Deck the halls with Sounds of Opera
(Fa la la la laa la la la la)
I would just like to start off by saying how thankful we are of your kind support since we started this blog. We are extremely glad that you’re enjoying our content, and we can’t wait to bring you new articles and reviews in the new year. We hope to follow WA Opera’s productions, Fringe shows and many concerts in the future…. But before we begin any of that, we are looking forward to a good Christmas break spent with loved ones away from the stage (But that doesn’t mean we won’t be in the audience!)
Why not give the gift of opera these holidays? Or enjoy these wonderful Christmas events around Perth with your family and friends? These presents are perfect ‘stocking fillers’ for your friends that will get them super excited about the wonderful world of Opera.
Jonas Kaufmann: Nessun Dorma
Kaufmann singing this popular aria is really all you need this Christmas. This is a great CD full of Puccini classics that is sure to be a great introduction, or addition, to your classical collection. It’s just a bonus that this man is incredible good looking, but Kaufmann’s rich tenor tones will have you hooked on this incredible music!
Joyce Didonato and Antonio Pappano – Joyce and Tony
A fantastic mixture of Italian and English classical music, as well as American show tunes and standards, this is a great CD brought to you from Wigmore Hall. Mezzo Soprano Joyce Didonato brings this music alive with the sensational Antonio Pappano on the piano. This CD is an easy listen, and will have you toe tapping over these classical songs and classic tunes.
Deborah Voigt: Call Me Debbie
Honestly one of my favourite books of the year, Call Me Debbie is an autobiography about Wagnerian Singer, Deborah Voigt. Not only does it feature the “little Black Dress” incident, but it is filled with her fantastic story to the opera stage and how she got here. This book is a perfect pick up for opera singers, opera lovers and those who don’t know where to start with opera! This book is a perfect way to prove that opera singers are NOT divas. (Well… Some of the time).
Stephen Fry: Stephen Fry’s Incomplete and Utter History of Classical Music.
I was so excited when I first saw Stephen Fry had written a novel on classical music. A lover of opera (especially Wagner), Fry writes short, wittily titled chapters describe developments in music theory, composition, instruments and general trends in the world of music in chronological order and introduce important composers. All this is sprinkled with a lot of anecdotes and remarks that are a joy to read. This is the perfect buy for anyone interested in learning about the history of Classical Music. Soon, Fry will have you all wanting to buy opera tickets.
Kathy Minicozzi: Opera for People Who Don’t Like It
Opera Singer turned Comedic Writer, Kathy Minicozzi, has the perfect read for your friend/family member who refuses to watch opera. Accompanied by wonderful illustrations, this book takes opera back to basics, and pokes fun at it like a teasing friend. It’s hilarious, short and easy to read, and whoever reads it will find themselves opera fans in no time! A perfect buy for opera singers who want their family and friends to understand their career, or just people interested in finding out more about opera!
Looking for something funny?
Rossini’s Barber of Seville: Featuring the famous overture and aria “Largo al Factotum” (Featured with the beautiful singing of Robin Williams in a past blog), this opera is not to be missed. Featuring a stellar cast, including the sensational tenor Juan Diego Florez, this production from the Royal Opera House is not to be missed. What I love most about this incredible production is the incredible Joyce Didonato, who on opening night broke her leg. She features in this DVD with a pink cast in a wheelchair, still playing the demanding role of Rosina with incredible energy and comedic timing. Didonato is a perfect example of “The show must go on!”
Or maybe something that will make you laugh AND cry?
Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier: Performed at the opera house in Baden-Baden, this production of one of Strauss’ classic show will make you immediately fall in love with opera. Featuring a cast of some of opera’s biggest names (Fleming, Damrau, Kaufmann, Koch), this production is luscious and incredibly moving. Strauss is incredibly difficult music to sing, but you would not know for a second as you watch this production of incredible music. Performed in German, scenes to watch out for in this opera are Kaufmann’s appearance as the Italian Singer (despite being one of the only German cast members), the presentation of the crystal rose (a beautiful scene between Sophie Koch and Diana Damrau) and the final trio, which will have you in tears.
Okay… So you’re after the full operatic, tear-jerking experience?
Massanet’s Werther: If you watch Der Rosenkavalier, enjoyed the brief moment of Jonas Kaufmann, and are now searching for more: This is your opera. Massanet’s classic Werther is performed at The Metropolitan Opera in New York with Sophie Koch and Jonas Kaufmann in the lead roles. It is worth watching this opera just to hear Koch sing the Letter Aria and Kaufmann’s Porquoi me reveiller. This production is beautifully and cleverly staged, and by the end you’ll need the tissues to recover from it’s grim ending.
