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Luciano Pavarotti

Monday, April 24, 2017


Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

April 14

Sad news: One of ‘Three Sopranos’ has died, aged 58

Norman Lebrecht - Slipped discOpera de Marseille has announced the death, aged 58, of the American soprano Kathleen Cassello. Originally from Delaware, Kathleen became a stalwart on the Italian and French opera circuits after winning the 1985 Salzburg Mozart competition. Her greatest renown came in 1997 when the impresario Tibor Rudas picked her as one of Three Sopranos, a feminine counterweight to his phenomenally successful Three Tenors. But although they toured twice with Pavarotti, the Three Sopranos – the other two were Kallen Esperian and Cynthia Lawrence – never quite stormed the ramparts in the same way. Her early death, on April 12, has cast a pall over the opera world. She was a fine performer and good colleague.

ArtsJournal: music

April 11

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Vice President of Development

An accomplished professional fundraiser and exemplary leader, the Vice President of Development (VPD) will direct all philanthropic giving for the FWSO. Organization The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (FWSO) is an innovative leader located in one of Texas’ most vibrant and fastest growing cities. Founded in 1912, the FWSO is one of city’s largest and most important cultural institutions, performing more than 200 concerts to more than 200,000 people each year. The FWSO is the largest resident company of the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall, which is renowned for its superb acoustics, exceptional sightlines, and brilliant ambience. Each season, the FWSO’s concerts feature a variety of symphonic and pops programs and concludes with the popular summer outdoor series, Concerts in the Garden. The FWSO has featured some of the most renowned artists of the music world, including Luciano Pavarotti, Midori, Vadym Kholodenko, and Joshua Bell. Itzhak Perlman will perform at the FWSO’s annual concert and gala in February 2018. Since its earliest years, the FWSO has been a proponent of music education, presenting regular concerts for thousands of school children. Its education and outreach programming serves more than 65,000 students annually from schools across North Texas. In addition to performing more educational concerts with the full orchestra than any other similar-sized symphony in the United States, the FWSO also makes its performances affordable and widely available by offering free tickets to underserved adults and children. Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya is now in his 17th season at the artistic helm of the FWSO. Under his leadership, the orchestra continues to reach new levels of excellence, recognition, and global acclaim. The FWSO was recently selected as one of only four orchestras to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the 2018 SHIFT Festival, a week-long spotlight of American orchestras. Successfully attracting new audiences, the FWSO’s 2015-16 season saw a 12 percent increase in attendance and ticket sales with nearly 27,000 first-time ticket buyers. In 2016, Concerts in the Garden also set new attendance and revenue records, attracting more than 44,000 individuals and achieving $1 million in ticket sales. Recently, the FWSO signed a new four-year agreement with the musicians and announced a challenge grant of $1.5 million by The Amon G. Carter Foundation, which, upon completion, will result in $3 million in new funding for the organization. The FWSO is governed by an 80-member board of directors with Mercedes T. Bass serving as Chairman. President and CEO Amy Adkins has led the staff of 26 full-time employees since 2011. For nine years, she served as the FWSO’s Vice President of Development, achieving record-breaking fundraising results, including an unprecedented 42 percent increase in both corporate sponsorships and foundation giving. In fiscal year 2015-16, the FWSO had total revenues of $11.9 million and total expenses of $12.4 million. For the fiscal year ending July 31, 2016, ticket sales comprised 39 percent of total revenue and contributed revenue, including annual gifts and special events, totaled $5.1 million. Community Often referred to as the Cultural Gateway to the American West, Fort Worth offers an irresistible mixture of culture and commerce, all with true Texas charm. In the past two decades, Fort Worth has grown into a strong economic center, boasting a thriving, innovative arts scene and a revitalized downtown. With a population of just more than 800,000 residents, Fort Worth has been named the number one place for entrepreneurs by Entrepreneur magazine and one of the great art destinations in the world by Vanity Fair.Downtown Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Cultural District, and the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District are the city’s three unique arts and entertainment districts, drawing nearly seven million visitors each year. The downtown area is a multicultural, urban center that capitalizes on its cultural resources. In 1995 Downtown Fort Worth was awarded the prestigious James C. Howland Award for Urban Enrichment by the National League of Cities. Sundance Square, a 16-block collection of graciously restored and replicated turn of the century storefronts, has preserved the architecture and rich heritage of its colorful past. The Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall serves as an important symbol of one of the most successful downtown revitalization efforts in the country. Built entirely with private funds, it is the permanent home of the FWSO, Texas Ballet Theater, Fort Worth Opera, and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and is considered one of the top opera halls in the world. The Fort Worth Cultural District, the nation’s third largest, is home to several world-class art museums, including the Kimbell Art Museum, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Home of the world’s oldest indoor rodeo and the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, the Will Rogers Memorial Center is a multi-purpose entertainment complex built in 1936. The Stock Show has been a Fort Worth tradition for more than a century. Other Cultural District attractions include the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, and Fort Worth Zoo.The Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District tells the true history of Texas’ famous livestock industry. Each year thousands of visitors come to Fort Worth to visit the Stockyards Museum, witness the twice daily cattle-drive, and enjoy unique dining and shopping. Fort Worth has become a major center for industry, technology, and transportation and is consistently ranked among the top places in the nation to work, live, and do business by Money, Fortune, Site Selection, and Newsweek magazines. Multinational corporations, including Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin, American Airlines, BNSF Railway, and Pier 1 Imports, are headquartered in the city. Healthcare is a growing industry with numerous facility expansions on healthcare campuses in process.With a cost of living below the nation’s average, Fort Worth offers highly desirable amenities while remaining affordable. The median home value is estimated at $220,000 and the median annual household income is approximately $59,000. The Fort Worth Transportation Authority, known as The T, serves Fort Worth with dozens of different bus routes throughout the city, including Molly the Trolley, a downtown bus circulator. The Trinity Railway Express is a commuter rail line that connects downtown Fort Worth with downtown Dallas and several suburban stations between the two major cities. