Seattle Opera’s New Brünnhilde – New York-Born Soprano Janice Baird
June Opera News Guides Readers to Best U.S. Summer Festivals
Every June, the editors of Opera News guide readers to the finest opera festivals in the United States. This year, the spotlight is on the Pacific Northwest and Seattle Opera’s recurring Ring cycle, with the company’s new Brünnhilde, American dramatic soprano Janice Baird, featured on the cover. Ms. Baird sings in all three Seattle Ring cycles in August, under the watchful eye and ear of director Stephen Wadsworth, who pilots his production through its third series of performances in the Wagner-mad, caffeine-driven city. James C. Whitson interviews Ms. Baird, who made front-page news last season with her last-minute Metropolitan Opera debut as Isolde.
Author Brian Kellow, Features Editor of Opera News, returned to his native Pacific-Northwest to assess Seattle ’s singular atmosphere. In “The Blue and the Gray”, Kellow expatiates on the question: “When does cool turn to chill?” Anyone who’s been there, especially in summer, knows the feeling. Add green for the deep forests – especially during a Ring cycle – to the blue water and (often) gray skies, and there’s a rich palette.
Staying in the cool Pacific Northwest, Opera News also covers events in Oregon. Despite sometimes being overshadowed by its neighbor to the north, Portland is, in its cozy way, as lively as its “sister” Seattle, with thriving opera, symphony, ballet, and many other attractions, as detailed for Opera News by Oregon-based critic Richard Speer. Marjorie Sandor travels to Eugene for a visit to the Oregon Bach Festival.
As part of its June festival season, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is presenting a scaled-down version of The Ghosts of Versailles, John Corigliano’s epic opera that was first seen as a Met commission in 1991. The Letter, Paul Moravec’s new opera based on Somerset Maugham’s play, with a libretto by Terry Teachout, has its world premiere in July at Santa Fe Opera. Barry Singer looks at these two very different works and reveals how they reflect the changing face of opera production.
The monthly Opera News supply of performance, recording, DVD, and book reviews enhances the June issue – and includes timely recommendations for summer reading and listening. The magazine’s website, www.operanews.com, always has extra features available exclusively to subscribers and Met patrons. June features hot young Latvian mezzo Elina Garanca – star of the Met’s Live in HD transmission of Rossini’s La Cenerentola in May – talking about her new recording of Bellini’s Capuleti e i Montecchi, and an exclusive free audio download of a duet between her and American tenor Matthew Polenzani.