Isabel Leonard sings the title role in Rossini’s Cinderella at WNO from May 9 – May 15, 2015. Her new Delos recording, Preludios, is available at the Kennedy Center Gift Shop even before its official release date of May 12!
Pre-Order Isabel Leonard: Preludios Today!Categories Delos Artist News
Donald George and Lucy Mauro have cultivated quite the fan in MusicWeb International‘s Margarida Mota-Bull. She’s been following their careers ever since she reviewed their Love Is Everywhere CD, and “was extremely interested when I learned of their latest venture” — Master Singers:
“Master Singers: Advice from the Stage rests on the interview concept and it works extremely well. Ms Mauro and Mr George contacted an array of today’s most celebrated opera singers and asked them specific questions about their professional experience, how they manage their careers and repertoire, as well as advice and tips, aimed at young singers who do not yet have an established career. As with everything where Ms Mauro and Mr George have collaborated, the book is a labour of love and genuine desire to create something thoughtful and entertaining. It is structured in six major chapters, each about a specific subject related to or part of the singing profession. Each chapter contains a set of questions which were asked of all singers – in one or two instances these are female or male only. The answers were compiled against each question under the name of each singer. The result is impressive and fascinating. A lot of work went into the compilation of the artists’ answers and, as you progress through the book, you feel as if you were in amiable conversation with some of the greatest names in the operatic business, for example Joyce DiDonato, Joseph Calleja, Thomas Hampson, Simon Keenlyside, Stephanie Blythe, Laurence Brownlee and Jonas Kaufmann to name only a few. … The book is available as paperback, hardback and electronic format for the Kindle. I enjoyed it immensely. It was like going through a long, collective interview with lots of interesting people. I’d recommend it not only if you’re a young singer at the beginning of your career but also if you’re just a keen reader who loves music, opera and would like a glimpse into the world of some of today’s greatest operatic stars. Masters Singers is to my mind a must in the bookshelves or kindle collections of any self-respecting bookworm.” —Margarida Mota-Bull, MusicWeb International
Listen to a playlist of the Delos Master Singers via Spotify:Categories Delos Artist News
Pardon our belated report, but we wanted to let you know that distinguished composer Ben Moore – whose stunning art songs appeared last year in the Delos release, Dear Theo (DE 3437) – has made quite an impression with his first opera, Enemies, A Love Story.
Blessed with a highly impressive staging at the Palm Beach Opera from February 20-22, these performances (the company’s first world premiere in its 54-year history) had critics singing the work’s praises in no uncertain terms. Described as a “light-hearted dark comedy,” the opera is based on Nobel prizewinning novelist Isaac Bashevis Singer’s poignant, yet often comedic tale – in which the “hero,” Holocaust survivor Herman, gets caught in the middle as his three wives discover each other in post-WW II New York City. Read on, and see what the critical fuss is all about!
“The news is that a resurgent opera company has produced an important new work that will find its place among those works that audiences will be moved by.…The libretto, by Nahma Sandrow, is one of the most effective texts I have encountered in a long time and it has been set to music by the excellent Ben Moore. The score is melodic and atmospheric while at the same time being emotional and specific in depicting all of [the] nuanced turns in the plot.…I am convinced that this production, with its sets perfectly geared to play in other theaters, may find itself staged at numerous opera companies in America and abroad.” —Fred Plotkin, WQXR/Operavore
Categories Delos Artist News, featured, News
“This is the first opera by Moore, an American best known for his art songs, which have been performed and recorded by the likes of Deborah Voigt, Lawrence Brownlee, and Susan Graham. His penchant for melody serves him well.…” —John Fleming, MusicalAmerica
Upcoming Preludios artist Isabel Leonard graced the cover of Listen Magazine’s Winter Issue, and her engaging interview, “Finding A Way In” is available on ArkivMusic.com. Below is an excerpt of the interview featuring a discussion on getting into character, Disney’s Let it Go and introducing new generations to opera:
Categories Delos Artist News
Ben Finane: I would think that it’s more common in musical theater to sacrifice beauty for character. That is still tough in opera though, because we’re going to hear a singer, and even if she is playing a character — we want to hear her voice. I think there’s a certain expectation of beauty there.
Isabel Leonard: I think so, too. That’s what opera is and that’s okay. Ultimately, when I say an ‘ugly sound,’ it doesn’t mean an untrained voice, or a voice without technique. Everything still has to be used properly and healthily. I don’t want there to be any misconception there. I guess because I have a four-year-old I think about this a lot, but kids are drawn to the visceral and soulful things! They would never tell you that that’s why, but they love it. They get it! If it’s not real, they’re not interested. I think of all the little kids I know, singing the Idina Menzel song from Frozen [“Let It Go”]. She may not have the most beautiful voice ever, but she sure does have a lot of soul, a lot of passion and sincerity. There’s so much in there that’s really musical, and that’s why all of those kids — boys and girls — are singing that song. That surprised me, because it’s been a while since I’ve heard kids singing Disney tunes, and I was trying to figure out why. I didn’t understand until finally I saw the movie with my son, and I was genuinely touched by the song. The story is whatever….
