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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Met National Council Auditions: Grand Finals


What a wonderful afternoon! What a great thing to see young singers singing their hearts out and all that talent onstage. I was 4/4 with my picks. Only unsure about the fifth winner, who turned out to be tenor Joseph Dennis. And thanks to my friend Gerald Martin Moore I got to meet some of the amazing winners afterwards in the reception.
These were my predictions during intermission. I was 4/4. Unsure about the final winner.


The amazing Reginald Smith, whose voice really shook the rafters.
Elegant French mezzo soprano Virginie Verrez
Amazing bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee

An American in Paris


I actually hesitated before writing this review of An American in Paris because: 1. It's still officially in "previews" although the prices that are charged are the same as a regular show; and 2. maybe some time and distance will soften my stance on the show. But then I decided no, better to just lay it all out.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A (Long) Chat with Danielle de Niese

Soprano Danielle de Niese, photo by Sven Arnstein
Opera lovers of today might know Danielle de Niese from her astounding output in the last decade: starting with her famous video of Giulio Cesare as well as her continued participation in the Glyndebourne Festival and for New York operaphiles, her recent performances of The Enchanted Island, Così fan tutte, and Nozze di Figaro. But de Niese actually made her Met debut in 1998 as Barbarina and has been singing ever since she was 8 years old! Unfortunately Danielle won't be able to sing in the may revival of The Merry Widow, but for the happiest reasons: she is expecting her first child! But Danielle was kind enough to take the time to talk with me about her very long, successful career. Thank you Danielle!

Here are some highlights:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Winter Season Conclusion


Today was the first day of March but New York got hit with yet another snowstorm. It's okay though -- the New York City Ballet's final Winter Season performance was enough to put a smile on any balletomane's face.

The performance started off with a performance Square Dance that might be the finest performance I've seen at the NYCB all winter, period. Ashley Bouder was of course magnificent in the leading lady role -- crisp, secure, fast, with endless reserves of horsepower, but with enough delicacy that's appropriate for this extremely courtly ballet. She's still hands down probably the strongest allegro dancer of the company. Anthony Huxley matched Bouder beat for beat, jump for jump. His adagio solo was buttery smooth. But the corps behind them were with them every step -- it was just one of those performances where you got the sense of a happy dancing community, which is the key for Square Dance.