By Jacob Stockinger
The Metropolitan Opera has announced the next season (2013-14) of “Live From the Met in HD” broadcasts, which are shown in cinemas around the world, including at the Eastgate (below) and Point cinemas in Madison.
It is an impressive lineup for the series that, according to The Met, gets transmitted via satellite to 1,900 theaters in 64 countries and has sold more than 12 million tickets since it began in 2006.
But nobody is saying why the season has been cut back from 12 to 10 after two years of expanding, if I recall correctly. Maybe the market can only bear so much. Or maybe it is the budget.
There will be one a month except for two in October and April.
Also, if I recall correctly, the whole program has been a great moneymaker for the Met. So I am not sure why the program was cut back. Maybe it just has to do with impressive new productions and only so much time to stage them in.
Also to look forward to is the return of conductor and Met artistic director James Levine (below top) after a hiatus of two years due to ill health. He will conduct Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte,” Verdi’s “Falstaff” and Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck.” Also, “Two Boys,” a new opera commissioned by the Met from composer Nico Muhly (below bottom), will be featured.
And there are a lot of other top-name singers and conductors who will be involved.
Here are the official announcements:
Here is a link to the series’ home website:
And here are some other stories about the regular Met season and the HD season that offer some analysis and other details:
And here is another, featuring world-famous opera (and food) expert Fred Plotkin (below), who writes the blog “Operavore” and is a 1978 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison:
By Jacob Stockinger
The timing of the announcement couldn’t have been better, given that today, Saturday, Oct. 13, marked the return of the “Live From the Met in HD” satellite broadcasts with Anna Netrebko in Donizetti’s “The Elixir of Love.”
And this story needs no commentary from me except to say that classical music fans and opera fans all over the world will be overjoyed to hear that long-time Met conductor James Levine (seen below in a photo by Damon Winter for The New York Times), long plagued by major and serious health problems, will return to conduct at the Metropolitan Opera next season. Furthermore, the recuperating Levine is being extremely open and candid about overcoming his illnesses and health challenges, which he calls “miraculous.”
Special accommodations are being made to the Met’s for Levine, who usually conducts sitting down (below, in a 2111 photo by Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times) but who must now get around in a motorized wheelchair. But you can read the stories below for those and other details.
Here is a link to a Page One story in The New York Times:
Here is a link to another story by the Associated Press:
You could even leave a Message for the Maestro in the COMMENT section of this blog.
REMINDER: The new season of The Met Live in HD, with 12 operas, opens this Saturday at Eastgate and Westgate cinemas with Donizetti‘s “The Elixir of Love” at 11:55 a.m. (The live satellite broadcast lasts 3 hours and 5 minutes.) The new Metropolitan Opera production stars Anna Netrebko (below). Tickets are $24 with discounts for seniors and children. For more information and tickets, visit http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/liveinhd/LiveinHD.aspx and http://www.marcustheatres.com
By Jacob Stockinger
Says an MSO press release: “Bring your “pipes” and raise a joyful noise with the MSO’s Overture Concert Organ. Join with others in an old-fashioned sing-along led by MSO Principal Organist Samuel Hutchison.
The MSO’s Free Community Christmas Carol Sing will take place in Overture Hall on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 11 a.m. this year.
The Hymn Sings and Christmas Carol Sing are free and open to the public. All ages are welcome. No tickets or reservations are needed. Each event lasts 45 minutes to an hour. The hymns chosen are widely known across many traditions and lyrics are provided.
A growing Madison tradition, the Community Hymn Sings and Christmas Carol Sing are part of the MSO’s Overture Concert Organ season and are presented in partnership with Overture Center.
For more information, visit www.madisonsymphony.org/hymnsings or call the Madison Symphony at (608) 257-3734.
By Jacob Stockinger
Today is Mother’s Day, a holiday that is rightly celebrated in one way or another and at one time another around the world.
It seems a good time to ask: “What is appropriate music to play on Mother’s Day?”
Well, it depends of course on the music and the Mom.
They capture the sweetness and innocence of motherhood and childhood without being hackneyed.
Listen to the beauty:
For my Mom, something special and particular is required.
After all, she took me to see the great pianist Artur Rubinstein in Carnegie Hall – where she even managed to get stage seats so I, as a young and aspiring pianist, could be close to The Master — perform an all-Chopin recital on my 15th birthday.
So, here are clips of Rubinstein playing one of the pieces we heard that night way back in 1961.
The choice of a waltz is poignant because at 90 Mom is now confined to a wheelchair. But she fights back with energy and determination and love, always love, and dances in her heart.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
I am proud of you.
And I love you.
What piece would you play and dedicate to your Mom on Mothers Day? Let us know,, and include a link is possible, in the Comments section.
By Jacob Stockinger
Well, it is just a few weeks or more before a lot of some major political events, all of them quite polarizing, contentious and controversial, get decided.
And curiously enough, classical music – which is normally left out of such major social events and political discussions – seems to be playing an important role right now.
And then there is the upcoming election in Russia where Vladimir Putin (below, riding brazenly beefcake and defiantly bare-chested) – often accused making his opponents “disappear” — hopes to return as President.
Of course music creeps into politics now and then. Recently, President Obama made headlines and videos that went viral when he crooned a few bars of Al Green and then later some blues with B.B. King and Rolling Stone Mick Jagger.
But classical music and opera?
How do they figure all of a sudden in politics?
Could it be because so many of these extremist-type candidates turn to something more artistically traditional for validation and mainstream cultural acceptance?
