Wednesday, March 28, 2012


From BLO’s rehearsal hall to the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) to the Boston Public Library (BPL), Boston is buzzing with excitement for The Inspector! Sunday afternoon found composer John Musto in conversation with Music Director David Angus at the MFA for BLO’s Signature Series, rehearsals began bright and early Monday morning, and Tuesday evening Stage Director Leon Major joined David Angus at the BPL to talk about this exciting new adaptation of the Wolf Trap premiere production.  

Below, see a video from Sunday’s Signature Series featuring Emerging Artists Meredith Hansen and Neal Ferreira, along with photos taken in the rehearsal hall by Emerging Artist Julius Ahn during the cast’s first days working together. All three will perform in The Inspector; Meredith Hansen and Neal Ferreira as the young lovers Beatrice and Tancredi, and Julius Ahn as Padre Ruffiano.

Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes glimpses at The Inspector, onstage at the Citi Performing Arts Center Shubert Theatre April 20 – 29, 2012. 

 Bass-baritone Jake Gardner (The Mayor)

Mezzo-soprano Dorothy Byrne (Malacorpa) 

Music Director and The Inspector Conductor David Angus 

Mezzo-soprano Dorothy Byrne (Malacorpa) 

The Inspector Composer John Musto

Bass-baritone Jake Gardner (The Mayor)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


James MacMillan’s Clemency—a Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) co-commission with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Scottish Opera; and Britten Sinfonia—has been nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award in the category of Best New Opera Production. BLO presents the American premiere of Clemency as part of its recently announced upcoming 2012/2013 Season.  The Olivier Awards will be presented during a ceremony at the Royal Opera House on April 15, 2012.

Clemency is BLO’s 2013 Opera Annex production and will be performed at the Artists for Humanity EpiCenter February 6–10, 2013. The libretto, by poet Michael Symmons Roberts, is drawn from the book of Genesis–Abraham and Sarah are childless and nearing the end of their lives. They are approached by three travelers who share the unexpected and miraculous news that Sarah will have a child in old age. The mood darkens as it becomes clear that the travelers are on a mission of vengeance upon the neighboring towns, and Abraham pleads clemency for their inhabitants.

Widely considered British theatre’s most sought-after awards, the Olivier Awards were inaugurated in 1976 and are presented by the Society of West End Theatre.

BLO’s Opera Annex offers audiences an opportunity to experience opera in an alternative space outside the traditional theater environment. Clemency is BLO’s fourth Opera Annex production.

Hear composer James MacMillan speak about the opera.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sometimes in the Arts, Impermanence Is Good

A very interesting  take on the vexing question of "authenticity" and some points that are quite applicable to thinking about  how directors, designers, performers, and opera producing companies themselves might need to approach the creation of  "new work" based on an existing (and often very well known) piece.

Wall Street Journal:
Sometimes in the Arts, Impermanence Is Good

Friday, March 16, 2012

Facsimile of Rossini's original score

We've certainly had Rossini on the brain recently and our Music Director David Angus was perusing this facsimile of Rossini's original score. Take a look!

Friday, March 9, 2012



... and so we come to the end of our tour through the wacky world of Rossini ... now check him out LIVE at the Shubert Theatre ... and you'll see on stage a pretty big version of the portrait above as the Grand Maestro himself quizzically looks out over his witty and melodious masterpiece.

 ... and since we've seen and heard a number of manic and crazed versions of Rossini in the past weeks I thought we might end on a quieter note.

Rossini Roundup

Looking for a little reading about Rossini to prepare for tonight's opening of
The Barber of Seville? Check out a couple of articles about Rossini and Beaumarchais,
the dramatist behind The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I guess it was inevitable ... you really couldn't in the end celebrate Rossini without the inclusion at least one iteration of this (in)famous duet (to say nothing of two). And just to complete the Rossinian game playing it probably isn't by Rossini  after all.


But hold on ... we're almost at the end ... BARBER opens tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


A disarmingly crazy and charming Rossini ensemble (from La Cenerentola) strikingly staged by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Announcing the 2012/13 Season!


