Thursday, April 6, 2017

Una volta c'era un rè....

We have written before of The Opera Platform, a site where one can see live streaming performances from European opera houses. We recently enjoyed Mr. Rossini's charming opera La Cenerentola from the Opéra de Lille, a live performance from October 16 of last year, that will be available until April 13. I would recommend viewing this performance.

Emily Fons
Photo: (c) Patrick Delacroix
We're always most excited by thrilling performances, and this cast supplied many. Young American mezzo-soprano Emily Fons was a charming Angelina. Her singing was free and even throughout, her coloratura clear, her characterization both humble and mischievous. One especially enjoyed her chemistry with the Ramiro of Taylor Stayton and the Dandini of Armando Noguera. Mr Stayton, also an American, is not unknown to us, having an internet presence dating back several years. We enjoyed his singing, particularly his thrilling high notes, and found his Ramiro effectively noble and stoic but with a good sense of fun.

Dandini (Armando Noguera) and Ramiro (Taylor Stayton),
pursued by Clorinde (Clara Meloni) and Tisbe (Julie Pasturaud)
Photo: (c) Patrick Delacroix
Mr. Noguera, an Argentinian baritone with an active career in Europe, gave Dandini an endearing naughtiness and healthy, robust singing. We especially enjoyed his first entrance in Act I. Roberto Lorenzi was an impressive Alidoro, with warm, booming sound and a gentle, wise portrayal. Renato Girolami was quite the blustery Don Magnifico.

We quite enjoyed the Orchestre de Picardie and the Chorus of Opéra de Lille under the baton of Antonello Allemandi. We weren't so sure about the production. Sets by Jean Bellorini and Charles Vitez, costumes by Nelly Geyres, and make-up by Laurence Aué were puzzling. Along with Mr. Bellorini's lighting, the team created some dazzling visual effects, but one wondered why. (Longtime readers know that at Taminophile Enterprises, we often wonder why settings are updated in opera productions.) We don't know whether this production team claimed the tired excuse for updating of clarifying social and power structures, but if so, they didn't succeed. Frankly, the costumes and makeup seldom flattered anyone, with the possible exception of Mr. Lorenzi, who would look great in anything!. (Are you reading this Roberto? Call me!)

All in all a most enjoyable performance. The singing of all far outweighed my quibbles with the production.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Those crazy Greeks!

On Saturday I saw the Live in HD broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera's Idomeneo, a revival of the 1982 Jean-Pierre Ponnelle production. I found it thrilling, not least because dear Maestro James Levine was in the pit. I am always touched by the tremendous ovation that showers Mr. Levine the moment he arises, almost god-like, from within the bowels of the Met to sit at the podium. (In the broadcast we could see the remarkable elevator device bringing him and his wheelchair into position from below.) In interviews singers sometimes talk of the almost sacred experience of working and performing with Mr. Levine, and I believe it.

Your intrepid reporter actually saw this production in 1982, while on a college choir tour. At age 19 (go ahead—do the math), sitting in the Family Circle, ignorant of the amazing work I was witnessing, I was more excited about simply being at the Met than about the opera. Since then I have seen several productions of Idomeneo, and I sang chorus in the Greater Miami Opera's 1990 production. My appreciation has grown immensely. Hence my joy at seeing this production again, even if budgetary concerns force me to see it in HD rather than in the house.

Nadine Sierra and Alice Coote
Photo: Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times
From the get-go we see what makes this work and this production amazing. The single set shows steps representative of rocks and cliffs, and an ever-present image of Neptune, ready to destroy one and all at his whim. Although employing opera seria conventions, which can sometimes lead to difficulty in portraying drama adequately, this Idomeneo hasn't a single dull moment. The action flows smoothly, and the acting of the four principals kept audience interest at all times.

