Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Things For Which I Am Thankful

The national holiday of Thanksgiving, being native to the United States of America, given to us by our ancestors who sailed on the Mayflower from Holland to seek the religious freedom that the incorporation of an independent government might bestow upon them and their progeny, has given me ample reason to think of some of the various things for which I should be eternally grateful. Since I have not written a post in a while, being otherwise occupied with rehearsals and performances of Stephen Schwartz's Children of Eden and my vocation, I thought that it would be acceptable for me to devote this one to such a divinely manifested subject as this one appears to be. Therefore, I devote the immediate portion of this post to a list of such things. I must caution my readers that this may seem most mundane and boring to my readers, but, nevertheless, I shall endeavor to present these items for the interested parties.

  1. I am thankful for my relationship with God and his continued providence and grace for me.

  2. I possess much gratitude for my gracious acquaintances and friends who have been kind enough to profess interest in my life and my predilections. They have proven themselves to be excellently indulgent to me, and they constantly encourage me in all things.

  3. I am also grateful for my loving family who have ever remained by my side in whatever circumstances in which I have found myself. It is they who have had the greatest impact upon my life, and they are supportive of all of my endeavors.

  4. I should be greatly remiss if I neglected to declare something concerning my thanks for all of the freedom we, the populace of the United States, are providently granted, and my equal thanks for those of us who protect it from within our territories as well as without them.

  5. What sort of wretch should I be labeled if I were to forget to mention my appreciation of the possessions I am afforded the gracious opportunity to maintain? I adore my rather expansive collection of classical music and my precious library of literature. They are these two things along with my attire that I should find it difficult to relinquish.

  6. To all of those who have contributed to my education in whatever means, I am immensely indebted and thankful, for who am I without it?

  7. I have lately realized what a beautiful thing it is to live in Oklahoma, and I am greatly thankful to my parents for choosing to reside in the metropolis that is our capitol city of the state. I must also thank all of the excellent classical music artists who perform here in this state from time to time, for they are more than I at first thought, and I could easily be deprived of this luxury. One luminary ensemble to whom I am anxiously looking forward to seeing perform live is Anonymous4. If you ever listen to this quartet, you may never wish to hear any other music besides theirs.
  8. I am thankful for the vocal talent that God has chosen to bestow upon me. I pray that I forever praise Him with that endowment.

  9. I am exceedingly grateful for Metropolitan Opera broadcasts and Opera News magazine.

  10. I retain much gratitude for my health and vivacity of life; moreover, I cannot lose this virtuous quality of thanks since I was born with a shadow over my probable future, something I may choose to share later in my continuing blog, and I pray that I may never take it for granted.

Although I could easily name many other things for which my spirit contains gratitude, I have elected to shorten this post by proceeding to another topic of interest.

Opera News' December 2009 issue, the first of its broadcast issues for the upcoming Metropolitan Opera broadcast season, employs Joseph Calleja as its cover subject. Tenor Calleja, who is scheduled to star as Hoffmann in Bartlett Sher's new production of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann for an ailing Rolando Villazon who is suffering from a cyst on his vocal cords, iterates some very interesting perspectives on his interpretation of how to sing and to maintain one's instrument; however, these aforementioned perspectives all seem to be excellent recommendations and prudent for all singers. If only he applied such reasoning to his driving habits, of which we are informed by the author of the interview, we might have finally found a true Renaissance man. It also begs reference that Cecilia Bartoli's latest release, which is entitled Sacrificium, made the Editor's Pick in the section reserved for reviews of new recordings. I had hoped that this release would attain such an accolade for itself, especially after Renee Fleming's Verismo did not, and, insofar as those who style themselves critics are concerned, I was elated to have finally chosen a good recording.

Finally, I thank all of you for reading my post, and I pray that you attain the enjoyment of an excellent Thanksgiving Day complete with your family and loved ones and a feast evident of the bounty with which God has blessed us.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Richard Tucker Gala

The upcoming Richard Tucker Gala looks to be another impressive evening of music sung by an enticing roster of singers. This year's concert, which some may consider to be a hallmark of the operatic season, especially for those of us who adore special gatherings of star singers who might never otherwise sing together without such an event, is not without its share of expectations, either. The singers who have been tapped to perform for the Richard Tucker Award Gala are Stephanie Blythe, Jospeh Calleja, Elina Garanca, Susan Graham, Anna Netrebko, Hei-Kyung Hong, Maria Guleghina, Zeljko Lucic, James Morris, Matthew Polenzani, Samuel Ramey, and the winner of the 2009 Richard Tucker Award, Stephen Costello. I merely hope that it is broadcast on PBS or on some radio station so that those of us who are not so fortunate as others to have tickets to the performance may at least hear it, but I recall reading in Opera News some years ago that there is a lack of funding to present the Richard Tucker Gala over the air, which makes it all the more pleasing that we were given the enormous benevolence of seeing the 2007 concert last year on PBS. Do I even have to mention the memorable episodes from the artists of that recital? There was Renee Fleming beautifully blending her voice with Joyce DiDonato in Ah, guarda sorella from Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Diana Damrau and DiDonato singing the duet accompanying the presentation of the rose from Der Rosenkavalier, DiDonato providing her signature aria of recent times, Una voce poco fa from Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Damrau offering a spirited and comedic interpretation of Glitter and be Gay from Bernstein's Candide, to mention most of what I recall from that evening.

If thes performances are to be of any indication as to what the upcoming Richard Tucker Gala shall offer musically, I would remind all of you to mark your calendars for November 22, 2009, to be present at the recital, which begins, I believe, at 6 P.M.

On November 19, 2009, the fifth annual Opera News Awards are to be presented to Martina Arroyo, Joyce DiDonato, who, if I am not very much mistaken, has co-hosted this event before, Gerald Finley, Phillip Glass, and Shirley Verret at Gotham Hall at six o'clock, P.M. The evening is hosted by Susan Graham and Thomas Hampson, who have definitley hosted this event before, and the awards shall be given by Stephanie Blythe, Audra McDonald, Deborah Voigt, Paul Simon, and Danielle De Niese. If only the recipients were singing at the event, it would be a most perfect occasion, but even as it is, it sounds most enjoyable.

I have decided to add a new feature to my posts. If I remember to do it, and if I write at least one post per week, I shall include my favorite performance for the current week from the Met's offerings. This is not to say that I shall have listened to them because I make no promise as to that until the Met's broadcast season begins, but it will provide my readers with some knowledge concerning my tastes in opera. In this first week's choice, I am required to choose two performances, and these are Puccini's Turandot starring Maria Guleghina, Marcello Giordani, Maria Poplavskaya, and Samuel Ramey and Rosinni's Il Barbiere di Siviglia starring Joyce DiDonato, Barry Banks, Franco Vassallo, John Del Carlo, and Roberto Scandiuzzi. Both of these operas run throughout the week, but one can see them both this Saturday, November 7, 2009, with Puccini in the afternoon and Rossini in the evening. Opera rarely gives you anything better that this. Also, remember that Puccini's Turandot is part of the Live in HD series, so go to your local movie theater that offers these glorious spectacles and see it wherever you are in the country.

Thank you for reading this post, and may God continually belss you.