Putting together my 2012 report card made me realize how little of what I saw at the Met was important and vital, which is incredibly disappointing for the grande dame of opera companies in the United States.(2)
This month New Yorkers will have the relatively rare chance to see and hear all the Mozart-Da Ponte operas in quick succession. The Metroplitan Opera’s revival of Le nozze di Figaro plays through Saturday (when the luminous Hei-Kyung Hong will sing the role of Countess Almaviva), and Don Giovanni will join the repertory on Nov. 28. The Met and the Juilliard School also present a joint production of Così fan tutte that opens tonight at Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater and will be repeated on Nov. 17 and 19. Alan Gilbert, the music director of the New York Philharmonic, conducts, Stephen Wadsworth directs, and the cast features a remarkable ensemble of rising stars from the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and Juilliard’s Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts.
Tenor Rolando Villazón sang with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Verdi’s Requiem on Oct. 23 at Carnegie Hall. Baritones Simon Keenlyside and Gerald Finley are starring, respectively, in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Thomas Adès’s The Tempest and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Each of the three is his own man, but Villazón is a stark contrast to the two baritones.
While the visuals at Tuesday’s Otello premiere were satisfying, musical matters were less so. At the interval, a Met spokesman announced that Johan Botha was suffering from allergies and asked for understanding. The tenor sang the strenuous title role beautifully at the house in 2008, but last night struggled with its highest reaches, rarely spinning a smooth legato line and seeming preoccupied more with his own vocal survival than with the Moor’s tribulations.
Last night, Miller kicked off its 2012-13 season with a staged concert by the French early music ensemble Le Poème Harmonique, giving lovers of baroque music and opera a reason to celebrate. The program, entitled Venezia: from the Streets to the Palaces, is billed as the group’s “largest New York production to date,” and offers an opportunity for New Yorkers to get to know one of Europe’s most exciting early music ensembles on intimate terms.
Between the lines of the brief debate that ensued from Sondheim’s temper tantrum, one side seemed to be arguing that the 1935 opera book written by a well-meaning white Southerner was racially insensitive by contemporary standards, and the other side that tampering with a classic text for such reasons was kowtowing to the most humdrum sort of political correctness. Nobody came out of this debate unscarred.(4)
New productions of 'Don Giovanni' and 'The Ghosts of Versailles' offer striking connections, historical and dramatic
In spite of the two centuries that separate them, Ghosts and Don Giovanni have much in common, and the chance to hear them in close succession is a boon. Both have noteworthy New York connections: Corigliano is a lifelong New Yorker who was trained at M.S.M. and Columbia; and Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart’s Venetian-born librettist, died a New Yorker and a naturalized American citizen in 1838. He was Columbia College’s first professor of Italian literature, and he oversaw the U.S. premiere of Don Giovanni, which took place in New York in 1826.
New York City Opera is profitable, says George Steel, and will live at B.A.M. and City Center for three years
“It’s not another million and a half or two million dollar loss, it’s whatever it is,” he said. “But when we think it makes sense to lose a little bit more money because there’s a larger audience for a given production we’ll do it,” Steel said.
With a tenth anniversary performance of Mozart's 'Il sogno di Scipione,' Gotham Chamber Opera celebrates a decade of rousing success
Ten years after its start, and its first performance of Il sogno di Scipione (currently being revived), Gotham Chamber Opera is not only still around; it’s thriving. The small company has consistently pulled in all-star collaborators and regularly mounted professional and innovative productions, and it is currently planning an expanded season for next year. Given the major shift in New York’s opera landscape caused by the recent decline of New York City Opera—a company brought low by courting Fortune, in various guises, over the past decade—Gotham has begun to attract attention as a potential inheritor of the title of New York’s “other” opera company.
What made Maria Callas’ voice so unusual? “Maybe it’s the heat I put into it,” Callas herself suggests in a 1969 interview for French television that will be screened at Alice Tully Hall this weekend as part of the “Callas on Film” series. That heat was scorching; her voice had extraordinary size, power, agility, and variety of color. But inseparable from the sound were the many public and theatrical Callas personas that live on in video and audio recordings of performances and interviews, and countless books, and which continue to galvanize old fans and newcomers alike.
Fittingly, Prima Donna is an opera about the opera. What better way for Wainwright to address his feelings towards the genre, and for Steel to communicate his vision of the place of City Opera, than by staging a work set around the failings of an aging diva who is losing her voice?(1)
The Opera Orchestra of New York pulls itself out of a funk with diva-driven B-movie opera 'Adriana Lecouvreur,' starring Angela Gheorghiu
The Opera Orchestra of New York is returning to its star-driven roots, opening its season last night at Carnegie Hall with superstars Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufmann in Cilea’s sentimental diva vehicle Adriana Lecouvreur. The you have to be there quotient was boosted to the roof by the fact that this performance would be Gheorghiu’s only New York appearance of the season since she chose not to participate in the Met’s new production of Gounod’s Faust. (It’s in rehearsal now, with Kaufmann in the title role.)
Adriana is a sort of B-movie opera, with one of those plots that it’s more fun to retell than to sit through in the first place.(4)
This weekend, a freak storm of performances and releases mark the career of avant-garde composer Robert Ashley
Alex Ross has called him the “musical counterpart of David Lynch.” The critic, composer and scholar Kyle Gann once described him, in The Village Voice, as “the only original opera composer of the late 20th Century, the first since Harry Partch to tell the European tradition to go to hell.”
Why don’t you know more about Robert Ashley, then?
"Back when I used to read a ton of blogs, I was always really flattered when people were like: 'It's the future of classical music!' But that's just as bad as: This faggot is dead in the water already. So stopping reading blogs was a really key thing, not just because of haters, but also because then you start thinking, yeah, I am doing this amazing thing, when you're like no, I have to get from A to this B-flat by way of this E-flat. It really distracts you from the craft of the thing, when you focus on these gigantic brush strokes, to be constantly looking at like the flight map of your career, to be like: Well girl, we're over Greenland now, so I should probably take the Ambien."