The 2016-2017 Season of the MET

Tomorrow, Monday, September 26, the new 2016-2017 Opera Season of the Metropolitan Opera House in NY will start with Richard Wagner’s monumental “Tristan und Isolde” with Nina Stemme, Stuart Skelton and René Pape.

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This Season’s repertoire will have Eleven Italian Operas, Six  French Operas, Five German Operas, Two Czech operas, One Russian Opera and one German Opera performed in English (Mozart’s The Magic Flute) .

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Italian Operas:

Aida (verdi), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini) La Bohème (Puccini) Don Giovanni (Mozart) Idomeneo (Mozart) L’Italiana in Algeri (Rossini) Manon Lescaut (Puccini) Nabucco (Verdi) I Puritani (Bellini) Rigoletto (Verdi) and La Traviata (Verdi)

German Operas:

Tristan und Isolde (Wagner)  Fidelio (Beethoven) Der Fliegende Holländer (Wagner)  Der Rosenkavalier (Strauss) and Salome (Strauss)

French Operas:

L’Amour de Loin (Saariaho) Carmen (Bizet) Cyrano de Bergerac (Alfano) Guillaume Tell (Rossini) Roméo et Juliette (Gounod) and Werther (Massenet)

Czech operas: Jenufa (Janáček) and Rusalka (Dvořák)

Russian operas: Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky)

German Opera performed in English, The Magic Flute (Mozart)

Rossini, Mozart, Verdi, Wagner and  Richard Strauss are the composers that dominated this season.

There are many interesting things to comment about this year’s new season of the MET, first, Rossini’s Guillaume Tell returns to the Met stage after an absence of more than 80 years and another exciting about this productions is that it is the French version in which is rarely performed in these days (compared to the Italian version).

Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer will also return to the MET after an absence of many years and also Beethoven’s only Opera Fidelio.  It is important to say that in Wagner’s Der Fliegende Hollände we will have the great return of extraordinary Tenor Jay Hunter Morris in the role of Erik, after his memorable portrayal of Siegfried in Wagner’s Ring a few years ago.

We will also have the return of Placido Domingo performing te baritone role of Verdi’s title role of “Nabucco” and we will also have, next year, the farewell performance of Renée Fleming in her last Opera performance in Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier”

Nina Stemme, Štefan Kocán,  Željko Lučić, Anna Netrebko, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Placido Domingo, Renée Fleming, Thomas Hampson, Elīna Garanča, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecien, Ildar Abdrazakov, Ramón Vargas, Javier Camarena, Michael Fabiano, Peter Mattei, Eric Owens, Kristine Opolais, Piotr Beczala, Marcelo Alvarez, René Pape, Vittorio Grigolo, Diana Damrau, Bryan Hymel, Gerald Finley, Sonya Yoncheva, Stuart Skelton, are the many of the extraordinary Opera artists that will perform in this year, plus also in a special Opera Gala that will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the MET in Lincoln Center.

And of course, the jewel of the crown is Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde which opens this season tomorrow, Monday, the last time that Tristan und Isolde opened the MET Opera Season was in 1937.

Another important note is that with the performances of Tristan und Isolde, we will get to watch Sir Simon Rattle conducting at the MET. Something extraordinary, fascinating and rare for the Metropolitan Opera House in NY.

The operas for the simulcasts in HD for this season are:

Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” (Oct 8) , “Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” (Oct 22),  Saariaho’s “L’amour de Loin” (Dec 10) , Verdi’s “Nabucco” (Jan 07),  Gounod’s  “Roméo et Juliette” (Jan 21), Dvořák’s “Rusalka” (Feb 25), Verdi’s “La Traviata” (March 11),  Mozart’s “Idomeneo” (March 25) Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” (April 22) and Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier” (May 13)

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The 50th Anniversary of the MET at Lincoln Center

On September 16 of 1966, The new Metropolitan Opera House opened in its new home at Lincoln Center. And the first Opera that performed at the new MET Opera House in Lincoln Center was Samuel Barber’s “Anthony and Cleopatra” with Leontyne Price and Justino Diaz.  Later, the front page of the New York Times proclaimed the opening “a crescendo of splendor,” and a new era of theatrical possibility was born.

The MET, as it is known internationally, is at the top 5 of the greatest and most respected Opera Houses in the world.

This season, the MET celebrates 50 years at Lincoln Center and there are going to be many special celebrations, including a special Opera gala performance, with the greatest Opera artists of our time on May 7, 2017.

