Sunday, August 15, 2010

Renee Fleming in Armida on PBS, and Opera on Twitter

Concerning the first part of my post's title,  Mary Zimmerman's latest production for the Metropolitan Opera, Gioacchino Rossini's Armida, will be aired on PBS later this month. My local station is scheduled to air it on the twenty-eighth, and I am immensely excited to see this again after being one of the nearly two hundred thousand audience members who saw it in May as part of the Met's Live in HD season. The cast included the radiant Renee Fleming as Armida, who is supposed to be a sorceress, the incomparable Lawrence Brownlee as Rinaldo, who falls in love with Armida, the surprisingly talented John Osborne, and a former cast member to Renee in Handel's Rodelinda when it was last presented at the Metropolitan Opera, Kobie van Rensburg. Because I immensely enjoyed this performance, when I discovered that the Met was scheduled to revive this production for the 2010-11 season with much of the same cast including Fleming, I elected to choose it as the anchor of my entertainment for my maiden visit to New York City next year.

The production itself was rather lacking in developing and advancing the chronicle of events, and I did not think that it gave enough emphasis to the magic potential of the production, since this was a critical point of the Met's marketing of this production, and, for evidence of this, I refer to the line that I constantly read which regularly mentioned Fleming starring as "Rossini's sorceress". I wish Zimmerman would think in such visionary spectrums as Robert Lepage or in such wonderfully revitalizing terms as Bartlett Sher. Beyond the failings of the production, I must say that the singing was most enjoyable, and the tenors performed exceptionally well. I was impressed by the varying vocal tones of the different tenors, who are all respected as opulent performers of the Bel Canto repertoire. Lawrence Brownlee's high notes sounded almost effortless, and I must admit that I was extraordinarily envious of his marvelous voice. I would appreciate seeing him perform in other Rossini operas that are rarely performed, so I would be anxious to see him Guillame Tell somewhere.

As for the second portion of my title, it may have come to some of my readers' attention that I have included a Twitter widget to my blog's sidebar, which implies that I have a Twitter account. I have found a wealth of information through both Chelsea and SarahB, and I would like to think that I have become a better acquaintance to both of them in the process. Chelsea and SarahB, I proffer my immense gratitude to you both for so readily accepting my presence on Twitter and through following your respective blogs, and I have exuberantly enjoyed learning so much from the both of your collective knowledge of opera. I have also discovered that opera has an enormous presence on Twitter. I follow sixty-nine people or organizations, most of which are related to opera or the arts, which is a considerable amount of entities when one considers the limited amount of time that I have spent using Twitter. It turns out that almost any piece of relevant news to opera that can be expressed in one hundred forty characters or less can be found on this rather unique social networking website. Danielle De Niese, Renee Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, Thomas Hampson, the Metropolitan Opera, and most of the other major opera houses of the nation, and, indeed, the world, have Twitter feeds, and I have collected all of the ones of which I am aware into a list, which is what I display in my Twitter widget as a feed. The amount of information one can receive from these short communiques is most definitely immense, and it is not difficult to hold conversations on a given subject between a group of people, for Chelsea, SarahB, and I discussed American opera and Tobias Pickers's An American Tragedy recently. I hope that this new medium of communication affords us as great an opportunity at discovering new things about opera as any of its predecessors, and I am pleased to think that I am an humble part of it. I currently possess five followers to my tweets, as they are colloquially known by account holders to the service, and among this group of individuals is Carnegie Hall's Twitter account. I am most exuberant about this, and, while my cause for rejoice may be slight in the minds of some, I am honored that I am referenced by such a revered establishment as it is among our world of entertainment venues.

I thank all of youfor continuing to peruse my posts, and I continue to pray for God's blessings to each of you.

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