Now that Against the Grain are in the process of completing their da Ponte trio with A Little Too Cozy enquiring minds want to know where the genre of site specific updating goes next. And who better to do this than the formidable combined artistic brain power of my loyal readers (even the Bolshie ones). Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to outline (in the Comments) a possible scenario for a site specific updating of a canonical opera. Here’s mine: Continue reading
I’ve always been a fan of those BBC Radio 4 programs where people have to do silly things so I was naturally drawn to LooseTEA’s fundraiser “Whose opera is it anyway?” in which a select band of singers (Greg Finney, Whitney Mather, Michael York, Charlotte Church, Fabian Arcineagas and Kijong Wi) got to do silly things bid on by the audience. Some of the silly things even involved members of the audience. Asa Iranmehr was on the keyboards and comedian Andrew Johnston, despite almost total ignorance of anything operatic, MC’d.
It was great fun and much funnier than the average bel canto “comedy”. Highlights included Sit, Stand Lie where Michael, Greg and Fabian had to perform La mia Dorabella with one of them in each position at any one time, Moving People where Greg and Whitney were “manipulated” by Aria Umezawa, Michael Mori, Katja “polkadots” Juliannova and Rachel Krehm while singing the Papageno/a duet. The best/weirdest singing was probably a couple of “in the style of”s. I was really impressed by Whitney’s Deh vieni non tardar in the style of Miranda Sings. It takes real talent to sing that badly! Greg’s Catalogue Aria in the style of (a very lugubrious) Vladimir Putin was a hoot too. My sunglasses came in handy in “Props”.
The snacks were decidedly better than they often are at these events too. Really good pizza! So, a good time was had by all. More people should come to these things. Have a few drinks, meet fun people, see just how multi-talented some of our singers are and have fun. Why not?
Sorry about the photo quality. Taken by me on my phone.
How scary is this?
And if you haven’t figured it out go look here. There are a few, a very few, tickets left.
Photo: Darryl Block
I clipped and blew this up from a shot taken by Kevin Lloyd at yesterday’s Derek Holman concert. At least this one didn’t make me the one invisible member of the audience!
I really struggle with early Verdi. I want to like it. I want to like anything by the guy who wrote Don Carlo and Simon Boccanegra. Also, there’s so much of it about that avoiding it is tedious. But, and it’s a big but, I really struggle with the combination of deadly serious stage action and upbeat, bouncy music. There are all these arias that go something like :
We’re going to murder you,
Rum, tum, tum, tumpty tum.
We’re going to chop you up
Rum, tum, tum, tum.
Cognitive dissonance is killing me and that’s my thought for the day brought to you by Giuseppe Verdi, Francesco Plava and a very puzzled William Shakespeare.
Canadian tenor Jamie McLennan has a video blog. As he puts it, “It’s just me, my iPhone, a $40 mic and whoever I can grab to work the camera.” Below you can see him at work during rehearsals of Verdi’s Falstaff in Hamilton(*). It’s worth watching just to see Sasha Djihanian twerking.
(*)For non Canadians, Hamilton, ON is a sort of Canadian Scunthorpe or Redcar. Not, perhaps a typical opera venue.