Feliz Cumpleaños, Happy Birthday, Javier Camarena!

Today, March 26, is the Birthday of another of our most beloved and most respected Tenors our our time…. and along with the also glorious names of Polenzani, Florez, Brownlee and DiDonato, he is making this era, this age, a new golden age of Opera and Bel Canto.
As a Mexican myself, I want to wish a very Happy Birthday, Feliz Cumpleaños to my compatriot, in which I feel very proud of, the extraordinary Javier Camarena!
Along with three other extraordinary Mexican Tenors of different generations, Francisco Araiza, Ramon Vargas and Rolando Villazon (and hopefully now the also fantastic Arturo Chacon Cruz), Javier Camarena has become a new ambassador of Mexican voices and music to the world.
It looks like it was yesterday when Javier surprised the world with his incredible “bis” in “La Cenerentola”!
Thank you Javier Camarena for giving us so many joys with your beautiful, glorious voice in so many wonderful performances, and recently in Bellini’s “I Puritani”
Feliz Cumpleaños, Happy Birthday to the glorious Javier Camarena! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ludwig van Beethoven, death Anniversary

On this day, March 26th but in 1827, the world lost one of the greatest composers (Mozart and Beethoven are always at the top of the list of the most famous composers) of history of music, Ludwig van Beethoven.
What would be of this world, without his glorious 9 symphonies, his marvelous 5 Piano Concertos, his beautiful 32 Piano Sonatas, his exquisite 16 String Quartets, his extraordinary Missa Solemnis, his terrific Violin Sonatas, his wonderful Violin Concerto and his only opera (but whan an Opera!) Fidelio?
Known, along with Bach and Brahms as one of the “three Bs” in history of classical music, Beethoven changed the history of symphonies with two particular simphonies, first with his glorious Symphony No 3, known as “Eroica” in which marked a “before” and an “after” in history of Symphonies with the “Eroica” and later with his powerful “Symphony No 9. “Choral”in which Beethoven added “words” and gave “voices” (with Schiller’s poem “An die Freude”) to a symphony, which later inspired to many other composers like Mahler, Brahms and Bruckner.
And of course, I can not forget his “Choral Fantasy”, ” The Creatures of Prometheus”, the “Colorian overture”, “The Consecration of the House”, the “Leonore Overtures” the overtures and incidental music for “King Stephen”, “The Ruins of Athens” and “Egmont” and his also magnificent Oratorio “Christ on the Mount of Olives.
And his only opera, “Fidelio”, became a guiding light for the fight of human dignity and freedom and it was the greatest example of what Beethoven felt of humanity and his ideals of human dignity, equality and liberty for all mankind.
Beethoven was indeed, a fighter for human freedom and he expressed it so much in many of his brilliant works.
Beethoven, just like Bach and Mozart, gave so many treasures to humanity and I feel that we all are so fortunate to live in an era that we can listen to the glorious music of different composers that lived in different times, like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Verdi and Tchaikovsky.
Beethoven is a treasure for humanity and , just like Mozart and Bach, Da Vinci and Michelangelo, Homer, Virgil and Dante, Cervantes and Shakespeare, Schiller, Goethe, Dickens and Victor Hugo, Pushkin, Tolstoy and Dostoievsky, he was out of this world and all of us, the mortals, are fortunate to have and feel and listen to the glorious music of Ludwig van Beethoven.

 

 

 

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In loving memory of German Bass Kurt Moll (1938-2017)

My late tribute to the great German Bass Kurt Moll, who unfortunately, passed away on March 5 of this year at age 78.
On March 5 of 2017, the Opera world lost one of the greatest and most beautiful voices ever….
Extraordinary Bass, one of my favorites….. always magnificent, I will never forget when I saw Kurt Moll for the first time as Il Commendatore in the 1987 Salzburg production of Don Giovanni along with Samuel Ramey and Ferruccio Furlanetto and with Herbert von Karajan conducting, also later as Hunding in the Otto Schenk’s production of Die Walküre at the Met, and also his magnificent performances as King Marke in Tristan und Isolde, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier, Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and specially as Gurnemanz in Parsifal. Extraodinary Bass and we will never forget him and his rich beautiful voice. His performances will always live with us. Thank you, Kurt Moll, for your many, wonderful, beautiful performances. Rest in peace, Kurt Moll

