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OperaNow! #240: The Barihunk Renaissance

Loft Opera seems to have their shits together...Why doesn't anyone do contemporary operas again?...Why to program 'Murican opera...Opera News gets a redesign..."opera school" noise complaint.

In Oliver's Corner's final installment of Dialogues of the Carmelites: Blanche finally grows a pair.

After Oliver's Corner, check out an interview with Ned Canty of Opera Memphis discussing 30 Days of Opera happening now all over Memphis.

This week features Michael, The OC, and Doug Dodson.

Reader Comments (5)

This was a great episode - even the indie companies aren't beyond your rapier wits! But seriously, companies like Opera Loft (!) and here in Toronto: Against the Grain Theatre; Opera5; Essential Opera etc. etc. are doing really great work and providing work for a lot of young singers. I think the opera scene will look very different in a few years as more of these smaller companies establish themselves, hopefully thrive and provide patrons with more choice as to how they get their opera.
The 30 Days of Opera in Memphis is fabulous - I would imagine smaller regional companies have the flexibility to do this kind of thing. Also good to hear that they don't just foist the duties (which must be considerable) on their young artists, but actually treat the festival more like a production and hire singers specifically for the event.
As far as the Opera America survey goes regarding that group of 70 new operas which received second productions out of 500 odd new works - here's my question: I would like to know if they counted co-productions between companies as "repeat performances". You know - many of the bigger new operas lately (e.g. Moby Dick) were shared between several opera companies. So, if that survey was counting say all the iterations of that first Moby Dick production then the situation is probably worse than it looks. I'd be curious to know how many new operas actually receive completely new, independent productions that are apart from any initial co-productions. I've read elsewhere many times that it's quite difficult for companies to drum up enthusiasm for a revival of a relatively new opera - "easier" to get funding for a brand new commission. I wonder if this is different than the situation in Rossini's time say...not sure if it was easier back then to get your new opera revived or did people similarly just want to hear the next new thing? Having read the comments on the last podcast, I now get the "Oscar" jokes!!!

September 14, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGianmarco

Coming to this episode late: re: contemporary comic operas. John Musto's The Inspector is one example that did well, although performed only in Boston and DC (as far as I know). It received very good reviews. Also, Jake Heggie's next opera, Great Scott, starring DiDonato in Dallas, will be a comic opera.

September 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

Oliver, thank you for covering Dialogues of the Carmelites. I teared up just hearing your description of the final scene, I couldn't make it to the final music excerpt.

The only production I've seen of Poulenc's masterpiece was by Merola Opera (summer apprentice program of San Francisco Opera) and it was moving and shocking. Even though I knew the ending from pre-performance prep, I winced with every fall of the guillotine and cried my eyes out. And you know how I'm otherwise dead inside! It didn't matter that day. I was a sobbing mess.

BTW, 'Constance' stole the show that day. Singer Emma McNairy, now mostly based in Europe (but from the U.S.) captured Constance's ecstatic devotion so well it was frightening.

September 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

Thank you all for your hard work on these podcasts. I enjoy them so much. Just found you about 6 months ago or so and I am learning tons from listening.

My idea: take a kid to opera. Everyone should make it their business to mentor a kid on opera and take them. I have taken my business partner's 13 year old to two operas now and she loves them. She wears her Seattle Opera hoodie everywhere. It would make a HUGE difference if every adult who loves Opera would mentor a kid.

I see that Jessica Rivera (Michael's wife, right?) is going to be in Seattle and I am going to see her at the Seattle Arts & Lectures series....Just because of you guys!

February 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRandy Joseph

Just stumbled upon Jenny's two Prairie Home Companion appearances!! Love, love, loved them both! Especially the 2nd wheere Jenny is obviously much more relaxed. Clearly Garrison likes her which is a huge thing! Next time she should go prepared with the costume for her pants role...the audience would love that. Garrison might even build a full bit around it.

Sadly, most art (from all genres) is not appreciated until the composer/artist is dead. So many modern revivals will have to wait until their stock goes up.

Really enjoyed the the Carmelites Corners....bravo Oliver. I don't have any message I'm trying to send when I say this, but the short, sweet and tight episodes of Oliver's corner pack more punch, and typically more music into them....I like it.

August 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRoss

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