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Clinton’s music director will conduct a counter-inauguration with opera stars

January 11, 2017 by norman lebrecht

52 comments.


Glen Roven conducted both inauguration concerts for President Bill Clinton and was on standby to repeat the honour for Hillary. When that dream failed, he decided to set two of Hillary’s speeches to music and have them performed by some of the leading names in opera on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Here’s what Glen tells us:
You don’t know it but I conducted both Clinton Inaugurations.

I felt I had to do something for this nightmare and obviously it couldn’t involve you know who!

So I set of two of Hillary’s powerful speeches, and I asked some of the greatest singers in the world to each sing a section, then we’d shoot it as a movie with everyone performing their sections  and run it on January 20, 2017 at noon.

We are almost done shooting and starting to edit. It’s coming out very well.

National Sawdust is hosting an event for us at noon and they will stream it from their site.

Here’s the list of singers:

Nathan Gunn

Patricia Racette

Lawrence Brownlee

Matthew Polenzani

Lauren Flanigan

Lester Lynch

Kyle Ketelsen

Laquita Mitchell

Camille Zamora

Sidney Outlaw

Arianna Zukerman

Eve Gigliotti

Dominic Armstrong

Blythe Gaissert

Andrew Garland

Michael Kelly

David Adam Moore

Glenn Seven Allen

Gilda Lyons

Donna Lynne Champlin

Chilina Kennedy Adrienne Danrich

Jonathan Blalock

Annie Potts


Comments (52)

  1. Harold Lewis says:

    However distinguished the performers may be, and whatever their feelings about Trump, there seems something tacky and obnoxious about an event so blatantly calculated to disrespect the office of the President of the United States. They resemble a bunch of stroppy and rebellious school kids mounting an ‘alternative’ school assembly.

    1. PaulD says:

      Agree. I’d like to know if they are going to sing “The Despicables Chorus.” Or, an aria based on, “I did not have sex with that woman.”

      1. Sue says:

        I do hope they are able to premiere the well-known composition from the feminist collective, “Some Little Girl is Going to Say I can Break Through the Glass Ceiling”. It has played for years in many other countries but, apparently, has only just been discovered in the USA.

      2. Respect says:

        Or perhaps, “Singing in the (Golden) Rain”.

        1. DESR says:

          “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair…”

    2. Sebastian Petit says:

      The incoming incumbent long ago forfeited the right to any respect

      1. NYMike says:

        Let’s not forget that Herr Trump was a founder and most vocal proponent of the “blrther movement” questioning the legitimacy of Obama’s citizenship – the height of disrespect for the office of president and its occupier.

        1. Sue says:

          That’s quite true. You obviously subscribe to the “two wrongs DO make a right” ideology and that’s fine – as long as you ‘fess up to this and don’t be hypocritical about it.

    3. John says:

      Hee hee.

      This incoming president disrespects the office without trying. Unfortunately he does try and has disrespected it in so many ways. To use a favorite word of his: “Sad!”

    4. Scott Rose says:

      “Respect for the office” means not accepting Toxic Donald in the office.

      This shady character Toxic Donald referred to a foreign autocrat — Putin — as a “real leader” and he compared that autocrat to our democratically-elected president, who he said is not a real leader.

      Ergo — it is Toxic Donald who does not respect the office, and whose disrespect for the office must be rejected by those who do respect the office.

      Bravo to Glen Roven and others participating in this event.

      1. John Borstlap says:

        Well said….. agreed entirely.

    5. MacroV says:

      They are disrespecting the man, not the office. If they show up in person they should respect the office by shaking his hand and being civil. If they’re making a video, they can do what they want. This is (still) America.

    6. Kevin Anderson says:

      On the original remark … please note the last 8 years and restate your version of “disrespect for the office of the President of the United States”. Perhaps we can talk after that is made clear. Thank you

    7. Albert Filosa says:

      It is THRILLING to learn that these renowned artists will be lending their voices
      to the millions (a majority of those who voted) who did NOT want Trump to be president. BRAVISSIMI to all of you!

    8. William Safford says:

      It is important to draw a distinction between the office of the President of the United States, and the person who is about to occupy it.

      The office is worthy of great respect.

      The President-Elect demeans the office he is about to occupy with every tweet he spews, every word he says, and most of his nominees for his Cabinet.

  2. Respect says:

    Just curious……just spoke to an artist listed, they don’t know either this Conductor nor were aware to having committed to any such event.

  3. Cubs Fan says:

    Nightmare? What a bunch of (to use Trump-speak) LOSERS! Yeah, go ahead and show the people who voted for Trump what a bunch of elitist snobs you are. And you wonder why few people in middle America give a damn about opera. What’s happening here is Obama’s biggest legacy – a hopelessly divided country.

