Catching up, demi-blog style

So, I’ve been perhaps the worst blogger of all time. The last time I posted something of note that wasn’t a video was July 13… [blog fail]

Anyway. Instead of retroactively writing blogs about the past, I’m just going to give you a nice set of demi-blogges about things that have happened from then to now and then be a good blogger and post on a regular basis, instead of having another one of these posts…

Things that have happened since I have last blogged:

  • I went to Minneapolis for a week to have a lot of fun with friends I met when I was in Italy in 2007. Lots of fun ensued, including a viewing of Harry Potter 6 after having quite a few cocktails…Like 4 STRONG martinis. Other highlights included going to the beach (yes, they do, in fact have beaches within the city limits) & running into people I knew from SLC that now live in the Twin Cities.
  • I drove down to Tucson with the Boif to drop him and his mom off at the U of Arizona (working on his Masters, she, her DMA) with the requisite stop in Vegas. Possibly one of the only times that gay folks have stayed at the Hooters Casino & Resort. Despite the reputation, the hotel was nice, the food was good, and the pools were wonderful. It certainly is a sign of addiction when you make it your goal to get to St. George in less than 4 hours because that’s when the Starbucks closes. We then rushed to get to Vegas in less 2 hours, but very clearly going the speed limit, officer, because I had never seen the Bellagio dancing water live before, and we would be leaving before the ‘shows’ start the next day. And Boif + mom thought it important for me, seeing as how I love spectacle. Totally wonderful. Glad that when we were there when they were not playing Time to say goodbye; partially because I’m not a large fan of it in general, but it is Sarah Brightman singing. Just like Anna Netrebko, not a large fan. That said, I do like Anna much more than Sarah.
  • I have been in the chorus of Utah Opera‘s productions of Macbeth & Carmen (Italian girl in Algiers is coming up in March though). These three shows have been wonderful to be in, as they have given me the opportunity to meet a lot of fun people(chorus and principals), get paid to do something I’m going to school for *concept*, and just have a lot of fun in general. Despite the obvious, it makes me feel like I am a “professional” singer, but not in chorus, if that makes sense. I think that Macbeth was the most informative, and network building of the shows, Carmen the most fun off stage and I believe that Italian girl will be the most fun on stage, seeing as how staging rehearsals are going.

From now on, I promise to keep all of my readers updated much more. Henceforth and all that jazz.

Ciao belli!

Opera at the Met

It would appear that someone has made a BIG sacrifice to the opera gods regarding the the Met’s 2010-11 new production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

From the New York Times:

In January 2007, during a public discussion at The New York Times, Mr. Gelb first revealed the names of the lead singers for the Met’s new production of Wagner’s “Ring,” directed by Robert Lepage, to be introduced starting in 2010: Deborah Voigt, singing her first staged Brünnhilde in a complete “Ring”; Bryn Terfel as Wotan; Ben Heppner as Siegfried.

Praise. Jesus.
I. can’t. wait.

Filippa Giordano

I don’t think that there are words to describe this aptly.

An english version of Nessun dorma from Puccini’s Turandot.

O mio babbino caro from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi

Vissi d’arte from Puccini’s Tosca


Casta diva from Bellini’s Norma

Una voce poco fa from Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia

Habanera from Bizet’s Carmen

Si, mi chiamano Mimi from Puccini’s La boheme

Women Who Make Me Touch Myself: Renée Fleming (Soprano)

Welcome to ‘Women Who Make Me Touch Myself’! This is the first of a monthly series in which I will talk about female opera singers & one of their albums that make me all hot and bothered. And, really, is there any singer besides Ms. Fleming that should start such a discussion? (Well if you’re one of those people, Ms. Callas may be the one, but I digress…)
Renée Fleming

As “the people’s diva,” renowned soprano Renée Fleming continues to charm audiences throughout the world with her superb vocal intelligence, exquisite musical grace, and voice of “liquid gold.” Her artistry has taken her to the world’s capitals and great opera houses, captivating audiences everywhere she goes. On September 22, 2008, the Metropolitan Opera celebrates her in their Gala Opening Night —an evening starring this beloved singer. Additional appearances at the Metropolitan Opera this season are in Massenet‘s Thaïs and Dvorák’s Rusalka. Over the past few seasons, Ms. Fleming has begun hosting many broadcasts, including the Met’s HD series for movie theaters as well as television, and “Live from Lincoln Center” on PBS. In fall 2008, the perfume company Coty launches La Voce by Renée Fleming, her first ever fragrance with the proceeds benefiting the Metropolitan Opera.

