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ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | September 11, 2005
It's widely believed that the long and noble history of star-filled, big-budget, studio-made opera recordings is effectively coming to an end with the release this week of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde from EMI Classics. If so, the finale couldn't be much more satisfying. That the indestructible tenor Placido Domingo is singing the famously tough role of Tristan, complete, for the first time - the recording sessions in London wrapped up last January, a few weeks before he turned 64 - makes the release instantly newsworthy.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 22, 2005
There may never be another three operatic tenors packing the combined vocal and star power of Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras, but there are at least three highly marketable singers who have demonstrated an exceptional ability to stir the public. Call them the poperatic tenors. Heading the list of these mass-appeal vocalists, who cross back and forth between classical and pop idioms easily and who generate unusually effusive fans, is Andrea Bocelli. The blind Italian singer soared to fame and fortune in the 1990s, given an extra boost by heavy exposure on American public television.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 14, 2005
When Carl Tanner performs the role of the hair-powered biblical hero in Washington National Opera's Samson et Dalila tonight at the Kennedy Center, the easiest part for him should be pulling down the walls of the Philistine temple in the last scene. No big deal for a guy who used to make a living kicking in doors. That was some years back, when the burly Tanner worked as a bounty hunter - although, as he is quick to point out, "I didn't break down a door unless I had to." This lifelong country music fan from Northern Virginia shatters preconceptions about opera singers as swiftly as he once cuffed elusive bond-skippers.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 5, 2005
Return of `A Tenor' When Lend Me a Tenor -- a comedy about a provincial opera company that imports a world-class Italian star -- begins performances at Olney Theatre Center on Tuesday, the production will be a homecoming in several respects. Olney first staged Ken Ludwig's opera-themed farce in 1993. That production set a box-office record (not broken until 2002), and its director, John Going, is repeating his duties. Cast members Halo Wines and Valerie Leonard are also returning to the show, and designer James Kronzer is re-creating his stunning art deco set. In addition, Ludwig is a Washington resident, so the show is almost on his home turf.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 2, 2005
We'll never know exactly how Jacques Offenbach would have put the finishing touches on his swan song, The Tales of Hoffmann, but he'd probably be quite satisfied with the version being presented by the Baltimore Opera Company. He'd probably enjoy the performance, too. As for the version, it's a fusion of the once-standard edition put together after Offenbach's untimely death and a longer, more intriguingly layered one fashioned from stashes of original manuscripts uncovered since the 1970s.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | April 22, 2005
A hit since it opened on Broadway in 1989, Ken Ludwig's Lend Me A Tenor continues to entertain in Anne Arundel Community College's Moonlight Troupers' production that opened last weekend at the school's Pascal Center for Performing Arts. Tenor tells the story of a world-famous Italian singer, Tito Merelli, who is engaged by Cleveland Opera to open its season with a performance of Verdi's Otello. Unconcerned about keeping 1,000 opera fans waiting, Tito decides to rest after his angry wife, Maria, threatens to leave him over his womanizing.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | April 8, 2005
Anne Arundel Community College's Moonlight Troupers have embarked on their final week of rehearsal in preparation for next weekend's opening of Ken Ludwig's Lend Me a Tenor at the Pascal Center for Performing Arts. Ludwig's farce, filled with mistaken identities and assorted tenor groupies, opened on Broadway in March 1989. It ran there for more than a year, winning many awards including two Tonys, then ran in London, where it was nominated for the Olivier Award as comedy of the year. The show has been seen in 200-plus productions in more than 25 countries.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 7, 2004
Just before the unexpectedly happy ending of Bellini's I Puritani comes the haunting Credeasi, misera. Here, the tenor portraying the condemned Cavalier hero Arturo begs his enemies to be gentle with the Puritan he had hoped to marry, the mentally fragile Elvira. As he nears the end of the piece, the singer faces two hurdles in quick succession. The first is high enough - D-flat, a notch above high C (the normal outer limit for a tenor). The second is impossibly higher, up to an F, a realm usually traversed only by coloratura sopranos.
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.
TRAVEL
By Roberta Sandler and Roberta Sandler,Special to the Sun | March 14, 2004
One afternoon in 1959, I came home from high school to find my mother in tears. "I have bad news," she said. "Mario Lanza died today." I, too, burst into tears, mourning the end of the golden voice that had made Mario Lanza's movies so popular and that had crowned him as the Enrico Caruso of the 1950s. When he died in Rome, he was 38 years old. Flash forward to several months ago. I made my first visit to Philadelphia. There, I discovered not only the Mario Lanza Museum, but also the Mario Lanza Institute, Mario Lanza Park, Mario Lanza mural and Mario Lanza's birthplace.
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