Opera requires conflict, and Idomeneo offers plenty. Idomeneo, King of Crete, was forced to offer to Neptune the sacrifice of the first person he sees upon his safe return from the wars in Troy. That person turns out to be his son Idamante. The young Trojan princess Ilia, prisoner of war, is conflicted about her love for Idamante. Fortunately Idamante loves her, too, and after much wailing and gnashing of teeth the two end up together. Sorry if that's a spoiler. And Elettra (Elektra), having finished her own opera, has come to Crete to stir up trouble, and has decided she wants Idamante for herself. Not knowing of Idamante's love for Ilia, Idomeneo tries to resolve his sacrificial victim dilemma by ordering Idamante to accompany Elettra on her journey home. Hilarity ensues. Well, if not hilarity, much amazing singing.

Elza van den Heever as Elettra
Photo: Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times
Every singer will tell you that Mozart requires the finest vocal technique, for without it his music is nearly impossible to sing! This cast did not disappoint. A beautiful and nuanced performance of the overture transitioned immediately into Ilia's stunning aria Padre, germani, addio, sung with great feeling and sensitivity by Nadine Sierra. Ms. Sierra's singing never failed to please, with its free and even sound throughout, and she portrayed Ilia's vulnerability and strength quite well. She was this reporter's favorite among an exceptionally fine cast of singers. Elza van den Heever was also amazing as Elettra. We witnessed the same fiery temperament and dazzling singing (and ability to negotiate a raked stage in a costume the size of a city block) that so impressed us as Elisabetta in Maria Stuarda, with Mozart's even greater technical demands. Ms. van den Heever gave us Elettra's madness and arrogance while singing her torturous vocal lines with apparent ease.

Alice Coote sang Idamante's difficult vocal lines quite skillfully (the role was originally written for a castrato in a soprano range), and looked very much the part of a sturdy young prince, ready to take on the world. Her dynamic shading, particularly her pianissimo singing, was quite impressive. Matthew Polenzani was a fine Idomeneo, showing the king's emotional turmoil and singing the challenging music well. One does wonder, however, why the Met didn't use the 1786 Vienna version of the aria Fuor del mar, which has considerably fewer coloratura demands than the original version, from its 1781 Munich premiere.

One also wondered about the casting of baritone Alan Opie in the tenor role of Arbace. Mr. Opie's credits include Figaro, Rigoletto, Sharpless, and Don Alfonso. Arbace is usually sung by the sort of tenor who would sing Tamino or Don Ottavio. This was not a successful bit of casting, in this reporter's humble opinion.

It should surprise no one that the Metropolitan Opera Chorus performed at its usual stellar standard, as did the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Mr. Levine's subtle hand was evident throughout this performance. One is very sorry this was the last performance of Idomeneo, for it deserves repeated viewing.
Full company of Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's Idomeneo
Photo:  Metropolitan Opera

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Forza del Destino at New Amsterdam Opera

I had the pleasure on Friday evening of hearing the New Amsterdam Opera perform Mr. Verdi's La Forza del Destino in concert. Forza isn't performed as often as it should be, partly because it takes over a half hour to explain the story. It sort of makes "Oops! Wrong baby in the fire!" seem like it makes sense.

New Amsterdam Opera and its Founder and Artistic Director, Keith Chambers, have been featured in these pages before. I've often stated I'm a big supporter of organizations that offer opportunities to young professional singers. The cast for Forza had singers still in the formative stages of their careers alongside veterans of the opera stage. The result was an evening with many exciting and electrifying vocal performances.

Stephen Gaertner
Photo: Arielle Doneson Photography
The male principals deserve the lion's share of my attention. The star of the evening was Stephen Gaertner as Don Carlo. His singing was powerful and subtle, with a beauty of tone that never failed and an intensity of character that was very convincing. Mr. Gaertner's program bio lists many impressive credits in Verdi baritone roles, all of which must surely fit him like a glove if his Don Carlo is any indication. Tenor Errin Brooks brought a very large, free sound and a gripping stage presence to the role of Don Alvaro. Mr. Brooks held one's attention and never wavered in his commitment to the dramatic intent of the story, even during the well-deserved lengthy ovation following his Act III aria. Mr. Brooks is capable of a great amount of range, subtlety, and delicate phrasing, and must be commended for that, but one occasionally wished for even more. When Mr. Gaertner and Mr. Brooks were together on stage, the effect was magic. Their shared dramatic intensity, commitment to their roles, and passionate singing nearly had the audience on the edge of their seats.

