40 Comments

About Me

I am not the garden variety teenager. Opera is my true passion in life, I have learned a lot about it and I am learning more every day. This blog will be all about opera and the way that opera lives today, all around the world, and then maybe some other stuff, too. I’m not a singer or a musician, but my future goal is to become General Manager of The Metropolitan Opera.

For now, though, I’m going to do my best to keep you all in the loop about the opera world with news, features, reviews and interviews.

I’ve even  written for sites like Parterre and I have been profiled in the Christian Science Monitor. You can also read some of my blog posts of the Huffington Post.

If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. You can contact me at operateenblog@gmail.com. My door is always open to fellow opera lovers!

I hope you all enjoy reading my blog as much as I do writing it! Talk to you soon opera lovers!

Enjoy!

40 comments on “About Me

  1. You are not alone, OperaTeen. My now 17 year old son turned ME on to opera at the tender age of 15. Keep up the good work!

  2. Your blog is highly impressive! I love everything you write.

  3. It’s so nice to know I’m not the only teenager in the world who appreciates the beautiful power of opera! I’d love to work with you someday. Keep up the great work! :)
    ~TheAustralianOperaGoddess

  4. If you’re in NYC on May 26th, we’d like to offer you and your family comps to see our production of “The Turn of the Screw”. One of the leads is only 12 years old and brilliantly talented. I hope you will join us.

    Best Regards,
    Rebecca Greenstein
    Executive Director
    http://www.OperaModerne.com

  5. If you’re in NYC May 26th, we would like to offer you and your family comps to see our new production of Benjamin Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw”. One of our leads is only 12 years old and a brilliant performer! Not to mention that the concept of the piece is a unique and beautiful one. I hope you will join us.

    Best regards,
    Rebecca Greenstein
    Executive Director
    http://www.OperaModerne.com

  6. This is awesome! Congratulations!

  7. i love this idea!!. I’m 17 years old . I study Opera. Obviously Opera is my passion too.Anna Netrebko is my idol!! I hope that all the teenagers can live this experience!! n.n

  8. Learning more every day, not everyday. Your pet peeve is people leaving the opera without showing the proper respect to the singers. Mine is “everyday” in place of “every day.” Nevertheless, keep listening and going to the opera as often as you can. Good luck with your blog and your goal of being the Met’s GM.

  9. This is great! I am 14 years old and have been training classically for almost a year now. I still remember going to my first Opera at age 4. I made it through the first 2 acts of Madame Butterfly. The music and the set made a big impression on me. When I started lessons with my teacher, who is an ex-opera singer living in Paris, he was surprised that I knew all the arias he assigned to me. I’ll be checking back here.

  10. Opera Teen: Your passion for opera is like a replay of my teens year, though I started my affair with opera in grade school with a performance of Carmen in Oakland, Ca. This was followed by student performances of San Francisco Opera throughout my jr. and sr. high years, Today, more than 65 years later, I am still committed to extolling the beauties of live opera and the Met’s HD simulcasts. I’ve been part of the audience in major houses around the world. Currently I am a subscriber to Seattle Opera. Durring college years I super’ed in the annual September San Francisco season in L.A. My
    most noteworthy evening of those five years was appearing in every act of Aida in Renata Tebaldi’s initial U.S. appearance in 1950. I didn’t look too bad in brown body paint and a loin cloth. Bless you my friend. Keep writing.
    .

  11. I’m excited to let you that Rightster has exclusive access to the Glyndebourne Festival’s production of Tristan und Isolde opera for publishers to feature, for free, on their sites between the 26th December – 6th January, within the Rightster player.

    Performed in German, with English subtitles, the myth of Tristan und Isolde is one the most beautiful of Wagner’s operas – and Glyndebourne is renowned for it’s commitment to producing opera of the highest quality. Normally, this content isn’t available to distribute, but this is a one off that I thought you would be very interested in?

    The content is available for free to you to embed on your site in the unbranded Rightster player – it will come with a 30 second pre roll – and you’ll earn a 50/50 split of any revenue you generate on your site. There are no watermarks or Glyndebourne branding on the content either!

    I’d love to know if this is something you’re interested in – I think considering how premium and rare this content, it could be a perfect match for you and your audience.

