Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Worth reading: "Good Things About Bad Reviews"

As any Madison Opera fan knows, we received one review this past May for Faust that was pointedly unpleasant. Beyond the usual frustration that follows any less than positive review was genuine shock at the language and tone in this particular piece. Alas, we survived the storm intact and confident in our artistic product, with many good things having been said about the production elsewhere.

It seems the Wolf Trap Opera is presently facing this situation (one that is inevitable for us all) and so general director Kim Whitman has taken to her blog with a list: Good Things About Bad Reviews. It is worth a read, and here are a few points we can relate to especially well:
  • "Fans and supporters are galvanized!"
  • "It has the potential to free you for the next performance."
  • "They get you one step closer to embracing the only critics you should have. (Yourself, and those in the business you trust.)"
Kim rightfully concludes that the dialogue reviews open up is essential; differences of opinion give us perspective and hopefully "keep us all from getting too complacent." Kudos to her for seeing the light in the midst of the storm, and thanks to all of the Madison Opera fans who voiced their support for us back in May.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Opera: Music for the healthy heart

Via San Diego Opera's Aria Serious? blog, we learn that what opera lovers have long claimed actually holds a grain of medical truth: a healthy diet of opera is good for the body and soul! No, seriously, an Italian study has showed that listening to opera has serious physical benefits, especially for stroke victims and others in need of rehabilitative medical treatment. Read for yourself at BBC News and CBC News.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

OITP Preview: Lisa Daltirus

The New York Times said she "exuded an intangible electricity" as Tosca. Opera News has called her "a star in the making." Soprano Lisa Daltirus brings her powerful voice to Opera in the Park on July 25, when she'll sing selections from her signature role of Aida and also explore new territory with Senta's Ballad from The Flying Dutchman. In recent seasons, Ms. Daltirus has sung the title roles of Aida and Tosca with companies across the US, in addition to portraying Cilla in Margaret Garner with New York City Opera; Leonora in Il Trovatore and Desdemona in Otello with Seattle Opera; and Bess in Porgy and Bess with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Read more about Ms. Daltirus here in this Opera News feature, and watch the video below.

Fast-forward to 1:27 if you're impatient, and also check out this preview of Ms. Daltirus as Tosca in Seattle last year.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

OITP Preview: Adam Diegel

Tenor Adam Diegel comes to Madison twice in 2009: first for Opera in the Park, and then for Carmen as Don Jose in November. A graduate of Yale University, Mr. Diegel has performed in recent seasons with the New York City Opera, Opera Company of North Carolina, Tulsa Opera, Fort Worth Opera, and his hometown company, Opera Memphis. Upcoming engagements for the 2009/2010 season include Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with the Savonlinna Opera Festival; a cover of Cavaradossi in Tosca with Lyric Opera of Chicago; Don Jose in Carmen with Florida Grand Opera; and Rodolfo in La bohème with The Minnesota Opera. Most recently Mr. Diegel made his European debut as Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur: check it out in the video below! We're always thrilled to catch young artists at the start of exciting international careers.

After the clip from Adriana Lecouvreur, you can jump past the awards ceremony to the 7 minute mark to watch Adam sing onstage with the orchestra.

UPDATE: Puccini's "Recondita armonia" from Tosca--the second part of the clip above, at the 7 minute mark--is on the Opera in the Park program, to be sung by Mr. Diegel of course.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Look back on the 2008/2009 Season...

A year to remember for Madison Opera:

(Click the video to view a larger version on YouTube.)

Monday, June 8, 2009

OITP Preview: Jennifer Holloway

Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Holloway is a fast-rising star in the opera world, and she'll be in Madison for Opera in the Park on July 25th. Jennifer is currently performing at the Glyndebourne Festival as Meg Page in Falstaff, and she also appeared at the renowned festival as Hansel in Hansel und Gretel. Her 2008/2009 season included performances as Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte in Brest, France, with the Ensemble Matheus under Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro with Dallas Opera, and Diane in the new production of Hippolyte et Aricie under Emmanuelle Haïm in Toulouse.

Read this 2008 article on Jennifer in Opera News and check out the video below of her performance in a stunning production of Handel's Tamerlano at the Teatro Real in Madrid (she's Irene, the one on the blue elephant, and her aria starts around the 3 minute mark).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

OITP Preview: Timothy Kuhn

Baritone Timothy Kuhn will be singing at Opera in the Park on July 25, 2009. Lucky for us, he has quite a few videos on YouTube from a concert performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni, led by superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel of all people. Enjoy, and don't miss Tim singing the Don at OITP!