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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 7, 2004
When I remember my suffering, my happiness is doubled," sings the love-smitten Cavalier to his Puritan bride-to-be. "My joy is even dearer to me." It's just one of the melodically sumptuous moments in Bellini's opera I Puritani, an 1835 masterpiece of the lyrical style known as bel canto that will be performed this month by the Baltimore Opera Company for the first time. Those particular words must have an extra resonance for the tenor who will sing them here, Gregory Kunde. Ten years ago, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | April 15, 2013
The best sign of Lyric Opera Baltimore's growth would be an expansion of the company's fully staged productions, which are down to two after an inaugural season of three. But the idea of putting a concert into the lineup as filler for the second season certainly has merit and, judging by the decent-sized, enthusiastic turnout Saturday night at the Lyric Opera House, marketability. Celebrating bel canto repertoire, mostly by Rossini, the program featured decidedly animated vocalists who bounded into the material -- literally, in the case of baritone Daniel Belcher, making his entrance through the theater to deliver a super-caffeinated "Largo al factotum" from "Il barbiere di Siviglia.
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FEATURES
By Ernest F. Imhoff and Ernest F. Imhoff,Evening Sun Staff | December 10, 1990
Chris Merritt, a leading tenor of Italian bel canto opera, returned to a Baltimore synagogue last night and as the cantor said, brought a fine Hanukkah gift two days early.Merritt sang sweetly and strongly but not only the famous lyrical Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini canon he's making his cornerstone. In a nearly sold-out Beth El Congregation recital, Merritt showed he could be just as effective, and in some cases more emotional, by singing a lovely soft ending as in Henri Duparc's "Soupir" or a pleasant Rossini melody, "La Promessa."
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | April 12, 2013
In theory, if not always in practice, all opera singing should sound beautiful. It's practically required when dealing with one specific genre, the early 19th century Italian repertoire known as "bel canto," because that's what it means - "beautiful singing. " The style calls for an evenly produced tone, great technical agility to handle florid passages (known as coloratura), and plenty of expressive personality. Great bel canto singing delivers one of the best thrills in opera. On Saturday night, Lyric Opera Baltimore will present a concert featuring excerpts from works by the three giants of the bel canto style, Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini, performed by a group of up-and-coming vocal artists.
NEWS
By Sherry Joe and Sherry Joe,Staff Writer | May 3, 1993
Christopher Petruccelli brought tears to Lillian Dermer's eyes yesterday at The Mall in Columbia.Mr. Petruccelli won the ninth annual Bel Canto Opera Competition with his renditions of "Una furtiva lagrima" from the opera "L'Elisir," and "Che gelida manina" from "La Boheme.""It was just so beautiful," said Mrs. Dermer, a spectator at the unlikely site. "He was controlled, he knew when to sing loud. I think he compared in a most positive way" to professional opera singers like Placido Domingo.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 15, 2004
Bel canto - "beautiful singing." It's more common to hear that term spoken of than to hear it in actual practice, which is reason enough to catch the remarkable demonstration of this venerable style being offered at the Lyric Opera House. In its first attempt at Bellini's I Puritani, among the most bountiful of all bel canto feasts, the Baltimore Opera Company has scored high. Set during the English Civil War, Puritani's plot is just a case of girl gets boy, girl loses boy, girl loses mind, girl gets boy - and mind - back.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Baltimore Sun | December 11, 2008
Fans of artful singing had a choice of two programs Sunday afternoon in Annapolis: the Arundel Vocal Arts Society's "Mass Appeal" holiday concert at Eastport United Methodist Church and the Annapolis Opera's "Bel Canto by Candlelight" an hour later at First Presbyterian Church. I enjoyed the best of both by hearing the major work on the AVAS program, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, before catching Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini arias sung by five gifted young soloists making their debut in Annapolis.
FEATURES
By TIM SMITH and TIM SMITH,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | January 9, 2006
If the name Lawrence Brownlee doesn't yet ring a lot of bells among fans of vocal music, it surely will soon. The Ohio-born tenor's career was launched only about four years ago, but he has already debuted at London's Royal Opera House and Milan's La Scala. He can produce uncommonly elegant phrasing as easily as he can set off vocal fireworks, a show-stopping combination he delivered in Washington Concert Opera's 2004 presentation of Rossini's La Donna del Lago. Brownlee, backed by ever-supportive and technically refined pianist Howard Watkins, sparked another hearty round of cheers in a compelling recital for Washington's invaluable Vocal Arts Society Thursday night at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater.
