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Slatkin’s Folie de Regisseur

(Photo: Marty Sohl / Metropolitan Opera)Leonard Slatkin explains to the Detroit Free Press that everything was going great guns with the Met Traviata rehearsals until he played stage director, telling Alfredo (James Valenti) to take visual focus in the final seconds of the opera.

After that, he claims, Angela Gheorghiu (intentionally?) started “singing flat, missing entrances and distorting phrases beyond recognition.” Gheorghiu, The Met, and Thomas Hampson all studiously avoid replying to the assertion.

81 comments

  • whiskey per tutti says:

    Reminds me of a story that Christopher Keene told on himself. He was conducting a Philip Glass piece and the orchestra had been chugging along repeating the same four bars for 10 minutes or however long, when Keene bent down to the concertmaster and asked, “Where the hell are we?”

  • sensibility says:

    James Valenti in New York Post :

    “It was obvious to me from the very first day of rehearsal that he wasn’t familiar with the piece,” Valenti says. “He’s an intelligent musician, but there were train wrecks all over the place.”

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/theater/voice_looks_perfect_tenor_bgyEnH7pOgPgjUPr6DZY0I#ixzz0q6eWGrOP

  • Sanford says:

    Might I state for the record that, aside from Nel Giardin, yesterday’s Don Carlo is absolutely one of the most thrilling performances I’ve had the delight to hear.

  • Veloce49 says:

    AG vs Slatkin?
    Did anybody expressly buy a ticket to the performance to hear Slatkin???

  • Will says:

    I hate it when the final lines of Aida’s Nile Scene or the third act of Traviata are cut in performance. But then again, I hate cuts in general and feel that we should get what the composer wrote. I grew up in the “standard opera house cuts” era on stage and in recordings and was thrilled to hear so much “new” music when scores began to be performed complete.

    As to Angela and the Slatkin trainwreck, I have read that when orchestras face a new conductor, or one they sense is not fully prepared, they will blow entrances, play wrong notes, etc. to test him/her out and see exactly what the situation is. I believe, however, that this practice is limited to rehearsals, not performances, yes? If Angela was doing this in performance, then I would consider her equally culpable.

    In any event, in what universe is Slatkin’s public comment that he arrived at the MET not fully prepared and thought it would be great if the singers and orchestra taught him what he was missing during rehearsals, in any way acceptable?

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    May I suggest that before this thread goes off in other directions, someone should post a link for all of these comments from the Parteriani directly in the Detroit Free Press, where Slatkin and his agent are more likely to read them and where such comments have requested. There’s a lot of good stuff here that should be put on that site. The link for Detroit Free Press comments page is http://tinyurl.com/29d4wsc -- go for it.

  • Niel Rishoi says:

    Here are the Religious Views of Life on the Shit Happens theme:

    Taoism: Shit Happens

    Buddhism: If shit happens, it really isn’t shit.

    Zen Buddhism: What is the sound of shit happening?

    Islam: If shit happens, it is the Will of Allah.

    Hinduism: This shit happened before.

    Protestantism: Let shit happen to someone else.

    Catholicism: If shit happens, you deserve it.

    Judaism: Why is this shit always happening to us?

    Agnosticism: What is this shit?

    Atheism: I don’t believe this shit.

    Angelaism: I don’t give shit about anyone else but ME

  • DonCarloFanatic says:

    I hate the cuts, too. I can’t count the number of Traviatas that disappointed me by slashing Germont’s big number.

  • tiger1dk says:

    I am well aware of the tradition to cut the lines of the men at the end of Traviata (and I have even heard the ridiculous and anti-climactic (German?) performance version of Don Carlo that ends with Don Carlo’s “Sua mano spezzera”, thus robbing us of the Monch and the climactic high notes from Philip and Elisabetta) but I am not aware of what lines are being cut from the Nile Scene? Please, somebody, explain?
    Tiger

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    [Cue for the lines at the end of the Nile Scene that are often omitted:]

    AMON. (avventandosi ad Amneris con un pugnale)
    Vieni a strugger l’opra mia!
    Muori!…

    [THE OFTEN OMITTED LINES START HERE OF AFTER "insano"; sometimes you just can't hear them over the orchestration, or the singers just start shouting at each other.]

    RAD. (frapponendosi) Arresta, insano!…
    AMON. Oh rabbia!
    RAM. Guardie, olá! [<- often included]
    RAD. (ad Aida ed Amonasro)
    Presto! fuggite!…
    AMON. (trascinando Aida) Vieni, o figlia!
    RAM. (alle Guardie) Li inseguite!

    [followed by the obligatory]

    RAD. (a Ramfis) Sacerdote, ioooooooooooooooooooo reeeeeeeeeeeeeesto a te!

    Now will someone please post a link to all of these interesting comments about Slatkin on the Detroit Free Press site with the link above. I can't do it.