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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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Artist Headlines
2nd conductor resigns from Vienna State Opera
Associated PressThe Washington Post
The Vienna State Opera has lost Bertrand de Billy — its second star conductor in less than two weeks.
'Massive' Klinghoffer Protest Planned for Met Opening Night
Susan ElliottMusical America
The “Coalition Against the Met Terror Opera” (CATO) has announced a “massive” protest scheduled for Sept. 22 starting at 4:30 p.m. It promises “thousands” on hand to declare their disgust with an “opera promoting terrorism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism.”  ...CATO is protesting John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer, which opens Oct. 20.
Tobias Picker On His Family Opera, "Fantasic Mr. Fox"
Nathan ConeTexas Public Radio
Composer Tobias Picker has written three symphonies, eight concertos, and scores of works for solo piano, chamber musicians, and voice. But in his role as Artistic Director of Opera San Antonio, his focus is on the stage. For the opening of its inaugural season, Picker has selected one of his own works, and one designed to open the doors for all ages to an art form that engages the senses in unparalleled fashion. "Fantastic Mr. Fox" was Picker's second opera, written in 1998 for the Los Angeles Opera.
What makes a musical leading lady?
Mark LawsonThe Guardian
The word "diva" was co‑opted from opera to refer to powerful women in other fields. But, in three shows being staged this autumn, the metaphor is reversed by turning non-singing high-achieving controversial figures into musical leading ladies.
Magda Olivero, Frenzy-Inspiring Soprano, Dies at 104
Margalit FoxThe New York Times
Magda Olivero, an Italian soprano who for decades whipped audiences around the world into a frenzy of adulation that was operatic even by operatic standards — despite the fact that by her own ready admission she did not possess an especially lovely voice — died on Monday in Milan. She was 104.
Why can't we hear more English operas?
Rupert ChristiansenThe Telegraph
Rupert Christiansen makes the case for staging rarely performed British operas. 
Korngold’s ‘Tote Stadt,’ one century later
Jeremy EichlerThe Boston Globe
When Odyssey Opera performs a keenly anticipated concert version of Korngold’s opera Die Tote Stadt next week, it will be, strange to say, the first Boston performance of a once enormously popular work that premiered in 1920. The question of why it took nearly a century for this significant score to arrive here is natural to wonder, and not so simple to answer.
Verdi’s Otello: a role to approach with caution
Stuart SkeltonThe Guardian
Described as a ‘voice killer’, it is one of the most demanding parts in opera. Tenor Stuart Skelton explains why he is now ready to take it on.
This Is What Downsizing Looks Like: the San Diego Opera
Ruth McCambridgeNonprofit Quarterly
The 49-year-old San Diego Opera almost suffered an untimely death this past summer when the board voted to close it down, despite the fact that it was not running a deficit and had no debt. The decision seems to have been partially based on some assumptions about the viability of opera companies everywhere. In the end, there was a stakeholder rebellion and the company was rescued by a loose coalition of volunteers. Meanwhile, the board’s vote to close the opera resulted in $2.23 million in donations to keep it open and, reportedly, there has been a 285 percent increase in first-time subscribers this year over last.
Fall preview: From ’Florencia in the Amazon’ to ‘Dragon Rhyme,’ fantasy resounds in D.C.
Anne MidgetteThe Washington Post
Fantasy in opera? The canon features dozens of fairy tales of water sprites (Rusalka) and princes (The Magic Flute), giants and dragons (Wagner’s Ring), in which music swirls around and buoys the plots of magical stories. 
Kaminsky’s transgender opera “As One” makes a poignant and remarkable premiere
Eric C. SimpsonNew York Classical Review
American Opera Projects has produced a number of significant new pieces in its twenty-five-plus years, and the company’s latest does not disappoint. Premiered on Thursday night in the Fishman space at BAM’s Fisher building, As One, a ninety-minute chamber opera, is a rich addition to the repertoire. 
Don't Miss the Opera in the Pit
Daron HagenHuffington Post
I am occasionally asked, on panels, and in master classes, why it is important for an opera composer to write well for the orchestra, do their own orchestrations, and use it for more than mere accompaniment to what's going on twelve feet above.
30 Days of Opera aims to shake up Memphis
Jon W. SparksMemphis Commercial Appeal
As Ned Canty puts it: “We’re turning the opera house inside out.”

