Parlando: The COC Blog

8/21/2013

Artist Basics: Ferruccio Furlanetto

What he's doing with us: Italian Ferruccio Furlanetto, one of the world's most famous basses, makes his COC debut in the title role of our spring production of Massenet's Don Quichotte.

Where you might have seen him: A starring artist at the Metropolitan Opera for over 30 years, Ferruccio Furlanetto may be most recognizable for his performance as Philip II in the Met's 2010 production of Don Carlos, which was broadcast on Met Live in HD. But he has dozens of recordings and DVDs under his belt, and opera aficionados may be most familiar with recordings of his performances with the Royal Opera House and the Vienna State Opera.

His background: Ferruccio started at the top and never looked back. His professional debut was in 1974, and by 1979 he was on stage at La Scala in Verdi's Macbeth, and made his debuts at the Glyndebourne Festival and the Metropolitan Opera the next year. While he's performed at all the major opera houses worldwide, his North American appearances have primarily been at the San Diego Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, so Toronto audiences are in for a treat this spring when he makes his first Canadian appearance!

Interviews and profiles:  Musical Criticism spoke to Ferruccio about his performance in Verdi's Attila and his time working with current Don Quichotte co-star Quinn Kelsey, ConcertoNet recently spoke with Ferruccio about his most famous role as Philip in Don Carlos, and Opera Now dedicated a three-page spread to Ferruccio's history and career.

What's next for Ferruccio: A world-famous bass never rests! Ferruccio spends this fall performing in Don Carlos and Simon Boccanegra at the Vienna State Opera, in Aida at Teatro di San Carlo, and as the title character in three different productions of Boris Godunov in the winter before he joins the COC for Don Quichotte.

You can find more interviews, videos and audio clips of Ferruccio on his official website.

Watch Ferruccio in the video below, singing the famous "Catalog Aria" from Don Giovanni.

Photos: (top) Ferruccio Furlanetto. Photo by Igor Sakharov.

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Don Quichotte / comments (0) / permalink

8/19/2013

Artist Basics: Sondra Radvanovsky

What she's doing with us: American soprano (and now, Toronto resident!) Sondra Radvanovsky returns to the COC in her role debut as Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux. She puts on her final crown in Donizetti's "Tudor Trilogy," having already tackled the title roles of Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda.

Where you might have seen her: While Toronto audiences may recognize Sondra from her role and COC debut in our 2010 production of Aida, Sondra is a globally recognized artist, well-known for Verdi roles, who has sung in all the major opera houses in the world. Closer to home, Met Live in HD audiences may recognize her for such roles as Leonora in Il Trovatore and Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, and also as a Met Live in HD host!  

Her background: Born just outside Chicago, Sondra moved to Richmond, Indiana when she was 11, and sang her first full opera there when she was 21. She studied theatre and voice at University of Southern California and at UCLA, and took advanced studies at the Tanglewood Music Center and at the University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music. She then went on to win the 1995 Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions and joined the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

Interviews and profiles: She was featured in the New York Times about her position as one of the Metropolitan Opera's top Verdi sopranos, she spoke with Opera Chic about her role in Il Trovatore, the Opera Tattler caught the soprano in a fun interview just before she sang Ernani at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and she shares a hilarious interview with close friend, baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky in New York Magazine

What's next for Sondra: Before she arrives at the COC next spring, Sondra appears at the Metropolitan opera as the title role in Norma, as Amelia in Un ballo in maschera at Vienna State Opera, and performs in Tosca at both the Metropolitan Opera and Gran Teatre del Liceu.

You can follow Sondra as she shares some great performance photos on Facebook, or on her website.

Watch as Sondra performs in her role debut as the title character in Anna Bolena at the Washington National Opera in 2012.

Photos: (top) Sondra Radvanovsky; (middle) Sondra Radvanovsky as Aida in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Aida, 2010. Photo credits: (top) Pavel Antonov; (middle) Michael Cooper.

