August 1, 2012 Dear reader: I would like to take a moment to welcome you to The Final Note, a brand new magazine devoted to all things arts related (focusing on opera) and therefore, well, fabulous. While I have been writing for some time now in various capacities, this magazine came to me one very early morning not so long ago, before I'd even had my morning coffee! My mind very quickly latched onto the idea, and after an excited (7:30am!) call to my mother, I quickly started taking notes, jotting down ideas, and mapping out sketches for monthly issues. While I set a pretty ambitious goal for myself as far as a "go-live" date, I found myself more and more excited with every step of the process. Here you have The Final Note in its infancy, but the start of something I hope will grow over time. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this inaugural issue, and bringing you many new issues over the years! We will be starting out on a monthly basis for main issues, but be sure to check the website for weekly and daily updates, featured sound clips and videos, and much more! In the mean time, sit back, relax, and enjoy a (hopefully) new take on a subject we all hold very near and dear to our hearts.... Respectfully yours,
Thomas Hendrickson Editor in Chief
You Want to See WHAT?! Now who are we kidding? Trying to narrow down the ENTIRE New York arts season is damned near impossible. There are so many venues, visiting orchestras, ONE NIGHT ONLY performances – we really need a top 50 list! Being the ambitious crazies that we are, we decided to tackle the challenge head first. Below you’ll find our top 10 picks for the New York 2012-2013 Arts Season. Please NOTE: some seasons have not yet been announced at the time of this being published. In our opinion, these are some of the most sure-fire homeruns of the year! The Tempest - Thomas Ades - Metropolitan Opera premiere – This critically acclaimed opera will make its NY premier this Spring, brought to us in a new production staring incredibly renowned singing actor Simon Keenlyside in the magical role of Prospero. With the production designed by Robert LePage, we will see this tale told through the inner workings of 18th century La Scala, focusing on the hidden under workings of the stage where Prospero practices his otherworldly arts. Joined onstage by both Isabelle Leonard and Alek Schrader, we also have the pleasure of having Ades himself at the podium. This is going to be one of the hottest tickets in town for opera aficionados; a sure-fire magical evening. If you have seen even a glimpse of any of the production photos or sketches, you know that you are in for an absolute visual feast. New York Philharmonic with Renée Fleming Carnegie Hall - Any one of these three pieces would make an exciting addition to a concert, but all three in one evening? Sheer brilliance. The program begins with the ethereal and exciting Fontane di Roma, an orchestral piece that paints the images of Rome's fountains at different hours of the day; the piece builds to an incredible climax of brass in the middle only to fade off into a mesmerizing play out highlighting the string sections. Second on the
program is the world premier of a new work for Soprano and orchestra, commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the NY Phil, composed by Hillborg for Soprano Renée Fleming. This brand new work, never before heard, is sure to be a moment in musical history you don't want to miss. The final portion of the concert features Mussorgky's Pictures at an Exhibition. This piece, inspired by the exhibition of art by Mussorgky's close friend and colleague Viktor Hartmann, was Mussorgsky’s only way of coping with the untimely death of this dear friend. Buckle up folks, this evening is bound to take you on a musical journey! Joyce DiDonato in recital - Carnegie Hall - Joyce DiDonato is quickly becoming one of the most highly regarded and requested singers around the entire world. What makes it better is that this incredibly consistent diva is one of the most down to earth and kind people we have ever met! WE LOVE JOYCE! Featuring works from her soon to be released new solo disc entitled Drama Queens, the program, performed with full orchestra, is set for the main stage at Carnegie Hall (and rightfully so). Composers include Handel, Monteverdi, Gluck, Orlandini, and Cesti among other. That means we can probably expect quite a bit of coloratura (which she does so brilliantly). With the concert named Drama Queens, we can only imagine what her gown (or gowns!!) will be like! Maria Stuarda - Metropolitan Opera Premiere Keeping with the theme of our favorite mezzo coloratura, we can't wait for this exciting new production! After having made a huge splash with her role debut at HGO, Joyce brings her inventive and heartfelt portrayal of this Tudor Queen to the Met for the first time ever! In a handsome new production by David McVicar (you may have seen his Anna Bolena at the Met last season starring Anna Netrebko), this rarely performed work has the opera world buzzing with anticipation. With a formal gala opening on New Years Eve, we think this performance has all the punch and fire appropriate for the occasion!
