Friday, September 29, 2006

How to Develop Opera's Future Audience

Peter Gelb and the Met are doing something right: Opera in the Park and the open house earlier this week are making a fan out of a 7-year-old New Yorker I know.

Her mom recently wrote -

My best fun of late was going to the Met's open house on Friday with my daughter. It was AMAZING! And FREE! We sat in a box seat and watched the full dress rehearsal of Anthony Minghella's gorgeous production of Madama Butterfly, made paper cranes with one of the show's carpenters, ate lunch in the patron's room, and got to walk across the stage afterward. My daughter was spectacularly fussed over, and that night at dinner, she told her dad, "I heard a lot of people say they'd never forget today, and I don't think I will either."

So now she wants to be Cio Cio San for Halloween. I asked my husband, how old do you think she'll be when she realizes she hates us for turning her into a nerd?

And my response was "You must let me take her to the opera some time!
It's never too early to start listening to Wagner." (Really, is there anything cooler than walking across the stage at the Met?!?!)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sir Malcolm Arnold

Sir Malcolm Arnold, symphonist and Academy-Award winning composer of film scores, has died. The obits are sad; he was an alcoholic and a schizophrenic who had a troubled life.

The Times Online obituary mentiones that reviewers considered Arnold's music too "popular," and that certainly caught my eye.

What on earth did such reviewers mean? His style was too much like that of popular music? His music got played too much? His music wasn't complicated or obscure enough? He made too much music composing?

All of the above?

I haven't read any of those reviews, and I don't know any of Arnold's music - well, okay, I've seen at least part of The Bridge on the River Kwai. What's representative? What's good? And has anyone seen any of the reviews, or know something about his reputation over time?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

James Schwabacher

James Schwabacher died in July. His name is attached very publicly to the Schwabacher Debut Recital series; he had a career as a concert and operatic tenor; he gave freely of his time and money to support the musical arts in San Francisco. There've been a number of written tributes to him, and they all show how well-loved he was as a person. Here are some links

A lovely man, obviously. I'm so sorry I never knew him personally. I'll be looking for his recordings.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Off Balance

The last couple of months have been pretty distracting. The month in New Jersey was difficult in some ways, rewarding in others. My mom's house is now under contract and enough inroads have been made that she really will be moving out. Yes, I saw a few good concerts, and I may even blog retroactively about them. I made a new friend, and saw a number of old ones, and met a couple of online friends for a the first time.

A couple of other things going on have had me a bit off-balance as well, though one was resolved quickly and easily, and the other will be resolved soon enough (and I seem to have stopped spinning about it, thankfully). (No, I'm not going into any details.)

I've got a bunch of ideas for blog postings and hope to be writing them up soon.