MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Creating Contexts: Reimagining the Art of the Recital

Here’s my new story for Stanford Live magazine on three remarkable singers who will each be appearing over the next two months: Gerald Finley,  Davóne Tines, and Jakub Józef Orliński:

The voice is not only the oldest of all musical instruments—some evolutionary models even hold that singing predates the development of spoken language. Yet the contexts in which this ancient form of communication is presented can change dramatically, reflecting the ever-shifting priorities and realities of the present moment….


Filed under: programming innovation, singers, Stanford Live

High Notes and High Jinks: Lawrence Brownlee as Count Ory


Lawrence Brownlee; photo (c) Johnny Andrews/The Seattle Times

My profile of Lawrence Brownlee is out in today’s Seattle Times. The world-class tenor is back in town to star in Rossini’s Count Ory at Seattle Opera:

He’s in demand around the globe, a favorite of music lovers at the most prestigious venues for classical music.

But Lawrence Brownlee reserves a special fondness for Seattle.

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Filed under: Lawrence Brownlee, Rossini, Seattle Opera, singers

The Awesome Patricia Racette

Congratulations to Patricia Racette on receiving the San Francisco Opera Medal.

From Roger Pines’s recent interview with the soprano:

The city of San Francisco offers endless joys to Racette. She and her wife, mezzo-soprano Beth Clayton, have a ritual of taking their 16-year-old toy poodle, Sappho, to Ocean Beach. And, of course, the years have brought Racette many friends here: “Some of them I’ve known for the entire 25 years, and others have come into my life over the past few years. The only downfall is that I’m always here to work and find myself challenged with not enough time amidst rehearsals and performances to see everyone as much as I’d like!”

And then there is the San Francisco audience, for whom Racette feels immense affection: “There is both loyalty and passion, and I’m quick to remind that we do feel the energy of the audience when we’re on the stage. It really is palpable– you can just tell when the crowd is ‘with you.’ I’m lucky enough to sing around the world, but when I come back to San Francisco, I know that I’m home.”

And here she discusses her current role as the lead in Susannah at SF Opera:

Filed under: San Francisco Opera, singers

Lawrence Brownlee, Tenor of Grace

Larry Brownlee just wrapped up the Met’s season with the final “Puritani” performance over the weekend and will be giving a recital Tuesday 13 May sponsored by Vocal Arts D.C.

MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Lawrence Brownlee as Almaviva in, one of his signature roles; photo by Ken Howard Lawrence Brownlee as Almaviva in iBarber, one of his signature roles; photo by Ken Howard

The marvelously gifted tenor Lawrence Brownlee makes his Los Angeles Opera debut as Tamino this coming weekend in the Barrie Kosky production of The Magic Flute. Here’s a profile I recently wrote about Larry for Seattle Opera, where he appeared last month as Tonio in The Daughter of the Regiment:

Nowadays no American tenor is more in demand than Lawrence Brownlee when it comes to the bel canto repertoire. And it’s easy to imagine the impression Brownlee’s voice—with its signature combination of sweetness, warmth, and flexibility—would have made on Gaetano Donizetti, or any of the bel canto composers. With their elegant melodies and deeply felt emotions, they were writing, it seems, specifically to Brownlee’s strengths, and he has proved that he has the versatility to excel in the distinctive styles developed by…

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Filed under: singers

Master Class

What happens when you put Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Horne, and Luciano Pavarotti together, with Richard Bonynge on hand to ask them about bel canto?

Filed under: opera, singers

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