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Classical News

In today’s news, Royal Danish Opera appoints Alexander Vedernikov as chief conductor, and organ played by Liszt is to be restored. Soprano performs lead role from wheelchair after suffering injury, and Placido Domingo’s concert in Cuba is cancelled due to national mourning for Fidel Castro. Also, Michael Sanderling is to leave Dresden Philharmonie in 2019.

Opera Now Magazine

Royal Danish Opera appoints Alexander Vedernikov as chief conductor

Alexander Vedernikov will become the next chief conductor of the Royal Danish Opera.

Daily Sabah

A magical farewell to 2016 with classical music festival in Cappadocia

Magical Cappadocia, famous for its fairy chimneys, is getting ready to host another unforgettable event on New Year’s Eve. The annual musical event, “Klasik Keyifler,” which won the Best Classical Music Event of the Year award at the 2015 Donizetti Music Awards is set to take place in the unearthly atmosphere of Cappadocia on Dec. 30, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

CMUSE

Organ played by Liszt to be restored at cost of €85,000

An organ played by Franz Liszt as a young child is to be restored over the next two years.

Soprano performs lead role from wheelchair after suffering injury

Russian soprano Anna Virovlansky was due to make her debut at the Oper Leipzig last night in Lucia di Lammermoor. But just two days before, she tore a ligament.

Irish Examiner

Loudest Whisper plan to make big noise with opera

Cork brothers Brian O’Reilly and Paud O’Reilly are behind an upcoming staging of the 44-year-old Celtic concert composition of The Children of Lir at the National Opera House of Ireland.

Musik Heute

Domingos Kuba-Konzert wegen Staatstrauer abgesagt

Der spanische Tenor Plácido Domingo hat nach dem Tod des kubanischen Revolutionsführers Fidel Castro ein Konzert in Havanna streichen müssen. Die vom Staatsrat ausgerufene neuntägige Staatstrauer verbiete alle öffentlichen Veranstaltungen.

Codex Flores

Michael Sanderling verlässt die Dresdner Philharmonie 2019

Michael Sanderling, der beim Zürcher Tonhalle-Orchester auch als potentieller Nachfolger von Lionel Bringuier gehandelt wird, hat angekündigt, dass er seinen Vertrag als Chef der Dresdner Philharmonie nicht verlängern wird. Er ist über Budgetkürzungen und deren Kommunikation verärgert.

Kulturradio vom rbb

Telemann-Preis 2017 geht an Musikproduzenten und Klassiklabel

Burkhard Schmilgun und das Klassiklabel cpo-classic production osnabrück erhalten die Auszeichnung am 4. März 2017 in Magdeburg. Gegenwärtig gebe es kein anderes Label, welches mit einer auch nur annähernd ähnlichen Fülle, Kontinuität und Qualität Werke des in Magdeburg geborenen bedeutenden Komponisten Georg Philipp Telemann veröffentlicht.

Klassik.com

Händel-Festspiele erhalten höhere Bundessubventionen

Die finanzielle Unterstützung für die beiden Festivalausgaben 2017 steigt um 40.000 Euro auf insgesamt 190.000 Euro. Festspiel-Intendant Clemens Birnbaum (Halle) wertete die Subventionserhöhung als Zeichen der Wertschätzung für die überregionale Ausstrahlung des Musikfestivals.

Der Tagesspiegel

Jenseits der Schamgrenze

Die Musiker der beiden SWR-Orchester wurden zwangsfusioniert. Jetzt müssen sie sich zusammenraufen – und nach einer neuen Identität suchen.

Twitter

neue musikzeitung @musikzeitung nmz-news: Hamburger Kulturbehörde fördert Freie Musikszene mit 500 000 Euro

Music History @today_classical in 1829 Birth of Russian and pianist Anton

klassik.com @klassikcom Vision String Quartet gewinnt den Concours de Genève

Alexander Vedernikov. Credits: Opera Now Magazine.

Alexander Vedernikov. Credits: Opera Now Magazine.