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the nation’s fourth busiest airport, is 32 miles from downtown Fort Worth. Opportunities for outstanding education abound in Fort Worth. The public school system offers a diverse student population and strong community partnerships. The region also offers 63 highly rated private schools. Fort Worth is also home to several top universities, including Texas Christian University, Texas Wesleyan University, University of North Texas Health Science Center, and Texas A&M University School of Law.Sources: fortworthchamber.com ; fortworthtexas.gov ; zillow.com ; usnews.com ; artsfortworth.org , bizjournals.com Position An accomplished professional fundraiser and exemplary leader, the Vice President of Development (VPD) will direct all philanthropic giving for the FWSO. The VPD will be a strategic thinker with the skills to move a growing fundraising program forward and to achieve the goals set forth by the President and board. Reporting to the President, the VPD will create and execute plans for maximizing contributed revenues. Growing annual giving, major gifts, institutional giving, and endowment are central to the position. This individual will also lead a campaign to raise new endowment funds over the next three years and will bring highly innovative tactics to all aspects of fundraising efforts. The VPD will be results-driven, self-motivated, and relentlessly focused on fundraising goals. This individual will partner with and mobilize the President and board members to maximize development opportunities and will lead and mentor a four-member development team, including an Annual Fund Manager, Development Coordinator, Special Events Coordinator; and Institutional Giving Manager.Roles and Responsibilities Fundraising Collaborate with the President and board to develop and implement long- and short-term fundraising strategies. Direct all aspects of donor programs, including stewardship, special events, cultivation, benefits fulfillment, daily donor interaction, and volunteer management. Create, implement, and manage an endowment campaign designed to significantly increase contributed revenue and to meet the endowment goal. Mobilize the President and board to get in front of top prospects and proactively engage in fundraising activity to reach endowment goal. Cultivate existing donors for ongoing support while seeking new prospects to ensure a robust and diversified funding base. Engage and involve individual donors, recognizing the uniqueness of the Fort Worth philanthropic community. Establish solicitation priorities, manage prospect lists and research, and develop and execute targeted cultivation plans and solicitation strategies for a range of prospects. Maintain and expand a portfolio of donors, cultivating and soliciting major gifts for the annual fund, planned giving, special events, capital campaign, and endowment programs. Develop, cultivate, and enhance the FWSO’s relationships in the community with warmth and charisma. Oversee the planning and execution of two major annual fundraiser galas. Departmental Management and Operational Effectiveness Manage and mentor the department staff by setting clear expectations, motivating the team, assisting with their professional development, and maintaining the highest level of professionalism. Provide leadership to a changing and growing department. Ensure that the development department adheres to long-term strategic and operational plan goals, coordinating and presenting regular progress reports. Administration and Oversight Prepare and monitor revenue and expense budgets, provide accurate reporting, analysis, and integration of data, and oversee the maintenance and integrity of patron, donor, and prospect records. Develop promotional partnerships with the marketing department for supporting annual giving programs, sponsorships, campaigns, special projects, and events, and create customized donor stewardship and recognition opportunities to support expanded fundraising activities. Assess current technology and refine development practices to ensure maximum efficiency and results, utilizing data to analyze and document fundraising needs and opportunities. Traits and Characteristics This leader will be customer-focused within a demanding and changing environment. The successful candidate will possess persuasive interpersonal and communication skills as well as the ability to articulate impactful messages with enthusiasm and charisma. The VPD will effectively build consensus with a sense of immediacy in achieving fundraising goals. This individual must exhibit diplomacy, discretion, and a deep respect and understanding of donor and board relations.Other key competencies include the following: Goal Achievement – Establishes goals that are relevant and attainable and initiates activity without delay. Customer Focus – Commits to customer satisfaction with a high value on multiple stakeholder needs, anticipates challenges, and develops appropriate solution. Leadership – Achieves extraordinary results by being decisive, flexible, and inclusive. Personal Accountability – Accepts responsibility for the consequences of actions and maintains personal commitment to objectives regardless of the success or failure of those personal decisions. Qualifications Qualified applicants will have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, five to seven years of experience with increasing responsibility, and proven success in a nonprofit fundraising leadership role. The successful candidate will have a strong track record in raising funds from a variety of sources, including the cultivation of gifts from individuals, government/public entities, foundations, and corporations. Experience in raising six and seven-figure gifts in a campaign environment is highly desirable. Superior written and verbal communication skills that can reach a broad range of individuals and organizations are required. Applicants must have experience working with boards and high-level volunteers as well as a flexible style to positively impact both strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives. This individual should possess a positive attitude and the ability to lead and mentor staff. A passion for classical music and an understanding of the region’s fundraising landscape are essential. This role requires a communicative and confident professional who brings creativity and energy to the position.Compensation and BenefitsThe FWSO provides a competitive salary and benefits package including a comprehensive health plan and generous paid time off.Applications and InquiriesPlease submit a letter and resume (electronic submissions preferred) with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to:Ms. Jenna DejaVice President, Arts Consulting Group 201 West Lake Street, Suite 133Chicago, IL 60606-1803Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 227Fax (888) 284.6651E-mail FWSO@ArtsConsulting.comFort Worth Symphony Orchestra is an equal opportunity employer that welcomes any qualified applicant and values diversity of all kinds.