  12. Twitting is too short for a big mouth like me. I am so thrilled that someone of your age knows so much. I started at 14..and got to know people like Tebaldi,etc.Sang with Ramey..was a Spanish teacher. We need more like you since you are probably in the 1 percent (or LESS) who knows about the great singers. When you see my podcast site you will understand where i am coming from. I wish you my best and hope you continue success..Bravissssimo and Buon Natale. Charlie Handelman

  13. It’s MOI again. I am so happy another “kid’ loves opera (DOWN WITH JUSTIN BIEBER!!) that I have to control myself…If it is Ok..I do know some Youtube items I can post for all to see and enjoy..plus i would be happy to do a special podcast blog on you, the star!! I want people all over the globe to know that there are young people who know who Claudia Muzio was….My best Charlie Handelman, basso sometimes profondo. DO NOT EAT or DRINK while you all watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuQOt67zpsc

  14. You will fail all school subjects if you listen to me..but I know what is funny…and great..ok….moire on the way……

  15. For all of you opera lovers…If you wish to hear my podcasts…Please go to:

    http://handelmania.libsyn.com

    I think you will find some things of interest and if you have any special requests,I would be happy to accomodate you if I have the material.(Placido21@aol.com)
    What a JOY to know that young people are enjoying opera..and have a great life ahead of them..(even without Renata Tebaldi)
    Happy Xmas…Charlie

  16. Congratulations on your interview with Mr. Gelb–I’ve only discovered the beauty of opera in the past couple of years; as a cellist, instrumental classical music was my first love. What do you think is the best way to learn about opera? For a while, I would choose one a day at random and listen to it all the way through after reading a synopsis. Of course, that wasn’t very efficient, and I only ended up doing it for half a month at most. Do you have any tips?
    In any case, if you ever have too much time on your hands and a desire to read my own clumsy writing, feel free to visit me on my tumblr. I’d love to hear from you.

  17. I love your blog! I share your hope of more young people embracing opera and classical music. I came up with the idea of bringing food and opera together to help break down barriers and bring two worldly passions together! Have a look, if you’d like!

    http://thesingersappetite.com

  18. My Zilionth Trovatore

    How many Trovatores have I seen/heard in my existence? Yet, I marvel every time at what Verdi accomplished, and last night at the Met was no exception. Here is my totally unbiased review:

    Angela Meade, sporting her new engagement ring, is an immensly talent young artist. The voice is bright and clear,and she has an uncanny ability to take high D flats pianissimo with great ease. At first hearing,I thought they were a bit “disconnected’ from the rest of the vocal line, but then I realized that they constitute a most unusual element in her singing (cf.Caballe). Her fioratura work is clean;she is involved onstage, and rightly so, the audience gave her several ovations. By the way, get ready for an interpolated high E flat at the end of the “In mia man” next season,unless (Lord forbid) they hire Muti!
    I believe Mme.Blythe was ill, because she avoided most top notes, and even had to sing the last “Sei vendicata,o madre’ an octave down. We know what a great instrument she possesses,and that was evident most of the evening, but we could see there were some physical problems. These singers are great troupers, and often sing through all kinds of physical problems.
    I loved Marco Berti as Calaf, and last night his Manrico would for me constitute the best (maybe only) true dramatic tenor voice around today. No,it ain’t a Tucker,Corelli, or Del Monaco quality of tone, but it is a brilliant voice, even from bottom to ringing middle and top, and he is capable of some lovely piano phrases. Some people call this “provincial” but maube they never heard of Galliano Masini, Bernardo de Muro, or some of the tenors who were not supposed to be Schipa or Valletti.
    Two new voices were surely quite impressive. Alexey Markov was a fine de Luna, producing some top notes almost like a dramatic tenor. It is a fine voice and an excellent addition to the baritone wing. Another new guy was the Greek basso Christophoros Stamboglis, with a large,round, and beautiful voice, and when I asked him about a future “Attila,” he said he just did it! He was really excellent,even in a role that is not too rewarding past scene one.
    Inez usually is sung by an inaudible soprano, but Edyta Kulczak made some very pleasant and resonant sounds that lead me to believe she might be more than a comprimario. I noted this several years ago with Michaela Martens, and there was once a girl named Von Stade who did Wowkle in Fanciulla.

