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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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Education Headlines
Hear Elmer Fudd Sing Opera for the First Time
John JurgensenThe Wall Street Journal
A rare outtake from a Warner Bros. recording session documents the birth of one of Elmer Fudd’s most-quoted lines, from 1957’s “What’s Opera, Doc?” That cartoon and a trove of behind-the-scenes material help anchor a new exhibition about the animation director Chuck Jones, opening Saturday at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.
Georgian opera singer Tamar Iveri announces charity concert for gay rights
Opera singer Tamar Iveri was let go by Opera Australia and La Monnaie opera company of Brussels after a homophobic post appeared on her Facebook account, but she is now planning a charity concert for LGBTI rights in the Georgian capital.
Opera Australia Announces Lianna Haroutounian as Replacement for Tamar Iveri
Opera Australia announces their replacement for Tamar Iveri, the Georgian singer who was fired last week following Facebook comments she made in which she compared homosexuals with "faecal masses". Opera Australia, who describes Iveri's views as "unconscionable, released her from her contract to perform the role of Desdemona in their staging of Otello.
Is it soup yet? Andy Warhol opera in progress
Samantha MelamedPhiladelphia Inquirer
On May 2, John Miles began the evening swathed in blue plastic, belting out Velvet Underground lyrics, and quoting Andy Warhol ("Oh wow! Oh gee!") at a pop-up performance with the Bearded Ladies Cabaret at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. At intermission, he left - and sped toward the Academy of Music in Friday evening traffic, to lend his baritone to the chorus in Opera Philadelphia's production of Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Opera Begins Here – Exploring Cavalli’s Calisto
Evans MirageasWVXU Cincinnati
Jove, ruler of the gods, sets his sights on the beautiful nymph Calisto. But she—a devotee of the goddess Diana—is sworn to die a virgin. Undeterred, Jove hatches a plan to wend his way into her heart (and her bed) by donning a Diana-like disguise. But when Jove’s wife catches wind of the scheme, neither god nor mortal can know how far her fury will go.
Vancouver opera scene is on a roll
David Gordon DukeEdmonton Journal
With the premiere a few weeks ago of the Stokes/Atwood collaboration Pauline and the building hype about Weisensel and Koyczan’s forthcoming Stickboy, the Vancouver opera scene is on a roll. Although we will have to wait for it until next year, another new work is underway: the comic opera Choir Practice by the team — in life as in art — of Stephen Chatman and Tara Wohlberg.
Lyric Opera lifts the veil on its work-in-progress “Bel Canto”
Dennis PokowThe Classical Review
On Friday, the Lyric Opera of Chicago presented what it called a “Bel Canto Workshop” for some members of the media and a select group of donors in its William Mason rehearsal room.
Stalinist Opera Revived to Celebrate Crimea Takeover
Janos GerebenSan Francisco Classical Voice
On July 10, the St. Petersburg Opera Theater debuted Crimea, a new production based on a 1946 opera called The Sevastopolians by Marian Koval. Koval, who died in 1971, was a laureate of the prestigious Stalin Prize, and well known for his role in the Stalin-inspired campaign against fellow composer Dmitri Shostakovich.
How The 3 Tenors Sang The Hits And Changed The Game
Anastasia TsioulcasUALR Public Radio
The Three Tenors joined to conquer. When this trio of famous opera singers — José Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti — gave a one-night-only show at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium on July 16, 1994, it was a massive spectacle watched by a billion people worldwide. More than that, the Three Tenors phenomenon permanently altered how a large amount of classical music is presented, packaged and sold.
Central City Opera to Focus on Touring
Marc ShulgoldColorado Public Radio
Central City Opera will travel to small cities and towns around Colorado with three little-known, one-act operas: The Prodigal Son, one of three church parables by English composer Benjamin Britten; Don Quixote and the Duchess by French composer Joseph Bodin de Boismortier; and The Blind, a 1994 work by Russian-born American composer Lera Auerbach, written for an a cappella chorus of 12 who portray a group of stranded blind people.  
Lorin Maazel, an Intense and Enigmatic Conductor, Dies at 84
Allan KozinnThe New York Times
Lorin Maazel, a former child prodigy who went on to become the music director of the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera and several other ensembles and companies around the world, and who was known for his incisive and sometimes extreme interpretations, died on Sunday at his home in Castleton, Va. He was 84.
