Where is Janice singing next?
On May 9, I will be appearing with Pioneer Valley Symphony’s semi-staged version of Mascagni’s verismo potboiler, Cavalleria Rusticana. This go-round, I will be singing the role of Mama Lucia, which I last sang with Granite State Opera in 2008. In fact, I have sung all three female roles in this piece – the abandoned heroine Santuzza with Regina Opera in Brooklyn in the 1980s (there is a photo of me as Santuzza on my Links page), and Lola, the town bad girl, in my Indiana University days.
My distinguished colleagues this time are tenor Daniel Kamilac (Turiddu), baritone Philip Lima (Alfio), soprano Patrice Tiedemann (Santuzza), and my lovely former student Emily Jaworski (Lola). Paul Philips leads the Pioneer Valley Symphony and Chorus. Details can be found at www.pvsoc.org.
MOS (Mediterranean Opera Studio) - 2015
I am thrilled to be attending the 2015 MOS session in Greve in Chianti this August. You will recall my blog about last summer’s session in Sicily. This year, Jack has planned two sessions – once again in Sicily in July, and the August session in Greve. The last time I was in Tuscany was in 1989…I can’t wait to get back to visit museums and churches, taste the wonderful chianti, and of course, continue my vocal work with Jack and Nelly. There will be another “opera camp” blog, so please check my website for details.
Wagner's Ring Cycle revisited...
The month of May brought re-broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera's Der Ring des Nibelungen, Richard Wagner's epic four-part saga of greed, love, lust, and redemption. For those of you who know me, it will come as no surprise that I attended all four operas, shown over a period of 2.5 weeks at Concord's Capitol Center for the Arts. I had seen 3 of the 4 operas at the Met over the last two seasons, and looked forward to seeing the action and singing "up close and personal", which is what one gets in a presentation of this kind. For the most part, I was not disappointed, especially with Siegfried, the one opera I did not see in person. In fact, Siegfried fared best of all in the controversial Robert LaPage production, which has garnered mostly scathing reviews by major music critics the world over. "The machine", as the huge, 24 panel contraption has been dubbed, was not so much a device that took on a life of its own as a mere backdrop for some fantastically realistic projections (for instance, preceding the Siegfried/Mime scene in Act I, you saw a huge parcel of mossy ground just teeming with critters - insects, worms, even snakes - really set the mood!)
Prior to the first of these re-broadcasts, on May 7, a local music teacher, Mike Alberici, published an article about his curiosity about opera, and especially Wagner's operas...he obviously wanted to know what the fuss was about. He has subsequently published articles about all four of the operas and his experiences and thoughts about them. I am pleased to report that he was, well, bowled over by the spectacle and the drama. It is thrilling to me when an "opera virgin", especially one who has come to the genre with mostly negative, pre-conceived ideas, experiences a 180 degree change of heart. I so wish that others, who only think of opera as something musty, boring, elitist, and/or just not worth the bother, would give it a chance, especially young people. Except for Mike, and a couple of teenagers who attended Das Rheingold, I am afraid I was just about the youngest person in the small audience.
Mike published some kind words about me in his final article (see below), and if you care to read all of his articles, just go to the Concord Monitor website and enter "alberici".
Thanks, Mike - I am now a Wagner docent.
I was also very fortunate to sit right behind Janice Edwards for Das Walkure. Edwards, an international acclaimed mezzo-soprano, who sang the role of Fricka for the Arizona Opera, recognized me before the show and introduced herself.
"Are you the guy who wrote the article in the Monitor," she asked?
When I replied, "Yes," she immediately scolded me for making fat-lady jokes. (I'll never make that mistake again Janice!)
She was a wealth of knowledge, answering all my questions, providing me with numerous articles about the opera world, and giving me the back-stories of all the cast members.
Janice became my personal docent, holding my hand through The Ring's final three installments. I couldn't have done it without her.