Royal Opera House

March 28

Puccini's Madama Butterfly musical highlight: ‘Un bel dì vedremo’

Ermonela Jaho and Elizabeth de Shong in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2017. Photograph by Bill Cooper ‘Un bel dì vedremo’ (One fine day) is an aria from Giacomo Puccini ’s 1904 opera Madama Butterfly , sung by the title character, Cio-Cio-San. It has become one of the best-known movements from the opera, with audiences entranced not only by its beautiful melody but also by its heartbreaking encapsulation of the tragedy at the opera’s heart. Where and when does it take place? ‘Un bel dì vedremo’ takes place in Act II of Madama Butterfly. In the first act, the 15-year-old Japanese geisha Cio-Cio-San marries the American naval officer Lieutenant Pinkerton while he visits Nagasaki. Pinkerton views their marriage as just a way to have a good time, but for Cio-Cio-San it is a deeply serious act – so much so that she converts to Christianity, offending her family who disown her. By ‘Un bel dì vedremo’, three years have passed since the wedding. Pinkerton left shortly after the marriage and has not returned. Cio-Cio-San lives in his house with their young son, and her maid Suzuki. Their money is running out and everyone urges Cio-Cio-San to forget Pinkerton and make a new marriage. But she firmly believes that he will return, and in ‘Un bel dì vedremo’ imagines that happy day. Meanwhile, Suzuki weeps. What do the words mean? Read our line-by-line translation of librettists Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica ’s original Italian text, created in 2003 by Royal Opera House surtitler Kenneth Chalmers: ‘Un bel dì vedromo’ Un bel dì vedremo levarsi un fil di fumo sull’estremo confin del mare. E poi la nave appare poi la nave bianca entra nel porto, romba il suo saluto. Vedi? È venuto! Io non gli scendo incontro. Io no. Mi metto là sul ciglio del colle e aspetto, e aspetto gran tempo e non mi pesa la lunga attesa. E uscito dalla folla cittadina un uom, un picciol punto s’avvia per la collina. Chi sarà? chi sarà? E come sarà giunto Che dirà? che dirà? Chiamerà ‘Butterfly!’ dalla lontana. Io senza dar risposta me ne starò nascosta, un po’ per celia e un po’ per non morir al primo incontro, ed egli alquanto in pena chiamerà, chiamerà: ‘Piccina mogliettina, olezzo di verbena!’ i nomi che mi dava al suo venire. Tutto questo avverrà, te lo prometto. Tienti la tua paura, io con sicura fede l’aspetto. One fine day we’ll see a thread of smoke out on the horizon, and then the ship will appear. The white ship will sail into port. It will fire its cannon Can you see? He’s back! I don’t go down to meet him. I stand on the brow of the hill, and wait And the long wait means nothing. Out of the bustling town comes a man, a tiny dot, heading for the hill Who can it be? And when he arrives, what will he say? He’ll call ‘Butterfly!’ from afar. I’ll say nothing, but stay hidden. Partly to tease, and partly so as not to die when we first meet again. He’ll be a little overcome, and call, ‘Little wife, verbena blossom!’ The names he used to call me when he was here. This will all come true, I promise you. Keep your fear to yourself. With a faith that can’t be shaken I'm waiting for him. See the full score on IMSLP here (from p.230). What makes the music so memorable? In this wonderful aria Puccini exploits music’s power to represent several different mental states at once: he vividly depicts Cio-Cio-San’s strength, while also telling us with heartbreaking certainty of her inevitable tragedy. Cio-Cio-San sounds vulnerable in her opening phrase, but it demands great vocal control from the soprano. The opening melody’s rhythmic simplicity and its shimmering orchestral accompaniment create the sense of a lovingly savoured dream – although one tinged