    1. Larry Mitchell says:

      I live in Chicago and am a HUGE Cubs fan. Also love the Bears (with or without Jay Cutler!).
      I am also an opera lover and I subscribe to Lyric Opera of Chicago. There IS a huge opera audience in Chicago……….don’t kid yourself.
      Opera lovers are not snobs. They love the art form and they are gifted with the capacity to enjoy it.
      I also voted for Donald Trump, though I am now doubting the wisdom of that decision. I couldn’t vote the other way either. Already the shit is starting to fly and it’s not going to stop.
      Am already sick of Trump and his f—— tweets, his knee-jerk reactions, etc. I think the Republicans (especially those closest to him) already see that they’re going to be in for a very rough period. I cannot believe the man is so loathed and hated by so many, but since I voted for him, I can’t bitch about it. I only wonder if Trump HIMSELF is going to manage to hold on and control himself. If not, we’re all screwed.

      1. MWnyc says:

        “Already the shit is starting to fly and it’s not going to stop. Am already sick of Trump and his f—— tweets, his knee-jerk reactions, etc. … I only wonder if Trump HIMSELF is going to manage to hold on and control himself. If not, we’re all screwed.”

        That’s the thing, Larry. He won’t manage to hold on and control himself. He never has, and at his age he’s not going to start now. (His staff took his phone away from him for the last couple weeks of the campaign.) We in New York, who’ve seen Trump in action for decades, know this.

        That – plus his long and documented history of business bankruptcies, stiffing contractors and employees, and other financial and ethical malfeasance – all of that is why he’s so loathed.

        So yeah, we’re probably all screwed.

    2. Holly Golightly says:

      Yes, “hopelessly divided” nails it completely. But they feel good about themselves and that’s all that counts. The rest of the ‘deplorables’ in ‘fly over’ territory just need to suck it up good.

      See Streep using a tele-prompter for her ‘impromptu’ speech at the Golden Globes. She needs to check her privilege right now!! “Brave” they said – funny; telling an audience what they want to hear is somehow “brave”. One needs a sense of humour to negotiate modern America.

      The “resistance” surrender monkeys are making it much easier for the rest of America to support Trump but are far from having the intelligence to realize that. “Sad” really is the word.

      1. laurie says:

        the last time this “person” referred to monkeys she was discussing Michelle Obama’s long arms. a Trump enthusiast – what a surprise!

        1. Holly Golightly says:

          I felt entitled to do so given the vicious comments about Trump’s physical appearance – hair and manner of comporting himself. What’s good enough for the goose…. The Obamas are not a protected species; God knows the press never held them to account or did anything but throne sniff. People all being equal must be subject to criticism in kind. To suggest otherwise is to suggest that people are NOT all equal. Ergo; equal opportunity to offend YOUR opponent as he/she does yours.

          Got it now?

          1. laurie says:

            oh I’ve got it. We all know what you are. A racist. Rational, fact based or even ideological disagreements with President Obama and his policies are of course acceptable. Even desirable. We are a democracy and people disagree. But your racist vocabulary is nauseating and very revealing of your character or lack there of.

            got it?

    3. William Safford says:

      Sad, isn’t is, that a nation should be divided by the fact of the first African-American President.

      Even sadder, isn’t it, that the backlash to the two terms of the first African-American President, should be the election of the man who lied for eight years about the birthplace of his predecessor. It is even more ironic that the man who lied for those eight years, should in turn be the target of serious questions about the legitimacy of his own election, due to Russian interference that he welcomed.

      We have seen this phenomenon of backlash before. The backlash to the emancipation of the slaves and Reconstruction after the Civil War, was KKK terrorism and Jim Crow apartheid for the next one hundred years. The backlash to the civil rights struggles of the 1960s was Reaganism.

      History repeats itself.

  4. TSkot says:

    I’ve heard clips. They are fantastic.

  5. Rich C. says:

    Will crying hankies be handed out with the program?

    1. Holly Golightly says:

      I’m told Play-Doh and kittens will be available for Generation Snowflake. The Conservatives are far tougher than that and don’t need to be patronized.

      1. jaypee says:

        Your golden (!) hero has the temperament of an 8 year old.
        He literally implodes everytime someone says no to him.
        That you consider him “tough” speaks volume about your blind admiration for this dangerous imbecile.

  6. Jerry Zachary says:

    It seems like a noble effort to me. Thanks to all of you.

  7. Larry Mitchell says:

    I guess that Kanye West and the Kardashians will be at the Trump inaugural in Washington.
    Now THAT’S class!!!

    1. Holly Golightly says:

      I’ve never heard of any of them, but I guess you’re familiar. Circulate in your cultural orbit, do they?

  8. Heath says:

    I just lost all my respect for the formerly great Joyce, Nathan, Matthew, and the rest. What a bunch of crybabies half of this country has turned out to be. You have a new president. Whether you like it or not, he will be your president. Grow up and accept it, because it’s reality!

