Monday, December 17, 2012

Sum up of the last few months


For those of you who make the effort to stop by, thank you!

My busy semester filled with: traveling, schenker graphs; concerts; opera lectures; auditions; and my first Les Contes d'Hoffmann comes to an end with my first Messiah (Handel).

I sang the Tenor Solo for St. Gregory the Great episcopal church's Messiah on the 16th.
I also played in the orchestra. A double duty evening indeed! The performance was well received and I would like to take the opportunity to thank Dallas Bono for the opportunity to make music with his group in every capacity I know how.

Keep your fingers crossed for me and the out come of the audition process. I have now stepped into the beginning of a long journey in which I will audition constantly, and if I am like everyone else, find varied success.

Cheers to 2012, a year of significant change and yet.. more of the same.

Thank you to everyone bust especially my family, Frederick Burchinal, Kathryn Wright, Dr. Don Lowe and Dr. Jo Anne Lowe; Dr. Hoveland, my friends and Salina Sanchez.

Happy Holidays to all!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Taste of Hoffmann

For those of you who were unable to see UGA's Tales Of Hoffmann here are some photos of the performance.

I want to thank Victoria Fox (Nicklausse - Muse), Elisabeth Slaten (Antonia), Evelyn Shreves (Olympia), Kelsey Fredriksen (Giuletta), Richard Block (Dr. Miracle/Coppelius), Chris Voss (Dappertutto, Lindorf) for their great performances and collegial support. I would also like to thank Frederick Burchinal and Kathy Wright for their instruction, guidance and the inestimable experiences shared during the rehearsal period of this enormous opera. I would be remise if I did not thank Mark Cedel and the UGA symphony orchestra for nailing a challenging score and helping to make great music. Finally and certainly not least, thank you to the audience - the readers of the blog - friends and family who came to see the show, and those who were unable but sent your love and support.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tales of Hoffmann


If there are those of you out there in cyberspace still reading:

Tonight is the opening of UGA's Les Contes d'Hoffmann (The tales of Hoffmann) - E.T.A. Hoffmann, the German romantic poet, composer renaissance man.

I will be playing the part of Hoffmann, and what an exciting few weeks it has been here at UGA.

Please check out this link, which will bring you to an interview between Andre Gallant - of the Athens Banner Herald - and myself.


(photos and more on Hoffmann to come!)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In case your were still reading


welcome back to my page.

Since returning for my 2nd year as a DMA student at the University of Georgia I have been featured in the UGA Chronicles and in the Exploring the Arts Foundation news letter.

We are preparing a Tales of Hoffmann (Offenbach) for October and I have several engagements lined up for this fall. I will be singing for the Alumni Association at the Atlanta Aquarium, at St. Gregory's church for a fundraiser, the Reynolds Plantation with the UGA opera theatre and finally on the 31st of October a Halloween concert at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

I wanted to use the blog, in the mean time to publish some interesting italian recipes (in translation) and continue to update about my performing career or maybe discuss operatic music.

Hope you are all well,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And then Willie Mays walked in. . .

Dearest Readers,

I hope you are all well!
I write to from Athens, Georgia!!!

I have officially returned from my adventures abroad. I am back from New York and ready to start my second year as a DMA student at UGA.

Forgive me for my reticence, things have been kind of crazy these last few week.
You might notice the title of this post. . .

And the story goes something like:

I was reading my e-mail late Wednesday night and saw that my high-school choir teacher, Heidi Best, sent me both a facebook message and a post to my facebook wall. It was so late in the evening I figured I would contact her in the morning. I rose early that day to find an e-mail from Sylvia Weiner, PR for the Exploring the Arts foundation (Exploring the Arts Website), the non-profit foundation responsible for my high-school education. I forwarded the e-mail to my parents, Salina and Prof. Burchinal; it reads as follows:

I handle PR for Tony Bennett.
Susan Benedetto suggested I get in touch regarding an opportunity we have with the SF Giants baseball team on August 13. They want someone connected with ETA to sing Natl Anthem at the game and they will cover your travel. If you are interested let me know ASAP.
Sylvia Weiner
Office of Tony Bennett

As you could imagine, this was indeed an offer that I couldn't refuse. Out of all the students who have graduated in the last 7 year they chose me! Frank Sinatra School of the Arts '05 grad to represent the school, the organization and the Giants. I agreed and was put in contact with Faham Zakiearia, director of Special Ticket Events with the San Francisco Giants baseball team.

