Monday, June 27, 2011

Lotus Blossoms, Brookside Gardens

A pleasant afternoon was had at the public gardens -- free admission -- in Montgomery County, Maryland, yesterday.

Brookside Gardens

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Walkure at the Met, 2011, and at Bayreuth, 1951; other notes

On the terrace steps at Biltmore, Asheville.

I added links to my preceding post about the 2011-2012 opera season in Baltimore.

The June 23 issue of the New York Review of Books has an essay by Stephen Greenblatt on "Die Walkure", performed recently at the Met. I'm still reading it, but of note for Baltimore opera goers next season: "'Die Walkure' is arguably the greatest of Wagner's works and, with a few other transcendent works such as Mozart's 'Marriage of Figaro' and Verdi's 'Don Carlo', among the greatest of all operas ever written." Baltimore Concert Opera just did the Mozart, and we're getting two different productions of it by Lyric Opera Baltimore and Opera Vivente next season. Greenblatt's essay: The Lonely Gods

Recent discussion on the Internet about best recordings of Wagner's Ring led me to dip into my Solti Decca set and listen to Act 1 of "Die Walkure". That was thrilling enough, but then I went searching through my collection for an excerpt recording of Act 3, and this was really searing. Herbert von Karajan conducts the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra in a live 1951 performance. Astrid Varnay is Brunnhilde; Leonie Rysanek is Sieglinde; and Sigurd Bjorling (Bjoerling) is Wotan. Varnay, one of the great dramatic sopranos of the last century, is outstanding, as are her fellow cast members. This recording is my only encounter with Sigurd Bjorling. The CD is part of EMI's Great Recordings of the Century series.

In my plans: anticipating Wolf-Ferrari at Wolf Trap Opera Company tomorrow; finding a good route to Opera Vivente's new home in Baltimore's Mayfield neighborhood and exploring (suggestions and advice are welcome).

That June 23 issue of NYRB also has another scary article about the Internet and things to come in computer technology.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The 2011-2012 Opera Season in Baltimore

Repertoire as announced either on websites or recent programs:

Lyric Opera Baltimore, in their inaugural season: Verdi's "La Traviata"; Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress" (collaboration with the Peabody Conservatory); Gounod's "Faust"; Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro"

Opera Vivente, in their 14th season and in their first season in their new home (performances in English): "The Marriage of Figaro"; Handel's "Ariodante"; Smetana's "The Bartered Bride" (another production set in Baltimore)

Baltimore Concert Opera: Puccini's "Madama Butterfly"; Rossini's "La Cenerentola"; Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor"; Puccini's "Il Trittico"

We're also on the edges of our seats, anticipating what the opera department at Peabody will bring in the upcoming season. They usually post the schedule at some point during the summer, and I'll be watching their site. As noticed last year, the conservatory's opera schedule might show up on the general events calendar before it does on the opera department's pages.

My list of opera companies in the region with links to sites

Some programs from the 2010-11 season. Left to right: Peabody, Opera Vivente, Baltimore Concert Opera

Friday, June 3, 2011

on a break maybe; summer calendar

I'm continuing the blogging break that I said I was starting last weekend. I might post links to interesting articles that I find, and I will be checking the blogs in my margin but not writing posts of my own.

Two orchestras in the area entice with interesing programs this weekend: the Columbia Orchestra closer to my home with Haydn, Penderecki, Adams and Radiohead; the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Emanuel Ax in the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1, Golijov and Britten. (Please see the links for these orchestras in the blog's margin.) Meanwhile, I have a developing summer calendar in this previous post.