Villazon Cancels Everything, Again

It’s deja vu all over again for tenor Rolando Villazon.

After a 5-month sabbatical in late 2007, he had this to say:

I was exhausted…Vocally, I was tired. It was physically hard to reach notes, to sing piano(softly). You know, it started to become a job, not a pleasure, to sing. I went for a check-up and the doctor said I needed to take five weeks off. So I called my agent and said, ‘The doctor says I need to take off five months!’ A pause was needed, absolutely needed.

Things went well for awhile, but now he’s having trouble again: he’s just announced that he’ll be taking the rest of this year off, too, and having surgery.

"The Soloist" Reviewed

I have not yet seen The Soloist, the film that came out last weekend about a schizophrenic Juilliard-trained homeless man and the journalist who befriends him.

But the critical consensus seems to be that even skilled performances by Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr. in the leads can’t quite save it. Here are links to reviews by Roger Ebert, Ty Burr of the Boston Globe, and Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times.

And how is the musical integrity of the film? Reasonably high, according to this article from the Houston Chronicle.

Dove Sono Dame Kiri's Funds?

Many of us have watched our retirement accounts shrink recently, but Dame Kiri te Kanawa’s was disappearing in big chunks. The retired opera star was the target of an embezzling bank manager. Read more about it here.

And here’s Dame Kiri in her prime, singing her signature aria from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

Opera Plots in 140 Characters (Or Fewer)

On a whim, a Canadian classical music blogger known as The Omniscient Mussel launched a contest: summarize the plot of any existing opera in a Twitter tweet, that is, 140 characters or fewer.

Here’s a sample: “A bunch of bohemians. Is that a cold hand? Cough, cough. Forsake love. Cough, cough. Regain love. Cough, cough. Dead.”

The response to the contest exceeded The Mussel’s expectations and so another round begins on April 27th.

Find everything you need to know about the contest here.

Read entries from the last round here.