Category Archives: Opera

Posts about Opera, Opera singers and Opera music

A Magnificent Demonstration of Coloratura Singing By Cecilia Bartoli

Recital de la maravillosa Cecilia Bartoli

According to Wikipedia –  “”coloratura“, …normally means soprano coloratura. A coloratura soprano role, most famously typified by the Queen of the Night in Mozart‘s The Magic Flute, has a high range and requires the singer to execute with great facility elaborate ornamentation and embellishment, including running passages, staccati, and trills.”

Click on the video below. It’s a great example of coloratura singing.  Cecilia Bartoli sings “Agitata da due venti” (Vivaldi, Griselda). This is a very, very demanding piece but Bartoli is doing it without any problem. Extreme jumps from very high to very low. Amazing midriff work and it all looks like with seamless effort.

Are you still reading this? Click on the video below…

 

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Filed under Classical Music, Opera, Piano

Benjamin Britten at 100 – time for a new appraisal?

Benjamin Britten (Wikipedia)

Benjamin Britten in the mid-1950s (Wikipedia)

The music of Benjamin Britten has a spell on me and it never stop to surprise me. You always find enchanting combinations of musical instruments and human voices. Wonderful melodies as well as not so easy to listen to pieces.

That’s why I was happy to find this article from the Guardian – “Benjamin Britten at 100 – time for a new appraisal? A more relaxed attitude may be emerging towards the colossal musical legacy of Britain’s modern titan of the opera”

Britten’s 100th anniversary is an excellent time to look back at his legacy. Read the comments left on the article they give some perspective as well.

One of my favorite Britten pieces is Exultate – Ceremony of Carols. Listen to the unique combination of the choir and harp as well as the live tempos:

 

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Der Ring des Nibelungen – Informal Learning

English: Soprano Amalie Materna as Brünnhilde ...

(Wikipedia)

The www.wagneropera.net contains as you can imagine, a lot of material on Wagner’s operas. On the page dedicated to the “Der Ring des Nibelungen“, there are two links to videos (two out of three) of the English–Canadian singer and comedienne Anna Russell, explaining Richard Wagner‘s Ring.

The sketch is as funny as a 40 years old sketch can be. That means it has its good parts and some “slow” parts. The interesting fact for me is that I have ever heard the fool story of the “ring” before and Anna Russell’s “lesson” seem to have done  a good job for me.

This made me wonder about how much of our musical education (and education in general) gets to us in “proper education” classes and how much in non formal ways? How much do we learn out of curiosity, especially when it comes to non popular music? How much is learned just out of accidentally gathering small pieces of information?

This is the first time I saw Anna Russell but reading Wikipedia it seems that “The Ring of the Nibelungs (An Analysis)” was one of the pieces that made her famous. It may have been written to a more knowledgeable audience than me but it certainly made me curios.

Let me know about your informal music learning experiences!

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Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

Fisher Dieskau was a mentor and the “golden reference” to many professional and amateur singers. In my 1st voice lesson as an amateur singer, I’ve learned that if I really want to hear how a Lieder should sound I’d better listen to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau performance. Everything he did was perfect starting from technicalities such as diction and all the way to his wonderful and reliable performances and interpretation.

I don’t take voice lessons anymore but the performances of Dietrich Fischer Dieskau will always accompany me and be a source of inspiration.

Here he is in one of my favorite piece of music – Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin

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Filed under Classical Music, Opera