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Category: Opera


Seattle Opera’s director Speight Jenkins awarded highest NEA honor

Speight Jenkins, director of Seattle Opera, is one of four recipients of the national 2011 Opera Honors awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts. The honors are the highest national award in opera, and come with a $25,000 monetary award. The other honorees are stage designer John Conklin, mezzo soprano Risë Stevens and composer Robert Ward. All four will be presented with the honors in a ceremony on Oct. 27 in Washington, D.C.

“These artists represent the highest level of artistic mastery and we are proud to recognize their achievements,” said NEA chairman Rocco Landesman.

The NEA Opera Honors

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Pacific Lutheran alumnae and rising opera star Angela Meade sings tonight at PLU

Ten years ago, soprano Angela Meade graduated from Pacific Lutheran University. Since then, she’s made her debut at The Met Opera in New York (in a dramatic last-minute substitution), hobnobbed with Placido Domingo and has just won the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, supporting opera artists on the threshold of a major international career. Tonight, she’s back at PLU to perform with the symphony orchestra.

Meade, who will sing again at The Met this October, will be performing Alban Berg’s “Seven Early Songs” with the PLU symphony orchestra in its final concert of the year.

The concert begins 8

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Tacoma Opera director Kathryn Smith to leave for Madison Opera in Madison, Wisconsin

Tacoma Opera has just announced that its general director Kathryn Smith has been appointed the new general director of Madison Opera, in Madison, Wisconsin. The move to the $2 million company comes after seven years for Smith at Tacoma Opera. She will assume her position on July 1, and the board of Tacoma Opera has begun a search for a new general director.

Smith, a Seattle native and Harvard graduate, came to Tacoma Opera in October, 2003 after six years at The Metropolitan Opera of New York, where she had been responsible for a $4.5 million budget as

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Tacoma Baritone takes on The Moore in “La Boheme”

By day Ryan Bede helps to save lives in Tacoma General’s emergency room. This Sunday he’ll take the stage at the Moore Theatre as Schaunard in Lyric Opera Northwest’s production of Puccini’s “La Bohéme”.

For the past four years Bede, 28, has been an emergency room tech at TG and a volunteer firefighter with the city of Ruston before that. But he’s been singing opera for much longer.

“In both cases I’m working to benefit other people. I enjoy relating with people,” he said this week during a break at work. He gets more hands-on work in the E.R., he said, but both careers connect with people in different ways. He does admit, though, that he doesn’t get as much applause in the E.R.
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Tacoma Opera gives the stage to Young Artists

Every year there’s an opera performance in Tacoma that’s unfamiliar to most of us. It features unknown artists, works we’ve maybe never heard of. It’s not in the Pantages or Rialto. But if you’re interested in up-and-coming singers, or just interesting opera, it’s worth a look: It’s the annual Young Artist Showcase by Tacoma Opera, staged in Theatre on the Square. This year the works are Haydn’s “The Budding Soprano,” telling the story of a diva-in-training, and Chabrier’s “An Incomplete Education,” a hilarious situation where a pair of newly-weds realize that they’ve never been told – er –

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Glorious singing and plenty of laughs in Seattle Opera’s “The Barber of Seville”

It’s hard to go wrong with Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” – great plot, funny characters, effervescent music – but it’s also sometimes hard to rise above everyone else. Seattle Opera has well and truly done this with their current “Barber,” which opened Saturday night to endless standing ovations from a capacity crowd at McCaw Hall. Their secret? A superstar tenor, a delightful soprano, an outstanding newcomer as Figaro and the kind of visual and musical jokes Rossini would have been proud of.

The crazy story of an aristocrat (Count Almaviva) who falls for a girl (Rosina) and enlists

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Free public tours begin next week at Seattle’s McCaw Hall


Ever wondered where opera singers get dressed? Where the orchestra unpacks? What the lighting desk looks like? All these secrets and more are revealed in the new free public tours of the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center, beginning Aug. 17. McCaw Hall, built in 1928, renovated in 1962 for the World’s Fair and finally completed in 2003, is one of the premier arts venues in the country, hosting the Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet in the 2,900-seat Brotman auditorium and Seattle International Film Festival events downstairs in the smaller Nesholm hall, plus numerous other events

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Valkyries and warriors storm McCaw Hall

Stuart Skelton (Siegmund), Margaret Jane Wray (Sieglinde), and Janice Baird (Brünnhilde). © Chris Bennion photo

On with the “Ring” cycle (see above post). Wagner’s four-opera epic continued last night with the opening of “Die Walkure,” to a rock-concert-style audience reception. The five-hour opera sustained the magic of the sets and special effects, while the music was outstanding and the acting mostly good.

Highlights were the set for Act I, with Hunding’s house crouched Hobbit-style in a tangled, lowering forest, and the stark misty rock that was home base for the Valkyries, the

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