Following a triumphant set of June performances of Capriccio, the Vienna State Opera welcomes Ms. Fleming back in October 2008, followed by November performances of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia at Washington National Opera (conducted by Plácido Domingo), Massenet’s Thaïs at the Metropolitan Opera in December through January 2009, and a return to the Metropolitan Opera in March for performances of Dvorák’s Rusalka. Additional appearances this season are at galas for the symphony orchestras of Edmonton, Portland, and Milwaukee, as well as European tours with Orchestre National de France and Orchestre de Paris. Ms. Fleming’s 2008-09 season concludes with performances of Verdi’s La traviata at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera. A master of recitals, she appears this season at noted venues across North America, including Rice University, Vanderbilt University, Denison University, Boston’s Symphony Hall and Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, among others.

A two-time Grammy winner, Ms. Fleming’s most recent CD, Strauss: Four Last Songs, conducted by Christian Thielemann, was released in fall 2008. In 2007, Decca released two DVDs featuring Renée Fleming: Los Angeles Opera’s production of La traviata and Metropolitan Opera’s HD Live Eugene Onegin. Her last CD recording, entitled Homage – The Age of the Diva, was released in fall of 2006 and is comprised of rarely-heard works associated with legendary singers of the past. In recent years, this nine-time Grammy nominated artist has recorded everything from Strauss’ complete Daphne to the jazz recording Haunted Heart, to the movie soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Her recording honors range from the 2006 Echo Award for Strauss’ Daphne to the Prix Maria Callas Orphée d’Or by the Académie du Disque Lyric for TDK’s DVD production of Capriccio.

Renée Fleming’s artistry has been an inspiration to many other prominent artists, such as Chuck Close and Robert Wilson, whose portraits of her were included in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2007 fund-raising auction. Two portraits of Ms. Fleming were also created by Francesco Clemente, who displayed the work at Salzburg’s Easter Festival in spring 2007, with the Metropolitan Opera displaying the other in 2008. Among her numerous awards are Sweden’s Polar Prize (2008); the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government (2005); Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music (2003); and a 2003 Honorary Doctorate from The Juilliard School, where she was also commencement speaker.

As a musical statesman, Renée Fleming has recently been sought after for numerous distinguished occasions, from the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honoring Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, to the 2008 Nobel Laureates Conference in Jordan, as well as appearances at Buckingham Palace for Prince Charles.

An advocate for literacy, Renée Fleming has been featured in promotional campaigns for the Association of American Publishers (Get Caught Reading,) and the Magazine Publishers of America’s READ poster campaign for the American Library Association. She was honored by The New York Public Library as a “Library Lion.” Her book, “The Inner Voice,” was published by Viking Penguin in 2004, and released in paperback by Penguin the following year. An intimate account of her career and creative process, the book is also published in France by Fayard Editions, in the United Kingdom by Virgin Books, by Henschel Verlag in Germany, Shunjusha in Japan, and by Fantom Press in Russia.

In addition to her work on stage and in recordings, Renée Fleming has represented Rolex timepieces in print advertising since 2001. Master Chef Daniel Boulud has created the dessert “La Diva Renée” (1999) in her honor, and she has inspired the “Renée Fleming Iris” (2004,) which has been replicated in porcelain by Boehm. Having been added to Mr. Blackwell’s best dressed list in 2001, her gowns have been designed by Gianfranco Ferré, Issey Miyake, Bill Blass, Vivienne Westwood, Angel Sanchez, Oscar de la Renta, John Galliano, Christian Lacroix, and Karl Lagerfeld.

Ms. Fleming is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Hall Corporation and of the Advisory Board of the White Nights Foundation of America.

