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Author Topic:   Opera
EmilySachs
Director

Posts: 317
From:Studio City, CA
Registered: Apr 2000

posted June 26, 2003 05:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for EmilySachs   Click Here to Email EmilySachs     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This Sunday Minnesota Public Radio www.mpr.org is webcasting the North American premiere of Danish composer Paul Ruder's opera of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. I'm not sure of the time, but I'm sure the website will explain.

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NEWSFLASH
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From:Hollywood, CA
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posted July 09, 2003 09:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Berlin Saves Its Opera Houses After fierce battles for a year, during which cash-strapped Berlin considered closing one of its three opera houses, the city has decided to continue funding all three. "At a packed press conference last week, federal cultural minister Christina Weiss announced the funding of a long-term rescue package to enable all three embattled institutions to continue independent operations under a corporate-type umbrella structure, the Berlin Opera Foundation, to be set up Jan. 1."

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indiedan
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From:Santa Monica
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posted July 16, 2003 09:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Washington Concert Opera Close To Shutdown Washington Concert Opera, an unusual company dedicated to presenting rarely heard gems of the operatic literature, is on the verge of financial collapse, and will "have to be restructured, hugely" if it is to survive, according to its board president. WCO ran a $200,000 deficit on an overall budget of $500,000 last season, and the board is unwilling to go into debt to keep the company singing.

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EmilySachs
Director

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From:Studio City, CA
Registered: Apr 2000

posted July 17, 2003 09:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for EmilySachs   Click Here to Email EmilySachs     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Next On Springer... I Love It! Jerry Springer, The Opera is a big hit in London, and Ben Brantley loves it. "Who could possibly forget that exultant song of self-celebration that begins, "This is my Jerry Springer moment . . ."? That number, performed by a grown woman in baby clothes on a swing, comes from "Jerry Springer: The Opera," the four-alarm fire of a show at the National Theater, and I find myself singing it while doing household chores, the way my mother used to with melodies from "Oklahoma!" and "My Fair Lady." The scary part is that though it's a song about parading your exotic sexual tastes on national television, I don't think, "What a camp," when I remember it; instead, I feel kind of starry-eyed." The New York Times 07/17/03

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opus_125
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From:Portland, Oregon
Registered: Apr 2000

posted August 01, 2003 07:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for opus_125   Click Here to Email opus_125     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Forget the Springer opera. Go see something interesting - something with real substance that isn't just a sensationalist event. GO SEE SOME VERDI TONIGHT!

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NEWSFLASH
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From:Hollywood, CA
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posted August 05, 2003 08:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Seattle's New Opera House When it looked like it was going to cost $99 million to upgrade Seattle's Opera House just to make it earthquake-ready, the city decided to build a new one around the bones of the old. Now the new $127 million house has debuted... San Francisco Chronicle 08/05/03
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2003/08/05/DD212244.DTL

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NEWSFLASH
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posted August 11, 2003 01:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When You Can't Even Give Away The Opera Tickets... "Scottish Opera's ambitious complete Ring cycle at this summer's Edinburgh Festival sold out as long ago as October, but the organisers of the Festival held back one performance of Götterdämmerung for people under 27. Faced with frequent attacks that it was elitist, "out of touch", and aimed only at the "middle-aged upper middle class audience", the heavily subsidised Festival hoped that the free ticket offer would help to reverse its demographic. But only 237 young people turned up for the performance on Friday, leaving a staggering 1,660 seats empty in the flagship Festival Theatre." The Guardian (UK) 08/10/03

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NEWSFLASH
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posted August 21, 2003 09:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Swimming Alone In A Five-Hour Korean Opera In Edinburgh this summer, you can see a five-hour Korean opera. Maybe it's good. But without some help, how are audiences supposed to figure it out? "How was the audience, unguided, supposed to navigate this terra incognita? It was not surprising that on my visit the Reid Concert Hall was half empty, with at least a dozen leaving at the first pause and more at the interval." The Guardian (UK) 08/21/03
http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/features/story/0,11710,1026196,00.html

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NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN
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From:NY, NY
Registered: Aug 2003

posted August 28, 2003 10:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Insane, Murderous, and Pregnant! Must Be An Opera. This September, Jennifer Welch-Babidge will make her New York City Opera debut in a new production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, playing the title character who goes mad and kills her fiance because she loves his enemy. It's a heavy role for any young singer, but in Welch-Babidge's case, there is an added twist - she is very obviously pregnant. Rather than hide her condition, the director is using it to heighten the drama of the opera, with various characters discovering her bulging belly at key moments in the plot. The New York Times 08/28/03

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NEWSFLASH
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posted November 12, 2003 07:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jerry Springer has given Jerry Springer -- The Opera an enthusiastic endorsement as the show officially premiered in London's West End Monday night. Springer said that the "opera," which debuted at last year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival, captured the essence of the television show. He had particular praise for Michael Brandon, who plays Springer in the rowdy musical. He told a news conference: "He`s got my gestures and the physical sense of me down so well. ... Unless you have an identical twin you won`t ever get to experience something like it."

