20. August 2008 · Comments Off on What Maazel Thinks · Categories: Conductors, Links, Opera

Check out this link over at Opera Chic to get a little clue about what the maestro thinks about some of those “interesting” opera productions we frequently read about.

Sounds like maybe he doesn’t care for them.

Elaine Fine directed my attention (Yours, too, if you read her blog) to this, where anyone from anywhere (except countries that censor the internet*) can choose his or her favorite from the Wagnerian Idol contest in Seattle.

I’m sorry, though, that they listed the winners of the contest, along with the audience favorite and orchestra favorite (How about that?! The orchestra chose a fave.). Might that information color our choices?

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyhoo, check it out. Only if you want to, of course. I’m not being a mom (or a conductor) here and ordering you to do this.

For me, the orchestra seems more present than the singers. Oh well. And the clips are too short. Double oh well.

*Countries listed on Wikipedia are:
Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Any italicized countries have visited my site (if only for a second).

Can’t manage to get out of the house? Want to see and hear a concert? Try medici.tv. I just clicked on the link and I’m now listening to a concert. Right now the English horn player is soloing (why isn’t the camera on the player?) Ah … there he is! (While the oboe is replying with his solo). And who are these players? This is Aspen Festival Orchestra. Guess I need to look it up. It’s a “live” (but not now) performance, so I hear some little glitches and I even saw the conductor react to something he probably didn’t care for. But what fun. I could really get addicted to this. Even though the sound isn’t perfect. (I can always imagine what it’s really like, having sat in the middle of the orchestra.)

You really get to see the players up close and personal. Anyone want to identify some of these players for me? Should I be embarrassed that I don’t know them? Many look quite young, although not all. I’m not sure how long this concert will be up for free.

Oh … and I’m hearing the Overture to the Flying Dutchman. In case you are wondering. I’ve played both the principal oboe and the English horn parts. I love both. Great solos to get to play!

And now they have finished the overture. I’ll listen to more later. Check it out. In order to see and hear more I have to buy a subscription. But hey … if I want to see some concerts and I can’t get to them, this wouldn’t be a bad thing, would it? Has anyone done this?

I read the short story, and now I would love to see and hear the opera. But it’s doubtful, as I haven’t ever found the income to go to the Santa Fe Opera. Ah well.

As most readers here probably know, Terry Teachout is writing an opera. The libretto, that is. Paul Moravec is the composer. (Gee, Moravec’s a year younger than I! I seem to recall Teachout is close to the same age as I. I remember when nearly everyone was older. Usually a lot older. Not so any more. But then I landed my first symphony job when I was 18. I sort of got used to being the kid. I still feel like a kid. I suspect some think I act like a kid too.)

Santa Fe Opera will be doing The Letter in July, 2009. It would be grand to go. Sigh.

The short story is by W. Somerset Maugham. I have 65 Short Stories by WSM, and I was about to donate it to the library, even though I’d never bothered to read it. Silly me! Fortunately it was still in my pile of book donations, so I pulled it out and read The Letter. Yes, I can see how that could make an opera. But really, I think I like the story The Three Fat Women of Antibes and I really think it would make a marvelous opera!

I’m truly enjoying the book, and of course now I can’t possibly give it away. Wouldn’t you know?

Dominick Argento and Charles M. Nolte’s “The Voyage of Edgar Allen Poe”, an American opera, is waiting in the bullpen to be locally premiered by Placido Domingo’s Washington National Opera, which promised Congress, in exchange for the NATIONAL moniker, to stage one American classical opera each and every season. The otherwise distinguished and responsible company has managed to stage an American opera only about one-half the time, and it has not yet announced the American classical opera that it intends to stage in the 2008-09 season.

I didn’t know the Washington National Opera was to do an American opera every season. I do wish we could do more American operas here in San Jose, but it’s risky. Especially, it seems, with a San Jose audience.

I read the above quote on (at?) this blog.

I did wonder if the “American opera” the WNO was putting on this year was the “American Ring“. Heh.

20. August 2008 · Comments Off on Gettin’ ‘Em In The Door (and in the seats) · Categories: Links, Other People's Words, Ramble

Q: Benjamin, you seem hell-bent on attracting new classical audiences.

A: Somebody better do it! Somebody better get young people interested. And I am a young person, and it’s a frustration to me that most of my friends who are not musicians are really unaware of all the incredible treasures in the world of classical music. I mean Bach. I mean Mahler. I mean Greenwood.

I’m really all for getting younger people into the concert hall. (And I still puzzle over how so many of my young oboe students have never attended a live concert!) But I do want to mention that young people eventually get older and I actually believe that many older folks didn’t attend concerts when they were younger. From what I’ve heard, they didn’t have the time, didn’t have the money, or didn’t care for the music. Tastes change as people age.

I’m planning on building my Lawrence Welk library now that I’m in the “over 50” crowd.

Just kidding! 😉

But in any case, if I’m not worried and should be, I suppose I’ll find out soon enough.

I read the quote here.