Society, and Cal Performances starting Thursday, January 15, with a public on sale date of Thursday, January 22. This tour is made possible through the generous support from the Lloyd E. Rigler-Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation.  It is produced in association with U-Live/Universal Music Arts and Entertainment in London. Championed early in her career by conducting legends Herbert von Karajan, Daniel Barenboim and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Cecilia Bartoli has since enchanted millions of people all over the world with her exceptional voice and become one of the leading artists in the field of classical music. Prior to her Metropolitan Opera debut and Carnegie Hall recital debut, Ms. Bartoli made her Orange County debut in September 1995 at the invitation of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. She has since performed in Orange County in 2001 with Il Giardino Armonico and most recently in a recital in 2009. This will mark Ms. Bartoli’s first appearance on The Broad Stage.In 2012, Ms. Bartoli became the first woman appointed Artistic Director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival, and celebrated the appointment by organizing the first festival under her leadership around the theme of Cleopatra. The following year, the festival saw a new production of Bellini’s Norma, with Giovanni Antonini conducting the Orchestra La Scintilla and marking Ms. Bartoli’s stage debut in the title role. The production won the International Opera Award for Best New Opera Production of 2013, and the audio release of Bellini’s opera, also conducted by Antonini and starring Ms. Bartoli, won the ECHO Klassik award for Opera Recording of the Year—19th-century opera. In the last three years under Ms. Bartoli’s leadership, the Whitsun Festival has seen tremendous success and in November 2014, announced Ms. Bartoli’s contract with the festival has been extended through 2021. 2014 was a particularly busy year. In March 2014, Ms. Bartoli released two Rossini operas, Le Comte Ory and Otello, on DVD/Blu-ray. The following month, after an absence of more than 20 years from the Paris stage, she returned singing the role of Desdemona in Otello. Her most recent CD release St Petersburg, issued in October 2014, features Baroque arias composed for the court of Catherine the Great and two of her predecessors. Rediscovered by Ms. Bartoli herself in St. Petersburg, these hidden musical treasures of Tsarist Russia offer the first opportunity to hear her sing in Russian. The project reunited her with longtime collaborators I Barocchisti, famed Baroque ensemble, and organist and conductor Diego Fasolis. Ms. Bartoli’s extraordinary success as a best-selling classical artist is reflected by more than ten million audio and video releases sold and more than 100 weeks ranked on the international charts, along with the numerous prestigious prizes she has earned—multiple Golden Discs, five Grammys (USA), ten Echos and a Bambi (Germany), two Classical Brit Awards (UK), the Victoire de la Musique (France), the Concertgebouw Prize (Netherlands) and the Record Academy Award (Japan). Ms. Bartoli has been awarded the Italian knighthood and most recently, was given the prestigious Italian prize Bellini d’Oro, a Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes (one of the highest awards of the Spanish Ministry of Culture), and the Médalle Grand Vermeil de la Ville de Paris.

viernes, 16 de enero de 2015

Goyescas y Suor Angélica en el Teatro Regio de Turín

Foto: Ramella&Giannese - Teatro Regio di Torino

Renzo Bellardone 
Goyescas es una ópera casi desconocida que meritoriamente el Teatro Regio (siguiendo la filosofía de proponer obras inéditas o casi) incluyó en su cartelera. Música de sabor sinfónico con acentos de alegría y un poco de lirismo que al final estuvieron inmersos en tragedia. La conducción de Donato Renzetti fue apreciable por lograr que esta novedad estuviese ya en la mente del público, y lo hizo con sobria elegancia. La efectiva producción de Andrea De Rosa, con colores ámbar y soleados de la tierra hispánica, con fuerte inspiración de Goya, se valió también del oscuro color negro, opacado solo por  incorrecto uso de luces de linternas. Aunque la iluminación diseñada por Pasquale Mari exaltó el momento de la fiesta, como el momento de la muerte. En un largo pasaje de música se insertó un ballet de matriz española ideado por Michela Luccenti, con vestuarios clásicos y eficaces de Alessandro Chiammarughi.  La protagonista Rosario fue interpretada por una valiosa Giuseppina Piunti quien con voz oscura de transparente claridad se insertó bien entre la armonía de la bien timbrada voz del tenor Andeka Gorrotxategui, en el papel de Fernando, y la profunda y pulida voz de Fabián Veloz, el barítono que dio vida al rival Paquiro.  Anna Maria Chiuri, quien estuvo también en la segunda ópera, aquí dio voz firme a Pepa la muchacha del pueblo.  La insólita combinación entre Goyescas y Sor Angélica tuvo un denominador común, la mujer y el sufrimiento femenino. En el primer caso el dolor fue causado por la muerte del amante a manos del rival y en segundo la expiación de la culpa que en esa época era una vergüenza, tener un hijo sin estar casada. La primera obra fue ambientada en una especie de cráter y la segunda en un manicomio, con lo que se puede asegurar que esta realización se aproximó a la perfección. Sor Angélica tenía la llave de la entrada de una puerta, que en medio de unas rejas se abría para acceder al jardín de las plantas que la hermana cuidaba con amor. Detrás de las rejas del manicomio femenil se movían las “locas” bien interpretadas por mimos capaces. Alli transitaba la hermana enfermera, la doctora y las demás hermanas.  La primera que encantó con su voz, la monja de la mezzosoprano Silvia Beltrami una voz profundamente relevante y rica, de buen timbre y preciosos matices. Amarilli Nizza interpretó a la protagonista con acentos dolorosos y gran pathos, con el que realizó una Suor Angelica verdaderamente condenada, voz bella, decididamente pertinente para el papel. Anna Maria Chiuri diseñó con gran credibilidad al papel de la tía princesa, valiéndose también de la potencia de su voz bruñida y bien modulada. Verdaderamente numerosa la lista de intérpretes que con bravura contribuyeron a la realización de una interesante producción. Bella intuición al final de no parir como de costumbre al niño rubio, soñado y deseado, sino de hacer dar de una enferma mental y Angélica una marioneta, una muñeca de trapo, que ella, fuera de sí y cercana a la muerte abrazaba amorosamente entre los brazos. Como es habitual un fuerte aplauso va al coro del Regio dirigido por Claudio Fenoglio y a todos los maestros de la orquesta y al staff del teatro. ¡La música venció como siempre!