with melancholy in the predominantly minor harmony. This theme returns with appalling power at two later points in the aria: first as Cio-Cio-San sings the word ‘morir’ (die), accompanied by the full orchestra playing ‘tutta forza’ (with all force). Almost before we can recover it returns again, again fortissimo, Cio-Cio-San this time rising to her highest note in the aria on the word ‘aspetto’ (I wait). The orchestra’s strong close firmly evokes Cio-Cio-San’s certain hope – while twisting the knife in our hearts. Madama Butterfly’s other musical highlights Where to start? Madama Butterfly is one of the most famous works in the opera canon, for good reason. Puccini returns to numerous melodies throughout the opera, giving the work both musical unity and dramatic inevitability; for example, the primary melody from ‘Un bel dì vedremo’ returns with powerful force when Butterfly sees Pinkerton’s ship sail into Nagasaki harbour. The famous Humming Chorus that follows shortly after is a remarkable, wordless evocation of Cio-Cio-San’s invincible patience as she waits, futilely, for Pinkerton to come to her. Their great Act I duet ‘Viene la sera’ (Night is falling), as well as being one of Puccini’s longest and most beautifully written, is crucial in establishing the basis of Butterfly’s love. Equally important is her relationship with her family, terrifyingly captured in the wedding ceremony, with music drawing on authentic Japanese melodies . Classic recordings Over the past decades there has been no shortage of great sopranos who bring their voices and their souls to this role, finding different ways to interpret Butterfly’s vulnerability and strength. Classic recordings include Victoria de los Angeles ’s at the Royal Opera House with Rudolf Kempe in 1957 ; Renata Scotto ’s with John Barbirolli in 1966 ; or Renata Tebaldi ’s with Tullio Serafin in 1958 . Mirella Freni appears on two iconic recordings, with Luciano Pavarotti and Herbert von Karajan in 1974 , and in the famous filmed version from the same year, again with Karajan and this time opposite Plácido Domingo . Of recent years the most famous audio recording must be Angela Gheorghiu ’s with Jonas Kaufmann and Antonio Pappano from 2009. The many DVD recordings include Anthony Minghella ’s wonderful production for English National Opera , filmed at the Metropolitan Opera, New York , in 2009 with Patricia Racette and Patrick Summers . More to discover Cio-Cio-San is perhaps the primary example of the noble, self-sacrificing heroine who is such a familiar figure in opera’s history. There are several in the Puccini canon, who all have wonderful key arias: Mimì from La bohème with ‘Mi chiamano Mimì’; the fiery Tosca and her ‘Vissi d’arte’; Suor Angelica ’s ‘Senza mamma’; Liù from Turandot with ‘Tu che di gel sei cinta’. It’s a thread that runs through 19th-century Italian opera, with just a handful of the many wonderful roles including Verdi ’s Violetta from La traviata and Gilda from Rigoletto , Bellini ’s Norma , Donizetti ’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Rossini ’s Elena from La donna del lago . But Butterfly is very much a work from the turn of the 20th century, with the near contemporaneous Pelléas et Mélisande by Debussy in many ways a close cousin, particularly in its use of harmony. Madama Butterfly runs until 25 April 2017. Tickets are sold out, but 49 tickets for each performance will be released the week before as part of Friday Rush . The production is broadcast live to cinemas around the world on 30 March 2017. Find your nearest cinema. The production is a co-production with Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona , and is given with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE, Aud Jebsen, Spindrift Al Swaidi and The Maestro’s Circle .



