MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Liederabend, Op. Worldwide (digital)

Tune in on Sunday 27 June 2021 at 8pm EST for a free livestream of 21c Liederabend, Op. Worldwide (digital)a new music project co-directed by Paola Prestini and Beth Morrison (also to be broadcast on WNET’s ALL ARTS).

21c Liederabend is the first program in a six-episode retrospective titled Contemplations from National Sawdust, celebrating the 5th anniversary of Brooklyn-based new music incubator National Sawdust.

The event is a contemporary take on the 19th-century Liederabend tradition and presents collaborative, multimedia vocal and instrumental compositions.  Op. Worldwide is the first to be exclusively presented as a broadcast/streaming event, featuring six world premieres that bring together a dozen talents from around the globe, in fields ranging from composition and poetry to fine arts and video. A conversation with soprano Renée Fleming on the future of the art form rounds out the program.

Of particular interest is Prestini’s new work Jarful of Bees, a multimedia, immersive short film created in collaboration with artists Natalie Frank and Erin Pollock, librettist Royce Vavrek, and mezzo-soprano Eve Gigliotti. The film weaves together Frank and Pollock’s animated painting, drawing, and claymation into a dreamlike visual landscape that elucidates Prestini’s vocal and electronic score and the ethereal voice of Gigliotti. 

Filed under: commissions, music news

San Francisco Opera Announces New Season

And it’s now been announced: San Francisco Opera returns to a season of live performances with Puccini’s Tosca on Saturday, August 21, inaugurating the tenure of Eun Sun Kim as the company’s new music director. The refurbished War Memorial Opera House will greet audiences with newly installed custom seats and accessibility enhancements.

This is being billed as a “transitional year” and includes three new productions: Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fidelio and, continuing the Company’s Mozart-Da Ponte Trilogy, Così fan tutte and Don Giovanni. The season also includes a revival of Bright Sheng and David Henry Hwang’s Dream of the Red Chamber, a free Opera at the Ballpark simulcast, multiple concert programs, and a new livestreaming option for select performances.

From the press release:

Kim’s music directorship begins with Tosca, a masterpiece central to San Francisco Opera since it opened the War Memorial Opera House in 1932. Kim will also lead Live and In Concert: The Homecoming on September 10 and returns to the podium on October 14 to conduct a bold new production of Beethoven’s ode to freedom Fidelio, along with the annual Adler Fellows concert, The Future Is Now, and a Summer 2022 tribute to the music of Giuseppe Verdi.

Eun Sun Kim said: “When I was appointed Music Director Designate in December 2019, it seemed certain that the time until I officially assumed the position would fly by. And then, of course, the whole world came to a standstill. I’m so proud of the way the entire San Francisco Opera family has worked to remain resilient during this time—we’ve created new ways to make music together and we’ve encouraged each other in strength. Now this steadfast faith will allow us to finally rejoin the audiences who have so patiently waited for our return to the War Memorial Opera House. I hope this is a joyful moment for our whole community, as we open this new chapter together with a sense of renewed hope and optimism.”

After making “a company debut of astonishing vibrancy and assurance” (San Francisco Chronicle) leading Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka in June 2019, Eun Sun Kim was appointed Music Director Designate in December 2019 in a move the New York Times called “pathbreaking.” The Seoul, South Korea-born Kim will help shape San Francisco Opera’s artistic vision as the Company heads into its second century. San Francisco Opera’s first two general directors, Gaetano Merola and Kurt Herbert Adler, both regularly conducted performances during the Company’s first six decades. In 1985, Sir John Pritchard was appointed San Francisco Opera’s first music director (1985–89). He was succeeded by Donald Runnicles (1992–2009) and Nicola Luisotti (2009–18). Kim is the fourth music director in the Company’s 99-year history.

San Francisco Opera Tad and Dianne Taube General Director Matthew Shilvock said: “Opera gives us opportunities to gather and share in deep, collective, emotional expression. I have never felt more urgently the need for us to gather in this way. We need to be together again, and, on August 21, we will raise the curtain and do just that. But we are not returning unchanged. We emerge with a new music director in Eun Sun Kim! We emerge informed by the bold experiments of the last year, carrying them forward with our new livestreaming program. And we emerge with an even deeper understanding of the power of opera to connect us after the long winter of its absence.

“That all of our productions this season will be new or recently new to our stage is a testament to the local artisans who built them and to the local community which has supported this Company so magnificently during this year. We will return to the social history of the Mozart-Da Ponte Trilogy, be welcomed back into the light of liberation with Beethoven’s Fidelio and enter into the great story of imperial China in Dream of the Red Chamber. But first we return to Tosca—the time-honored way that San Francisco Opera reopens, recommits to our community and reemerges with all of the thrilling energy of live grand opera. It is a moment I cannot wait to share.”