Ben Finane: It’s a true aria: it sums up what’s happening in the movie, but you can also put it in the larger context of your own life experience.
Isabel Leonard: Yeah, and it’s interesting stuff. My son and all his friends from preschool were singing this song, and I think it relates directly to what we have to do in opera.
Delos artist Sondra Radvanovsky, who graces the cover of Delos CDs and DVDS, has been announced as a 2015 recipient of the Opera News Award for Distinguished Achievement along with Piotr Beczala, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Samuel Ramey and Teresa Stratas. In anticipation of the awards gala presentation this Sunday, April 19, 2015 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, Opera News critic Adam Wasserman is celebrating the artistry of Ms. Radvanovsky in the May 2015 issue!
Categories Delos Artist News
“Over the past decade, Sondra Radvanovsky has taken on some of opera’s monumental prima donna roles with one of the most electrifying spinto voices of our time. Superlatives, though, can’t begin to do justice to the glories of her instrument — nor do they provide a full picture of how her artistry has evolved. … Radvanovsky’s bona fide successes have been the result of the soprano’s shepherding her dramatic resources and deepening her craft. Listen to her Verdi Arias disc and hear how the cavatina of Elvira’s “Ernani, involami” sounds like an exquisite sigh before the cabaletta’s tricky filigree suggests a kind of breathless disbelief at her own joy. Her Tosca, first heard in New York in 2011, was remarkable for the way in which her heroine morphed into something more refined as the walls began to close in; “Vissi d’arte” sounded less an ode to self-pity than a realization of how Tosca’s life onstage had prepared her for precisely that moment.…”
Here’s a #ThrowbackThursday review of Barbara Fritolli and Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s performance of Simon Boccanegra at The Met. We’d bet some of the same things can be said about their performances on our new recording coming out next week!
“Mr. Hvorostovsky sang with dusky, melting beauty and shaped Verdi’s long, arching phrases, especially at softer dynamics, with consummate lyricism, often taking whole lines in a single breath. …vocally and dramatically he made this role his own.” —Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
“The undervalued Italian soprano Barbara Frittoli, as Maria (known as Amelia), was in peak form…and sang with luminous sound, soaring top notes and elegant Verdian lines.” —Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
Now Available for Pre-Order on Amazon & iTunes — Simon Boccanegra!
Categories Delos Artist News
The first opera in the Delos at the Met run has opened and upcoming release, Simon Boccanegra stars Barbara Frittoli and Dmitri Hvorostovsky and receiving high praise for their Don Carlo performances:
“The soprano Barbara Frittoli, as Elisabeth, comes by the Italian style through heritage and training. Her singing was consistently admirable, with rich body, pliant phrasing and some big top notes.… Ms. Frittoli is earnest and affecting.”
Categories Delos Artist News
“The splendid Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky brought velvety legato phrasing, virile sound and his distinctive smoky timbre to Rodrigo, Carlo’s loving friend and the king’s troubled adviser.”
Isabel Leonard will explore the riches of Spanish song, in all its varied Iberian forms and styles in her upcoming Preludios, but Kennedy Center audience members got a bit of a preview on Tuesday evening in her concert with guitarist Sharon Isbin, and her performance left quite the impression on Washington Post critic Stephen Brookes:
“the real star of the evening turned out to be the less-familiar Leonard, a rising young mezzo with a radiant, bell-like voice and a captivating sense of drama. The duo opened with four folk-based songs from the ‘Canciones Españolas Antiguas’ by Federico Garcia Lorca (in arrangements by Isbin), and Leonard immediately seemed in her element, probing the dark, unsettling veins of tragedy and pathos — from blood feuds to early deaths — that run through every note. This is music that, as Lorca said, asks ‘a terrible question that has no answer,’ and Leonard dug deeply into their mysteries, proving herself more than just a pretty voice.
That said, what a voice it is — supple, perfectly controlled, capable of great power, but with a lilt, purity and expressive warmth. Then there’s her engaging charm: After singing a lullaby from Xavier Montsalvatge’s ‘Cinco canciónes negras,’ Leonard coaxed a young girl from the audience to join her onstage for an impromptu dance to ‘Canto negro.’” —Stephen Brookes, Washington Post
Preludios includes works by the above-mentioned Federico García Lorca as well as the Xavier Montsalvatge Cinco canciónes negras and Lullaby!