When Canty came to Memphis 3½ years ago as general director of Opera Memphis, he saw a need to shake things up, rattle some assumptions and roll out the music. An idea that he started two years ago was 30 Days of Opera, a plan to have at least one public opera-related event every day for a month.
Battle Cry A new opera explores the traumatic aftermath of combat.
Deborah KennedyWillamette Week
Midway through The Canticle of the Black Madonna, a war veteran named Adam curls into the fetal position. Discordant, frenetic music plays as Adam relives the deaths of his fellow soldiers in a grenade attack in Afghanistan. Over and over, he poses the same question: “Why them and not me?”

Opera and the battlefield have long been good bedfellows, perhaps because the latter packs an inherent dramatic punch. From Bellini’s I Puritani, set during the English Civil War in the 1640s, to Glinka’s masterpiece of Russian propaganda, A Life for the Tsar, to Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots, the art form has embraced the glamour and glory of war.
So You Want to Be An Opera Singer?
J. Nelson AvianceHuffington Post
Not long ago, I wrote a piece about how college ranking systems aren't useful for students looking to go into music programs. Many people thought I was spot on; a few had criticism. Let me be clear -- many of the programs in the USA Today top 10 list are great universities, and perhaps have solid music programs. 
Husband and wife share role of transgender woman in new opera
Carla SinclairThe Brooklyn Paper
“As One,” a new chamber opera premiering at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Sept. 4, is pushing boundaries in more ways than one. Not only does it tell the story of a transgender character transitioning from male to female, but the role will be shared simultaneously by a male and a female singer.
Composer Philip Glass on his Walt Disney opera, The Perfect American
Matthew WestwoodThe Australian
PHILIP Glass, he’s everywhere. It’s not only that the composer, 77, has been writing music since his teens, and can count in his catalogue 10 symphonies, 27 operas, music for dance and theatre, and many works for ensembles of various shapes and sizes. His umpteen film scores — from stoner favourite Koyaanisqatsi to art-house dramas The Hours and Notes on a Scandal — have given him an audience far beyond the concert hall or opera house. Some of his music has even been used in Grand Theft Auto IV, the video game.
Operalia 2014 winners include Mario Chang, Rachel Willis-Sørensen
David NgLos Angeles Times
The winners of the 2014 Operalia competition were announced Saturday evening at the conclusion of the finals competition held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Tenor Mario Chang from Guatemala and soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen of the U.S. took home the two first-place prizes.
'As One' Opera Brings Husband And Wife Stars Together For Heartfelt Transgender Role
Curtis M. WongThe Huffington Post
Opera stars Kelly Markgraf and Sasha Cooke are a husband-and-wife team who've performed together in venues around the world. Still, they're set to explore new territory as the stars of As One, a new chamber opera in which they'll each portray one side of a single transgender character.
Plácido Domingo to close iTunes festival
StaffBBC News
Opera star Plácido Domingo will close the iTunes festival in London at the end of this month.
Apocalypse Later
Terry TeachoutThe Wall Street Journal
Instead of locking out the Metropolitan Opera's musicians and stagehands, Peter Gelb, the company's general manager, agreed to a still-to-be-ratified settlement with their labor unions that will allow America's biggest opera company to open its 2014-15 season on schedule.
For a Bronx composer, opera rises out of identity struggles
Maya RajamaniThe Riverdale Press
Laura Kaminsky's first opera, 'As One,' will premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Thursday, Sept. 4. It is a collaboration between Ms. Kaminsky, who wrote the music for string quartet and developed the concept, and Kimberly Reed and Mark Campbell, who wrote the libretto.
Placido Domingo kicks off Operalia, says he's up for L.A. Opera opener
David NgLA Times
Plácido Domingo has been battling illness, but the 73-year-old general director of L.A. Opera confirmed that he is, indeed, healthy enough to take the stage for the company's season opener on Sept. 13. He made that point Tuesday by energetically kicking off his annual Operalia competition, held in Los Angeles for the first time in 10 years.
Ottawa's Opera Lyra replaces singer fired for remarks during Pride festivities
Peter RobbOttawa Citizen
A singer fired by Ottawa’s Opera Lyra for comments he made about a man wearing bejewelled fingernails is denying the remarks were homophobic.
St. Petersburg Composer's Opera Incites Violence
Sergey ChernovThe St. Petersburg Timres
The premiere of a new opera was canceled in St. Petersburg last week after both the refusal of yet another venue to hold it and an assault on the opera’s composer.