In her self-titled album, she does all 19th-century arias, sticking to Italian operas – mostly Puccini – but also including arias from Massenet’s Manon, Bizet’s Carmen, Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and the rarely done (especially in French) Verdi Les vêpres siciliennes.

While we all know that Renée Fleming is phenomenal, this album is amazing; she nails all of the arias. All of them have the traits they need and nothing less. Above all, they all have finesse, which is more than we can say about some of her colleagues. [cough] Juan Diego Florez [cough] Everyone loves Butterfly‘s aria Un bel di, but my favorite on this album is from the Verdi. She puts an E-natural at the end that is unlike any I’ve ever heard. Note: Ms. Fleming is the only soprano I know to go to the e-natural. On a humorous note, my friend and I have decided that she took one day and just recorded the end of that aria. So, the day went like this: “…notes, a few measures before the note…high e-natural. Ok guys, lets go home.” Also, If you look at the album cover, it essentially says, “Hi, my name is Renée Fleming and do you know what is underneath this mirror-like object? Well bitches, it’s an E-natural!”

Below is a youtube version of this track. Enjoy!

For more information about Ms. Fleming, go to her website: www.reneefleming.com

Things opera has taught me about love

Opera has a lot to teach us about the wild and often hilarious world of love, sex and relationships. First love, marriage, adultery, incest, necrophilia, you name it – it’s been covered in an opera.

It’s O.K. to pray a little in order to get some. – Lohengrin


If someone is offering sex, take it! Don’t complicate things! – Tannhäuser


Business and personal lives are best kept separate. – Pagliacci


Never let a chick do your hair: professionals only. – Samson et Delilah

She’s a perfect match for you — you’re her prince and she’s your princess. Just watch out for her mother. – Magic Flute


If your fiancee comes up w/ every excuse possible to not marry you soon, she probably doesn’t want to marry you at all. – Don Giovanni


When you’re trying to steal a girl away, don’t threaten her by telling her what you might do to the guy whom she’s with, while at the same time leaving butter knives lying around in her sight and within her reach. – Tosca


If you want to elope with a girl, do it without letting your dad know. – La Traviata

No matter how much you’re in love with him, he can still cheat on you. Remember that! – Rusalka


When the girl is already married to someone else, it’s probably too late. – Eugene Onegin


When you’re trying to pick up a chick, make sure you’re not drunk. Honestly, it’s just a much better idea to impress women while sober! – Les Contes d’Hoffmann

Don’t go for a woman who’d be happy to see your head chopped off. Seriously, stay away from women like that! – Turandot

When it comes to relationships, maybe it’s better if you don’t listen to your mom. – Magic Flute

Find out a bit more about a woman’s background before you rush to start dating her, just to make sure that she’s not actually your aunt. – Siegfried


When your irritating old husband says he’s pulling the car around and is going to wait for you, it’s a bad time to fool around with your sexy tenor boyfriend. Said old husband will come looking for you. – Manon Lescaut

Flirting with your fiance’s friend at your sister’s party is just not a good idea. – Eugene Onegin

Gamblers = bad. Princes = good. – Queen of Spades


If he’s been gone for three years and hasn’t even written you, just marry the rich guy. – Madame Butterfly


Beware the mama’s boy. Inside each burns a murderous, jealous rage. – Carmen


Cherubino, Orlovsky, etc….. if he’s wearing pants (or what passed for pants back in the day), he’s a man. No questions asked about his suspiciously high voice, his petite frame, his rounded thighs, or his lack of facial hair. Whether you date him or not is your call…


If your first girlfriend turns out to be a robot, just stop trying. Nothing good will come of it. – Contes d’Hoffmann

Don’t kill your girlfriend’s relatives. – Pique Dame

Jewelry makes up for everything. – Candide


If she rejects you at first, pretend to commit suicide a few times, and she’ll eventually give in. – Cosi fan tutte

Naked women are MAGICAL. – Das Wunder Der Heliane

Never beleive a soldier who tells you he loves you but has to go back to his country….especially if his name is Benjamin Franklin. – Madame Butterfly


Don’t plan a tryst in the dark; your page, or your wife might show up. – Le nozze di Fiagro

Write her a song and then sing it to her. it’s a sure-fire way to get in her pants. – Meistersinger

