Sunday, December 6, 2009

Anne Sophie von Otter - Sieben frühe lieder, Nr. 3 Die Nachtigall

Anne Sophie von Otter - sings Sieben frühe lieder, Nr. 3 Die Nachtigall by Alan Berg:

The Swedish soprano Anne Sofie (or Sophie) von Otter’s father was a diplomate and she grew up in Bonn, London and Stockholm. She studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Her main teachers were Vera Rosza, in Lied interpretation Erik Werba and Geoffrey Parsons.

Anne Sofie von Otter is married to a stage director and mother of two children. The family lives in Sweden. She is one of today’s most respected, innovative and sought-after soloists. This Alan Berg's song was, also, Vedrana Zerav's choice for her masters degree.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

LUCIA POPP: "Non Più Di Fiori" (Her Last Recording)

There's a story told on page 24 of Ursula Tamussino's book. September 1965 in Vienna, Lucia Popp "cracked" in one of the Queen of the Night arias and got depressed. Lucia was in such state of despair and on the point of giving up singing and going back to Bratislava, but was talked out of it by Fritz Wunderlich.

Imagine what favor that nature's wonder, Fritz Wunderlich, granted to the world, by saving Lucia Popp for her art. Listen to her, the very last recording of LUCIA POPP, "Non Più Di Fiori" and try to imagine opera's history without her. No way! Thank you Fritz!!

Lucia Popp's "Queen of the Night"

Queen of the Night, a role that made her famous and in which Lucia Popp was considered unsurpassed.


German Text

Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!
Fühlt nicht durch dich Sarastro
So bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr.
Verstossen sei auf ewig,
Verlassen sei auf ewig,
Zertrümmert sei'n auf ewig
Alle Bande der Natur
Wenn nicht durch dich!
Sarastro wird erblassen!
Hört, Rachegötter,
Hört der Mutter Schwur!

English Translation of "Der Hölle Rache"

The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart,
Death and despair flame about me!
If Sarastro does not through you feel
The pain of death,
Then you will be my daughter nevermore.
Disowned may you be forever,
Abandoned may you be forever,
Destroyed be forever
All the bonds of nature,
If not through you
Sarastro becomes pale! (as death)
Hear, Gods of Revenge,
Hear a mother's oath!

More about LUCIA POPP (1939 - 1993)

Lucia Popp [originally: Lucia Poppová] debuted at 23 years old at the Bratislava Opera singing Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte. In 1963, Herbert von Karajan hired her to sing with the Vienna State Opera company. She soon became famous for singing the Queen of the Night, a role in which she was considered unsurpassed.

The esteemed Slovak-born Austrian soprano, Lucia Popp, after finishing school, studied medicine for two semesters. She began her career by training as an actress. Anna Hrusovska-Prosenkova, a voice teacher at the Academy, happened to hear her singing during a performance of Molière's
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, and offered her voice lessons. Only then did she begin studying music and singing at the Conservatories of Brünn and Prague. She attended the Bratislava Music Academy for four years, completing course in general music and voice studies. She began her studies as a mezzo-soprano, but her voice quite suddenly developed a high upper register.

In January 1979 Lucia Popp received the title of Kammersängerin in Vienna, and in 1983 she received the title of Bayerische Kammersängerin from the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. Lucia Popp was unquestionably at the height of her art when she passed away so prematurely in 1994 (of brain cancer).

It's well known that flashy, high, bright-timbered voices usually have trouble developing a warm tonal colour. But Lucia Popp was able to warm up her tone, which, with its sweet, meditative piano, English critic John Steane (in his book The Grand Tradition - Seventy Years of Singing on Record) compared to an oboe. Thus, from the Queen of the Night - probably the best exponent of the role on record (according to Steane) - Lucia Popp became a lyric singer with a dazzling technique, and further enriched the aural and colour possibilities of her voice by singing Lieder.

LUCIA POPP sings Song to the Moon by A. Dvorak

Watch and listen Lucia Popp singing Song to the Moon for the gala reopening of the Zurich Opera House 1984. More about great Lucia Popp in my other blog post, here.

In the beginning of the aria, Dvorak uses large arpeggiated chords to invite the audience into the fairy tale land of Rusalka. The good-natured old Spirit of the Lake, Jezibab, is enjoying the singing of the Wood Nymphs, when his daughter, Rusalka, approaches him sadly. She tells him that she has fallen in love with a handsome young prince and wishes to become human in order to know the bliss of union with him. Deeply saddened, the Spirit of the Lake consents to her request, and leaves. All alone, Rusalka sings this beautiful aria, confiding in the moon the secrets of her longing.

Silver moon upon the deep dark sky,
Through the vast night pierce your rays.
This sleeping world you wander by,
Smiling on men's homes and ways.

Oh moon ere past you glide, tell me,
Tell me, oh where does my loved one bide?
Oh moon ere past you glide, tell me
Tell me, oh where does my loved one bide?

Tell him, oh tell him, my silver moon,
Mine are the arms that shall hold him,
That between waking and sleeping he may
Think of the love that enfolds him,

May between waking and sleeping
Think of the love that enfolds him.
Light his path far away, light his path,
Tell him, oh tell him who does for him stay!
Human soul, should it dream of me,
Let my memory wakened be.

Moon, moon, oh do not wane, do not wane,
Moon, oh moon, do not wane....

BTW, this is the song that gorgeous Italian-Croatian soprano, Vedrana Zerav put on her repertoire recently

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Aleksey Igudesman and Richard Hyung-ki Joo

I WILL SURVIVE by Aleksey Igudesman and Richard Hyung-ki Joo. Classical musicians could be funny too. They are great so enjoy this take on a popular, well, pop song.


"The video (below) is really fun, classic music lovers should be cautious with this, those guys require an open mind, you can see on the video some faces that doesn't look very happy with the show, but for me they are good."


Maria Callas: "Voi lo sapete", by Mascagni

Maria Callas sings "Voi lo sapete" from Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana. NHK Tokio 1974 with very good best sound quality.

Cavalleria Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry) by Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945), a tragic one-act Italian opera composed in 1890. Like Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci, Cavalleria Rusticana also cultivated a new style in the late 19th-century Italian literary movement called verismo, meaning 'realism' or 'truthful.'

The opera depicts life in a Sicilian village where love, betrayal and integrity come about. The mood is set with a chorus and an Easter hymn, together with arias and duets that drive the tragic drama. Santuzza's "Voi lo sapete, o mamma" is a best-known solo. Cavalleria Rusticana include the passionate devotional hymn "Easter Chorus" and "Peasants' Chorus."

Maria Callas Otello: Ave Maria

I am always in awe when listening to Maria Callas. She's neither the best singer nor the most beautiful voice ever but her charisma is unsurpassed. I never know what to write when posting Maria's art. So just listen and enjoy as I do...

I've noticed many are searching for Una voce poco fa translation and La donna e mobile lyrics so girls and guys, fellow opera lovers, just follow these two links and voila!, there you are...