NEWSbytes -
as the year unfolds . . . .

Hildegard Behrens starts off 1999 in February with her reprisal of the role of Senta in Deutsche Oper Berlin's production of Der fliegende Holländer. A fitting beginning to a year that will take her to many places in Europe, across the Pacific to Japan and across the Atlantic to America where she will make appearances on both coasts - at the Met and San Francisco. A highlight of the year will be the world premiere at the Salzburg Summer Festival of an opera composed for Hildegard Behrens by the renowned Italian composer Luciano Berio. The opera will open this year's festival. We are told the work consists of a Prologue and 4 scenes. Ms. Behrens serves up a full plate in 1999 (see calendar) as she did in 1998 - to her fans' delight! Where does she get all that energy?

Try catching up with Jean-Yves Thibaudet and you're sure to run out of gas. This January found him in North America giving a string of concerts and recitals. He ends the month with a recital at Davis Symphony Hall in San Francisco. This January is but prologue to a year that has the flamboyant French pianist zig-zagging the world - and that includes Australia and Southeast Asia! There's even aThibaudet mini-festival at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw this March. Just take a look at his performance calendar for the half-year and you'll wonder how he even finds time to breathe! Or to enjoy his new home in LA.

Guess who's wearing a beard in Berlin? Mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux who's lately been introducing us to the rare pants roles in the operatic repertory. Wasn't it only a few months ago when she was the bearded Moorish Prince Hassem in Seville (Click HERE for her own account of this performance, if you haven't read it yet.) and soon after Ariodante in Dallas? So what's she doing in Berlin? Happily rehearsing Solimano by Hasse at the Deutsche Staatsoper, often wondering where the beard will be after singing 5 arias. It's both a role and a company debut. The score calls for a stage entry on an elephant (as Hassem she entered on a horse!), but as this presents a weighty logistical problem, an elephant she will get, NOT! Tune in later for more. (Picture is from Alahor in Granata: photo credit: G.Mendo Murillo, courtesy KKN Enterprises)

Tenor Richard Leech was back in the city of his birth in January, singing a sympathetic Pinkerton to Yoko Watanabe's Butterfly at the LA Opera. It's a role he can rightly call his own. As in the Grant Park Festival in Chicago last summer, among the guests who came backstage to greet him was Ellissa Lanza Bregman, daughter of his beloved boyhood idol, Mario Lanza. San Diego's favorite tenor, Richard Leech will be back in California in May to sing Verdi's Ballo in Maschera which ends SDO's season. In the meantime in February he makes his company debut with the Dallas Opera as Rodolfo (La Boheme) and sings Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde in concert with Jennifer Larmore and the New York Philharmonic, Kurt Masur conducting, at the Avery Fisher Hall (see Performance Calendar). Richard Leech is the cover story of the March 1999 issue of Opera News.
(Photo credit: S. Kagan, courtesy KKN Enterprises)

FanFaire 01/26/99; 02/19/99
Newsbytes 11/18/98