Joyce DiDonato to play Florence Foster Jenkins in film
6 January 2016
DiDonato as Florence Foster Jenkins
Joyce DiDonato is to appear as Florence Foster Jenkins in a documentary feature film.
Directed by Ralf Pleger, The Florence Foster Jenkins Story will tell the story of 'the worst singer of all times'.
Fictional scenes will depict Foster Jenkins’ fantastical world, recreating the tableaux vivants in which she appeared.
The film will contrast the music she imagined herself making (portrayed by DiDonato) with the sounds she actually made.
The documentary part of the film will feature individuals who saw Foster Jenkins perform, previously unseen photos and original audio recordings.
Principal shooting for the film has already begun, and it is due for release in November.
The Florence Foster Jenkins story
January Issue Out Now!
6 January 2016
Italian bass baritone Paolo Bordogna speaks to Opera Now about his mission to elevate
the art of the basso buffo, bringing out the humanity and pathos in characters
who tend to be dismissed as buffoons; the off-key singing of the ‘diva of din’
Florence Forster Jenkins; and dream opera destinations in 2016 for culture
vultures. Plus, we meet ten of the most promising and distinctive baritones in
a new generation of young talent; opera’s most memorable love duets and what
they tell us about passion; Brussel’s award-winning Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie
(de Munt); a weekend in Warsaw; Puccini’s ‘Overcoat’ aria; and your chance to
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WNO's I puritani dominates What's on Stage opera poll
4 January 2016
Welsh National Opera won two categories in this year's What's on Stage opera poll.
The company's I puritani was deemed best new opera production, while Rosa Feola won the outstanding achievement in an operatic role category for her Elvira.
Valencia wrote that director Annilese Miskimmon’s ‘imaginative vision breathed new life into what could easily have been a moribund slice of bel canto’.
Many reviewers drew attention to Feola's performance, with Rupert Christiansen praising her ‘questing intelligence’ and Stephen Walsh describing her as ‘a marvellous singing actress’.
Glyndebourne came top as event of the year/outstanding contribution to the UK operatic scene ‘for an exceptionally strong Festival 2015’.
‘Our visits to the summer’s six operas resulted in three five-star and three four-star reviews – a remarkable tally by any standards,’ wrote opera editor Mark Valencia. ‘To cap it all, the autumn Glyndebourne Tour managed the impossible when it revived the Festival’s biggest hit of all, Handel’s Saul, and actually improved on it.’
English National Opera won the category for best opera revival for The Mastersingers of Nuremberg (originally created by Richard Jones for WNO). Valencia wrote that The Mastersingers gave ENO ‘one of its greatest recent successes just when the company’s internal convulsions were at their most acute’.
Sam Furness won the category for breakthrough artist in UK opera as a result of his performances in Garsington Opera’s Intermezzo and English Touring Opera’s The Tales of Hoffmann . Tim Ashley wrote that Furness was ‘terrific in the immensely difficult title role’ of The Tales of Hoffmann, while David Nice celebrated his ‘perfect comedy turn’ in Intermezzo. Valencia described him as ‘an exciting talent on the threshold of a great career’.
Montserrat Caballé sentenced for tax fraud
17 December 2015
Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé has been given a six-month suspended prison sentence and fined €326,000 (£236,263) for tax fraud.
Prosecutors said Caballé failed to pay the Spanish treasury €508,468 (£368,409) in tax on her earnings.
Caballé admitted in 2010 that she lived in Barcelona but was registered as a resident of Andorra for tax purposes.
She used an Andorra-based company to manage the €2 million (£1.45 million) she earned from recordings and concerts in 2010, with the payments going into an Andorran bank.
The singer said that she had been unaware of how her income was being handled for tax purposes, and that she had become confused after a previous adviser passed away.
The 82-year-old has avoided most public engagements since a stroke in 2012, and appeared at the hearing via videolink because of her frail help.
All first convictions resulting in sentences of less than two years are suspended in Spain.
Caballé’s international breakthrough came in 1965, when she stepped in for another singer in the role of Lucrezia Borgia at Carnegie Hall. Over the course of her 50-year career, she performed at a number of the world’s most prestigious opera houses, appearing opposite leading singers Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo.
Julian Anderson wins British Composer Award for Thebans
10 December 2015
The 13th British Composer Awards ceremony took place at the British Film Institute on 9 December 2015.
The ceremony was hosted by Sara Mohr-Pietsch and Andrew McGregor, with awards presented by keynote speaker Jessica Cottis and actress Juliet Stevenson.
Described by Mohr-Pietsch as 'an astonishingly bold and gripping work', Julian Anderson's Thebans won the stage works category.
Collecting the award, Anderson reminisced: 'Someone said to a friend "no one will ever want to hear this"... But they did!'
The composer also paid tribute to English National Opera, which premiered the work, describing it as 'a fantastic international opera company' and urging the audience to cherish and support its work.
The jury members for this year’s awards included Cecilia McDowall, Juliet Fraser, Leigh Melrose and Michael Zev Gordon.
British Composer Awards
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