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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: May 11, 2007 Archive

Anna, get your gun...

Posted at 6:00 AM on May 11, 2007 by John Birge

Good thing star soprano Anna Netrebko doesn't have the Diva's hair-trigger temper; it seems she enjoys firearms. BIG firearms.

From her website:



And for pictures of a very different sort, click here.

Pieces of Spring No. 10

Posted at 12:13 PM on May 11, 2007 by John Birge

Welcome May, and Classical Minnesota Public Radio's Pieces of Spring.

Every day, we'll play a springtime classic. Visit our online playlist to find each day's spring piece or, in the Twin Cities, listen to 99.5 every morning at 8. Enter the correct title here, and you have another chance to win fresh flowers delivered to your door for a year! Check back here every day to see if you got it right.

Yesterday's piece was "Rustle of Spring" by Christian Sinding, which came to life as a piano miniature in the same vein as Grieg’s Lyric Pieces. While less well-known in today's era of Suzuki method books, it was very famous a hundred years, and seemed to show up in every "World's Greatest Piano Pieces" anthology. "Rustle of Spring" was also quoted by Meredith Willson in his musical The Music Man.

Figaro Figaro Figaro

Posted at 4:57 PM on May 11, 2007 by Rex Levang

Remarkably enough, the Twin Cities can currently boast two different—very different—productions of Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro." One is a fairly traditional staging by the Minnesota Opera. The other is by Theatre de la Jeune Lune, and in typical Jeune Lune fashion, it's a pretty freewheeling adaptation. In fact, they call it simply "Figaro," as if to signal the original theatrical work that's gone into creating it.

Sounds like a case of operatic purists on the one hand, and avantgardists on the other.

Well, not exactly. Which production has a man playing a woman's role? Jeune Lune, right? No, actually that would be Minnesota Opera. (More on countertenor Cortez Mitchell here.)

Likewise, scholars have long recognized that "Figaro" served as something of a model for Mozart's next opera, "Don Giovanni." Which company makes the most of this musicological point? Minnesota Opera, right? Actually that would be Jeune Lune, whose "Figaro" cast also appears in their "Don Juan Giovanni," in the same way that Mozart's singers did. Well, roughly.

Compare and contrast, as they say. For that matter, this doesn't exhaust the Figaro activity in the area. Did anyone see last weekend's production in Fargo? Or for that matter, the Kabuki-flavored production last fall at the U of M? Has anyone seen them all?