Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The New Met Season And Free Downloadable Met Broadcasts

The title of this post is rather suggestive as to the content of this post, is it not? Well, to lessen the suspense, allow me to begin with the latter part of my subject.

About the free Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, and I really mean absolutely free, non-pirated, non DRM protected media, I have recently found a blog on Wordpress called Musica Lirica. It has links to RapidShare files of complete operas available to download for free. Almost all of the great singers of the 50's and 60's are there, but if you are new to opera and have not experienced these luminaries from the golden age of opera and radio, they still have some newer performers, though you will find them lacking in performances with artists such as Susan Graham, Elina Garanca, Diana Damrau, Sarah Coburn, Cecilia Bartoli, Joyce DiDonato (sorry, Joyce), and several other notable singers. Lest you despair, they still have a few performances by Renee Fleming, including a 2007 engagement in Paris in Jules Massenet's Thais with Gerald Finley, and a 2003 performance live from the Met of Vincenzio Bellini's Il Pirata, some with Natalie Dessay, included among those the Met's Lucia and the La Fille from last season, and they possess plenty of broadcasts by Angela Gheorghiu.

There is another such site for those of us who entertain the idea regularly that the Met is the world's greatest opera house (It really is, by the way, and you will not argue the point when I tell you some of the highlights that the next season shall present for our pleasure.); it offers only Met performances from 2007 until the present with more being added as we progress. If there is a particular cast that you wanted to hear in a performance, such as if you wished to compare Anna Netrebko's interpretation of Lucia last Saturday to Diana Damrau's earlier this season, which is something I shall do soon, you can because the site offers two and three individual broadcasts for download for some performances, and some of these have alternate casts. Cast listings are provided for each performance, so you will know who is singing what. With all of this new opera material available to us, we had all better purchase bigger hard drives for our computers, so we can hold every performance we ever wished to hear.

As for the Met's upcoming season, with the exception of the retirement of the Zeffirelli production of Puccini's Tosca, it promises to be an exciting one, perhaps even more so than this season, if such a thing can be possible for the audience who adores Renee Fleming as much as I do. Since I have mentioned her so early relating her to this subject, let me say that she is scheduled to perform in Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier with Susan Graham as Oktavian, the only performance she makes next season, I believe, and Fleming also offers those of us who would enjoy seeing her return to the Italian repertoire a chance to rejoice over a performance as Gioacchino Rossini's Armida. Speaking of Rossini, Joyce DiDonato and Diana Damrau both are scheduled to sing the role of Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, a set of performances to which I am much looking forward to see whether Diana will sing Una voce poco fa higher that Joyce does, as is usual for a soprano, or if Joyce is capable of singing it as if she were a soprano. I cannot wait, but let us hope that no performers cancel their engagements. In the Met's Live in HD series, I find three jewels to which I gaze forward in much anticipation, these being both of Fleming's performances and a performance by Natalie Dessay in Hamlet. I have not heard much of the latter work, but the title itself makes it sound like this opera was created for Dessay. to view the full scheduled season, visit SarahB's blog at Adventures in the Endless Pursuit of Entertainment, and be sure to exhibit your gratitude to her for painstakingly researching and posting all of the information she provides.

I am almost finished reading Luciano Pavarotti's book entitled Luciano Pavarotti: My Own Story, and I must say that I have thus far found it to be quite an engrossing portrait of the legendary tenor in his own words. Interspersed throughout his chapters of instruction and memoirs, regrettably more of the latter than the former for those of us who are still students, are reminisces of Pavarotti offered by such luminaries as Richard Bonynge and Joan Sutherland together in an interview and a section written by Mirella Freni on their life together when they were young in Modena, Italy. Pictures make certain parts of the narrative visual to the reader, and a candid aspect to the story make it seem all the more real, or just as preposterous in some cases. Pavarotti's all too short instruction on singing closely resembles Renee Fleming's in her autobiography The Inner Voice, something I was glad to learn since she gives the inquisitive reader of her book some warnings to adhere to religiously when we are confronted by those who would tell us how to sing. I am ecstatic to find these two exceptional singers agreeing in their method of instruction to young singers. For any who were worried about my future as an opera singer, this book has definitely made me take a close second look at the possibility of me becoming an opera singer, but I am still waiting on God for His counsel and guidance.

That is all I have to report for the nonce, but be assured that with God's help I shall write more soon. As always, may the Lord bless and keep you all until His glorious return to this earth.


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