La Sofferenze Femminile – Teatro Regio di Torino

Foto: Ramella&Giannese - Teatro Regio di Torino
Renzo Bellardone
Goyescas un’opera pressoché sconosciuta ai più, che meritevolmente il Teatro Regio (seguendo la filosofia di proporre anche inediti o quasi)  ha inserito in cartellone. Musica dal sapore sinfonico con accenti prima gioiosi poi di liricità, ed al fine immersi nella tragedia! La direzione  di Donato Renzetti è stata apprezzata, per essere riuscita a porgere  il nuovo come se fosse già nelle menti dell’ascoltatore, con sobria eleganza. L’allestimento d’effetto di Andrea De Rosa, con i colori ambrati e assolati della terra ispanica con forte ispirazione a Goya, si è avvalso anche del buio color nero, spaccato solo da impudici fasci di luce di torce led. A proposito di luci, quelle  ben disegnate da Pasquale Mari hanno esaltato il momento della festa, come il momento della morte! In un lungo ascolto di sola musica è stato  inserito un balletto di matrice  spagnola ideato da Michela Lucenti; classici ed efficaci i costumi di Alessandro Chiammarughi. La protagonista Rosario è stata interpretata da una valida Giuseppina Piunti con voce sicura  e limpidezze trasparenti che ben si è inserita tra l’armoniosità della voce ben timbrata di Andeka Gorrotxategui, tenore nel ruolo di Fernando e la profonda voce brunita di  Fabián Veloz il baritono che ha interpretato il rivale Paquiro. Anna Maria Chiuri che ritroveremo nella seconda opera, qui dà ferma voce a Pepa la ragazza del popolo. L’insolito accostamento della proposta di Goyescas e Suour Angelica ha un denominatore comune, ovvero la donna e la sofferenza femminile. Nel primo caso il dolore è causato dalla morte dell’amante per mano del rivale e nel secondo caso dall’espiazione di una colpa che all’epoca era certamente una vergogna: partorire un figlio senza essere sposata. La prima opera è stata ambientata in una sorta di cratere, mentre la seconda in un manicomio e si può assicurare che questa  realizzazione ha rasentato la perfezione. Suor Angelica ha le chiavi di un cancello che al centro delle sbarre si può aprire e da li accedere al giardino delle erbe che la suora cura con tanto amore. Dietro le sbarre del manicomio femminile si muovono le ‘pazze’ ottimamente interpretate da mime di rara capacità, transita la suora infermiera, la dottoressa e le varie suore. La prima ad incantare con la voce è la suora zelatrice che ha trovato nel mezzosoprano Silvia Beltrami una voce profondamente autorevole e ricca di buon timbro con  sfumature preziose. Amarilla Nizzi ha interpretato la protagonista e con accenti dolorosi e di grande pathos ha realizzato una Suor Angelica veramente dannata: voce bella e decisamente pertinente al ruolo. Anna Maria Chiuri nel ruolo della zia principessa, ha disegnato con grande credibilità il personaggio, avvalendosi anche della possanza della sua voce brunita e ben modulata.    Veramente numerose le interpreti che con bravura hanno contribuito tutte alla realizzazione di un allestimento di interesse! Bella l’intuizione al finale di non far apparire come di consueto il bimbo biondo sognato ed agognato, ma di far porgere da una malata di mente ad Angelica un fantoccio, una bambola di pezza che lei, ormai fuor di senno e prossima alla morte accoglie amorevolmente tra le braccia. Come oramai d’abitudine un forte plauso va  al coro del Regio diretto da Claudio Fenoglio ed ai professori d’orchestra tutti, così a come tutto lo staff del teatro. La Musica vince sempre.

