Category Archives: Audience participation

What’s your favorite soprano role in opera?

In celebration of Soprano Month on “Operatoonity,”  I created a poll to find out your favorite soprano roles. To see. To sing. Makes no difference in this poll.

Here’s a short list–hardly exhaustive–so if you’re not seeing your favorite, feel free to add in the comments.

It is interesting though that some of the world’s favorite operas and/or most performed operas don’t have soprano roles on this list, Don Giovanni being one of them. In fact, the Queen of the Night is one of the few Mozart sopranos role listed here, the other being Susanna from Le Nozze di Figaro. My oversight? Or do certain composers–Puccini, for instance–create more memorable roles for the soprano voice? What do you think?

Hearty thanks to Twitter Opera folk @operarules, @operabetty, @mitchthetenor, @amzenon, @SpeeStuck, @ChiyoX, and @ReeseSondheim for their suggestions. and also to OperaAmerica website, which helped me constitute the following list:

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Filed under Audience participation, Classic Opera, Poll, sopranos

COC’s contest entries all dolled up

Cinderella at the COC

The Canadian Opera Company (COC) sponsored a dress design contest to promote their upcoming production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola (opening April 23) called the “Cinderella Outfit Challenge: Send your Doll to the Ball!” The only catch was that the dress had to fit a Barbie doll. 

Entrants were required to submit a photo of their homemade doll costume, inspired by Cinderella, all to win a prize package including four tickets (plus lounge pass and drink tickets) to the opening night La Cenerentola, an overnight stay at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Toronto, a gift basket from Cheese Boutique valued at $200, and a chance to meet the members of the cast after the performance. 

Well, the entries poured in–sixty of them–according to contest organizers.  

The general public can still vote on the entries today, April 6, 2011, at the COC’s Facebook page. The five entries with the most votes will become contest finalists. A panel of celebrity judges, including Jeanne Beker (Host of CTV’s FashionTelevision), Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman (hosts of Steven & Chris on CBC TV), David McCaffrey (creative director and designer of McCaffrey Haute Couture) and COC General Director Alexander Neef, will select the grand-prize winner from the top five finalists on April 15. 

Here are a few of the Cinderella designs submitted (and as someone who adored her dolls as a kid, I am so jazzed): 

Golden Cinderella

Paperella

Off To The Ball

Fashionably Late Cinderella

What a fantastic group of entrants! Only 56 more to review. (Glad I’m not a judge!) 

Congratulations to the Canadian Opera Company on a vibrant promotion for your upcoming production of La Cenerentola!

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Audience participation, creative promotions, North American Opera

Donizetti operas–three score and counting, all totaled

'Lucia di Lammermoor' --Operatoonity readers favorite Donizetti

In this century, it’s generally agreed upon that only a dozen of Donizetti’s operas are worth producing. Arguably some people would quibble with even that figure. According to the Donizetti poll I posted yesterday, your favorite is Lucia di Lammermoor.  Some opera fans I know consider Lucia not only their favorite Donizetti, but their all-time favorite opera.  

According to one of Opera Pulse’s polls, in which I voted, Lucia is also the second best opera character to be for Halloween (she was my first choice). I also had a blast writing about Lucia on this blog last June. Whoever schedules Lucia during the most popular marrying month in North America must have a wicked sense of humor. Don’t expect to see Lucia on the cover of Bride Magazine anytime soon.  

After one of my readers mentioned that some of Donizetti’s lesser known operas featured some of the silliest plots ever, I decided to give them a look-see. According to The Penguin Opera Guide, Donizetti wrote 65 operas in total. Other sites say 60. Sixty operas? Verdi wrote half that many. True, most of Verdi’s works endure today where as only one-fifth of Donizetti’s works are regularly produced. But 60? That’s a lotta opera! 

Did any other composer write as much as Donizetti? Apparently, depending on how you define opera, several composers are credited with more than 100 each, one surpassing 250, but how many composers whose work is produced today? Good question. Donizetti would have to be right up there.  

According to Bachtrack’s 2010 League Tables, Donizetti ranked 7th of composers with most opera performances worldwide with 240 after Verdi with 824, Mozart  with 771, Puccini  with 681, Wagner  with 273, Rossini  with 259, and Richard Strauss 246. More Strauss than Donizetti?  A surprising statistic, per moi.  

I can’t say which of the following Donizetti works are so silly they aren’t worth producing, but I can tell you which one would drive the marketing department crazy:  

Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali   

Just how do you fit that title onto a poster?  