Kelly Griffin
Photo:  kellygriffinsoprano.com
Kelly Griffin also brought a large, beautiful voice and stage presence to the role of Leonora, but we did detect more scooping than we were comfortable with, and wished her pianissimo high notes were a little more secure. As the gypsy Preziosilla, Janara Kellerman brought a rich and ample voice, but we rather think the role doesn't fit her. We would love to hear her Carmen or Azucena instead.

Fra Melitone lends comic relief to an intense story, and he was well embodied by Daniel Klein. Stefan Szkafarowsky gave Padre Guardiano dignity and wisdom. Metropolitan Opera veteran Robert Brubaker ably sang the peddler Trabuco. Japanese bass Hidenori Inoue gave exciting vocal quality to the old Marquis.

Even in the capable hands of Mr. Chambers, the pick-up orchestra seemed a bit ragged at times. The chorus, too, seemed somewhat ill prepared. Budgets being what they are, these shortcomings are understandable. Neither prevented me from enjoying the performance. It seems a shame there was only one performance, for I would surely recommend attending subsequent performances if there were any.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Having a really big clock is overrated

Your faithful correspondent has reported on opera far too little in the past year or two. To get back into the habit, and to practice his craft, your reporter witnessed Saturday's Metropolitan Opera Live in HD performance of La Traviata. Let us be clear about one thing—an HD broadcast in a movie theater is far from the same thing as a performance in the opera house, and to this reporter's mind, not its equal. Opera is simply better in the house. Stage sets were meant to viewed as a whole, and most operatic voices sound better when heard from a distance than when miked. But when front row recliners in the movie theater go for the same price as Family Circle (the very highest balcony) seats at the Met—or even less—one must make choices.

Sonya Yoncheva as Violetta and Michael Fabino as Alfredo
And a really big clock.
Photo: Marty Sohl, Metropolitan Opera
This is the Willy Decker production of La Traviata, which first saw the light of day in Salzburg in 2005 and subsequently came to the Met in 2010. It is known for its minimalist design and updated costumes. And a really big clock. (Set and costume design are by Wolfgang Gussmann.) Critics have called the use of the clock to symbolize Violetta's measured days heavy handed, and we don't disagree. It is interesting in such a context that, in Act II, scene 1, the clock is shrouded in flowery slipcover fabric, as is all the furniture. (As Violetta accepts the sacrifice she must make, she removes the slipcovers from clock and sofas—and herself as well, since her dressing gown is made of the same fabric.) Dr. Grenvil is present in most scenes to symbolize Violetta's mortality. There is a particularly effective moment in Act IV when Alfredo talks of leaving Paris and tries to coax Violetta toward the door, but Violetta's eyes are glued to Dr. Grenvil. She knows well her fate. Although such clever touches abound in this production, on the whole one is left with the awkward and unsatisfying feeling of being inside a very large, ornate, Victorian mansion that had been redecorated in mid-century modern style.

Michael Fabiano and Sonya Yoncheva
Photo:  Metropolitan Opera
The singing was quite good on Saturday. Sonya Yoncheva was a very effective Violetta, imbuing the courtesan with passion and intelligence. With the exception of some pianissimo high notes in Act IV, Ms. Yoncheva was very much the equal of this very demanding role. Her tone was warm and mostly even throughout, her coloratura clear, and her acting very convincing. She was paired with the Alfredo of Michael Fabiano. Mr. Fabiano first gained notoriety as one of the contestants in the 2007 documentary The Audition, and this reporter has only heard excerpts of performances since then. We at Taminophile Enterprises believe Mr. Fabiano's singing to be much more beautiful and free than in The Audition, particularly his high voice. His Alfredo was certainly passionate and had many more dimensions than many productions give him.