Since the official opening in its new home in Lincoln Center, on September 16 of 1966, and replacing the legendary 1883 MET Opera House, many wonderful, fascinating opera stories and moments happened in the new MET Opera House, we met so many opera stars in the new MET that now are legends in these days, from Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Mirella Freni, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Sherrill Milnes, José Carreras, Monteserrat Caballé, James Morris, Leo Nucci,  Ruggero Raimondi, Dame Joan Sutherland, to today’s beloved Opera stars like Renée Fleming, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Piotr Beczala, Mariusz Kwiecien, Zeljko Lucic, Stefan Kocan, Ildar Abdrazakov, Elina Garanca, Sondra Radvanovsky, Nina Stemme and René Pape.

With the fascinating design by Wallace K. Harrison and the beautiful Marc Chagall’s murals “The Triumph of Music” and  “The Sources of Music” that are inside of the lobby plus the famous Sputniks Chandeliers that rise when every opera performance is about to begin… the Met Opera House is one of the most fascinating and most beloved Opera Houses in the world and its new home, the Lincoln Center for the performing arts, with the “David Geffen” Concert Hall (previously Avery Fisher Hall) home of the  New York Philharmonic, the David H. Koch Theater home of the New York City Ballet and also with the famous and beautiful fountain in the middle of the plaza, the Lincoln Center for the performing arts is  the most magical and beautiful place of New York City.

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Happy Birthday Jessye Norman!

Today, September 15, is the Birthday of one of the most glorious voices ever in history of Opera…. the extraordinary Jessye Norman!!!!
One of my personal favorites, Jessye Norman has one of the most powerful and most fascinating voices of the German and French repertoire.
Jessye Norman is specially one of my all time favorite Wagnerian singers.
She is my favorite Sieglinde. I will never forget her performance as Sieglinde in Wagner’s “Die Walküre” in Schenk’s Ring Production at the MET. Her “O hehrstes Wunder!” is one of the most beautiful ever.
Her Isolde’s Liebestod, from the beautiful famous concert performance with Herbert von Karajan conducting, is one of the most unforgettable.
Another performance of Jessye Norman that I love is as Cassandra in the famous and wonderful production of “Les Troyens” by Hector Berlioz, at the MET, back in 1983 along with Placido Domingo.
I also highly recommend to watch Jessye Norman in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, with Sir Georg Solti conducting.
Another extraordinary moment with Jessye Norman was when she sang the French National Anthem, “La Marseillaise” for the celebrations of the 200th years of the French Revolution at the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
And for the Holiday season, I highly recommend to watch Jessye Norman at Ely Cathedral Christmastide and her also beautiful Christmas Concert at Notre Dame de Paris.
These two concerts that I mentioned are, probably, two of the most beautiful Christmas Concerts, performed by an Opera artist, that I recommend to Opera fans.

Happy Birthday, Jessye Norman!!!!!

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Remebering Ernesto de la Peña

Remembering Ernesto de la Peña

 

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On September 10 of 2012, four years ago, Mexico lost the wisest and most erudite man of the country, Ernesto de la Peña.
I want to remember with love Maestro Ernesto de la Peña… he was one of a kind… his erudition was huge!
He was a Renaissance man, a polymath.
Ernesto de la Peña was a humanist, He knew 33 languages, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Italian, French, German, English… he always said that he wanted to learn all these languages because he wanted to read his beloved books in the original language.
He was a man that loved and enjoyed life, he enjoyed and loved Opera, classical music, literature, art, philosophy, languages and good food and wine too.
Ernesto de la Peña was always a very curious man, he always had curiosity for learning many things since he was a little boy.
Ernesto de la Peña learned the Greek alphabet at the age of 6, at the very rich library of his uncle.
Years later, he studied the Classics (Greek and Latin) and more later, he dedicated his entire life to the study of so many different things…he took lessons of the Hebrew language at the Mount Sinai School , and at the same time he studied Chinese and Sanskrit at the Colegio de Mexico and in an independent way, he studied classic, ancient and modern languages.
And thanks to his knowledge of languages, Ernesto de la Peña had the fortune of reading the great classics of literature on its original language, Homer in Greek, Virgil in Latin, Dante in Italian, Goethe in German, Rabelais and Victor Hugo in French, Tolstoy and Dostoievsky in Russian, etc, etc.
And what about his love for Opera? Wagner, Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi and Puccini were his favorites, actually he loved all composers and operas. But he specially loved Wagner and Mozart. He had a special tv show dedicated to the Opera, called “Operomania”, along with his good friend and Mexican poet Eduardo Lizalde.
During his career he has translated into Spanish Valéry, Nerval, Mallarmé, Holderlin, Novalis, Rilke, Milosz and Ginsberg and he also translated into Spanish many of the Greek and Latin classics.
I will post down below a link about Ernesto de la Peña, it is a video about his rich, extraordinary Library…. His huge Library is now open for the Mexicans, he had more of 26,000 books, many of them in their original language, Greek, Latin, Russian, French, Italian, English, German and Hebrew. He also had Ten thousand recordings of Opera and classical music…( the video of the Library of Ernesto de la Peña is in Spanish )
Ernesto de la Peña was known here as “the Mexican Pico della Mirandola” and now, this world needs more men like him.

