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OperaNow! #252: Elephants On Stage

Upstart Opera in NYC...Another Camarena Encore At The Met...ENO Music Director Resigns...Verdic Cycle Comes To A Close in Sarasota...Florence Foster Jenkins Movie...Greenwich Residents to Perform in The Sorcerer.

In Oliver's Corner we listen to Leyla Gencer, Piero Cappuccilli, and Dimitra Theodossiou in act 2 of Roberto Devereux.

This week features Michael, The OC and Doug Dodson.

And be sure to check out La Familia Green for all your greeting card and stationary needs!

Reader Comments (10)

Here's a clip of Radvanovsky in the scenes Oliver played this week:

April 7, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterzach

Thanks so much, Zach!

April 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterThe OC

LOL, Emily D'Angelo is Canadian. Yet again, you guys validate the American stereotype!

Apparently there's no identifiable Canadian tonal quality. But if there were, I'm sure we'd be apologising for it.

April 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSQLWitch

Did we say she was American?

April 12, 2016 | Registered CommenterMichael Rice

Y'all said she was Italian. She's a Toronto girl, although her background's Italian. I'm a huge fan of hers too :-)

April 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSQLWitch

Okay. so I'm brand-new to your podcast, loving it and laughing my *ss off at much of it. Keep it up, especially the gossipy behind-the-scenes stuff that we opera buffs can never get enough of (even if La Cieca is the source, or Zachary Wolfe, good dirt is good dirt).

I'd like to hear a show where you each present your favorite singers, past or current, and why. Or best performances you've seen or appeared in. I could name a few of my own: Don Carlo, 1986, Long Beach with Cesare Siepi, Richard Stillwell, Jerome Hines, Dennis O'Neill. Unforgettable, and even at 70-something, Siepi was utterly spell-binding (which Placido, at 70-something, is not). Directed by Chris Alden and not as weird and senseless as his later stuff. Another was Suor Angelica, with Patty Craig and Lili Chookasian, in Toledo Ohio, must have been early 1980s, Anton Coppola conducting. Amazing performance, I can still feel the audience reacting to the final scene. A Fanciulla with Marilin Niska and Anselmo Colzani. I better stop because I'm giving away my age now. I'm in the backwaters of Los Angeles where we are lucky to have James Conlin conducting when he's around, and unlucky to have Placido conduct when he's not pretending to be a baritone. (Personally, I don't believe the rumors that he wants to end his once-great career as an octagenarian Don Giovanni although I have heard there is a Scarpia in the works... kidding!).

I saw "The Fly" here with Dan Okulitch. At intermission, I heard one lady remark to her companion, "It's not such a bad opera really, except for the music." Missed the point, in a way, or maybe nobody ever explained the whole opera concept thing to her.

Are you familiar with Robert Ward's opera, The Crucible. Michael, you sound like you have the voice (and probably the personality) to play John Proctor. Have Oliver check out the recording with Chet Ludgin, Frances Bible, John Macurdy, and Emerson Buckley conducting.

Keep doing what you're doing, it's great stuff.

April 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Michael said he couldn't remember any tenor arias from Don Pasquale even though he has performed the opera? Implying that none of the tenor role is Don Pasquale is memorable? Ludicrous. I am sure if Michael heard the first two notes of Com 'e gentil he could identify the aria and sing it to the very end.
Oliver seems very conflicted about Camarena's popularity, and whether Camarena's bis' are legitimate. I suggest he go with it and join in the circus; whether the bis' are generated by house administration directives and propaganda or by paid claques or the audience's spontaneous appreciation is endlessly fascinating for the opera buff.
After hearing Camarena live in the opera house I was very impressed by his unusual vocal gifts. He has vocal afterburners that kick in at tenor high A and above which makes his high range much more exciting than his low/middle range. And the high range is where a tenor's voice needs to ideally peak and excite the audience. Few tenors can do it. Camarena kicks it out bigtime at the top, the voice rides easily over the orchestral accompaniment while he gives no indication of having a stroke from the effort required, and, when that unusual sound hits your brain, you irrationally jump up in sheer admiration and tonal ecstasy, applauding and yelling BIS. Your opera lizard brain took over again; secretly glad that you didn't force the lizard brain to attend Pelleas et Mellisande.
So, my conclusion is that a major portion of Camarena's bis' are heartfelt, due to his Sonic Stimulation. I recommend everyone go see him live. In Opera. Not a concert with Tosti songs and Liszt Petrarch sonnets (as Oliver said).

April 15, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterbobo

Is there a way to donate anonymously to operanow?

The discussion of the article by Alex Ross regarding small opera companies in NY was very interesting. Many small opera companies have come and gone in NY in my lifetime. Sometimes they had good shows, sometimes awful. The bottom line is that none of them had longevity. Same old problem now as 50 years ago; lack of funding, regardless of quality of the performances, cutting edge or traditional presentations. A company can not rely on volunteer workers, unpaid singers, unpaid chorus, poorly paid orchestra, no advertising budget, changing performance venues, etc. Nobody can seem to solve the problem of getting enough cash in the coffers.

April 16, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterivanka


I believe so...or if not, I'll close my eyes when the donation comes in.

April 17, 2016 | Registered CommenterMichael Rice

Soooo late with this - busy times...and, I had to listen to the podcast a couple times due to the sound issues - poor Oliver and Doug were mostly inaudible for some reason - it's not usually like that! I see another fellow Canuck beat me to it on the Emily D'Angelo correction - in fact, she is an incoming member of the COC's Ensemble Studio (YAP for you 'mericans!) this fall. Last night she sang at an event for us - a public masterclass with Harry Bicket - she's quite phenomenal for someone who is like, 21 or so and just finishing an undergrad. And yes, Canadian as they come! Don't be fooled - we're a pretty diverse country!
Also wanted to weigh in on the tenor bis's - I agree with Oliver - I feel they're getting to be a bit forced. Everyone's getting a bis these days - Florez, Camarena, didn't Kaufmann get an infamous one recently...? Honestly, until this recent spate I'd hardly even heard of it happening in 20+ yrs of attending/reading about opera. I think Oliver is right to pick up on the slightly, PR-induced proliferation of these encores.
And the Ross article...yes, yes, yes Michael. I think you've said it before...I've certainly harped on about it wherever I's all well and good to tout the growth of these small indie companies and say that they're the future of opera and that audiences want to see things up close etc. All of which is probably true to a degree but, how will it all be sustained when in some cases singers and musicians are hardly paid anything [and I'm talking about the professionals involved...] and the administration is basically volunteering their time? I think there are, and will be exceptions - small indie companies that will rise to the top; probably start to garner donations and funding in a significant way and, survive. But unfortunately many won't but not before many artists "donate" their services for the chance to perform. It feels like something only very young artists can afford to do...but they won't want to when they're in their 30s. Anyway, we'll see how it all unfolds.

May 3, 2016 | Unregistered Commentergianmarco

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