About two months ago, I was walking down Amsterdam Avenue when I ran into up and coming soprano Emily Duncan-Brown. Emily enthusiastically described my blog to the person she was with as a “fashion/ opera blog.” I was amused at the term since my recent interviews and fashion posts all sort developed out of nowhere. Though I’d like to think myself as somewhat knowledgeable on the topic of opera and am continuously learning more about the wonderful people in fashion with each new post and event… I thought I might direct your attention to some of my favorite blogs featuring the two topics.
Fashion- Sweet Tea and Champagne! sweetteaandchampagne.com is a wonderful fashion blog by southern belle and Diana Warner intern Kathryn Cunningham. Read her blog for the hottest trends and enjoy her wonderfully random adventures!
Opera- It is no secret that I have been madly in love with Joyce Didonato since seeing the wonderful mezzo-soprano in Massenet’s Cendrillon in 2006. Read Yankee Diva for a wonderfully in-depth view on life, love and opera. This diva has more full circle stories than you can believe, and leads you to trust that fairy tales really can come true.
Opera and all things Bill? William Madison is a native Texan with an affinity for anything classy. Mr. Madison has been a featured writer in the New York Times, Opera News, and is currently writing the authorized biography of legendary singing actress, Madeline Kahn. Read his blog HERE for a truly enlightened look at, well… everything!
Did you know that you can find an adaptation of Cinderella in nearly every culture? No, I don’t mean looking up the Disney version dubbed in Dutch or Russian on Youtube. I literally mean that almost every culture embraces a story of a young girl, who, despite all odds gets to have her chance at happily ever after.
When I was about three years old and living in Germany with my family, my mother bought me 5 small porcelain plates which depicted different intricately painted fairy tale scenes. There was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood
, Hansel and Gretel, and Cinderella. For some reason, the scene of Cinderella leaving the ball in a big yellow gown was always my favorite. A few years later, and more than familiar with the Disney masterpiece, I read “The Rough-Face Girl
” in school, which was originally a Mi’kmaq storyteller’s adaptation from the late 1800′s. There are also really fantastic adaptations from Mexican, Egyptian, Chinese and Korean traditions.
I discovered a little later that there were not just one, but two fantastic operatic adaptations of the classic fairy tale. Both Donizetti and Massenet’s settings of La Cenerentola
are beautifully written masterpieces that deserve far more stage time than currently given. Luckily however, in the summer of 2006, The Santa Fe Opera
included Massenet’s rarely performed Cendrillon in it’s festival season, starring none other than the now internationally famous Yankee Diva herself, Joyce Didonato. Though the opera was sold out, I was lucky enough to be taken by a friend to see Cendrillon; tenth row center orchestra! Now, this post isn’t necessarily meant to be about the Laurent Pelly
production at Santa Fe, or about one of my now favorite opera superstars, but I will say that I still consider the performance I witnessed to be the best theatrical experience I have ever had in my life. It was, literally… magical. I should also mention that The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
is including the production in it’s 2010/2011 season starring Joyce Didonato in the title role. Now to find a way to get there..
Aside from watching the production in a beautiful open-air theatre, there is also something really special about experiencing friends perform the music and characters that you love. This past Saturday, I had the upmost pleasure of attending New York Lyric Opera’s concert version of Cendrillon starring my friend Raquel Suarez in the title role, along with one of my best friends, Rachel Hall as the stepsister Noemie. Both sang beautifully; Rachel was a humorous and pouty stepsister and Raquel’s Lucette (Cendrillon) was both heart warming and beautiful. Brava to both of you.
Unlike most people, I wasn’t introduced to Massenet through Manon first, and while I had long owned a recording of Renee Fleming
singing “Je Marche…obeissons” on her By Request cd, I had a tendency to skip over to the arias I already knew. It was definitely Cinderella who first showed me the epic beauty of the great French master.
So with that, I encourage you to listen to the music from this great opera.