Three Perfect Voices Join the Cal Phil this Summer
Featuring Audrey Babcock, Cedric Berry, Annalise Staudt, and the Cal Phil Chorale.
Three perfect voices perform selections from this all-time favorite opera: mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock (a record-holder when it comes to “Carmen,” having performed over 40 productions), bass-baritone Cedric Berry (First Prize, LA’s Artist of the Future Competition and winner, Italian Educator’s Vocal Competition, and has performed in Paris and Madrid), and Annalise Staudt (Streisand Sony Fellow, American Theatre Wing's SpringboardNYC, and Second City).
Tchaikovsky said Bizet’s 1875 opera would become “the most popular opera in the world” and he was right - but it took a long time and a lot of rewriting. The original manuscript was over 1,000 pages long and the orchestra complained some of it was simply impossible to play. Bizet rewrote the music to Carmen's famous “Habanera” 13 times! And after all that, Paris simply did not care for this strange and violent girl from a cigarette factory (even though she pays with her life for her wickedness).
It wasn’t until the 1878 London production (performed in Italian) that “Carmen’s” luck began to change, eventually becoming one of the world’s most frequently performed operas. (Could it have had something to do with Miss Minnie Hauck, the American prima donna who played the title role in that production?) Poor Bizet (who never set foot in Spain) didn’t live to see “Carmen” enter the canon of great operas; he died after the opera's 33rd performance at the age of 36 (on his wedding anniversary!). “Ah, music!” Bizet once wrote. “What a beautiful art! But what a wretched profession!"
This concert also brings you some of the most beautiful works of composer Ennio Morricone, “The Mozart of Movies.” Morricone wrote his first composition at six; at 12, he enrolled in a four-year harmony program and completed it in six months. Morricone has composed over 400 scores for film and TV, winning two Oscars and a Grammy, as well as the Knight Grand Cross of Italy. He started out playing trumpet in jazz bands, and became a top studio arranger for RCA Victor. He won international fame in the 1960s for his groundbreaking western scores. We’ll be hearing fully-orchestrated Morricone music at this concert, but his early western scores were for shoestring productions that couldn’t possibly afford a full orchestra. So, the resourceful Morricone crafted scores using unusual (and very inexpensive) things, like gunshots, a Jew’s harp, whips, whistling, voices, and the new Fender electric guitar. Director Sergio Leone considered Morricone’s music so important, he actually edited many scenes around the music. Audiences loved it and Morricone’s film scores have now sold over 70 million records worldwide.