Vocal Rising Stars, Sixth Season: Day 4 by Steven Blier

A day of highs and lows. In the morning we had some visitors—a small cadre of Caramoor donors and board members, and also the General Director of Caramoor, Jeff Haydon. He’s the fellow who took over Michael’s old job, and I admit I have a soft spot for him. He’s a very decent guy with wonderful energy, and things always seem to shine a little brighter when he’s around. I like it when Jeff comes to rehearsal because none of us are afraid to do real work (i.e., screw up) in his presence, yet our hearts remain light and buoyant. Jeff always makes me feel talented and worthy and I appreciate that so much. He and the other visitors, including the appropriately named Vivian Song, were a sensational audience and the cast gave some of their best performances so far. Olivia suddenly morphed into a Brazilian sex-kitten in “Nenê,” Theo brilliantly channeled Noël Coward in an amazingly stylish rendition of “Uncle Harry,” Miles poured out vocal gold in his Grieg song, and Annie stopped time with “Calling You.” By the time we went into lunch Michael and I were feeling that all wa

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Vocal Rising Stars, Snapshots from Rehearsal

1. Our genius guest teacher, Amy Burton
2. The many moods of Theo Hoffman
3. Leann Osterkamp, with the world at her feet
4. The many moods of Theo Hoffman, part duex
5. Les Grands from ages: with two men I adore

Photos by Steven Blier

The Rosen House: Built for Music

The Rosen House Music Room

The Rosen House Music Room

Caramoor’s extraordinary Music Room – the literal and figurative center of Walter and Lucie Rosens’ life together – displays much of the Renaissance art Walter collected during the early 20th century. Before the home was opened to the public some 40 years ago, each object in the room was inventoried and cataloged. During that documentation process, Caramoor’s administrators, guided by Anne Bigelow Stern, the Rosens’ only daughter, learned a great deal about the objects and the couple who devoted their lives to the appreciation of music.

Despite such an exhaustive documentation – thousands of art objects and furnishings are spread throughout the 25,000-square-foot mansion – Caramoor administrators are still uncovering new material.

Both Lucie and Walter left extensive files of correspondence, diaries, receipts,

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Vocal Rising Stars, Sixth Season: Day 3

Vocal Rising Stars The third day is the sweet spot. The pressure of the performance isn’t really upon us yet, the group numbers are on their feet (or, in one case, on its butt, since the cast is seated for it), the guest teacher hasn’t arrived, and it’s just the family, workin’ away on songs. Salient features of the day:

(1) We had a morning visit from about twenty students from a nearby high school, all of them members of their school chorus. They were amazingly attentive, asked a lot of good questions, and gently kicked all of us into performance mode. Sure, they were watching us rehearse, and we let them see us change keys, talk about vibrato, place vowels, fix problems. But inevitably you don’t rehearse the same way when you have an audience—you have to deliver Read more

Day Two of the Schwab Vocal Rising Stars Residency

Blog March VRS 2 The first day is always the honeymoon; and on the second day I can see what the week’s work is going to be about. These singers all have such fertile imaginations that they are sometimes bombarded with thoughts, ideas, images, impulses. They’re gifted and young, and they are still building the wiring to handle their own artistic electricity. Their capabilities are enormous. Some singers would be daunted by the eight languages in “Ports of Call”; others would need to be shown the subtleties of melody and style. At Caramoor, though, everyone has a tremendous instinct for music, and no one has raised Read more

Day One of the Schwab Vocal Rising Stars Residency

Blog March 2014 VRS 1

Pictured above, Steve Blier and Olivia Betzen.

By Steven Blier, Artistic Director, mentor and pianist

Today was the first day of the 2014 Vocal Rising Stars program at Caramoor—the sixth season NYFOS and Caramoor have collaborated on this project. Every year has its own distinctive atmosphere, like the unique timbre of an instrument or the tantalizing aroma of  something in the oven. Our cast is a bit younger than usual—just a few years, really, but for people in their twenties the age difference is significant. One of our singers, Annie Rosen, has sung in opera houses overseas, but the other three—soprano Olivia Betzen, tenor Miles Mykkanen, and baritone Theo Hoffman—are just entering the professional world. Theo is still an undergraduate (he’s the youngest we’ve ever had in the program), and Olivia is fresh off the boat—she moved to New York about six weeks ago Read more

Will Crutchfield: Interview with the Director of Opera for the Caramoor Festival

Will Crutchfield made his name as a writer and musicologist in the mid-1980s, becoming the youngest music critic in the history of The New York Times.

By John Yohalem

Caramoor 2007He returned to his theater roots in the mid-1990s to conduct opera. He has held leading positions with the national operas of Bogota, Colombia, and Warsaw, Poland, and has been Director of Opera for the Caramoor International Music Festival in Katonah, New York, since 1997. At Caramoor, he has been noted for his revivals of unusual bel canto repertory as well as for re-examinations of familiar masterpieces. This summer, Caramoor’s offerings will include H.M.S. Pinafore, on June 25 and, in two performances, on July 9 and 15, each preceded by pre-opera lectures and related concerts, Rossini’s last opera, Guillaume Tell, given in the ori Read more

A Look at What’s in a House – by Jessica Meyer

Jessica Meyer

Jessica Meyer

Each year more than 5,000 students from area schools participate in various Arts-in-Education programs at Caramoor. Jessica Meyer is a violist and composer who recently led a workshop with a class of 5th graders from Yonkers, and wanted to share her experience: 

I am really excited to be part of Caramoor’s two-day educational residencies called What’s in a House, a series of workshops where students visit with both an architect and a horticulturalist, then compose music with me based on rooms of the famous Rosen House.

When I first saw the house, I was shocked by how unique and captivating it is. I have traveled the world as a classical violist, but I have never seen a house like this! What makes it really special is that there is an entire room devoted Read more