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This coming weekend, I’m tackling a project that used to be pretty common for me: performance. If I’m being honest, I’m just this side of absolutely terrified. I sing once a year on Christmas morning in my hometown church so that the choir can spend the morning with their families. Other than that, I haven’t sung anything of substance in public for four years.
At the final performance of The Daughter of the Regiment this season, we will have journeyed from Arizona and Mexico through Italy and Russia to the Tyrolean Alps – not to mention the fantastical realm in The Magic Flute. It has been a journey none of us will soon forget, and we’ve saved the best for last. Donizetti’s vibrant The Daughter of the Regiment provides the thrilling burst of joie de vivre on which we will end our season 191 days following our first performance of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna last October!
I grew up in a good school district. When I was in early elementary school, we had music, art, and gym classes that were on a three day rotation. We received grades for these disciplines and our work and participation in music was just as pertinent to parent-teacher conferences as our progress in English and math.
I can’t believe we have arrived at our fifth and final opera of 2014/15, and soon, this season will be nothing but memories of glorious music, beautiful productions, and wonderful performances.
Mozart and Schikaneder penned their popular masterpiece, Die Zauberflöte, in 1791, just fifteen years after the United States declared its independence from Great Britain.
Once upon a time, a prince woke to find himself lost in an enchanted forest in a strange land. He had no idea how he had arrived in such a place, nor how he would ever return home. The forest was dark and full of mysterious sounds. He was alone and afraid.
Ever since jumping headlong into the opera industry – first as a performer and then on the administrative side of the table – I’ve noticed that lots of people are curious whether I’m willing or able to name my very favorite opera. I’ve never been particularly good at choosing favorites. That said, should I ever find myself banished to a desert island, with the mysterious rule that I can only take along a few opera recordings with me, Eugene Onegin would easily make it into that first handful I would grab as I was pulled from my home!
Opera is considered by many to be the ultimate artform. More than any other discipline, opera brings all of the arts together into one—hopefully—seamless theatrical experience. Opera is not created in a vacuum. and the history and culture of its creators influence and shape the pieces we perform.
The following review by David Shengold is of Arizona Opera's Feb. 1, 2015 production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in Tucson.
Nationalism was a big deal in the 19th century, and in this age of revolution, music was often used to create this sense of national identity. Whether it was the bel canto operas of Italy, the romanticism of German, or the theatrical flair of France, Verdi, Wagner, Meyerbeer (although not French, he did a lot for French nationalism) and others created music that defined the nations they represented.
Whether it be the recent Metropolitan Opera production of Rigoletto, which moves the action to Las Vegas in the 1960’s, or that particular turn of phrase above that we’ve used to help publicize our production of Rigoletto, I’ve had many people ask what we’re going to “do” to the opera.