Anyhoo, here’s one list of his complete works:  

A  

    * L’ajo nell’imbarazzo
    * Alahor in Granata
    * Alfredo il grande
    * Alina, regina di Golconda
    * L’ange de Nisida
    * Anna Bolena
    * L’assedio di Calais
  

B  

    * Belisario
    * Betly
  

C  

    * Il campanello
    * Il castello di Kenilworth
    * Caterina Cornaro (opera)
    * Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali
  

D  

    * Il diluvio universale
    * Dom Sébastien
    * Don Gregorio (opera)
    * Don Pasquale
    * Le duc d’Albe
 

 

Operatoonity readers' second favorite Donizetti

E  

    * L’elisir d’amore
  
 * Elvida
    * Emilia di Liverpool
    * Enrico di Borgogna
    * L’esule di Roma
  

F  

    * Fausta (opera)
    * La favorite
    * La fille du régiment
    * Francesca di Foix
    * Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo
  

G  

    * Gabriella di Vergy
    * Gemma di Vergy
    * Gianni di Calais
    * Gianni di Parigi
  

I  

    * Il giovedì grasso
    * Imelda de’ Lambertazzi
  

L  

    * Linda di Chamounix
    * Lucia di Lammermoor
    * Lucrezia Borgia (opera)
  

M  

    * Maria de Rudenz
    * Maria di Rohan
   
* Maria Padilla
    * Maria Stuarda
    * Marino Faliero (opera)
  

O  

    * Olivo e Pasquale
    * Otto mesi in due ore
  

P  

    * Parisina (opera)
    * Pia de’ Tolomei
    * Pietro il grande
    * Il Pigmalione
    * Poliuto
  

R  

    * Rita (opera)
    * Roberto Devereux
    * La romanzesca e l’uomo nero
    * Rosmonda d’Inghilterra
  

S  

    * Sancia di Castiglia  

T  

    * Torquato Tasso (opera)  

U  

    * Ugo, conte di Parigi
    * Una follia
  

Z  

    * La zingara
    * Zoraida di Granata
  

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Audience participation, Bel canto opera, Classical Composers, North American Opera, Poll

favorite Donizetti opera?

This Saturday I’m going to see Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore at New York City Opera. Last Saturday I listened to Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor on the radio, presented by the Metropolitan Opera. I’ve never done a Donizetti poll, so I thought one was in order.

So, gentle readers and bel canto buffs. Would you like to weigh in on your favorite Donizetti? Write-ins welcome in the comments, of course.

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Filed under Audience participation, Bel canto opera, Classic Opera, Poll

Lucy wins it all!

Do you know Lucy, aka @singingscholar on Twitter, aka host of the blog Opera Obsession?

Well, you should. She’s a winner in so many ways. Recently, she won my opera headlines microcontest, a warmie-uppie for #operaplot 2011–the only person in all of cyberspace to provide all the right answers.

What were the questions? I thought you’d never ask. But this time they will be followed by Lucy’s answers:

  1. FATHER’S CURSE TRIGGERS EVENTS ENDING IN KIDS’ DEATHS
    (La Forza del Destino)
  2. EVIL MAGICIAN MAKES WRITER’S THREE ROMANCES DISAPPEAR
    (The Tales of Hoffmann)
  3. BOY WINS GIRL THROUGH TRIAL OF FIRE AND WATER
    (The Magic Flute)
  4. AGING NOBLEWOMAN BLESSES YOUNGER RIVAL’S NUPTIALS
    (Der Rosenkavalier)
  5. HERO’S DEATH BRINGS DOOMSDAY
    (Götterdämmerung)

And what does Lucy win for all her erudition? Why, a beautiful Operatoonity mug, that’s what.

Moral of the story: The spoils of victory always go to singing scholars with an opera obsession–at least on this blog they do!

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Filed under Audience participation, Classic Opera, Contests, quiz

hunkering down for #operaplot 2011

I don’t know how I missed the Omniscient Mussel’s  Save-the-Date post regarding #Operaplot 2011. But I visited Miss Mussel’s website, and there it was.

Operaplot 2011 will take place between April 11 and 15 (the same days I’ve been called for jury duty–I don’t how I’m going to be affected just yet by that eventuality).

In case you’re not familiar with #Operaplot 2011, the basic premise is that you Tweet plots to an opera–any opera–between April 11 and 15 always finishing with a hashtag and the word operaplot (#operaplot). Describing the entire plot of an opera in 140 characters is the basic idea. Miss Mussel will be sharing more guidelines soon, which may differ slightly with last year’s official rules.

Last year, I didn’t enter. I was new to Twitter so I merely enjoyed the entries filling my Twitter feed. I’d like to enter this year–we’ll see what happens.  Anyway, to warm up your #operaplot chops, here’s a few opera headlines to decipher.

  1. FATHER’S CURSE TRIGGERS EVENTS ENDING IN KIDS’ DEATHS
  2. EVIL MAGICIAN MAKES WRITER’S THREE ROMANCES DISAPPEAR
  3. BOY WINS GIRL THROUGH TRIAL OF FIRE AND WATER
  4. AGING NOBLEWOMAN BLESSES YOUNGER RIVAL’S NUPTIALS
  5. HERO’S DEATH BRINGS DOOMSDAY

I’m not going to provide the answers this time. However, anyone who can answer all five correctly will be entered in a drawing to win this handsome (if I do say so myself) Operatoonity mug.

Please send all answers to galemartin08@gmail.com rather than leave them in the comments.

Start thinking about your entries for #operaplot 2011. (And those of you with nearly inactive Twitter accounts need to rev them up to be ready for April 11).

