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By Richard Gorelick and The Baltimore Sun | January 10, 2013
Cabaret artist Jennifer Blades will reprise her role as Julia Child in Lee Hoiby's 18-minute opera "Bon Appetit" during an evening of dinner and opera at Germano's. In addition, Blades will portray Child in a new piece about Child's friendship with the chef Lidia Bastianich, who will be played by Alessandra Fabiani. Written originally for Jean Stapleton, "Bon Appetit" has been described as "a comic culinary extravaganza. " The performances and menu for the evening were inspired by the 1993 PBS special, "Julia Child: Cooking With Master Chefs," in which Julia Child showcases Bastianich cooking pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage and risotto with porcini mushrooms.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | October 3, 2014
The first public hearing in 143 years of Franco Faccio's “Amleto,” presented Thursday night by Baltimore Concert Opera in the elegant ballroom of the Engineers Club, offered rewards and frustrations. A more meaningful judgment on whether conductor Anthony Barrese's decade-plus effort to unearth this forgotten score was well worth it will be possible for those who get to hear the fully staged production he leads later this month at Opera Southwest in Albuquerque. That performance will have a crucial ingredient missing here - an orchestra.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | December 14, 2012
The words "opera" and "emotional" typically go together, but not in the way it will happen this weekend. The risk-taking Baltimore- and New York-based ensemble known as Rhymes With Opera, now in its sixth year, will premiere the complete version of Thomas Limbert's "Numbers/Dates. " It's a work that uses a text based on just that - numbers and dates. The performers supply the emotion. "The piece was born out of a neurobiology class I took at Duke University," Limbert said, "about speech perception and research on 'emotional prosody.' We heard sound samples of actors speaking semantically neutral numbers and dates in different emotions.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and The Baltimore Sun | September 27, 2014
That an opera inspired by Shakespeare's "Hamlet" should have suffered a tragic fate has a certain irony. Whether Franco Faccio's "Amleto" deserved it is another matter. This week, Baltimore Concert Opera will make a fresh case for the piece, which has gone unheard since 1871. "I think the music is gorgeous, sweeping and melodic," says Anthony Barrese, the Chicago-based conductor who unearthed "Amleto" and will lead the performance. "But, at this point, I have no objectivity at all. " Barrese has spent more than a decade trying to put Faccio's forgotten work back in the spotlight.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | June 16, 2011
They've heard just about all the suggestions by now. But if you insist, you can approach members of the Rhymes with Opera ensemble Saturday at the Windup Space and offer your response to what is actually not a request. "We've had people come up to us and go, 'I've got it: Deepak Chopra,'" said Ruby Fulton, one of the Peabody Conservatory alums who founded the group. David Smooke, a composer and Peabody faculty member who teaches music theory and rock music history, has also heard his share of reactions since letting people know he wrote a work for Rhymes with Opera.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | January 28, 2005
The elegantly regilded Hippodrome Theatre could be mistaken for an old-world opera house. On Wednesday night, for three hours at least, that's exactly what it was. Teatro Lirico D'Europa - administratively based in Hunt Valley - presented a fully staged production of Don Giovanni that offered sufficient entertainment value and demonstrated the theater's flexibility. The entertainment usually booked at this renovated vaudeville and movie house is amplified, so it was fascinating to hear the natural acoustics there.
NEWS
January 30, 1992
One year after the Baltimore Opera found itself teetering on the brink of insolvency, that venerable institution is back in the black -- financially and artistically. A fund-raising drive raised over $1 million to retire the opera's accumulated debts. Now the company is working to build an endowment that will help stabilize future production costs.The opera's turnaround can be credited largely to the energy of its director, Michael Harrison, and to generous support from area individuals, corporations and foundations.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Sloane Brown | August 22, 1999
The setting fit a description of the opening scene of the Italian opera "Don Giovanni -- "in a handsome garden before a handsome house." Only this was the fourth annual Opera and Wine Dinner, an authentic alfresco Italian meal in Howard County. The event, sponsored by the Italian Wine and Food Advocates, raised $1,500 for the Peabody Conservatory's opera outreach program, which brings opera to inner city schools.Under one tent pitched on the grounds of the historic Lichendale Farm, Paul Dongarra, chef for the Dionysus' Kitchen catering company and the event's co-coordinator, prepared the evening's five-course dinner.
SPORTS
October 1, 2013
Joe Flacco is selling chicken wings for McDonald's , and Haloti Ngata has peddled food for Royal Farms. But neither of them sang opera or freestyle rapped on their commercials. Leave that to Justin Tucker, the Ravens kicker who is now endorsing Dr Pepper on a video advertisement that's starting to make its rounds online. Check it out above.
NEWS
October 22, 1990
For years the Baltimore Opera has delighted music lovers throughout the metropolitan region. So successful has it been in building upon the legacy of legendary soprano Rosa Ponselle, whose early encouragement and support helped bring opera to Baltimore, that today the company is ranked among the best regional operas in the country.But the opera also faces the prospect of becoming a victim of its own success. Steeped in tradition, well supported by ticket sales -- this year's production of Bizet's "Carmen" drew the largest audience in the opera's history -- and by corporate and individual donors, it still finds itself with a cumulative $800,000 deficit that threatens to force it into bankruptcy.
