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.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

And it's about time too...


...that I post an update as to what I've been doing lately.  As you may know I've been collaborating with OperaBox, a local not for profit operatic organisation bringing opera to a new audience in Western Australia.

The website, designed by your truly is now live and you can view the results by clicking on the image above.

Stay tuned for an important announcement on December 11 - when we announce our next opera.  It's exciting, bold and something not seen in Australia in over 115 years...stay tuned...

#OperaBox #Opera

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Oh Hai!


It's been a while I know, but I've been working really hard on my current project with OperaBox, hence my absence here.  I STILL can't tell you what it is we're working hard to bring to fruition until December 13 and it's killing me not being able to tell you. 

Next week however, something exciting IS happening at OperaBox.  You'll have to stay tuned to their Facebook page and here to find out what the buzz is about.  Trust me it's BIG.

To make up for the lack of information I give you some Tudor eye candy in the form of Henry Cavill as Charles Brandon and some equally important ear candy in the form of Bel Canto Tenor Supremo, Juan Diego Florez.  Enjoy and hang in there until the weekend, it's not long now.




www.blairparkinson.com

#OperaBox #Opera #JuanDiegoFlorez #Donizetti #HenryCavill

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mondayitis has struck so I'm posting these...



...two amazing and inspirational drawings for Il Trovatore.  These were done by Gunther Schneider-Siemssen for productions at Salzburg, conducted by Herbert von Karajan.  Another design winner from one of the greatest theatrical minds of the 20th Century. I consider myself privileged to be in contact with such esteemed company.




www.blairparkinson.com

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Il Trovatore




As I get ready to attend the General Dress Rehearsal of WA Opera's new season of Verdi's Il Trovatore on Tuesday afternoon I thought I'd share these two beautiful designs for the opera by Gunther Schneider-Siemssen.

According to his son Alexander these were done rather early in his career, in Bremen.  I love them.  Have a great week.




www

Monday, September 29, 2014

It's Maestro Bonynge's Birthday


As the Maestro prepares for a concert performance of Handel's Rodelinda in Melbourne next week with some of Australia's most exciting singers - Greta Bradman, Fiona Janes, John Longmuir, Liane Keegan, Lorina Gore and Michael Lewis with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, I will leave this small but beautiful musical birthday tribute for you to enjoy. 

It's the War Chorus from Bellini's Norma.  The reason I chose this was because of Bonynge's inclusion of some of the most quiet and haunting music from the entire opera, it features in the Overture and nowhere else except this often cut end to the Guerra! Guerra! chorus.

Here, in his later recording with Dame Joan she sings over the top of the final cadence to stunning effect.  It's one of my favourite Bonynge moments.

Have a great week ahead, mine looks like it's shaping up to be rather excitingly busy.



www.blairparkinson.com

Saturday, September 27, 2014

It's been a while...


...I know, and apologies, I'm currently working on a couple of exciting projects I'm sworn to secrecy about until later in the year and they are taking up much of my time.  I'll release more about them later.

In the meantime I came across this wonderful painting of the final moments of Abbe Provost's novel Manon Lescaut, which was to inspire operas by Massenet, Auber and Puccini.  I read it years ago and can see why it was so inspirational, a story just dying to be set to music.  

It will come as no surprise that Puccini's heroine is my favourite.  Act 4 is one long tragic and stunning farewell/love duet, heartbreaking in it's intensity.  Have a listen to Maria Callas and Giuseppe di Stefano conducted by Tulio Serafin.  This recording will forever be a classic, enjoy.

For more information about the painting head here.  Have a great weekend.



www.blairparkinson.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Maria Callas (December 2, 1923 – September 16, 1977)


This week the operatic world is in remembrance of the great Maria Callas, who passed away on September 16, 1977.  She has been a major part of my musical life for over 30 years and continues to inspire even now. 

We are so lucky to have her vast recorded legacy to draw from and Warner Classics is about to release the complete Callas back catalogue in remastered form, using the original covers.  It's been exciting watching this unfold and I'd be interested to hear the final releases as apparently there have been many extraneous noises removed and things generally tidied up for modern digital listening.

I have to admit that with all the different remasterings over the years I'm more looking forward to the original artwork being available in digital format officially for the the first time, especially some of the recital discs with their technicolor portraits.

Having said that, on first listen to the iTunes download of this particular release, the quality is astounding, especially the stereo balance.  La Divina is captured in very fine voice and these are a very worthy addition to the live recordings of Anna Bolena and Il Pirata currently officially available.

Until it's available on Spotify (you can now purchase it on iTunes) or order it directly from Warner, you may want to make do with the unnofficial remastering below.  While nowhere near as good as the new Warner, it's still 19 minutes of Callas intensity worthy of a listen.

To read an excellent tribute to La Divina head to Limelight Magazine.



www.blairparkinson.com

#MariaCallas #LaDivina #MadScene #Opera #WarnerClassics

Monday, September 15, 2014

Jessye Norman


The first time I heard Jessye Norman was when I was about 14 and had just purchased an LP of Ravel's song cycles recorded by Pierre Boulez for CBS.  She was singing the Chansons madecasses, it is still one of my favourites and I still have the LP.  

I'd like to pay tribute today for her birthday with another of her Ravel recordings, this time from his dreamy Sheherazade - the first movement - Asie.  

For all of her operatic recordings and there have been many terrific performances, Sieglinde x 2, Dido, Jokasta, Carmen, Salome to name only a few, I find Jessye Norman most at home in the genre of song.  Ravel in particular.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.



www.blairparkinson.com


Monday, September 8, 2014

Image of the Day


Italian Set Designer Carlo Ferrario is the subject of today's Image of the Day.  He was quite popular during the 19th Century and is renowned for his large output of Romantic operatic vistas and Classical Ruins.

Here is one of his designs for Verdi's La Forza del Destino.  A perfect example of set design during the late Romantic Period and of Grand Opera in Europe at the time.  He was born on this day in 1833.

I've chosen this particular recording below to illustrate aurally the image above because it was the first one I ever heard of this duet and will forever be my favourite, though I have heard many others that deservedly vie for that title.  

The sunshine in Di Stefano's voice is undeniable here and he blends perfectly with the great Leonard Warren's velvety baritone.  Let this sunshine into an otherwise dark Monday and have a great week.



www.blairparkinson.com