Broadway World: New Production of Ricciardo e Zoraide for Rossini Opera Festival

Opera Atelier is delighted to announce that our company’s entire creative team has been invited to create a new production of Rossini’s Ricciardo e Zoraide to open the Rossini Opera Festival’s 2018 season in Pesaro, Italy. This new production will take place in Pesaro’s Adriatic Arena August, 11, 14, 17 and 20, 2017 and will be directed and choreographed by Opera Atelier’s Co-Artistic Director S Marshall Pynkoski and Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg with set designs by Gerard Gauci, costume designs by Michael Gianfrancesco, and lighting by Michelle Ramsay.

The Rossini Opera Festival (ROF) takes place in August of each year on Italy’s Adriatic Coast, in Rossini’s birthplace Pesaro, and is the leading Rossini festival in the world. Each year, the Festival attracts thousands of audience members from Europe, North America and Asia, and features the world’s finest Rossini singers and conductors. Having seen Opera Atelier’s productions of Lucio Silla at La Scala (2015) and Médée at Versailles (2017), ROF General Director Ernesto Palacio invited Opera Atelier’s creative team to create the lead production to open the 2018 Festival commemorating the 150th anniversary of Rossini’s death.

The star-studded cast includes tenor Juan Diego Flórez as Ricciardo, tenor Sergey Romanovsky as Agorante and soprano Pretty Yende as Zoraide. The production will be conducted by Giacomo Sagripanti, who was recently named Young Conductor of the Year at the BBC 2016 International Opera Awards, and will also include a corps de ballet drawn from La Scala.

“The support Opera Atelier has received from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council to tour to the Royal Opera House at Versailles provided us with the opportunity for our work to be showcased on the international stage,” says Opera Atelier Co-Artistic Director Marshall Pynkoski. “This most recent invitation for Opera Atelier’s entire creative team to make their ROF debuts underlines how important international touring can be in the development of Canadian artists and arts organizations.”

Opera Atelier is North America’s premier period opera/ballet company, producing the opera, ballet and drama of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. While drawing upon the aesthetics and ideals of the period, Opera Atelier goes beyond “reconstruction” and infuses each production with an inventive theatricality that resonates with modern audiences. Led by founding artistic director S Marshall Pynkoski and Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg since 1985, Opera Atelier has garnered acclaim for its performances at home as well as in the United States, Europe and Asia. Opera Atelier is committed to the development of young Canadian artists and offers innovative education programs for youth.

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Forbes Woman Africa: The Wealth Music Gives Me Is Priceless

Operatic soprano Pretty Yende is arguably one of South Africa’s greatest cultural exports today.

The Milan-based opera singer has performed alongside music heavyweights such as Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion and graced the stages of major opera houses such as the La Scala Opera House in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York and Liceu Opera in Barcelona.

Yet, Yende’s musical beginnings were in a world far away, around a humble bonfire in the small timber growing town of Piet Retief, in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.

“I remember every night after supper, we would gather around the fire and sing hymns, which was where, I believe my solo career started.”

Read the rest of this feature on Forbes Africa

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De cantar a l’església del seu poble a Sud-àfrica a fer-ho al Met de Nova York o la Royal Opera House de Londres. I tot gràcies a un anunci de British Airways en què sonava el Duet de les flors de l’òpera Lakmé de Léo Delibes. Només van caldre aquells 30 segons perquè Pretty Yende, nascuda el 1985, decidís estudiar cant en lloc d’administració. Aquesta nit serà al Festival de Peralada per oferir un recital amb el pianista Michele d’Elia. Al programa hi ha Rossini, Bellini i Liszt, entre d’altres.

Per què agrada tant la teva història?

Perquè és emocionant veure que el que se suposa que és impossible s’ha fet realitat. Per a mi, aquell anunci va ser la clau per entrar al món de la música.

Es parla de la necessitat d’obrir l’òpera al mainstream i de renovar un públic tradicionalment d’edat avançada. Com es pot fer?

Educació. Educació. Educació. I exposició als mitjans! Que l’òpera pugui emprar les mateixes plataformes de difusió i màrqueting de la música popular. A més, cal que s’ensenyi des de ben joves que l’òpera no és una cosa d’elits o de certes races, sinó que pertany a tothom; és un regal per a l’ànima i és universal. Seria una llàstima que es quedés només en certs cercles.

Per llegir la resta de l’article, faixi click en aquest enllaç.

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The New York Times: Pretty Yende Unmasks a Promising Opera Career

LONDON — It turns out, the hay bales caused it.

Sitting in a cafe a stone’s throw from the Royal Opera House in London, the opera singer Pretty Yende of South Africa whipped out her smartphone to show an Instagram photo of herself in a surgical mask during rehearsals for her London debut in the opera “L’Elisir d’Amore” in May. She had come to London two weeks earlier for rehearsals for her role as Adina, and for the first two days she could not stop sneezing.

“I thought, ‘It is London, it is worse than Milan, and it is this time of year and you expect it,’ ” she said referring to pollen allergies and adding that when she is not traveling she resides in Milan. “But the moment I entered the rehearsal room the worse it became,” and in her apartment that night she was convinced she was getting a cold.

But the next day she realized that the small rehearsal room was filled with raffia — palms that are found in tropical parts of Africa — made to look like hay bales for props for the opera, and it (or the dust on it) got her allergies churning, and she had to take a week off. She asked for a mask to use during rehearsals, and found that it actually helped her become more conscious of her sound. Once the raffia was moved onto the large stage, her allergies calmed down.

“It was interesting technically because I found and learned things I was not aware I was doing,” she said. “The sound that comes out, I do not need to open my mouth so much.”

