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WV Symphony - Tchaikovsky V

Classically Speaking

Classical music in West Virginia and Beyond

Otello in HD

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By Larry Stickler. Professor of Music, Marshall University
 · October 24, 2012

Otello at the Met

The Moor Otello, new governor of Cyprus, sails through a severe storm at sea to arrive safely back home on the island of Cyprus and to reunite with his noble wife Desdemona.  With him is his malevolent ensign Iago who will mastermind the inevitable tragedy that will unfold.  The time is the late 15th century.
Otello, a dramatic opera in four acts by the Italian composer Giuseppi Verdi (1813-1901), will be transmitted live from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City to movie theaters throughout the world this Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm as the second opera in the Live Met in HD series for 2012-2013.

The series will be shown in four theaters in West Virginia: Cinemark at the Huntington Mall in Barboursville; Great Escape in Nitro; Hollywood Stadium 12 in Granville/Morgantown and Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg , as well as the Cinemark Theater in Ashland, Kentucky.  Otello will be sung in Italian with English subtitles during an approximate running time of 3 ½ hours.
Arrigo Boito (1842-1918) wrote the libretto (script) based upon the tragedy by William Shakespeare entitled Othello or The Moor of Venice. Boito’s libretto immediately focuses on the evil manipulations of Iago.
Otello is a Venetian general of Moorish background who is now governor of Cyprus.  Otello is one of the most demanding tenor parts in the entire opera repertoire.  Johan Botha will sing the role this Saturday.
American soprano Renee Fleming will sing the role of Otello’s blameless wife Desdemona.  Faithful and forgiving, a woman of gentleness and goodness, Desdemona sings two poignant arias in Act IV – “Willow Song”, “and” Ave Maria” as she considers her portending doom.
Iago is “the very epitome of wickedness, who commits foul acts for wickedness’ sake, rejoicing diabolically in the misery he causes.” (Music scholar Paul Henry Lang)  Iago celebrates his own evil in a blasphemous Credo aria (“I Believe in a Cruel God”).  Baritone Falk Struckmann will sing the role of the villain Iago.
Local Huntington opera lovers who cannot attend the live transmission of Otello this Saturday will be able to see an encore performance on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm at the Cinemark Theater at the Huntington Mall. 

More Glass Goodness

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By Jim Lange
 · October 11, 2012
Amy Dickson performs her transcription of Glass' Violin Concerto.

Transcription: I talk about it all the time on Classical Music. It's so very important when transcribing that you realize that what works on one instrument may not work on another. All instruments have their limits, their strengths and weaknesses and finally, their quirks.

Hats off to Amy Dickson for her marvelous transcription of Glass' Violin Concerto. Truth be told, I like her version better than the original, except for the divine second movement in which the violin is transcendent.

Finally, to quote Bruce Adolphe, "Music still has to sound like music." It must all work - a completeness, the gesalt, if you will.

Play "follow the score" and listen to violin goodness. Then think about a horn player and those arpeggios.
PG Ensemble with a performance of Facades. Long, lingering sweet lines make this piece so poignant.

The trailer for the Glass doc, Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts (Terrific, I might add.), contains one of my favorite quotes by the composer: "I was never a captive of other people's ideas about me. I've been like that my whole life and it's saved me a lot of trouble."

That we should all be so free.

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