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Filed under Audience participation, Contest

best opera singers in the world today – female persuasion

As promised, here are the female artists that a discriminating, opera-loving group of Twitterers suggested as the best women performing today. Now, as I mentioned when I posted the men’s list, I was seeking a list of opera greats who are not just living but are performing and can still “cut the mustard,” as Stephanie Brooke said.  

So that’s why you don’t see opera great Jessye Norman on this list. Nor do you see promising up-and-comers such as Latonia Moore, Ailyn Pérez (whom I just saw in Opera Company of Philadelphia’s Romeo and Juliet and reviewed very favorably), and Amber Wagner.  

Unable to find an already published list from which to draw, this USA Today article naming the best stars of the 1990’s was too old, I created my own, with a little help from my friends.  

Anna Netrebko will sing Anna Bolena for the Met in 2011-12

Besides being recording favorites, some of the singers such as Cecelia Bartoli and Anne Sofie von Otter are frequently enjoyed in live recitals. For a wonderful write up of Anne Sofie von Otter’s New York recital, see this post at Opera Obsession. Others like Angela Gheorghiu might be has-beens next year if they keep pulling out of Met productions. (Was her nose bent out of shape because images of Anna Netrebko as Anna Bolena appeared to dominate the marketing collateral for the Met’s 2011-12 season?)  

So, what do you think? Have I included your favorite(s) in the list below? If not, please feel free to include in the comments.  

 – Cecilia Bartoli, Italian mezzo-soprano  

Olga Borodina

 – Olga Borodina, Russian mezzo soprano  

 – Sarah Connolly, British mezzo soprano  

Fiorenza Cedolins, Italian soprano  

 – Diane Damrau, German lyric coloratura soprano  

Annette Dasch

– Annette Dasch, German soprano  

 – Natalie Dessay, French coloratura soprano  

 – Mariella Devia, Italian soprano  

 – Joyce DiDonato, American mezzo soprano  

 – Renée Fleming, American soprano  

 – Angela Gheorghiu, Romanian soprano  

Anja Harteros

 – Anja Harteros, German soprano  

 – Magdalena Kožená, Czech mezzo-soprano  

 – Aleksandra Kurzak, Polish coloratura soprano  

 – Waltraud Meier, German dramatic soprano  

 – Anna Netrebko, Russian soprano  

Patricia Racette

 – Patricia Racette, American soprano  

 – Sondra Radvanovsky, American soprano  

 – Dorothea Röschmann, German soprano  

 – Rinat Shaham, Israeli mezzo soprano  

Nina Stemme

– Nina Stemme, Swedish soprano  

 – Anne Sofie von Otter, Swedish mezzo-soprano  

Don’t forget to check out the male singers identified as the best in the world today.  

And thanks again to the lively informed Twitter “opera” community for their recommendations!

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Audience participation, Best of Operatoonity, Performers, Poll

best opera singers in the world today – male persuasion

I’m a capable researcher using electronic technology (not to mention, that I work for a College and have great resources at my disposal). I was searching for someone’s–anyone’s–contemporary classification of the world’s best opera singers. I found a link to a dated USA Today article naming the best stars of the 1990’s. Interesting. But far from  up-to-date.       

I wanted  to skip the venerable legends who are still alive but sing only occasionally, if at all. For the purposes of this list, I wasn’t looking for promising up-and-comers either, though they may be the subject of another post.       

Who are the opera stars of today? Whom are we seeing onstage, watching with awe and admiration?       

Since I didn’t have any contemporary articles to from which to choose candidates, I asked my “Operatoonity” followers on Twitter to help me put together a slate of  favorite current performers.       

Here then are all the male stars identified as top-of-the-heap. Which are your favorites?       

Roberto Alagna

 

Roberto Alagna, French tenor       

 – Marcelo Álvarez, Argentine lyric tenor       

 – Lawrence Brownlee, American tenor       

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee / photo by Andreas Klingberg

 

– Joseph Calleja, Maltese tenor      

 – Carlo Colombara, Italian bass  

 – Plácido Domingo, Spanish tenor and conductor       

 – Gerald Finley, Canadian bass-baritone       

 – Juan Diego Flórez, Peruvian tenor       

 – Ferruccio Furlanetto, Italian bass      

 – Vittorio Grigolo, Italian tenor     

 – Thomas Hampson, American baritone       

Dmitri Hvorostovsky

 

 – Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Russian baritone       

 – Jonas Kaufmann, German spinto tenor       

 – Simon Keenlyside, British baritone       

– Mariusz Kwiecień, Polish baritone  

 – James Morris, American bass-baritone       

 – René Pape, German bass       

Bass-bari Erwin Schrott

 

 -Ruggero Raimondi, the Italian bass-baritone  

 –  Erwin Schrott, Uruguayan bass-baritone       

 – Stuart Skelton, Australian heldentenor       

 – Bryn Terfel, Welsh, bass-baritone       

 – John Tomlinson, English bass       

 – Ramón Vargas, Mexican tenor       

Tenor Ramon Vargas

Did I include your favorite male performer singing opera today? Write-ins are, of course, welcome in the comments.       

 
 
Stop back tomorrow for the women!

And a special thank you, to all those providing input on Twitter.       

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Audience participation, Performers, Poll