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Roberto Devereux / comments (0) / permalink

8/15/2013

Catching up with Ensemble Studio Member Claire de Sévigné

By Jennifer Pugsley, Media Relations Manager

Soprano Claire de Sévigné has spent much of her summer studying at the prestigious Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. We at the COC wanted to find out exactly what she’s been learning, what kind of performances she’s been giving and if she’s been having any fun in that California sun.

What have you been doing at the Music Academy of the West?

At Music Academy of the West there are two public masterclasses a week, in addition to Italian, German and French diction coaching sessions, as well as voice lessons and coachings. At the beginning of the summer, we did a three-hour scenes program and I performed a scene from Rossini’s La Cenerentola, in which I sang the role of Clorinda (see photo below).

Back in mid-July, we had the Marilyn Horne Song Competition. Each singer had to perform three songs, one being in English. I sang "An die Nacht" by Strauss, "À Cupidon" by Milhaud and "Black Anemones" by Schwantner. Although I didn't place, I enjoyed the experience so much. I got to perform with a fellow Canadian, pianist Ronny Michael Greenberg from Montreal. We had such a positive experience collaborating that we’re now planning to schedule a recital tour, making it possible for us to work again in the near future. We’re now staging Mozart’s The Magic Flute in which I’m singing the Queen of the Night (see photo above). At the end of the summer, I’ll also be performing in the Cabaret concert and sing "Il bacio" by Arditi, a great coloratura waltz.

[Since Claire answered the COC’s questions about her time at the Music Academy of the West, performances of The Magic Flute and the Cabaret concert have taken place. Read the Santa Barbara Independent’s review, in which Claire is praised for making “splendid sense out of her notoriously difficult arias”, and her "ravishing" performance in the Cabaret concert.]

What’s been your favourite role or experience so far at the Academy?

I'm really enjoying singing the Queen of the Night. The first rehearsal with the orchestra was such a rush! The Queen’s arias are pure rock and roll! The orchestra sounds great and they all seem to be really keen to be a part of the show. An especially cool thing about the show is that the orchestra will be re-creating the thunder and water sounds with the original materials that were most likely used in Mozart's time. So for example, thunder sheets for the sound of a storm, crumpled paper for fire and tubs of water for rain and the trial scenes.

Who have you been most excited to meet or work with in California?

I’ve been most excited to work with Marilyn Horne and Warren Jones, as well as Carrie-Anne Matheson (a fellow Canadian and a vocal coach and prompter at the Metropolitan Opera). I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed working with coaches and conductors Jonathan Kelly and John Churchwell, as well as The Magic Flute director David Paul.

Did you offer any tips, tricks or advice for new Ensemble Studio member Andrew Haji, who’s also at Music Academy of the West?

No tricks or tips. I've known Andrew for many years and we've become great friends. I love singing with him. I'm so happy to be here with him and to know that we’ll be going back to the COC together in the fall.

It hasn’t been all work and no play, we hope.  You are in California after all!

All of the Music Academy Fellows are connected with Compeers for the summer (a personal sponsor or donor) and they take very good care of us. I have Shirley and Seymour Lehar and they are very supportive. They come to all of my performances and cheer me on. It's nice to know I always have someone in the audience. They’ve also shown me around Santa Barbara: the beach and the town of Santa Barbara.  It is really a little oasis down here.

So your summer is part work and part time-off from the Ensemble Studio. What kind of music are you listening to while travelling?

The music I'm listening to right now is mostly from operas in the COC's upcoming season!! But during serious down time I listen to a lot of indie music and Beyoncé.

Photos: (top) Claire de Sévigné as Queen of the Night in the Music Academy of the West's production of The Magic Flute; (bottom) Claire as Clorinda in a rehearsal scene from the Music Academy of the West's La Cenerentola. Photos by David Bazemore. 

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Ensemble Studio / comments (0) / permalink

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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001