Opera

Welcoming Paolo Taballione to the 5th Summer Flute Academy!

Courtesy of Powell Flutes, we are excited to welcome Powell Artist Paolo Taballione to the 5th Summer Flute Academy! Paolo will give a recital and work with selected students in a masterclass that promises to be a lot of fun!

I met Paolo briefly at the "Hands-On" flute festival at the University of Aveiro earlier this year, and very much enjoyed his entertaining performance, which included two works he himself arranged for flute and piano! We are waiting to see what else he has up his sleeve for us at the Academy, and look forward to his feedback to our fantastic students! Alongside his many solo performances, Paolo is Solo Flute of the Bavarian State Opera, so be prepared for a little "magic flute-ing"!

There is no cost to participants in the Academy for his (or any of the other) class—it's all included in the very accessible price of the Academy, so hurry up and sign up before places all fill up!

Many thanks to Powell Flutes in Boston, USA, for once again supporting the Academy with the presence of an outstanding flutist at our course!

 Paolo Taballione, Powell Artist

Paolo Taballione, Powell Artist

Women Out In Front!

Dear readers of the male persuasion: please forgive me, but today I just have to write a bit about the rise of women in music, inspired by something amazing I read in the New York Times. Later I’ll write more on this theme, because although it may seem in this year of 2016, that women and men are pretty much on the same footing in the (classical) music business, I’m not so sure we are, truly.

Either way, I think it’s good to look back and see how far we've come, in order to not take things granted. Whenever I mention this subject, or certain historical figures, young players are often taken aback—hasn’t it always been the way it is now? The answer is, alas, a firm NO!

In any case, today I just have to mention a performance of a remarkable and entertaining work for soprano and small orchestra by Gyorgy Ligeti, called “Mysteries of the Macabre”, which was simultaneously sung AND conducted by the American soprano Barbara Hannigan with the Göteborgs Sinfoniker of Sweden. As the article mentions, moving from singing soprano to conducting is fairly rare, but to take both roles at the same time is—was—unheard of. Watch the video here (the work is a real stunner: modern, dramatic, but also hilariously crazy) to see it for your own eyes. 

Oddly enough, after watching this almost operatic rendition (what an outfit!!), I’m now having a hard time even imagining a standard performance, with a soprano soloist and a conductor! I’m crossing my fingers that either the work or the soprano/conductor appear on our orchestra programming; if it happens, you’ll be the first to know!

 Barbara Hannigan singing and conducting Ligeti's "Mysteries of the Macabre"

Barbara Hannigan singing and conducting Ligeti's "Mysteries of the Macabre"

Going out with (verismo) style!

To finish a brilliant season, the Lisbon Opera House—soloists, orchestra and choir—will present Mascagni's famous one-act opera "Cavalleria Rusticana", the first verismo opera, dating from 1890, tonight and tomorrow at 9:30pm. Verismo basically means that there are no ten-minute arias sung while someone dies; if you die, you die FAST! The performances will surely be extra true-to-life as they are part of the July Festival outdoors on the square in front of the Opera House—very picturesque, as well as occasionally windy and noisy—near the Chiado area (see photo below), tuk-tuks and all.

Along with well-known, wonderful Portuguese singers, the production features a fellow American-Expat, Mary Elizabeth Williams, singing the role of Santuzza with both astounding power and subtlety—such an inspiration!

For those preferring creature comforts, Saturday's performance will be broadcast live on Portuguese TV—either way, enjoy!

 Tuk-tuks at the top of Chiado, near the Lisbon Opera House

Tuk-tuks at the top of Chiado, near the Lisbon Opera House