Egyptian princes are pussies. – Magic Flute

Tenors and mezzos just don’t get along. – Carmen

It’s okay to be love your coat, even if it is a little creepy and a bit out of place. – La boheme

Tenors get paid the most money for the least amount of work. – Rosenkavalier

The guys want to have sex with an experienced woman, but they prefer to marry a innocent virgin. – Rosenkavalier

Just listen to your daddy and don’t speak with strangers, he knows better what’s good for you. – Rigoletto

Diamonds are not always girl’s best friends. – Faust


If you didn’t order it, don’t drink it. – Tristan und Isolde


Sometimes, you’ll do really crazy things if it means your lover will stop suffering. And sometimes it doesn’t help. – Tosca


It’s okay to ditch your sick mother if the girl’s hot. – Carmen

Don’t have a romantic meeting in a poorly lit garden with an effeminate page running around. – Le nozze di Figaro

If there’s a guy out there trying to get with your ward, don’t let a mysterious young music student in the house. – Il barbiere di Siviglia

Talk to your girlfriend or else she just may kill herself – Die Zauberflote

Birds are hot – Die Zauberflote

So are army chicks. – La fille du regiment

Don’t trust Spanish noblemen. – Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro


If you want Daddy to approve of your relationship, just threaten suicide. – Gianni Schicchi


Its OK if you don’t know his name, or where he’s from, or anything about him. But swans are cool. – Lohengrin

Blame it on the champagne. – Die Fledermaus


Champagne can make you way too flirty, but as long as you only flirt with your wife (even if she’s in disguise) everything will turn out fine. – Die Fledermaus


“I was drunk, k?” ~Fledermaus

I’m a free-shooter. Look out, baby. – Der Freischütz

If your son was stolen from you in infancy, think twice before trying to marry a much younger man. – Le Nozze di Figaro


If she tells you in not one but TWO arias that she’s fickle and a player, then don’t get pissed when she kicks you to the curb. – Carmen

If you love too many people at one time, your conscious might trap you in a burning house. – Don Giovanni

It’s true love … only if there’s a potion involved. – Tristan und Isolde

The best way to her heart is through the phone. – Telephone Hour

Sceances make for GREAT dates! But if the spirit actually comes back from the dead and someone gets shot … well … you’ll live. You’ll learn. – The Medium

Yeah, she’s beautiful. But if she has a rich uncle, then you’ve REALLY landed someone special! – Gianni Schicchi

If she caughs too much, she’s gonna’ die. – La Boheme & Traviata

Getting involved with the first woman you have ever seen might be good, but make sure that there aren’t any desperate spinsters around as soon as you leave her. – Siegfried & Götterdämmerung

If you’re flirting and he just doen’t get it, frame him and make him run away with you. – The Old Maid and the Thief


If your boss is sexually harassing you, get his wife involved. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get your true love in the end. – Le nozze di Figaro


Stay clear of women with an axe to grind. – Electra

She doesn’t really love you for your talent. – Die Gezeichneten

Does your husband have a wandering eye? Rosina Almaviva suggests reviving the spark by engaging in a little harmless flirtation with your pubescent godson. Sure, the ensuing intrigue might take a few entertaining hours to sort out, but it should turn out alright in the end. – Le nozze di Figaro


A good, piazza-temperature Bordeaux, once it’s been allowed to breathe, really IS a love potion! – Elixir

It is expensive to date in Paris. – Manon, Manon Lescault and Traviata

Can’t attract anyone? Concoct a love potion (Tristan)! But be careful, or you may be made an ass! (Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Sometimes, she really is telling the truth when she says she’s not cheating on you, even you did catch her in a really sketchy situation. – Un Ballo in Maschera


Just accept his proposal already, particularly if you’re pregnant with his love child. – Vanessa


If you dress up like a girl to get your girl, and she transforms into a tree to get away, give up, man. Just give up. – Daphne

If killing yourself makes her sorry, then guess what? You STILL can’t have her, ’cause you’re dead! Idiot. – Werther

Never believe your best friend when he agrees it’s “hands off the hot priestess”. – Pearl Fishers

