Saturday, July 23, 2016
In this year of Shakespeare celebrations, the opera world too is marking the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death. Glyndebourne not least, with one new and one old Shakespearean productions in their summer season. Do you know your Titania from your Trinculo? Try our quizWhich Italian tenor sang the title role in Verdi’s Otello more than 400 times and was buried in his Otello costume? Luciano Pavarotti Enrico CarusoMario del MonacoFrancesco TamagnoIn Thomas Ades’s opera The Tempest, Caliban’s original speech “The isle is full of noises, / Sounds, and sweet airs” becomes which glorious aria? “Twangling instruments will hum”“This noisy place”“Friends don’t fear” “Friends do fear” In cutting and rearranging the text of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to make the play work as an opera libretto, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears made one mistake with the plot. Did they:Forget to cure Tytania of her infatuation with BottomForget to cure Bottom of his ass headForget to wake up the lovers; the opera ends with everyone still asleep in the forest Forget to marry off the mortals before Theseus sends them all to bedWagner’s second opera was a flop when it premiered: it was performed once in 1836 then cancelled the next night when only three people showed up. Wagner himself later called it “a sin of my youth”… What’s the opera, and on which Shakespeare play is it based?Die Feen (The Fairies), based on A Midsummer Night’s DreamDas Liebesverbot (The Ban on Love), based on Measure for MeasureMännerlist größer als Frauenlist oder Die glückliche Bärenfamilie (Men are more cunning than women or The Happy Bear family), based on Twelfth Night Die hohe Braut (The High-born Bride), based on The Taming of the ShrewFor the Paris version of Verdi’s Otello, premiered at the Theatre de L’Opera in 1894, Verdi added what to the opera’s third act?Live animals A raffle A Punch and Judy précis of the plot A ballet The text of Hans Abrahamsen’s sublime song cycle Let Me Tell You — composed in 2013 for the soprano Barbara Hannigan — strings together the lines of which female Shakespeare character? Juliet Lady Macbeth Ophelia Desdemona Which two Shakespeare plays form the basis of Verdi’s Falstaff? The Taming of the Shrew The Merry Wives of Windsor Much Ado About Nothing King Henry IVOn New Year’s Eve 2011, Placido Domingo played his first-ever god role and finally achieved on-stage status to match the deified heights of his career. The production was Jeremy Sams’s pasticcio This Enchanted Island — a mash-up of The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream plus bits of Handel and Vivaldi. It premiered at the Metropolitan Opera. Which god did Domingo play?Apollo NeptuneCupidDionysus Where and when was the first UK performance of Berlioz’s 1862 opera comique Béatrice et Bénédict?London, 1863London, 1963Glasgow, 1936Cardiff, 2001Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream contains just one line of text that doesn’t come directly from the Shakespeare play. Is it: Lysander to Hermia: “Compelling thee to marry with Demetrius”Hippolyta to Theseus: “Thou art foxier than all our subjects put together” Tytania to Puck: “more of thy trippy herb, good sir”Bottom to nobody in particular: “methinks this wall must fall”“No one but a barbarian or a Frenchman would have dared to make such a lamentable burlesque of so tragic a theme”. The words of a London critic for the Pall Mall Gazette in 1890 — but to which opera did he refer? Béatrice et Bénédict by Hector BerliozHamlet by Ambroise ThomasLe Marchand de Venise by Reynaldo HahnRoméo et Juliette by Charles Gounod Among the cast of Jonathan Kent’s 2009 production of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen at Glyndebourne was a corps de ballet of: Bonking rabbits Humping voles Rutting hedgehogsBanging badgers 10 and above. “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” (Twelfth Night, Act II, v)0 and above."Lord what fools these mortals be" (Midsummer Night's Dream, Act III, iii)5 and above."Our doubts are traitors, And make us lose the good we oft might win, By fearing to attempt.” (Measure for Measure, Act I, iv) Continue reading...
The Republican candidate has been using the great tenor’s Nessun Dorma recording in his warm-ups. His widow, Nicoletta, and other family members have told local media in Modena that they want him to stop, saying that Pavarotti’s human values were incompatible with Trump’s. Which is certifiably true. The best way to stop him is for Decca to take out an injunction against the possible next president of the USA. Won’t happen.
A recording has turned up of the 19 year-old tenor singing at the Llangollen Eistedfodd in 1955 as part of the Chorus Rossini from Modena. Needless to say, his chorus won. Apparently, the recording was issued on CD by the Welsh Development Agency in 1991 but they forgot to send it out. It turned up the other day in a tray of junk. Story here. The big man returned to Llangollen 40 years later with his father as joint presidents of the Eistedfodd.
“He made his name in Reginald Goodall’s highly acclaimed Ring Cycle with English National Opera in the late 1960s and went on to work with many of the leading singers of the day, including Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti and Montserrat Caballé. It was a remarkable journey, comparable in many ways with Jon Vickers’s transformation from Canadian lumberjack to acclaimed Heldentenor.”
With a voice that could soar over any orchestra and that is beautiful in the extreme, the Mexican tenor is proving his credentials on the world stageLast month, the Mexican tenor Javier Camarena caused a stir at New York’s Metropolitan opera house when he encored the second section of Ernesto’s aria Cercherò lontana terra during a performance of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. Encores during a complete performance of an opera, as opposed to a recital, remain rare in most houses. But such was the excitement generated by Camarena’s singing, and in particular the electrifying top D flat with which he ended the aria, that he was allowed, during a Saturday matinée broadcast, to repeat it. It is not the first time it has happened: twice in 2014, he encored Ramiro’s showstopper from Rossini’s La Cenerentola. But he’s only the third tenor to be permitted to repeat arias at the Met since 1942, the other two being Luciano Pavarotti and Juan Diego Flórez.The UK has yet fully to get the measure of him, though you can hear him at this year’s Proms in Opera Rara’s performance of Rossini’s Semiramide, and next season at Covent Garden, when he makes his Royal Opera debut as Almaviva in The Barber of Seville. Last night, however, he appeared at the Wigmore Hall in one of the Rosenblatt recitals, the series that showcases singers, familiar or otherwise, in a repertory of their own choosing. It was quite an occasion, and one that proved Camarena’s growing reputation to be entirely justified. Continue reading...
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