Let's Talk Murder in the Cathedral

The 1170 murder of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral by followers of King Henry II shook Christian Europe to its foundation, and set off reverberations still felt today. The nefarious deed also inspired two 20th Century works of art, the verse play by T.S. Eliot and Ildebrando Pizzetti’s opera, “Murder in the Cathedral.”

San Diego Opera is staging its production of Pizzetti’s work this Spring, so UCSD-TV and San Diego Opera’s Nick Reveles want to make sure you know what it’s all about. In this edition of “San Diego OperaTalk,” Reveles offers a guided tour of “Murder in the Cathedral,” including its basis in Eliot’s play, the development of musical themes, and Pizzetti’s melding of words and music for maximum dramatic effect.

Watch “San Diego OperaTalk!: Murder in the Cathedral” tonight (12/6) at 10pm on UCSD-TV, or online now. And make sure to tune in to UCSD-TV in January when we’re back with new episodes of “Opera Spotlight” and “Stars in the Salon,” which take you behind the scenes of San Diego Opera‘s 2013 season!

Daughter of the Regiment Gets the OperaTalk! Treatment

Though war doesn’t immediately come to mind as fertile ground for levity, there have been many stage and film comedies with a military setting: Mr. Roberts, Operation Petticoat, Dr. Strangelove, MASH, and Stripes, to name but a few.  This is definitely not the case in opera, where war is usually presented as a grim backdrop to drama and hilarity does not ensue.

Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment (La Fille du Régiment) is that rare and lively exception to this rule, a musical soufflé about a rambunctious tomboy who is adopted by a group of soldiers.  Set in the waning days of World War II in San Diego Opera’s production, it has everything you want in a comic opera – farcical plot, star-crossed young lovers, larger-than-life characters, scheming relatives, rousing numbers for the chorus, a plethora of vocal gymnastics (including the famous nine high Cs for the tenor) and, of course, a happy if improbable ending.

In this new edition of San Diego OperaTalk!, premiering tonight (Oct. 23) at 8pm (and online now), Nick Reveles explains it all to you in his inimitable style, including the opera’s origins and the historic role of women in the military.  Who knew war could be so much fun?

Watch Daughter of the Regiment – San Diego OperaTalk! with Nick Reveles tonight at 8pm or online now.

Summer(Fest) is Still in the Air – Starting Tonight!

Sure, the days are getting shorter, but the spirit of summer is still going strong on UCSD-TV with the premiere of three programs from La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest 2012 season.

The excitement kicks off tonight, October 5, at 8pm with Tan Dun’s Water Passion, a multicultural/multimedia oratorio, written by the acclaimed Chinese composer to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of J.S. Bach, whose “St. Matthew Passion” provided the initial inspiration for this work.  The music is a theatrical  mix of water bowls, drums, strings, Tibetan bells, chants, digital sounds, Chinese opera and Tuvan throat singing, with a dash of jazz and postmodernism, all filtered through Tan Dun’s adventurous sensibility.

Then tune in next Friday, October 12, at 8pm for Commissions & Premieres, part of SummerFest’s long tradition of showcasing new works. This year’s program includes stimulating pieces by American composers Gabriel Kahane, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Aaron Jay Kernis, and French composer Marc-Andre Dalbavie.

Finally, on October 19, there’s the Finale Concert, featuring 38 of the world’s best chamber and symphonic musicians as the SummerFest Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of celebrated conductor Kent Nagano.  The eclectic program includes Rossini’s beloved “Overture to The Barber of Seville,” Beethoven’s viruoso “Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major,” Maurer’s surprising “Sinfonia Concertante in A Minor for Four Violins and Strings,” and Mendelssohn’s  colorful “Symphony No. 4 in A Major.”

All programs repeat throughout the month and will be available online by their premiere date.

If you’re still not ready to let summer go, visit our SummerFest series page, where you can find video of performances and behind-the-scenes interviews going all the way back to 1999. That should keep you warm during the winter!

La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest 2012: Tan Dun’s Water Passion

Jam with the Students of UCSD's Jazz Camp

Every summer, a group of talented musicians, ranging in age from 14 to adult, gather together to jam … with jazz, that is.

The five-day Jazz Camp at UC San Diego offers intermediate to advance level musicians a diverse, one-of-a-kind journey into the world of jazz with group courses and workshops, plus private lessons, jam sessions, and concerts. The camp’s extraordinary faculty of leading jazz improvisers and educators help to sharpen students’ performance skills and enrich their experience of jazz as a broad spectrum of options for musical expression.

But the students aren’t the only ones to benefit. UCSD-TV cameras were at this year’s Jazz Camp Finale Concert to capture highlights of the wonderful student ensembles performing standards and new compositions. Watch it on your TV tonight, August 10, at 8pm or get a jump on your jazz fix and enjoy it online now. No jazz hands, please.

Jake Heggie Talks Moby-Dick with Ian Campbell

Last week, a sold-out crowd gathered at La Jolla’s Neurosciences Institute for an engaging conversation about inspiration, creation and modern opera between San Diego Opera’s Ian Campbell and Jake Heggie, composer of the acclaimed 2010 opera “Moby-Dick,” which opens at San Diego’s Civic Theater onFebruary 18. Before a delighted audience, Heggie shared what went into […]

Last week, a sold-out crowd gathered at La Jolla’s Neurosciences Institute for an engaging conversation about inspiration, creation and modern opera between San Diego Opera’s Ian Campbell and Jake Heggie, composer of the acclaimed 2010 opera “Moby-Dick,” which opens at San Diego’s Civic Theater onFebruary 18. Before a delighted audience, Heggie shared what went into the composition of this stunning theatrical showpiece, including his artistic process, unique musical language, experiences with collaborators involved in the project, and the state of contemporary opera and new music in America.

If you weren’t able to get a seat for this special event, don’t despair. UCSD-TV’s cameras were there. We’re airing the special all month and have also made it available for viewing online at your leisure. Everything you need to know is at the link. Enjoy!

Click here to view the embedded video.