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Metropolitan Opera Guild News: July 2009

New York-born maestro James Conlon, one of the busiest conductors in the world, is the cover subject of Opera News in July. In “Rethinking the Maestro Mystique,” Conlon tells Opera News’s Editor-in-Chief F. Paul Driscoll about his down-to-earth approach to his many missions as music director of Los Angeles Opera, the Ravinia Festival and the Cincinnati May Festival.  The latest entry in Conlon’s “Recovered Voices” — a multi-season LAO project devoted to the rediscovery and revival of operas forbidden during the Nazi era — was April’s staging of Braunfels’s Die Vögel, reviewed in Opera News this month.

Real opera lovers never stop learning — even during the summer vacation months.  In July, Opera News looks at the issue of education from many perspectives, offering introductions to a variety of the building blocks of the total opera experience. Starting with “The Education of a Set Designer,” writer Julie Connelly discovers how Allen Moyer (Thurgood and Grey Gardens) finds inspiration for his vision wherever he looks.  Moyer, a veteran Broadway and off-Broadway award-winner, has an opera-house resumé that runs the gamut from La bohème to Nixon in China, with productions at the Met, New York City Opera, Santa Fe, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, and others.

Soprano Hana Park, a doctoral candidate at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, is on a path toward a professional career. Journalist Janelle Gelfand joins Hana on her journey, writing about “The Education of a Voice Student”.   And following another kind of career in the opera arena, Scott Barnes writes about the “Education of a Voice Teacher,” finding that the qualifications for one singer to help build another’s instrument are “pretty much anything that works.” 

Critics Tim Page and Philip Kennicott write on the education of two different types of opera-goer. Page shares some lessons on life and art gleaned over the course of a quarter-century career as a Pulitzer Prize-winning music journalist.  And for his part, Kennicott offers suggestions about igniting the passion of budding opera-goers with sources far off the beaten path.

Other sub-sections of the opera world whose respective educations get an airing in July are the chorus (William R. Braun writes of Sandra Horst, chorus master at both Canadian Opera Company and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis) and the impresario (Fort Worth Opera’s general director, Darren Keith Woods, talks with William V. Madison as his company braces for uncertain economic times).

Brian Kellow’s monthly column, “On the Beat,” features rising star Kate Royal and her new EMI recording, Midsummer Night.   Another young soprano, Louisianan Lisette Oropesa – whose starlet-turn in the Met’s production of Puccini’s La rondine last season included her Met Live in HD debut – is the focus of July’s “Sound Bites” column by Adam Wasserman. 

Online extras, some of which are exclusive to Opera News subscribers, include an exclusive interview with Thaddeus Strassberger, the young American director/designer whose production of Meyerbeer’s seldom-staged Huguenots premieres this month at Bard’s SummerScape.

As always, breaking news and a growing number of archived back issues of Opera News are available online any time at all, at

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© 21C Media Group, June 2009

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