Shop til you Drop

Happy Black Friday everyone!  Actually, considering it starts earlier each year, I’m probably already late to the party…

Anyway, Lithuanian composer Lina Lapelyte‘s opera, Have a Good Day!, sung by a line-up of frustrated store clerks, seems appropriate for this most American of holidays…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXgJiEz5DhU&h=250&w=350]

It premiered in 2012 in Lithuania by Operamanija, and is coming to New York in January 2014, in the second annual Prototype Opera Festival, with several other exciting premieres…  Check out the rest of their offerings, and get your tickets now for this exciting new indie opera tradition…

Advertisements

NYCO flashback in Boston

Opinions have been flying among online opera lovers on the topic of New York City Opera‘s dissolution, and one of the nicer things to come out of the comments sections are links to full videos of old telecasts of NYCO performances, including their 1999 performance of Jack Beeson‘s Lizzie Borden, which they premiered in 1965.  (link to part 2)

Nice to see those newer works documented, since they don’t necessarily get much traffic outside the original commissioning opera house…  That being said, Boston Lyric Opera is actually performing a new, reduced chamber version of the opera later this month!  So watch the original to prepare for this latest version…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKuxOVyzIWs&w=350&h=300]

Gives a somewhat comforting sense of continuity even in the wake of NYCO‘s ignominous falling apart…

Speaking of beloved New York institutions which have since shuttered, the Society of Illustrators recently announced four of the special guests for next year’s MoCCA Arts Fest, and it’s a venerable bunch, so should be fun!

B(r)ook(lyn) Fest

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNqlSDhsFbo&w=350&h=300]

This Sunday is the Brooklyn Book Festival, and with all the great events going on, I always find it useful to narrow my options down somehow…  So for your convenience, here are all the comics-related events I could find (plus one surprise opera-themed event!).

(Un)fortunately, looking at comic events doesn’t limit it too much this year!  I went last year, and I think the 2 comics events I went to were the only ones, so this is a much expanded roster of events, on a wide range of themes; nice to see the diversity of the medium on display…

If Sunday isn’t enough for you, David Prudhomme, who’s launching a new book at the Festival, will also be the guest of honor on Monday’s NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium.

Comics events after the cut, and here’s a map of participating venues to help you plan; happy booking! Continue reading

A Champion’s Opera

Boxer Emile Griffith

Opera companies’ announcements of their next season is like early Christmas for me, and the end of summer provides a mini-offering of season announcements from the summer opera festivals.

The Opera Theater of Saint Louis is one such summer opera festival, and a pretty adventurous one at that; their recently announced 2014 season includes a newly commissioned opera, part of a series initiated by this season’s world premiere…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature&v=Oe-KTfFqqwc&w=350&h=300]

Champion, an “opera in jazz” by Terence Blanchard was based on the true story of Caribbean-American boxer Emile Griffith, a champion welter- and middleweight infamous for beating a 1962 opponent to death.  Griffith’s sexuality had been called into question by his opponent, and he was later severely beaten outside a gay club in 1992, ultimately admitting in a 2005 interview that he’d had relations with both men and women.  Gotta love this poignant quote from Ron Ross’ 2006 biography: Continue reading

Britten to Zandonai

This Sunday and Monday you can treat yourself to a double feature of operas from the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Glyndebourne opera festival in England.

Francesca da Rimini at The Met, 2013

Copyright Metropolitan Opera, Photo by Marty Sohl

First up, Sunday at noon in New York, PBS is airing the Metropolitan Opera‘s performance of Riccardo Zandonai‘s Francesca da Rimini (check your local listings).  The Met gave the opera’s American premiere in 1916, but it’s gotten pretty intermittent revivals since then; this performance is a revival of a 1984 production.

Then on Monday, via the internet, you can see Glyndebourne‘s 2010  production of Benjamin Britten‘s Billy Budd (lots of B–alliteration), fitting for his centennial year.  They just say that the webcast will be at “lunchtime”…  Greenwich Mean Time, I presume…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSVW47iCv70&w=350&h=300]

Luckily, all the webcasts of this summer’s Glyndebourne performances are still available online, so you can catch up with some Rameau, Strauss, or Donizetti after you’re done with Monday’s Britten.

Refrigerated Rameau

Glyndebourne's Hippolyte et Aricie

The Glyndebourne summer opera festival in England will be live-streaming their first ever production of a Rameau opera, his 1733 debut opera, Hippolyte et Aricie, tomorrow from their website at 1:15 PM, East Coast time.

This was Rameau‘s first opera, written when he was 50, and it set off a great divide between more traditional operatic followers of Lully, who established the conventions of French opera, and the “Ramoneurs” who appreciated Rameau‘s inventive and chock-block full-o’-hits creation.

As you can see, the Glyndebourne production is for some reason set in a refrigerator…  But at any rate, you should get a nice musical performance to complement the wacky stage direction, since Buffalo-born master of the French Baroque William Christie is conducting.

Last Week to Journey

I’ve been sorta swept up in class work and work work this summer, so I’ve been missing tons of cool summer events in New York.  The Lincoln Center Festival alone has been presenting lots of opera…  It’s already too late for most of it (sorry folks, hope you had other, timelier sources of NYC opera info…), but definitely some interesting stuff, so check it out if only to regret not knowing earlier…

The center pieces of the Festival, running its duration, is Monkey: Journey to the West, an acrobatic show with music by Damon Albarn (of Britpop band Blur) and animation by Jamie Hewlett (illustrator of Tankgirl & Gorillaz).  Based on a 16th century Buddhist story, it premiered in 2007 at Manchester and the duo teamed up to create that animation segment for the BBC’s coverage of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.  This is the last week to see it.