Music in NYC: Andrea Bocelli at Madison Square Garden

Music in NYC: Andrea Bocelli at Madison Square Garden

Discounted Tickets to the Christmas-themed concerts on December 13 and December 14, 2017

Italian Opera Singer Andrea Bocelli Madison Square Garden New York CityAndrea Bocelli, an Italian classical and pop music singer returns to Madison Square Garden in New York City to celebrate the holidays with his fans and followers. Bocelli will be sharing a stage with the conductor Eugene Kohn, soprano Larisa Martinez, and guest artist Heather Headley.

Bocelli grew up in the village La Sterza in Tuscany, Italy just south of Pisa where his family had a farm. Andrea started playing music from age 6. He took piano lessons and later learned to play a flute, saxophone, drums among other instruments. At about the same age after listening to a record of Franco Corelli, he showed an interest in opera music. Starting from age 14 he began participating in the singing competitions which came to establish his fame and followers. A connection to Corelli continued with Andrea attending Corelli’s master class in Turin in 1986 and later taking private voice lessons with him.

While studying and graduating with Law degree from the University of Pisa, he continued to sing performing at the bars and making tape recordings. One such tape got the attention of Italian rock star Zucchero  who in 1992 was holding a tape competition among tenors for the recording of his song Miserere. Bocelli’s tape recoding of Miserere was shared with the best known Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who got very impressed with Bocelli’s singing. Bocelli was invited to perform in duets at Zucchero’s European tours. The duets from that tour including Miserere were released in 1994. That year the young singer became a sensation after winning a newcomer prize at Sanremo Music Festival. Pavarotti took a deep interest in Bocelli’s career and since then they sang in duets at multiple charity concerts around the world.
Italian Opera Singer Andrea Bocelli Madison Square Garden New York CityBocelli is recording prolifically. His discography already includes 16 operas, numerous collections of arias and songs and music videos. His latest opera recording, Aida, was released in 2016 after Turandot in 2015. It is interesting that the role of prince Calaf from Turandot was among Bocelli’s initial solo selections back in the early 1990s.

Italian Opera Singer Andrea Bocelli Madison Square Garden New York CityThe album Andrea Bocelli 2012 recording Opera: The Ultimate Collection includes the best arias by Verdi, Puccini, Bizet and others operatic masters.

The concert at Madison Square Garden will raise everyone’s holiday spirit and will surely include many Christmas classics and popular arias sang with utmost elegance and grace. With the NewYorkPass your can enjoy a free tour of the legendary MSG arena and more!


Planning a trip to NYC?

 

 

Dates and Discounted Tickets with the code TICKETS3:

December 13, 2017, 8pm 

December 14, 2017, 8pm 

Venue: Madison Square Garden, NY   

468x60 Free Shipping Day

Opera in NYC: Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera

Opera in NYC: Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera

Love, idealism, and ruse in a thrilling drama by Giacomo Puccini

Puccini Tosca Metropolitan Opera NYC 2018
Tosca, original poster by Adolfo Hohenstein, 1899

A new production of Puccini’s Tosca by Sir David McVicar at the Met Opera offers a grand theatrical experience for the opera fans. The performances are opening on the New Year Eve and will continue in January and April, May of 2018. This production will be played by two extraordinary casts each making a forceful presence on stage. Two opera divas, Sonya Yoncheva and Anna Netrebko are sharing the title role with Vittorio Grigolo and Marcelo Alvarez alternating as Cavaradossi, with not two but three magnificent Scarpias, Sir Bryn Terfel, Michael Volle, and Željko Lučić, and Music Director Emeritus James Levine conducting.  The set and costume design for this production is done by John Macfarlane, who as a painter is adding to the depth of the characters through the rich design of the decorations and the period costumes. McVicar’s production which a review by AP describes as “similar to Zeffirelli’s” is replacing a spare modern staging of Tosca by Luc Bondy which was not warmly received by the Met opera buffs.

