Where I share my inspirations, new work announcements and whatever else I find interesting. To view my artwork or read any of my performance reviews please see the link to my homepage in the sidebar. Offended by occasional male nudity or awesome homoerotic art content? This is not the place for you.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

May They Rest In Peace


Just like the rest of the Opera World I am shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Maria Radner and Oleg Bryjak on their way home from the recent production of Wagner's Siegfried at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu, on the now infamous Germanwings flight 4U9525.  So much so that I hardly know where to start as a tribute, so I'll just leave this here, in their honour.  

It's been a very sad week for Opera indeed and has driven home to many artists that spend a lot of their time travelling between engagements that life is short and fleeting.  It's important to enjoy the moments we are given as we never really know when they will be taken away.  Remember that events like this do bring us together and ultimately we all serve the artfrom in one way or another.  Be good to yourselves and each other.



#MariaRadner #OlegBryjak #Germanwings

www.blairparkinson.com

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Music for a Sunday


March 21 marks the birth, this year the 330th, of Johann Sebastian Bach.  Now considered one of the giants of Western Music, we're fortunate to have much of his prolific output survive the passage of time.

Call me pedestrian, I know many Bach purists who will tell me there are so many other works musically more worthy of my attention, but the Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046-1051 are in my mind the most perfect creations Bach ever wrote.  Together they form a perfect whole of pathos, melancholy, jollity, happiness and technical perfection all rolled into 6 colourful concertos.

Below is the beautifully recorded set by Jordi Savall and it's highly original indeed, as one can expect from Maestro Savall and Hesperion XX1, pefect for a Sunday afternoon's listening.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  Presto Classical - Buy classical CDs, opera CDs, & DVDs online



#JSBach #HappyBirthdayBach #HappyBirthday

www.blairparkinson.com

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Gounod - Faust


Australia has been hit with 'Faust Fever' as the David McVicar production began it's tour of the nation recently in Sydney to great acclaim.  I'm looking forward to seeing the WA Opera present it in October.  Opening Night is on my birthday in fact.

Today marks the anniversary of the premiere at the TheatrĂ© Lyrique in Paris, 1859.  While not initially a success, it's popularity grew to see it become one of the world's most loved and performed operas.

It boasts one of the most stunning final scenes ever written and below is no exception when it comes to stunning singing. Three singers in prime form and in roles that suited them like a dream - Renata Scotto, Alfredo Kraus and Nicolai Ghaiurov.  It's from Tokyo, September 1973.



#OperaAustralia #Faust #DavidMcVicar #WAOpera #Opera #OnThisDay

blairparkinson.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Now on Patreon


Remember the olden days when Artists had patrons who support them in their artistic endeavours, thus allowing them to work on their Art without the distraction of working for 'the Man' in order to make a living, thereby reducing their Art or Craft to 'hobby' status?
Neither do I but here is a chance to return to those halcyon days by embracing the new artistic paradigm called Patreon.
You can help me achieve my dream of doing this exact thing. If you like my work and would like even more to see me reach my true potential then have a look at my page and chip in a few bucks.
What do you lose? Nothing! What do you stand to gain? Some decent personalised perks for one, PLUS the Karmic satisfaction of knowing you have contributed to making this world a more visually beautiful place and kept an Artist from starving or worse, from working in a job that crushes creativity.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Scottish Opera


Today marks the anniversary of the premiere of Verdi's Macbeth, first performed at the Firenze, Teatro della Pergola, March 14, 1847.  One of Verdi's more enduring successes from his earlier years, Macbeth has seen a bit of a popularity surge over time, helped in part by singers willing and able to sing the music of Verdi's Heroine.

One of the greatest of Lady M's to grace the stage and recording studio is undoubtedly Leonie Rysanek, ideal in vocal colour and temperament for Verdi's intriguing leading lady.  Below is a recording of the Sleepwalking Scene from the Metropolitan Opera, 21/11/1959, the same production from which the above publicity still was taken.  Here you can listen to exactly why Leonie Rysanek was so beloved in this role, she is fearless, haunting and exquisite in equal measure.




www.blairparkinson.com

#Verdi #Macbeth #Opera #SleepwalkingScene #LeonieRysanek

Sunday, March 8, 2015

In recognition of the Women in my life...


...and of International Women's Day 2015 I'd like to share with you one of the earliest artistic influences in my life singing an aria of such love and joy it's difficult to resist it's charms.  Here is Maria Callas singing Depuis le jour from Charpentier's Louise.  I hope you've had a wonderful weekend, mine has been one of creation, so I am content.



#MariaCallas #InternationalWomen'sDay


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Maurice Ravel - 140 today!


My annual tribute to the first composer whose work I really fell in love with...Maurice Ravel. Happy birthday!
    

#OnThisDay #Bolero #Ravel #Ravel'sBolero

www.blairparkinson.com

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Una Voce Poco Fa...who sings it better? Part 3




Where is Callas in all of this you might ask?  Well to me she deserves a post of her own for this aria.  No-one really comes close to her use of vocal colour and technique, it's simply extraordinary and you will never be able to hear it sung any other way again...at least I haven't ever since I was introduced to this recorded gem many, many years ago...enjoy this rare Callas excursion into comedy, something she rarely did and here it's difficult to resist her charms.

#WAOpera #OperaInThePark #Rossini #BarberOfSeville #Callas #MariaCallas

Una Voce Poco Fa...who sings it better? Part 2


As I mine the archives once again in search of Rossinian jewels in preparation for tomorrow night's Opera in the Park presented by WA Opera I decided the way to go was down the Coloratura path with these two remarkable ladies...both famous for their Rosina's during the 60's - Gianna D'Angelo and Roberta Peters.

Given the reputation Emma Matthews (tomorrow night's Rosina) has for her Bel Canto singing I'm hoping we'll be treated to a display akin to these.  I hope you like them, while not to everyone's taste they are certainly a lot of fun.  Do you have a favourite?


                       

#WAOpera #OperaInThePark #Rossini #BarberOfSeville

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Una Voce Poco Fa...who sings it better? Part 1

 

In preparation for this coming Friday's Opera In The Park event held annually by the WA Opera, this year it's the silliness that is Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, I'm re-acquainting myself with some of the Barbiere recordings from my collection.

It's long been a favourite of mine and it never ceases to amaze me of the differences in approach that divas take when singing Rosina, depending on your voice type and preference of course.  Personally I'm constantly torn between the gorgeousness that a rich mezzo/contralto brings to the role and that of the vocal fireworks that an excellent coloratura can display.  Both of course have their merits and my preference changes depending on what mood I'm in.

Tonight I'm in the mood for some smoky mezzo tones and thought to give you examples of two very well known Rosinas from the past - Marilyn Horne and Giuletta Simionato.  Who do you prefer?

                   

#WAOpera #OperaInThePark #Rossini #BarberOfSeville