#SCS 3.27.16

Easter Bunny Sunday!

So on this happy day, we thought hard and quick about what Easter Sunday means to us.  Of course, the character of Santuzza in her duet with Turiddu when she wishes him to have a “bad Easter” in Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana comes first to mind.  Why, might you ask does she do this?  It is in the heat of passion and rage that she accuses him of an affair with Lola and denounces her love for him in the same breath.  Her last resort is to hit him where it hurts, his beliefs.  The music, exquisite.  The text, important to the story.  The moment, pure drama.

But that is not all, we understand that Easter Sunday is so much more than drama, story, and religious beliefs.  It is about historical reflection, honoring tradition, and about being true to yourself in your personal passions, whatever shape that might take.   It is a time when we can listen to the beauty of music and let go of all else.  Whether in a church singing glorious music or walking through the park on a sunny afternoon with your loved ones.  It is certain that no other composer than Bach does this for us, and brings us closer to such a reverie. 

On Good Friday, 11 April 1727, during the vespers service in the Tomaskirche in Leipzig, Johan Sebastian Bach’s Matthäus-Passion was performed for the first time.  It is perfectly clear that the composer knew this work would change music history.  Because, even more so than in his St John Passion, the St Matthew Passion voices not only a story of divine truth but also and above all a deep sensation of human suffering the undertones of which can be recognised by many.  Due to recent events, many performances of this special work have been dedicated to the victims and their families.  Specifically, at the Brussels International Music Festival (  While I was visiting Zurich this past week, I had the pleasure to attend a performance of Bach’s BWV 244 in full at the TonHalle Orchester ( on Thursday surrounded by an appreciative and pensive audience.

Here is an excerpt of tenor’s Nicolai Gedda, performing “Ich will bet mine Jesu wachen” from Matthäus-Passion.

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 11.48.34 PM.png

This Easter, we encourage you to think about your passions, your loves, whatever makes you happy, and go after it. Like author and activist Howard Thurman says, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

For us, it’s easy, we sing.

~ Jennie

Translation found at: 

#SCS 3.13.16


Good evening all,

I saw the one and only, Plácido Domingo, last night in I due Foscari at La Scala and waited to meet him backstage.  It was a wonderful night to hear him sing live, but also to be in his presence and have the opportunity to tell him how much I admired him.  I had attended the press conference for the opera a few weeks ago in which he shared clips of his past performances (Hear sample here).  It was awe-inspiring to hear him speak because you can just tell how much love he has for his art and for the people around him, listening intently to his every word.  So, of course, it is only natural to pick him as today’s crush. 

Though instead of a traditional opera aria, this piece is from a Zarzuela!  It is a Spanish lyric-dramatic genre that is similar to operetta.  It alternates between spoken and sung scenes incorporating operatic and popular song, as well as dance, as seen in this particular song.  Dressed in Spanish folkloric costume, Maestro Plácido sings the tenor aria, “Te quiero morena”, from El trust de los tenorios by Carlos Arniches (1866-1943) and Enrique García Álvarez (1873-1931), in which he proclaims to the object of his desire: “I love you, dark-haired girl, I love you!”… Listen for the familiar trills that are typical in Spanish music, and in opera, then wait for the big finish with the orchestra and the high note (not that high for Mr. Domingo) at the end to capture the lighthearted, yet dramatic, theme.



With a modern twist: Blondes may have more fun, but you’ll never forget a brunette… If this doesn’t get you in the mood to get in the kitchen, cook some paella, and serve up a pitcher of sangria, there are about 25 other songs on the list that should do it.

(Click for more…)

Happy Sunday! Olé!




#SCS 3.6.16


We love singers here at JACOPERA and we love traditional, golden era singers. The pick this week is Teresa Berganza’s “O del mio dolce ardor” from Christoph Willibald Gluck’s little-known opera, “Paride ed Elena”. The aria is also listed in Schirmer’s Library Of Musical Classics of Twenty-Four Italian Songs And Arias Of The 17th And 18th Centuries. A book that most every classical singer would have opened around the time of their first voice lesson. This particular song holds special meaning for those learning and it has a simple quality in the vocal line that draws you in to want to know more. “Oh, desired object of my sweet ardor, the air which you breathe, at last I breathe.” While listening take a look at the sky, think of what you love most, and where it takes you.

With a modern twist: A love note was passed in class prior to Valentine’s’ Day, however, the intended note was not for the one reading, but for the one it was passed to… you cry to your mother and she says, honey, you can’t hurry love.

Ah young love, or any love for that matter, always longs for more.