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Opera's 'Best Soprano' Dead at 85

Spain's Montserrat Caballe dies in Barcelona

(Newser) - Montserrat Caballe, a Spanish opera singer renowned for her bel canto technique and her interpretations of the roles of Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti, has died, the AP reports. She was 85. Hospital Sant Pau spokesman Abraham del Moral confirmed her death early Saturday. Del Moral says that Caballe's family... More »

Met Investigating Sex Abuse Claim Against Famed Conductor

Man says James Levine abused him for years beginning when he was a teenager

(Newser) - New York's Metropolitan Opera said Saturday it will open an investigation into allegations that its longtime conductor, James Levine, sexually abused a man three decades ago beginning when the man was a teenager. Levine's accuser, now middle-aged, contacted the police in Lake Forest, Ill., in October 2016 to... More »

The Metropolitan Opera Hears a Note It's Never Heard Before

Audrey Luna hits the A above high C—twice

(Newser) - "When I hear the conventional high C of a soprano, I want to say, 'Show us what else you've got,'" says a British composer whose new opera is currently being performed at the Metropolitan Opera. Soprano Audrey Luna did just that. The New York Times ... More »

Broadway Star Barbara Cook Gone at Age 89

'I don't remember when I didn't sing. I just always sang': Barbara Cook

(Newser) - Barbara Cook, whose shimmering soprano made her one of Broadway's leading ingenues and later a major cabaret and concert interpreter of popular American song, has died, the AP reports. She was 89. Cook died early Tuesday of respiratory failure at her home in Manhattan, surrounded by family and friends,... More »

Notorious RBG Makes Opera Debut

Bader Ginsburg gets her first speaking role at Washington National Opera

(Newser) - The curtain rose on Act 2 of "The Daughter of the Regiment," revealing a tiny woman barely visible in a large dome chair with her back to the audience. Suddenly, she swiveled around—and there was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, reports the AP . Cheers and prolonged applause rang... More »

Man Tries to Sing Opera, Has Police Called on Him

The 'nocturnal nightingale' has his door bashed in

(Newser) - Cringe: Police in Amsterdam responding to what UPI terms "screams of agony" kicked in a home's door, only to find the resident alone and perfectly fine. Turns out the man was listening to opera, with headphones on, and had been trying to sing along, reports NL Times . In... More »

Protesters Denounce Met Opera That 'Glorifies Terrorism'

Rudy Giuliani among those objecting to opera's 'historical inaccuracy'

(Newser) - Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined hundreds of demonstrators last night to protest an opening-night opera performance at the Met, the New York Times reports. Protesters shouted "Shame on the Met!" and sported signs that read "The Met glorifies terrorism," and it's all thanks to... More »

Courtney Love's Next Gig: Opera Star

She's cast in a 'pop opera' next year

(Newser) - You probably did not see this one coming: Courtney Love has been cast ... in an opera. Specifically, Kansas City Choir Boy, which Rolling Stone calls a "pop opera." It will run from Jan. 8 to 17 in New York City, as part of the Prototype: Opera/Theater/Now Festival . "... More »

Opera Singer Farts When Singing, Sues Over Surgery

Amy Herbst says unkind cut ruined her singing career

(Newser) - Hitting a high C is hard enough without worrying about passing gas—and an opera singer in Nashville is suing over the dilemma, Fox News reports. Amy Herbst, a mezzo-soprano, says she was doing fine until an Army nurse screwed up her childbirth operation in 2012. The nurse at an... More »

X-Ray Reveals 216-Year-Old Opera Aria

Stanford lab able to read scrubbed-out notes of Luigi Cherubini

(Newser) - Stanford physicists have made it possible to listen to a renowned opera in full for the first time in more than 200 years, reports the San Jose Mercury News . Scientists at the university's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory used X-rays to reveal the closing aria from the 1797 opera Medee ... More »

Soprano to Become First Singer in Space

Sarah Brightman plans Soyuz trip

(Newser) - The world's best-selling soprano has booked her ticket to space. British singer Sarah Brightman, who rose to fame as the heroine in The Phantom of the Opera, plans to head to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz in 2015, reports the Guardian . Brightman, who plans to spend... More »

World's 'Finest' Interpreter of Art Songs Dead at 86

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau excelled at Schubert lieder

(Newser) - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, perhaps the 20th century's greatest singer of art songs, died yesterday at home in Bavaria, the New York Times reports. He was 86. The German son of a classical scholar and a schoolteacher, Fischer-Dieskau (pronounced FEE-sher DEES-cow) studied voice in Berlin and had two years of unexpected... More »

Opera Stars Ditch Japan Tour Over Radiation Fears

Experts say there's nothing to worry about

(Newser) - A pair of New York’s top opera stars due to sing in Japan have canceled their performances following the earthquake, the AP reports. Now, the Metropolitan Opera has to “scour the world” to find replacement singers for soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Joseph Calleja, even though experts said... More »

Opera Legend Joan Sutherland Dead at 83

Stupendous soprano had 'voice of the century'

(Newser) - Joan Sutherland, the soprano Luciano Pavarotti once called "the voice of the century," has died at her home in Switzerland at age 83. The Australian-born singer—known as "La Stupenda" or "The Stupendous One" to opera audiences—became one of the most celebrated opera singers of... More »

Drug War: The Opera, Premieres in Mexico

Opera is first to tackle theme of country's drug conflict

(Newser) - Mexico's drug war has reached its fingers all the way into the country's premier opera house: The first opera based on the conflict, Only the Truth, has premiered in Mexico City. The opera, based on a popular Mexican song, tells the story of a woman who smuggles marijuana north into... More »

Anna Nicole Opera Will Premiere in 2011

Libretto is by 'Jerry Springer: The Opera' writer

(Newser) - Britain's Royal Opera House will stage the premiere of an opera about Anna Nicole Smith in 2011. The libretto of Anna Nicole is by Richard Thomas, a creator of the controversial Jerry Springer: The Opera. Covent Garden commissioned the opera about the former Playmate in 2008. It will focus on... More »

Harlem Aria Hits Sour Note

Apparent Soloist knockoff actually from 1999, where it should stay

(Newser) - Harlem Aria hit the festival circuit in 1999, and contemporary critics are baffled by the timing of the release of the uneven story of a developmentally disabled young black man with a heart and voice of gold:
  • The performances and William Jennings' direction are "no more than adequate,"
... More »

Opera Diva Faces Jail in NY Cell Phone Tiff

Soprano shoved restaurant manager after complaints

(Newser) - An Argentine opera singer could face jail after a fight broke out in a New York restaurant over her cell phone screeching. Soprano Gabriela Pochinki, 41, and her daughter were shouting into a cell phone on speaker and refused to stop after fellow diners complained. Security camera footage shows the... More »

2 New Theaters Make Dallas a Hotspot

One traditional, one progressive, they reaffirm the Big D's vibrancy

(Newser) - Dallas has several museums and concert halls that would be the envy of any city, but until now they've seemed more like standalone monuments than elements of a city center. Two new venues opening this Sunday have transformed downtown, "giving the area the cultural stature Dallas has long been... More »

Met Audience Boos Drab Tosca

Critics pan new production of Puccini opera

(Newser) - New York's Metropolitan Opera opened its season last night with a gala production of Puccini's Tosca, a crowd-pleasing war horse given an aggressive new staging by the Swiss director Luc Bondy. The black-tie crowd was not pleased with the stark, modern production, erupting in boos during the curtain call. Critics... More »

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