Of course Figaro, the footloose barber, goes on to further life roles ... valet to the Count Almaviva (who has in the mean time married ... and been unfaithful to ... Rosina ...). In the second of Beaumarchais' plays (and Mozart's opera) his suspicions towards his boss and his potentially amorous connections to his bride-to-be Susanna brings out the angry revolutionary in him.

In THE GHOSTS of VERSAILLES (partially based on Beaumarchais' third play LA MERE COUPABLE) Figaro dreams ...

And a few helpful links:

The Ghosts of Versailles
How to Stage a Revolution
Pierre Beaumarchais
La mere coupable

Monday, March 5, 2012


Another "Una Voce" ... this one with a true twist. Indeed Joyce DiDonato thought she had only twisted her ankle after a fall during a performance of BARBER at Covent Garden and she gamely finished that evening on crutches. Subsequently, doctors found she had broken her leg. Trouper of the first magnitude she played out the rest of the performances in a cast (pink) ... twisting, twirling in a wheelchair and managing to sing the hell out of the role all at the same time.

For more on the story, check out this interview:


First time Figaro, part 2

So many fun and wonderful things have been happening in our rehearsal process since last I wrote.

One of my favorite parts of the rehearsal process is when we first meet up with orchestra. It was such a thrill for me to meet up with the wonderful orchestra twice this week. It is fun to see David Angus be able to bring different colors out of this tremendous orchestra. During our rehearsals we have had the incomparable Allen Perriello at the piano acting as an orchestra. During our final run of the opera in the Tremont Temple rehearsal space on Tuesday, Allen and I had some fun and played the overture in a Piano Duet/4 hand version.

Wednesday John Tessier, Sarah Coburn and myself were on WGBH in honor of Rossini’s birthday. It was fun to sing excerpts from the opera and do some brief interviews. The broadcast is available on the WGBH website.

Thursday was very thrilling at it was our first day in the theater. This is really an exciting time because we get to finally try out all of our staging on the actual set along with props, costumes, and lights. It is pretty magical and really brings a new energy to the process. The theater is really beautiful and it is fun to see it all come together.

It has been a real pleasure to become close with the cast as we have worked together more and more. Everyone is not only talented but really kind and funny. This has been such a pleasure and we are all looking forward to opening night.

This will be a fun debut for me. When I was a composition major in Boston, I saw my first opera ever. It was Don Giovanni at the Boston Lyric Opera during the 00/01 season and now, a decade later, I get to make my debut at the same opera house in a title role! I feel very blessed.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Not for the first time Rossini lifted a piece of one opera and put it in another (but then again so did another supreme master of the theater--Handel) when he took the Count's last act aria in BARBER and gave it to heroine of his newer work LA CENERENTOLA--where it has  permanently remained. The BARBER version is sometimes performed but is most often cut (as it is in BLO's upcoming BARBER.) In the video below Juan Diego Flores discusses and performs the aria as first written with his usual panache (albeit with, in my opinion, some lingering unease around the edges)

But the real reason to discuss this is to get a performance by Frederica von Stade onto this blog. She is the best ... a lovely flexible voice, impeccable musicianship ... utterly charming, relaxed, funny but always full of the deepest humanity and feeling.

So here is that BARBER aria now as the more famous "Naque all'fanno" from CENERENTOLA.

As for the vision of Rosina in a wheelchair at the beginning of the Flores video check in tomorrow ... all will be explained.

--John Conklin, Artistic Advisor

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Gourmet Rossini--a fine slice of echt Italian ham with a side order of tasty pickled herring followed by (and hoping this metaphor doesn't totally collapse under the strain) a nice piece of  NY cheesecake.



Friday, March 2, 2012


I don't know ... I just kind of liked these guys ... they were having fun ...
and they seem to be from Boston ...

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Some REALLY SERIOUS opera singers (Hotter sang Wagnerian heavies such as Wotan and the Flying Dutchman ... Warren was famous for malevolent operatic villains such as Iago and Scarpia) getting in touch with their inner Rossianian ham. (I think Warren ... here at least ... even looks a little like Rossini).