Well, I’m back from Vancouver, but on one of my last days there I saw a work-in-progress dance performance by local company 605 Collective at the Vancouver International Dance Festival. which I enjoyed, but after a mostly electronic soundtrack, I was surprised that the piece ended to the tune of Enrico Caruso singing this aria from Bizet‘s 1863 Pearl Fishers opera:
Probably the best known piece from this opera, but if you want to see the full picture, it’ll be receiving its first Met Opera production in 100 years in the forthcoming 2015-2016 season:
It was a good week for Händel fans in New York, with the 1720 Radamisto at Juilliard and the Mark Morris Dance Group‘s setting of his 1740 oratorio L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato at the White Light Festival.
I was lucky enough to see both, starting with Radamisto on Wednesday. The New York Times review doesn’t do it justice in my opinion, I guess I have a high tolerance for nonstop da capo arias… And the performers were all great, very impressive. Since then I’ve been reliving it with this full performance from Salzburg in 2002.
L’Allegro’s premiere at La Monnaie in 1988
As for L’Allegro, etc., I learned last night that it was created when Mark Morris was choreographer in residence at La Monnaie, the opera house in Brussels. And since they have such a great digital archive, I was able to find photographs and costume designs from the premiere performance; even as still images, they bring back the joy of the performance, so lovely.
Here’s a featurette on L’Allegro, etc. (is there some acronym for this? LAIPEIM?) from MMDG themselves.
In honor of last night’s Russian-themed season opener at the Metropolitan Opera, with Tchaikovsky‘s Eugene Onegin (NYT Review here), enjoy the full video of the inauguration of the new Mariinsky II theater in St. Petersburg from earlier this year, featuring a who’s who of Russian conductors, singers, & instrumentalists in selections from opera, ballet, etc…
I’d forgotten this was up over on Arte Live Web, which has lots of full performances up for months at a time, including lots of classical & opera (I’ll let you explore their opera tag, but it ranges from Francesco Cavalli to Knut Vaage; will have to explore these offerings s’more later). This video is up for almost 40 more days, so there’s still time to catch up with some of the operatic highlights of the European summer season…
Can’t believe I forgot about this!
Tomorrow at noon (12:30 in New York), PBS is showing the Metropolitan Opera‘s performance of Händel‘s most beloved opera, Giulio Cesare. This production, by Sir David McVicar, was imported from Glyndebourne where it premiered in 2005, and it’s a fun one, as the choreographed number above shows.
Giulio Cesare at the Met, 2013, photo by Marty Sohl
Flying to Chicago today for the American Library Association‘s annual conference, so here’s some stuff from Kander & Ebb‘s 1975 musical Chicago, cuz why not.
And here’s Bebe Neuwirth‘s Tony-winning turn as Velma Kelly in the 1996 revival:
Forgot to plug this, on PBS tonight at 9pm:
Watch Season 3 Preview on PBS. See more from Michael Feinsteins American Songbook.
Michael Feinstein is an American chanteur in the swooning tradition, which I’m not always a huge fan of, but I am interested in his preservationist inclinations… A prior episode in his series showed his sweet audio archiving and transferring set-up at home, so as a library science student I was intrigued. (Link below to a video on his collection of old sheet music.)
Watch Lost and Found on PBS. See more from Michael Feinsteins American Songbook.
His American Songbook series on PBS returns for a third season, with episodes devoted to the early 20th century history of popular song through show tunes, dance, and radio in America.
PBS has a real hard-on for Broadway, I feel like I’ve gotten good crash courses in American musicals history just from them. This should be another good addition to that televised lesson plan, and they have a few other relevant transmissions throughout this month, so I’ll keep you posted on those too…
Enjoy your super-boring Oscars awards tonight, I think I’ve given up on them, pretty boring. Not that the above clip is much better?
That’s Entertainment is probably the one hit of the movie it came from, 1953’s The Band Wagon. I actually inexplicably saw it in a film studies class, and even I, with my soft spot for tacky movie musicals, was a bit… confused by it all. That being said, it’s apparently beloved by critics and historians, so shows you what I know.