Royal Opera House

February 10

Remembering Nicolai Gedda’s Covent Garden performances

Nicolai Gedda (1925–2017) had one of the most majestic voices of his generation. He had an exceptional ear for music and lyrics, singing fluently in seven languages. Added to this was a robust technique that kept his top register secure well into his later life. His long and illustrious stage career included many memorable appearances at Covent Garden. Gedda trained at the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and made his professional debut in 1951 with the Royal Swedish Opera . In 1953 Gedda made his debut at La Scala, Milan , as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni . Further international debuts soon followed, including at Covent Garden, as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto , in 1954. After this sensational debut Gedda returned to sing the title role in La Damnation de Faust with the Company under Georg Solti at the Edinburgh Festival. But perhaps his most impressive work with The Royal Opera during this period were his performances in the testing title role of Benvenuto Cellini in 1966 and 1969 under John Pritchard and in 1976 under Colin Davis , in a production directed by John Dexter . His further roles with The Royal Opera included Alfredo (La traviata , opposite Montserrat Caballé ), Gustavus (Un ballo in maschera ) Lensky (Eugene Onegin ) and Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore ). He made his final Covent Garden appearance in 1997 as Abdisu in Pfitzner ’s Palestrina . Gedda had an immense vocal style, elegance and grace, which he brought to all his roles. His versatility – from Verdi, Berlioz and Lehár, to the composers for whom he created roles, including Barber and Orff – marked him out as a truly special musician. His colleague Luciano Pavarotti once remarked, ‘There is no tenor alive with a greater ease in the upper register than Gedda’. The Royal Opera’s Director of Opera, Kasper Holten , paid this tribute: ‘It is with great sadness we learn that Nicolai Gedda has passed away. For a long time he was a true giant of the opera world. He inspired and moved countless audiences, including at Covent Garden, with his extraordinary voice and artistry. The memory of this wonderful artist will never leave us.’

Luciano Pavarotti
(1935 – 2007)

Luciano Pavarotti (12 October 1935 - 6 September 2007) was an Italian operatic tenor, who also crossed over into popular music, eventually becoming one of the most commercially successful tenors of all time. He made numerous recordings of complete operas and individual arias, and established himself as one of the finest tenors of the 20th century. He was one of "The Three Tenors" and became well-known for his televised concerts and media appearances. Pavarotti was also noted for his charity work on behalf of refugees and the Red Cross, amongst others.



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