 

Resultado de imagen para Kurt Moll
Resultado de imagen para Kurt Moll

 

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Modest Mussorgsky, Anniversary

Also today (actually yesterday) we celebrated the Birthday anniversary of one of the greatest composers ever of Russian music and Opera and also in March 28 we will commemorate his death anniversary.
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky.
Mussorgsky also gave so much beauty to this world.
Along with Cui, Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin, Mussogsky was a member of the famous group of “Five” or “The Mighty Handful” in which they all worked together to create great classical Russian Music. (Ironically, the most world wide famous and most beloved Russian composer, Tchaikovsky, was not a member of the famous group.)
Among the most famouse musical works of Mussorgsky are of couse, his piano suite “Pictures at an Exhibition” (in which later Maurice Ravel made the very famous Orchestral arrangement in which we listen today in many concert halls) and also his very famous orchestral tone poem “Night on Bald Mountain”
(and yes I confess and admit it , the first time I listen to “Night on a Bald Mountain” was with Disney’s “Fantasia” when I was a Kid, Lol!) but the jewel of the crown of Mussorgsky’s works is his masterpiece, the opera “Boris Godunov” which is not only one of the greatest Operas of history of Russian Opera but of all Opera and it is my favorite Russian Opera, along with Eugene Onegin.
(Both Operas based on Pushkin’s works, in which for many, Pushkin is the literary “Father of Russian Opera”)
“Boris Godunov” is one of the most complex operas ever and I have to say, almost Shakespearean and a true challenge for the Bass Opera singer to perform this difficult and very complex role of the Tsar Boris Godunov.
(NOTE: Boris Godunov has two versions, the original 1869 version and later the revised version of 1872, both versions are very worth to watch and listen and just like Verdi’s Don Carlo, it had many cuts, revisions, etc)
Another great Opera by Mussorgsky that I love is “Khovanshchina” (The opera was unfinished because of Mussorgsky’s early death and Rimsky-Korsakov had to complete it, just exactly like he did with Borodin’s “Prince Igor”)
And another treasure of true poetic beauty that Mussorgsky gave to the world are his poetic “Songs of Dance and Death”, an extraordinary Song Cycle for Bass Singers, based on poems by poems by Arseny Golenishchev-Kutuzov.
The Songs of Dance and Death by Mussorgsky are a true masterpiece of the history of world Song Cycles, full of rich beauty and poetry.
(I am sharing here my favorite recordings of Mussorgsky’s brilliant Song Cycles with my favorite Bass, Stefan Kocan  )
Down below I will share my favorite performances of Mussogsky’s masterpieces )

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9atBwtF3hQ (The Field Marshal, performed by Stefan Kocan, from Mussorgsky’s song cycles)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BUNpiDitLo (Trepak, performed by Stefan Kocan, from Mussorgksy’s song Cycle’s )
https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCXzHzKF5XI (Serenade, performed by Stefan Kocan, from Mussorgsky’s song Cycles)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TPWfHPxv_4 (Lullaby, performed by Stefan Kocan, from Mussorgsky’s Song Cycles)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q7YV3QKpi4 (Boris Godonov, 1869 version)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPaapnDNqqU ( Boris Godunov 1872 revised version)
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Johann Sebastian Bach Anniversary

March 21 (or in other biographies March 31) is the Birth Anniversary of one of the greatest geniuses of history of music, the father of music and one of my many musical heroes, Composer, Organist and musician….in other words, a true musical genius……Johann Sebastian Bach. What else can I say or add about Bach in which what many wonderful biographers already wrote? Johann Sebastian Bach was, is and always be one of the greatest true artists of history of music. His music, which in my opinion is glorious, marks a “before” and an “after” in history of music. When I listen to Bach, I always realize what a true musical artist is. I am always so excited and happy to share my love for music and for me, to share my love for Bach is pure happiness! I don’t have words to describe his Sacred music, Oratorios, orchestral music, cello suites, Organ compositions.. just to name a few…. the list is large…. and it would take me forever to name the many, many, many, many, many treasures that Bach left us. And also the Bach dinasty which enriched the history of musical life. No matter if is his glorious and monumental “St Matthew Passion” which is one of the greatest masterpieces of sacred music, his extraordinary “St John Passion”, his marvelous “Christmas Oratorio” (which I personally love so much and I highly recommend so much!), the beautiful “Mass in B minor”, the unforgettable “Brandenburg Concertos”, the cantatas, the beautiful The Goldberg Variations, his exquisite Cello suites (which are my all time favorite) his music is true poetic beauty and it is – universal – His organ works for me are like the Beethoven’s symphonies and Richard Strauss’ tone poems… unbeatable. Bach, along with Handel, Vivaldi and Corelli, is one my heroes of the history of Baroque music and I am more than happy to celebrate the Birthday Anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach (no matter if the official date is March 21 or March 31)
I am sharing here some of my favorite performances of many different works by Bach, with many wonderful conductors/musicans that dedicated their lives to the work and studies of Bach like Richter, Koopman, Harnoncourt, Gould and Gardiner )
Herzlichen glückwunsch zum geburtstag, Johann Sebastian Bach!!!