The experience couldn't have been more surreal! Faham's staff was accommodating and generous. The SF Giants flew me out Sunday and put me up for two nights at the Serrano Hotel in downtown San Francisco not 10 minutes from AT&T Park. The hotel staff welcomed me with open arms and complimentary wine! I met up with some friends who had, by a stroke of fate, just moved a week earlier to Oakland. Later Monday, after a brief tour of the area and a bite at China Boat, we made it to the ball park and the sound check (we made sure to arrive an hour early - just incase). I met all those involved, performed my sound-check and went out for my pre-performance ritual, steak.

An hour later I was in my grey suit, black shit, white tie and Frank Sinatra fedora. 7:02 comes around and I find myself on the baseball green, 10 feet from home plate, singing to Monday night's 40,000 seat crowd. The Anthem goes on without a hitch - the crowd goes wild! We are escorted up to the Tony Bennett suite where I spent the next 7 inning with the Sinatra family and members representing his estate. With the free food, free drinks, the great company, Frank Sinatra bobble-head dolls, posters and a cheering crowd who thought it could get better

then Willie Mays walked in...

 Some Shots of the hotel:

Monday, July 23, 2012



I arrived at JFK airport at 7:30 Sunday evening to a warm welcome from my brother Billy, his daughter Kyla, son Chasen, wife Jennie and my parents!
Have five weeks really passed??
The last you heard from me it was the morning of my Pesaro concert.
4 days later let me tell you what an outrageously fantastic time was had that night!
We arrived in Pesaro at the Conservatory of Music, Gioachino Rossini. It's a music school that has produced such names as Tebaldi, Del Monaco and Corelli.

While the La Musica Lirica team was waiting downstairs at the entrance to the school...

I ran upstairs to take a look at our venue:

Not too shabby if you ask me!
It was a glorious night in the Salone Pedrotti. This is what the Conservatory webstie has to say regarding the Salone Pedrotti:
"All'interno del Palazzo Olivieri è collocato l'Auditorium Pedrotti, elegante e capiente sala da concerti costruita ed attivata nel 1892, dieci anni dopo l'inizio dei corsi dell'Istituto.
L'Auditorium Pedrotti, con pavimentazione in legno, dotato di pianoforte gran coda Steinway e grande organo a canne a tre tastiere, è caratterizzato da un'acustica eccellente"
[At the interior of the Olivieri Palace is located the Pedrotti Auditorium, an elegante and capacious concert hall constructed and opened in 1892, ten years aftern the Institute began classes. The Pedrotti Auditorium, with wooden floors, furnished with a Steinway grand and a great 3 manual reed organ, is characteristc of acoustic excellence.]
Sadly, only one of my 3 Boheme performances was video recorded. Fortunately, the recording was at this very special venue. Aside from being the theatre for the Rossini Conservatory, The Salone Pedrotti is home to Pesaro's Rossini Opera Festival. The Rossini Opera Festival is a very important annual summer opera seriers which presents some of the best singers in the world.
It was a dream come true. At this point in my life, having performed Boheme in 2 different productions with 3 different casts in 5 different theatres/locations, I am proud and confident to say that this was the best venue by far. To sing Rodolfo in Italian, in Italy, for an Italian audience, in Rossini's home town, with an Italian orchestra, in a theatre designed exactly for that purpose is INCREDIBLE! The acoustics were amazing, the setting was perfect. Every element was in place for our cast, crew and orchestra to do their best and it was a successful night.
After the show Maestro Rescigno congratulated me, all of my friends and collegues expressed that they thought it was the best we had done. They were all so proud. If the excitement and support from my La Musica Lirica team wasn't enough for me to be  myself I was stopped in the streets by several of the orchestra members who not only congratulated me but asked me if I would come back next year. They demanded that I return next year! What an honour! One of the orchestra members, Matteo, had tears in his eyes and told me that it was a pleasure to work together and I had done such a great job, that the performance made him very emotional. While on a high from those compliments I strutted down the street with my chest high and a smile wide from ear to ear. I couldn't go very far without being stopped by audience members strolling down the cobble stone streets of Pesaro screaming Bravo, Bravo BRAVI!
I even received a few "Bravo"s after my aria!!!!!!

Friday was a relaxing day. My friend Giulia, violinist from Milano, come to see the show and we spent the afternoon in Rimini.

We had out final meeting on Friday where I received my certificate of completion of the Italian Course. I scored the highest grade on the most advanced level (the highest level they offered) B1, 95 out of 100. I picked up some of the enormous posters:

We left at sunrise Saturday morning for Rome.

A phot of Maestro Joeffry Price and me in Rome, Italy

And good bye Italy!