viernes, 9 de enero de 2015

A Joyous Pijama Party: Offenbach’s Barbe-Bleue at the Opéra de Rennes

Photo: Jef Rabillon

Suzanne Daumann

New Year’s days are party days: Angers Nantes Opéra and the Opéra de Rennes celebrate with an Opera Zuid (Holland) production of Offenbach’s Barbe-Bleue. Offenbach’s Bluebeard is something of a Don Juan whose methods are a bit radical, and his story, all in all, is about home and family. Waut Koeken’s staging, accordingly, takes place in a very domestic environment. Yannick Larrivée has designed a set that consists mainly of an inclined plan, which first is an enormous bed, with flowered bedclothes hinting at shepherd idylls; later it becomes a sofa, and then a kitchen table, complete with red and white chequered tablecloth. Many colourful and slightly crazy details add their charm to the staging: a golden picture-frame, hanging askance on the back wall, houses all kinds of people and situations, umbrellas with pompoms serve as “baldaquin du palanquin”, people come and go through a TV set... The whole ambiance is totally Offenbach: light without being facile or cheap. The costumes are as many variations on the theme of nightclothes – this is some kind of pyjama party! Elsa Baumann’s wonderfully crazy choreographies are doing the rest and everything becomes an irresistible vortex of song, dance, gags and surprises.  The excellent cast are totally up to the challenge: they run and dance and jump and ride on pillows and sing the demanding parts with seeming effortlessness, they caricature and parody with incredible energy and abandon. Mathias Vidal, tenor, is an energetic, lively, charming, human Barbe-Bleue. With his lovely clear and natural timbre he is totally credible and it is obvious that he masters perfectly the belcanto and baroque repertoire. Just as admirable, energetic and sparkling, is Carine Séchaye in the role of Boulotte. Boulotte is a young country girl with country manners and talk, who finds herself accidentally married to the nobleman Barbe-Bleue. She used to be in love with the prince Saphir, disguised as a shepherd and who is in love with the shepherdess Fleurette, who, in her turn, is really Hermia, the daughter of King Bobêche. As Fleurette’s true identity is found out and she is taken to her father’s castle, enters Popolani, Barbe-Bleue’s alchemist, who is supposed to find a new wife for his master. He organises a lottery, and Boulotte wins it. Meanwhile, the king Bobêche, interpreted as a real music hall king by the tenor Raphaël Brémard, is jealous of count Alvarez whom he suspects of being his wife’s lover. He orders count Oscar to execute him. Flannan Obé, tenor, plays the part with brio con fuoco. Barbe-Bleue has presented his wife Boulotte at court: like Eliza Doolittle at Ascot, she let her tongue run away with her, the court is shocked and Barbe-Bleue decides that the needs a new new wife, and he wants her to be the kings daughter whom he has fallen in love with at first sight. Gabrielle Philiponet, soprano, sings that part full of youthful innocence and charm. Barbe-Bleue orders Popolani to send off Boulotte after his other wives. Pierre Doyen, baritone, is Popolani, a crazy professor. Crazy but not inhuman: Popolani, after all, did not kill his master’s wives, but only put them into some kind of sleep. In furious finale, it turns out that the count Oscar also spared his king’s victims, the supposed lovers of the queen. And so we see a fivefold arranged marriage, the wedding of Princess Hermia and Prince Saphir (very funny Loïc Félix, hysterical in turquoise pyjamas in Act 1), and the reconciliation between Barbe-Bleue and Boulotte. Laurent Campellone conducts the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne with just the right amounts of verve and tenderness, and shows his acting talents in a spirited intermezzo with Gordon Wilson, the narrator of the story. A delicious party, a glass of musical champagne for this New Year to begin in style: bravi tutti. The performance can be seen at Angers Grand Théâtre on January 11, 13 and 15. 










