Tag Archives: tenors

World’s best tenors top most-read posts on Operatoonity in 2015!

Each year, WordPress sends me an annual report for Operatoonity.com, and it’s always fascinating to view this blog’s outreach in summary, like this form provides. Thank you, everyone, who has stopped in on this blog. Here’s to a bigger, better Operatoonity.com in 2o16. Enjoy viewing the results you all helped create:

Wordpress analysis of Operatoonity.com is always an interesting report.

WordPress analysis of Operatoonity.com is always an interesting report.Operatoonity’s Annual Report 2015

This next piece of data was the most surprising stat in the report:

I was very surprised to learn that my post about male singers was more popular than female singers. Sea change?

My post about male singers was more popular than female singers. A sea change, for sure. Is Anna Nebtreko’s star power waning?

Is 2016 the year I update these lists? I created them because I couldn’t find the compendia I was seeking. As you can see,  these lists will be nearly five years old in 2016, and a lot can happen in the operasphere in five years. New singers have come into prominence and others are fading from view. With your input, I will pledge to update some of these lists in 2016:

Annual Report 2015_6


I am very grateful for those outlets who continue to refer readers to operatoonity.com: Here is a big mmmwwwwaaahhhh to you all!

Annual Report 2015_4

And of course it never gets old seeing how far Operatoonity.com reaches globally:

Annual Report 2015_5

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2016 for all. To see the complete report, simply visit Annual Report 2015.

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Filed under Uncategorized

God, I love ‘Tosca’! Reason one: the arias

Even the libretto cover is lovely, no?

Even the libretto cover is lovely, no?

Editor’s note: This post marks the first of a Tosca week celebration on Operatoonity.com, in homage to the 114th anniversary of the work.

So, Tuesday the 14th of January marks the premiere of Puccini’s Tosca, written that date in 1900.

I want to shout it from the roof of my modest bilevel home that needs new siding: I LOVE TOSCA!

Why? The music, of course. Whenever I am listening to Opera Music Broadcast during the work day (and I almost always am live streaming it) and an aria from Tosca plays, I stop what I am doing, and take it in-completely–into every pour of my body.

Even though Cavaradossi is nearly drowning in his melancholy thinking of Tosca during the transcendently lovely”E lucevan le stelle,” I am transported to another plane of existence while he sings. Completely alive. Taking every note of the song into every pore.

But it’s not just the music. It’s the sentiment behind the music. The man is unequivocal, unapologetic, and consumed by his love for Tosca. That kind of devotion to a woman seems so unfashionable today, in this era of non-commitment. Perhaps that’s why I find his devotion so arresting and transformative.

Heavenly day, who wouldn’t want to be wholly loved like that! by a man like Cavaradossi!

Not convinced? Listen to Alagna singing the act three aria ‘E lucevan le stella.” Oh, and here is a translation of the lyrics:

“E lucevan le stella”

The stars seemed to shimmer
The sweet scents of the garden,
The creaking gate seemed to whisper,
And a footstep skimmed over the sand.
Then she came in, so fragrant,
And fell into my arms!
Oh! sweet kisses, oh, languorous caresses,
While I, trembling, was searching
For her features, concealed by her mantle.
My dream of love faded away, for good!
Everything’s gone now.
I’m dying hopeless, desperate!
And never before have I loved life like this!
And never before have I loved life like this!
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Filed under 20th Century Opera, anniversary, Classic Opera, Italian opera, verismo opera

when does the baritone win the girl?

Nathan Gunn in Camelot

Baritone Nathan Gunn gets the girl in Glimmerglass’s ‘Camelot’ | photo by Karli Cadel

When he’s not in an opera–of course!

Take that same operatic baritone and give him a principal role in musical theater? All of sudden the villain, the rake, the tortured king/prince/swami is raking in the babes instead of handing them off to the precious tenore to have and to hold.

“Sure I get the girl. But only fleetingly–for a few seconds. Then she’s off to a monestary,” American baritone Nathan Gunn said, after an artist Q&A presented yesterday at 2013 Glimmerglass Festival, NY, following the matinee of Camelot. Gunn plays Sir Lancelot du Lac, extramarital love interest of Guenevere.

When it comes right down to it, I’m not entirely sure why baritones rarely get the girl in the world of opera. Or who decided baritones constituted the leading man vocal part in musical theater.

It would be awfully nice to show operatic baritones a little more love. What say you, composers? Turn this classic art form on its head. Stop making perfectly good baritones look for love in all the wrong places (like great musical theater roles). Start giving baritones some cred (and a fighting chance to bed).

Change it up a little, for pity’s sake. The tenor doesn’t always deserve the girl anyway, whereas the baritone always knows what to do. He’s got swag and swagger. He’s been looking on at the climactic love scenes unfolding before him while hiding in the wings. He’s been practicing for centuries.

Whaddya say? Put him in, coach. He’s ready to play.



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Filed under Classic Opera, opera and romance

half Greek, Chinese. Hence his blog’s name: ‘Grecchinois’

Tenor Nicholas Phan's blog

“The only time it all consistently makes sense is when I sing.”
–Nicholas Phan, host of “Grecchinois”

Tenor Nicholas Phan has been singing all over the world  for years. In 2011 alone, he’s been to Torino, Florence, Helsinki, and Paris, just to name a few world-class cities. Yet as busy as he is–touring, recording–he makes time to blog regularly at “Grecchinois.”

“Grecchinois” is a philosophical blog that is part travelogue and confessional. One-hundred percent compellingly written, enlightening, and at times heart-wrenching. (See his post On Being Out).

As Nick travels around the world, he takes “Greccinois” readers with him, sharing highlights from the varied places he’s performed, reflecting on the works he has sung. His blog also allows his non-performing readers to vicariously experience the life and lifestyle of a classical singer on the international circuit.

Welcome to Operatoonity, Nick!

O: When did you start blogging and why?

Nick: I started in May of 2006.  It mostly began as an experiment – I’d always harbored dreams of becoming a writer when I was a child, and I figured that it could be a nice way to make writing a hobby to distract and occupy me during my down time while I was on the road.  I guess I also started blogging, because it was a way to muse about life in a formal way – it’s a way to ponder all of my life experiences and the world around me, yet there is an audience. Even though I am pondering and musing, I am pulled out of my own head, and into a dialogue of sorts.  In all of these years of blogging – and I really never expected this as a side-effect – I have noticed that it has helped me really define my artistic philosophy when it comes to being a musician.  Somehow, by writing about music, singing, and my work/life in this field, my ideas about process, performance, why I do this, and why it is important that I do this have become quite clear and defined in ways I never expected them to.

Tenor Nicholas Phan

O: What is your biggest challenge? Biggest thrill?
Nick: My biggest challenge?  As a blogger – it’s to find the bravery to begin writing something.  I find it terrifying to begin most posts, because I am so petrified that what I have to say is meaningless, empty, and silly.  The biggest thrill is when I’ve posted something, and people comment – showing that whatever I’ve written has somehow resonated with them and touched them in some way.

O: Favorite post(s) and why?
Nick: I have a few favorite posts that I am proud of – I am not sure I could pick just one.  I’m proud of them for their honesty – it’s incredibly scary to expose yourself for the whole world to see.  A few friends have described my writing as a bit “self–deprecating,” but my goal in writing this blog is to share aspects of my life’s journey and how its twists and turns push me to grow.  There is a parable that once a young man dreamt of changing the world, but, as he grew older, he realized that he couldn’t change the world, so he set about trying to change the town he lived in.  Then he realized he couldn’t change the people in his town, so he focused on trying to change his family.   Finally, as an old man, he realized he couldn’t change his family, and he decided that the only person he could change was himself.  Once he began to focus on changing himself, he realized that in doing so, he had the power to change his family, and that his family could then change his town, and then his town would have the power to change the world.  When I blog – I aim to be that man in the final stages of his enlightenment.  The only way I can affect and move the world around me is by sharing my life stories – hopefully, those experiences will help inspire, move, and lead others to a better place, as well.

    1. Making It and Getting There
    2. Stepping on Out
    3. On Being Out
    4. The Cognitive Power of Breath
    5. Small Yoga
    6. Downward Dog

* * *

Stop in on his blog, “Grecchinois.” You can also visit Nick’s official website,  follow him on Twitter @grecchinois, or “Like” Nick on Facebook. His debut solo “Winter Words” comes out Tuesday on Amazon. If you love the wonderful music of Benjamin Britten, you can order a copy here.

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, life on the international opera circuit, opera blogs, Performers

don’t quote me…

New York City Opera's 'Don Giovanni'

Tenors are noble, pure and heroic, and get the soprano, if she has not tragically expired before the final curtain.  But baritones are born villains in opera. Always the heavy and never the hero.”
—Leonard Warren      


(dedicated to all my new tenor friends in cyberspace–Twitter, Everyday Opera, et. al)


Filed under Classic Opera, Don Giovanni, opera quotes