The now world-famous story of the passionate lovers and a heartless police chief is based on an 1887 French play La Tosca by Victorien Sardou, a renown French playwright in his time. Sardou had written this play for Sarah Bernhardt. That production was wildly successful touring around Europe with more than 3000 performances. Puccini, attending two of the performances, saw it promising to set as an opera. Following a lengthy negotiation with Sardou, he eventually got the rights and started his work on the score in 1895. The libretto was commissioned to Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa who had not only significantly cut back on the text of the rather lengthy play with multiple characters and dialogs, but also to transform the characters motives into a scenario suitable for an Italian opera.

Puccini Tosca Metropolitan Opera NYC 2018
Tosca,Act 1, New production by David McVicar with set design by John Macfarlane / Photo: Metropolitan Opera Technical Department

The setting for the opera is Rome in 1800 at the time of Napoleon Wars that led to French domination over Italy. The historical church of Sant’Andrea della Valle in Act 1, Palazzo Farnese in Act 2, and Castel Sant’Angelo  in Act 3 can still be visited today. With all these real places in mind, Puccini wanted to reconstruct the divine sounds that could be heard there. For that reason, the score includes a part for the church bells which are close in pitch to the bell of the St. Peter’s Basilica. While this adds to the time and efforts in the production of the opera, it doesn’t produce much effect on the audience.

The premiere was given in 1900 in Teatro Costanzi in Rome. That year Italy had experienced some unrest, so the premiere was even delayed by a day to avoid unwanted disturbances. It was performed to full houses for 30 performances in the first year and is now a beloved entry in the repertoire of every opera house around the world.

Puccini Tosca Metropolitan Opera NYC 2018
Sonya Yoncheva in the title role of Puccini’s “Tosca” / Photo: Ann Ray/Metropolitan Opera

The role of Tosca is considered to be a career defying opportunity. One of the most famous interpreters of a temperamental lover was Maria Callas who was singing it as her last onstage operatic role in 1965. For Luciano Pavarotti , the role of Cavaradossi which he had performed since 1970, was also his last onstage performance at the Met in 2004.

The first recording of Tosca was done in 1918. Among the highly prized recent recordings is Royal Opera House version with Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Ruggero Raymond and Antonio Pappano conducting which was released in 2000.

Stunning design, masterful “verismo” style of music and passionate acting will undoubtedly create a memorable operatic experience for the spectators!

 

Venue: Met Opera, Lincoln Center, NY

With the NewY York Pass your can enjoy a free tour of the historic Lincoln Center and much more.


Planning a trip to NYC?

 

Dates and Discounted Tickets with the code TICKETS3:

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Tuesday January 9, 2018

Friday, January 12, 2018

Monday, January 15, 2018

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Monday, April 30, 2018

Friday, May 4, 2018

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Saturday, May 12, 2018 

 

 

Opera in NYC: Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera

Opera in NYC: Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera

Grand spectacle of legendary tale of pride, revenge, and love

Opera Turandot at Metropolitan Opera Lincoln Center NYC
Turandot poster by Mushii, 1926 via Wikimedia Commons

The timeless story of a cold and proud Chinese princess claiming her superiority over every contender for her heart is richly staged in this historic Franco Zefferelli  production from 1987 of the last masterpiece by Giacomo Puccini. The cast at the Met Opera includes Oksana Dyka and Martina Serafin in the title role, Marcelo Alvarez as Prince Calaf with Carlo Rizzi and Marco Armiliato conducting. Opulent orchestration, inclusion of the uncommon musical instruments in the score, innovative use of chorus and ballet are all part of this grand spectacle of pride, revenge, and love.

The creation of this opera is a tale in itself. Puccini first came across this subject after reading F. Schiller’s translation into German of Carlo Gozzi’s  play with the same title. Gozzi’s play, in turn, was based on one of “The Seven Beauties” fables by Nizami, 12th-century Persian poet renowned for his narrative poems and lyrical verses. “The Seven Beauties” plot ties together time (days of the week), colors (each story is given a color) and action. The cold and independent daughter of a king of Turan, Turandokht, was the story of the first day told under the red dome. Another version has it that Gozzi’s play Turandot was inspired by the fairy tales Les Mille et un Jours (1722) by François Pétis de la Croix  from the original version in Persian. 