  19. When act two of tonight’s Met Rondine ended, the gentleman behind me said, “Am I losing my hearing?” My answer was, “No…Opolais is the only reasonably audible voice on the stage.” Imagine what kind of performance ( about 2/3 filled) it was to have only ONE singer in the cast who was a success.
    Kristine Opolais has a very beautiful voice, and I know her repertory includes Jenufa,Tosca,Donna Elvira, Rusalka,etc. The voice gets going more toward the upper middle and top,which is brilliant, but I feel that if she were surrounded by better singers, her performance would have gained even greater success. However,it is a fine voice, with gorgeous high pianos and powerful dramatic tone.
    Sadly, no one else could project any sort of tone;Cesare Valletti was not Franco Corelli, but he knew how to place the voice, and could be heard in the Family Circle. I am most happy that Mr.Filianoti conquered thyroid cancer and he surely is a passionate and accomplished artist, but the voice is much too small for the Met, and that gorgeous last scene lacked the kind of passion it should have,not because he was not emotional, but because the voice is just too small.
    The role of Prunier is as large as that of Ruggero, and Mr.Brenciu,who will sound wonderful on the coming broadcast, has a tiny voice that goes nowhere. The Lisette of Anna Christy also made little impression on me. Teachers do teach singers what proper projection of the voice is, but I am sorry that these singers (plus Mr.Croft) lacked any sort of volume. Even a Mozart orchestra would not allow them to sound at least adequate.
    A couple of good buddies of mine blast me for my “wanting more sound,” but I say to them and to all of you, that 95% of the time, I have no complaints. I always use the voice of Rebecca Evans, whose Zerlina was so beautifully projected, and who was not an Isolde, as an example.
    Except for a talky act one (although an audible Prunier would have made it better, the opera has such beautiful music, especially the act two ensemble and the heart-wrenching final scene, but Mme.Opolais was only able to carry a portion of the show. Listen to Moffo/Barioni if you want to hear TWO singers who blend so well in this music.
    Very cruelly yours,
    Charlie

  20. Opera Teen’s article on “Getting kids into opera” is one of the finest pieces of journalism one could read…The kid is headed for a great future, and as a teacher who has brought opera into class, I commend him most highly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. NONE OF YOU could attend the La Puma opera company of the 1960’s. Go to Youtube and watch a few more..BUT BE WARNED….I suggest you do not have a full meal before you listen. They finally threw us OUT!!!!!!

  22. Gelb did not stage Ballo correctly..Here is the correct one.

    The tenor has trouble with his POCKET.

    I cracked up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. In one of my “philosophical” moods.(Does that mean “boring”?) Just listening on the phone (Grazie a Dio no party line) to some of my own tapes, and saying to my friend,”I never heard this!” Well,there is too much music…Even just the RING requires a lifetime to “learn.” He played me,among other things:

    Sayao Elisir aria
    Albanese/Di Stefano Schicchi finale
    Steber Seraglio aria
    Kirsten/Kullman L’Amore de Tre Re duet
    Sayao/Bjoerling O soave Fanciulla
    Cloe Elmo Azucena scenes

    Within a very few years, more and more of the last “links to the past’ will be gone forever..not just the great artists like Olivero,Zeani, Albanese, including many of us collectors (I ain’t no spring chicken), and so we are fortunate, through the magic of the Internet, to be able to pass on to the next generations what we feel are important recordings, and also to attempt to preserve a part of opera history, just as the film industry preserves the great films of the past.
    My conversations with Virginia Zeani, my friend’s visits to Magda Olivero, and any of us who are fortunate to be able to hear what the last links to the past have to impart can be of great value, but my feeling is that we have a “responsability’ NOT to let the past die out….That is why a volume like J.B. Steane’s “The Grand Tradition” is such a treasure to young and old.
    We are fortunate to spread the word,through our ventures on Youtube and our sharing our interest with others on such sites as Opera-L, Facebook,Parterre Box,etc. and also finding very young opera lovers such as “Operateen” (check out his marvelous site..He KNOWS!!!!)
    In past years, we oldies had to rely on knowing by word of mouth as to what great treasures are out there, and all those “pirates’ (Heaven forbid!) were of great value. Yes,it does make us somewhat jaded, but at least we have mementos of what has gone by since the earliest period of recordings, and we must try to pass our information on to the next generations, and also inform young people that there is life after Justin Bieber (and Jose Cura).
    Therefore,do not let me hear about those “old scratchy Fernando de Lucia discs,” and keep your ears open to what has gone before us for over 100 years. What a pleasure it is to read the posts of so many who actually know who Gertrude Bindernagel was! (Look her up!)
    I hope you found the above somewhat interesting, and maybe this post was inspired by a guy last night at the Met who told me he likes my podcasts. However, I am but one of the opera lovers who desire to preserve the great memories of the great singers.
    Keep it ALIVE!!!! Charlie

