Tag Archives: performing

needed: inspiration

I took a break from work yesterday afternoon and spent an hour listening to Dame Eva Turner, British soprano absoluta.

Why? Because her “In questa regia” (from the opera Turandot by Puccini) never fails to move me.

Listening to the glory of her  deep, rich sound, the resonant freedom of those high notes evident despite 1920‘s & 30‘s recording technology. . . always uplifts & refreshes me.

That’s what grand opera used to be all about. Here’s a link to a YouTube. Have a little listen for yourself. If you’ve not time for the whole thing, listen to the last 30-to-60 seconds.

Petite Dame Turner didn’t need deafening amplification, strobe lighting, or smoke. She did it with her voice, her knowledge of how to sing properly (a.k.a., vocal technique), and her inspiration.

The secret in singing lies between the vibration in the singer’s voice and the throb in the hearer’s heart

Kahil Gibran

That’s communication beyond words.

Christmas Eve from Cambridge

Coming up live via the web or on BBC Radio 4 on Christmas Eve  ~ this year’s programme is available here.

Details from their web site ~

“A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 on 24 December at 3pm (10:00 EST or 07:00 PST). The service is also broadcast at 2pm on Radio 3 on Christmas Day, and at various times on the BBC World Service.

“In the United States the service is broadcast by around 300 radio stations, including American Public Media and its affiliates (Minnesota Public Radio and WNYC-New York, for example). Unfortunately there is no list of radio stations that are broadcasting the service, so it’s best to contact your local stations or check their online listings.”


a weekend treat

For several years I’ve made a point of listening to the Last Night of the Proms. Whilst drinking tea & dunking digestives, I listen on-line.

This year I thought I’d also sew, but got too involved in listening.  I always sing along at the end, thus my copy of “Jerusalem” (above).

BBC web site
the BBC web site from my computer screen

Want to plan your own listening party? The complete concert is available here and here. BBC will have both halves available  “from Sunday 13th September for 30 day.”

There are some video clips of various performers here and here.

I’d heard both the tenor and the mezzo many times a few years ago, and was interested to hear how their voices were aging. Both sounded good.

Voices change as their owners grow mentally and physically. They also tell immediately if the singer is under stress.

(Can’t you tell if your BF is stressed out, often from a single “hello” over the phone?)

Even women’s voices change, particularly if they have children, as Ms. de Niese did recently. Her voice seems to have darkened slightly, having more heft to it, but she’s kept the agility.

Herr Kaufmann’s tenor is also perhaps a bit darker, and his top notes are maturing nicely.  During an intermission interview, we learnt he’s just added the famous aria from Turandot, “Nessun dorma” to his repertoire.

Wisely, he’s allowed his voice to age and develop into this pressure-laden aria. (Men’s voices mature more slowly than women’s.)

Voices are more stubborn than mules. If you think you’re going to do something your voice isn’t mature enough for, or the right type of voice, you will have problems.

A voice can’t take much stress before it starts going haywire! It can develop wobbles, loose agility, lose top and/or bottom notes, develop nodes, or become permanently disabled.

When your voice is your career, you need to understand how to care for it wisely.

one thing led to another, or tetrazzini in san francisco

A look around the trio of web sites from this prolific blogger reminded me of a story about a soprano singing on the streets of San Francisco over one hundred years ago.

Memory proved accurate, and I can now suggest another site for piccies next time she’s on Market Street with a camera.

Famed soprano Luisa Tetrazzini (1871 – 1940) loved San Francisco, and had a knack for creative programming. During a contractual dispute on New York City, she reportedly said, “I will sing in San Francisco if I have to sing there in the streets, for I know the streets of San Francisco are free.”

On Christmas Eve in 1910 she did just that.

To an audience of somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 San Franciscans, she sang ~ no microphones in those days ~ for 30 minutes.  And was heard blocks away. The lady had technique. She had heart.

The concert also recognized the rebuilding of the city after the 1906 earthquake. Her final song was “Auld Lang Syne.”

From all I could gather, the bronze plaque commemorating that concert is still attached to Lotta’s Fountain, on Market at Geary & Kearney.

An artist who used her art to help heal a city.

References include:

More reading at Project Gutenberg:

establishing rapport

José Carreras
José Carreras
click for photo source

Plácido_Domingo click for photo source
click for photo source



Was reading over at Uncle Spike’s blog, and came across his Nessun Dorma post, which immediately reminded me of a video with more behind-the-scenes details.

Wonder of wonders, and perhaps because it’s still only available in VHS, the entire piece is available on-line here.

I guess the 58-minute video is too large for wordpress to upload. My apologies for making you click over to watch, but please do. It’s well worth it!

It shows the original three tenors meeting for the first time,  discussing possible repertoire, clowning & rehearsing with conductor Zubin Mehta – long before they rehearsed with  orchestra. It also details some of the obstacles event producer Mario Dradi had to surmount.

Event producers, be aware of those details. And of how many rehearsal hours were scheduled with these four hugely successful artists.

Was their rapport infectious? Yes. Why?  Those maaany hours of rehearsals, besides lifetimes of study and performing.

Don’t think it can be equalled without those rehearsal hours!

further reading

At BBC 4: A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, King’s College Chapel, Cambridge

Linked directly to King’s College web site’s downloadable PDF file

The 1 hour 28 minute programme is available internationally for listening  through 24 January 2015 via BBC 4.

On the left is the programme. Click the photo to go to the downloadable PDF file.

Do listen for this year’s commissioned carol, and read more about it here.

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, King’s College Chapel, Cambridge

Linked to Last Year’s downloadable programme


This year’s Festival Programme should be available any day.  Click here to check.

Presented Christmas Eve at 3:00 PM from Cambridge, England, and available for on-line streaming.

Also available at differing times around the globe. Please check your local listings for times and dates.

BBC PROMS – Last Night, 13 September 2014

The U.K.’s annual musical celebration, the Proms,  continues this summer, with live concerts, telly, online, & radio coverage.

I always try to catch Last Night from Royal Albert Hall, as it’s the only thing we can generally hear live across the pond.  And the last half, especially the encores, can be the best part.

For those actually in the U.K., or those lucky enough to be planning a trip there in mid-September, here are the other venues for Last Night:

Glasgow Green, 7.30pm – c10.00pm
Belfast, the Titanic Slipways, 7.30pm – c10.50pm
Hyde Park, 3.00pm – c10.30pm
Swansea, Singleton Park, 7.45 – c10.30 pm

Listen and Watch
Proms on TV 
Proms on Radio 3 Player
Ticket information

Live Webcast 11 AM/U.S. EDT Friday


Washington National Cathedral
10,000 pipe organ featured Friday
(click for Programme)

Washington National Cathedral’s 10,000+ pipe organ, with organists Christopher Betts and Benjamin Straley, the Washington Symphonic Brass, and the U.S. Navy Sea Chanters will present  this year’s program.

American Public Media’s PipeDreams host, Michael Barone, will be this year’s Master of Ceremonies.