First time nominee, composer Steven Price won the Academy Award for Best Original Score for Gravity. It may not be as exciting as Best Supporting Actor or Actress, but Best Original Score is just as important (at least it is in my opinion). This year's Oscar nominees included composers, John Williams, Thomas Newman, Alexandre Desplat, William Butler, and Owen Pallett.
Operabase compiles a statistical database of operas performed around the world. Every few years, they sort through the data to determine which operas were performed the most. In the 2012/13 season, only five composers populated the top ten spots: Verdi (2), Bizet (1), Puccini (3), Mozart (3), and Rossini (1). Find out which of their operas make up the list. View the Top 10 Operas.
With both a libretto and musical score entirely conceived and written by Richard Wagner himself, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, is his only truly original opera. The three act opera is still regularly performed today, despite remaining as one of the longest operas in existence (it takes nearly 4 and half hours to complete). Learn the synopsis of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
Richard Wagner was never really described as someone you'd want to be around. It was said he was often racist, selfish, arrogant, and frightening. However, when he wasn't only thinking about himself, he would at least turn his attention to Beethoven's music. He had a deep passion for Beethoven's compositions, to which many of us can relate, and found great inspiration in it. Learn more about the life of Richard Wagner in this profile.
It's been weeks, possibly months, since I've heard this aria, but when I woke up this morning, it was playing in my mind and I've been whistling it throughout the day. If you're not familiar with the aria, here's a great YouTube video of Luciano Pavarotti singing it. Learn the lyrics of "Una Furtiva Lagrima."
Beverly Sills was without a doubt, one of the USA's most beloved operatic stars. Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1929, to first generation immigrants, a young Sills won a singing contest at the age of three and performed on a radio show. As a result her parents enrolled her in music classes and the rest is history. At the apex of Sills' operatic career, she recorded 18 full-length operas and starred in 8 televised performances on PBS, graced the covers of Time Magazine and Newsweek, and performed on some of the world's greatest opera stages. Learn more about Beverly Sills in this profile.
I do not have perfect pitch. I do, however, possess relative pitch - the ability to determine a note as long as I'm given a reference note. For instance, if someone played middle C on a piano and asked me to sing an E flat, I could do so. People who can pick up an instrument and play a song by ear generally have relative pitch. Perfect pitch on the other hand is much more specific; it's like your brain came equipped with its own tuning fork. People who possess perfect pitch can hum any note within their vocal range without receiving any reference note. If you ask them to sing a G sharp, without playing any musical notes for them, they will sing a G sharp. Learn more about prefect pitch and answer the question of whether or not you have it.
Verdi's opera, I due Foscari, premiered on November 3, 1844. Though it was met with positive reviews, it wasn't nearly as popular as his opera, Ernani, which premiered six months earlier. In recent times, the opera has regained some traction, partly due to the success of Placido Domingo's performances as the Doge, which is traditionally a baritone role. Learn the synopsis of Verdi's I due Foscari.
With nearly one-hundred classical music compositions scored almost exclusively for voice and orchestra, it took Gustav Mahler over thirty years to pen his world famous music. As a result of his music's success, there are hundreds of recordings available to purchase. For the classical music beginner, how do you know which albums are worth buying? Some works are recorded so badly, or performed so oddly, that no matter how great the piece is, it will have you blacklisting the work entirely. Thankfully, there are some recordings out there that set the gold standard. It is my hope I have picked some of those albums for you. Here are five Quintessential Mahler music albums I highly recommend. If you have other recommendations on the best Mahler recordings, leave a note in the comments section to help out your fellow classical music listeners.
Taking home three Grammy Awards this year is the album, Winter Morning Walks. It won for Best Engineered Classical Album, Best Vocal Solo, and Best Contemporary Composition (listen to a sampling of Winter Morning Walks on YouTube). View the complete 2014 Classical Music Grammy Award Winners.