R&J review in the New York Times

Steven Ebel & Ekaterina Isachenko as Sali & Vrenchen

Our production of Romeo & Julia got a reall good write-up in the New York Times yesterday:

Happily, the conductor Johannes Willig and the theater’s orchestra rose handsomely to the challenge of realizing Delius’s rich orchestral textures.

The singing too was more than adequate. Ekaterina Isachenko brought a gleaming lyrical soprano with a touch of Slavonic heft to Vreli’s music. The tenor Steven Ebel, though the voice is a little light, sang stylishly as Sali, and the boy soprano Tom Volz was excellent as the child Sali. Also fine was the baritone Armin Kolarczyk, as the mysterious but benign Dark Fiddler, rightful owner of the disputed land. Edward Gauntt and Lucas Harbour gave stalwart performances as the fathers Manz and Marti.

With “A Village Romeo and Juliet” Karlsruhe does honor both to the Delius anniversary and to itself.

Surprisingly, for such a small (and off-stage) part, I got a mention in a review in the Rheinpfalz paper:

Das gute Niveau die Protagonisten setzte sich bein den kleineren Partien fort: … Andrew Finden und Eleazar Rodriguez als stimmungsvolle Schiffer, die als  Todesboten das verklärte Ende der Liebenden begleiten..

[The smaller roles also sat at the good level of the protagonists: ... Andrew Finden and Eleazar Rodriguez as atmospheric boatmen who accompany, as messengers of death,  the glorified ending of the lovers...]

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Premiere: Romeo & Julia auf dem Dorfe

Tonight is the premiere of Delius’ rarity Romeo und Julie auf dem Dorfe (A villiage Rome and Juliet). The piece was written in both German and English versions, and had it’s world premiere in Berlin in 1907. It is based on the novella of Gottfried Keller. It has some incredible, lush music and this staging is inventive and simply beautiful to watch. I can say that as I’m not on stage! My part – one of the boatmen – is a melodious short part right near the end of the piece, sung off-stage.

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Graf Oscar debut

Last week I made my role debut as Graf Oscar in our new production of Offenbach’s operette Ritter Blaubart, a considerably more frivolous version of the wife-murdering Duke Bluebeard.
Graf Oscar - Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe

Andrew Finden gibt seinem Gesang als Graf Oscar bei aller Kraft auch einigen Schmelz.

- Isabel Steppler, BNN 22.12.11

That translates (roughly – and native speakers, please feel free to correct me!) as:

Andrew Finden gives his singing as Count Oscar along with all energy also some melodiousness.

( or: melting tone even when singing at full strength.
H/T @SingingScholar)

 

Not bad at all.

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Rigoletto premiere

This Sunday is the Premiere of Rigoletto in Karlsruhe, in which I’m singing Marullo (that’s not me in the photo, that’s my colleauge Jaco Venter who is singing Rigoletto).

On the 3rd of December we have a gala performance with David Lomeli, Olga Peretyatko and Roberto Frontali singing the principal roles.

The production is a re-working of a production from Heidelberg, and Jim Lucassen, the director, has some images from that production on his website, which may be of interest.

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the work. Though I’m familiar with a few of the numbers, I’ve only seen in the theater once before, and I’ve really come to be struck at how dark and cynical the piece really is, not to mention the way the Verdi pushed boundaries dramatically and musically (though some conventions certainly remain). The mens chorus storm effect must have been really groundbreaking at the time.

 

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Website redesign

I’ve finally finished redesigning my website!

One of the really neat things is that I’m using my profile at OperAgent.com to feed the data. This means whenever I update my profile there (which  is really easy!) my site automatically updates (Big thanks to James Angus and Stephen Gadd for their help with code stuff). I’m also using Google Calendar to run the schedule part.

Let me know what you think..

 

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First review in Karlsruhe: “Bo-Skovhus-Doppelgänger”

Today’s Badische Neueste Nachrichten has a review of Sunday’s Wiederaufnahme of La Traviata – a kind of ‘first taste’ report of the new ensemble in many ways.

As the post title gives away, the review said I was a Bo Skovhus* look-alike!
So… here’s a visual comparison for you:

In costume as Marquis
Bo Skovhus

The review itself was a bit of a back-handed compliment:

Zwar kann bei den Interpreten der mittleren Partien eine endgültige Beurteilung ihrer Leistungsfähigkeit erst nach weiteren – größeren – Auftritten erfolgen, doch lässt sich schon jetzt festhalten…, dass Andrew Finden als Bo-Skovhus-Doppelgänger dem Marquis d’Obigny einen grossen, noch etwas ungeschlacht eingesetzten Baritone lieh.

(roughly translated that means that although it’s too soon to get a proper appraisal of the new ensemble members until we sing bigger parts, he thinks I have a great voice, but was not so subtle… fair enough considering it’s really a bass-baritone part and the solo lines are not exactly melodious)

* One of my twitter contacts informs me that Bo Skovhus was here last season singing Don Alfonso, so this is a big compliment!

 

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The new season begins

Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe
It’s my first performance in my new Theater tonight!

The Theaterfest is kind of like an open day, with a few open rehearsals and fun things like Karaoper (sing a duet with one of the soloists). I’m singing my aria from Alessandro in the ‘Coctail’ concert this evening.

It’s all a fun way to kick of the season – and, hearing the other soloists rehearse yesterday, this is an amazing ensemble. When John Treleaven was singing some Siegfried I had to pinch myself.

Tomorrow night is the first night of our Traviata revival in which I’m singing the Marquis.

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End of season role round-up

as Don Alvaro (Il Viaggio a Reims)

The end of the opera season is upon us, and tonight is my last performance in Nürnberg. It’s been a fairly busy season, having done 70 performances: 61 on the mainstage, 5 with the Hoschschule production of Figaro and a handful of concerts.

Just out of interest, my performances on the mainstage of the opera house look like this:

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