And so the adventure of a life time has come to an end. These amazing experiences, people and places are a part of my life because of you all who helped me emotionally and financially. I hope that these updates brought you some insight into the opera world and my world.

I plan to update with some more recollections and photos from the different concerts as they become available. In the meantime, thank you again and please keep your comments comming!!!

With gratidude,
Joe Brent

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Io speriamo che me la cavi

Buongiorno a tutti,

It is a luminous and warm Thursday morning here on the 19th of July, in the Valmarecchia's Novafeltria, Italy.

Tonight, in Pesaro - at the Rossini conservatory - will be the final operatic performance of La Musica Lirica's 2012 season. The Red Cast, seen in the photos from San Marino in the previous post - which includes me - will round out the 5th week immersion with one last Boheme. We will perform the opera at the Conservatorio Statale di Musica G. Rossini in the Salone Pedrotti (constructed in 1892).

Wish me luck. It has been a thoroughly enriching program. Tomorrow morning we will have our farewell meeting, "graduation" from the 4 week italian course and goodbyes.

Last night the Green cast performed their last Boheme for the program in Alfonsine. If I did not express it earlier, the nights that I was not singing Rodolfo I was the silent waiter for the Bohemian's table at Cafe Momus. Needless to say BUT everyone enjoyed the nights I was fainting and swooning over Musetta. I'll see if there is any chance someone snapped some photos of those other evenings. Last night was fun because it was my last night as a waiter. Eating the food from the Bohemian's table, giving them their bill, flirting with Musetta. . . an aspect of the show I am glad that I was able to live.

I am off to grab a coffee, some breakfast and enjoy a masterclass as I relax and prepare my body for a very important Rodolfo!

The time seems to have flown and yet. . .

with gratitude and love,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Davanti l'ufficio postale

Warm greetings from Novafeltria,

At last, after 4 weeks of searching, I have found the hotspot! Courtesy of Manuel Castillo I am writing to you from the Tentazione Pizzera run by Fernando, sitting a few steps away from the Ufficio Postale. The signal is strong and we have the night off... I will try to fill you all in as best as possible by recounting my last few weeks.

The recap:

My first performance as a member of the La Musica Lirica team was 27th of June in San Marino for their television station. I uploaded the video in an earlier post but for those of you who haven't seen it: San Marino Terrazza Kursaal 3rd Act Quartet Boheme - San Marino TV (Terrazza Kursaal)

From left to right you should see Michael Roemer (Marcello), Yunnie Park (Mimi), Rose Mannino (Musetta) and Me.

La Musica Lirica broke us down into 4 casts: Red cast (the singers mentioned above), Green cast (Manuel Castillo - Rodolfo, Kristen Marchiafava - Mimi), Blue cast (Dalton Flake - Rodolfo, Erin McComber - Mimi), Orange (ME + Blue cast). The Red cast sang in San Marino and will sing thus Thursday in Pesaro. The Orange cast sang in Cesena last Thursday.

Yunnie and I, last Saturday, as I've mentioned previously, performed in San Marino again.  Follow this link Cara Emili: Joe sings for earthquake victims (scan to 2 hrs 36 min) and scan the video to 2 hrs and 36 min. You'll see and hear me sing La mia letizia infondere from I Lombardi and the off stage interjections in Sempre Libera from La Traviata. What a terrifying night that was!! Ubaldo Fabbri (the head of the Voci nel Montefeltro festival and the italian portion of La Musica Lirica) asked me Wednesday afternoon if I knew any Verdi. Of course after my summer last year, with Prof. Burchinal and the opera students at UGA, at the Greek Opera Studio/Festival of the Aegean (For a limited time the 2011 video are still up) I covered Alfredo, sang Gastone and performed a few excerpts from the Traviata. So I explained to Ubaldo that I could sing Alfredo. He insisted that I learn the Lombardi cavatina, and I reminded him that I was singing Rodolfo Wednesday night AND Thursday night... Maestro Fabbri insisted. I spent all day Friday trying to memorize the text and melody. Saturday arrived and we drove to San Marino, arrived at 5 - performed a sound check and tried to put up a poster of the music but to no success! As you can see in video it was an enormous studio. We put my music in a Voci nel Montefeltro folder and the rest was recorded history. Though we had to wait from 5:00 - 11:30 to sing. With just of 24 hours of preparation I think it was a success... for a live broadcast, all over italy and the world... I just wish I could have sang something that I already knew!!

I've been monopolizing Manuel's comupter for too long.

More soon, ENJOY!