As I promised you, dear, gentle readers, whose patience with my incessant ramblings knows no end (Alas, only if real life were so pleasant to us mere mortals. That is the precious beauty of authorship, the ability to imagine something and to make it credible.), I am going to give you an ample dosage of opera in this post.
Firstly, to deal with the title of this post, in the February issue of Opera News magazine, a most invaluable resource for the dilletant and the aficinado alike, there is an interview with soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, who is from Chicago by the way. Radvanovsky, our first true Verdi soprano in a number of years, says that she has no extension of her contract with the Met into next season, and these upcoming performances of her in Verdi's Il Trovatore may be her last with what is arguably the world's greatest opera company. Can you imagine it? Just when the opera-adoring public thought we had a soprano of the caliber of Leontyne Price again, we find that the Met currently has no inclinations of using her voice in other Verdi rarities such as Giovanna d'Arco or I Lombardi. I heard her last year as Elvira in Verdi's Ernani with Thomas Hampson and Marcello Giordani, and I thought she sounded excellent. Before that I heard her in Alfano's Cyrano di Bergerac as Roxane. I hope that the Met extends her contract, so we may be priveliged to hear her in the roles in which she truly has little or no competition.
Speaking of contracts with the Met, in one of my early posts, I mentioned soprano Ruth Ann Swenson, and I asked if anyone knew what had happenned to her or whether or not she was still singing. I read on the informative blog Sieglinde's Diaries that Ruth Ann Swenson is scheduled to sing Musetta (What? Not Mimi?!!!! No, that role goes to Anna Netrebko. I guess we need fresh blood.) in an upcoming production of Puccini's La Boheme, which she will share with Nicole Cabell. Do not accept that as the gospel truth, however, because that is planned for the 2009-2010 season, and singers do sometimes cancel. I am simply happy to see this wonderful general purpose soprano back on the Met's stage.
There also was an article by Brian Kellow in Opera News from the letters from abroad series, and this one was from Wexford Festival Opera. I read the piece with enthusiasm because Sarah Coburn was featured in the opera Tutti in Maschera this past festival season, and I wanted to see what he thought of her. She met with glowing reviews from Mr. Kellow, who enjoyed not only her performance in that opera but also in Orff's Carmina Burana, which he also took the opportunity to praise. I truly cannot wait to hear Ms. Coburn perform again.
There are some other stars we have not heard at the Met for a long time or ever at all: Cecilia Bartoli, Patrizia Ciofi, Jose Cura, Leona Mitchell (she is another artist from Oklahoma, from Enid, if I am not mistaken, and she was in the January issue of Opera News quoted in an interview as saying that she was looking over the part of Bellini's Norma. She wants to return to the Met, and she wants to sing again.), to mention a few. I would really like to see Ms. Mitchell make a return to the Met or some of our other regional houses such as Santa Fe, Lyric Opera of Chicago, or Los Angeles.
Further contained in the February edition of Opera News, is an interview with tenor Marcelo Alvarez, who, interestingly enough, had no aspiration to become an opera singer. He was in the profession of being a furniture salesman in his family owned business when he auditioned for Luciano Pavarotti in South America (in Brazil, if my memory continues to serve me well). Pavarotti liked his voice and was able to get him into leading opera companies, and he has become one of the greatest tenors we now possess. I look to stories like Mr. Alvarez's for inspiration in my own unfinished journey to becoming an opera singer. They show me that I still have a chance and that I should not despair if things seem to be at a stagnant point for me. After I remind myself of such providential occurences, I look forward to my own story of success and to eventually helping other young artists have more opportunities to study and learn music than I do, for is that not what we should try to accomplish in life, to provide an easier life for our descendants and others who may benefit from our experiences? That ought to be humanity's greatest aspiration.
Speaking of Opera News as we have been, it brings to mind something I wanted to iterate to my readers. When I first began receiving my copies of the publication thanks to one of my questions to the Met's Opera Quiz being answered during one of their broadcasts, I accessed my account online, and to my dismay, I could not view any archived issues, but a few weeks ago I realized that I could view them, and, oh, the wealth of information I have found! Subscribing to Opera News is well worth it just for the archived issues of the magazine.
I trust that I have provided a sufficient amount of material related to opera in this post, and I pray that God keeps all of you well until my netxt post.