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Leo Tosltoy

We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.”  Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.” Leo Tosltoy, Family Happiness

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Yesterday was the birthday anniversary of one of my heroes and one of the greatest writers of not only Russian literature, but of universal literature, Leo Tolstoy.
Pushkin, Chekhov, Gogol, Gorky, Turgenev, Lermontov, Nabokov, Akhmatova, Pasternak…..Russia has a very wonderful and rich long list of many extraordinary writers… and Leo Tolstoy is considered, along with Dostoievsky of course, the giant of Russian Literature.
Many consider the monumental “War and Peace” as the equivalent of “The Iliad” of Russian Literature.
It is definitely one of the greatest books ever in history of literature. When I read it for the first time, I was so fascinated knowing all characters and quotes, it was one of the greatest experiences that I have ever had in literature. I completely agree of naming “War and Peace” in the list of the top ten greatest books of history of Literature.
I also consider, his other masterpiece “Anna Karenina” another of the greatest books of history.
The book is a true lesson about life and the search for the truth. I absolutely fell in love with Levin, my favorite character of the novel.
All of Tolstoy’s books have a true deep meaning of life and philosophy and nature, about the spirit of humanity, (many of them autobiographical) and that is why I love his books so much. His quotes and philosophy about the human soul are a true lesson of life.
I absolutely recommend to read all of Tosltoy’s works and Tolstoy’s life is an inspiration for all of us. He was not only an extraordinary writer, but also a wonderful human being.

 

 

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Johan Botha (1965-2016)

2016 has been a tragic year for the world of music, we first lost David Bowie, later Prince, recenly Mexican singer-composer Juan Gabriel and now… Tenor Johan Botha.

Today the world lost one of the greatest, most glorious voices ever. Johan Botha.

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Johan Botha passed away, today, on September 8 of 2016. He was 51.

I was heartbroken and in tears when I read the news…. Johan Botha was one of my favorite voices.
The last time that I saw Maestro Botha, was in last year’s monumental “Tannhäuser” at the MET in HD, I never imagined that it was the last time that we were going to listen to his glorious voice.
I always loved him in many performances, specially in the Wagner operas and also in in Verdi, Richard Strauss and Puccini.
Maestro Botha performed in many Opera Houses, the MET, la Scala, The Opera State of Viena, the Royal Opera House, Bayreuth… among many.
The music, the world of Opera lost one of the greatest.

We will miss you so much. Thank you dear Maestro, for your many beautiful performances. You gave us so much joy and love to our hearts. We will never forget you and your beautiful voice will always be in our hearts.


Rest in Peace, dear Maestro Johan Botha, we will never forget you.

 

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We miss you, Luciano Pavarotti

On September 6 of 2007, the world lost one of the greatest voices of history of Opera.  Luciano Pavarotti.

Many became fans of Luciano Pavarotti with his legendary Opera performances, others, with his famous solo concerts in Hyde Park and Central Park and his also famous Pavarotti and plus concerts from the Live from Lincoln Center specials, others, with the historical Three Tenors concerts, of course, many people identify the famous Tenor aria “Nessun Dorma” from “Turandot” with Pavarotti, and even the fans of pop music know him and remember him with love, because of his famous duets with famous Pop singers in the “Pavarotti and friends” concerts.
In other words, Luciano Pavarotti made Opera more closer to all kinds of audiences.
The Beautiful name of “Pavarotti” will always be remembered in the history of opera, just like the name of “Caruso”.
Pavarotti was one of my Grandma’s favorites
We will never forget you, Luciano Pavarott
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We miss you very much.

 

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Luciano Pavarotti’s greatest Opera Moments:

 

 

Luciano Pavarotti in Hyde Park:

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