NEWS
By Tim Kreider | September 19, 2014
Editor's note: This op-ed has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of Billie Holiday's name. The Sun regrets the error.  I traveled back to my hometown of Baltimore last weekend to reprise my role as that important historical figure, The Devil, in a rock opera about the Battle of Baltimore. This was the long-anticipated bicentennial performance of "1814!: The War of 1812 Rock Opera," a project some old friends of mine, Dave Israel and David Dudley, conceived in the bars of Fort Avenue back in 1992, before we had anything worse to do. They'd always envisioned mounting a spectacular, all-star production of the thing on the 200th anniversary of the bombardment of Fort McHenry, in the unimaginable science-fiction year of 2014.
NEWS
By Frederick N. Rasmussen and The Baltimore Sun | September 14, 2014
Berean E. "Bill" Talbert, who founded a Baltimore County landscaping company and fought in Europe during World War II, died Tuesday of cancer at Stella Maris Hospice. He was 93. The son of Richard H. Talbert, a textile mill worker, and Stella M. Talbert, a homemaker, Berean Earl Talbert was born and raised in Leaksville, N.C., which is now Eden, N.C. He was a 1937 graduate of Leaksville High School. During World War II, Mr. Talbert served with Gen. George S. Patton Jr.'s 3rd Army in Europe, where he was a fire control director with a Howitzer artillery unit.
NEWS
By Jonathan Pitts, The Baltimore Sun | July 4, 2014
The theater is dark and cool on a sweltering recent afternoon, the colored wigs, stepladders and old furniture in the aisles remnants of a just-ended community play. Handbills in a glass case recall a 1905 musical. The ceiling is antique tin. The concession stand sits not off a lobby, but among its 120 seats. If the Havre de Grace Opera House feels less like a Harford County La Scala than a blend of off-Broadway, the Roaring '20s and Mayberry, it might be because it has been asked to play so many different roles during its 144-year history.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | July 1, 2014
Lyric Opera Baltimore, which scaled back from three productions to two after its 2011-2012 inaugural season, is scaling back again. Only one staged work, Puccini's "Madama Butterfly," will be presented during 2014-2015, the company's fourth season. "The board of directors definitely wants to go ahead with grand opera here, but we want to be fiscally responsible," said James Harp, artistic director of Lyric Opera Baltimore. "We want to have enough money in the bank. This will be a re-building year so we can have two productions again in '15-'16.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | June 20, 2014
Michael Hersch composes music of sobering complexity -- lots of jagged melodic lines, thorny harmonies, quick-shifting rhythms. But even at its densest, his intense work communicates in a way that can make a listener feel privy to Hersch's innermost thoughts. The composer, who studied at the Peabody Institute in the 1990s and has been on the composition faculty there since 2006, is about to reveal even more of himself this week when his first work for the stage premieres at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 10, 2014
Biblical stories do not typically make great operas, anymore than they make great movies. But Verdi's first successful work for the stage, “Nabucco,” based more or less on the tale of Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian bondage of the Hebrews, comes pretty close. It's loaded with urgent situations and grand statements, fueled by vividly colored orchestration. It also boasts Verdi's most indelible and affecting choral piece, reason enough to keep this opera in the repertoire. Lyric Opera Baltimore is closing its season with a production of “Nabucco” that captures the work's passion and sweep, if not all of its musical richness.
ENTERTAINMENT
By TIM SMITH and TIM SMITH,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 18, 2006
Baltimore has inspired many a film and a hit Broadway musical, so why not an opera? The Window Seat, an hourlong work created and produced entirely within the Goucher College community, is set in a Baltimore rowhouse. The score is by Kendall Kennison, assistant professor of music at Goucher. The libretto is by James Sheehan, a playwright and occasional teacher of playwriting who works as a copy editor in the college's office of communications. "The idea of doing an opera originally came from Serafina DiGiacomo, who directs the Goucher Opera Workshop," Kennison says.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 9, 2014
With a riot of color onstage, Washington National Opera's presentation of "The Magic Flute" could not be more visually animated if it tried. There's a good deal to entertain the ears as well. This co-production with four other companies is, above all, a showcase for Japanese-born, Omaha-based artist Jun Kaneko. His set and costume design, a kind of pop art/classic Asian fusion, gives Mozart's opera a fresh flash of fantasy, not to mention whimsy. If there are times when the stylized look seems arbitrary (many of the projections suggest a digital Etch A Sketch)
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 2, 2014
When Lyric Opera of Baltimore presents a new production of Verdi's first hit, "Nabucco," this week, there will be a guaranteed encore: The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves. "It's so good, you have to hear it again," says James Harp, the company's artistic director. That's what the first audience for "Nabucco" in 1842 at Milan's La Scala thought, too. For 172 years, this choral piece has been routinely encored at many an opera house, especially in Italy, where it enjoys the status of an unofficial national anthem.
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