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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
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Artistic & Production Administrators Headlines
When Opera Singers Groove to the Motown Sound
Fred PlotkinWQXR
A surprising number of opera singers take an interest in the music of 1960s Motown, Fred Plotkin writes. Which Motown song do you think could work in a recital repertoire?
Behind the scenes at the Portland Opera's costume department (Photos)
Andy Giegerich and Cathy CheneyPortland Business Journal

This week's Portland Business Journal features a glimpse at the Portland Opera's plans to convert its programming to a summer festival format.

Which means that, yup, the Opera will compress its season, now held between September and May, into a three-month period. It will feature shows at both the Newmark and Keller venues.

Opera Review of 2014: the start of opera becoming the domain of the elite?
Rupert ChristiansenThe Telegraph
Until this year, opera in Britain has resisted the pressures of the economic crisis surprisingly well. But in recent months, ominous creaking noises have indicated some very deep rot developing beneath the plastered surface.

A large part of the problem, ironically, is the burgeoning of a new audience – one that is diminishing the operatic economy even as it replenishes it. This phenomenon is largely made up of older people, mostly living outside central London, who toddle along to the local cinema where for about £20 they can see star-studded broadcasts live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York, projected with super-duper HD sound and picture quality, gift-wrapped with glimpses backstage and interviews with the performers.
Just Asking: Opera singer Soloman Howard on the football field vs. the stage
Joe HeimWashington Post

Soloman Howard, 33, is a graduate of the Washington National Opera’sDomingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. He was born in Washington and now lives in Shirlington.

What question about being an opera singer are you tired of hearing?

When I tell people I sing opera, they say, “Why? There’s so many things you could have done. Why opera?” Well, that’s what my gift is. People will say opera’s boring. And I’ll say, “Have you ever really experienced the grandeur of opera on a large scale?”And most of them have never been to an opera to know how emotional it can be and how it encompasses all of the areas of performing arts and how physically demanding it is.

San Diego Opera's Keltner stepping down
James ChuteU-T San Diego

Karen Keltner, conductor of the San Diego Opera for more than three decades, is stepping down.

Keltner’s last appearance as resident conductor will be Feb. 1, 2015, the final performance of the opera’s season opening production of “La Boheme” at the San Diego Civic Theatre.

Sioux City native tells of international success in opera
Ally KarsynSioux City Journal
Growing up in Sioux City, opera singer John Osborn dabbled in a bit of everything from sports like baseball, football and track to being an altar boy. Somewhere between church carnivals and Cub Scouts, he found time to do music and theater, too....
Freud's goal: Keep Chicago's Lyric Opera relevant
MIKE SILVERMANtucson.com
CHICAGO (AP) — When Anthony Freud was 14, his favorite pastime was going to the opera in London and then, on the train ride home to Wimbledon where he lived with his parents, "dreaming about how I could do it better when I ran a company of my own some day."

He's gotten his chance, not once but three times: first in Wales, then in Houston and now in Chicago, where he has been general director of the Lyric Opera since 2011.

US funds an opera about its ugliest massacre
Norman LebrechtSlippedisc.com
The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded $80,000 towards the production costs of an opera on the 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam, when more than 300 civilians were slaughtered by US forces.The opera was commissioned by the Kronos quartet from composer Jonathan Berger and librettist Harriet Chessman. It is scheduled for pemiere in 2015 at Stanford University, where Berger is a music professor. He says: ‘I think it will be a reasonably abstract performance… We’re not going to have war scenes set out on the stage…No blood and gore.’
Gotham Chamber Opera Presents 'The Tempest Songbook' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Jaime PriscoClassicalite
The Tempest Songbook is comprised of incidental music for The Tempest composed in 1695 and attributed to Henry Purcell and Kaija Saariaho's 2004 Tempest Songbook for soprano, baritone and period instrument ensemble. This is the show's U.S. and world-stage premiere.