Opera in the modern world The lure of the old
Another opera season, another predictable La Traviata? Far from it, says Sir Mark Elder, the music director of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, who is conducting Verdi’s perennial favourite at this year's Glyndebourne festival. Well-researched performances can bring freshness to the most familiar works, he suggests. “I tell the singers, ‘if you get this bar right, it will be a world premiere’.”
Bicycle opera in gear for five-week tour
Trish CrawfordThe Star
There's a new kind of opera riding into town.
Women in theatre: how the '2:1 problem' breaks down
Guardian/Elizabeth FreestoneThe Guardian
How well are women represented in theatre? New research by the Guardian in collaboration with Elizabeth Freestone shows a mixed picture.
New Opera 'Red Death' To Premiere At KC Fringe Festival
Edgar Allen Poe's 1842 short story "The Masque of the Red Death" serves as the inspiration for a new opera called "Red Death" that premieres next week in Kansas City, Mo.
Backstage Breakdown
James PaneroCity Journal
Labor troubles in the performing arts have often reached operatic proportions.
Google Glass, Social Media Topics for Spark!
Janet Gramza Sightlines (USITT)
What place do Google Glass, social media, and smartphone apps have at live performances?
Who is Creative Placemaking? New Music, Integrity, and Community
Daniel Siepmann NewMusicBox
Daniel Siepmann examines the relationship between new music and placemaking – a new approach to contemporary arts funding that purports to culturally and economically reinvigorate American places through the arts. 
On the State of Opera
Speight JenkinsOpera Sleuth
A lot of ink has recently been spilled about the demise of opera. Audiences are supposed to be drifting away; the number of subscribers is dwindling; people generally are not interested in our art form; all is gloomy, and opera has been described as being pushed off a precipice by public disdain and disinterest.
A cost-cutting San Diego Opera ready to regroup
David NgLA Times
San Diego Opera has reached a new level of stability, leaders say, after a series of cost-cutting and the announcement of new initiatives to broaden its presence in the community.
Revival Is on the Table for Bankrupt New York City Opera
Sara RandazzoThe Wall Street Journal
Could the curtain rise again at the New York City Opera? The shuttered institution, which closed its doors last fall after years of financial woes, could be revived in some fashion, according to two lawyers working on the opera’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.
The Met's "Klinghoffer" Problem
Alex RossThe New Yorker
For a little while, it seemed as though the controversy over John Adams’s 1991 opera, “The Death of Klinghoffer”—a dramatization of the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking, during which members of the Palestine Liberation Front murdered the Jewish-American businessman Leon Klinghoffer—was beginning to fade.... Last week, though, the brouhaha resumed. 
Distracted Diva: The Second Screen Goes to the Opera
Allan Kozinn ArtsBeat (The New York Times)
In June, On Site Opera presented a production of Rameau’s Pygmalion, at which operagoers were encouraged to use Google Glass, onto which a translation of the libretto was projected. The technology used to project the subtitles to Google Glass was created by Figaro Systems. Now Figaro is taking the next step: When the Wolf Trap Opera performs Bizet’s Carmen on July 25, Figaro and its MobiTxt technology will be on hand.
Renée Fleming: Leading lady
Jeremy D. GoodwinThe Boston Globe
The afternoon of last year’s Super Bowl, Renée Fleming was in a familiar place — onstage at Boston’s Symphony Hall, performing a selection of arias in a Celebrity Series concert.
Justice Ginsburg on Law — and Opera
Jess BravinWashington Wire (WSJ)
Justice Ruth Bader visited to the Castleton Festival, a music and theater extravaganza the conductor Lorin Maazel and his wife, actress Dietlinde Maazel, hold at their 600-acre farm in rural Virginia. Justice Ginsburg presented for an audience of 138 a program mixing two of her passions, Law in Opera.
In 39th season, Opera Theatre of St. Louis shows good health, new work
Anne MidgetteThe Washington Post
This summer, Anne Midgette is traveling to several of the country’s leading opera festivals — St. Louis, Glimmerglass and Santa Fe — to evaluate how well they are doing in the current climate. A stop in St. Louis reveals that some of them are doing very well indeed.
A Modern Opera: Fat Unions May Kill the Fat Lady
Eric GibsonThe Wall Street Journal
An epic confrontation is playing out at the Metropolitan Opera, only it isn't the familiar one between star-crossed lovers. The famed opera company, which opened its doors in 1883, is in a life-or-death negotiation with its unions—15 of them.