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NEWSFLASH
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posted December 01, 2003 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

VENICE, Italy, Nov 27 (AFP) — La Fenice, the world famous Venetian opera house destroyed by fire in 1996, reopens next month after a seven-year multi-million-euro restoration beset by legal problems and delays.

Riccardo Muti, musical director of Milan's La Scala, will conduct a gala concert on December 14 to celebrate the venerable old theatre living up to its name — which in English means "The Phoenix" — for the second time.

Many of opera's greatest works, like La traviata and Rigoletto, were first performed here, and La Fenice's rococo salons and ornately gilded multi-tiered auditorium resounded with the voices of greats like Callas, Tebaldi, Caruso and Pavarotti.

However, only the outer walls of the 200-year old theatre stood after the 1996 fire which shocked opera lovers around the world and deprived Venice of one of its most prized architectural jewels.

At times it seemed to Venetians as if the rebuilding would never start, let alone be completed as the reconstruction was repeatedly delayed by contractual disputes.

Earlier this year, Italy's highest appeals court upheld stiff prison sentences imposed on two electricians held responsible for the fire, which occurred when the venue was closed in 1996 for renovation work.

But courtrooms have featured almost as prominently in the reconstruction effort, which began soon after the fire after Venetian authorities pledged to rebuild the theatre "where it was, as it was".

It seemed doomed from the start when the company originally chosen for the project, the Fiat-owned Impreligo, was sued by a rival bidder, Holtzmann-Romagnoli, which was then awarded the lucrative contract.

Romagnoli then became involved in a series of wrangles over deadlines and payments, and were finally sacked by Paolo Costa, the Venice mayor given overall responsibility for the building project. The project went to Venetian firm Sacaim — the third major contractor.

Another lengthy delay was caused when Roman and medieval artefacts were unearthed beneath the theatre's foundations.

However, the determination to rebuild the theatre never faltered and local and state financing for the project, originally projected to cost around 50 million euros, was backed by generous fund-raising efforts by opera lovers around the world like Woody Allen and Luciano Pavarotti. British charity Venice in Peril raised more than 300,000 euros which went towards the reproduction of the massive chandelier that hung in the auditorium.

The original plans from engineers Tomasso and Giambattista Meduna, who rebuilt La Fenice after a first devastating fire in 1836, were discovered in a fogotten archive. That allowed architect Aldo Rossi to recreate technical details from the original auditorium, prized by opera buffs for its perfect acoustics. Interior decoration work was supervised by Mario Carosi, an Italian who has achieved international fame for his work on the San Carlo theatre in Naples.

Sadly, Rossi died in a car accident in 1997.

But the opera world is waiting with bated breath for his work to be unveiled on December 14, when Muti will conduct The Consecration of the Theatre by Beethoven, specially adapted for the occasion.

The audience will be able to enjoy the aquamarine ceiling created by a family of Roman painters, Silvano Mattei and his three sons, using La Fenice's extensive archive, which luckily was housed elsewhere.

Restorers also used as a reference Luchino Visconti's film Senso which was largely shot inside the old theatre.

Christiano Chiarot, a spokesman for La Fenice Foundation, showed obvious pride in their work: "They worked crouched on the scaffolding like Michelangelo when he painted the Sistine Chapel."

Chronology

With its near-perfect acoustics, the Teatro La Fenice was one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world and one of the most famous in the history of opera.

La Fenice was named after the phoenix, because it rose from the ashes of its predecessor, the Teatro San Benedetto, burnt down in 1773, and has itself twice before been destroyed by fire. Begun in 1790, it burned down before it had even been completed. Quickly rebuilt, it opened on 16 May 1792 and was burned to the ground again in December 1836. Again it was rapidly rebuilt, reopening on 26 December 1837.