The performance will be a co-production with the Martha Graham Dance Co. The Martha Graham Dance Co. has received international acclaim from audiences in more than 50 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Cast announced for Puccini opera in Savannah
Linda SicklerSavannah Morning News
Full-fledged opera is coming to the 2015 Savannah Music Festival. A collaboration between the Savannah VOICE Festival and Savannah Music Festival will result in the performance of two Puccini operas during the first weekend of the music festival. The full cast, including some local singers, has been announced.
Obituary: Irving Guttman ‘lived and breathed’ opera
Beth LindsayThe Vancouver Sun
To Vancouver’s arts community, Irving Guttman was known as the father of western Canadian opera, but for those who knew him well, he’ll be remembered as a tireless mentor to young singers who had an unmatched genius for identifying new talent. Guttman, the founding artistic director of the Vancouver Opera, died Sunday at the age of 86 following a lengthy illness.

Long Beach Opera Receives $30,000 NEA Grant For U.S. Premiere Of Marilyn Monroe Opera
StaffEverything Long Beach
Long Beach Opera (LBO) is thrilled to announce the award of $30,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). LBO is one of 917 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant, and the only organization from Long Beach represented on this year’s list of award recipients. The Artworks grant will support the U.S. premiere of Marilyn Forever by composer Gavin Bryars and librettist Marilyn Bowering.
Composer Joins Warhol Opera Development in Philadelphia
Allan Kozinn The New York Times
When Opera Philadelphia announced “ANDY: A Popera,” a hybrid opera and cabaret show about Andy Warhol, the company had the cabaret side of the production fully in place: the Bearded Ladies, an experimental troupe, would put together the production, with John Jarboe directing, and with music by the group’s resident composer, Heath Allen. 

