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, August 31, 2014

Sunday Salome...Prom No.58

As the world continues to commemorate the 150 anniversary of the birth of Richard Strauss, this weekend must surely be among the jewels in the crown of celebrations - numbers 58 and 59 of the 2014 BBC Proms.

Number 58 is of course Salome, with Nina Stemme in the title role, Samuel Youn as Jokhanaan, Burkhard Ulrich as Herod, Doris Soffel as Herodias and the Deutsche Oper Berlin conducted by Donald Runnicles.  

You can listen the the broadcast courtesy of BBC3 by clicking this link.  Perfect listening for a Sunday afternoon, Runnicles' direction is exquisite.

Number 59 I'll talk about tomorrow.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Regina Resnik

I'm going to pay tribute to the great Regina Resnik today. on the occasion of her birthday, not with an aria but with what is to me one her greatest achievements - Klytemnaestra's hysterical exit from Richard Strauss' Elektra.

No-one else on disc quite manages this scene quite like La Resnik and as a teenager I was captivated by her portrayal and still am.  It's from a bygone age unfortunately and one I like to revisit often.

By the way, over the years I've done quite a few paintings based on Strauss' incredible opera and now there is a gallery devoted entirely to them, check it out.  

Of course, there was a time when Regina Resnik was singing soprano roles, and to great acclaim.  Here we have Act 1 of Die Walkure from Bayreuth in 1953, Resnik was Sieglinde, Ramon Vinay was Siegmund and Josef Greindl was Hunding, Clemens Krauss conducting.  She makes a wondrous Sieglinde, the favourite in my current collection.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday night sounds like...

...David Hansen singing THIS!

AND did I mention that I've made some improvements to my website?  Well have a look at the new Music Review page and enjoy the rest of your week.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

And again with Debussy...

... in my opinion his music for Le Martyre de Saint Sebastiane is vastly underrated.  It contains some of the most mystical, ethereal music written by the composer combined with a half-veiled eroticism which is highly captivating.


In it's shorter form rather than the original 4 hour version, the use of a narrator as the Saint paints an rather homo-erotic and sado-masochistic picture of Sebastiane's suffering at the hands of his beloved archers.

Don't let that scare you though, it's charged with a mysticism hard to resist.

Friday, August 22, 2014

It's Friday night and it sounds like...

...Claude Debussy, as today is his birthday.  So here is Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic playing Prelude a l'apres midi d'un faune, without doubt my favourite piece of Debussy, although his Martyrdom of Saint Sebastiane is a very, very close second.

Oh why not...because it's his birthday, have a listen to a bit of both and revel in the exquisite tone colours of this endlessly fascinating composer.  Have a great weekend.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My earworm for the evening...

...is the fabulous finale from Act 1 of Richard Wagner's early masterpiece, Lohengrin. This time I've chosen the Kubelik recording with an excellent central quartet of soloists in James King, Gundula Janowitz, Gwyneth Jones and Thomas Stewart and the orchestral/choral forces of Bavarian Radio. There is much to enjoy in this set, in classic Deutsche Grammophon sound.

While you're here, follow this link to my website and check out the new look as it's recently been updated.  I'd like to know your feedback so send me a message via the new contact form.  

As we are now over the mid-week hump I hope the rest of your week is inspirational and rewarding.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Addio Licia Albanese

We lost another great this week, Licia Albanese, beloved Italian soprano from the golden age of mid 20th Century.

Her bright lyric voice shone in the roles of Puccini and the Verismo composers.  She recorded extensively fortunately, her recordings of La Boheme, La Traviata and Manon Lescaut remain classics.  

Albanese will forever be associated with the Metropolitan Opera, back in the original house, and in one role in particular - Madama Butterfly.  I'd like to pay tribute to her Cio-Cio-San, one of her most beloved roles.  Addio great Diva and thank you.

For a touching tribute from Opera News, have a look at this link.