The theatre, second only in fame to Milan's La Scala, has seen the premieres of many great operas, including the infamous opening night of Verdi's then-scandalous La traviata as well as the triumphs of Simon Boccanegra, Tancredi, Ernani and Rigoletto. Both Verdi and Rossini owed La Fenice a debt of gratitude for launching their careers.

The latest fire on January 29, 1996, was started by two electricians who were facing fines for delays in rewiring work, and burned for nine hours, leaving only the outer walls still standing. Earlier this year, the two electricians, Enrico Carella and his cousin Massimiliano Marchetti, were sentenced to six and seven years in prison but eight other people, including the city's former mayor Massimo Cacciari and La Fenice's former director Gianfranco Pontel, were acquitted of possible negligence.

Following is a chronology of the fiasco surrounding the rebuilding project:

January 29, 1996: La Fenice is destroyed by fire and the mayor Massimo Cacciari vows it will be rebuilt "com'era, dov'era" — as it was, where it was — and gives an estimated opening date of December 1999.

May 30, 1997: Fiat-owned construction company Impregilo, with plans by architect Gae Aulenti, is awarded the contract ahead of four rival tenders.

June 27, 1997: Work on the project begins, only to be suspended due to a ruling by the State Council in Rome on February 13 in favour of German company Holzmann-Romagnoli, finding that the Impreglio bid was incomplete.

March 19, 1998: Holzmann-Romagnoli, with a project based on plans by architect Aldo Rossi, wins the contract after Impreglio are barred from submitting a new tender.

June 15, 1999: Work on the project starts even though Rossi has since been killed in a road accident. The cost of rebuilding is set at 53 million euros (63 million dollars) with a completion date of February 13, 2002.

October 4, 2000: Paolo Costa, the new mayor of Venice and a former minister of public works, appoints himself commissioner for the reconstruction and announces that the work is falling behind schedule. Holzmann-Romagnoli request the completion date be put back to April 2003.

April 27, 2001: Costa acts against Holzmann-Romagnoli for its failure to keep to schedule and the company is denied recourse to the courts to claim damages against the Venice authorities. Costa calls on all sub-contractors to continue working so that the rebuilding does not grind to a halt.

October 5, 2001: Venice-based company Sacaim, in a consortium with three regional firms, is awarded the contract based on Rossi's original design. The completion date is put back to November 30, 2003 with severe penalty clauses in case of further delay and the cost set at 54.8 million euros (65.25 million dollars). Work goes ahead around the clock after special dispensations and agreements with the unions to complete the rebuilding within the alotted time.

December 5, 2003: The project, at a final cost of 60 million euros (71.4 million dollars), is due to be handed over to Costa and a week-long series of opening concerts and celebrations is to open on December 14.

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jpgordo
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From:Studio City, CA
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posted December 13, 2003 09:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jpgordo   Click Here to Email jpgordo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Venice's La Fenice Rises, This Time Fire-Proof

VENICE (Reuters) - Venice's famed opera house La Fenice seems doomed by its name.

The theater named after the mythical Phoenix which rose triumphantly from its own ashes has already burned down twice but as it prepares to reopen on Sunday, engineers said it should never again fall victim to flames.


"We have state-of-the-art sprinklers, we have water on site, we have a complex system of heat and smoke detectors. We've done all we can," said Gianni Cagnin, the engineer who has overseen the rebuilding of the theater.


In January 1996, La Fenice was reduced to ashes in a fire later found to have been set by two electricians trying to avoid a fine for a delay in their work.


The flames ripped through the 19th-century building -- itself a replacement for a theater gutted by fire -- swallowing up stucco busts, silk curtains and delicate wooden decorations that burned like tinder.


The theater has now been rebuilt "as it was, where it was" -- the watchword for any restoration project in Venice -- but with plenty of 21st-century twists.


Above the delicate azure and gilt ceiling of La Fenice's auditorium hangs an ultramodern spray system which can pump out highly pressurized water that evaporates and cools any fire with very little liquid, potentially saving millions of euros of water damage.


In the sumptuous dusty rose and lagoon green ballroom, sprinkler heads poke out between stucco rosettes on the ceiling while under the main hall lies a concrete tank containing all the water La Fenice should need to stop any future fire.


"In the worst case scenario, we also have pumps to suck salt water out of the canal. The whole thing is automatic so 1996 should never happen again," said Nerio Bison, one of Cagnin's engineering team.


But while most of La Fenice looks exactly as it did 100 years ago, down to the phoenixes embroidered into thick brocade curtains, modern opera-goers will be clearly reminded of its fiery history.