(Written on November 28, 2016 )

Classical News

In today’s classical news, Veriko Tchumburidze receives the top prize of €30,000 following her performance of Wieniawski’s Second Violin Concerto and Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto in the finals of 15th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poland. Royal Albert Hall has appointed current CEO of Opera Australia, Craig Hassall, as its new chief executive. Also, the shortlist for the British Composer Awards 2016 has been revealed.

The Strad

Veriko Tchumburidze wins International Wieniawski Violin Competition 2016

Veriko Tchumburidze has been named the winner of the 15th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poznań, Poland. The 20-year-old musician from Georgia/Turkey – a former winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians – receives the top prize of €30,000 following her performance of Wieniawski’s Second Violin Concerto and Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto in the competition final.

Classical Music Magazine

RAH appoints Craig Hassall as new chief executive

The Royal Albert Hall (RAH) has appointed Craig Hassall, currently CEO of Opera Australia (OA), as its new chief executive.

British Composer Awards 2016 shortlist revealed

The shortlist for the British Composer Awards 2016 has been revealed. Thirty-four composers have been shortlisted, spanning 33 works across 11 categories.

Music Teacher Magazine

Pascal Nemirovski joins Birmingham Conservatoire

Birmingham Conservatoire has appointed Pascal Nemirovski as international chair in piano.

Choir and Organ Magazine

Stile Antico announces Young Singer Bursaries 2016/17

Mezzo-soprano Sacha Fullerton and soprano Caroline Halls are the recipients of Stile Antico’s 2016/17 Young Singer Bursaries.

International Arts Manager

From the Supreme Court to the stage

American Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is swapping the stand for the stage as she prepares to star in Washington National Opera’s (WNO) production of La Fille du Regiment. Donizetti’s comic opera tells the tale of a young woman torn between her family and the love of her life. It runs from 12-20 November, and is directed by Robert Longbottom.

Le Parisien

Pierre Boulez donne son nom à la grande salle de la Philharmonie de Paris

La grande salle de la Philharmonie de Paris, ouverte en janvier 2015 dans le nord-est parisien, doit être baptisée mercredi officiellement du nom du compositeur Pierre Boulez, père spirituel du projet.

nmz

Dresdner Sinfoniker laden Erdogan zu Armenier-Stück ein

Die Türkei läuft seit langem Sturm gegen das Konzertprojekt «Aghet» zum «Völkermord an den Armeniern». Die Dresdner Sinfoniker wollen ihr Stück im November im deutschen Generalkonsulat in Istanbul aufführen – wozu sie nun Präsident Erdogan persönlich eingeladen haben.

klassik.com

Radiosender zeichnen Pianistin Nathalia Milstein aus

Die französische Pianistin Nathalia Milstein erhält den “Prix du jeune soliste des medias francophones publics”. Der Preis wird von vier Radiosendern vergeben: Radio France, dem schweizerischen Sender RTS, der belgischen Rundfunkstation RTBF sowie Radio Canada.

Codex Flores

Engstroem distanziert sich von Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Martin Engstroem, der Leiter des Verbier Festivals, ist laut einer Meldung des Fachmagazins «Pizzicato» aus Unzufriedenheit über die Führung des Ensembles aus dem Kuratorium des Orchestre de la Suisse Romande(OSR)  ausgetreten.

Twitter

The Economist @TheEconomist With his album “Sleep”, Max Richter has redefined classical music in the digital age http://econ.st/2eh33l0

BBC Music Magazine @MusicMagazine How can we increase diversity in classical music? http://buff.ly/2exL7nT

The Royal Opera @TheRoyalOpera Georges Bizet was born #otd in 1838 A classic clip of #ROHcarmen to celebrate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ_HHRJf0xg …

wildkat-pr-veriko-tchumburidze

Photo: International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition

(Written on October 25, 2016 )

WildKat PR are delighted to be starting work with Olivia Salvadori and Sandro Mussida, ahead of the release of their album Dare Voce this autumn. Olivia and Sandro are particularly interested in exploring the interaction between different genres, traditions and timbres.

wildkat-pr-olivia-salvatori

Olivia Salvadori is a classically trained soprano, an operatic solo performer, and an experimental recording artist. Her music creates an eclectic avant-garde union between her deep, lyrical voice and a classically-influenced electronic accompaniment. In 2013, Olivia began recording her album, Dare Voce, in collaboration with producer, composer and cellist Sandro Mussida. His work investigates the consequences of compositional choices on musical matter and explores the interaction between acoustic/classical, electric and electronic fields.

wildkat-pr-sandro-mussida

Dare Voce features nine compositions in song form for soprano voice with electric/electronic accompaniment. Alongside elements from traditional classical Italian opera, the compositions incorporate more contemporary and experimental styles.

