Maestro Riccardo Frizza in Conversation

Maestro Riccardo Frizza is an Italian conductor and a charming, pleasant human being. But don’t take my word for it, read the interview he gave me here or click on his photo and judge for yourself.  Find out why he thinks “music is an exchange of effort and energy” and a lot, lot more. Enjoy!

Photo of Riccardo Frizza by Joan Tomás, courtesy of Karen Kriendler Nelson (Maestro Frizza’s Publicist)

Short Stories Of A Different Kind

Short Stories is an album with music from various composers performed beautifully by two young German musicians: Mark Schumann (cello) and Martin Klett (piano).

The short stories in this CD are encore pieces by a variety of performers and composers. Like an author’s collection of short stories, these pieces delight or thrill for a brief moment and do not require the commitment and engagement of a novel or, in this case, of a full concerto or a set of complete sonatas.

Short Stories is suitable to anyone who loves the sound of the cello or to someone who would like a gentle, elegant introduction to classical music. Read my full review.

Neumeier & Pushkin – A Fab Combination

John Neumeier (b. 1942) is an award winning choreographer born in the United States but who has worked for most of his life in Germany and is the artistic director of the Hamburg Ballet.

Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) should need no introduction. As one of the greatest figures of Russian Literature many people will know his work by name even if they’ve never read it – just a few examples are Eugene Onegin, Ruslan and Ludmila and Mozart and Salieri, to name just a few.

So it was a great pleasure for me to review the blu-ray of the new ballet by Neumeier (one of my favourite choreographers), based on Eugene Onegin, a  novel in verse by Pushkin (one of my favourite authors and poets).

The ballet is called Tatiana (the heroine in the novel) and is a cracker – beautiful, elegant with unusual gorgeous choreography and extraordinary performances. One to watch and enjoy time and time again – read my review here.

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The Albanian Tenor

TRAVIATA_MET_3199a from Ken

On Saturday 4th October I went to the Royal Opera House where I interviewed young Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu.

Intelligent, committed to his art, professional and with a good sense of humour, he was a very interesting subject to interview. You can read it here.

Photo of Saimir Pirgu as Alfredo in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata, New York, by Ken Howard – courtesy of Mr Pirgu’s PR Karen Kriendler Nelson of KKN Enterprises

Stars of the Future

Portuguese tenor Luis Gomes and Brazilian baritone Michel de Souza are part of one of the most prestigious young artists’ programmes in the world. I am talking about the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme.

I went to meet Luis and Michel on Friday, July 11. I was curious to discover how they came to opera, as neither Portugal nor Brazil are countries with a great operatic tradition, and what it means for them to be a part of the Jette Parker programme.

It was a delightful experience, as they are both very pleasant and dedicated to their art. I think they are real stars of the future and it was a great pleasure to talk to them. Enjoy reading the interviews by clicking on the photos.

 

Luis Gomes
Luis Gomes
Michel de Souza
Michel de Souza

Photos of Luis Gomes and Michel de Souza courtesy of the Royal Opera House

 

 

The Pirate!

The ballet Le Corsaire with music by French composer Adolphe Adam (and a few others!) is based on a poem by British romantic poet Lord Byron. The poem is called “The Corsair” and deals with the story of a pirate, which is the meaning of the French word “corsaire”.

It is a sort of a crazy plot ballet, with virtuoso dancing moments and perhaps because of these two facts, it is not often performed. My latest DVD review is of a different version of Le Corsaire: less crazy, with a much simpler story, good dancing moments but alas, also with less virtuosity. If you would like to find out more, please click here or on the DVD cover photo below to read my review.

Adam_Corsaire_OA1129D

Taste the opera!

Glorious Glyndebourne is the title of the blu-ray that Glyndebourne Opera House has launched to celebrate their 80th anniversary.

So, Happy Birthday Glyndebourne for 80 glorious years of opera.

The blu-ray gives you a good taste of the quality of the opera productions at Glyndebourne and, if you have never been there, it may make you wish you had.

Read my review here.

Glyndebourne_blu-ray cover

Joyce DiDonato on Twitter for San Diego Opera

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Opera is an extraordinary art form; art is what makes us different from other animals. So, I believe that it is always worth saving any opera house or opera company! My words but Joyce DiDonato said on Twitter:

Joyce DiDonato @JoyceDiDonato

“You guys are FABULOUS! But not fabulous enough just yet…approaching 7K signatures – COME ON! DO THIS!! PLEASE SIGN!

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/827/516/648/save-san-diego-opera/#sign

Joyce is actively trying to prevent a closure of an excellent opera house on what appears to be very feeble grounds. Have a look and if you think it is important to save San Diego Opera, sign the petition (via the above link) and share it!

Last Night of the Proms and A Dream Come True!

As a little girl, growing up in my native country of Portugal, one might think that I did not know anything about the Proms. But in those days, the Portuguese Television used to broadcast live, every summer, the Last Night of the Proms. It became a tradition in my family to watch it together, in particular my father and I. He is a lover of classical music, opera and literature and I owe him my first experiences and learning of all those fantastic things. It should come as no surprise that since then I wanted to be there, in person, at the Royal Albert Hall in the middle of all those lovely people, singing along with the orchestra and soloists, dressed in elaborate costumes and waving their flags; obviously, having a whale of a time. Finally, after so many years, my dream came true and I was a member of the audience at The Last Night of the Proms. And what a Last Night it turned out to be! Read the rest of the review if you enjoyed the beginning

Joyce DiDonato triumphant at the Last Night of the Proms
Prom 75_CR_BBC Chris Christodoulou_10_Joyce DiDonato Prom 75_CR_BBC Chris Christodoulou_18_Alsop
Magnificent Marin Alsop, the first woman to ever conduct a Last Night

Photo Credits & Copyright: Packed Royal Albert Hall (at the top) on Sat, 7th Sept for the Last Night; of Joyce DiDonato and of Marin Alsop taken by Chris Christodoulou for the BBC, courtesy of the BBC Proms Publicity Office