But the operatic side of the work remained a mystery until Monday, when the company said that it had engaged Dan Visconti, a 32-year-old composer whose music embraces both the rigorous side of contemporary music language and the rhythmic vitality of rock and jazz. The company also announced that the world premiere, originally planned for March, would be moved to September 2015
Lyric Opera Hints at How They’ll Stage the Ring Cycle
Graham MeyerChicago Magazine
t a media event Tuesday afternoon, in a windowless room deep in the bowels of the Civic Opera House, members of the creative team for Lyric Opera’s still-distant cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen gathered to hint at what audiences could expect when the four operas reach Lyric’s stage between 2016 and 2020. Those present received a few misty evocations of the character of the productions, and some negative information, too—so although we can’t really say what Lyric’s Ring is yet, we can say more about what it is not.
How to Fix an Opera Company Before It's Broken -- Big Changes at Portland Opera
Jennifer RiveraThe Huffington Post
In the opera world, it seems like it's always the bad news that makes the headlines. While there is certainly plenty of good news from the fleet of new, lithe opera companies cropping up, we still continue to see headlines that make us worry for the financial future of this glorious art form. First the New York City Opera goes out of business, then San Diego Opera comes a breath away from shuttering. More recentlyFlorida Grand Opera sent a letter to the community admitting its need for a huge fundraising push to stay alive, and the Metropolitan Opera reported that despite success with its recent negotiations, it faces a deficit that has grown into 22 million worrisome dollars. The news may be good for the smaller, leaner companies, but for the top 15 or so companies, nobody really feels safe.
Fort Worth Opera to Showcase Works in Progress
Allan Kozinn ArtsBeat (NYT)
Time was when the best way to get a quick reading of what opera composers were thinking about and working on was to drop in at the New York City Opera’s annual Vox Contemporary Opera Lab programs, which offered first glimpses of works in progress. But the City Opera is no more, and other companies have taken up the challenge, including the Fort Worth Opera, which announced the program for its Frontiers series on Monday.
Mass art forms are falling out of fashion, director Peter Sellars warns
Hannah FurnessThe Telegraph
Mass art forms could be falling out of fashion as the younger generation no longer want to “sit in an opera house with 5,000 people”, the director Peter Sellars has said.
A Christmas Carol Becomes an Opera Thanks to a Houston Grand Opera Commission
Margaret DowningHoustonPress
Until eight months ago, British composer Iain Bell was writing in his bedroom in London. That's where he did most of his work on the world premiere we're about to see of the operatic version of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. (He's since moved to a larger place with two rooms, one of which is an office)
Unpaid Artists, and All the Ways They Can Stay That Way
Jenna DouglasSchmopera
I came across two separate articles the other day, on the topic of artists working without pay. The first was this open letter to Oprah, written by Revolva, a professional hula hoop act and vaudeville performer. Apparently, Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend tour invited Revolva to work for their San Jose stop earlier this month. The catch: she’d be working for free.
Jake Heggie's golden moment for 'Great Scott'
Janelle GelfandCincinnati.com
It's crunch time for Jake Heggie. The composer of "Dead Man Walking," "Moby-Dick" and "The End of the Affair" is in town for a workshop with the creative team of his latest opera "Great Scott. This is the golden moment where, instead of just hearing it in my head, I get to hear it coming off the page," says the 53-year-old American composer, over coffee last week at the Netherland Hilton, Downtown.
At Washington National Opera, 20-minute operas are on the right track
Anne MidgetteThe Washington Post
The Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative commissions work from young composers. This is a good thing. I am not completely ready to embrace its premise that the best way to start is by commissioning 20-minute operas, because I’m not sure exactly what writing a short-form piece proves about a composer’s ability to write an evening-length work — any more than short-story writers are all necessarily great novelists. But thanks to this program, the company is giving out four commissions every year — three 20-minute operas and a one-hour opera — and that alone is cause for celebration.
New world and old world combine for tweeting at the opera
Shayne DwyerWDBJ7
Opera Roanoke invited a select few Twitter users to live tweet the final dress rehearsal of Mozart's Abduction.
Smartphone App, Tweet Seats Add Interactivity to Philadelphia Concert Halls
David Patrick StearnsOperavore
The technological barbarians are at the gate – and are being welcomed graciously. Only three years after an errant ringtone during the New York Philharmonic’s performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony sparked an international uproar, two august Philadelphia institutions are telling audiences to keep their phones on – within particular limits.
Joyful Opera Performed In Nazi Concentration Camp Revived In Chicago
Cheryl CoreyNPR
Brundibár, a children's opera that premiered during World War II, became both a symbol of hope and resistance and a Nazi propaganda tool. Now, Petite Opera, a small company in suburban Chicago, is reprising the opera, originally performed by Jewish children held in a concentration camp in occupied Czechoslovakia.
Feel the Noise: How to Appreciate Peking Opera
Kipp WhittakerThe Beijinger
We can all acknowledge that Chinese opera is very different from its Western counterpart. Although someone like Andrea Bocelli would probably make a fine eunuch on the Beijing stage, the similarities between the two styles are very limited. The use of gestures, acrobats, and cacophonous music is so alien to our cultural palate, but if you approach it with an open mind, the beauty of this amazing art form will eventually reveal itself. From the details of the costumes and makeup, to the other worldly sounds coming out of the performers, there is nothing else like it. Here are a few basic concepts to help newcomers get a better understanding of this art form, and clear your path to becoming a Mei Lanfang fanboy. 