Having only one eye won’t stop a man from looking … and by looking, I mean screwing anyone who holds still long enough. – The Ring Cycle


My daughter, the only man who will have you is the man who can penetrate your cursed ring of fire. – Ring Cycle

Dude, she’s your mom. Seriously. – Oedipus Rex


Do what the little boys say. – Magic Flute


If you have magical instruments, don’t forget about them. – Magic Flute


Every so often, it just turns out that the girl you want to marry actually turns out to be a guy dressed up as the Queen of the Fairies. – Falstaff

Chicks dig castrati. – Giulio Cesare

It’s all fun and games until you flirt with too many men – then various knifings ensue. – Pagliacci

Just don’t ask. – Bluebeard’s Castle, Elsa & Lohengrin


If she’s too good to be real, she probably is. – Contes d’Hoffmann

If you’ve struck out four times in a row, maybe your boring ass should stick to poetry. – Contes d’Hoffmann


If you’ve stuck around for 20 years waiting for Mr. Right, and you end up settling for Mr. Right Jr., don’t be shocked when he knocks up your niece and is generally a douchebag. – Vanessa


If she says no, just marry her sister. Hey, it worked for Mozart… – Little Women


If he tends to sing unmelodic, atonal, unsettled gibberish, you probably shouldn’t cheat on him. – Wozzeck

When the sketchy Master at Arms strokes you and tells you “handsomely done, me lad,” ask for a transfer to another ship. – Billy Budd


Never trust a soprano when playing cards. – La Fanciulla del West


If you’re dating a soprano in a Janacek opera, meet her stepmother first. – Jenufa


If you sing a duet with them, any woman will have sex with you…almost. – Don Giovanni

You can avoid charges of murder and rape by dressing up like your man-servant. – Don Giovanni

Always have a knife on hand. – Tosca


Never trust a bass-baritone who’s straight. – Don Giovanni


I am waiting for my lover. Where is he? Oh, and who is this dead man in front of me? Oh yea, he’s my lover. Oh yea, I was also the one who killed him. – Erwartung

Never marry a girl who won’t take off her vail to show you her face. – Don Pasquale

Don’t marry your nephew’s girlfriend: she can’t have good intentions! – Don Pasquale

True love is worth waiting for, even for the next 63 celibate years. – Pirates of Penzance

If you can’t make true love work, just bureaucratically kill off your fiancee. And you’ll live happily-ever-after…buried alive. Tra-la! – Mikado

Never believe any lady that wants to fix you up with her hot daughter in bondage has good intentions. – Die Zauberflote

Don’t date guys with baggage. – Bluebeard’s Castle

Listen to the rumors, especially if they’re laid out in a convenient aria format. – Don Giovanni


Spanish chicks are easy. Come on, 1003?! – Don Giovanni

He’ll regret rejecting you someday. Seriously. – Eugene Onegin

All an uptight guy needs is to get trashed. – Albert Herring

Stay away from religious authorities. – Susannah

Sometimes you should just thaw out and let him kiss you before some innocent bystander gets killed. – Turandot

Hookers, don’t give discounts: you never know who’s secretly Jack the Ripper. – Lulu

Don’t have sex with anyone. EVER. – Parsifal


Stay innocent and out of your fiance’s family’s business, and everything will turn out okay. – Gianni Schicchi



Go for the old woman. Sometimes she’s hot. – Magic Flute

Love your woman even though she’s fickle and unfaithful like all women? – Cosi fan tutte

Be SURE you know his or her gender, if that sort of thing is important to you. – Fidelio

The hot ones are always crazy. – Lucia, Puritani & Carmen (just a few)

If he’s dead, he can’t say no. – Salome

Consumption is sexy. – La Traviata & La Boheme

Don’t piss off the dramatic soprano. You will live to regret it, though probably only briefly. Wagner’s operas

A fifteen year age difference really is too much. – Rosenkavalier

Gender is meaningless. – Alcina

It is possible to be extremely shallow and have lots of people still like you. – La bohème


Men suck. Prticularly American men. – Madame butterfly

Seriously, Dude, She’s Your Sister. – Die Walküre

If your girlfriend marries your dad, it was never meant to be. – Don Carlo(s)