Headshot of La Cieca

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  • grimoaldo: Oh, dear. This again. What needs to be explained to modern audiences is that Gilbert was not... 11:56 AM
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  • La Cieca: It should be remembered that Archibald got that job because she was readily available for... 11:32 AM
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Wanting magic

AP Photo/Kathy Willens“As the Met chorus raised their voices at the climax of Les Contes d’Hoffmann Thursday night, the tavern setting opened up, revealing … a gray wall. It was a sadly appropriate visual symbol for a glamour-deprived dud of a new production.” [NY Post]

37 comments

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Sher should dump that Yeargan guy as his designer, but then who would tell Sher what opera should be about? As for Levine, his genius is indisputable, but he is burned out on many works of the standard repertoire, including HOFFMANN, and has been like that for several years. At least his back held up and that’s a very good thing.

    • Alto says:

      What? Michael Yeargan has done some of the best opera sets now on the international stage. A designer takes his cue from the director, not vice-versa.

      • Regina delle fate says:

        Hear, hear, Alto. He designed an unforgettable Eugene Onegin for Andrei Serban at Welsh National Opera 25 years ago.

  • mrmyster says:

    Good going, JJo!!!! You told the truth on Hoffman and it
    needed to be done. Right on. I always knew you were going
    to be a reliable New York press opera critic!
    Now, next summer come out and review SFeO’s new
    production of Hoffman -- with Paul Groves as Hoffman.
    Hee haw!

    • CruzSF says:

      Will Groves be wearing pasties?

    • Alto says:

      I would love to hear Groves as Hoffmann.

    • CruzSF says:

      Looked at SFe’s 2010 season. Looks interesting, in particular (to me), Life Is a Dream. I don’t know anything about this work (despite its winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2000) but I’m often willing to try new stuff (Rufus excepted).

      I’m guessing you’ll pass on SFe’s Hoffmann since it’s not one of your favorites to begin with.

      • Graciella Scusi says:

        Christopher Alden, who directed NYCity Opera’s recent Don Giovanni is directing the Hoffmann in Santa Fe, and Erin Wall, who occasionally has posted here in the past, is doing all three heroines.

        • CruzSF says:

          Erin Wall has appeared here as a commenter? How is she as a singer? I read about her in “Fortissimo.”

        • bassoprofundo says:

          Cruz: here’s my shot at a Cieca-esque blind. Which Canadian soprano is a good but not great singer, kind but ditzy, and is having an illegitimate child soon?

        • CruzSF says:

          Ooooo. That’s a good and tasty one!

        • justanothertenor says:

          You forgot to mention the illegitimate child is that of one of her employers!

      • La Cieca says:

        Oh, it’s been a while since anyone called Rufus “new stuff.”

  • ellerveira says:

    If you can get praised for putting Tristan in barren rooms, why not a grey wall for Hoffmann? Aren’t minimalism and unrelatedness the touchstones for staging these days? The less the staging has to do with the opera, the better, you know.

    • kashania says:

      Barren rooms and a minimalist approach don’t automatically make for good or bad productions. It’s how they’re employed.

    • Signor Bruschino says:

      Sitting in the grand tier on opening night, next to a very bored elderly lady, the wall started to open, and she exclaimed ‘now its gonna get good’… and she was quite disappointed- as was I.

      Bart Sher (and his team) know how to fill spaces well (no one can deny that their ‘Light in the Piazza’ and ‘South Pacific’ were not just visually a treat, but a great ‘additional character’… There was no character to this production or this design, and I think that is ultimately what sunk it.

      At the opening night party, the MET staff seemed quite surprised by the positive audience reaction. I was as well

    • La Cieca says:

      You are bordering on getting boring here because you have made this point a dozen times before or more. Another boring aspect is that you’re making value judgments on productions you have never seen, based at best on hearsay and at worst on sheer prejudice. Could you try a another gambit for a change?

  • Jay says:

    Much better writing here than in the NY Times review! Angela Meade (Countess) had the Met audience roaring at the 12/4 Figaro and justifiably so. Big voice, great technique, good tone color. Big improvement after Dasch’s awful performance last week (which I heard streamed).

    The titters amongst some in the audience in the recitative before “Dove sono” (which had to do with the respective sizes of the performers portraying the Countess and Susanna) were quickly forgotten and the aria earned the night’s biggest ovation.

    Danielle de Niese had to pull out after the second act last night (sinuses, allergies) and Lisette Oropesa stepped in without a hitch, easy enough since she’s been performing the role in this production. However, I thought Danielle and Luca Pisaroni had better chemistry (no doubt from previous performances together).

    What a treat to hear two top-notch baritones (Pisaroni and Peter Mattei) in the span of less than 24 hours.
    Today’s FTHOTD started behind schedule (about 1:15 p.m.), but once underway, very powerful, as anticipated. However, I made a huge mistake and sat on the side aisle in the orchestra because I needed to make a quick getaway to catch a train. Had forgotten those seats are under the boxes and the sound was so muffled. Never again!