Townsend and Fresno Grand opera companies to partner
Marijke RowlandThe Modesto Bee
In what is hoped will be a precedent-setting artistic partnership, Modesto’s Townsend Opera and the Fresno Grand Opera are joining forces. Matthew Buckman, the current Townsend general and artistic director, has been named the next general director of Fresno Grand Opera. He will serve as the head of both groups, merging the two companies’ production seasons to share costs and increase reach. Both companies will remain separate entities, with their own board of directors, but will produce the same operas moving forward.
Opera San Jose takes on Rossini's 'The Italian Girl in Algiers' for the first time
Crystal ChowSan Jose Mercury News
In Rossini's comedy The Italian Girl in Algiers, the heroine Isabella has to figure out how to deflect the amorous moves of a very married sultan. She must be cunning, resourceful and charming. Not a problem for mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez, who will sing the part in Opera San Jose's premiere production of this seldom seen work, which runs Nov. 15-30 at the California Theatre.
Obituary: Johan Engels, Stage designer known for work at Lyric Opera
Maureen O'DonnellChicago Sun-Times
When the curtain goes up to reveal the phosphorescent dreams and menacing nightmares of Johan Engels, audiences gasp. Though the stage designer died Friday, Chicago audiences will continue to see his work for several years in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s ultramarathon of classicial music, Wagner’s “Ring” cycle.
‘Fidelio’: Beethoven’s struggle, Madison Opera’s reward
Michael MuckianWisconsin Gazette
Talking to Kathryn Smith, general manager of the Madison Opera, it’s clear how much she loves her medium. And how challenging a medium she’s picked. “Opera is the greatest of art forms, in my opinion, but it is not an easy one,” says Smith, entering her fourth season with the company and its 55th season overall.
Here's a startup idea: take opera, add beer, put it in Brooklyn
Daniel RobertsFortune.com
Not every opera company has the budget of The Metropolitan Opera. But smaller companies are earning crowds and buzz thanks to unique, alternative models in creative venues.
David Budbill and Erik Nielsen to Reprise A Fleeting Animal Opera
Amy LillySeven Days VT
After Brookfield composer Erik Nielsen finished writing his first opera, A Fleeting Animal, in 2000, he says, "I couldn't write a note of music for six months. It drained me. It was a tremendous undertaking." The work was commissioned by Vermont Opera Theater in Montpelier and written with librettist David Budbill of Wolcott, who drew its plot from his poem-turned-play Judevine. It premiered in October that year with acclaimed performances at three Vermont venues. Then it disappeared from view.
Soprano Renee Fleming at 55: 'I May Leave Well Enough Alone'
ReutersThe New York Times
Super Bowl fans heard her hit a creamy "high A" note when she sang "The Star Spangled Banner" in February, and she has a jazzy new Christmas album. But people who want to see Renee Fleming in the operas that made her "America's sweetheart" better hurry.
Savannah Music Fest runs gamut from opera to Americana
Joshua PeacockDo Savannah
The 26th annual Savannah Music Festival is set to offer one of the largest programs in the festival’s history, as well as a new addition that is sure to appease repeat patrons.
Opera San Antonio Looks Ahead
Nathan ConeTexas Public Radio
After a successful production of his family opera "Fantastic Mr. Fox" at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, Opera San Antonio's Artistic Director Tobias Picker shares his plans for the future of the young company.  
Opera Piccola Opens A Window Onto Suburban America In The 1950s
Nathan ConeTexas Public Radio
It’s a good time to be an opera fan in San Antonio. In addition to the newly-formed Opera San Antonio, Opera Piccola, led by longtime singer and impresario Mark Richter, opens their third season this weekend at the historic Empire Theatre. On the bill are two one-act operas that capture America in the 1950s.
Opera Star Joyce DiDonato Will Sing National Anthem at Game 7
Karen CrouseThe New York Times
The Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie was not the only person with Kansas City ties who spent Tuesday fervently hoping for the opportunity to perform on Wednesday at a World Series Game 7. The opera singer Joyce DiDonato, who grew up in Kansas City as an avid baseball fan, got the call from Major League Baseball to sing the national anthem for the game, should it be necessary.
Portland Opera makes dramatic move to summer seasons beginning in 2016: 'We want to avoid death by 1,000 paper cuts'
David StablerThe Oregonian
Portland Opera is planning to undergo the biggest change in its 50-year history. Beginning in 2016, the company will perform its entire season in a compressed, 12-week summer period.
Opera Southwest premieres long-forgotten Hamlet opera
StaffAlbuquerque Journal
For Artistic Director Anthony Barrese this was a labor of passion, perhaps obsession. But labor certainly and nonetheless a formidable task. The fruits of his painstaking work at long last came to fruition on Sunday at the National Hispanic Cultural Center when Opera Southwest gave the stunning premiere of the long lost and forgotten “Amleto” (Hamlet) by Franco Faccio. The opera had been performed only once before, the 1865 premiere given by an ailing tenor badly received, causing Faccio to withdraw the work and never compose again.
Florentine Opera Offers Residencies For Young Conductors
Bonnie North and Audrey NowakowskiWUWM
A collaboration between The Solti Foundation U.S. and Florentine Opera offers two emerging conductors, one now and one in the spring, private coaching and mentorship as well as opportunities to conduct staging/orchestra rehearsals.
Met GM: ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ proves protesters wrong
Peter GelbNew York Post
Monday night’s premiere of The Death of Klinghoffer was not one of the easiest nights in the history of The Metropolitan Opera, but it was one of the most important. Composer John Adams has now joined the ranks of Giuseppe Verdi, whose Don Carlo, set during the Spanish Inquisition, was protested by various religious groups in the early 1950s, and Richard Strauss, whose provocative Salome premiere at the Met in 1907 was thought to be unseemly on at least seven counts.
Colorful productions of Opera Week celebrate the vocal arts
Mary Kunz Goldman The Buffalo News
Like Viva Vivaldi and “Baba Yaga,” Opera Week is fast becoming an autumn tradition for music-minded Western New Yorkers.

