Italian tenor Marcello Giordani has pulled off the rare feat of singing two major roles in a single day at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

Giordani performed the title role in Berlioz’s “La Damnation de Faust” during a matinee Saturday.

A few hours later he sang the leading tenor role of Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton in “Madama Butterfly.” He replaced a sick colleague.

Most singers perform only two or three times a week. The Met says only a handful have tackled two leading roles in a day for the renowned company.

General manager Peter Gelb calls Giordani the “Iron Man of tenors.”

Found here … but if you click the link you’ll only see exactly what’s above.

So if I play a couple of operas in a day could I become the “Iron Woman of Oboists” please?

Okay … not quite the same, I know. And yeah, other musicians do double services, no problem. Still, I just want to be an “iron something” … and no, I’m not talking about that other iron. The one only my husband uses because I don’t buy anything that requires ironing.

I’m just home from a UCSC performance. The orchestra did a couple of new works, and then the choirs joined them for Carmina Burana. When I was in high school I loved that work. Later, when I finally played it, I saw the “other side” of the work. I think it’s fun listening, but not fun playing. I wonder what singers think of it. But in any case, they all did a fabulous job on this concert. Bravi tutti to everyone involved, and of course especially to Daniela, Karl, Jordan, Miranda, Max, Sylvia and Kevin … because I work with all of them, so I was especially thrilled to see and hear them.

22. November 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links

Miffed at BSO, famed maestro backs out

In an extremely rare public flare-up in the outwardly genteel world of major symphony orchestras, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, the 77-year-old maestro who is one of the last living links to a golden era of Russian music, has pulled out of the entire run of four concerts he was scheduled to conduct with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which began on Thursday.

He is outraged, he said yesterday, at how disrespectfully, in his view, the BSO administration had marketed his appearances to the public.

In an emotional 40-minute interview at the home of a friend, Rozhdestvensky and his wife, Viktoria Postnikova, explained the maestro’s abrupt decision to withdraw from the performances, including concerts scheduled for tonight and Tuesday, and to return today to Moscow. He began with a pointed clarification.

“The BSO told its audiences I was ‘unable to conduct this performance as planned,’ ” he said, referring to an announcement that appeared in a program insert and on the BSO’s website. “I must say that I was able to conduct.” Full stop. “And how.”

The week’s early rehearsals had gone marvelously, he continued, speaking with occasional help from a translator. The trouble began on Wednesday during a rehearsal break, when the conductor and his wife took a stroll around Symphony Hall. They came upon a promotional poster that gave the week’s soloist, the cellist Lynn Harrell, top billing, both with large print and a photograph. Rozhdestvensky’s name appeared in smaller print as part of the program announcement.

Soon afterward, the conductor came across a copy of the orchestra’s season brochure, a marketing tool designed to entice potential subscribers. He found a page with the heading “Artists who inspire” and a smaller section devoted to “Distinguished Conductors.” That section, while including the names of two little-known conductors, did not mention his name. It appears only in a third section on the page under the heading “The Cello Shines,” in connection with Harrell, this week’s cello soloist.

“I felt insulted by the actions of the administration,” he explained, “I feel not only slighted but I suffered what is called in Russian a moral insult, and I’m free to take any actions to defend myself in public.”

Yikes! I can’t imagine a conductor leaving like that. I read it here. It sounds like he left the Bolshoi Theater in a huff too.

Me? I just hope they spell my name correctly in the program. SSV gets the “Patricia Emerson Mitchell” in there. OSJ can’t seem to. It’s just “Patricia Mitchell” and I’ve finally given up trying to get it changed. I’m not going to leave them over it, though. (Hmmm. Maybe they are trying to get me to leave?)

22. November 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links, Symphony

What would happen if a leading British-based music magazine ranked the world’s leading orchestras and the “winning” U.S. ensemble didn’t care?

That’s basically what’s happened when leaders of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra shrugged their collective shoulders over the London monthly the Gramophone saying that it’s the top classical outfit in the United States.

“I think it is safe to say that we are not advocates or necessarily firm believers in lists of this sort, given the subjective nature of these types of rankings,” said CSO President Deborah Rutter, using the sort of language that one usually hears from someone who’s just been voted off the island, not named king of the hill.

Hmm. So the self-declared World’s Best Classical Magazine has deemed some orchestras as the world’s best (yeah, I wrote about this thing earlier). And Chicago didn’t go out and celebrate. Go figure. ;-)

Of course she didn’t exactly diss it either. No one wants to look a gift horse in the mouth, I suppose.

“As everyone should know,” Rutter continued in an e-mail, “on any given evening anywhere and everywhere in the world there are ‘best concerts’ taking place by many great orchestras. Music is always a subjective experience, and that’s why there isn’t and can’t be a World Series in our world to firmly, regularly rank orchestras.

“All that said, in any case, it is wonderful to have international recognition of our truly superb and peerless orchestra.”

I read it here.

22. November 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Listen, Videos, Watch

So moving on … I thought “I wonder about other countries. Do they have any a capella national anthems on YouTube?” And the answer:

This one (they request no embedding) is from Norway. And is beautiful.

China (not great sound):

Cananda:

And this next one gets extra points because of the Giants shirt the girl is wearing! Philippines:

Okay … time to get myself moving and ready to teach. If anyone knows of other a capella national anthem just say the word.

Okay … I’ll admit it: I’m a cynic. I’m sarcastic. I mock a lotta stuff. I snicker too.

And, truth be told, I’m really not one for the National Anthem.

But heck … I just loved this harmony and I can’t help but post this. My understanding is these are not sisters, even though the video might state that, and of course it’s in Texas, which isn’t always the land of the free from what I’ve heard, but enough of my ‘splainin’ and cynicism and all that jazz. Just listen to these kiddos:

If you hate it, I don’t wanna hear about it. ;-)

“Oh, my English is terrible! But I know few words more than last time.”

Is he taking lessons?

“No, no. Look, speaking with people, reading a little bit in English, some things.”

What is he reading?

Shakespeare, it turns out. He read “Romeo and Juliet” in Spanish one time, so he thought he’d try it in English.

“I was trying to read in English, like, (as) exercise for me.”

Shakespeare in the original?

“The original Shakespeare. I hope it was one, because it was a very old book that my wife have, and she speak perfect English. Yes, because she was living in London. And this is also part of my little knowledge about English.”

Seems like a hard way to learn English.

Shakespearean rehearsals would be entertaining, I think. I might not fully understand instructions I’m given, though. ;-)

I read it here, and it’s about Maestro Dudamel. Someday I’d love to see this guy conduct.