Une affaire domestique : Barbe-Bleue d’Offenbach à l’Opéra de Rennes


Foto: Jef Rabillon

Suzanne Daumann

C’est la période des fêtes : entre fin d’année et carnaval, Angers Nantes Opéra et l’Opéra de Rennes font la fête avec Barbe-Bleue et Jacques Offenbach, avec une production d’Opera Zuid, co-produit aussi avec l’Opéra National de Lorraine. Chez Offenbach, Barbe-Bleue est une espèce de Don Juan aux méthodes quelque peu radicales, son histoire, tout compte fait, tourne autour du mariage et des affaires domestiques. Par conséquent, Waut Koeken la met en scène dans des décors domestiques. Dans la scénographie de Yannick Larrivée, un plan incliné couvre la scène presque en entier et fait tour à tour office de lit dont la literie fleurie évoque champs et prairies, de canapé rouge et de table de cuisine nappée aux carreaux rouges et blancs gigantesque. S’y ajoutent maints détails loufoques et colorés, que ce soit un cadre doré de travers sur le mur de fond, habité par les personnages et situations les plus diverses, des parapluies à pompons qui font office de « palanquin à baldaquin », une télévision d’où sortent et où disparaissent des personnages…L’ambiance est parfaitement offenbachienne : légère sans être facile, encore moins vulgaire. Les costumes sont autant de variations multicolores du thème du linge de nuit, donnant à l’ensemble des allures de pyjama-party. Avec les chorégraphies d’Elsa Baumann, tout part dans un tourbillon irrésistible de chants, danses, gags et rebondissements. L’excellente distribution n’est pas en reste : on court, danse, saute, chevauche des coussins et chante, mine de rien, apparemment sans effort, ces parties difficiles, on caricature et parodie en se donnant à cœur joie sans jamais en faire de trop. Mathias Vidal, ténor, campe un Barbe-Bleue bien vivant, humain, attachant. Son beau timbre clair et naturel le rend parfaitement crédible, et il est évident qu’il maîtrise le bel canto tout autant que les partitions baroques. Tout aussi admirable, pétillante et énergique, la mezzo-soprano au timbre argentin Carine Séchaye dans le rôle de Boulotte.  Boulotte est une jeune paysanne, aux mœurs et au patois bien campagnards, qui se trouve par hasard mariée à Barbe-Bleue. Précédemment, elle était amoureuse du prince Saphir, déguisé en berger, qui aime, de son côté, la bergère Fleurette qui est en réalité la princesse Hermia, fille du roi Bobêche. Au moment où la vraie identité de Fleurette est connue et elle est transportée au château du roi, surgit Popolani, l’alchimiste de Barbe-Bleue, chargé de trouver une nouvelle épouse pour son maître. Il organise alors un tirage au sort : c’est Boulotte qui sera la femme de Barbe-Bleue. Pendant ce temps, le roi Bobèche, interprété en vrai roi d’opérette par le ténor Raphaël Brémard, est jaloux du comte Alvarez qu’il soupçonne d‘être l’amant de la reine Clémentine, et ordonne au comte Oscar de l’exécuter. Flannan Obé, ténor, interprète ce courtisan avec brio con fuoco.  Pour le mariage de la princesse Hermia et le prince Saphir, Barbe-Bleue avait présenté sa nouvelle femme au roi. Or, Boulotte à la cour, c’est un peu Eliza Doolittle à Ascot, patois et mœurs rurales détonnent dans ce cadre guindé et Barbe-Bleue décide qu’il a besoin d’une nouvelle nouvelle épouse sur-le-champ. D’autant plus qu’il est tombé raide amoureux de la fille du roi, Hermia, interprétée tout en charme et innocence, par la soprano Gabrielle Philiponet.  Il charge alors Popolani d’envoyer Boulotte rejoindre ses autres femmes. Pierre Doyen, baryton, est Popolani, et lui donne des airs de savant fou. Fou mais point furieux : Popolani n’a pas tué les femmes de son maître, il leur a donné une potion magique pour les endormir. Dans une finale déchaînée, il s’avère que le comte Oscar a fait de même avec les victimes du roi Bobêche, les amants supposés de son épouse. On assiste alors à un quintuple mariage arrangé, aux noces de la princesse Hermia et du prince Saphir (très comique également Loïc Félix, hystérique en pyjama turquoise) et à la réconciliation de Barbe-Bleue et Boulotte. Laurent Campellone dirige l’Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne avec tout ce qu’il faut de verve et de tendresse, et fait preuve de son talent d’acteur dans un intermezzo arrosé lors du changement de décor pour le final. Une fête réussie, une coupe de Champagne musical pour ce début d’année : bravi tutti ! À voir au Grand Théâtre d’Angers les 11, 13 et 15 janvier.



jueves, 1 de enero de 2015

Dido and Aeneas y el Castillo de Barba Azul en Los Ángeles

Foto: Craig Mathew / LA Opera

Maria Nockin

La Ópera de Los Ángeles presentó un interesante programa doble: una obra del barroco del inglés Henry Purcell y otra del siglo XX, del húngaro Béla Bartók. Como el director de escena Barrie Kosky quiso usar una gran plataforma giratoria para Bluebeard’s Castle, la puesta en escena de Dido and Aeneas fue relegada a la parte frontal del escenario. El concertador Steven Sloane fue una nueva cara en Los Ángeles, ya que suele trabajar en Europa. Es director musical de la Sinfónica de Bochum en Alemania y de la Orquesta Stavanger en Noruega. Para Dido, formó un soberbio ensamble de cuerdas de instrumentos antiguos, incluyendo tiorbas, junto con flauta, oboe, fagot, percusiones, órgano y clavicémbalo que fue vital para la interpretación de la obra. Paula Murrihy cantó Dido con gran lirismo, al igual que su pareja infiel, interpretada por Liam Bonner. Tres excelentes contratenores, John Holiday, G. Thomas Allen y Darryl Taylor proveyeron las escenas cómicas como la Hechicera y las Brujas. La crema vocal del elenco fue la soprano ucraniana Kateryna Kasper, en el rol de Belinda. Murrihy empezó a cantar su “lamento” con tonos directos, pero hacia el final empezó a suspirar audiblemente, y así continuó hasta el final de la función, borrando el estado de ánimo contemplativo que esta obra suele dejar en el espectador. En ambas óperas los vestuarios fueron contemporáneos, por lo que, en el caso de El castillo de Barbazul, Kosky quiso convencer al público de que Judith es una mujer del siglo XXI, que tiene expectativas de igualdad de género. La orquesta bajo la batuta de Sloane tocó la fascinante música de Bartók con perfección translúcida. Como Judith, la mezzo alemana Claudia Mahnke cantó con el sonido dramático de un océano, en tanto que el bajo-barítono británico Robert Hayward cantó eficazmente con la frialdad característica de su personaje.


Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Munich Staatsoper

Photo:Bayerische Staatsoper 

Suzanne Daumann

Richard Strauss’ “Die Frau ohne Schatten” is a fairytale, set in dreamland, full of signs and symbols. It’s the story of two couples, of two women mostly, who have to face a series of trials: one of them to save the man she loves, the other to find her place in life. A voyage of initiation, like every fairytale worth its salt, where the symbols speak directly to the heart of the spectator, and everyone can understand just what they need. That is the way fairytales work and heal. For his staging, Krzysztof Warlikowski however makes the choice to interpret the story beforehand: based on the intellectual universe of the period in which the opera was written, he sees in its heroines’ troubles the typical female hysteric illnesses: sterility for one, frigidity for the other. And so we can see nurses and medical situations throughout the opera. Barak has become a simple launderette owner, whereas a dyer is part alchemist. The magical part only shines through every once and again, when extras in animal costumes walk the stage or beautiful video installations just float along with the music. Most of the time however Malgorzata Szczesniak’s sets just seem incoherent and arbitrary. Kirill Petrenko once again manages to square the circle: his conducting is tense, intense, taut, and still has this Viennese suppleness and sweetness where it is asked for. The Bayrische Staatsorchester and its brilliant soloists and the excellent cast are perfectly up to the task: musically this performance is as good as it gets. Ricarda Merbeth, soprano, deploys the whole amplitude of her voice only in Act 3. She is the woman who has no shadow, the fairy that the Emperor conquered as he found her wearing the body of a white gazelle. Robert Dean Smith, Heldentenor if there ever was, plays the Emperor with noble humility. The Empress loves her husband, he comes to her bed every night. She is not able to conceive his child however, she doesn’t become totally human, she can have no shadow. Her father, the mighty and invisible Keikobad, has decreed that the Emperor will turn to stone, if she doesn’t get pregnant in the first year of marriage. Her old nurse, sung by the fabulous mezzo Deborah Polaski, takes her to the land of the humans, where she knows a woman who might sell her own shadow. She is the wife of Barak, the dyer. Soprano Elena Pankratova brings to life this multi-layered character with her splendid, agile voice. Wolfgang Koch, bass-baritone, is Barak. Warm velvety voice full of temperament, he gives intelligent depth to the humble tenderness of his character. Finally, the two women find salvation in giving up their egos and plans and everything ends well for the four of them.
Much merited applause and bravos galore – it’s been an exciting evening!


Die Frau ohne Schatten de Richard Strauss au Staatsoper de Munich

Foto: Bayerische Staatsoper 

Suzanne Daumann

Die Frau ohne Schatten, la femme sans ombre, c’est un conte de fées qui se déroule au pays des rêves, plein de symboles et de signes. C’est l’histoire de deux couples, de deux femmes surtout, qui doivent affronter des épreuves et voyages : l’une pour sauver l’homme qu’elle aime, l’autre pour trouver le chemin de sa vie. Dans sa mise en scène, Krzysztof Warlikowski prend le parti d’interpréter les difficultés de ces femmes comme des maladies dites hystériques : stérilité pour l’une, frigidité pour l’autre. Logiquement, il peuple l’univers de l’opéra de personnel et matériel médical. C’est un parti pris cohérent et honorable, basé sur l’univers intellectuel de l’époque de la création de l’œuvre. Cependant, beaucoup de scènes laissent ainsi un sentiment de manque, souvent la scénographie de Malgorzata Szczesniak semble arbitraire, incohérente et l’on n’arrive pas à saisir une ambiance de fond. Barak est devenu un simple patron de Lavomatic, alors qu’un teinturier est moitié alchimiste. Cela fonctionne bien mieux dans les scènes dans lesquelles l’élément du rêve a été réintroduit, quand des animaux peuplent la scène, quand des belles installations vidéo donnent une impression de flou, de flottement, en harmonie avec la musique. Kirill Petrenko réussit une fois de plus la quadrature du cercle : sa direction est dense, intense, tendue, tout en retrouvant, quand il faut, la tendre souplesse viennoise que demande la musique de Strauss. Le Bayrische Staatsorchester et ses solistes brillants lui font honneur, ainsi que l’excellente distribution. Ricarda Merbeth, soprano, est la femme sans ombre, la fée que l’Empereur a conquise lorsqu’elle lui apparut sous la forme d’une gazelle blanche. L’Empereur est interprété avec noblesse et humanité  par le ténor Robert Dean Smith, grande voix de Heldentenor. L’Impératrice aime son époux, il partage sa couche toutes les nuits. Cependant, elle ne conçoit pas son enfant, elle ne devient pas tout à fait humaine, elle n’a pas d’ombre. Or, son père, le puissant et invisible Keikobad, a stipulé que, si elle n’est pas enceinte au bout de dix mois, l’Empereur se transformera en pierre. Sa nourrice, interprétée par la fabuleuse mezzo Deborah Polaski, l’emmène alors au pays des humains, où elle connaît une femme qui pourrait lui céder son ombre. C’est de la femme du teinturier Barak qu’il s’agit. La soprano Elena Pankratova lui donne vie et sa voix splendide, agile ; elle saisit toutes les facettes de ce personnage particulièrement humain, cette femme à la recherche du sens de sa vie, de son mariage. Barak, son mari, est interprété par Wolfgang Koch, baryton-basse. Avec sa chaude voix de velours, il donne une profondeur intelligente à la tendresse humble de cet homme. Après maintes épreuves, les deux femmes trouvent le salut dans le renoncement à leurs desseins égoïstes et tout se termine bien. Applaudissements et bravos bien mérités pour tous !

martes, 30 de diciembre de 2014

Tucson Desert Song Festival, Jan 15-Feb 1 - Tucson, Arizona

The Third Annual Tucson Desert Song Festival (TDSF), Jan. 15–Feb. 1, 2015, will bring together Tucson’s leading arts groups and internationally celebrated guest artists to explore the exquisite sorrow and defiant laughter of life and love, with Tamara Mumford and Anthony Dean Griffey featured in the rarely performed chamber orchestration of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, Susan Graham singing the neglected Berlioz masterpiece La Mort d’Ophélie, and Katie Van Kooten, Heidi Grant Murphy and Angela Brower presenting the final trio from Der Rosenkavalier. All this, as well as the New York Festival of Song and Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute on Tour, Corinne Winters singing her first Tatiana in Arizona Opera’s Eugene Onegin, plus Carmina Burana and Poulenc’s Gloria!