Read the full article on The New York Times

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Operawire: Pretty Yende Reveals Second Solo Album

On August 26, Pretty Yende took to Instagram to reveal the cover and title of her new album with Sony Classical: “Dreams.’’ Yende, who spread her wings in her 2013 Metropolitan debut, has since sung on stages worldwide. As with her spirited performances, Yende will bring to the recording studio the freedom and passion that first carried her aloft to fame.

Yende said on her Instagram page: “‘Dreams’ not only reflects the various shades dreams can have from love and longing in Juliette’s “Je veux vivre dans ce rêve” to also delusions and desperation in Lucia’s mad scene.”

Despite the differences held by these arias, it’s clear to see what binds them is Pretty Yende’s exploration of what it means to want. The rest of the track list will be revealed at a later date but it is no doubt that it will pave the way to a world of expressive potential for Yende to dance across with her bright coloratura.

Yende’s career path reflects well her philosophy of freedom. In an interview with Operawire, she spoke of her triumph at the 2009 Belvedere International Competition, saying “Everybody wanted to offer me the world and wanted to make me a star and I knew that that was not what I wanted. I had just found opera and I didn’t even know what it was. I needed to educate myself. And so in choosing a way forward, I chose to go to La Scala, a place where I knew I was not going to be recognized.” After refining her talents for seven years, Pretty Yende was finally ready to sit down with Sony Classical and begin working on her debut album, succinctly titled ‘A Journey’.

Having been first inspired by hearing the Flower Duet from “Lakme” on a British Airways advertisement, Yende has made a point of appearing on television talk shows, including those of Wendy Williams and Stephen Colbert, to connect with audiences and get opera before the eyes and ears of millions.

‘Dreams’ will be released on October 27th, shedding light not only on Yende’s many inspirations, but bringing that spark beyond the walls of the opera house to the public.

Logan Martell – Operawire

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The Best of Weekend Breakfast: Profile Interview

The Best of Weekend Breakfast

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Folha de S. Paulo: Soprano que decidiu carreira ao assistir comercial de TV canta em SP

Cerca de um minuto foi suficiente para Pretty Yende, 32, mudar completamente o rumo de sua vida e decidir se tornar uma cantora lírica. Ela se apresenta nesta terça (8) e quarta (9) na Sala São Paulo.

A sul-africana, filha de um taxista e de uma professora, estudava para se formar contabilista quando, aos 16 anos, assistiu a um comercial de TV da British Airways.

A propaganda, que estreou em 1989 e foi replicada nos anos seguintes, era embalada por uma versão de “The Flower”, dueto da ópera “Lakmé”, de Léo Delibes (1836-1891). No exótico drama do compositor francês, as vozes etéreas ecoavam o encontro do personagem-título com uma de suas serviçais à beira de um rio no Oriente para recolher flores.

Naquele que viraria um clássico publicitário, a obra ganhava roupagem aos moldes da new age pelo músico grego Yanni em um arranjo de Malcolm McLaren –conhecido por ter sido empresário do Sex Pistols.

Intrigada com aquela voz sobrenatural, a jovem foi procurar saber se aquilo era ao menos “humanamente possível”. Sim, teria lhe respondido um professor, aliás, aquilo tinha nome: ópera. Aquilo, no entanto, ainda era algo distante de seu cotidiano.

“Não foi fácil para meus pais, já que eu havia feito planos para um ’emprego de verdade’, mas sou muito grata a eles por terem me permitido voar para onde meu coração me levou”, diz Yende.

De imediato, passou a cantar em corais de igreja e, após um ano e meio, venceu um prêmio que a levou a ser admitida na Escola de Música Sul-Africana, na Cidade do Cabo. Lá, tornou-se pupila de Virginia Davids, primeira cantora lírica negra a se apresentar em uma ópera durante o período de apartheid.

Apesar de ser um ponto de referência de como a diversidade tem, aos poucos, vencido as barreiras impostas a negros no universo operístico, Yende se esquiva de temas como racismo e sexismo.

Não deixa, porém, de reconhecer que Davids teve parte significativa em sua “linda jornada”, como ela gosta de chamar sua carreira.

“Ela me ensinou a aceitar e amar o meu dom, a nunca me sentir pequena quando cercada por grandeza”, diz, sobre a professora. “Isso me coloca muito no chão, vendo como a indústria pode ser, ajuda a eliminar pressão desnecessária e limitações por me comparar com outras pessoas.” Ainda que acredite haver “espaço para todas as almas talentosas nesta Terra” e dispense comparações, Yende se mostra uma competidora nada tímida.

Em 2009, foi a primeira cantora a receber o prêmio máximo em todas as categorias da Belvedere Singing Competition, em Viena –ela repetiria o feito em 2011, nas competições Operalia.

“Foi uma confirmação do que eu estava procurando naquela época, de que de fato eu não estava errada em dar um voto de fé em direção à minha carreira operística.”

O prêmio histórico abriu-lhe as portas do italiano Teatro La Scala, em Milão, uma das casas mais renomadas do mundo quando o assunto é ópera, onde atuou até 2011.

Em 2013, foi ovacionada ao interpretar a condessa Adèle em “O Conde Ory”, de Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868), em montagem no Metropolitan Opera House, em Nova York.

Acompanhada pelo tenor mexicano Javier Camarena e pelo pianista cubano Ángel Rodriguez, ela encerra a curta série anual de concertos do Mozarteum nesta semana.

O programa é formado por obras de compositores italianos, como Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835) e Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), que também figuram no álbum de estreia da soprano, “A Journey”, lançado em 2016.

Mesclada no repertório que escolheu para seu “debut” na indústria fonográfica está também sua própria versão para o dueto “The Flower”.

Amanda Nogueira

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