  25. I am told Bartoli liked this!!!!!!!!!

  26. I have placed many clips on both the opera teen sites..i hope you enjoy them..Charlie handelman

  27. Dear Virginia did 648 Violettas…She is one of the greatest singers ever..but you must find her since there is so little commercial material(like with Olivero,Gencer,Kabaiwanska) I consider her “family.”

  28. My spies have just informed me that “Opera Teen’ is actually 75 years old….Anyone who writes the magnificent way he does….that is NOT a 16 yr.old kid…I got this info.from the Westchester office of the FBI and KGB…..

  29. The poor thing OD’d on Valium I believe……

  30. To everyone..I hope you are enjoying the clips I am putting on..It is a matter of “knowing where to look” on youtube..any ideas from you I would be happy yo find some stuff…as ever Charlie Handelman
    I also want to remind you of my site at http://handelmania.libsyn.com…Met singers have told me they enjoy it and I have even made specific podcasts for them..

  31. I do tend to repeat myself as much as Philip Glass but I hope you enjoy what I have to say below:

    Many years ago, when I was dating both Nelly Melba and Adelina Patti (who hated each other with vengeance), we were extremely limited as to knowledge of who were the famous singers at that time. There were very few recordings, but over the years, with the advent of LP’s (remember LP’s??) we became more knowledgeable because there was a greater variety of recordings.
    Then we met new opera lovers on the old Met standee line, and by word of mouth we heard of trasured singers of the past from the oldies who had seen live the likes of Ponselle and Tibbett. Shortly after, around the 60’s (1960’s), we were told of “Pirates,” and then discovered that a huge number of recordings of live performances existed, especially those of singers who never got to record commercially (Leyla Gencer,for example, was known as the “Queen of the Pirates.”,and at a party we gave her she even autographed my “Gencer catalogue card.)
    Today we are most blessed by having the Internet afford us an amazing opportunity to sample all sorts of material, either from the knowledge and experience of nutty collectors like yours truly, who can recommend so many artists many of us had not heard of;there is Youtube and there are various forums like parterre box ,Opera-L, and Facebook where we can share our ideas (and only a few times have i received death threats over my opinions.)
    Facebook in particuular is a joy, because many many famous artists post and we come to enjoy them as much more than as just singers (Larry Brownlee,for example, is a huge sports fan). We also can communicate with them in a personal way and this is still another way to gain more knowledge of the opera world all over the world.
    Then there is this dude known as “Opera teen,” who leads the crusade to remove the name Justin Bieber from young people’s minds, and replace it with such names as Anna Netrebko, Piotr Beczala, and Sondra Radvanovsky. This to me is a revelation, because I look back on my opera life and know what great treasures lie in store for new opera fans.
    I therefore hope you will all take advantage of what is out there, and will some day be able to look back and say something like, “Gee, I know who Magda Olivero was…and she may even still be with us.)
    My best to all of you and may you someday own every DVD Ring that exists. (This is why I am on foodstamps.) As ever Charlie