Opera Turandot at Metropolitan Opera Lincoln Center NYC
Marcelo Álvarez as Calàf in Puccini’s Turandot. Photo by Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

But it doesn’t stop there. When Puccini started his work on the opera in 1920, he received a Chinese music box as a gift from Italy’s former ambassador to China. The box played several Chinese songs three of which were included in the score of the opera and ultimately transformed the action to a legend time China. It is not surprising that the leitmotif for Turandot is the folk melody “Mo Li Hua“.

Puccini was so immersed in this project that his librettists Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni  couldn’t keep up and were behind with the text. By March 1924 the score was almost completed up to the finale. But Puccini wasn’t happy with the verses for the final duet so the librettists continued writing until October of that year. Puccini’s sudden death from a heart attack on November 29, 1924, left the music unfinished and was eventually completed by an Italian composer Franco Alfano. The premiere took place at La Scala, Milan, on Sunday 25 April 1926.

Starting from 1926 Turandot is successfully performed at every opera house around the world. In China, the opera has entered the regular repertoire only in 1998 when it was performed for the first time under the title of Turandot at the Forbidden City.
The third act of the opera starts with Nessun Dorma, one of the most recognizable arias memorably popularized by Luciano Pavarotti among other artists. While an unforgettable recording of Turandot with Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti with Zubin Mehta conducting is available, nothing can beat the live performance at the Met Opera!

With the NewYorkPass your can enjoy a free tour of the historic Lincoln Center and much more.

 

 

Opera Turandot at Metropolitan Opera Lincoln Center NYC
Oksana Dyka in the title role of Puccini’s “Turandot.”
Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

 

 

Dates and Discounted Tickets with the code TICKETS3:  

Saturday, October 21,                                       

Wednesday, October 25,                                   

Saturday, October 28,                                   

Tuesday, October 31,                                   

Saturday, November 04,                                   

Wednesday, November 08,                                   

Saturday, November 11,                                   

Thursday, November 16,                                   

Wednesday, March 21,                                    

Saturday, March, 24,                                   

Wednesday, March 28,                                   

Saturday, March 31,                                   

Thursday, April 05

 

Venue: Met Opera, Lincoln Center, NY       

Opera in NYC: Thaïs at the Metropolitan Opera

Opera in NYC: Thaïs at the Metropolitan Opera

An eternal tale of seduction and religious devotion 

Metropolitan Opera NYC November Thais faith seduction
By Manuel Orazi – Gallica, Public Domain

MetOpera revival of Thaïs production from 2008 is a passionate story about love and faith aptly delivered by Ailyn Perez in the title role and Gerald Finley as Athanaël, the holy monk. It is centered on a timeless struggle between the allure of the flesh and the piety of the spirit. The narrative and the score are charged with high emotions and endless desperation in search of harmony and salvation accentuated by Massenet’s highly recognized Meditation, the entr’acte for violin and orchestra.

Jules Massenet (1842-1912) wrote his wildly popular opera Thaïs, a comédie lyrique when his career as the most prolific French operatic composer was already well established. Thaïs has premiered at Opera Garnier in Paris in 1894 and gained widespread recognition shortly after at its first revival four years later. A libretto by Louis Gallet was based on the novel of the same title by Anatole France (1844-1924), a French poet, journalist and novelist. While Massenet’s other operas, Manon and Werther, are among the most performed, Thaïs holds its place for its exotic musical renditions, curious historical elements and the depth of emotions.

