The opera is structured as four love stories in four “exotic” settings; last time I shared excerpts from the North American and Persian settings, so here’s one from the Peruvian story in a different production by Les Arts Florissants at the Paris Opera:
For a more modern, but still Bizarro Twins appropriate, depiction of Native Americans, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York is offering daily screenings of installments of the Stories from the Seventh Fire, a series of cartoons inspired by Anishinaabe folklore through Sunday.
The animation is in parts inspired by the art of pioneering Anishinaabe Canadian artist Norval Morriseau, which is also on view at the NMAI. Here’s an appraisal of some lovely Morriseau pieces on Antiques Roadshow, if that floats your boat like it does mine.
Named for the famous American tenor, the Foundation awards a rising American opera singer each year, and the accompanying concert features them and a host of famous singers too, guaranteed to be an especially luminous bunch for Tucker’s 100th birthyear… This year’s awardee is the mezzo soprano Isabel Leonard.
Richard Tucker in La Gioconda at the Met, 1945
Tucker made his Met debut in La Gioconda in 1945, where this excerpt was apparently recorded:
The initial impression, based on this New York Times review, was apparently somewhat mixed:
Special interest naturally centered in the company’s new tenor, Mr. Tucker, who had the misfortune to make his initial appearance in a formidable role too heavy for his essentially lyric type of voice. Nevertheless, he made a definitely favorable impression and was enthusiastically received by the large audience.
If you’re more interested in the Shackleton side of things than the opera side of things, you could also watch the 3-part Chasing Shackleton documentary starting tonight on PBS. It follows that failed 1914 Antarctic expedition, focusing on the improbable rescue mission led by Shackleton that ultimately saved every member of his crew. Check your local listings.
The last musical theater installment in PBS‘ Arts Fall Festival is Rodger & Hammerstein‘s 1943 musical, Oklahoma!, in a performance from the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, originally from 1998, featuring singin’, dancin’ Wolverine (aka, Hugh Jackman). 9pm this Friday.
The latest news about Company is that Sondheim’s working on a revised version (possibly for the Roundabout Theater Company) that would make the central bachelor, Bobby, a gay man juggling three boyfriends instead of three girlfriends. Much as I like the man-on-man action, it strikes me as a case of too-much-playing-to-your-audience, and besides, they’d be taking 4 great roles away from women to men… But I guess it’ll be an interesting experiment if nothing else…
Co-commissioned by the Dallas Opera, SF Opera, and three others, its since made its way round those partner companies, and will premiere at the Washington National Opera February of next year. Its received mostlyglowingreviews, so here’s your chance to see it for yourself (assuming you didn’t already see it live in Dallas, San Francisco, San Diego, Adelaide, or Calgary).
Here’s an evening with Heggie, discussing his musical formation up to Moby Dick, at San Diego. He’s an engaging speaker, and he covers his fortuitous fall into composing opera from working in an opera company’s PR department. UCTV also has this spot devoted to the Moby Dick at Sand Diego Opera.
The next two Fridays on PBS are also devoted to the more musical side of theater, with Sondheim’s Company and Rodger & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! So set your Friday nights aside for free musical fun!
I almost forgot about this myself, but PBS aired Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, a 3 part documentary on the history of American comic book Superheroes, this week and now all episodes are online for a limited time only!
Here’s a panel on the documentary from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con if you wanna pre-game post-emptively:
I saw the first installment of the series and enjoyed it, especially to see interviews with some of the original creators in the field who have since passed, like Joe Simon, Carmine Infantino, Jerry Robinson, and even some archival footage of Jack Kirby.