That's right, 15 labor unions, with more than 2,000 workers. Stripped of its high-culture context, the Met finds itself in a battle that sounds eerily similar to the fiscal realities many big-city mayors are now confronting when negotiating overtime, work rules and health-care benefits with sanitation workers. It's not entirely similar, though: The average singer in the Met's 80-person chorus makes between $145,000 and $200,000 annually. The curtain could fall at the end of July, when the Met's contract with 15 of its 16 unions expires.
I turned Google Glass into opera glasses
Adi Robertson The Verge

For On Site Opera’s latest project — an adaptation of Rameau's Pygmalion performed amidst wax statues and mannequins — it tested a new kind of translation, projected not on a wall but on the lens of Google Glass.

San Diego Opera and Dallas Opera to Co-Produce ‘Great Scott,’ a New Opera by Jake Heggie, Starring Joyce DiDonato
Louise BurtonClassicalite
San Diego Opera is a company that has seen its share of struggles. The story of its near death and resurrection has been one of the most closely followed stories in the music world this year--how a band of committed board members, staff and music lovers all worked together to successfully raise the funds necessary to ensure the company's survival.
In Ukraine, a night at the opera isn't just for adults
Sara Miller LlanaChristian Science Monitor
As an American, the Monitor's European bureau chief did not expect the audience at Kiev's opera house to be quite so... youthful.
Opera camp teaches life lessons to budding artists
Steven BrownHouston Chronicle
Houston Grand Opera’s Create an Opera summer camp lets kids shine on stage.

In Ukraine, a night at the opera isn't just for adults
Sara Miller LlanaThe Christian Science Monitor
As an American, the Monitor's European bureau chief did not expect the audience at Kiev's opera house to be quite so youthful.
Opera bigwigs share survival strategies in SF
David WiegandArts & Not (San Francisco Chronicle)
For a moment there, the opera folks gathered in the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt for Friday’s opening session of the three-day national conference of Opera America were like a family assembled by the bedside of an ailing relative who’d just received a clean bill of health.
Luca Francesconi: do you dare go to his opera?
Tom ServiceThe Guardian
It's violent, blasphemous, nihilistic and cynical. Composer Luca Francesconi tells Tom Service why his end-of-world opera Quartett is essential viewing.
40 Under 40: The Next Generation of Great Opera Singers
Fred PlotkinOperavore
I hear all too often that there are “no good singers nowadays.” Wrong! There are so many wonderful young artists around but, given how little opera is covered in the media apart from waistlines and waste of money, audiences have little guidance. With the recording industry scarcely involved in documenting the work of young artists, and DVDs becoming passé, the next generation is mostly invisible to audiences clamoring for talent.
40 Under 40: The Next Generation of Great Opera Singers – Part Two
Fred PlotkinOperavore
Following last week's survey of gifted male singers under the age of 40 in the opera field comes this look at promising young divas.
Jonas Kaufmann: the world's greatest tenor
Serena DaviesThe Telegraph
Jonas Kaufmann is rehearsing the death scene from Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. In the interest of avoiding spoilers for those who don’t know the French 18th-century story by the Abbé Prévost, I won’t say whose death. But Manon Lescaut (which has formed the basis of a classical ballet and two 19th-century operas) is a tragic opera, and Kaufmann does operatic tragedy in a manner to rip your heart out. The 44-year-old is almost certainly the greatest tenor in the world right now, a dashingly handsome German with an extraordinary voice, whose career is reaching new peaks with each year, even month that passes.
Minnesota Opera Announces New Commission, DINNER AT EIGHT, 2016-17 Season
StaffBroadway World
At its annual meeting today, Minnesota Opera announced its commission of Dinner at Eight, a new comic opera by composer William Bolcom and librettist Mark Campbell, based on the play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber. 
Does it matter that arts audiences are white, metropolitan and middle class?
Stephen Moss and Bonnie GreerThe Guardian
Harriet Harman warns of a generation of people with 'no meaningful exposure' to opera and classical music. Stephen Moss and Bonnie Greer go head to head on whether outreach programmes would make them fans.
How Goodman Innovation Group fuses tech community with arts community
Cheryl V. JacksonBlue Sky Innovation (Chicago Tribune)
With its latest play, Ask Aunt Susan, the Goodman Theatre bridges the technology world with the arts community on numerous levels.