  32. LOVE YOUR MOMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. I just read that Delia Rigal has passed away, and her passing reminds me of something that I have always felt (as opposed to what some people think). Rigal was one of the most incredibly flawed singers i ever heard. As a person,she was fun and most lovable. HOWEVER, no one ever heard me say she was a great singer…because i could distinguish personality from what went on on stage.
    Some (misguided??) individuals assert that i love singers “because i know them,” which is the biggest mistatement since someone declared that Wagner was really Jewish. For example, they tell me i love Giordani “because I know him,” and the facts are that i loved his singing long long before I met him.(ask him). Therefore, as a non-hypocrite, I declare that my “love’ begins on stage, and that is it.if I get to know them..fine..but the stage appearance comes first.
    Zinka is my favorite singer, but as a person, she was aloof and often really nasty, like the time I presented her with a gorgeous and nostalgic photo of the Tucker and Zinka singing the Chenier duet at the closing of the old mety. She said, “I vill not sign this.Eet is messsed up!” Little did i know she only accepted ‘posed photos,” and yet this is such a gorgeous photo..I have three of them..but that was Zinka, and i still loved her SINGING.
    I refuse to “love a singer because i know them” because people would never respect me if i turned out to be someone who only went to the opera “so the singers can see me” backstage.(No name mentioned.)
    I recall one night i would not go back to see Tebaldi because I did not want to be a fake and offer my usual praise, because she was BAD..besides, she would know in a second i was lying.
    How many “Nazis” do we love VOCALLY and how many “nice people” like Delia (Rest in Peace) are admittedly very flawed, and we would be fools online to praise them “because we know them.”
    I hope the above diatribe puts this all to rest…and like all of us, weshould be free to express our honest opinions without being accused of some kind of “bobbysoxer mentality.” (Look it up!)
    As ever, Charlie, always fearful he might have known Kurt Baum.

  34. As you well know, I do not have the slightest fear of putting you to sleep with my rants and raves about “singers not enough people know” but in my experience, there are opera buddies of mine who have discovered some artists whom the general public just cannot know, because they are not compulsive collectors of everything since Giuditta Pasta.
    I constantly receive e-mail or comments on various sites about the singers whose “flame will never die,” and I am so happy to get excellent feed back about them, but i also see, especially on Facebook and parterre Box, that many others have awakened me and many others to the artists who deserve more recognition. After all, how many of the general opera public ever heard of Rosette Anday, Giuseppe Anselmi, Stella Roman
    or what’s her face…Diana Soviero?
    To my chagrin, when I told one singer I “keep the flame alive,” she said, “HEY! I am not dead yet!!!!” I know all of us will continue to spread the word and awaken others (as we were awakened many years ago) to what is out there. I recall,as a perfect example, someone visiting me with a 78 (remember?) of Eva Turner’s “In questa reggia,” and i totally flipped out. The reverse occurs when i send material of “my divas” (and a couple of guys) to the various forums, and am happy to find that they react very much the same when I was told of some of the greats when I was just starting out..and then we did not even have “pirates.”
    Basta….I hope you keep up the spirit and keep the flames alive..and if anyone tells you,”I am not dead yet”) just ignore it and keep on boring the rest of the Internet public as I do.
    As ever Carlitos

  35. Today I attended my very first opera Don Giovanni and although I expected it to be good, in all ways it surpassed my expectations. The emotion that the singers could put into their voice helped to tell the story and the set added to the already amazing experience. I only ever have listened to Opera recorded, but the atmosphere of live Opera was amazing. I only wish that more teenagers would open their minds to different forms of music and perhaps if not learn to adore it, to at least appreciate its beauty and form. I am just lucky that I have been exposed to this magnificent art. Don Giovanni was an amazing Opera and I cannot wait to attend another Opera next season.

  36. Hey!! Woo I’m so glad I’ve found someone my age who loves Opera as well! We should e-mail or whatever – I’d love to chat with about it!

  37. You are not alone. I’m 64 now, but I discovered opera waynbackmwhen I was around 15, when I accidentally tuned in to a Met broadcast. It was “Lucia”, and a few weeks later I went out and bought a recording of it. I began attending performances if our local company, Milwaukee’s Florentine, then taking trips to Chicago to take in the Lyric and the short-lived Met National company.

    Your writing displays a knowledge and maturity way beyond your years. Congratulations, and keep up the good work!

  38. I love the fact that you as a young person are encouraging other young people to stay interested in the arts. I am currently doing a kickstarter campaign to fund a televised classical concert at Carnegie Hall that will be televised. If we are successful with this campaign I would like for us to talk about me donating a ticket for you to raffle for your teen followers so that a young person who loves classical music and opera will have the chance to go.

    Please keep up the good work that you are doing.
    With youths like you the art of classical music will stay alive for generations to come.
    -Nerva Altino
    The Altino Brothers
    http://www.thealtinobrothers.com
    bit.ly/W4d4GD

  39. […] rašomų blogų. Viename jų sutiksite paauglį, svajojantį tapti ne kuo kitu, o didžiausio operos teatro direktoriumi. Kitame galite perskaityti dešimt jaunuolio išdėstytų punktų, apie tai, ką operos teatrai […]

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