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January 2009
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March 2009

Meet the Adlers 2009

The 13 Adler Fellows for 2009 were interviewed by Director of Music Administration Kip Cranna, San Francisco Opera Center Director Sheri Greenawald, and Board of Directors Adler Committee Chairman I. Craig Henderson, M.D. yesterday evening, at Cowell Theater at Fort Mason. We learnt that Tamara Wapinsky just had a tonsillectomy a few weeks ago, that Leah Crocetto and Renée Tatum had recent bouts of strep throat, and that Heidi Melton's new nickname is "Pippi." The answers to the various questions were rather humanizing, even deflationary at times.

The interviews were interspersed with musical selections from Gounod's Faust, La Traviata, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Vanessa, and Il Trovatore. One looks forward to hearing the improvement that is bound to ensue in the coming months. Heidi Melton, Daveda Karanas, and David Lomelí sang "Ciel! Non m'inganna quel fioco lume...Parlar non vuoi" particularly well. Daveda is covering Dolora Zajick as Azucena next season.

The Met Opera - Live in HD 2009-2010

October 10 2009: Tosca
October 24 2009: Aida 
November 7 2009: Turandot
December 19 2009: Les Contes d'Hoffmann
January 9 2010: Der Rosenkavalier
January 16 2010: Carmen
February 6 2010: Simon Boccanegra
March 27 2010: Hamlet
May 1 2010: Armida

Next season the Met presents 9 simulcasts, down from 11 this season.

Press Release  | Official Site

Alek Shrader's Schwabacher Debut Recital

* Notes *
The 2009 Schwabacher Debut Recital Series opened with Alek Shrader, accompanied by the inimitable John Parr, last Sunday. Shrader's voice is clear and pretty, but his upper register is considerably more strained than his lower register. However, he is remarkably consistent. His rendition of various Benjamin Britten songs came off well, but he did not sing Schumann's Dichterliebe with much verve. Perhaps I was comparing him unfavorably with the baritone Eugene Brancoveanu, who sang this work last March.

The Henri Duparc songs and the Liszt's Drei Lieder aus Schillers Wilhelm Tell were again sung nicely, but not with much fire. It was very clear that Shrader is much more at ease in the lower part of his voice in "Der Alpenjäger." He came alive when singing bel canto, at the end of the recital. There was some distracting issues of breathing through teeth, but Rossini's "La danza" was absolutely lovely.

Shrader played guitar with his first encore, "Ecco ridente in cielo," and this was rather charming. At one point he did make a rather obvious mistake in playing, but simply played it off by scolding an invisible Figaro.

* Tattling * 
Audience members spoke aloud during the music, there was one watch alarm that went off twice, and some very audible snoring was heard during the Schumann and Liszt.

The Met's 2009-2010 Season

September 21 2009- May 13 2010: Tosca
September 22- December 12 2009: Le Nozze di Figaro
September 23 2009- April 15 2010: Die Zauberflöte
October 2 2009- April 3 2010: Aida
October 3 2009- March 4 2010: Il Barbiere di Siviglia
October 13 2009- January 15 2010: Der Rosenkavalier
October 21- November 17 2009: La Damnation de Faust
October 28 2009- January 28 2010: Turandot
November 12- December 5 2009: From the House of the Dead
November 20- December 12 2009: Il Trittico
December 3 2009- January 2 2010: Les Contes d'Hoffmann
December 10-29 2009: Elektra 
December 14 2009- January 2 2010: Hansel and Gretel
December 31 2009- May 1 2010: Carmen
January 11-30 2010: Stiffelio
January 18- February 6 2010: Simon Boccanegra
February 4-20 2010: Ariadne auf Naxos
February 6-22 2010: La Fille du Régiment
February 20- March 20 2010: La Bohème
February 23- March 27 2010: Attila
March 5-25 2010: The Nose
March 16- April 9 2010: Hamlet
March 29- April 24 2010: La Traviata
April 12- May 15 2010: Armida
April 23- May 14 2010: Die Fliegende Holländer
May 8-15 2010: Lulu

Karita Mattila opens the season as Tosca. Simon Keenlyside sings the title role of Hamlet. John Relyea sings Figaro opposite of Danielle de Niese in Le Nozze, with Bo Skovhus and Emma Bell as count and countess. René Pape sings the Four Villains of Les Contes d'Hoffman.

As in San Francisco, Patricia Racette is featured in all three operas of Il Trittico. Likewise, Diana Damrau and Juan Diego Flórez star in La Fille.

Press Release  | Official Site

Mendelssohn at PBO

* Notes *
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra played an all-Mendelssohn program in honor of his 200th birthday last week. The playing was quite clean and détaché, which was fine for the Three Motets, Op. 39, but was perhaps less appropriate for A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 21 & 61. The evening began with The Hebrides (Fingal's Cave), Op. 26, which is melancholic and very pretty. Next they cheerfully played the popular third movement Scherzo from the Octet in E-flat major, Op. 20. The Three Motets before the intermission were strongest, Nicolas McGegan's orchestration worked well, and the Baroque style of the group played nicely to this particular form. The San Francisco Girls Chorus sang beautifully, again with a very clean sound, almost angelic. In the second half,
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 21 & 61 involved a narrator who did not memorize his lines and overacted quite a bit. However, the singing was just lovely.

* Tattling * 
The audience was fairly well-behaved, though there was some talking, it was minimal.