We are not of one mind about the character of Giorgio Germont. Is he administering tough love to protect his daughter, or is he a controlling swine interested only in his social position? In the hands of baritone Thomas Hampson and director Willy Decker, he was a bit of both. We never believed his gestures of regret in the last act. Very telling is the moment when Germont takes the focus off of Violetta's and Alfredo's suffering to make them aware of his own supposed remorse. We're also not of one mind about Mr. Hampson's portrayal of the role. He has had great success as Germont for many years, but on Saturday one heard some occasional vocal fatigue, and his low notes were not powerful. One is reminded of his younger days, when he was a delightful Guglielmo, Figaro, and Count Almaviva (in Le Nozze di Figaro)—all higher, lighter roles. We must admit the playful, self-congratulatory air he occasionally had with those roles converted well into a self-absorbed air as Germont.

As usual, the Metropolitan Opera Chorus sang and acted well as revelers in the party scenes, although some of the directorial and costuming choices left one confused or simply dissatisfied. The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, under the skillful hand of Nicola Luisotti, played the score with precision and expression.

Would I recommend this opera? The cast is a very good reason to see it. Will I see it again? Only for a new cast as exciting as the current one.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Forward: Second Annual NEW YORK OPERA FEST!


NEW YORK OPERA ALLIANCE presents the second annual NEW YORK OPERA FEST May & June 2017

The festival showcases the breadth and diversity of opera in New York City through 28 events, ranging from virtual reality to improv opera, with productions in theaters, gardens, garages, bars, playgrounds and more.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 — The New York Opera Alliance (NYOA), a consortium of New York opera companies and producers, proudly presents the second annual New York Opera Fest (http://nyoperafest.com), a two-month celebration of opera during May and June with over 20 New York City-based companies putting on 28 events in venues around the city.
The festival showcases New York’s vibrant and varied opera scene, with repertoire ranging from the traditional operatic canon to innovative world premieres, taking place in diverse venues such as theaters, bars, gardens, garages, and playgrounds. With the New York Opera Fest, the Alliance shows how NYC’s opera scene is truly a living, breathing community of people who are working together to produce new work, develop new artists and engage with communities of all ages and backgrounds.
“The festival is a reminder that opera doesn’t need a 3,000-seat theater to be grand, and some of the more innovative, impassioned, exciting and vital – as well as affordable – productions are coming out of these smaller, more nimble companies.” 
-WQXR

“I honestly thought I knew all about the New York City opera scene…I was barely scratching the surface.”
-VAN Magazine
In addition to performances, the festival also includes forums, film screenings, and workshops, as well as a kickoff event on Thursday, April 27 featuring excerpts from the 2017 festival. The evening will honor soprano Lauren Flanigan for her contribution to the NYC Opera Community with the 2nd annual NYOA Service Award.
The New York Opera Alliance works in partnership with OPERA America, the national service organization for opera and the nation’s leading advocate for American opera, based in the National Opera Center in New York City. The New York Opera Festival is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

PERFORMANCES INCLUDE:

  • American Opera Projects presents the New York premiere of Robert Paterson’s Three Way, three playful one-act operas, on the present and future of sex and love.
  • Bronx Opera closes their 50th anniversary season with an English-language production of Verdi’s Falstaff.
  • Heartbeat Opera presents their spring festival featuring new interpretations of Bizet’s Carmen and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.
  • Experiments in Opera presents Flash Operas, six newly commissioned 15-minute operas based on ‘Flash Fiction’ stories.
  • Opera on Tap releases The Parksville Murders, the world’s first virtual reality horror opera, in addition to performances in two bars and a school playground.
  • On Site Opera presents new site-specific productions of Mozart’s The Secret Gardener in the West Side Community Garden and the U.S. premiere of Darius Milhaud’s La mère coupable at The Garage.                    
  • Sign & Sing incorporates American Sign Language into the opera experience with “EXPLORATIONS”: three stories of love and travel.
  • Family friendly operas include New Camerata Opera’s rendition of Peter Rabbit and Ardea Arts’s performance of George Plimpton’s Animal Tales.                    