Such leading vocalists as mezzo-sopranos Susan Graham, Tamara Mumford, and Angela Brower, sopranos Heidi Grant Murphy and Corrine Winters, and tenor Anthony Dean Griffey will perform with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, UApresents, Arizona Opera, Tucson Chamber Artists, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, Tucson Guitar Society and more.

The festival includes bookend concerts by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra of Poulenc’s Gloria and the final trio from Der Roenskavalier and Don Juan by Richard Strauss, and ending with the lustrous voice of Tamara Mumford and the virtuosic singing of Anthony Dean Griffey in Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (arr. Schoenberg), preceded by Mozart’s “Haffner” Symphony
.

Highly acclaimed mezzo-soprano Susan Graham will give a recital of Berlioz, Schubert, Cole Porter and other composers under the auspices of UApresents, and in its festival debut Arizona Opera will perform Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with guest stars Corinne Winters and David Adam Moore.

Rising young vocalists from the prestigious Ravinia Steans Music Institute on Tour will gather for a concert presented by the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music with soprano Simone Osborne and world-renowned pianist and Tucson Desert Song Festival’s Artistic Consultant, Kevin Murphy.

In a festival exclusive, the Tucson Guitar Society will bring together guitarist David Leisner and tenor Rufus Müller to perform the works of Benjamin Britten, Franz Schubert, David Leisner’s own works and Manuel de Falla.

TDSF guest artists will join with the University of Arizona School of Music to conduct master classes. Faculty and students will provide a series of lectures and recitals. All of these events are open to the public.  

For the third year, the festival will include a songwriting competition for students in grades K–12. Students are invited to submit original songs with melody and lyrics. A panel of UA School of Music educators will judge the submissions, and finalists will be invited to perform their compositions in a showcase recital at the UA School of Music on January 17, 2015. (The application deadline is November 24, 2014; materials may be found under the Education tab at TucsonDesertSongFestival.org.) Cash prizes are given to the top winners.

Also for the third year, TDSF is continuing its Adult Education Outreach program with a series of Preview Concerts that will be performed during November and December 2014. (*See dates below).

This year’s Preview Concerts will include University of Arizona School of Music graduate students, soprano Jenina Gallaway and baritone Seth Kershisnik, will present a varied program of songs and duets by Schubert, Strauss, Duparc, Poulenc, Duke, and Chausson as well as new trends in art song with Comic settings by Tom Cipullo, a haunting lullaby by Leo Edwards and poignant spirituals set by Moses Hogan.   The concerts are open and free to the public.

Tickets to festival performances are available through the individual participating organizations. More information about the 2015 festival is available at TucsonDesertSongFestival.org, and at 1-888-546-3305.

The mission of the Tucson Desert Song Festival is to elevate Tucson to a world-class destination for classical voice and music lovers by presenting three weeks of performances and events celebrating classical voice at its highest level. In collaboration with Tucson’s professional performing arts organizations, its annual offerings bring together local artistry of the highest quality with the world’s most promising vocal talent. Both synergetic and unique, the festival has merited recognition on a national level.

2015 TUCSON DESERT SONG FESTIVAL CALENDAR OF EVENTS


Opening Concert and Lecture 
Crowder Hall
Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
Kristin Dauphinais, Associate Professor of Music, UA School of Music, assisted by UA voice students. 
Song:  From Salon to Stage, the Journey of a Genre
Open and free to the public.

Tucson Symphony Orchestra
Tucson Music Hall
Friday, January 16, 2015 at 8 p.m. & Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 2 p.m. 
George Hanson, conductor
Katie Van Kooten, soprano 

Heidi Grant Murphy, soprano
Angela Brower, mezzo-soprano
TSO Chorus, Bruce Chamberlain, director
Poulenc: Gloria. 
Strauss: Don Juan; 
final trio from Der Rosenkavalier
Tickets:  tucsonsymphony.org

Finalist Showcase Recital
TDSF Songwriting Competition 
University of Arizona Holsclaw Hall
Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. 
Information:  tucsondesertsongfestival.org/education/

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music 
Leo Rich Theatre
Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 3 p.m.
Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute on Tour
Simone Osborne, soprano
Kevin Murphy, pianist
Catherine Martin, mezzo-soprano
Michael Brandenburg, tenor
Tickets:  arizonachambermusic.org

UA School of Music
Holsclaw Hall
January 21, Wednesday, 12:00 p.m.
New Directions in Song
Hosted by Associate Professor of Music, Kristin Dauphinais, the program will feature works of contemporary art song with new trends and new discoveries, performed by UA vocal students.  Open and free to the public.