Filed under: music news, San Francisco Opera

Piazzolla Music Competition Winners

The winners of the Piazzolla Music Competition were recently announced:

SOLOIST

GOLD: ANTON STACHEV, accordion – St. Petersburg, Russia  

SILVER: DANIEL ROJAS, piano – Sydney Australia

BRONZE: LYSANDRE DONOSO, bandoneón – Paris, France

BRONZE: MAXIMILLIAN NATHAN, vibraphone – Montevideo, Uruguay

SPECIAL PRIZE: ROSE WOLLMAN, viola – Evansville, Indiana

ENSEMBLES

GOLD: QUINTETO RESPIRO, Sebastien Innocenti (Bandonéon), Emilie Aridon-Kociolek (Piano), Sabrina Condello (Violin), Fabio LoCurto (Clarinet/Bass Clarinet), Dorian Marcel (Doublebass) – Paris, France

SILVER: DALÍ QUARTET, Ari Isaacman-Beck (Violin), Carlos Rubio (Violin), Adriana Linares (Viola), Jesús Morales (Cello) – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

BRONZE: Zagrab Philharmonic Orchestra: QUINTETO EMEDEA, Mathias Naon (Violin), Lysandre Donoso (Bandoneon), Emilie Aridon-Kociołek (Piano), Adrien Merahi (Electric guitar), Lucas Eubel-Frontini (Double bass) – Paris, France

SPECIAL PRIZES

CONCERT: Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra /Quinteto Emedea

CONCERT: Grosseto Symphony Orchestra and Anton Stachev, St. Petersburg

CONCERT: Athens Philharmonia Orchestra and Rose Wollman, Indiana

MASTERCLASS Pablo Ziegler Award: Sonus Piano Trio, California

MASTERCLASSES iClassical Academy Award: Pianoduo LUSTRE, Osaka

MASTERCLASSES iClassical Academy Bonus Award: Gonzalo Esteban Antuña, Río Cuarto, Argentina

MASTERCLASSES iClassical Academy Bonus Award: Nada Brahma Graz, Austria

Proceeds from the competition, totalling $10,000, are being donated to the Playing for Change Foundation to support music and art education in under-resourced communities around the world.

Filed under: competitions, music news

Lear from Bayerische Staatsoper

Bayerische Staatsoper is making the stream of Christoph Marthaler’s new production of Lear by Aribert Reimann available until 1 July here.

Synopsis:

King Lear intends to distribute his kingdom among his three daughters. Those that love him the most will receive the most. As Cordelia only describes her love in plain, simple words, she disappoints her father and leaves empty-handed. The kingdom is divided between the other two, and discord and scheming set in immediately. Lear is broken by it, becomes a powerless beggar and loses his sanity.
Aribert Reimann composed his opera Lear based on William Shakespeare’s tragedy, King Lear, with a libretto by Claus H. Henneberg. It celebrated its world premiere at the Nationaltheater in the 1978 as a work commissioned by the Bayerische Staatsoper. Reimann’s composition illustrates a dramaturgy that moves the game of power obsession along at breakneck speed. Lear’s vocal line, characterised by exorbitant virtuosity, illustrates the broken King with his manner of speaking only appearing confused on the surface. The instrumental cluster structures of this monumental work create a breath-taking atmosphere, and are the reason why, as an opera classic of the 20th century, this metamorphosis is an indispensable mirror image of our age.

Cast:

König Lear Christian Gerhaher 

König von Frankreich Edwin Crossley-Mercer 

Herzog von Albany Ivan Ludlow 

Herzog von Cornwall Jamez McCorkle 

Graf von KentBrenden Gunnell 

Graf von Gloster Georg Nigl 

Edgar Andrew Watts

Edmund Matthias Klink 

Goneril, Tochter König Lears Angela Denoke 

Regan, Tochter König Lears Ausrine Stundyte

Cordelia, Tochter König Lears Hanna-Elisabeth Müller (

Narr Graham Valentine

Bedienter Dean Power 

Ritter Marc Bodnar 

Bayerisches Staatsorchester

Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper

Creative Team:

Conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste

Production Christoph Marthaler

Production Assistant Joachim Rathke

Set Design Anna Viebrock

Costume Design Dorothee Curio

Lighting Michael Bauer

Choruses Stellario Fagone

Dramaturgy Benedikt Stamp

Filed under: Bayerische Staatsoper

Happy 80th Birthday, Martha Argerich!

There is simply no artist like her. The formidable Martha Argerich turns 80 today. Here’s a feature from Deutsche Welle:

At the age of 80, Martha Argerich remains an incomparable virtuoso, a performer marked by special charisma and nuanced, agile technique….

continue

Filed under: Martha Argerich, music news

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