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.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mario Del Monaco


On the occasion of what would have been his 99th birthday, here is a tribute to the great tenor's all too infrequent journeys into Wagner's repertoire.  I would have loved to have seen Del Monaco as the Swan Knight, a role he was perfect for.

Fortunately he recorded In Fernem Land twice and a couple of chunks of Siegmund's music from Act 1 of Die Walkure.  Perfect listening for a Sunday afternoon.  I hope you enjoy yours.


           


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Strike the gong and She'll appear...

The Unknown Prince
I've been quiet of late yes, it's been one hellava week.  Here's a new work however, The Unknown Prince, which is now in the Selfie Gallery.  It's based on Calaf, the Unknown Prince in Turandot, who answers the three riddles and ultimately awakens Turandot's heart.  

Consider it a study for a commission I'm currently considering.  Have a great weekend.




Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday morning feels like...

Mario Del Monaco - Mario Cavaradossi from Tosca

After a haircut later this morning, this is what I plan to be doing for the rest of the day, well in Photoshop anyway.  Enjoy your Sunday, whatever it is you decide to do with it.



www.blairparkinson.com


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Head of an Amarna Princess

Here's a charcoal study I did back in 2002. I've always loved Amarna Art, that brief period in Egypt's history that threw convention on it's head *cough*.



www.blairparkinson.com


Monday, July 14, 2014

Vale Maestro Lorin Maazel


I was awakened with great sadness today to learn that Maestro Lorin Maazel had unexpectedly passed away.

A prolific conductor and composer, Maazel was responsible for many recordings which have become over time legendary, from composers such as Sibelius, Beethoven, Ravel and Bizet to Bruckner, Scriabin and Tchaikovksy to name but a few.

He was also an esteemed composer in his own right, his opera 1984, based on the George Orwell novel of the same name performed at Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera.

My first acquaintance with Maestro Maazel was with the Carmen soundtrack he recorded for the Francesco Rosi movie from 1984 with Julia Migenes-Johnson and Placido Domingo.  For me at the tender age of 14, his view of Bizet's music captured perfectly a sun-drenched 19th Century Spain.
 
From there I went on to acquire his live Turandot from the Vienna Staatsoper with Eva Marton and Jose Carreras, still to this day one of my favourite recordings of Puccini's final opera.  Maazel really brings out the savagery and barbarism of Puccini's score, second to none in my opinion.

Two other operatic recordings of note that were conducted by Maestro Maazel are also worthy of mention as favourites of mine: Otello with Domingo and Ricciarelli for the Zefirelli movie and his Tosca with Nilsson, Corelli and Fischer-Dieskau.  Both have moments of intense beauty and melancholy (Otello) and an unconventional dramatic edge (Tosca).

Maazel's name will be forever associated with orchestras such as the Cleveland Symphony, the London Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic and he was the first American conductor ever to be invited to appear at Bayreuth, in 1960.

As a musical tribute I wish to share one of my absolute favourite recordings by Maazel.  That is Scriabin's Poem of Ecstasy with the Cleveland Orchestra.  His view of Scriabin's composition is compelling and fitting as a tribute.  Rest in peace Maestro Maazel, your contribution to music is remarkable and your legacy will remain with us for generations to come.



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Carlo Bergonzi

Carlo Bergonzi - Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton
The great Carlo Bergonzi turns 90 today.  This man has been a big part of my operatic enjoyment ever since I first discovered the art form when I was 13.  The piece was O Soave Fanciulla and it was sung by Bergonzi and Tebaldi on a compilation album with their recorded duet from Madama Butterfly and others from the Decca back catalogue.  

The ease of Bergonzi's tenor with it's gorgeous sunny tone drew me in instantly and I've loved him ever since.  His sense of style is impeccable and his legato to die for.  

Today I want to pay a brief tribute to his Pinkerton, a role I, among millions of others, will forever associate him with.  The Serafin recording was my first Butterfly experience as I mentioned above, it's a recording I will always treasure. 

Bergonzi is the epitome of suave in Act 1, such a beautiful recording which remains to this day an absolute classic.  So enjoy both the Love Duet and Pinkerton's Addio fiorito asil, they are among the most definitive available.


                    

Happy 90th birthday Carlo Bergonzi.  Thank you for being a defining voice of my early years, your style and panache will forever endure.

www.blairparkinson.com

Saturday, July 12, 2014

These are two of my favourite things...


...Maria Callas and Sword and Sandal style beefcake (Giuseppe Gentile in a still from Pasolini's Medea).  What's not to like?


                                                

www.blairparkinson.com

Friday, July 11, 2014

Die Zauberflote



In preparation for tomorrow's general dress rehearsal of the WA Opera's practically perennial revival of Mozart's Magic Flute, I was looking for a recording I haven't heard in order to hopefully rediscover something fresh in the work myself.


I found it in this unconventional recording by Rene Jacobs.  This is a truly original and highly entertaining interpretation, the theatrics superb with a cast to match any other in talent and characterisation. 

As you would expect from such an Early Music ensemble the reading is crisp and vibrant, though here we have a fortepiano instead of harpsichord in the continuo, adding to the originality overall.

It was actually very difficult to chose a particular highlight as even some of the conversational parts are of such originality as to deserve a mention.

Take the Three Ladies for example, without doubt the best on disc.  Do yourself a favour and listen to the track below, it's the beginning of the opera where the daft prince faints upon seeing a serpent and is saved by the Three Ladies.  Enjoy and have a brilliant weekend.




Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday night looks like...


...a recent commission for a friend.  The brief was Akhenaten meets Stargate via a good Sword and Sandal epic.  Nailed it!

I can't wait to see it framed and on the wall, it's going to be a huge print.  Have a great week everyone.