ABOUT THE NEW YORK OPERA ALLIANCE

The New York Opera Alliance (NYOA) is a consortium of New York City opera companies and producers established to enhance and support the visibility and viability of opera in NYC. Founded in 2011, NYOA has grown from 4 organizations to more than 40, and counting. Since 2013, NYOA has been fiscally sponsored by OPERA America.
They believe that New Yorkers and visitors to New York alike can be better informed about the breadth, range and vitality of New York City’s opera-producing community. NYOA is a community-driven organization; together, they aspire to increase awareness of participating organizations, share ideas and resources, and generate revenue for collaborative projects.         

ABOUT OPERA AMERICA

OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera. Artistic services help opera companies and creative and performing artists to improve the quality of productions and increase the creation and presentation of North American works. Information, technical and administrative services to opera companies reflect the need for strengthened leadership among staff, trustees and volunteers. Education, audience development and community services are designed to enhance all forms of opera appreciation. OPERA America provides organizational and project support to NYOA, through convenings, facilitated discussion, professional development leadership and access to OPERA America member resources. For more information, please visit https://www.operaamerica.org/

NEW YORK OPERA FEST EVENTS

For additional event details, please visit: http://nyoperafest.com
APRIL 27: New York Opera Festival Kickoff  
Marc A. Scorca Hall; OPERA America’s National Opera Center, 330 Seventh Ave
Featuring excerpts from the 2017 festival and honoring soprano Lauren Flanigan for her contribution to the NYC Opera Community with the 2nd annual NYOA Service Award.
MAY 1: New Camerata Opera presents Peter Rabbit
Venue TBA
A rollicking, action-packed introduction to the world of classical music, featuring the timeless melodies of Gaetano Donizetti. About thirty minutes long, with a brief question and answer session, children learn and laugh at the same time!
MAY 5: Experiments in Opera presents Flash Operas
Symphony Space, Thalia Theater, 2537 Broadway
Experiments in Opera partners with Symphony Space to commission six new short operas based on inventive ‘Flash Fiction’ stories by Jack Handey, A.M. Homes, Patricia Marx, Andrew McCuaig, Peter Mehlman, and Keith Scribner.  
MAY 6 & 7:  Bronx Opera Company presents Verdi’s Falstaff
Kaye Playhouse, Hunter College, 695 Park Ave
An English-language version of Verdi’s Falstaff closes out BxO’s 50th season celebration. Additional performances April 29 & 30 at Lehman College’s Lovinger Theatre.
MAY 10: Regina Opera Company presents a preview of Donizetti’s L'Elisir d'amore 
Our Lady of Perpetual Help school auditorium, 5902 6th Ave, Brooklyn NY
FREE EVENT
Regina Opera Company offers a free “sneak-peek” of their upcoming performance of Donizetti’s sparkling comedy, L’Elisir d’Amore.
MAY 11: Opera on Tap presents Home Brewed Opera
Freddy's Bar and Backroom, 627 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
FREE EVENT
Have a Stella with your Strauss! The Divas of Opera on Tap bring you funny, irreverent, immersive operatic concerts in a casual setting.
MAY 11-13: On Site Opera presents Mozart’s The Secret Gardener (La finta giardiniera) 
The Westside Community Garden, 123 West 89th Street
FREE EVENT
On Site Opera and The Atlanta Opera join together to bring Mozart’s The Secret Gardener (La finta giardiniera) to life in a new site-specific production at the Westside Community Garden.
MAY 11 & 12: Hunter Opera Theater presents Fireworks and Lady Bird
Danny Kaye Playhouse, Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue
The NYC premieres of Fireworks by Kitty Brazelton and Lady Bird by Henry Mollicone.
MAY 13, 14, 20 & 21: Regina Opera Company presents Donizetti’s L'Elisir d'amore 
Our Lady of Perpetual Help School Auditorium, 5902 6th Ave, Brooklyn NY
A shy bumpkin – a rich girl – a swaggering soldier – a quack doctor – a love potion. All these add up to sparkling comedy in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love).
MAY 18: Encompass New Opera Theatre presents Paradigm Shifts: Music & Film Festival
Baruch Performing Arts Center, Engelman Recital Hall, 55 Lexington Avenue
A music, opera and film festival, celebrating true stories of courageous change-makers preserving our planet, oceans and wildlife.
MAY 18-20: New Opera NYC presents Rimsky-Korsakov’s Golden Cockerel
Sheen Center for the Arts, 18 Bleecker St
A cornerstone of the Russian opera heritage, based on faux fairytale by a great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and set to a libretto by Vladimir Belsky.
MAY 19 & 20: Rhymes With Opera presents Bonnie Lander’s Coping Mechanisms 
124 Bank Street Theater, 124 Bank St
An improvisatory opera, in which an ensemble of singers create their own narrative, textures, characters and vocalizations, focusing on our need for both privacy and communication in modern society.
MAY 20 & 21: Ardea Arts presents George Plimpton’s Animal Tales
Location TBA
A rambunctious masterpiece bursting with fun, optimism, and insight into the human journey for audiences of all ages. Seven animals and their veterinarian, assisted by a children’s chorus, will raise the curtain on a new family favorite that speaks to the child in all of us.
MAY 20-28: Heartbeat Opera presents annual Spring Festival
Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Avenue
In a new four-character adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen with a brand-new instrumental arrangement, love is a fire that burns everything in its path and leaves no prisoners. A newly orchestrated Puccini’s Madama Butterfly investigates the stereotypes, racism, and misogyny embedded within the foundations of this masterpiece.
MAY 21: SIGN & SING presents Explorations
Symphony Space, Thalia Theater, 2537 Broadway
EXPLORATIONS examines three stories of love and travel – Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus, Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel and Elgar's Sea Pictures  reimagining great works of classical music in sung English and American Sign Language. Open captions and assisted listening devices will be provided.
JUNE 2, 3, 9 & 10: Opera Upper West presents Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied
Baylander IX-514, West Harlem Piers, New York, NY 10027
Board a Vietnam war aircraft carrier and be immersed in the story of Colonel Floyd James Thompson, America's longest serving Prisoner of War. Experience the culture shock of the 60’s and 70’s, and observe how media and memory forge American identity.
JUNE 2: Opera Lafayette presents Rameau’s Les Indes Galates - Part IV
The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue
The cast, Opera Lafayette Orchestra, and Gallery Voices, an acclaimed chamber vocal ensemble, highlight the incomparably rich music of this most famously gifted of French composers in this multinational love story set in North America.
JUNE 2: Opera on Tap presents New Brew: Pint-Sized Opera Edition
Barbes, 376 9th St., Brooklyn, NY 
An irreverent and entertaining concert filled to the brim with very short operas that pack a punch (shots of opera, if you will), written by some of today's most exciting composers.
JUNE 5: Vertical Player Repertory presents Britten’s Phaedra
LEIMAY CAVE, 58 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY
A staged performance of Britten's solo cantata for mezzo soprano, featuring Judith Barnes, presented in partnership with LEIMAY, the interdisciplinary ensemble and producing organization, and performed with a reduced chamber ensemble as part of SOAK.
JUNE 15: Opera on Tap presents The Elixir of Love: The Playground Opera
The Playground, Public School 129, 425 W 130th St
FREE EVENT
Opera on Tap returns to Harlem PS 129 for the third year in a row, presenting a colorful re-imagining of Donizetti's Elixir of Love, co-produced by the students and performed in their school playground.
JUNE 15-18: American Opera Projects presents Robert Paterson’s Three Way
BAM Fisher - Fishman Space, 321 Ashland Pl, Brooklyn, NY
The New York premiere of Robert Paterson’s Three Way, a new opera, comprised of three playful one-acts, on the present and future of sex and love.
JUNE 17: Martina Arroyo Foundation presents MAF Prelude to Performance Opera Highlights Concert
Ida K. Lang Recital Hall, Hunter College, East 69th St
Join the exciting young artists of the MAF Prelude to Performance program for excerpts from the upcoming Prelude operas, Bizet's, Carmen and Puccini's, Suor Angelica/ Gianni Schicchi.
JUNE 20 & 22-24: On Site Opera presents Darius Milhaud’s La mère coupable
The Garage, 611 West 50th Street
The U.S. premiere and new site-specific production of Darius Milhaud’s La mère coupable (The Guilty Mother).
JUNE 23: OperaRox Productions presents A New Works Concert
Location TBA
A concert of entirely new songs, featuring OperaRox Young Artists.
TBA: Indie Opera Podcast presents Women in Opera
The National Opera Center, 330 7th Avenue, 8th Floor
FREE EVENT
Prominent women gather from various aspects of Opera Production to discuss issues facing women in opera today. Is access and influence fair or still a loaded game?
TBA: Victor Herbert Renaissance Project LIVE! presents Victor Herbert and the Grand Opera Natoma
Location TBA
VHRP LIVE! will give you an overview of Herbert's place in American musical theatre, the opera's history, our restoration, excerpts from the vocal score, and a comparison of an excerpt on piano with the same excerpt as heard with a full orchestra -- utilizing portions of Herbert's grand opera Natoma.
    
