OpWatch Pisaroni Hampson hdl 212
Class act: Pisaroni and Hampson sing for AIDS benefit
© Catherine Pisaroni 2012
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OpWatch Kozena lg 212
© Johannes Ifkovits 2012
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Soprano van den Heever
© Gregory Downer 2012

1. LUCA PISARONI and THOMAS HAMPSON present a recital together on March 10 as part of Classical Action's Michael Palm series, which raises funds for HIV/AIDS service, education and prevention programs. The series, which starts this month with a concert by violinist Leila Josefowicz (Feb. 10), also includes a recital by Christine Brewer (May 17). The concerts take place at a private home in Manhattan and include a reception. For tickets and additional information, visit www.classicalaction.org, or call (212) 997-7717.

After the final performance of the Metropolitan Opera's revival of Satyagraha in December, the opera's composer, PHILIP GLASS, spoke at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Lincoln Center Plaza and recited part of the libretto of the work, which explores Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolent civil disobedience. 

2. This month, soprano ELZA VAN DEN HEEVER makes her company debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago, singing the role of Armida in Rinaldo for the first time. She takes on another Handel enchantress in May, when she sings the title role in Alcina for Opéra National de Bordeaux in France. Both productions are conducted by Harry Bicket.

3. ANDREAS MITISEK has been appointed general director of Chicago Opera Theater, succeeding Brian Dickie, who vacates his post at the end of August. Mitisek, who has served as artistic and general director of Long Beach Opera since 2003, has extended his contract with LBO and intends to share productions between the two companies.

French director PATRICE CHÉREAU has been selected as the next theater mentor for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Chéreau joins five other artists — Margaret Atwood (literature), Gilberto Gil (music), William Kentridge (visual art), Lin Hwai-min (dance) and Walter Murch (film) — who will offer their time and expertise to support and collaborate with a young protégé this year. 

4. The fifty-fourth annual GRAMMY AWARDS take place on February 12. Among the nominees in the Best Classical Vocal Solo category this year are Natalie Dessay, for Cleopatra (Virgin); Andreas Scholl, for O Solitude (Decca); and Joyce DiDonato, for Diva/Divo (Virgin). Three of the five contenders for Best Opera Recording are DVD releases — Doctor Atomic (Sony Classical; Metropolitan Opera), La Traviata (Opus Arte; Covent Garden) and Billy Budd (Opus Arte; Glyndebourne). The Recording Academy has cut thirty-one categories from the event, including Best Classical Crossover Album and Best Classical Album. For more information and the complete list of nominees, visit www.grammy.com

The winners of the 2011 WILLIAM MATHEUS SULLIVAN MUSICAL FOUNDATION competition, each of whom took home a cash prize of $11,000, are sopranos Elizabeth Baldwin, Andrea Carroll, Michelle Johnson and Danielle Pastin; mezzo-sopranos Jenni Bank and Erica Brookhyser; countertenor John Holiday; tenor Paul Appleby; and baritones Aleksey Bogdanov and Edward Parks. 

5. On August 2, GERALD FINLEY makes his debut at the Tanglewood Festival with a recital of songs by Loewe, Schumann and Britten. The following night, he joins Lorin Maazel and the Boston Symphony Orchestra forRavel's Don Quichotte à Dulcinée and a selection of Mozart arias. Other vocal offerings at this year's festival, which marks Tanglewood's seventy-fifth anniversary, include concerts by Diana Krall (June 23) and Bernadette Peters (July 8). For more information on Tanglewood's season, or to purchase tickets, visit www.bso.org, or call (617) 266-1492. 

This month, the METROPOLITAN OPERA and the JUILLIARD SCHOOL present a semi-staged concert performance of Gluck's Armide, the second collaboration between the two institutions, following last season's new production of The Bartered Bride. The performances, which are conducted by JANE GLOVER, take place in Juilliard's Peter Jay Sharp Theater on February 8 and 11. 

6. On November 11, Alexander Pereira announced the lineup for his first season as artistic director of the SALZBURG FESTIVAL. The offerings at this year's festival, which runs from July 20 to September 2, include MAGDALENA KOŽENÁ singing the title role in Carmen in her first fully-staged production of the opera; Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala starring in La Bohème; Jonas Kaufmann making his role debut as Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos; and Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting the period-instrument ensemble Concentus Musicus Wien in Die Zauberflöte. For a complete list of events, visit www.salzburgerfestspiele.at.

7. LUCAS MEACHEM, who began the season as San Francisco Opera's Don Giovanni, sings the role of Mercutio in Palm Beach Opera's Roméo et Juliette this month. In April, he is Figaro in San Diego Opera's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, then he travels to Toulouse for his role debut as Wolfram in a new production of Tannhäuser in June. spacer 

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