Every year, the celebration – which burst on the scene in 2012 – seems to get a little bit richer. This year’s festival, which kicks off today with a ceremony in the Buffalo and Erie County Central Library, celebrates more than opera. It embraces a wide variety of vocal arts.
Indiana University Opera Hopes to Score in Football Stadium
Brian WiseOperavore
In the heart of basketball country, Indiana University's football team has long elicited collective sighs and groans. The school generates the second-lowest football revenue in the Big Ten and historically has had trouble filling 52,000-seat Memorial Stadium. The team's fall record is 3-3 – in advance of a daunting match-up Saturday against Michigan State.

All too aware of this, Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music announced Friday that it will present a live simulcast of its production of Puccini's La boheme on the stadium's Jumbotron. The simulcast, dubbed "Opera in the End Zone," will take place on October 24. Tickets will be free.  
De Blasio Blasts Giuliani For Protesting ‘Klinghoffer’ Opera
Ross BarkanNew York Observer
“I don’t want to judge something that I haven’t seen. I think that there’s a serious problem today in the world that has nothing to do with this opera. I’ve spoken about it many times,” he said. “There’s an anti-Semitism problem in this world today, particularly in Western Europe that worries me greatly. That’s where my focus is.”
Multimedia opera probes Wikileaks and Chelsea Manning
Noah HurowitzBrooklyn Daily
"The Source,” a new opera premiering at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Oct. 22–25, is all about espionage and information. The composer of the piece said he wrote the play after he became fascinated by how Americans interact with an array of data far too vast for any one person to consume.
The Depth of Klinghoffer: What Does the Controversy Say about Freedom of Expression?
Fred PlotkinOperavore
There is an opera at the Metropolitan Opera right now that is causing a great deal of discussion in the media and among the public in which an innocent man is murdered onstage and his killer sings an exultant aria. This opera is Macbeth by Giuseppe Verdi.
Vancouver Opera tackles issue of bullying with ‘Stick Boy’
Ben WilsonNews1311
It’s a provocative, emotional opera that looks at the issue of bullying and what it can do to a young person. Vancouver Opera is presenting the world premiere of “Stick Boy.”
Opera Ithaca launches with 'Bluebeard's Castle'
Barbara Adamsithaca Journal
What began as a stand-alone creative project among four artists — two singers, a pianist and choreographer — ended with founding a new professional opera company in Ithaca.
An Opera Under Fire
Zachary WoolfeThe New York Times
When the arts play with contemporary history, they play with fire. The Metropolitan Opera has learned this lesson anew in the furious protests that have raged in advance of the company premiere, on Monday, of John Adams’s ruminative, unsettled, unsettling 1991 operatic masterpiece, “The Death of Klinghoffer.” Another simple, straightforward title concealing another story of seething pain from the recent past, “Klinghoffer” is a reflection on the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro by Palestine Liberation Front militants, who murdered Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled Jewish-American passenger.
When art sings: How paintings have fared on the musical and opera stage
Anne MidgetteThe Washington Post
Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” is one of the most famous works of concert music; even if you think you don’t know it, you know it. You don’t, however, know the paintings and drawings it was based on, by the artist Viktor Hartmann. Hartmann died at 39; after his abrupt death, friends arranged a show of his work; and Mussorgsky, who adored him, illustrated part of the show, in music, in about three weeks. The result is frequently played in both the original piano and subsequent orchestral version. Most of the images that inspired it have been lost.
San Diego Opera: Progress report
James ChuteSan Diego Union-Tribune
The reborn San Diego Opera continues to make strides. Here’s a progress report.

Fall 2014 Magazine Issue
  • Are Women Different?
  • Preparing for Klinghoffer
  • Emerging Artists: Act One


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