Posts Tagged ‘Opera’



[Picture of Danielle de Niese]I have been really busy lately; not merely the usual flat-out binge of a deadline killer, but also because I am moving office premises again!

As I love Opera, so I made time to watch the BBC Four Opera Season, starting with Tony Pappano’s “Opera Italia” on Monday night. Two things made me sit up and take note.

First was that Stephen Fry’s Wagner programme was next up in the BBC Four Season. Back in August I was following Mr Fry on Twitter as he made this programme, so it was nice to finally get to see it. Fry’s tweets in this regard encouraged me to post on RICHARD WAGNER on this very site.

Secondly, Tony Pappano’s programme had a singer that caught me on a lovely bit of Handel.  Now I have always been a sucker for Baroque and Handel, but this woman had a great voice.  Really good, with a distinctive warmth and rich quality.

I looked up and was surprised to see a good-looking lass called Danielle de Niese. So immediately I became a fan — of course; what’s not to like?  It’s all there — the whole package.  She’s young enough to be around for some time, so I can relax a bit knowing the future’s in good hands!  She kind-of reminded me, looks-wise, like our own Nicola Benedetti (even though Nicola is Scottish/Italian)!

[Embedded Video clip of “Lascia ch’io pianga” from Handel’s “Rinaldofrom YouTube]

Anyway, she was on again tonight — a programme called “Diva Diaries” — and it was superb; lots of insights into that world, and into Danielle’s personality as well.

I immediately checked her out on-line: she’s got a MySpace page (, and official website (, she’s on Wikipedia (, and she tweets on twitter (

[Embedded Video clip from YouTube]

Please go check her out. She’s what opera’s all about these days — youthful, good-looking, mixed race and truly global. Part Sri Lankan, Ms. de Niese was raised in Australia before moving to the United States of America.

Please also check out the BBC television season on Opera — Antonio Pappano was the youngest conductor to lead the orchestra of the Royal Opera House in London — where he is now the Musical Director. Monday night for a few more weeks, and I’ll bet there are more new finds to come.  Ooo, bring it on!




I love it when something special just happens out of the blue.  I love the fabulous and the marvellous. Enter Peruvian Tenor JD Flórez.

Picture the scene: it’s Milan — at the world famous Teatro alla Scala (under Barenboim and recently renovated) — just a few days ago, on 20th February 2007. It’s the opening night of  the Donizetti Opera “La Fille du régiment”.

Now you have to appreciate that La Scala has peculiar traditions, such as all performances must end before midnight, and there has been NO ENCORES at LA SCALA for 74 years — yes, 74 years of the best tenors and sopranos, best productions, you name it — through the so-called Golden Era… until Flórez.

Yep; Juan Diego Flórez broke the theater’s 74-year-old tradition of no encores with “Ah! mes amis” with its NINE high Cs — all as a result of an overwhelming ovation from the audience.

[Embedded video clip from]


Boy, I just love that sort of thing, and dearly wish I had been there for the experience; it must have been an amazing night.

Flórez is only in his early 3os, and he only got his break ten years ago at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro (Rossini’s birthplace) when he stepped in to take the leading tenor role in “Matilde di Shabran” when Bruce Ford became ill.

This guy is definitely one-to-watch-out-for!




Opera review — Tosca: 2004/11/06/tosca/

Album review — Maroon 5: 2004/11/04/maroon-5/

Movie review — Shrek 2 2004/07/30/shrek-2/

Movie review — Coffee and Cigarettes: 2004/08/20/2323/

Live review: Abraham Laboriel (Edinburgh Festival): 2004/08/14/abe-labe-l/

Opera review — La Boheme: 2004/05/01/la-boheme/

Movie review — the Passion of The Christ: 2004/04/07/the-passion-of-the-christ/

Movie review — L’Ultimo Bacio: 2004/03/02/lultimo-bacio/

Movie review — School of Rock: 2004/02/29/school-of-rock/

Musical review — HMS Pinafore: 2004/02/15/hms-pinafore/