Tuesday, February 12, 2008

And the Grammy goes to...

Congratulations to Sir Charles Mackerras and soloists in the cast of Humperdinck's Hansel & Gretel for winning the 2008 Grammy award for Best Opera Recording. Humperdinck's opera is scheduled to be performed at this year's Aspen Music Festival by the Aspen Opera Theater Center. For more information about this performance, click here.

To hear selections from the Grammy Award winning recording, please click the image below.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Aspen Music Festival announces 2008 theme

A fairytale theme seems to be popular among music festivals this year—Spoleto has already announced its production of Rossini’s opera buffa, La Cenerentola (a comic retelling of the Cinderella story) and a Cinderella themed fund raiser gala. Most recently, Aspen Music Festival, another of Festival Preview’s favorite classical music festivals, has announced its “Once Upon a Time…” theme for 2008, which will feature musical performance pieces falling under the fairytale, folklore, mythology, and legend categories. Here we will see another performance of what Opera America has deemed the eleventh most frequently performed opera in North America, La Cenerentola. For those who may be unfamiliar with Rossini’s work, below is a video of tenor, Ramon Vargas, singing “Si, ritrovarla, io giuro,” from the opera set to be produced at the two festivals this season.

Ramon Vargas – La Cenerentola – Si, ritrovarla, io giuro

Video by Gabba02.

Other classical music items reflecting this year’s theme at the Aspen Music Festival include Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, Bartok's Romanian Dances, Kodaly's Marosszek Dances, Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder, and Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks and Don Juan. Further programming information for AMF will be available in late April.

If you enjoyed Vargas' rendition of "Si, ritrovarla, io giuro," and would like to learn more about Rossini and La Cenerentola, the Nevada Opera Web site offers online program notes from their 2006-2007 season with a section about the composer and his opera.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Spoleto: La Dolce Vita auction

For the past 28 years, Spoleto Festival USA has held a fundraiser auction known as La Dolce Vita to support the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra. This year's auction was hosted January 25th. Guests experienced a night of enchantment, as the theme was Cinderella's grand ball. Ida, a blogger from the Charleston Magazine, describes the atmosphere:

Asian-inspired accents made this dinner one of the more memorable amongst recent Fete Set outings. The bellowing of a Japanese drum signaled the end of the cocktail hour and the procession to dinner. Tables were draped in silk and adorned with jewel toned pots that held a stunning variety of orchids.

The $125 ticket afforded participants cocktails and a silent auction at the beginning of the night, followed by a three-course dinner and a live auction to close the evening. Auctioning a variety of donated items from travel getaways to private gourmet dinners to entrance into a few of the festival's concerts, the event was very successful, garnering $167,000.

To read a firsthand account of the night, read Ida's blog item, "La Dolce Vita, Roper Xavier dinner, and the Lowcountry Oyster Festival."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Savannah Music Festival

At the end of March (the 20th to be exact), the Savannah Music Festival in Georgia kicks off and runs until April 5th. Tune Up for the festival by listening to tracks from the headlining acts. Because of its eclectic nature, the Savannah Tune Up playlist features cuts from a range of artists--from Audra McDonald to the Blind Boys of Alabama to Jonathan Biss, Festival Preview's got them all. Classical artists on the playlist include: Beax Arts Trio, Jennifer Larmore, Yundi Li, and Jonathan Biss.

Tune Up for Spoleto Festival USA

Spoleto Festival USA begins May 23 and runs through June 8 in Charleston SC. Tune up for the festival with this annotated playlist featuring tracks by major performers scheduled to play this year.