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu9MDqGhIak ( Bach Six Cello Suites – Yo-Yo Ma, Performer )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xdl0m1v5el8 (Bach, St Matthew Passion BWV 244. Karl Richter
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT1y0_9qpeY ( Bach St John Passion, Karl Richter )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QakSI9BQdOg  (Goldberg Variations BWV 988 – Glenn Gould, 1981)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4LFjuWvwzw (Bach: Perlman / Zukerman – Concerto for Two Violins BWV 1043 )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehbar90jHz8 (Bach – Richter, Conciertos de Brandenburgo 1-6, BWV 1046-1051 )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98UjjwzJBFE (Christmas Oratorio, Christmas Oratorio [1-3] Harnoncourt )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SHDTNy_rUM (Christmas Oratorio Christmas Oratorio [4-6] Harnoncourt )
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Happy Birthday Renée Fleming!

Today is the Birthday of one of our most beloved and most respected Sopranos of the Opera. Renée Fleming is known as “The People’s Diva” and she has gave us so many joys in so many different operas and roles…. from Handel and Mozart to Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and Richard Strauss (Renee Fleming is one of the greatest performers of Richard Strauss) Renée has made a huge impact in Opera with her beautiful rich silver voice and her also beautiful presence.
Her Rusalka is one of the greatest ever, her Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro exquisite, her “Thais” (along with an also excellent Thomas Hampson) , unforgettable, her Desdemona, one of the most moving ever, her extraordinary Tatyana (along with an also extraordinary Dmitri Hvorostovsky) one of the most wonderful ever, her Donna Anna, magnificent, her Violetta, excellent, her Manon Lescaut, marvelous! Renée Fleming has performed in German, Italian, French, Russian, Czech, making her one of the most versatile Sopranos of the last 30 years in Opera.
And of course, we can not forget her marvelous Richard Strauss repertoire, Capriccio, Arabella and specially, Der Rosenkavalier in which Renée will give her final farewell Operatic performance in this season and in which, I am very sure… all of us will not miss the HD It will be a very emotional HD broadcast.
I also can not forget her wonderful recitals that Renée Fleming gave in Mexico City which I loved the broadcasts so much!
We, in the operatic world, will definitely miss our Diva, the people’s Diva, Renee Fleming!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RENÉE FLEMING!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy 90th Birthday, Leontyne Price!!!

Happy Birthday to a living legend of history of the Opera singing, one of the greatest, one of the most beautiful voices ever, the extraordinary, wonderful, magnificent… our one and only…. Leontyne Price!!!!!   The history of the Opera and the history of the Met would not be the same without the gorgeous beautiful voice and presence of Leontyne Price.
The first time I saw Leontyne Price, was in the 1983 production from the Met of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino along with Giuseppe Giacomini and Leo Nucci and I was completely blown away by her performance! I became a fan!!!   I will never, ever forget when I saw her for the first time in my life in “La Forza del Destino”!
So many wonderful performances….. Aida, La Forza del Destino, Il Trovatore, Un Ballo in Maschera…. so many operas and wonderful performances to name!!! I will also never forget her magnificent singing in Verdi’s Requiem!
We are so lucky and blessed to have this beautiful living legend of the Opera with us. Leontyne Price is a true TREASURE of the Opera!!!!
Thank you, Leontyne Price for your beautiful, unique voice and for your many wonderful, extraordinary performances!!! You gave so much to us!!!
HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY, LEONTYNE PRICE!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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