Follow their latest news here on WildKat PR Blog. In addition, you can follow Olivia on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud, where you can listen to some of her recordings. You can also follow Sandro on his website, Facebook, TwitterInstagram, as well as Soundcloud to listen to his works.

(Written on October 18, 2016 )

Classical News

In our news today, comic pop-up events in London are supposed to revolutionise opera, the RNCM gold medal competition names its winners & a same-sex kiss in the musical Les Miserables in Singapore has been removed from the show, after complaints from the public. Also, The Times introduces cellist and BBC Young Musician winner Sheku Kenneh-Mason and his family, plus former James Bond actor Roger Moore will visit the Tyne Theater & Opera House in Newcastle to talk about his career.

The Guardian

Comic opera to pop up all over London

Pop-up events have transformed the hospitality sector and now these pared down innovative events in interesting spaces are taking over the arts world as well.

The Times

Is this the most musically talented family in Britain?

The cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s electric performances won him the BBC Young Musician competition — and his six siblings are just as good.

Classical Music Magazine

RNCM Gold Medal winners announced

The winners of this year’s RNCM gold medal competition 2016 are James Girling (guitar), Tyler Hay (piano), Danny Ryan (composer), Abel Selaocoe (cello) and Andres Yauri (bassoon).

BBC News 

Singapore cuts same-sex kiss from Les Miserables

A kiss between two male actors in the musical Les Miserables in Singapore has been removed from the show, after complaints from the public. The scene involved a brief peck on the lips during the song Beggars at the Feast.

Laura Mvula: ‘Music industry is sexist’

Laura Mvula has described the music industry as “sexist” and “racist”, saying we are living in the “Donald Trump time of music”. The singer-songwriter said she often felt “isolated and misunderstood” as a female recording artist.

Chronicle Live

James Bond star Roger Moore set for Tyne Theatre & Opera House in Newcastle

Former James Bond actor Roger Moore will be at the Tyne Theatre later this year to talk about his career and answer questions from the audience.

Huffington Post

A lurking threat to Western classical music

Is Western classical music under threat? The genre known as classical, serious, or art music has certainly suffered from being labeled elitist and inaccessible.

Classical-music.com

Capability Brown to be celebrated in music

The 300th anniversary of the birth of landscape architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown is be commemorated by a new composition at this year’s Fringe in the Fen music festival in Cambridgeshire.

The New York Times

National Endowment for the Arts names 2017 Jazz Masters

The National Endowment for the Arts has named its 2017 NEA Jazz Masters: the musicians — Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dave Holland, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Dick Hyman — and the jazz historian Ira Gitler. Each will each receive $25,000 and be honored at a tribute concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington on April 3, 2017.

The Strad

Musician ‘kicked off’ United Airlines flight for attempting to stow her violin safely

Yura Lee was travelling with her violin from Washington to Detroit and had negotiated with fellow passengers to stow the instrument under seats.

Classic FM

Joyce DiDonato has posted a powerful response to the Orlando shootings

Soprano Joyce DiDonato has re-posted a video of herself singing Purcell’s ‘When I Am Laid In Earth’ at the Stonewall Inn in New York.

klassik.com

Riccardo Chailly sagt Abschiedskonzert mit Leipziger Gewandhausorchester ab

Der italienische Dirigent Riccardo Chailly hat sein Abschiedskonzert als Gewandhauskapellmeister abgesagt. Das Konzert mit Mahlers Dritter Sinfonie sollte am kommenden Sonntag stattfinden.

Musik heute

Würth-Musikpreis an “vision string quartet” verliehen

Die Streicher des Berliner “vision string quartet” sind am Montag in ihrer Heimatstadt mit dem Würth-Preis des musikalischen Jugendverbandes Jeunesses Musicales Deutschland (JMD) ausgezeichnet worden.