For more info, full schedule and tickets, visit: http://nyoperafest.com           

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

PSA from your friendly audition monitor!

A dear friend who is no stranger to these pages recently published these words on her Facebook page after serving a day as an audition monitor.  Heed her well!


Its that time of year again. I monitored almost an entire day of YAP auditions yesterday and would like to give you some observations...

  1. Always have extra copies of your resume/headshot/materials. Always. Have, like, 10 extra copies in your binder or folder at all times. It will cost you very little money and space to just be prepared. A very large number of people yesterday seemed surprised that the panel wanted 3 copies of their resume. Many people didn't even have one copy. What if there was a surprise person from another company there who loved you and wanted your info?
  2. Its useful to have them also available for emergency printing. Many of the fancy copiers at FedEx Kinkos, Staples, etc have direct printing from Dropbox and Google drive. Even easier is to have them on a little USB thumb drive that you can print from basically anywhere.
  3. Be early. People cancel for a myriad of reasons and not getting totally off schedule will help everyone.
  4. Be nice to the monitor. We are often friends/colleagues of the people you want to be working for. If you're an asshole to us, I guarantee you we will tell the people inside. Unless you're the second coming of Pavarotti, they'd rather hire someone just as good as you, whom they'd actually like to spend 6 hours a day with. This is ESPECIALLY true if you're trying to crash the audition. 
  5. If you're trying to crash, come at the beginning of the day, warmed up and ready to kick ass. Coming in an hour before they're done and already behind schedule because some poor tenor was asked to sing 4 arias isn't going to help your cause. Also, if you're sitting for a while, KINDLY remind us that you're there. We haven't forgotten you out of spite. I promise.
  6. I always have to remind myself of this, too: THEY WANT YOU TO BE GOOD. They're rooting for you to be awesome. If you're good, their job is much easier. The panel is on your side and deeply wants to like you. It isn't a jury where they're looking for mistakes. They WANT to hire you.
  7. If you can't make the audition, please cancel ASAP. Often times there's a waitlist longer than Leporello's catalogue. Give someone else a fighting chance.
I'm sure I'll have more PSAs later. Keep fighting the good fight, friends. Love and Hugs!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Audition season advice

I published this post last March about auditions, and as we are in the fall/winter audition season, I think it's still relevant.