Sunday, January 31, 2010

Metropolitan Opera National Auditions results

This afternoon Spivey Hall hosted the Southeast Region Final Auditions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, in which 13 vocalists hailing from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida competed for the opportunity to advance to the National Finals at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The Hall was full of opera-lovers eager to hear the these talented young singers.

And here are the results!

The Ryan Smith First Place Award went to soprano Leah Crocetto, age 30, of Florida, who sang "Ernani, involami" from Verdi's Ernani and "Chi il bel sogno di Doretta" from Puccini's La rondine.

The Second Place Award went to soprano Taylor Johnson, age 23, of South Carolina, who sang "Dilette amiche" from Verdi's I vespri siciliani and "Donde lieta usci" from Puccini's La boheme.

The Third Place Award went to mezzo-soprano Cynthia Hanna, age 27, of North Carolina, who sang "O mio Fernando" from Donizetti's La favorita and "Werther! Qui m'aurait dit la place" from Massenet's Werther.

Encouragement awards were given to baritone Joshua Conyers, age 21, of North Carolina, who sang "Hai gia vinta la causa" from Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro and "Come paride vezzoso" from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore; and to tenor Samuel Levine, age 25, of Florida, who sang "Fra poco a me ricovero" from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor and "The Ride to Rome" from Britten's The Rape of Lucretia.

The pianist for all of the prizewinners (and most of the contestants) was the Met Audition Southeast Region's staff accompanist, Ben Leaptrott.

The judges were Gregory Henkel, the San Francisco Opera's Director of Artistic Administration, Gayletha Nichols, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and Robin Thompson, a classical performing arts consultant and long-time opera professional with major American opera companies, including the New York City Opera.

Another great afternoon of music at Spivey Hall, whose acoustics are so sympathetic to singing. Congratulations to all the contestants!

If you missed the Auditions, you can tune into Atlanta's WABE 90.1 FM on Monday, March 8th 9:00 PM to hear the radio broadcast produced by Tommy Joe Anderson and hosted by Robert Hubert, or listen to it streamed on the Internet at (click the "Listen now" button on the homepage, a little right of center).

Monday, January 11, 2010

JUST IN: Program details for Joshua Bell/Jeremy Denk and Gerald Finley/Julius Drake

We've just received repertoire details for two important concerts in the coming months.

Supremely distinguished superstar violinist JOSHUA BELL and the excellent pianist JEREMY DENK return to Spivey Hall for a Saturday, February 13, 2010 recital at 8:15 PM -- a sold-out concert with a growing wait list.

This a fantastic program. Those lucky enough to have tickets are in for a real treat -- an experience that will be, without question, one of of the most high-energy and artisically memorable evenings of the 2009/10 season. The Schumann First Sonata glows with the true soul of German Romanticism, and the Grieg Third Sonata (the most popular and, I think, best of his three) is an especially lovely piece. Plus the eternal beauty of Bach to begin, and the spectacular Ravel Sonata to close. (Encores, too, I suspect are likely.)

J. S. BACH Sonata No.4 for Violin & Piano in C minor, BWV1017

EDVARD GRIEG Sonata No. 3 for Violin & Piano in C minor, Op. 45
Allegro molto ed appassionato
Allegretto espressivo alla romanza — Allegro
Allegro animato


ROBERT SCHUMANN Sonata No. 1 for Violin & Piano in A minor, Op. 105
Mit leidenschaftlichem Ausdruck

MAURICE RAVEL Sonata for Violin & Piano (1927)
Blues: Moderato
Perpetuum Mobile: Allegro

Plus, Jeremy Denk will give a piano master class on stage at Spivey Hall earlier that day at 11 AM. Denk, a Bard College Conservatory of Music faculty member, will coach students and reveal insights in matters of technique, interpretation and style in his own inimitable, highly knowledgeable, and delightfully articulate way. Tickets are just $10.

Later in the season, on Sunday, March 14, 2010, the immensely gifted and widely celebrated Canadian bass-baritone GERALD FINLEY makes his Spivey Hall and Atlanta recital debut with the superb British pianist (and frequent Spivey Hall guest artist) JULIUS DRAKE, peforming songs they have recorded to enthusiastic critical acclaim on the Hyperion label. Clayton State University's Dr. Kurt-Alexander Zeller will give the pre-concert talk at 2 PM prior to the 3 PM performance.

This promises to be a totally delectable afternoon of music. If you love song recitals, do NOT miss this one! Good seats are still available from the Spivey Hall Box Office, (678) 466-4200, as well as online via our website.

The artists will perform:

ROBERT SCHUMANN: Heine settings

Tragödie I, II Op. 64 No.3
Der arme Peter I, II, III Op. 53. No. 3

Lehn’ deine Wang’ Op.142 No. 2
Es leuchtet meine Liebe Op.127 No.3
Dein Angesicht Op.127 No. 2
Mein Wagen rollet langsam Op.142 No. 4

Belsazar Op. 57
Die feindlichen Brüder Op. 49 No. 2
Abends am Strand Op. 49 No. 3
Die beiden Grenadiere Op. 49 No. 1


MAURICE RAVEL: Histoires naturelles

The Daisies
Solitary Hotel
Bessie Bobtail

West London
In the Alley
Charlie Rutledge
Slugging a Vampire

And, of course (as my tombstone will read), "Programs and artists subject to change." But with any luck, the only change will be warmer weather -- we're still FREEZING in Atlanta! No more of this snow and ice stuff, please!