    1. Candace Allen says:

      In your dreams, Heath. The name of all this is Resistance, just as the Republicans and DJT resisted Obama but with even more urgency and dedication. You may have “won” but you are nowhere the majority. Fasten your seatbelt.

      1. Helen Wynn says:

        Gee, too bad Hillary wont be able to come. She will do the classy thing and attend the inauguration. I have gained some respect for her by this act, even though I suspect it is the first step to another run. Good for her. Maybe she will make it next time.

        1. MWnyc says:

          For what it’s worth, I very much doubt the Democrats will nominate her again.
          In addition to the feeling, even among many who supported her in 2016, that it’s time for the Clintons to move on, there’s the feeling that if you can’t beat Donald Trump, you don’t deserve to be president.

      2. Mike Schachter says:

        Wow, Resistance! Debasing the word ever so slightly isn’t it? During the war people in the resistance risked their lives? What d you risk?

        1. Christine Thomas-O'Meally says:

          Hopefully, it won’t come to that. There are all sorts of forms of resistance.

        2. Candace Allen says:

          I am an African American woman whose father and aunt were on picket lines in the 1930s as children in Richmond VA. I myself desegregated schools in the North was part of the movement to bring more African American enrolment to Harvard and was part of the demonstrations and lobbying that established its now renowned African American studies department during which time considerable thought was given to the notion of “by any means necessary “. I was the first AA female in the Directors Guild of America. I worked on the ground in the ’08, ’12 and ’16 elections. No, I havent lived underground nor engaged in “hot” guerilla warfare, but, yes, I do know what I’m talking about. And you?

    2. Holly Golightly says:

      Bravo, Heath. You’re obviously wearing the “Winner” T-shirt.

  9. Sue says:

    I hope they’ll all be singing “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat” from “Guys and Dolls”.

  10. Sanderssupporter#26.583.913 says:

    I don’t that the Trumpistas know what they are in for. The civilized world watch in horror – but ready to admit shelter to those who will be ostracized.

  11. John says:

    It’s fascinating to see how many Trump supporters you have reading your blog, Norman. Hopefully for their sake, they’re part of the top 1% of the wealthiest Americans who will stand to benefit from his election, and not from that large group of bitter and gullible people who will soon discover that they only thing Trump ever wanted from them was their fat little vote; and now that he has it, wait to hear them squeal when he leaves them in the dust of the new gilded age.

  12. James says:

    This man will never be my President. I loathe it when you say “Grow up and accept it”. This has nothing to do with maturity or acceptance. Accepting this man and his cronies along with their despicable views and actions is not an option for any person with moral integrity and love for this country. Peacefully protesting the inauguration by those in the limelight whose voices can make a difference is fine by me.

    1. Steve P says:

      Brexit. Trump. Nationalism rampant. Progressivism on its heels. Ah, these are glorious times.

  13. Gerald Martin says:

    Those with long memories know that in January 1973 Leonard Bernstein conducted Haydn’s Mass in Time of War at the Washington Cathedral in D.C. in the counter-inagural concert to Nixon’s second term. (I was there). Meanwhile across town at the official inaugural concert the Philadelphia Orchestra played the 1812 Overture.

  14. Gypsy says:

    Yet he was voted in???
    So those who oppose Trump, also oppose democracy?
    We here in Australia get goosebumps at the thought of what he can do for the US and only wish, we too had a leader with back bone and not the spineless limp wrist do gooder we have in our Prime Minister Turnbull.

  15. LOL says:

    Hillary’s brainless followers can stay pressed.

  16. Carmen-Helena Tellez says:

    These are great artists and they have the right to protest, like Bernstein before them. I am surprised that there are Trump supporters in this forum. One thing is to have conservative values, and another to support a megalomaniac, authoritarian and crass person, who mocked a disabled person in front of millions and disrespects the office of the Presidency with his lack of personal dignity. It is as if these “conservatives” never studied history or have observed human nature. Donald Trump has no self-control. He may have the onset of mental illness. Still, he is a master communicator that appeals to the worst in those with fear and resentments in our difficult times. Conservatives should seek to protect their own historical legacy and separate themselves from this man. Any acts that reject the normalization of this disastrous anomaly in our democracy should be welcome.

    1. Steve P says:

      Trump voter here. Seems like you gloss over the overwhelmingly shady rep of the former sec of state who was put forth as the great savior. Let’s at least be honest: many of us (myself included) appreciated the opportunity to vote against her wickedness as much for Trump’s irreverence. But I enjoy reading about the goings on in the classical world (although that seems to be taking second fiddle to leftist drivel these days) so that’s why I still trudge thru these posts.

  17. Gerald Martin says:

    Ted Nugent would accept a Trump invitation.

  18. Trella says:

    I think it is great! Nothing wrong with paying tribute to a significant, former first lady who almost became president! It is also a tribute to women everywhere who struggle against sexual discrimination! Those who disagree don’t have to watch it!


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