Listen to Manuel De Falla’s Orazion de las madres que tienen a sus hijos en brazos on SoundCloud NOW!Categories Delos Artist News, featured
You’ve all heard astronomers tell us of rare, but highly significant alignments of heavenly bodies, stars included? Well, next month – in April – Delos will be able to claim just such an uncommon confluence of MUSICAL stars … we could also call them “heavenly voices!” That’s because, from mid-April through early May, just such a phenomenon will take place at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera. Appearing in three major Italian opera productions there will be FOUR Delos recording artists Marcelo Alvarez, Sondra Radvanovsky, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Barbara Frittoli!
Legendary tenor Marcelo Alvarez will kick things off on April 14 with his opening night performances of the male lead roles in opera’s most famous double bill: as Canio in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, and as Turridu in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. While Alvarez made his early mark in mostly lighter roles, his voice has “ripened” over his twenty-plus year career, and he has gradually – and with conspicuous success – taken on ever-weightier roles in operas by Verdi, Puccini and various “Verismo” composers.
Rave reviews of Marcelo’s work are almost a matter of routine – and we fully expect that yet another triumph awaits him in his upcoming seven-performance run of “Cav-and-Pag” that finishes up on May 8. If you’d care to sample his artistry in both of these roles, simply get your own copy of Marcelo’s recent Delos album, Marcelo Alvarez: 20 Years on the Opera Stage (DE 3472). Fair warning: you’d better be sitting down when he hits his many ringing high notes, else risk going weak in the knees!
Then, beginning on April 23, opera fans have a double treat in store, as superstar Sondra Radvanovsky further reinforces her glowing reputation as the fastest-rising “true Verdi soprano” (Opera News) in international opera today. She’s headlining in a five-performance run as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera: Verdi’s gripping operatic tale of mistaken infidelity and Regicide. Joining her – in the role of her jealous husband Renato – will be fellow superstar Dmitri Hvorostovsky: regarded by many to be “the Verdi baritone of our time” (Los Angeles Times).
Again, Delos just happens to have convincing recorded proof of the crackling, electric chemistry generated between this pair of living operatic legends in these very roles. Our Verdi Opera Scenes CD (DE 3403) features (among others) their climactic duet from Ballo – as does our DVD, Hvorostovsky in Moscow (DV 7006) – in which Sondra appears as guest artist. Again, fair warning: Delos takes no responsibility if either of these critically-acclaimed releases inspires in you an irrational urge to fly to New York and spring for your own Met tickets!
We should also mention that Dmitri and yet another Delos artist, vaunted soprano Barbara Frittoli, will be appearing from late March through April in Verdi’s Don Carlo. Dmitri will portray the very important part of Rodrigo, who delivers “O Carlo, ascolta” as he expires in Act IV: one of the most emotionally intense baritone arias in all of opera – and Dmitri sings it to heart-stopping effect in the above-referenced CD and DVD! Barbara will appear as Elizabeth, the leading lady.
Delos can yet again offer you a prime recording starring both of these artists: our upcoming April release of the complete Verdi opera, Simon Boccanegra (DE 3457) – Delos’ first-ever full-length opera recording – with Dmitri in the spectacular title role and Barbara portraying Amelia, the leading lady. It’s already available for pre-order on Amazon, and we have a sample track on SoundCloud that’s sure to whet your appetite for more!
Performance dates for all four artists are given below. And to boot, we’re going to celebrate this rare happening by offering three of the above releases (DE 3472, DE 3403 and DV 7006) at the special sale price of $11.98 (for the CDs), and $13.98 (for the DVDs); beginning today and running through the month of April. So place your order today – you’ll be glad you did!
- Marcelo Alvarez in Cav/Pag: April 14, 18, 21, 25 & 29; May 2, 5, & 8
- Sondra Radvanovsky and Dmitri Hvorostovsky in Ballo: April 23 & 28; May 2, 6 & 9
- Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Barbara Frittoli in Don Carlo: March 30, April 2, 6, 11, 15, 18, 22 & 25
May release (Preludios) artist Isabel Leonard performs tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at The Kennedy Center in a performance of Spanish duo and solo works alongside the dynamic guitarist Sharon Isbin as a part of The Kennedy Center’s Iberian Suite: global arts remix festival!
Isabel Leonard – herself a Spanish speaker and passionate devotee of Iberian musical art – partners with pianist Brian Zeger in her upcoming Preludios album, promising fortunate listeners an unforgettable tour through one of the most beautiful, beguiling and diverse of all the world’s vocal traditions.Categories Delos Artist News