Called “New Jerusalem,” the opera composed by award-winning local composer Ilya Demutsky with librettist Artyom Suslov will not premiere in the city due to the worsening political and cultural climate, Demutsky said in an interview with The St. Petersburg Times on Aug. 23.
Oh, Susannah: San Francisco Opera Opens Its Golden Gate
Jeff KalissSan Francisco Classical Voice
The Sept. 6 company premiere of Susannah serves as a long-awaited reunion of San Francisco Opera’s general director, David Gockley, and the opera’s composer and librettist, Carlisle Floyd.
AFM President Blasts NFL Super Bowl Halftime Kickback Scheme
Antoinette FollettAmerican Federation of Musicians
In what could be deemed the most colossal pay to play scheme ever, the National Football League (NFL) has reportedly asked potential Super Bowl halftime performers if they would be willing to pay the league to play at its big game.
At Home with Renée and Plácido
Michael CooperThe New York Times
...after a summer of armchair travels through the classical music world: Without removing my shoes at a single airport checkpoint, I was able to watch “Trauernacht,” Katie Mitchell’s somber modern staging of Bach cantatas in Aix, check out Anna Netrebko and a baritonal Plácido Domingo in the new production of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” at Salzburg, and hear the rising young tenor Michael Fabiano sing Alfredo in Verdi’s “La Traviata” from Glyndebourne.
The Opera Industry’s Struggle to Remain Relevant
Angelo FrancoHighbrow Magazine
Before the New York City Opera became a major opera house in the industry, it started out with a simple and clear vision: to make opera accessible to everyone.  To this end, the NYCO kept admission tickets at reasonably low prices which, in turn, created some collateral and perhaps unforeseen benefits.  The company was the first to feature a black performer with an otherwise white cast and to offer a regular contract to an African-American (Todd Duncan and Camilla Williams, respectively, both of Porgy and Bess fame); it advanced the American opera industry by producing works in English by American composers, including premieres by the likes of Thomas Pasatieri; and it helped boost the careers of many performers, such as Beverly Sills and Plácido Domingo, among others. Within a few years since its founding in 1943, the NYCO had become a relevant and important addition to the international opera repertoire.
The Metropolitan Opera: 'deep in crisis'
Rupert ChristiansenThe Telegraph
New York’s Metropolitan Opera is deep in crisis, and even the armistice this week, concluding months of open warfare with its unions, is unlikely to bring either victory or resolution – or even a way forward.
Vittorio Grigolo on Getting Young People to the Opera
Rosamaria ManciniThe Wall Street Journal
Vittorio Grigolo is the tenor of the moment. The 37-year-old Italian first made a name for himself singing the key role of Rudolfo in La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 2010 and since then has become the important young male face of the opera world. The former Sistine Chapel chorister will end his summer tour with a return to the 13,000-seat Arena di Verona. He will play Romeo in Charles Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, based on Shakespeare's timeless love story.
Laura Kaminsky Named Composer in Residence at American Opera Projects
Allan Kozinn ArtsBeat (The New York Times)
American Opera Projects, the adventurous Brooklyn company that has been commissioning, developing and staging new operas for a quarter century, has appointed Laura Kaminsky as its composer-in-residence, beginning Sept. 1, the company announced on Friday.
Met Opera, Remaining Unions Reach Contract Deals
Brian WiseOperavore
The Metropolitan Opera has now reached tentative labor agreements with all of its remaining unions. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) says the deal covers six unions representing several groups of workers, including camera operators, box office treasurers and scene artists and designers.
SoundCloud introduces ads so it can pay musicians and other creators
Stuart DredgeThe Guardian
With 175 million monthly listeners, SoundCloud is the second biggest streaming music service in the world behind YouTube. Yet it hasn’t paid royalties to the creators and rightsholders of that music for their plays on its site and apps.
Metropolitan Opera Clears Last Major Hurdle in Labor Talks
Michael CooperThe New York Times
The Metropolitan Opera and the union representing its stagehands reached a contract deal early Wednesday morning, clearing the last major hurdle before the company could go ahead with its coming season of operas featuring murderously jealous lovers, dying sopranos and a fellow named Figaro — both before and after his marriage.
Has There Ever Been a Music of the Future?
Fred PlotkinOperavore
Fred Plotkin ponders "The Music of the Future," which Wagner discussed in a pamphlet in 1861. This essay was a response to readers and critics who, Wagner said, misinterpreted or did not understand the ideas he put forth in his 1850 treatise, 'Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft' (The Artwork of the Future). 
14 Artists Who Are Transforming The Future Of Opera
Priscilla FrankHuffington Post
Opera, which translates to "work" in Italian, doesn't only refer to women in viking helmets singing high notes in a foreign language. The medium officially extends to any dramatic art form in which all parts are sung to instrumental accompaniment, and it's evolved far past the "La Bohème" you dozed off to on your middle school field trip. (No offense, Puccini.) Although The Met may not be tapping into today's boldest operatic experiments, that's not to say they're not out there.
The Met averts shutdown: Does opera have to be grand to survive? (+video)
Harry BruiniusChristian Science Monitor
The live spectacle and resounding, unamplified human voices of opera, its dwindling number of aficionados say, is something the digital age, even with its many wonders, can never top.
Colorado Hiker Sings Opera to Calm Stalking Mountain Lion
Daniel XuOutdoor Hub
Can music soothe a savage beast? If you were to ask 40-year-old Kyra Kopenstonsky, she will tell you that it might have saved her from a cougar attack. Kopenstonsky was hiking a trail near Down Valley Park in Placerville, Colorado on Monday when she encountered a mountain lion. According to a report by the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office, the lion stalked the hiker for about 20 minutes, during which it would often jump forward and crouch whenever Kopenstonsky attempted to move backwards. She told deputies that when she first saw the animal, she picked up a large branch and attempted to look big. That did not seem to faze the cat, so Kopenstonsky said she did the next thing that came to her mind.
John Adams Explains Why His Northridge Earthquake Opera Took 19 Years to Reach L.A.
Christian HertzogLA Weekly
It’s not a musical — there’s no dialogue between the songs. 

