Kirby PopUp Museum

A Kickstarter-funded temporary pop-up location for the Hoboken-based Jack Kirby Museum is up and running this week at 176 Delancey Street in Manhattan, with exhibits, events, and even a scanner for you to digitize any Kirby art you may happen to own!  It’s up through next Monday, the 11th.

It’s a home-coming for the museum, since Kirby grew up on the Lower East Side himself, later creating an autobiographical comic of his childhood there called Street Code.  The museum has a great post about the history of Street Code, an unique part of his oeuvre as Kirby’s only self-produced autobio story.

Jack Kirby, Street Code spread

Kirby’s Street Code

I remember seeing Street Code at MoCCA’s 2010 Neo-Integrity exhibit, and it’s an amazing alternative account of that moment in the city’s history; a bit jarring because of the superhero-ish qualities of Kirby’s art, but incredibly dynamic and full of details.

The original Kickstarter‘s purpose was to remodel a storefront in the Lower East Side to create a local hub for rotating pop-up events, and the Jack Kirby Museum is their tenant for this week.

Two Boys Live Stream

(Not the porny kind!)

Tonight is the stateside premiere of Nico Muhly‘s Two Boys, commissioned by the Met Opera and given a workshop world premiere at English National Opera.  Tonight’s performance will be live streamed on the Met’s site at 8pm.  Here’s the NYT review of the premiere.

Two Boys at ENO poster

Poster from ENO’s Two Boys premiere

There’s a neat behind-the-scenes article about the development of the piece since ENO.  It also mentions some of the outside-the-box promotion the Met’s been doing (TV spots during Catfish seem appropriate), including an “Ask me Anything” session with Muhly on Reddit!  Strangely engrossing…   He elaborated on some of the questions on his own site too.

PS: “Two Boys One Cup” was definitely a Google autofill suggestion today…

EDITED TO ADD:  Britten‘s final opera, Death in Venice, is streaming until Friday on BBC Radio 3, which I mention here because of Muhly’s self-proclaimed love of Britten’s operas and the centrality of a boy character to each.  Maybe by listening to the two you can play spot-the-influence; I heard some gamelan-like touches are appear in both…

Also, here’s a video from the Met with the most music and footage from the actual opera as I’ve yet seen…  To put some visuals to the disembodied music you’ll hear tonight…


Netrebko on Verdi on NPR

Anna Netrebko's Verdi CD, on Deutsche Grammophon

Anna Netrebko: Verdi, on Deutsche Grammophon

Superstar soprano Anna Netrebko‘s new CD is all Verdi all the time (just in time for his bicentennial, naturally), and before it drops stateside you can preview the whole thing on NPR‘s First Listen.

Here’s one of the arias she performs, in an earlier performance from the opening gala of the new Mariinsky II Theater in St. Petersburg.

Diamond Jubilee, Revisited

I hadn’t been to BBC Radio 3’s Opera page in a while, but now’s a good time to revisit because Britten‘s 1953 opera Gloriana, written for the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II‘s coronation, has made its first return to its original commissioner, the Royal Opera House.

1953 Premiere production of Gloriana at Royal Opera House

1953 premiere performance of Britten’s Gloriana, from the ROH Online Archives.

Britten’s Gloriana on BBC Radio 3

Gloriana was sort of a failure at its time, hence the 60-year wait for a repeat.  A pretty rare opera with a great cast and production (a play within a play, apparently).

2013 Production of Gloriana at Royal Opera House

2013 Production of Gloriana at ROH; Photo copyright the Royal Opera House & Clive Barda

For more current photos, I didn’t realize the ROH had a Flickr account…  Also, I was looking through their Online Archives for that 1953 picture, but they’ve been publicizing the original pictures more publicly on their site too

Only 3 days left for Gloriana on BBC; after that it’s back to the Wagner & Verdi fest, when will it end…  D:

Verdi Bicentennial the BBC Way

As I’ve mentioned many a time, this opera season marks the 200th birthday of Italian stallion Giuseppe Verdi, so opera houses all over the world are doing even more Verdi than they’d normally do, as well as reaching back for more obscure pieces.

BBC Radio 3 is going all out too, saying they’re going to stream every Verdi opera ever for a week each.  Right now their Verdi 200 includes three more off-the-beaten-path operas: 1857’s Simon Boccanegra has become a wider hit in recent years, the earlier 1843 I Lombardi, and the 1854 French grand opéra style I Vespri Siciliani.  (The distinct, strict traditions of French vs. Italian opera are really fascinating, but interesting to see that operas and composers could cross over too…)  Tomorrow, Verdi classic Il Trovatore gets added to the list too.

I’m wondering if LA Opera‘s production of the obscure Il Due Foscari will make it to BBC…  Speaking of LA Opera, if you’re a nerd like me who waits on the edge of their seat for new opera season announcements, LA just announced their 2013/2014 season, including some more Verdi (and a Britten too, for his centennial); pretty ahead of the curve, LA!

Courtesan with a Heart of Gold

La Monnaie, Brussels’ opera house, has a new production of Verdi‘s La Traviata updated to take place in a brothel, and it’s now available for free online viewing.  Leave it to those crazy Europeans!

La Monnaie La Traviata 2012 poster

Poster for the 2012 La Monnaie production of La Traviata; Photo by Flore-Aël Surum

Oh but what’s this…  Even some Europeans are uncomfortable with aspects of the production, prompting La Monnaie to invite four stage directors and production director Andrea Berth to comment on the question of artistic freedom, censorship, and what’s appropriate for the stage.  Interesting stuff…

Another interesting aspect of La Monnaie is their online database with information on past productions.  You can look for posters (like the one above) and design schematics (like the one below; I’m guessing the 1955 production didn’t have as many naked ladies prancing around).

La Monnaie La Traviata 1955 set design

Hours of entertainment for a library science student like me…

QRSiegfried TempestUV on BBC

I lost track of BBC Radio 3‘s online streaming operas during the holidays, but I checked it out today and was surprised by how many options there were!  It’s a bit misleading though, since certain gargantuan operas need to be split up into several installments…  That being said, you can listen to Siegfried, the third installment in Wagner‘s Ring Cycle, from London’s Royal Opera House, as well as Thomas Adès‘ The Tempest from the Met Opera in New York.

Arthur Rackham Ring illustration #38

Image by Arthur Rackham

(Ah, nice to see Rackham here again, no?  Click on the image above to see his full portfolio of Ring Cycle illustrations.)

Also, check in on Saturday for a new installment, with yet another gargantuan opera: Berlioz‘s 5-act epic, Les Troyens (more on this later).  It’s actually a live broadcast, so tune in at 12 noon East Coast time for the full effect…