Metropolitan Opera NYC November Thais faith seduction
A scene from Act III of Massenet Tha•is, 
Photo: Ken Howard / Image courtesy of Metropolitan Opera

Anatole France’s story of the rich courtesan living in Alexandria, Egypt in around 4th century AD followed a legend known in Christian literature as the life of Saint Thaïs of Egypt. A servant of goddess Venus, she used her sensuality to seduce an ascetic Cenobite monk who was persuading Thaïs in his own efforts to convert her to Christianity. The plot is revolving around a power play between the earthy pleasures and a blind faith. And while in France’s story the Christian devotion takes a firm hold on the volatile spirit of a former sinner ultimately leading to her repentance and a vision of heaven, it could be interpreted as a dead-end in itself. On the other hand, the very earthy feelings awaken in the heart of a former monk, are showing a passage to real experiences and with that a possibility of reawakening. Some of the former productions of the opera led to a controversy around religious eroticism and irreversible tenets of belief. The role of Thaïs, which is notoriously difficult to sing, was written by Massenet for an American soprano Sibyl Sanderson. 
Metropolitan Opera NYC November Thais faith seduction

To get in the spirit of this opera consider a majestic rendition of Massenet’s Meditation by Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott.

 

A memorable performance of Thaïs on the MetOpera stage in 2008 season with Renee Fleming in the title role and Thomas Hampson as the desperate Athanaël, is released by Decca records.

 

Date and Discounted Tickets with the code TICKETS3:

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Venue: Met Opera, Lincoln Center, NY 

With the NewYorkPass your can enjoy a free tour of the historic Lincoln Center and much more!

Metropolitan Opera NYC November Thais faith seduction

Beyond NY: Opera Dimitrij at Bard SummerScape in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Beyond NY: Opera Dimitrij at Bard SummerScape in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Antonin Dvorak’s Rarely Performed Masterwork 

Dvorak Opera Dimitrij at Bard SummerScape in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Scene from Dimitrij; photo by Todd Norwood

This year Bard SummerScape is dedicated to the Romanticism in music and is celebrating ChopinAdding  Antonin Dvorak’s rarely staged operatic jewel Dimitrij  to the program makes a lot of sense as Dvorak is rightly considered to carry on Chopin’s Romantic tradition, and this complicated drama is well placed in the lineup celebrating Slavic roots and historic influences.

The opera brings back a murky history of Russian Tsars at the “time of troubles” at the beginning of 17th century. The story starts at exactly where Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” leaves off with the death of Tsar Boris and the dark times of uncertainty approaching. The plot of Dimitrij is centered around a young pretender to the throne who appears in Moscow surrounded by Polish nobles and claims to be Dimitrij. His quest to rule is validated when the widow of Ivan, The Terrible recognizes him as her long lost son attempting to avenge her own grievances with the rulers. But the secret is bound to be revealed with all the ambitions at play. The intrigues of the power struggle, society division in pledging loyalty to competing clans, conspiracy theories and treacherous deceptions are only amplified by gorgeous music and powerful choral renditions. Sounds too familiar? It might be because a drive for power is as universal as love and death. The director of this Dimitrij production Anne Bogart thinks that the subject is particularly relevant today.

In the words of the Boston Globe “Shakespeare could hardly have bettered” this tragic story. In fact the story was developed by a librettist Marie Cervikova-Riegrova who based it on an unfinished plot by F. Schiller’s Demetrius. It is also worth noting that apparently Dvorak, working on the opera in 1881-1882, was not familiar with Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” which was completed between 1868-1873 to A. Pushkin’s drama with the same title.

Beyond NY: Opera Dimitrij at Bard SummerScape in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Fischer Center; Photo: Peter Aaron ’68/Esto

Bard SummerScape opera performance takes place at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Art which is located on the campus of a picturesque Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Bard College is well known for its rigorous and diverse art education program and the best in class roster of summer performances in upstate NY. Only two hours away from hustle and bustle of New York City, the campus is sufficiently insulated for full concentration and study, yet affords a convenience of being accessible via train connection to the city.

The Richard B. Fisher Center is an architectural jewel in itself being designed by Frank Gehry and hosting a multitude of adventurous programs at the world class facilities.

Book the tickets for Dimitrij  here.

 

Venue: Richard B. Fisher Center, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Dates: July 28 & 30, August 2,4 & 6, 2017 

Places to eat around Bard College.