Sunday, June 28, 2015

Great Voices from the (not so distant) past

This is ma Once or Twice a Fortnighty post from June 28, 2015.

For this my second of a two-part OTF leveraging some of Sean Bianco’s “Opera Potpourri” podcasts, I thought I would share some more great moments from singers in recordings from after 1950.

"Every theater is an insane asylum, but an opera theater is the ward for the incurables."

According to the Capital Public Radio website, this quote from Austrian conductor Franz Schalk is Sean Bianco’s favourite …

Sean Bianco was born in Stockton. He began his passionate journey into the world of music with violin and viola lessons at the age of 8. He studied in the Suzuki violin program and privately for 10 years while performing in recitals and in several regional youth orchestras. When he was 17 he began to sing in his high school choir and quickly became a featured soloist, winning many top awards at regional solo festivals and competitions. Sean also participated in several summer music programs and master classes.

Sean studied voice and violin at the University of the Pacific and continued his singing and conducting training at Chapman College. In 1989, Sean was a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Regional Vocal Competition.

Sean has performed with the Los Angeles Opera and the opera companies of Stockton, Sacramento and Orange County. He has also appeared as a soloist with the Stockton, Sacramento, Napa and Merced symphonies.

Sean joined Capital Public Radio as an on-air announcer in 1998 and has been a supportive voice for opera in the region ever since. In addition to local audiences, At the Opera is also enjoyed by a world-wide audience via the Internet. Sean plays vintage opera recordings from the 78 era and new release as well.

Sean has been a guest lecturer on opera for the UC Davis Extension program and is also the emcee for the classical concerts series at the Crocker Art Museum. Sean can also be seen giving pre-performance talks for the Sacramento Opera Association. Sean has also assisted with the string programs for the Waldorf School and has taught violin and voice for Sacrmaneto Country Day School.

Sean is a voice and violin teacher in Nevada City and is currently a rehearsal conductor for the Sacramento Youth Symphony.

About the Music

The first clip (from Sean’s podcast of Cosi fan Tutte which we featured very recently on OTF provides selections sung by three great singers: tenor Jerry Hadley, soprano Regine Crespin (in Wagner, no less…) and Swedish baritone Ingvar Wixell singing Verdi.

In the second clip (originally aired on 21 April 2012), Sean completes his broadcast of Andrea Chenier (which we featured last year) with sime excerpts of selections from the opera, including two versions of the baritone aria "Nemico della patria" by two late great Italian baritones: Aldo Protti and Piero Cappuccilli.

He also gives us a performance of the “Improviso” by a rather famous tenor, but I don’t want to spoil it for you…

The final track features Canadian bass-baritone George London singing Wotan’s farewell. Sean further teases another duet from Parsifal, which you can find in one of my podcasts from last year.

Selections from 7 August 2009

LEHÁR: The Land of Smiles (highlights – sung in English)
“My heart belongs to you!”
Finale, Act Two: “I forbid you to go!”
Jerry Hadley, tenor
Nancy Gustafson, soprano
English Chamber Orchestra
Richard Bonynge, conducting

VERDI: Il Trovatore “Tutto è deserto”
Ingvar Wixell, baritone
National Philharmonic Orchestra
Richard Bonynge, conducting

WAGNER: Lohengrin: “Einsam In Trüben Tagen” (Elsa's Dream)
WAGNER: Parsifal “Ich Sah Das Kind “
Regine Crespin, soprano
Orchestre National De La Radiodiffusion Française
Georges Prêtre, conducting

Selections from 21 April 2012

GIORDANO - Andrea Chenier "Nemico della patria"
Aldo Protti, baritone
The NHK Symphony Orchestra
Franco Capuana, conductor

Piero Cappuccilli, baritone
Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Riccardo Chailly, conducting

GIORDANO - Andrea Chenier "Un dì all'azzuro spazio"
Mario Lanza, tenor
RCA Victor Orchestra
Constantin Callinicos, conducting

WAGNER: Die Walkure Wotan's Farewell (Leb' wohl) and Magic Fire Music
George London, bass-baritone
London Symphony Orchestra
Erich Leinsdorf, conducting

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