Tucson Guitar Society
Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 7 p.m. 
University of Arizona Holsclaw Hall
David Leisner, guitarist
Rufus Müller, tenor
Works of Benjamin Britten, Franz Schubert, David Leisner and Manuel de Falla
Tickets:  tucsonguitarsociety.org

Tucson Chamber Artists
  • Friday, January 23, 2015 at 7:00p.m.
Valley Presbyterian Church, Green Valley, AZ
  • Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 7:30p.m.
Catalina Foothills High School
  • Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 3:00p.m.
Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 

Eric Holtan, conductor
Hugh Russell, baritone
Hye Jung Lee, soprano
Edwin Vega, tenor
Orff: Carmina Burana
Tickets:  tucsonchamberartists.org

Arizona Opera Hosts the New York Festival of Song
Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 7:00p.m.
Leo Rich Theatre
Corinne Winters, soprano
Steven Blier, pianist
Canción Amorosa: Songs of Spain
Tickets:  azopera.org

UApresents
University of Arizona Crowder Hall
Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. 
Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano
Malcolm Martineau, pianist

Berlioz: La Mort d’Ophélie; Schubert: Heiss mich nicht Redden, Op. 62, No. 2; Poulenc: Fiançailles pour rire; 
Cole Porter: The Physician (from Nymph Errant)
; Vernon Duke: Ages Ago
; other works to be announced.
Tickets:  uapresents.org

A pre-concert talk will be given at 6:30 p.m. by Dr. Matt Mugmon, musicologist in the UA School of Music, and will cover information about works on the evening’s program. The talk will be held in Room 146, School of Music building.

Arizona Opera
Tucson Music Hall
Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 2 p.m.
Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin
Steven White, conductor
Tara Faircloth, stage director
David Adam Moore - Eugene Onegin
Corinne Winters  - Tatiana
Zach Borichevsky - Lenski
Beth Lytwynec - Olga
Nicholas Masters - Prince Gremin
Robynne Redmon - Madame Larina
Susan Shafer - Filipievna
Andrew Penning - Monsieur Triquet
Calvin Griffin – Zaretski
Tickets:  azopera.org

Tucson Symphony Orchestra
Catalina Foothills High School
Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 8 p.m. & Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 2 p.m. 
George Hanson, conductor
Tamara Mumford, mezzo-soprano
Anthony Dean Griffey, tenor
Mozart: Symphony No. 35, “Haffner”; 
Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (arr. Schoenberg) 
Tickets:  tucsonsymphony.org      
*Adult Outreach Preview Concert Dates:
  • Academy Village
Tuesday, November 11, 11:30am—12:30p.m.
  • Private home in Saddlebrooke Community
Wednesday, December 3, 7:00pm—8:00p.m.
  • St. Philips in the Foothills
Sunday, December 7, 2:00p.m. – 3:00p.m.

2015 TDSF GUEST ARTISTS*

Steven Blier
Zach Borichevsky
Angela Brower
Susan Graham
Anthony Dean Griffey
Hye Jung Lee
David Leisner
Malcolm Martineau
David Adam Moore
Rufus Müller
Tamara Mumford
Kevin Murphy
Simone Osborne
Hugh Russell
Katie Van Kooten
Edwin Vega 
Corinne Winters
 *Additional artists may be announced at a later date and are subject to change.

Participating Organizations

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music • Arizona Opera • New York Festival of Song • Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute on Tour •Tucson Symphony Orchestra • Tucson Chamber Artists • Tucson Guitar Society • UApresents • UA School of Music

viernes, 26 de diciembre de 2014

Renée Fleming to Make Broadway Debut in 'Living on Love'

Mark Kennedy AP Drama Writer
Opera star Renée Fleming will make her Broadway debut this spring, playing ? what else? ? an opera star. The four-time Grammy Award-winning soprano will star in the comedy "Living on Love" at the Longacre Theatre beginning April 1. "I've spent my life singing tragic characters, so to be able to make people laugh is an extraordinary joy," said Fleming. The comedy was written by two-time Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro ("Memphis"), adapted from "Peccadillo" by Garson Kanin ("Born Yesterday") and directed by three-time Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall. Marshall and DiPietro worked together on Broadway's "Nice Work If You Can Get It." The play was seen this summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. In it, Fleming plays an opera diva whose conductor-husband starts to fall for a woman hired to ghostwrite his long-delayed autobiography. She retaliates by hiring her own ghostwriter, but also gets romantically attached. Fleming never anticipated making her Broadway debut because opera singers are trained very differently than Broadway belters and so never had it on her bucket list. "I would have assumed that my only road to Broadway would have been in a musical. And I knew that I couldn't sing eight shows a week ? we're trained in such a different way. Like weightlifters, we need those two days off," said Fleming. "So it wasn't on my list of things to do. Sometimes the most interesting things come out of the blue, in love and in life." Fleming, who has performed around the world and serenaded Queen Elizabeth and President Barack Obama, this year became the first opera singer to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl. She received the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor the government gives to artists, in 2012. Before she tackles the comedy, Fleming is practicing her waltzing skills to be ready to perform "The Merry Widow" with The Metropolitan Opera, directed by Broadway's Susan Stroman with five-time Tony Award nominee Kelli O'Hara."In one, four-month period, to be acting while dancing and singing is definitely a test," Fleming said. Though she'll sing a little in the play ? she added some improvised a cappella singing to keep her voice fresh ? Fleming is concentrating on her acting skills, "Learning how to sing well takes a lifetime of effort. Then putting the singing aside is another whole thing," she said. "But we want to remain challenged in life, I think. And I'm certainly finding a way to do it."
http://www.reneefleming.com




