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Rant 'n Rave > Speight Jenkins of Seattle Opera honoured

https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox/1310b4aa6dd5f83b

A fitting award for a wonderful director. It is interesting to see that they will be broadcasting and streaming old productions, with Speight providing part of the introductions. I have always enjoyed his post production Q&As, so I suspect they will be interesting.

As the asshole who wrote the mean e-mail about the unions and NYC Opera, I think that was an illustrative reaction to the new Director and his salary by the Union. The derision from the worker bees pretty well signals the end of something in the company.

On a better note, I love the OC. (Don't tell my wife, please.) Don't give him his own show; but a series of downloads each centred about a specific opera with examples is something I would PAY FOR. His presentation on Rigoletto has driven me in search of a good Italian-English libretto on-line. I expect I will also need one for Aida. Any suggestions? While I usually can't hear what he is talking about when he plays his examples--I am a non-musician who just loves a good crescendo and will cry at the drop of the hat--in the 50 years I have been listening to opera, these are the first technical discussions I have ever heard.

As far as finding new audiences, I was raised in California in the 50s, listening to the Standard School Broadcasts over the radio. It featured lots of program music; but it was responsible for introducing numbers of us in the state to the classical art form. My high School German Teacher, Jens Shurk, gave us a 4 year intro to Wagner and Beethoven and sent us out into the world to slay dragons. Now, in my 60s, I think I am ready for Mozart. (My first visit to Seattle was to see the 2005 Ring. The gentleman who led the educational presentations--Perry was his first name, I can no longer remember his last name and he died a few years ago--gave three brilliant presentations on the afternoons of the three major works. For the purposes of Oliver's discussions, he played some Mozart opera on the piano, as an example of the social restraint of the times, followed by the climax to the first act of Walküre, declaring that Wagner was the music of the sexual rebels. Looking at all of the dottering white heads that surrounded us gave me pause. Apparently the sexual revolution predated the 60s. Who knew?)

Finally, am I the only one who thought Jonas Kaufmann's Siegmund was a trifle flat on some of his high notes during the early part of Act 1? I thought he was brilliant once he and Sieglinde began singing together and through Act 2; but I sure felt uneasy at the beginning. Of course, perhaps my ears were out of round.

Anyway, I am now caught up with the backlog and now will start to get agitated as each two week period nears it's end. I love Opera Now. Donation coming with next pension cheque!
July 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarkinvictoria
I just realized that the url I pasted relates only to my gmail account through which the information came. Here is the text from the release:

Speight Jenkins Presented with 2011 NEA Opera Honors

Two weeks ago, Seattle Opera General Director Speight Jenkins was named a recipient of the highest distinction the United States bestows upon figures in opera: the National Endowment for the Arts’ annual Opera Honors. Jenkins and his fellow 2011 honorees—stage designer John Conklin, mezzo-soprano Risë Stevens, and composer Robert Ward—were selected because they “have contributed significantly to opera in the United States, lending their talents and commitment to enhancing what we see, hear, feel, and think about opera,” said Wayne Brown, the NEA’s Director of Music and Opera. An official awards ceremony will be held this October in Washington, D.C., with free tickets available beginning in September.

As to the information on the Saturday night broadcasts on KING, here is a link that ought to work to the Seattle Opera website. The particular info is amongst those for June 2011. Sorry for the stupidities.

http://www.seattleopera.org/news/releases/index.aspx
July 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarkinvictoria