I have a very pleasant and very music–related FCS for you all this week.
However, before we start – the fine print. All photos, except for the top one, are courtesy of Joyce DiDonato.
So the fall is coming (What? there will be days when it’s not gonna be 98 F?!! Seriously?)
and it’s about time I start planning my next Opera Appreciation Seminar.
Per my students’ request, I decided to devote the fall seminar to (for once!!!) a happy opera. Some thorough thinking and picking later, my choice fell on an opera that has a very special significance to me personally and will always have a huge place in my heart. Il Barbiere di Siviglia , my friends. Il Barbiere…my first live opera!
Even though I know no better Count Almaviva than Juan Diego Florez, and no better Rosina than Joyce DiDonato, I have to consider the specifics of my audience. My students are seniors, conservative and somewhat nostalgic about the days when opera “ was not as crazy as it is now” and had “real scenery” and “real costumes”.
With that in mind and a very deep sigh, I left both the Met and the Covent Garden Barbiere’s standing on the shelf and decided to play it safe by choosing the famous 40-year-old Ponnelle’s version, starring Prey, Berganza and Alva.
Then (is that perfect timing or what?) Joyce DiDonato, who, as most of you know, just completed that same production run at La Scala , published this amazing blog post with pictures of people-free set and most importantly, Rosina’s room where she had to spend some time during Act 1. If you remember, Rosina spends most of Act 1 up in her room, answering Almaviva’s serenade from there, and talking to Doctor Bartolo from the balcony. I have to admit, I never thought that artists have more than a chair to sit in, while singing off-stage. Turns out, I was all wrong. Opera goes far beyond the stage and visible scenery is as important as invisible one. For an artist to perform his/her best, they need to be in it the whole time– does not matter where they physically are.
As you all see, the room is fully furnished and decorated. How many of you could imagine that?
When getting ready for my seminars, I always compile a handout with important dates, facts and pictures, something that my students can sort of “hold on to”, take home with them and look at later. This time, however, I was thinking about compiling a little Rossini booklet. It’s Rossini for goodness sake – what a character! What a life!
So I dared write to Joyce and ask for her permission to use her unique photos for my booklet. Joyce replied with this very nice e-mail that I would like to share with you all. I feel truly honored to have heard those wonderful words of encouragement and inspiration from the best Rosina of our time! Also, do not forget to click on that link and listen to the song. It’s hilarious – enjoy! Have a very nice weekend, you all!
I hope you don't mind my writing you directly, but I thought maybe it's better to respond to your post privately. You are MORE than welcome to use the photos - I love that you are teaching the class, and surely you are bringing a world of enjoyment to many people that might not be as "mobile" as they once were, so you bring the world to them. That's lovely.
Yes, please use them with my greetings to the students, and have fun with it!!!
By the way, you might enjoy to play a bit with the tune of Figaro's Aria - just to give them all a laugh. It's addictive, however, so consider yourself warned!!!
It's a song by Louis Prima, called "The bigger the figure" and it's, well, it's delightful! Here's a link:
In the meantime, thanks for your support and take good care!