Atlanta composer Curtis Bryant has, in fact, turned the 1907 novel about a group of anarchists plotting to blow up the Greenwich Observatory into a full-length opera, and the work will have its world premiere this weekend, March 15-17, at Oglethorpe's Conant Center for the Performing Arts in a production by Atlanta's Capitol City Opera. We caught up with tenor Timothy Miller, who plays the anarchist Alexander Ossipon, so he could act as our super-secret undercover informant and tell us all about the new work.
The Metropolitan Opera will broadcast contemporary composer Thomas Adès opera based on Shakespeare's The Tempest to local movie theaters this Saturday, November 10, beginning at 12:55 p.m.
The work had its world premiere at London's Royal Opera House in 2004 and its Met premiere this season. Interestingly, the show is being staged by Cirque du Soleil Artistic Director Robert Lepage. We weren't ginormous fans of his staging of the Ring Cycle—that 45-ton machine sort of weighed things down in the end—but The Tempest seems like it could be a much better match for his showman's style. The cool costumes were designed by Kym Barrett, who also created the memorable looks for the characters in Cirque du Soleil's Totem, now under the big tent at Atlanta's Atlantic Station. Check out a yummy New York Times slideshow of the Tempest's costumes.
Visit the Met to find a venue or to purchase tickets for the live broadcast of The Tempest.
While the political campaigns raged away this Fall, the Atlanta Opera was holding an election of its own, and this one didn't cause any cute little girls to cry. For its upcoming production of Carmen, November 10-18, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, the Opera wanted a special concoction that would reflect all the passion and drama on stage. The organization asked fans to vote for the drink they most wanted, and the results are in.
National Opera Week begins today, Friday, October 26, and runs through Sunday, November 4. That's more than a week, but, hey, opera has always been about excess. Since we can't take off the entire ten days to sit on the couch, eat bon-bons, and listen to Maria Callas (we checked), we've been searching for some other ways to celebrate, and we think we may have found just the things.
Although the first attempts to fully emulate the Olympic Games of Ancient Greece didn't occur until the dawn of the 19th century, Europe already had Olympic fever way back in the early 1700s, along with a mania for all things Greek, and this popularity extended to opera, where Ancient Greece and the Olympic Games became fashionable subjects for the stage.
The famous Italian poet Metastasio wrote an Olympics-themed libretto titled L'Olimpiade that became the basis for operas by no fewer than 50 composers. It's an Arcadian love story that involves a lot of sub-plots, disguises, banishment, tested loyalties, mistaken identity, and so on, and it all culminates in a race at the Olympic Games (the winner gets the girl natch).
We're not huge Strauss fans, but we're eager to catch it since we've never even seen it before, and it is superstar Renée Fleming's signature role after all. There's even a popular dessert named in honor of her performance in the lead role of the Marschallin!
Allow us to introduce Stan Woodard, Atlanta-based conceptual artist, musician, singer, poet ... and presidential candidate. Every four years since 1996, Woodard has run for president, making his case to win voters' support through song, video, art and performance.
We would have placed lots of money on the chance that a production of Carmen features prominently in the new season. It's one of the most popular of all operas, and it hasn't been performed by the AO since 2004, and that was at the (shudder) Civic Center. Atlanta's ready for another production, we figured. Imagine our self-congratulatory satisfaction at being proved totally right when Atlanta Opera General Manager Dennis Hanthorn unveiled the first show of the season: Carmen. AO owns a traditional production, and it will be at the Cobb Energy Centre in early November. Debuting with The Atlanta Opera is mezzo-soprano Maria José Montiel, who will be singing the role of Carmen. Mexican tenor Fernando de la Mora returns to the Atlanta Opera stage to take the role of Don José.
We felt like we'd picked the Powerball when Hanthorn moved on to unveil the second opera of the season: La Traviata. It was 1998 when Atlanta Opera did its last Traviata, and we figured that was a pretty safe bet, too. AO likewise owns a traditional production which will run at Cobb Energy in March of 2013. In her Atlanta Opera debut, soprano Mary Dunleavy will be singing the role of Violetta, and playing Alfredo is Russian tenor Boris Rudak, in his American and Atlanta Opera debut.
Creative Loafing caught up with mezzo-soprano Abigail Nims who plays Veruca in the Atlanta Opera's production of The Golden Ticket, the new operatic version of Dahl's beloved children's story which opens at the Cobb Energy Center on Saturday, March 3, to get the low-down on playing the ultimate diva.
An opera based on "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" seems likely to draw a lot of people who don't normally go to the opera: fans of the book, fans of the films, kids dragged there by their parents. Is it an opera that can appeal to non-opera fans?
I think that's exactly what it is. Being an opera singer I'm so used to coming in to various cities and people asking what opera I'm performing in: I tell them and then the conversation stops immediately. But when I tell them I'm performing The Golden Ticket based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, their faces just light up and they say, "Hmm. Maybe I should go see that. I've never been to an opera." I think it's absolutely perfect for people who have never been to the opera before. It's in English, and it's a story everyone knows. It incorporates so much of the book, and visually it's a fabulous production. The costumes and sets are wonderful. It's a richly varied score musically. The music is complicated, but the beauty of it is that it doesn't sound that way to the audience. It's quite accessible music with a lot of beautiful melodies. There's a lot of variety in that the characters all have their own musical language.
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