You can do anything so long as you sing it.*

In place of Julie’s regularly scheduled post, we’re proud to present a special guest, Rebekah, a fellow music librarian and a participant in Pittsburgh’s vibrant opera scene.

It’s fall and in addition to the leaves changing and the air becoming a bit cooler, seasons begin for many music organizations, including opera companies.  Pittsburgh Opera opens its 2012-13 season of classics in October with Rigoletto and continues with Don Giovanni, The Secret Marriage (performed by its resident artists), Madama Butterfly and La Cenerentola.  CLP’s Music Department has partnered with the Pittsburgh Opera’s education department since 2001 to produce a resource guide to help you immerse yourself in the operas of the season.  Books, librettos, CDs and DVDs await you as you get ready to experience revenge gone wrong, a womanizer getting what he deserves, a wedding of undercover lovers, a tragic love story and a fairytale romance.  I’m excited to see Don Juan in action in a new production of Mozart’s opera.

If you still want more opera, Pittsburgh has plenty of it.  Quantum Theatre, the nomadic theater company, will present the Pittsburgh premiere of Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov’s work, “Ainadamar,” based upon the life of Federico García Lorca.  Previously they had staged Astor Piazzolla’s opera tango, “María de Buenos Aires” at the deserted East Liberty YMCA.  It will be interesting to see how they use the space at East Liberty Presbyterian ChurchCarnegie Mellon’s Opera Workshop offers “Into the Woods” as their fall production.  I know, I know, it’s a musical… or is it?  We have to wait until February to see Duquesne University Opera Workshop’s production of “Dialogues of the Carmelites” but they will have an aria night in October.  Microscopic Opera just finished a run of “Riders to the Sea” (the play and the opera) and “Lizbeth,” all works about family tragedies.  Next up will be “The Little Sweep” in March.  Undercroft Opera, a company of all local singers, will stage “The Barber of Seville” in February and has yet to announce their 2013 summer production.  We also anticipate the next season of Opera Theater Summerfest.

Dare I mention venturing to the movie theater for the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD broadcasts?  It’s opera on the big screen and you don’t have to hop the Megabus to New York.  You just venture to the Cinemark Theaters at Pittsburgh Mills or Robinson Township or Rave Motion Pictures-Pittsburgh North 11.  Last season, many people experienced Robert Lepage’s innovative Ring Cycle.  I was not among them as I am not a fan of Wagner’s epic work unlike my boss, Julie, who has seen over 10 different productions.  I think she and I can both agree that opera plots can be about anything.  Maybe I’ll see you at one this year.

— Rebekah

*A quotation from the fabulous Anna Russell who parodied the Ring Cycle in solo concert performances


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4 responses to “You can do anything so long as you sing it.*

  1. lizzy

    I am not knowledgable about opera however I did recently watch the documentary on PBS about the making of the Ring Cycle. Since I used to do theatre and love the ‘tech side’, I found it very interesting to watch the trials and tribulations of mounting such a work.

  2. lectorconstans

    Speaking of opera: there is a movie that counts as grand opera – because every word is sung, and although nobody dies, it is definitely a 3-hankie movie: “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (1964, in French, with gorgeous cinematography, and a gorgeous score by Michel Legrand (the “hit song” is “I Will Wait for You”), and the gorgeous Catherine Deneuve in the lead.

    By the time the story gets to the mechanic’s garage, the singing doesn’t seem out of place.

    If you’re new to opera, don’t start with Wagner – at least, not until you’ve heard Anna Russell explain it.

    Two of my favorites are “Turandot” (with the inimitable “Nessun Dorma”), and “Cavaliera Rusticana” (with great music and great tunes).

    Also, speaking abut “be abut anything”, there is an opera based on a comic strip: The Cunning Little Vixen, by Janacek.

  3. Rebekah

    @Lizzy: I agree that the Lepage “Ring” production is interesting from the tech point of view. I admire the use of lighting, projected images and moving set pieces.

    @Julie: Good advice! Please let me clarify that I do like some of Wagner’s other operas: Parsifal and Tannhäuser among them. In fact, there is a great Glenn Close movie “Meeting Venus” about the behind-the-scenes action for a Tannhäuser production:

    @lectorconstans: I love “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”- gorgeous cinematography and Deneuve is amazing. “The Cunning Little Vixen” is an interesting piece. If you like the idea of animals as the characters, you may want to explore Tobias Picker’s take on Roald Dahl’s children’s story, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” :

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