Bright red extinguishers and fire hoses set into the walls and thick fire doors now block off every section of the theater.


"This is as good as you get. I really hope we're fire-proof now," said Cagnin, looking up at one of the crystal chandeliers that glitter through La Fenice. "Now all we can do is keep our fingers tightly crossed."

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NEWSFLASH
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posted January 15, 2004 11:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jerry Springer, the television show, may have been snubbed by awards presenters, but Jerry Springer, the Opera, playing in London's West End, garnered a record eight nominations today (Thursday) for Britain's most prestigious theater honors, the Laurence Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical. The awards are due to be announced on Feb. 22.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted March 15, 2004 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pavarotti says goodbye to opera

By Ronald Blum
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The great ones have the hardest time saying goodbye.

For 11 minutes, Luciano Pavarotti soaked up the bravos after Saturday night's performance of "Tosca" at the Metropolitan Opera.

It was his final night of staged opera, the 68-year-old tenor had revealed Friday, the end of a career that began 43 years earlier. He stuck out his arms, and he waved to the crowd. He put his hands together and bowed his head in tribute to his fans. He touched his heart, and he blew kisses.

His face, still stained near his right eye with fake blood from the performance, was filled with emotion. From the grand tier of the Metropolitan Opera hung a huge red banner with white letters: "WE LOVE YOU LUCIANO" it read, a heart replacing the "O" in "LOVE."

The ovations could have gone on much longer -- they stopped only because the hefty Pavarotti seemed to be having so much trouble walking on stage in front of the big gold curtain. There were four solo curtain calls in all, plus two with soprano Carol Vaness and three with the larger cast, including conductor James Levine, who pushed Pavarotti back in front of the curtain for one more appearance after all the others had left.

All night long, Pavarotti appeared to be fighting to keep his emotions under control.

There was a 35-second ovation when he walked on stage in the first act. His voice sounded constricted for his first aria, "Recondita armonia (Oh hidden harmony)," which was barely audible in sections, and he kept his eyes closed for much of the time, appearing to revel in the moment.

His big third-act aria, "E lucevan le stelle (And the stars shone)" was followed by another two-minute ovation as flashbulbs popped throughout an auditorium where photography is forbidden. He even broke character and waved to the crowd.
Grand ovation for a full career

It was the biggest farewell ovation at the Met since soprano Leonie Rysanek said goodbye in January 1996. And, in some ways, this was similar to Leontyne Price's final "Aida" on January 3, 1985 -- while the performance wasn't noteworthy for the singing, the singing brought back memories of so many great nights.

The normally staid Met printed a special 20-page section in the program that detailed the career of Pavarotti, who was singing his 379th performance with the company since his debut in "La Boheme" on November 23, 1968.

Asked Friday why he was retiring from opera -- he still plans concerts up until his 70th birthday on October 12, 2005 -- Pavarotti said: "I think it's time." This performance, the last in a run of three that began March 6, showed why.

He could keep up at full voice only in the lower half of his register. In the upper half, he lacked power and breath. He needed assistance walking on and off stage, and had to sip from cups of water on the set to keep his throat moist.

But the Met knew that coming in. Pavarotti's last performances at the Met that were truly noteworthy for the singing were in "Turandot" during the 1997-98 season. But he kept on going, figuring Pavarotti at less than full strength was still better than most.

After the performance, during an on-stage reception, Pavarotti sat on a chair and greeted members of the company and friends. He held a sore wrist and lumbered slowly when he returned to his dressing room. His face was filled with both satisfaction and resignation.

He had come a long way from the first professional performance, a "La Boheme" at Reggio Emilia, Italy, on April 29, 1961.

"I have a full life, a full, happy life," he said a day earlier. "And I thank God for this, every morning I thank God. I am a lucky man, a lucky person."

Luciano Pavarotti soaked up the bravos after his final staged performance on Saturday night at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted March 16, 2004 08:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Legendary tenor Luciano Pavarotti was consumed with emotion on Friday - when he performed his last ever staged opera. The Italian singer, 68, took to the stage in New York City's Metropolitan Opera to star in their production of Giacomo Puccini's Tosca. After the performance, the rapturous crowd gave Pavarotti an 11 minute ovation while he struggled to keep his feelings in check. The Nessun Dorma star was given four curtain calls and was only allowed off the stage after showing signs of discomfort as he paced the boards. Pavarotti has pledged to perform in concerts until October 12, 2005 - the date of his 70th birthday.

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