BR_KLASSIK

Zensur bei “Les Misérables” in Singapur

Ein Kuss zwischen zwei männlichen Musicaldarstellern hat in Singapur die Medienbehörde auf den Plan gerufen – und wurde daraufhin gestrichen. Künstler reagierten empört auf die Zensur.

Twitter

Royal Academy Music @RoyalAcadMusic Meet the Maestro: postgrad talks to

Classical Music @ClassicalMusic_ First Night: discusses making her debut with Elgar’s Cello Concerto

The Culture Trip @CultureTrip  that classical music can have beneficial effects on pain, stress, depression and sleep.

wildkat-pr-roger-moore

Photograph: Chronicle Live

(Written on June 14, 2016 )

WildKat PR are excited to announce our new client Héloïse Werner!

Héloïse is a singer and performer, currently working on Scenes from the End, a new one-woman opera about grief that previewed at the Tristan Bates Theatre in February 2016 and will premiere this summer at the Camden and Edinburgh  Fringe Festivals. Héloïse was born in Paris, studied Music at Clare College, Cambridge and has received many awards for her work, such as the ‘Creation Prize’ from the Conservatoire Maurice Ravel.

Héloïse co-directs London-based contemporary quartet The Hermes Experiment (Park Lane Group Young Artists) and is a founder member of five-piece folk band The Coach House Company, with whom she has performed at Green Note, Ronnie Scott’s jazz club and Wilderness Festival, amongst others.

HeloiseWerner

“Soprano, Héloïse Werner really used the words performatively: not just their meaning but their sound. (…) Werner was called upon to imitate the train as well as sing: all carried off with a splendid sense of performance art.” – Seen and Heard International

Keep up to date with Héloïse’ news on her website, Twitter and Instagram.

(Written on April 28, 2016 )

Classical News

In today’s news, Anna Netrebko surprisingly withdraws from singing at Royal Opera’s Norma, Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen to work with Metropolitan Opera, Google offers a virtual tour through the Sydney Opera House and Scottish Opera announces four productions and Philip Glass premiere as new season is unveiled.

The Guardian

Soprano Anna Netrebko withdraws from Royal Opera’s Norma

One of the world’s leading sopranos has pulled out of the Royal Opera’s autumn production of Norma because her “voice has evolved in a different direction”. Anna Netrebko released a statement on Tuesday giving her reasons for what the company admitted was a frustrating late withdrawal.

New York Times

Esa-Pekka Salonen brings his cool to New York’s music scene

He has held musical soirees at National Sawdust in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He led the New York Philharmonic in Messiaen’s boffo “Turangalîla-Symphonie” in March at David Geffen Hall, where, a week later, Alan Gilbert conducted the New York premiere of his Dada piece, “Karawane.” Now he is next door, conducting Strauss’s “Elektra” at the Metropolitan Opera.

Herald Scotland

Scottish Opera announces four productions and Philip Glass premiere as new season unveiled

Four new productions, a collaboration with a leading theatre company and the first Scottish performance of a Puccini opera are part of Scottish Opera’s new season.

Mashable UK

Go backstage at the Sydney Opera House with Google’s virtual museum

On Wednesday, the building and the Google Cultural Institute, an initiative that hosts virtual museums from around the world, announced a new partnership that will see more than 1,000 of the House’s artefacts posted online.

Music Week

BBC Music Day to return in June

BBC Music has announced the full line-up of events for BBC Music Day 2016, which returns this year on Friday, June 3.

Classical Music Magazine

Warner Classics extends label distribution service

Warner Classics is to extend its global distribution and marketing infrastructure to third-party labels. EuroArts Music will be the first company to join forces with Warner Classics Label Services from 1 May.

Ralph Kirshbaum receives honorary degree

Cellist Ralph Kirshbaum is to be presented with an honorary doctorate in music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on 5 July. Kirshbaum’s career encompasses solo performance, chamber music, recording and pedagogy.