The pop opera of UrbanArias UrbanArias finds "winning combination" to attract new opera fans
Doug RuleMetroweekly
"When I founded the company I was looking for things to do that would bring more people into the operatic fold,” says Robert Wood of UrbanArias. Opera is an intimidating and/or prohibitive art form for many, he deduced, and the chief barriers are performance length, language and ticket price. “So when you do it in English, when you keep it under 90 minutes, and when you give them excellent artists for a lot less money than they would spend at the Kennedy Center,” Wood says, “it’s a winning combination.”
Ordinary Australians to make Opera Queensland debuts
Ben NielsenLimelight Magazine
Nearly 400 ordinary Australians have been chosen to be performers in Opera Queensland’s latest production of La Bohème. The singers, who were chosen from 800 initial applicants, will join forces with OperaQ’s principal members and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra as part of Project Puccini, Australia’s biggest regional performing arts initiative.
How the Minnesota Opera Promoted Old Media With New Media
Elizabeth HarperSproutSocial
It’s more important than ever for businesses to embrace social technology — even businesses that are as traditional as opera companies. We were curious as to how such an old school medium was adapting to the social space, so we spoke with Adam Holisky, Technology & Interactive Media Manager for the Minnesota Opera about just how the non-profit has taken their message social.
The Turning of the Tide
Keith CernyTheaterJones
While [the reversal of the San Diego Opera closure] is clearly good news for the opera field, there is much work remaining to stabilize the West Coast company and reassure the community about SDO’s long-term future. I make no apology for my belief that San Diego Opera should do all that it can to stay in business and present great opera, for the benefit of the people of San Diego as well as the artists themselves.
An Opera About Little Rock Integration, With Libretto by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Allan KozinnNew York Times
Ever since John Adams had his first operatic hit with Nixon in China, operas based on the headlines and recent history rather than mythological tales and literary adaptations have become plentiful. The University of Central Arkansas is hoping to add the story of the Little Rock Nine  – nine black students who enrolled at what had been an all-white high school in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957 – to the operatic annals.
Do HD Casts Help or Hinder Live Opera?
Janos GerebenSan Francisco Classical Voice
I used the subject line "A survey I'd prefer not to believe" in a message to the Opera-L forum that con tainted the link to a surprising and stunning report from the UK, concluding: "Opera screenings failing to boost interest in the art form, survey finds."
Australia’s first Indigenous opera set for Adelaide debut
Richard WattsPerforming Arts Hub
Deborah Cheetham’s Pecan Summer had its world premiere on country in the Victorian town of Mooroopna in October 2010. The story of the first mass strike by Aboriginal people in Australian history, the opera details the 1939 walk-off from Cummeragunga Mission, when some 200 people of the Yorta Yorta nation, pushed to breaking point by the draconian conditions enforced by the New South Wales Aboriginal Protection Board, walked out of the mission and across the Murray River to re-settle in northern Victoria.
How soprano Hong Hei-kyung lasted three decades at leading US opera house
Kwon Mee-yooKorea Times
Opera singer Hong Hei-kyung, who has spent 30 years at the prestigious Metropolitan Opera in New York, will celebrate her career in a solo recital at the Seoul Arts Center Concert Hall on June 12. The veteran opera singer is ready to share her music and experiences with Korean audiences as well as aspiring musical talent, accompanied by pianist Jonathan Kelly. 
For 'A Coffin in Egypt,' von Stade goes deep into the heart of Texas
David Patrick StearnsPhiladelphia Inquirer
For months, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade studied 90-year-old Myrtle Bledsoe, her character in the chamber opera A Coffin in Egypt, and asked how such an intelligent, sophisticated woman, courted by theater producers and sea captains, could have stayed in a humiliating small-town marriage rife with Southern-gothic intrigue.

Canadian Opera Company hooks youngsters with after-school program
John AllenmangThe Globe and Mail
Diana Satmarean had never been to an opera before, which isn’t all that surprising since she’s just 7. But thanks to a 10-week class offered by the Canadian Opera Company, which earned her a free ticket to the dress rehearsal of Massenet’s Don Quichotte earlier this month, she’s hooked on an art form that’s supposed to be far beyond the reach of small children.

Summer 2014 Magazine Issue
  • Summer Apprenticeships
  • Opera Tours for Board Members
  • My First Opera by Speight Jenkins
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