I’m off to the Britten mecca of Aldeburgh tomorrow to take part in the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme: a masterclass on Schubert’s Schwanengesang with the renowned lieder singer, baritone Matthias Goerne. We then get to watch him tackle the three big Schubert cycles over three nights.
Our Viaggio got a review in US magazine Opera News (a slightly modified review by the same writer is also in this month’s Opera, a UK magazine).
The latest continental production of Viaggio, unveiled in mid-February at the State Theater Nürnberg, is by far the funniest opera performance experienced by yours truly for many a month…
Everyone involved — singers, musicians, dancers, supers and technicians — seemed to be having an exceedingly good time. The score was electrifyingly realized by conductor Sebastian Kennerknecht, who gave us Rossini at his irresistible, fizzy best, so rollicking that one can hardly sit still.
And if the standard of singing in Nürnberg did not quite match that ideal Pesaro cast of 1984, it tickled our ears, starting with Melanie Hirsch’s fruity mezzo Maddalena, followed by Nicolai Karnolsky’s pompous announcement as Don Prudenzio, “Oggi il bagno non si prende.” The fun continued with Heidi Elisabeth Meier’s affirmations as Madame Cortese, Leah Gondon as Contessa di Folleville (here made up to look like the English Queen) and Vladislav Solodyakin as Barone di Trombonok, who was joined in the bewitching sestetto by Saeyoung Kim’s Don Profondo, Andrew Finden’s Don Alvaro, Anna Lapkovskaja’s Marchesa Melibea and Martin Nyvall’s Conte di Libenskopf. In a class of her own is Hrachuhi Bassenez as Corinna, the harp-playing poetess (like Carla Bruni competing at the European Song Contest). Kurt Schober was the tragic English Lord Sidney, Mark Adler the smart French Cavaliere Belfiore, and Rüdiger Krehbiel was Antonio, the maitre d’hotel. It was a folie of mad people, but they were all charming. They infected us with their craziness, so that we all left the theater after two and a half hours not as “Mastersingers” but as “Madmen” of Nürnberg.
Comparisons to Leo Nucci aside, not a bad write-up!
The celebrated photographer Lee Friedlander has done a somewhat bizarre series: portraits of the finalists of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the biggest singing competition in the US.
Click to see more. (btw, I sang a charity concert in NYC with the guy on the right)
The New York Times also carries a wonderful documentary piece on the competition. It’s not often that I read an article that makes me feel like I’m part of the action (though it may be because I’ve been in very similar situations myself).
the goal they are pursuing, a career on the opera stage, is difficult nearly to the point of being quixotic
There’s also a short video (though I found the written piece much more engaging to be honest):
Received a surprise (rather late) review for Madama Butterfly in this month’s Orpheus Oper magazine:
Gut schnitt auch ANDREW FINDEN in der Rolle des Fürsten Yamadori ab.
Good segment also from Andrew Finden in the role of Prince Yamadori.
Nice to get a mention for small roles!
We must be missionaries, go out and meet the public. We have to underscore just how beautiful and authentic our music is, demonstrate this. The music has withstood all the tests of time and truth. Bach is much less dated than a 1960s rock idol. Mozart is much younger than the latest new rock star.
Bariton Andrew Finden war ein bravouröser Conte mit prachtvoller Stimme und Spielwitz
Baritone Andrew Finden was a brilliant Count with a magnificen voice and playfulness
We head to Montepulciano in Italy this week for a couple of performances there.
*I couldn’t resist a reformation reference.
Some photos from a private concert ‘La folie de l’amour’ in the Pyrenees last weekend:
Here’s a video of the quartet from Fidelio we did in a really old barn.