The Strad

Fresh from signing to Warner Classics, violinist Kyung Wha Chung to open Verbier Festival

Following the news earlier this month that Kyung Wha Chung has signed an exclusive recording contract with Warner Classics, it has been announced that the violinist is to open the Verbier Festival on 22 July.

Der Tagesspiegel

Völkermord, bitte löschen

Die Türkei versucht die EU-Kulturpolitik zu kontrollieren – Auslöser ist ein Konzertprojekt der Dresdner Sinfoniker über den Genozid an den Armeniern.

neue musikzeitung

Erinnern, übermalen und neu gestalten

Der dänische Komponist Hans Abrahamsen im Porträt.

Das Orchester

Nachlass von Claudio Abbado kommt nach Berlin

Die Schenkung an die Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin/Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz umfasst eine umfangreiche Sammlung von Partituren, handschriftlichen Aufzeichnungen, Audio-/Video-Veröffentlichungen, musikwissenschaftlicher Literatur und Briefen.

El mundo

Con la vista en Brahms y Gernika

La BOS mirará al compositor alemán en una temporada que tendrá invitados como Eliahu Inbal.

Twitter

Top Classical News @topcmnews Three Krenek operas to be staged in Frankfurt

Making Music England @MakingMusicENG Help put ‘A Choir in Every Care Home’

Sydney Opera House @SydOperaHouse Today we launch our Cultural Institute collection — 50 exhibits, 1000+ artefacts

wildkat-pr-anna-netrebko

Photograph: Royal Opera

(Written on April 27, 2016 )

Classical News

In our news today, Lang Lang plans to gather prominent musicians to celebrate New York’s musical history, Ailyn Pérez wins this year’s Beverly Sills Artist Award, The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain are to become associate orchestra at Southbank Centre and Kathleen Battle will return to the Metropolitan Opera 22 years after firing.

New York Times

Lang Lang to deliver a love letter to New York, in music

The Chinese piano virtuoso Lang Lang, one of the few classical musicians to achieve pop-culture status, considers New York his adoptive home. And, as a kind of love letter, he is planning to gather fellow prominent singers and instrumentalists to celebrate the city’s rich musical history.

New York Times

The soprano Ailyn Pérez wins Beverly Sills Artist Award

The soprano Ailyn Pérez has won this year’s Beverly Sills Artist Award, which offers a $50,000 prize to help foster the careers of young singers who have appeared in solo roles at the Metropolitan Opera.

Classical Music Magazine

NYOGB to become Southbank Centre associate orchestra

The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain will become associate orchestra at Southbank Centre from 2016/17.

Classical Music Magazine

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra receives £500,000 gift

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has received one of the largest single gifts in its history from the Rachel Baker Memorial Charity.

Classicalite

Kathleen Battle returns to the Metropolitan Opera 22 years after firing

Operatic soprano Kathleen Battle has announced she will return to the Metropolitan Opera some 22 years after her famous departure. Peter Gelb, the new general manager, says there’s no ill-will towards the performer.

The Strad

New Zealand String Quartet appoints new second violinist

The New Zealand String Quartet has appointed Monique Lapins as its new second violinist. She replaces Douglas Beilman, who left the ensemble at the end of 2015 after 26 years.

Music Week

PRS Foundation reveals its Talent Development Partners for 2016

PRS for Music Foundation has announced 22 organisations from across the UK, which have been selected as PRS Foundation Talent Development Partners for 2016.

Pizzicato

Vincent Larderet named Artistic Director of French Piano festival

French pianist Vincent Larderet has been named Artistic Director of Piano at the Musée Würth in Erstein/Alsace.

Pizzicato

Seiji Ozawa, Ehrenmitglied der Berliner Philharmoniker

Vor der gestrigen Generalprobe in der Berliner Philharmonie haben die Berliner Philharmoniker als Ausdruck ihrer langjährigen Verbundenheit Seiji Ozawa in den Kreis der Ehrenmitglieder des Orchesters aufgenommen.

KulturPort.de

Giacomo Puccinis verschollenes Opernjuwel Edgar. KLANGVOKAL Musikfestival Dortmund präsentiert in einer Deutschlandpremiere die Mailänder Urfassung

Große Gefühle, erlesene Stimmen und ein im deutschsprachigen Raum noch nie zuvor aufgeführter vierter Akt – auch ein berühmter Komponist wie Giacomo Puccini hält eben noch Überraschungen bereit.