NEWS
By TIM SMITH and TIM SMITH,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 6, 2005
One little pill, and the opera would be over in a flash. Luckily, folks didn't know all that much about sleep disorders, or their treatments, back in 1831 when Vincenzo Bellini wrote his first masterpiece, La Sonnambula - the Sleepwalker. Nor did people have much trouble with the suspension-of-disbelief business that is such an unavoidable part of the operatic genre, so this endearing work had no trouble becoming an international hit. Today, though, audiences are perhaps less inclined to swallow a plot that hinges upon a somnambulistic maiden in Switzerland named Amina who winds up in a strange man's bedroom and has a heck of a time proving her innocence to her betrothed, let alone her fellow villagers.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | December 22, 2003
The Baltimore Opera Company's 2004-2005 season will include the original spaghetti Western, a chapter of the English Civil War, the ultimate marital comedy and a hyper-fantasy. Like the Washington Opera, which has a world premiere, a zarzuela and seven other productions slated, the Baltimore company has made its season announcement earlier than usual to attract early subscription renewals. The initial Baltimore release has gone to a select number of patrons; a wider renewal campaign will be launched early in the New Year (with additional casting details)
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Baltimore Sun | December 11, 2008
Fans of artful singing had a choice of two programs Sunday afternoon in Annapolis: the Arundel Vocal Arts Society's "Mass Appeal" holiday concert at Eastport United Methodist Church and the Annapolis Opera's "Bel Canto by Candlelight" an hour later at First Presbyterian Church. I enjoyed the best of both by hearing the major work on the AVAS program, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, before catching Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini arias sung by five gifted young soloists making their debut in Annapolis.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,tim.smith@baltsun.com | November 20, 2008
The future of the Baltimore Opera Company may be cloudy - it has a severe cash-flow problem, uncertain prospects for long-term fundraising, recent administrative changes - but the present sure sounds great. The production of Bellini's Norma that opened last weekend is one of the most musically satisfying ventures I've heard from the company yet (theatrically speaking, it's another story entirely). The singers reveal an abundant appreciation for the style known as bel canto - literally "beautiful singing," although the expression encompasses more than that.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Sun | June 25, 2008
Annapolis Opera will present an innovative 2008-2009 season, including two concerts featuring the Annapolis Opera Chamber Orchestra and widening the scope of its popular December candlelight concert beyond an all-Mozart repertoire. To steer this new course, the Annapolis Opera board has elected a new president, Greg Stiverson. Stiverson succeeds Leah Solat, who presided over the most successful season in Annapolis Opera's 35-year history: the only one to celebrate two sold-out presentations of its fully staged opera (Carmen)
FEATURES
By TIM SMITH and TIM SMITH,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 15, 2006
In mid-1830s' Paris, the music world heard a totally unexpected sound from a human voice, which, the story goes, Rossini likened to "the squawk of a capon having its throat cut." But soon enough, audiences couldn't get enough of that sound, and it still heats up audiences today: The tenor's high C. The money note. Produced not by falsetto, but full-throttle from the chest, a technique first credited to Gilbert Duprez. The Italian Girl in Algiers Performances are at 7 tonight and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, with five more performances through June 3 at the Kennedy Center, Virginia and New Hampshire avenues, Northwest.
FEATURES
By TIM SMITH and TIM SMITH,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | January 9, 2006
If the name Lawrence Brownlee doesn't yet ring a lot of bells among fans of vocal music, it surely will soon. The Ohio-born tenor's career was launched only about four years ago, but he has already debuted at London's Royal Opera House and Milan's La Scala. He can produce uncommonly elegant phrasing as easily as he can set off vocal fireworks, a show-stopping combination he delivered in Washington Concert Opera's 2004 presentation of Rossini's La Donna del Lago. Brownlee, backed by ever-supportive and technically refined pianist Howard Watkins, sparked another hearty round of cheers in a compelling recital for Washington's invaluable Vocal Arts Society Thursday night at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater.
NEWS
By TIM SMITH and TIM SMITH,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 6, 2005
One little pill, and the opera would be over in a flash. Luckily, folks didn't know all that much about sleep disorders, or their treatments, back in 1831 when Vincenzo Bellini wrote his first masterpiece, La Sonnambula - the Sleepwalker. Nor did people have much trouble with the suspension-of-disbelief business that is such an unavoidable part of the operatic genre, so this endearing work had no trouble becoming an international hit. Today, though, audiences are perhaps less inclined to swallow a plot that hinges upon a somnambulistic maiden in Switzerland named Amina who winds up in a strange man's bedroom and has a heck of a time proving her innocence to her betrothed, let alone her fellow villagers.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Sun | June 25, 2008
Annapolis Opera will present an innovative 2008-2009 season, including two concerts featuring the Annapolis Opera Chamber Orchestra and widening the scope of its popular December candlelight concert beyond an all-Mozart repertoire. To steer this new course, the Annapolis Opera board has elected a new president, Greg Stiverson. Stiverson succeeds Leah Solat, who presided over the most successful season in Annapolis Opera's 35-year history: the only one to celebrate two sold-out presentations of its fully staged opera (Carmen)
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,Sun Music Critic | September 16, 2001
The past is like a foreign country," novelist L.P. Hartley wrote. "They do things differently there." They make music differently there, too, as any number of vintage recordings can affirm. If there's any silver lining to the clouded state of the classical recording industry these days, when most companies have cut back drastically on fresh products, it's the steady stream of artifacts from the golden olden days. Such recordings, with their outdated sound quality, tend to appeal only to devoted collectors, but all music lovers ought to be interested in treasures from times gone by, times when the percentage of musical giants was, it could be argued, greater than it is now. Here's a sampling of recently released aural souvenirs: Telefunken The German record company Telefunken emerged in 1929 and quickly demonstrated a knack for getting startling sound quality onto 78 rpm records, quite a bit advanced over the competition.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 15, 2004
Bel canto - "beautiful singing." It's more common to hear that term spoken of than to hear it in actual practice, which is reason enough to catch the remarkable demonstration of this venerable style being offered at the Lyric Opera House. In its first attempt at Bellini's I Puritani, among the most bountiful of all bel canto feasts, the Baltimore Opera Company has scored high. Set during the English Civil War, Puritani's plot is just a case of girl gets boy, girl loses boy, girl loses mind, girl gets boy - and mind - back.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 7, 2004
When I remember my suffering, my happiness is doubled," sings the love-smitten Cavalier to his Puritan bride-to-be. "My joy is even dearer to me." It's just one of the melodically sumptuous moments in Bellini's opera I Puritani, an 1835 masterpiece of the lyrical style known as bel canto that will be performed this month by the Baltimore Opera Company for the first time. Those particular words must have an extra resonance for the tenor who will sing them here, Gregory Kunde. Ten years ago, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
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