New York City Ballet - Opening Night Gala David Koch Theater - While full details are still on the down-low, rumor has it that the opening night of City Ballet will be a tribute to Valentino, one of the most beloved and dramatic couture designers in history. Hosted by the ever glamorous Sarah Jessica Parker, the evening will, very appropriately, feature two ballets - a new ballet based on Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, and from Jewels, Rubies. With costumes designed by Valentino himself, we are sure to be in for a night of glamour and drama, two of our favorite things. And ladies, with costumes assuredly designed in Valentino's signature red, we think this is a night you should leave your little black dress at home.
little Swing in the summer?
A Streetcar Named Desire - Carnegie Hall Orchestra of St. Luke's – Not having seen a major revival since the premiere in 1998, we are beyond elated about this One-Night-Only semistaged revival featuring Renee Fleming as the emotionally unstable and vulnerable Blanche DuBois. With music by Andre Previn, the score is characterized by sweeping lyrical vocal lines juxtaposed with sensual New Orleans jazz brass. Originally composed for “La Fleming,” this opera is a tour-de-force for the role of Blanche, featuring one of the most chilling mad-scenes we have ever experienced. With the cast rounded out by Susannah Phillips as Stella, Anthony Dean Griffy as Mitch, and the Barihunk Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Stanley, this could possibly be our top pick for the entire 20122013 arts season.
Powder Her Face - New York City Opera Composed by Thomas Ades (see The Tempest above), this very contemporary opera has a very strong point of view and an incredibly unique (and appropriately 20th century) subject matter. The story focuses around the scandal of the "Dirty Duchess" Margaret Cambell, Duchess of Argyll and her sexual exploits exposed in a very messy and public divorce. Having premiered in 1995 in London, the opera has a cast of very inventive characters and a side-splitting libretto. Rumor has it there's an entire aria devoted to an explanation of the naughty act of.....well I guess you'll have to wait and see! Be sure to check this out for a nice dose of (explicit) scandal at its best!
Wynton Marsalis in concert - Jazz at Lincoln Center - 9 time Grammy Award winner and Pulitzer Prize for Music winner Wynton Marsalis makes a triumphant return to Lincoln Center! Accompanied by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the program is set to feature the ever exciting and virtuosic Swing Symphony (Marsalis' Symphony No. 3). Conducted by Alan Gilbert with music direction and trumpet solos by Marsalis himself, this seems like just the perfect evening to get us in the mood for a hot summer in the city! After all, who doesn’t like a
Stephanie Blythe in recital - Carnegie Hall - one of the most highly regarded voices of our time, Stephanie Blythe is a force to be reckoned with. Singing with ease from Handel to Wagner on the operatic stages, Ms. Blythe is no amateur recitalist either. Accompanied, per usual, by renowned collaborative pianist Warren Jones, the pair is sure to light up the stage. Typically performing works from Duparc to Heggie on recitals, this TBA program promises to be as inventive and enjoyable as they come. With her down-to-earth, no BS delivery, Ms. Blythe is one of the most reassuring and invigorating performers today.
Some Enchanted Evening: a tribute to the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein - Carnegie Hall – Reunited for an evening of Golden Age musical theater goodness, Broadway Princess and Prince, Kelli O’Hara and Paolo Szot, join forces again for the first time here since South Pacific. The evening is devoted entirely to the magical music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, and who better to take it on than Kelli and Paulo? One of the most naturally beautiful voices we have ever heard, Kelli O'Hara (currently starring in Nice Work if You Can Get It) never ceases to remind us of her serious vocal chops. Paulo Szot, last seen in The Nose
at the Met will bring back his striking and handsome singing in the crossover event of the season. A little birdie tells us that Szot will soon return to the Met for a revival of The Nose, and Ms. O'Hara is slated for her very own Met debut in the near future. Come see these two singers doing what they do best in this sure fire “enchanting” evening! The Met Orchestra in Concert – Carnegie Hall – Featuring world-renowned Soprano Eva Maria Westrbroek, this concert has us absolutely tingling from head to toe. One of the most exciting Wagnerian singers today, Ms. Westbroek has made a name for herself not just for her strong vocal technique but also for her affinity for outlandish productions and taboo roles (she created the role of Anna Nicole Smith in Anna Nicole the Opera at Covent Garden). Don’t let that misinform you, Ms. Westbroek is a PRO at standard repertoire as well (most recently we have seen her as Sieglinde in the new Lepage Ring Cycle at the Met). With Wagner’s emotional and stunning Wesendonck Lieder slated for the program, we know that Ms. Westbroek will certainly deliver a world-class performance. The second half of the program is Strauss’ Eine Alpinesinfonie, a work we just recently became acquainted with. With one of the most overwhelming brass climaxes we have ever heard, this piece is sure to have you on the edge of your seat bursting with excitement and elation. All in all, this concert is sure to be a home run.