Klassik Akzente

Zum Schwelgen und Entspannen – Die Klangfarben des Cellos

Das Cello ist seit Jahrhunderten für seinen warmen, berührenden Klang berühmt. Jetzt veröffentlicht Deutsche Grammophon eine Sammlung großer Cello-Werke aus 300 Jahren Musikgeschichte: Klänge zum Entspannen, zum Träumen und Schwelgen.

Twitter

AVA Opera @avaopera Congrats to @ on her ’16 Beverly Sills Artist Award! Ailyn is no. 5 AVAlum to win

PRS Foundation @prsfoundation Next up we have Talent Development Partner, Cheltenham Festivals @ 

klassik.com @klassikcom  Bonner Stadtrat stimmt für Sanierung der Beethovenhalle # #

wildkat-pr-lang-lang

Lang Lang, pianist. Photograph: Adam Dean for The New York Times

(Written on April 8, 2016 )

Classical News

In today’s news, Wigmore Hall announces new partnership with medici.tv and Gramophone Magazine reports that soprano Denise Deval has died. Also, cellist Julian Lloyd Webber is named Birmingham and Midland Institute president and a task force tackles musicians’ US work visa problems 

Classical Music Magazine

Wigmore Hall announces new partnership with medici.tv

Wigmore Hall has announced a new partnership with medici.tv and the expansion of its ticket scheme for under 35s

Gramophone Magazine

The soprano Denise Duval has died at 94

Denise Duval, who inspired some of Francis Poulenc’s most powerful works for soprano, has died in Switzerland where she lived

The Strad

Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber named Birmingham and Midland Institute president

Lloyd Webber was also appointed principal of Birmingham Conservatoire in 2015

Arts Professional

Task force to tackle musicians’ US work visa problems

The Musicians’ Union and British Underground have assembled a task force to tackle problems with visas that musicians face when travelling to the US, including high costs, restrictions and delays

Klassikakzente

Persönliche Einblicke – Daniel Hopes neue Radiosendung auf

In der neuen Sendung “WDR 3 Persönlich” berichtet Daniel Hope nun jeden Sonntag aus seinem Musikerleben und präsentiert Künstler und Werke, zu denen er eine besondere Verbindung hat

Der Westen

Film „Feuer bewahren“ zeigt Choreograph Martin Schläpfer

Zwei kräftige Waden in Wanderschuhen, die über den feuchten Waldboden nach oben steigen: Mit dieser symbolkräftigen Sequenz beginnt der Dokumentarfilm „Feuer bewahren – nicht Asche anbeten“ über Martin Schläpfer, Choreograph und Direktor des Balletts am Rhein

NMZ

Verwertungsgesellschaft Gema zieht erneut gegen YouTube vor Gericht

Der Streit zwischen der Verwertungsgesellschaft Gema und der Google-Tochter YouTube ist zäh und zieht sich bereits seit Jahren hin

New York Times

New York Philharmonic Taps Jaap van Zweden as Its Next Maestro

The New York Philharmonic announced on Wednesday that it was turning to Jaap van Zweden, an intense, exacting Dutch conductor, to be its next music director and guide it through the costly renovation of its hall, two seasons of exile and, if all goes well, a triumphant return to Lincoln Center

Le Monde

Mort de Denise Duval, la « Voix humaine » de Francis Poulenc

Le « Rossignol à larmes » du compositeur Francis Poulenc, inoubliable créatrice de La Voix humaine, s’est envolée lundi 25 janvier : la soprano française, Denise Duval, est morte à l’âge de 94 ans dans sa maison en Suisse

Twitter

Interlude@interludeHK  Were Chopin’s dreamy nocturnes inspired by something more sinister? Our feature has more http://ow.ly/XBEWt

Marketing Magazine@MarketingUK 80% of Facebook’s ad revenues driven by mobile as profit more than doubles… and more http://bit.ly/1OZAhP2

Southbank Centre@southbankcentre  Chineke! @Chineke4Change Europe’s first BME orchestra join our family of Associate Orchestras #Classical1617

Denise Duval/ Gramophone Magazine

Denise Duval/ Gramophone Magazine

(Written on January 28, 2016 )

In early Italian Opera, from the 1600’s until about 1800, many operatic roles were written for castrati. Recently more men have been trained as countertenors to sing these roles, however it is often women who take on these ‘breeches roles’ in the place of castrati.