It’s not a traditional opera — there are no musical transitions from one emotional moment to the next.

Composer John Adams calls I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky a “songplay.” Librettist June Jordan calls it an “earthquake romance.” However their collaboration is pigeonholed, it hasn’t been heard in California since its world premiere in 1995 in Berkeley; the only professional American performance after its original run in Montreal, New York and Europe was in Cleveland 12 years ago.

Play it again: how to make an opera’s second run a success
Tim MurrayThe Guardian
How do you make an old and over-performed opera feel fresh and new? Start by reexamining the score, writes one conductor
Opera Goes Modern With Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad
Max BartlettNorthwest Public Radio
Opera is sometimes seen as stuffy, old-fashioned, even a little... you know. Elitist. But some operas are working to change that. Opera on Tap in Seattle works to make opera part of our musical pop culture, and Washington's Lyric Light Opera performs popular musicals such as the Music Man, and even adaptations of Beauty and the Beast.
Arts: When understudies triumph
Nick GalvinSydney Morning Herald
After soprano Jane Ede heard she might be needed to step in at the last minute to the demanding lead role on the opening night of The Elixir of Love, her reaction was understandable.
"When I first got word there was a possibility I might be on, my husband found me on the floor in the foetal position going, ‘No, no, no, no, nooo’, because the task seemed fairly insurmountable at that point," she says.


In Surprise Finale at Metropolitan Opera’s Labor Talks, Both Sides Agree to Cuts
Michael CooperThe New York Times
After months of harsh words and escalating threats of a lockout, the Met and the unions representing its orchestra and chorus looked into the abyss and reached a tentative deal early on Monday, agreeing to significant and somewhat surprising cuts.
Licia Albanese, Exalted Soprano, Is Dead at 105
Margalit FoxThe New York Times
Licia Albanese, an Italian-born soprano whose veneration by audiences worldwide was copious even by the standards of operatic adulation, died on Friday at her home in Manhattan. She was 105.
Cristina Deutekom dies at 82
StaffDutch News
The world famous Dutch coloratura soprano Cristina Deutekom died on Thursday evening. She was 82 years old. 
Revised Ending
Fred CohnOpera News
It is one of the strangest chapters in the history of American opera. Earlier this year, working with key members of his board, Ian Campbell, the general director, artistic director and CEO of San Diego Opera, determined that the company he had led for thirty-one years should shut its doors. He almost succeeded in getting his way.
Lifting the Curtain on Live Events
StaffThinkWithGoogle.com
The data is in and interest is up: More people are attending live events—concerts, sports and theater—than ever before. How are they researching and buying tickets to these events?
Met’s Labor Woes Divide Opera Fans as Well as Participants
Michael CooperThe New York Times
The conflict, which threatens to silence the Met before its new season gets underway next month, is reverberating far beyond the travertine walls of the opera house. Opera buffs across America and the world, who have become part of the Met’s extended family through its Saturday radio broadcasts and live cinema transmissions, are watching closely and weighing in.
Fort Worth Opera announces cast of JFK opera
Betty DillardFort Worth Business Press
Fort Worth Opera in collaboration with American Lyric Theater in New York City announced the cast of the 2016 world premiere opera JFK about President John F. Kennedy’s final night and subsequent morning in Fort Worth on Nov. 22, 1963. 

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


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