Thursday, February 23, 2017
The family has confirmed the death , on January 8, of the great Swedish tenor, one of the most lasting ornaments of the opera stage. He was a fixture of the international opera calendar from 1952 to his retirement in 2003. He mastered 70 roles and made 200 recordings. News of his death was given today to the forumopera site by his daughter, Tania. Rising in the footsteps of his compatriot Jussi Björling, Gedda made his Paris debut in Weber’s Oberon in 1954 and was immediately awarded a company contract. He appeared at Covent Garden that same year and at the Met in 1957, returning regularly for quarter of a century. A master of controlled power, he excelled as much at recital as in opera. He stood up to conductors, famously resisting the demands of Herbert von Karajan, and was kind to colleagues. He endured two turbulent marriages before finding domestic contentment.
From a teenage obsession with Wagner to the inspirational Giulini and the daily necessity of Bach, the conductor shares his musical passionsVinyl or digital?I have wonderful memories of the vinyl recordings my father used to play at home – Il barbiere di Siviglia (Abbado, Berganza, Pray, Alva), Le nozze di Figaro (Bohm, Prey, Mathis, Janowitz, Fischer-Dieskau) and Beethoven 9 (Karajan with the Berlin Philharmonic). I still have a big collection of vinyl, especially historical performances of Italian opera, but I don’t often have the chance to listen to them because I am rarely at home. But I consider these recordings to be some of the most precious things I own. As a student I bought lots of CDs, and nowadays I always listen with headphones on my phone or laptop to digital music. But of course, nothing is better than the live concert experience and live music making. Continue reading...
Operatic tenor with a heaven-sent voice who was a favourite of international audiences for more than 40 yearsThe Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda, who has died aged 91, was one of the most versatile and cosmopolitan singers of the 50s and onwards, as much admired in concerts and recitals as in opera, and fluent on stage in at least six languages. He always used his strong, evenly produced and attractive voice with a fastidious sense of style and in order to communicate as directly as possible with his audiences. His considerable height and presence further enhanced his appearances on the concert platform.He first came to international attention when the record company EMI got wind of his stage success in his native Sweden, and immediately cast him as Dimitri, the young pretender, in a groundbreaking recording of Boris Godunov (1952), with Boris Christoff in the title role. By the end of that year, he had also recorded Bach’s Mass in B minor with Herbert von Karajan. These discs immediately disclosed the beauty and strength of Gedda’s gleaming tenor, and his course was set. Continue reading...
Leontyne Price will be 90 this week, on February 10. Selected to sing at a 1953 Met fund-raiser, she had to wait eight years before she won a stage role in New York. By this time she had sung in Vienna with Herbert von Karajan and made debuts at Covent Garden, Salzburg, Verona and La Scala, where she was the first Afro-American to take the stage. She was a trailblazer, an icon and an ambassador for art. In 1966, she opened the new Metropolitan Opera as Cleopatra in Anthony and Cleopatra by her close friend Samuel Barber. In all, she sang 201 times at the Met, blowing away the last vestiges of discrimination. Happy birthday, Miss Price.
A former assistant to Herbert von Karajan and Jean-Pierre Ponnelle at the summer festival, Peter Ewaldt apent the last 35 years as first Kapellmeister of the Salzburg Landestheater, where he looked after stage musicals and operetta. He was the local Sound of Music expert.
Tanja Dorn’s boutique agency has signed Stanley Dodds, a Berlin Philharmonic violinist with conducting ambitions. Dodds has assisted Simon Rattle on various projects and is principal conductor of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, playing seven times a year in the Philharmonie. His bio: Stanley Chia-Ming Dodds was born in Canada, grew up in Australia and as a dual German-Australian citizen is now based in Berlin. He began playin violin and piano in Adelaide at age four, attended the Bruckner Conservatorium and Musik High School in Linz before studying violin and conducting at Lucerne Conservatorium. He continued violin studies at the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic before receiving tenure as a violinist in the orchestra in 1994. He studied conducting in Australia, Switzerland and Germany, his most important mentor being the acclaimed Finnish professor Jorma Panula.