Today I had a meeting with Jo and a Marketing Manager from Cheltenham who came to Malvern for the meeting. We discussed the sorts of venues to be chosen for the Galas and for the performances of the Don next year. Difficulties of help with funding were discussed , especially for new groups and we realised the galas would have to fund the hire of the theatres in the local opera, The name of the company was discussed and also the fact that we felt we wanted to encourage the producer not to do it in modern dress, into which every production seems to fall now. We examined a 1760 style of dress which we were going to hand on. All in all, I will be glad to go back to singing and leave all this to others!!
Preparations are endless. How would Don Giovanni be presented ? How will it look? Modern dress has been done to death, hope it will be something eighteenth century and 'Commedia del Arte'. Should be great if it is. Remember Venice with enormous fondness! Such a great experience watching the masqueraders sailing up and down past the Rialto and first memories of my son Christian singing the Allegri Miserere treble solo in a major Italian church. SS Redentore. The Carnival season -would be so great if it could be like that. Colours, red, gold, green and vibrant Italian colours..
Then there are publicity photos to collect in and CV's which marketing people want. And learning it in English, as I only know it in Italian at present.
Ordered the DVD of Joan Sutherland singing Norma, and was so sorry not to have a video of Callas. Vocally, what an amazing voice Joan had. My DVD showing a performance at the Sydney Opera House showed the Joan's immense stature and command of vocal technique , especially like Callas, flawless chromatic scales for the voice throughout. I practise this myself and achieving this is a huge amount of hard work. I am singing the duet ' Mi chiami O Norma' with Josephine Williamson at a gala, and was amazed (from the DVD) how dramatic production has changed since those days. On the plus side they did not have to sing upside down or climbing down a rope! Comes to something when people book you for your gymnastic ability. I think Callas would have given anyone suggesting that short shrift.-but then she was from an era when opera was about great voices.
Cardiff Singer of the world sported absolute stars from all over Europe and I was impressed by the competition at St David's Hall, soprano Meeta Raval from England, mezzo-soprano Olesysa Petrova from Russia, soprano Hye Jung Lee from South Korea, baritone Andrei Bondarenko from Ukraine and soprano Valentina Naforniţă from Moldova. My favourites were Valentina and Andrei who were dazzling and brilliant technically as well as performance wise. The winner was Valentina Naforniţă, who also won the Audience Prize and Andrei who won the Song Prize, but frankly all the finalists were amazing young professionals. Bravi Tutti!!!! Bravi.