Or maybe you want to see behind the scenes?
The Audition: A good watch for all opera singer wannabes, this documentary shows the gruelling hard work put in whilst competing in the Met Opera Auditions. It is very inspiring to watch these young opera singers in competition, all with unique and incredible voices of their own. Made in 2007, this documentary is also a good watch as it shows some incredible performers at a much earlier stage in their career. Such performers include Cardiff Singer Of The World Jamie Barton, tenor Michael Fabiano (Who’s recently been over in Sydney performing in Faust), Angela Meade, and Alek Shrader, an easy-to-look-at tenor who smashes out Ah Mes Amis at the young age of 25. Definetely a good look into the rising stars and what it takes to become one.
Met Opera on Demand: This fantastic subscription gives you access to hundreds of operas, concerts, and documentaries filmed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It costs $150, which may seem pricey, but for what you are getting this is a bargain! Subscription lasts 12 months: That’s 12 months of endless operas at the click of your finger. WORTH IT.
WA Opera Subscription: For $120, you can buy a subscription to the WA Opera and attend all three operas this year (The Riders, The Elixir of Love, Pearl Fishers). $120. ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY DOLLARS!!!! That is the price of ONE ticket to go see the big name pop singers. This is such a bargain, and you’d be silly to miss this incredible opportunity! (Did I mention three operas cost $120 all up?! $120!!) After the success of the 2015 season, this is such a good chance to see so many awesome shows, for an incredible price. Who says opera isn’t affordable?! Get your subscription now!
And just in case you weren’t looking for Christmas gifts, and you were actually hoping to get the chance to enjoy the Christmas Spirit with family and friends these holidays, we’ve attached some of the Xmas events around Perth. Unfortunately, I can’t find all the events and place them on here, so I also suggest keeping your eyes peeled for Christmas Carols in your neighbourhood, and local Christmas concerts! Here’s the start to your Christmas Concert Collection:
19th December: The Snowman – Presented by AHG
Show times: 2pm and 4pm
Dickinson Centre, Scotch College.
Book tickets: www.perthsymphony.com
Perth Symphony Orchestra brings the magic of Christmas alive with its performance of AHG presents ‘The Snowman’ – a magical Christmas story with film and music based on Raymond Brigg’s book. After seeing PSO’s Concert at the Leeuwin Estate with Bryn Terfel at the start of the year, I can tell you this orchestra is not to be missed! Their concerts are incredibly fun, exciting and a perfect classical kick to your Christmas festivities. The concert will feature the winners of our ‘Searching for a Star’ boy soprano competition – Ciaran Paxman and Lukas Steinwandel.
19th December: Handel’s Messiah
Concert Time: 7:30pm
Perth Concert Hall
Book Tickets: Ticketek
It isn’t Christmas without Handel’s Messiah. Despite intended for Easter time viewing, this music delivers the christmas message with joy and wonder. Featuring the Perth Symphonic Chorus under the baton of Dr Margaret Pride, this is a fantastic opportunity to see great musicians playing a ‘classic’ classical score. This performance will feature Sara Macliver’s pure gossamer-like soprano vocal colours; Sally-Anne Russell’s rich mezzo-soprano textures; Richard Butler’s highly informed Baroque tenor arias; and James Clayton’s assured and dramatic interpretations of famous bass arias. A Christmas Concert not to be missed!
20th December: IGA Carols by Candlelight for Variety WA
Concert Time: 4:30pm
Tickets available at the gate
This is the perfect opportunity for a picnic with your family and friends, celebrating the Christmas spirit and singing along to Christmas Carols under Perth’s stars. There’s a children’s show before the main concert. This may not be ‘strictly’ classical, but a great opportunity to join in the Christmas festivities.
22nd December: UWA Family Christmas Carols
Concert Time: 6:00pm
Whitfield Court (Grassed Area outside Winthrop Hall)
Can’t get enough Christmas Carols? This concert will be presented by the fantastic staff and students of the UWA Music Department. A fantastic chance to check out local, rising stars in the industry (as well as some risen stars!), turn up with a picnic and feast while listening to these incredible renditions of Christmas Classics.
We’re not going to wish you a Happy Christmas (yet), as we have another Christmas blog coming out next week, written by a new O Word writer about Christmas Carols. We hope you enjoyed this Christmas blog. Remember, you can get blogs sent straight to your email if you follow us today (side of the website), and don’t forget to go over to Facebook and like our page now to keep up on all things classical!
Written by Katherine Goyder