By Sean

Donizetti’s “Rita” – An Interview with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

“We have programmed the most politically incorrect opera in the most politically correct area of the country!” said music director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, referring to the New Century Chamber Orchestra’s up-coming production of Rita, ou Le mari battu (Rita, or The Beaten Husband). It’s true. Some may see the political shenanigans in Die Walküre as running […]

Launching the Dicterow-DeMaine-Biegel Piano Trio: Old School Genius in the 21st Century

“In the world of Classical music, one of the most exciting developments of 2013 is pianist Jeffrey Biegel’s very recent announcement of the formation of a new piano trio consisting of himself, violinist Glenn Dicterow and cellist Robert deMaine. It might seem an impossible dream come true, but one that is clearly hand-in-glove with la […]

Zuill Bailey Triumphs in New Recording of Benjamin Britten’s Cello Symphony and Sonata

“Composer Benjamin Britten’s 2013 centenary sparked performances of his many-varied works around the globe. His catalogue of operas, orchestral and chamber works, song cycles and more were programmed everywhere, some of the material being tagged as rare or seldom performed. Early last February, cellist Zuill Bailey appeared with Music Director Grant Llewellyn and the North […]

JEANETTE MacDONALD and The Great American Songbook, Pt. 1 — Close encounters with “Dinah” and “Some of These Days”

As Janet and I continue our front row view of films that include some variety of nightclub scene featuring – as Rosemary Clooney might put it, “girl singers” – we are also keeping an eye on how much of this material is appearing in an expanding archive referred to these days as, The Great American […]

Ethel Waters survives Monaco and Dubin’s “Quicksands” in Stage Door Canteen

Ethel Waters is on a very long list of popular and revered celebrities who appear in the 1943 film, Stage Door Canteen. The title refers to an actual New York City location that was staffed and operated by members of the American Theatre Wing. Its purpose was to offer refreshments and entertainment to enlisted folks […]

Natalie Dessay on ‘Becoming Traviata’—French Soprano says Adieu to the Operatic Stage

“My voice was very tiny. I had to work like a dog. But for me, it was the only way to get on stage quickly and be able to play. It was always said that I have the voice of an angel, but I’m really a witch. It’s a real problem. And the more I’m aging, the more it is a problem. Remember, I am an actress. I don’t want to play myself. I want to play other people.”

“One For My Baby” and One For Ida Lupino

“She reminds me of the first woman that ever slapped my face,” says this guy to his date. “If she sings like she looks…” His girl interrupts, whining, “You wouldn’t let me wear a dress like that!” For sure. Nobody but Lily Stevens COULD wear a dress like that…

Interview with Tenor, Noah Stewart

Tenor Noah Stewart, an alumnus of San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program and the prestigious Adler Fellows, joins the Berkeley Symphony on March 28 in the world premiere of Steven Stucky’s The Stars and the Roses…

Deanna Durbin – Femme Fatal: An interview with film historian, Dale Kuntz

Film historian and collector Dale Kuntz is a long-established and much-loved figure in Milwaukee’s cinematic circles. I met him over 40 years ago in Hollywood at an elaborate convention celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Jeanette MacDonald International Fan Club.