July 31st, 2016
Michael’s brilliant performance in the title role of Donizetti’s POLIUTO from the Glyndebourne Festival, was released by Opus Arte in the US on DVD and Blu Ray, on July 29th; it was released in the UK on July 1st. This was the first time that a full-length production of this opera was performed in the UK.
The cast features Ana Maria Martinez as Paolina and Igor Golovantenko as Severo; the London Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Enrique Mazzola.
July 17th, 2016
Miranda Takes Final ‘Hamilton’ Bow
Last week saw
Lin-Manuel Miranda take his final bows after his farewell performance in “Hamilton,” amidst thunderous applause from the audience and no doubt mourning from all those around the world who will never see him perform in the Broadway sensation. Post-performance, Miranda gave a brief “Evita-like” appearance from the balcony atop the theater’s marquee, waving to fans and placing his hand over his heart in a show of gratitude. Upon returning backstage, Miranda cut his lengthy hair–no longer needed for his 18th century character–and posted a picture of the sheared locks to Instagram, captioning “Team ’em how to say goodbye….” Some of the lucky patrons who saw the performance that day bought tickets long before they knew of Miranda’s exit; one family reported buying their tickets back in February because it happened to be the cheapest option. Others who bought their tickets more recently paid a high premium–one young woman paid $1500 for her single ticket. A higher than usual number of celebrities joined the audience that night, including Jennifer Lopez, John Kerry, Spike Lee, Mariska Hargitay, Charlie Rose, and Rosie O’Donnell–many of whom had already seen the show several times. Though Miranda’s farewell marks the end of the first phase of the show’s glorious run, it is without a doubt that audiences will continue to show up in droves to see this truly revolutionary
Old ‘Aeneid’ Gets New Digital Life
Thanks to the efforts of Digita Vaticana, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Vatican Library in Italy, people around the world can browse priceless
ancient manuscripts online for free. As part of a years-long digitization project to convert the library’s roughly 80,000 manuscripts and texts (which include drawing and notes from the likes of Michelangelo and Galileo) into digital format. The organization’s latest completion for conversion is a 1,600-year-old illuminated version of the Virgil’s Aeneid. Known as the Vergilius Vaticanus, it is one of the world’s oldest versions of the Latin epic poem. Sadly, it is incomplete– the beginning pages have been lost, and many other badly damaged; only 76 pages, including some 50 illustrations, remain (for comparison, if the original contained all of Virgil’s canonical works, which was standard for the time, it would have totaled 440 pages with about 280 illustrations). The digitization process is quite tedious; Digita Vaticana expects their project to take 15 years and cost over 55 million USD. Many see it as a small price to pay to make these ancient treasures available for free to people around the world.
Art World Grieves Attack on Nice
Time and again the art world comes together to show solidarity when tragedy strikes, and the recent attack on Nice is no exception. Last week, 84 were left dead and another 50 in critical condition after a truck drove into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day–“Horror has again struck France,” said French President Francois Hollande. As many attempt to make sense of a senseless act, art helps those around the world express their grief and show solidarity for the victims, their families, and the country of France. This Huffington Post article
has gathered many of the images circulating the Internet–some show anger and others sadness, but all show the ability for art to express what language cannot in the wake of unspeakable loss.
Dancing With Your Shadow
A public installation at the Mesa Arts Center in Arizona is encouraging people to dance
by basically turning a chunk of pavement into an artistic version of Dance Dance Revolution. The project, officially called “Mesa Musical Shadows,” works by encouraging visitors to play with their shadows. Using light sensors paired with speakers built into mosaic tiles, individuals can create music by moving their shadow (and of course, themselves) across the tiles, each of which plays a unique note. As many people “play” together, a beautiful, jumbled soundscape results. Programmers intend to watch how people use the installation and actually reprogram it to allow for more complicated and nuanced responses to movement. Perhaps most importantly, the installation is reminding visitors to forget about how they look dancing, and focus on the fun they’re having creating spontaneous tunes just by hopping around!
July 13th, 2016
Michael Fabiano might not be a household name, but if the brilliant young tenor has anything to do with it, that will all change in the next 10 years. Now 32 and already considered one of the greatest tenors in the world, the headliner believes that opera can become more mainstream and he’s determined to make it so, one performance at a time. In town performing Don Carlo with the San Francisco Opera in late June, he told us one recent warm day in the city that “when we watch major films or television shows, we hear classical music. Classical music is much more in our lives than people realize. We need to show why it’s relevant and make it more popular—and I intend to do that in the next couple of years.”
If there is anyone who could somehow entice the world to listen to more classical music, it’s the handsome singer from New Jersey. The San Francisco Chronicle calls him “the hardest working opera singer in show business,” a singer “with a muscular and mellifluous tenor voice.” Of his performance in I Lombardi, the New York Times said that what everyone seemed to be thinking when the ovations and shouts subsided “might have been summarized in a Twitter post: ‘Michael Fabiano OMG.’ “ Not only is everyone raving about his moving performances, but in 2014 Fabiano was the first person ever to win the Richard Tucker Award and the Beverly Sills Artist Award in the same year.
Serious, focused, eloquent, and driven, Fabiano spent four years preparing for his debut role as Don Carlo. After the show’s run, he’s jetting to Madrid to perform in I Due Foscari at the Teatro Real, but the Bay Area will hear the passionate singer again this summer at Festival Napa Valley’s Opera Gala. Fabiano is the headliner there, on July 24, at the Lincoln Theater, where he and American mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard will perform a series of solos and duets. Although he has little time for talk—last year Fabiano traveled 315 days for work—we had the rare opportunity to engage him in a spirited conversation. Here is what he had to say about opera, baseball, and more.