Here are some stories to consider:
Mr. Blowhard Speaker Newt Gingrich isn’t doing very well in the polls and primaries. But his former aide, mistress and now third wife, Callista (below), is using music education as the theme she says she would champion as First Lady the same way that Michelle Obama is promoting healthy food and fighting childhood obesity:
Hugo Chavez is so anxious to have good press to retain almost dictatorial power that he is willing to co-opt the superb music education program in Venezuela – the same “el sistema” that brought us superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel (seen below with Chavez) and the system’s famous founder Juan Antonio Abreu – and thereby to neutralize opposition from all the grateful young performers and audiences who benefit from the system he didn’t even start.
Here is a great New York Times story about him and them:
And here is a backgrounder about the success of El Sistema and the loyalty it inspire among its participants:
And then there are the mass demonstrations against former Russian president and KGB secret police agent Vladimir Putin, who seems about to pull off a shady return to power. But that doesn’t seem to prevent him from getting endorsements from some pretty big classical music stars including conductor Valery Gergiev (below top, shaking Putin hand at the recent Tchaikovsky competition) and sexy opera diva soprano Anna Netrebko (below bottom with Putin), who denies rumors that she had an affair with Putin (how operatic that would be!):
For background, try this:
I’ll bet there is more as elections draw closer and the American Presidential Election draws closer.
Do you have any more tips or ideas, suggestions or comments about music and current politics here or elsewhere?
The Ear wants to hear.
By Jacob Stockinger
Christmas may be over, but there are still important holiday gifts and special deals involving classical music to be had. Here is one as described in a recent press release The Ear received;
“The go-to site for experiencing world-class classical performances on the Web – medici.tv – will be offering all music lovers in the U.S. an unlimited free day of viewing on Monday, Dec. 26 of the myriad programs in the site’s pay-per-view library. (A sample is below.)
Much of the live programming on medici.tv is available free throughout the year, but on the day after Christmas, the pay-for-view archival programs will be free, too – as a gift to the site’s fans and new friends.
What’s available on medici.tv now includes more opera than ever before – including acclaimed productions from the UK and Paris with such top stars as Jonas Kaufmann (below), Natalie Dessay and Gerald Finley.
There are also live Webcasts of top-tier orchestral concerts, vocal performances, and chamber recitals, along with vintage documentaries and music films – including the much-lauded Christopher Nupen catalog.
More and more praise accrues to medici.tv with each passing month.
New Yorker magazine writer Alex Ross (below) said on his blog, “The Rest Is Noise,” that “the hits keep coming at medici.tv.” Offering “treasures aplenty” was how Gramophone editor-in-chief James Jolly put it, designating medici.tv as one of the Web’s leading classical experiences.
The medici.tv app for iPads, iPhones, and other digital devices – available for free at the Apple app store – was named one of the top five apps for classical music by WQXR, the classical music station of New York City.
In addition to its live webcasts, medici.tv also offers an extensive library of video-on-demand programs, available via subscription. These performances, documentaries and archival features spotlight leading musical institutions and world-class artists – from golden-age legends to today’s top stars.
The 30-plus Christopher Nupen films available at medici.tv include not only the priceless du Pré documents (complete with Elgar’s Cello Concerto and a number of all-star chamber performances) but also films of Evgeny Kissin, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Nathan Milstein. All 32 Beethoven piano sonatas recorded by Daniel Barenboim (below) in 1983-84 will be available by the year’s end.
About medici.tv: Since its official launch in May 2008, medici.tv has gained international recognition, bringing together a community of music and arts lovers from 182 countries – online viewers who have watched over 12 million videos to date. The site currently averages more than 80,000 individual visitors each month.
In addition to offering live concert hall events that music lovers can experience on their computers and entertainment systems, medici.tv now offers a free application (available at the Apple App Store) that makes it possible to experience world-class artistry on iPads and iPhones.
Building on the success of webcasts from the Verbier Festival (below) in 2007, medici.tv has offered high-definition webcasts from many other leading festivals, including Aix-en-Provence, Saint-Denis, Aspen, Glyndebourne, Salzburg, and Lucerne; from such Parisian venues as the Opéra National de Paris, Auditorium du Louvre, Cité de la Musique, and Salle Pleyel; and from Milan’s famed La Scala.
Many operas and concerts performed by the world’s top artists and orchestras have been webcast as live events and later as video-on-demand (VOD) – all available for free. The list of artists presented at medici.tv is a “who’s who” of today’s stars, including Claudio Abbado, Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Plácido Domingo, John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti (below), Anna Netrebko, Maurizio Pollini, Thomas Quasthoff and Simon Rattle.
Among the featured orchestras are such renowned ensembles as the Berlin Philharmonic, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw (below), Orchestre National de France, Orchestre de Paris, Filarmonica della Scala, and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
In addition to webcasts of more than 80 live concerts each year, medici.tv has partnered with the world’s top artists and music institutions to offer subscriptions, giving music-lovers the opportunity to watch more than 700 Video On Demand programs – growing to 1,000 programs over the next two years.
They include concerts, operas, recitals, documentaries, master classes, artist portraits, and archival material. Featured artists include such legendary musicians as Leonard Bernstein, Maria Callas, Glenn Gould, Herbert von Karajan, Yehudi Menuhin, David Oistrakh, Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Arthur Rubinstein (below), Georg Solti and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, as well as such leading film directors as Bruno Monsaingeon, Paul Smaczny and Frank Scheffer.
You can watch medici.tv concerts on iPhone with the free medici.tv App.
You can also: