Tag Archives: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

an opera poll for Mozart’s birthaversary

Today, January 27, is the anniversary of the incomparable W. A. Mozart’s birth!

He was a most awe-inspiring composer–the gold standard by which composers were measured before and after. Of course, he wrote hundreds of other pieces outside of opera.

But in case you forgot, this blog is called “Operatoonity.”  By virtue of that fact, an opera poll is in order–just to drum up a little Mozart  b’day excitement.

All those in favor, please vote for your favorite Mozart opera below:

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Filed under Audience participation, Mozart, Poll

three websites for delving into Mozart

Since today, January 27,  is the anniversary of Mozart’s birth in 1756 (in Salzburg, Austria),  I thought it would be fitting to share three sites where you can hear more of his music as well as learn more about his music and the world he lived in.

Classical Music Archives: Mozart

At the Classical Music Archives you can hear hundreds of his compositions in MP3, MIDI and WAX (a special kind of Windows Media Audio.) Guests can listen to up to five pieces of music per day. This limit is removed for paying subscribers, who can also can download the music files to their own computers. To hear Mozart’s first minuets, scroll down the page to Nannerl’s Notenbuch. To untangle the complexities of audio file formats, read their “How to Listen to Music on the Internet”

Mozart Project

The Mozart Project presents the milestones of Mozart’s life in a time line showing concurrent world events. Europe, teeming with political and cultural activity throughout the eighteenth century, greatly affected Mozart’s development. You’ll also find an annotated catalog of Mozart’s life work, cross referenced chronologically as well as by category. Not merely a listing of compositions, it offers a detailed insight into each work and its creation.

Salzburg: Mozart

the house where Mozart was born

Tour Salzburg, the City of Mozart’s birth, from your easy chair. Stop along the way to visit his birthplace on Getreidegasse, and Mozart’s residence in Makart Square. The site offers a short biography as well as details on the two Mozart houses, now maintained as museums by the Mozarteum Foundation, and is sponsored by the Salzburg Tourist Board.

Happy reading and listening!

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Filed under Classical Composers, Mozart

bari steals show in COC’s delightful ‘Flute’

How many people watch The Magic Flute and wonder why Mozart wrote such a lighthearted, whimsical character as Papageno for the baritone voice? Anyone besides me?

In many cases, too many to mention here, baritones are opera’s bad boys, villains, tragically flawed protagonists,  womanizers, and drunkards.  

And then there is Papageno, the spritely birdcatcher–a part in a class all its own–who always seems to steal the show, no matter who produces the show.  

According to the professional reviews and audience reactions on the Canadian Opera Company‘s Facebook page, in the COC’s new production of The Magic Flute running through February 25, Papageno, the bird-catching bari, strikes again, capturing the heartshare of operagoers and critics alike. The review from the Toronto Star said:  

“The star of this production is Russian baritone Rodion Pogossov, who lit up the stage whenever he appeared. He not only sang beautifully but was a paragon of comic flippancy as Papageno, the bird-man who only wants a nice wife and something good to eat and drink.” — John Terauds  

Rodion Pogossov as Papageno / photo by Michael Cooper

Congratulations to the COC on another hit! Enjoy more of the photographs taken during dress rehearsal.  

Michael Schade as Tamino/photo by Michael Cooper

Lisa DiMaria as Papagena and Rodion Pogossov as Papageno /photo by Michael Cooper

 For remaining performances and tickets, visit the COC website. Production credits: Conductor Johannes Debus, director Diane Paulus, set and costume designer Myung Hee Cho and lighting designer Scott Zielinski.

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Filed under Classic Opera, Mozart, North American Opera

‘Idomeneo’ welcomed into the world this day

On January 29, in 1781, Mozart’s first real operatic masterpiece Idomeneo, opera seria in three acts, premiered in Munich, Germany, with Mozart conducting.

Like Iphigenia in Aulis, Idomeneno is considered a sacrifice opera in that the story contains the perennially tragic story of the younger generation condemned to death by the vows or treaties made by their elders.

Idomeneo, the king of Crete, is returning home from the Trojan Wars during a storm, when he vows to sacrifice to Neptune (the Greek god Poseidon) the first living creature he meets ashore in return for his own safety. The first person he sees turns out to be his own son Idamante, and Idomeneo attempts to escape from fulfilling his vow. Idamante, meanwhile, is loved by orphaned prisoner Ilia and by the jealous Electra.

According to the Penguin Opera Guide, during the time when he was writing Idomeneo, Mozart was saddled with Karl Theodor‘s orchestra and opera company from Mannheim. Mozart considered the actors playing Idomeneo and Idamante “the two worst ever born” and that this perception influenced the music he wrote for them. Idamante was played by an untalented castrato Mozart dubbed, “amato castrato del Prato” but since castrati tend to be in short supply in modern times, it’s not uncommon for the role to be sung by a soprano.

Below, is a conventional interpretation of Idomeneo with Pavarotti singing the title role, clipped from performance at the Metropolitan Opera in 1982, with Frederica von Stade as Idamante.  Wow, what a set!

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Fast forward to 2006,  when the Salzburg Festival presented a starkly beautiful production of Idomeneo  to celebrate Mozart’s 250th, featuring Ramon Vargas as Idomeneo, soprano Magdalena Kozena as Idamante and Ekaterina Siurina as Ilia. In the following clip, Kozena is completely believable as Idamante–one of the best pants role performances I’ve ever seen.

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Filed under Classical Composers, Concert Opera, Mozart, Video

post-party expression

Now that my favorite composer’s birthday has come and gone, and I personally made an unprecedented amount of hoopla over it, it might be reasonable for me to be suffering a little post-party depression.

Instead I feel happy (and spent–in a good way–I did post four times yesterday–a personal best not soon to be repeated)! Not to mention that I bolted upright at three in the morning with the title for a post I hadn’t yet written–one of the aftereffects of posting daily I suppose–the subconcious mind never stops working.

Just so you know, I am not a one-track train. Besides opera, I am an avid fan of the NBA and was a sports mom for a decade. I love my gardening during growing season, birds, and books–reading them and writing them–and also, keeping it real,  “Dancing with the Stars.” (Per my daughter, I don’t really like DWTS–I merely have settled into the irony of liking it.)

Regarding Mozart‘s birthday, I needed to set aside time to give him his due on this opera blog. And you can say what you want about Twitter and deem it a time suck or a worthless pursuit, but besides #operaplot week, it was a most uplifting day on Twitter yesterday. More than a hundred people joined the #mozartchat list, sharing little known facts about Mozart, quotes about Mozart, and loads of links. Dozens of  links to wonderful pieces of music were shared yesterday–on and off the #mozartchat list.

Yes, a whole echelon of folks managed to communicate meaningfully for a day on Twitter without no mention of Kanye West, Justin Bieber, or Kim Kardachian.

Thanks to everyone (you know who you are) who chimed in with an anecdote, a YouTube clip, the title of a favorite piece, or a bit of Mozart trivia. You made yesterday a fitting and memorable tribute to the late great W. A. Mozart.  Oh, and fun! Fun is good, too.

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Filed under Best of Operatoonity, Classic Opera, Classical Composers, Mozart