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)

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

 

 

Alek Shrader: Star Power!

shrader--2 by Peter Schaaf

Alek Shrader photographed by Peter Schaaf, courtesy of Mr Shrader himself

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing young American tenor Alek Shrader, as part of his run of performances at Glyndebourne Festival 2013 where he has been singing the role of Ernesto in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale.

Shrader is a very interesting person to talk to and his enthusiasm, charming energy and pure joy in living are contagious. It is impossible not to like him or not to wish him well. A genuine star! You can read my interview with him by clicking here.

Elegance and Style at Glyndebourne

Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at this year’s Glyndbourne festival is a so-called traditional production, meaning a period piece, which some people may think too conventional or conservative. What is definitely true is that it is a stylish, charming production that perfectly matches Donizetti’s elegant music.

It was a delight in every sense of the word and just proved that period pieces are not boring. Read my review here or click on the photo below.Glyndebourne 2013 - Don Pasquale_31

Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at Glyndebourne Festival 2013

Photos by Clive Barda, courtesy of Glyndebourne Press Office

 

Listening to a Treat!

The CD from the label PREISER with arias and songs performed by Alfredo Kraus as a young man and entitled “The Young Alfredo Kraus” is a real treat and a feast for opera lovers, admirers of the great tenor or any other who likes singing and has never heard Kraus perform.

The tenor of grace and elegance of his generation, Alfredo Kraus’s artistry was unsurpassed. So much so that one of the greatest tenors alive, Peruvian Juan Diego Flórez, looks up to Kraus as his role model. Read my review of the CD “The Young Alfredo Kraus” and enjoy!

Kraus_PR93482

Marino Faliero

Marino Faliero is a much neglected opera, which never received the attention it truly deserved. Unfortunately for Donizetti, it came out during the same season as I puritani, Bellini’s masterpiece which was hailed as a superior work by critics and audiences alike. The public responded warmly to I puritani and favoured Bellini’s opera over that by Donizetti.

Donizetti’s opera is based on the true story of 14th Century Venetian Doge Marino Faliero who attempted an uprising in order to make himself Prince. He was still the Doge but already very old when he undertook this venture. His conspiracy was discovered and he was beheaded in April 1355. It becomes immediately obvious that an opera based on such a subject cannot be a light affair. In fact, Donizetti’s work is a sombre event both in musical and dramatic terms. Personally, I do not find it inferior to Bellini’s I puritani but its plot is more complicated. There’s no happy, harmonious ending, the heroine is not innocent nor does she go mad; her handsome lover dies in the second half of the opera and the lead character of the title has his head chopped off with an axe. Hardly cheerful stuff! All that said, it does not deserve to be shelved and is one of Donizetti’s great operas. It perhaps already paves the way that opera was to follow when a certain Giuseppe Verdi appeared on the scene.

Marino Faliero has very beautiful music and is very difficult to sing. I was therefore eagerly anticipating this recording by Naxos but sadly, the singing of the lead roles is disappointing though the moments with the orchestra and chorus are still wonderful. It could have been memorable…It is not! Click for the full review.

 

Two of my novels on the Amazon KINDLE!

I am really happy to say that two of my novels, which were published digitally, last year, are now also available on the Amazon Kindle Store as Kindle e-books. This is an important step both for me and my American publisher who is determined to take a chance with little known writers; a fact, which sadly is rather rare in today’s gloomy world!

Click on the book cover to look at each novel on Amazon Kindle Store and if you own a kindle…well, who knows? You may even decide to buy one!

Vanished by M G da MotaCanto di Tenore by M G da Mota