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Latest News

Odeon launches Carmen in 3D

17 February 2011, London, UK

Carmen in 3D
Carmen in 3D(Photo: The Royal Opera / Mike Hoban)

The UK cinema group Odeon has announced its first ever 3D opera season, including a film of Carmen that will be screened nationally from 5 March onwards.

Featuring Christine Rice as Carmen and Bryan Hymel as Don José, the ultra-traditional production by American director Francesca Zambello was shot at London’s Royal Opera House last summer.

Speaking about the new technology, a Royal Opera House spokesperson told Opera Now that “the extra visual dimension of 3D puts you in the middle of the action. During filming, the camera goes right up, over, and around the characters on stage, so it creates an effect with much stronger impact and drama than the existing 2D technology.”

Opera Now Editor, Ashutosh Khandekar, attended a preview screening of the new film last month and writes: “I found myself being hurled into the action, totally involved and scrutinising every detail, down to the pores on people’s skin. I’m sure it’s the closest I’ll ever get to experiencing what singing on an international opera stage is really like.”

Later this month, Odeon will also screen the world’s first live 3D opera – ENO’s production of Lucrezia Borgia straight from the Coliseum.


"Neue Stimmen" 2011 invites talented young singers to apply

17 February 2011, Gütersloh, Germany

The “Neue Stimmen” International Singing Competition recently launched its 14th season and is inviting talented young singers to apply by 31 March.

The Competition’s final round will take place in Gütersloh, Germany, between 16 and 22 October.

A top prize of €15,000 is up for grabs together with a range of recording and broadcast opportunities.

This year’s jury will chaired by the director of the Vienna State Opera, Dominique Meyer.

Further details of how to apply including dates for all the preliminary rounds in 22 international locations can be found via the “Neue Stimmen” website.

Previous Competition participants who have gone on to achieve global recognition include René Pape, Melanie Diener and Angelika Kirchschlager.


Ben Heppner withdraws from The Met's Ring cycle

16 February 2011, New York, US

Ben Heppner
Ben Heppner(Photo: Kristin Hoebermann)

The leading Wagnerian heldentenor, Ben Heppner, has withdrawn from Robert LePage’s new Ring cycle production at The Metropolitan Opera.

He will be replaced by Gary Lehman and Stephen Gould for the company’s performances of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung during the 2011-12 Season.

The official reason given for Heppner’s decision is that he "has retired the role from his repertory," however commentators have suggested that a combination of recent illnesses plus stress could be to blame, making it difficult for him tackle the hugely demanding vocal part.

Heppner himself recently told the media prior to appearing in Lohengrin at LA Opera: "There have been some not-great moments in my more recent past,” adding defiantly, “I’m working through it”.


BBC Cardiff Singer of the World appoints new patron

16 February 2011, Cardiff, Wales

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa(Photo: John Swannell)

New Zealand born soprano, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, has been appointed as the new patron of Cardiff Singer of the World.

She succeeds Dame Joan Sutherland, who passed away in October last year.

Te Kanawa’s appointment is seen as good news for the biannual competition, which recently announced a series of funding cuts by BBC Wales “due to challenging financial circumstances”.

Cardiff Singer of the World 2011 is due to take place at venues across the city between 12 and 19 June.

This year’s line-up of competitors will include the 28-year-old tenor, John Pierce, who won the Welsh Singers Competition 2010.


Dame Margaret Price receives burial in Pembrokeshire

15 February 2011, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Dame Margaret Price
Dame Margaret Price

The late Welsh soprano and international opera star, Dame Margaret Price, has been buried in Pembrokeshire at a service attended by fans and family members.

Dame Margaret, who passed away last month aged 69, was one of the most popular sopranos of her generation.

Known especially for her performances and recordings of Mozart during the first two decades of her career, she later also triumphed in lighter roles by Verdi and Strauss.

Away from the operatic stage, Price was a highly accomplished interpreter of the song repertory, admitting in a 2001 interview that her “first and last love” was lieder.

Her opera discography includes Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte under Otto Klemperer, Desdemona in Otello with Sir George Solti and Amelia in Un ballo in maschera opposite Luciano Pavarotti.

Although she never performed any Wagner roles in the theatre, Price can also be heard as Isolde in Carlos Kleiber’s 1982 Tristan recording for DG.

She retired from the stage in 1999 following a stint as a Kammersängerin of the Bavarian State Opera.

Her CBE was awarded in 1982, followed by the DBE in 1993.


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