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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: February 11, 2009 Archive

The Wonder Pets Save Children's Music

Posted at 1:00 AM on February 11, 2009 by Gillian Martin

I have been immersed recently in the brave new (to me) world of little-kid pop culture. There's some pretty banal stuff out there, folks.

So imagine my delight this weekend when I came across a video of The Wonder Pets. The style of animation is really interesting. The show is aimed at pre-schoolers, so the premise is charmingly surreal and the stories are completely devoid of cynicism and irony.

But the really great part is the music. No chirpy synthesizers here. Get a sense of it yourself in this (undoubtedly unauthorized) video.

Minnesota at the Metropolitan Opera

Posted at 8:01 PM on February 11, 2009 by John Birge

The Metropolitan Opera just announced its 2009-10 season.
Nice to see that the Met has signed some Minnesota regulars:

Renee Fleming sings Rossini's Armida with Bruce Ford, a tenor who's been a regular with MN Opera. When Bruce sang in Lucrezia Borgia, he stopped by the MPR studio to talk about the Bel Canto tradition, and treated us to his best Luciano Pavarotti impersonation.

Angela Gheorghiu sings her first Carmen at the Met, with hubby Roberto Alagna as Don José. Gheorghiu also brings her famous La Traviata back to the Met, but her co-star for that production is not Alagna; it's James Valenti, who started his career as a young artist at Minnesota Opera. Once upon a time, James attracted a crowd of adoring women when he sang "O sole mio" at the MPR Booth at the Minnesota State Fair. He sang in the MPR studios when he played Romeo at Minnesota Opera last year. It'll be Valenti's Met debut in April 2010, but we get him back a month earlier, when he comes back to sing La Boheme with Minnesota Opera.

Verdi's rarely heard Attila, with costumes designed by Miuccia Prada - yes, THAT Prada -- and sets by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, the architects who designed the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis
.
Artist William Kentridge, who gave a puppet theater performance at the Walker a few years ago, directs and designs the Met's new staging of Shostakovich's opera "The Nose." That'll star the incredible voice of Paulo Szot, who won a Tony Award last year for South Pacific at Lincoln Center.

Here's a press release about the entire 2009-2010 Met season.
And, of course, the omniscient Opera Chic will have all the inside dohp.