From the end of the eighteenth century, when composition for castrati had declined, male operatic roles continued to be written for high voices. Thus, it was intended that a woman should dress up as a man to play these characters. It is important to note, that the quality of the voices and music has always come before realism in opera.

Italian castrato Francesco Bernardi Senasino (1686- 1758) Senesino was closely associated with Handel & sung 17 of his lead roles an

Italian castrato Francesco Bernardi Senesino (1686- 1758). Senesino was closely associated with Handel and sung 17 of his lead roles.

Travesti in Italian means disguised and Travesty applies to roles sung by the opposite sex. This term can therefore also apply to ‘skirt roles’, whereby a man sings a female role.

A long list of lead figures in operas are known as ‘breeches roles’ (‘travesti’ or ‘hosenrolle’) .

Here are some of the most well known Travesty roles in opera.

Octavian Der Rosenkavalier, Richard Strauss

Octavian, young lover of the Feldmarschallin Marie Thérèse, is written as a soprano/mezzo-soprano breeches part. Typical of a breeches role, Octavian must disguise as a woman to hide his identity and involvement with Marie Thérèse.

Christa Ludwig as Octavian

Christa Ludwig as Octavian

Romeo I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Donizetti

When assessing the singers for I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Bellini wasn’t particularly impressed with the tenor. However he admired the talents of mezzo-soprano Giuditta Grisi, so he decided to cast Grisi as Romeo in a breeches role.                                                                   

Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca as Romeo & Julliet, ROH 2009

Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca as Romeo & Julliet, ROH 2009

Cherubino, Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart

Cherubino is an adolescent boy and the counts page. As many breeches roles, Cherubino is played by a mezzo-soprano. Similarly to Der Rosenkavalier’s Octavian, Cherubino must disguise himself as a girl. He is a womaniser and woos both Susanna (engaged to Figaro) and Countess Almaviva (married to Count Almaviva).

Other breeches roles in Mozart’s operas, include Sesto and Annino in La clemenza di Tito,  Idamante in Idomeneo and Amintas in Il re pastore.

Joyce DiDonato as Cherubino at the Metropolitan Opera, New York

Joyce DiDonato as Cherubino at the Metropolitan Opera, New York

Composers chose for male characters to be played by women, due to the sound characteristics of their voices and their physique. Female figures are particularly suited to being cast as young boys, as these roles require narrow physiques and light, clear voices. Although today, it is of course perfectly acceptable for women to perform on stage, in the nineteenth century, woman who went on stage were dishonored and had a lower status. Thus, there were cases of women dressing up, pretending to be a castrati men in order to avoid this. Today’s interest and media focus on gender fluidity suggests that there is great scope for opera to flourish, as modern audiences continue to be fascinated by gender roles.

(Written on November 12, 2015 )

Farinelli is perhaps the most well known castrato singer and the new West- End production of Farinelli and the King brings his story back to life for the stage.

Between the 17th and early 20th centuries, many castrati became famous. Indeed, they were the darlings of the opera house; they played prestigious male and female lead roles, and classical composers wrote music specifically for castrati voices.

It is believed the practice was started around 1500, and the number of castrati declined during the 19th century.

Women were banned from the Vatican choir and much church music was written for high voices, therefore castrati were often employed. The unique voice of a castrato combined the pure sound of a boy soprano with the lung capacity of an adult male.

Castrati occupied a middle-ground between male and female, biologically they were male but psychologically and socially they weren’t considered to be men. They were forbidden from marrying, becoming priests or holding political posts.

Alessandro Moreschi was the Church’s last castrato singer, he died in 1922.

Here Alessandro Moreschi sings “Preghiera” by Francesco Paolo Tosti, recorded in the Sistine Chapel in 1902.

(Written on October 19, 2015 )