Friday, June 26, 2009

Playing Catch Up

For all of the followers and readers of my blog posts who peruse my blog with any frequency, you may have noticed that I have not posted with any regularity of late. This is for the simple reason that I have not had adequate time to devote to a worthy post. With rehearsals for Fiddler on the Roof, every spare minute that I have possess has either been reserved for that or else some industrious occupation.

I received my July issue of Opera News, and I was blessed to receive it since it concerns the topic of education as it relates to every aspect of opera. Naturally this also includes the education of opera singers, and I am glad to say that I read some advice that I hope to remember if God ever provides the means for me to become an opera singer. In addition to this wealth of information, Brian Kellow also included a review of soprano Kate Royal's newest release, Midsummer Night. In her lower register she sounds like Renee Fleming, and here it bears mention that she includes two of Renee's signature arias on this recording, those being Dvorak's Song to the Moon and Erich Korngold's "Marietta's Lied," but in her higher notes she has more of an edge to her timbre, which gives her a flexibility in genres.

Poteet competes in Tacoma, Washington, tomorrow for the national AACT festival. You may recall that I mentioned that the production had won top honors in its previous competitions at the state and regional levels with our mounting of John and Jen. The staff and cast of the show has been there since the beginning of this week, and from what I have heard, they have been enjoying their sojourn in our country's northwest. It is certain that they are delighted to be rid of the 100 degree temperatures we have had in Oklahoma for the past two weeks, but I have not been quite so blessed since much of my work of late has been in the outdoors.

I have been enjoying the "endless pleasures," if I may borrow the title from one of Handel's arias, of Baroque music. It never ceases to amaze me how new it seems to me each time I sample some jewel, particularly vocal music, from this period or from the beauty of ancient music. Cecilia Bartoli's Opera Proibita and The Vivaldi Album and Renee Fleming's Handel are three of my favorite recordings showcasing this music.

I was fortunate to see a little part of Puccini's Madama Butterfly from the Met's Live in HD series from this season on PBS with Patricia Racette and Marcello Giordani. I must confess that the Bunraku puppet of Trouble became annoying with the two operators of it on the stage at all times. The production itself was rather a good one. I have not seen a better one, but then I have not seen another one, so I cannot say that there is a better one. Unfortunately, I was not able to see even a majority of it because my siblings desired to watch something more suited to their tastes. This reminds me how excellent of a season this past one was for the Met and Renee Fleming fans. I can only imagine how she shall shine in Der Rosenkavalier and Armida. I also cannot wait for her new CD of verismo arias conducted by Marco Armiliato to be released. I have yet to get her latest offering of Strauss's Four Last Songs, but I was more excited when I heard that she was recording this new project with Maestro Armiliato.

Thank you all for reading.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Other Music Genres And A Wonderful Surprise From The Met

In reverse logical order, bear me the pardon to address the final subject of my title in the first portion of my post. My readers may recall to their immediate memories that a friend of mine, Jay, went to New York for vacation recently. He sent me a postcard featuring a view of New York harbor with the skyline of Manhattan in the background with a delightful communique on the back of it, but his thinking of me was not limited to that alone; while he was there visiting friends, seeing Broadway shows, and almost relaxing, he made a journey to the Met at Lincoln Center, and he visited their gift shop to buy me some souvenir of his sojourn in that famous metropolis. When I saw him a day after his return home, he presented me with, first, the Met's season book for this season, which absolutely made my day, and, moreover, to add considerably to his personal expense while there, he also bought me the Met's Celebrating 125 Years CD. It has glorious music on it. I have had the immense pleasure of hearing luminary artists from the Met's broadcast history who set the standards for their respective roles. I was so happy that Jay thought of me in such a way, and, of course, I thanked him for his generosity in reciprocal fashion.

As to the other subject of my post, I have been perusing other music genres of late, and I have realized that I have a great liking for early music, especially that which dates from the Medieval and Renaissance periods. If one visits the Alia Vox website, one will hear exceptional music from the latter epoch. Jordi Savall, founder of that label and a gifted strings player, has just released a new Celtic themed album, a preview of which may be heard on BBC Music Magazine's website. It definitely does sound Celtic unlike some of the modern music that claims to be so. Another genre that I have been enjoying is typical New Age piano music. Some of the harmonies, while oftentimes simple, are completely beautiful, and they are excellent at invoking a particular mood. Two selections I would suggest for one to hear are Enya's Drifting and Portrait. They will immediately calm you and make you feel better in generally any situation.

That is all for the present. I hope you are enjoying reading my posts.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rehearsals, Work; You Know How It Is

My title describes the situation of my life exactly except that I neglected to include my academic pursuits, for which I have had little time of late, in it. To begin, then, my sister and I went to our first rehearsal for Fiddler on the Roof last evening, and I was ready for these to commence. We have a cast of about 55, which is a considerable decrease from our regular amount of performers in our summer musicals, but this smaller cast almost makes me think that our show will be even better than previous ones have been. Most of the principals in our show are perfect for their parts, but I am not sure about the others since I have never met them. I think our greatest difficulty shall be mastering our Russian accents. Some of our cast members have likened it to having a lazy tongue with a marble in the front of one's mouth (try saying that with a Russian accent), and it seems to be a comparable analogy for those of us with little experience with Russian. I have finally found a language in which I have no degree of proficiency that I must use. Usually, I can discern what I am saying in any of the Romance and many of the Teutonic languages, but Russian and Finnish are alleged to be two of the most difficult languages to grasp in the world; it is good, then, that I am learning the proper accent to use when speaking this lexicon. Perhaps I shall learn Russian in the future.

As for work, I had it pretty easy in the professional realm this week as my employer was on vacation in New York City seeing shows and visiting with friends. However, my parents decided to capitalize on this period of relaxation for me and remodel part of our kitchen while I was at home. For about the space of a week, the wall separating our kitchen from our bathroom was open, so every spare minute of mine has been devoted to manual or mental labor.

You may recall that I said something about my debut as an author in a recent post. I finished the short history of my local community theatre before the thirtieth of the preceding month. I am largely dissatisfied with the finished product, but there is little that can placate me since I discovered how truly little I knew of the history of the venue while I was writing it. Soon, I shall rewrite it after I interview several people who were influential in creating the history of the theatre, and I am confident that when I understand the facts from the sources, I shall write something worthy of our newly redesigned website, which brings me to my next piece of news. I am one of only three people who have actually seen the new design of our website, and, while it is not online yet, you shall have to take my word for it when I say that it is truly an excellent piece of work. It is such a graceful, elegant departure from what we currently have, and it rivals the sites of some of our more professional theatre companies in the state.

As for opera, a subject which is difficult to follow in the summer months, let me say that I wish that I could go and see Dawn Upshaw in recital in Virginia. There was an advertisement for it in the May issue of Opera News, I believe. Her voice is so pure, and her range is almost unbelievable. I wish she would sing in an opera at the Met. The role I would love to hear her sing is Ilia in Mozart's Idomeneo. I would also think that her voice would be ideal for the Handel repertoire. Listen to her in this video on YouTube of her singing With Darkness Deep from Theodora.

One hears and understands every syllable she sings, and usually sopranos have trouble with their diction in English, but Ms. Upshaw clearly does not. She is also an accomplished singer in the realm of Broadway's repertoire. She does not disappoint in this video from Carnegie Hall's Opening Night 2008 in celebration of Leonard Bernstein's 90th birthday. She sings with Christine Ebersole, Thomas Hampson, and (yes, really) conductor Micheal Tilson Thomas. Yo-yo Ma was also there, and he played an amazing cello solo.

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and thank you for reading.