Month: March 2009

Naplan named one of Madison’s “40 Under 40”

Congrats to our General Director Allan Naplan for recently being named one of Madison’s “40 Under 40” honorees for 2009 by In Business magazine. You can read all about it on the In Business site and on ForteMadison.com. Words of wisdom from Allan:

Do what you do because you love doing it. While no one gets rich working in non-profit arts management, the reward of creating good art, inspiring creativity and making a positive impact on the culture of a community is something I love to do and something that goes well-beyond the paycheck.

Aria Focus: “Le veau d’or”

“Le veau d’or,” or “The Song of the Golden Calf,” is sung by Mephistopheles in Act II of Faust. It contains some of Gounod’s most recognizable (and frightening) music and is a masterpiece of succinct characterization; you very quickly fear this guy. At this point in the plot, Mephistopheles has already revealed himself to Faust, and the infamous pact has been made: the weary scholar trades his soul to the devil for youth. Act II then opens with the famous “Kermesse,” or carnival scene, with throngs of students and villagers drinking and celebrating. Mephistopheles arrives, a sinister outsider, and sings “Le veau d’or,” his cynical manifesto on mankind, and his powers are gradually discovered (find an extra-detailed summary here). I’ve included a recording of the piece below by Boris Christoff with the Paris Opera Orchestra under Andre Cluytens, along with the lyrics in English. Beneath that there’s another interpretation by Bryn Terfel at Covent Garden. Enjoy, and check back in the coming weeks for more “Focus” selections from Faust.

The calf of gold is still standing!
One adulates his power,
One adulates his power,
From one end of the world to the other end!
To celebrate the infamous idol,
Kings and the people mixed together,
To the somber sound of golden coins,
They danse a wild round
Around his pedestal
Around his pedestal
And Satan leads the dance, etc, etc.

The calf of gold is the victor over the gods!
In its derisory (absurde) glory,
In its derisory (absurde) glory,
The abject monster insults heaven!
It contemplates, oh weird frenzy!
At his feet the human race,
Hurling itself about, iron in hand,
In blood and in the mire,
Where gleams the burning metal,
Where gleams the burning metal,
And satan leads the dance, etc.

[Translation from AriaDatabase]

Faust: Click/Read/Watch/Listen

You can now view our compendium of online scores, librettos, articles, videos, and recommended recordings, DVDs, and books related to Gounod’s Faust. One stop shopping for everything you need to know about the opera!

Eye on the Cast: David Pittsinger

It’s round 3 of “Eye on the Cast,” this time for Faust. I wrote about bass David Pittsinger earlier in the year, during his first run on Broadway in the Tony-winning revival of South Pacific. Now he’s at it again, taking the Broadway stage as Emile De Becque until April 12. You can read more about Pittsinger and his decision to give up a gig at the Met for South Pacific in this recent Hartford Courant feature. After Pittsinger sings Mephistopheles in Faust with Madison Opera in May, he’ll head back to Broadway, but not surprisingly the Met has come calling again: next season he’ll make appearances in Alban Burg’s Lulu and Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the famed New York institution.

A new twist on Cosi

This is genius! Underworld Productions in New York offers a Cosi for the American Idol-era:

UP’s “Così” sticks with the original until the very end, when it introduces a little modern mischief that the impish Mozart might have relished. The opera is a comedy of three men, three women, a little fiancé-swapping, a wedding and the unanswered question of who is marrying whom. Underworld Productions will ask audience members to pair up the characters for the final wedding scene. Electronic voting will take place at intermission, and the cast will respond by implementing the favored ending.

Read more here.