We had our second rehearsal for Rigoletto today, and it was our first with singers. This is an opera I prefer to rehearse with singers; it makes it so much easier to play! Besides, I just love voices.

My part isn’t killer hard, but it has its moments. There’s one section I should copy out for students, as it has tons of left E-flats and forked Fs, and it moves somewhat quickly. There’s an earlier spot that flies by and has trills to deal with that are just awkward. Verdi does have little surprises. As my neighbor to my left (not sure if you want to be named!) said, it just goes along easily and then all of the sudden … ka-bam! .. you’ve got a surprising little moment of difficulty.

The easiest solos for me are the most exposed of my solos (toward the end of the second act—I found a video of them here although the recording isn’t the best quality … lots of hiss. Oh … and here is another). So far they’ve been fun to play, even while I’m not satisfied with my reeds.

What I can hear of the singers is great. As usual, I hear far too little and this time it’s even more troubling as we have things that we really need to coordinate with them. Someday we’ll have a crash and burn moment and maybe we’ll finally get a couple of monitors in the pit.

I can dream ….

31. January 2008 · Comments Off on Fishy News · Categories: Announcements, Links

Read here:

Star tenor Juan Diego Florez has been forced to cancel all performances in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” because of a throat infection caused by a swallowed fishbone, the company said Thursday.

Chew on that for a while. (But be careful about how and what you swallow.)

31. January 2008 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

Anyone, anywhere, at any time can listen to the B minor Mass (BWV 232) upon one condition only – that they possess a machine. No qualification is required of any sort – faith, virtue, education, experience, age. Music is now free for all. If I say the loudspeaker is the principal enemy of music, I don’t mean that I am not grateful to it as a means of education or study, or as an evoker of memories. But it is not part of true musical experience. Regarded as such it is simply a substitute, and dangerous because deluding. Music demands more from a listener than simply the possession of a tape-machine or a transistor radio. It demands some preparation, some effort, a journey to a special place, saving up for a ticket, some homework on the programme perhaps, some clarification of the ears and sharpening of the instincts. It demands as much effort on the listener’s part as the other two corners of the triangle, this holy triangle of composer, performer and listener.

-Benjamin Britten