jueves, 25 de diciembre de 2014

Susan Graham (mezzosoprano) Tucson Desert Song Festival, UA Presents - Arizona

Photo: B. Ealovega
James Reel - Tucson Desert Song Festival

Susan Graham is on the road this season with Berlioz. Graham’s schedule features his Roméo et Juliette in Los Angeles, Les Troyens in San Francisco, Les Nuits d’été in London and Mexico City, La Mort de Cléopatre in Brussels, and La Mort d’Ophélie nearly everywhere else—including in Tucson Arizona, during her Tucson Desert Song Festival recital for UA presents in January (01/29/2015).
Graham is hardly a one-composer mezzo—she’s taking time out this season for Mahler and The Merry Widow, and dots her song recitals with plenty of other material—but she is very closely associated with Berlioz and other French opera and art song composers. French is not the first language you’d expect a woman born in Roswell, N.M. and educated as an undergraduate in Texas to wrap her mouth around, but it seems to come naturally to Graham, who thinks it stands up perfectly well as a sung language to Italian, German or English. “French is my favorite language to sing in,” she declares. “It has a fluidity and capacity for expression, and is very liquid and romantic. As a little kid I used to dream about far-away, elegant, exotic places, and those dreams were always French-themed. French is my vocal happy place. Plus, the tessitura of most French music is comfortable for me, because it tends to fall into a high lyric mezzo range. Berlioz is my touchstone in that repertoire, because his heroines are written exactly for my voice.” As a Berlioz heroine, Shakespeare’s Ophelia may not be the first tragic figure who comes to mind, but she is the character with whom Graham enters her Tucson recital. “We chose La Mort d’Ophélie because the theme of the first half of the program is innocents and naives; Ophelia was the poor, sort of innocent, deranged girl who drowns. So we thought she fit in the first half as a sympathetic character. The text talks about Ophelia wandering along the riverside, singing, and she falls into the river but continues to sing, and ultimately her song is silenced.” Graham does not sing in character, but as narrator of the sad events. “It’s rather lyrical storytelling for Berlioz, without a lot of his usual dramatic orchestral outbursts, so it’s more about setting the tone for the death of this innocent young girl.” Graham devotes another part of her recital to music by a substantially different French composer: Francis Poulenc’s Fiançailles pour rire. Here, the texts mainly have to do with reflection and mood—the singer is thinking, rather than doing, but for Graham, her approach is the same. “Always, I am telling a story,” she says. “Each of those Poulenc songs is a little opera to me. The whole second half of the program is a reflection on a lot of the different kinds of love a woman can experience or observe and everything related to it, from sarcasm to drunken revelry to death, and most of that is right there in the Poulenc songs.” Returning to the subject of the concert’s first half—innocents and naives—Graham points out that she will offer a group of songs by six composers in three languages, all settings of texts about Mignon, the character in Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship who is rescued from a brutal abductor and languishes with unrequited love for her rescuer. Mignon’s “songs“—poems scattered throughout the novel—have been set by several composers, most prominently Franz Schubert. Says Graham, “Those six songs concerned with one character make a fascinating mini-opera with a beginning, middle and end, and like any opera it’s taxing dramatically, psychologically and vocally. And that’s just the end of the first half.” What leads off the second half—what Graham calls “the bad girls portion of the concert“—is the scena Lady Macbeth written in 1970 by the British composer Joseph Horovitz, who wrote hardly anything else for voice; his catalog is dominated by ballet scores, orchestral and band pieces, chamber works, and music for a Tarzan movie. “Lady Macbeth is a riveting piece that encompasses three different scenes from Shakespeare’s Macbeth,” Graham says. “There’s the letter scene, and the part where she orders her husband him to go and kill the king, and her descent into madness. It’s dramatic and gripping and spooky and creepy.” The rest of the second half is lighter fare, including songs by the likes of Cole Porter and Vernon Duke—composers not really so different from Poulenc. Graham certainly doesn’t think she’s slumming by riffling through the Anglo-American pop songbook. “The only difference in my approach is that I put my comedy hat on; there’s not much comedy in Schubert,” she laughs. “I relax a little bit and tell the story more pointedly, and take more liberties with the rhythms. I can interact with the audience more directly. With the Mignon songs I’m inviting the audience into my world, but in the English and American songs it’s more like I’m coming out into the audience and sitting with them—figuratively—with a lot of winking and gossiping. Vocally, it’s more talky, there’s less vibrato, more of a pop style.” Graham began this season following a long stint in The King and I, and ends it with The Merry Widow. It might seem like more frivolous fare than Berlioz and Schubert, but it’s hardly a vacation for the mezzo. “The King and I is 10 times harder than any opera I’ve ever done, physically,” Graham declares. For her, musical theater and operetta is something she has long enjoyed, and she anticipates continuing to enjoy it long after her heavier classical repertoire is behind her. “The Merry Widow is something that could accompany me into the golden years of my career, along with things like [Offenbach’s] Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, when I’m not jumping on the furniture as Cherubino and Octavian anymore.” That said, Graham is not easing off anytime soon; this season includes Les Troyens, “which is Mount Everest for me,” she says, as well as touring with her Tucson recital. “It’s such a great program to sing,” she says. “It has everything: vocal challenges, and wonderful characters. And the characters who aren’t so well-defined, I make them up in my head, and I have very clear images of who they are and what each one is singing about. Each one is a different person with a different goal and message.” Graham herself approaches the material—and her career—with just one goal: “It’s all about communication, communicating an idea or a feeling not just vocally but any way I can. If I have to tap-dance to get the message across, I’ll do that, too.”

http://www.tucsondesertsongfestival.org/