I guess we all should have seen this one coming.
How about hiring someone to replace Edgar Baitzel, someone with experience running a large-ish opera company and with some clout in the opera world? I think it’s clear that someone is needed to run things for/with Domingo while he attends to his myriad projects.
I agree with Henry. In many ways Domingo was an Otello to Baitzel’s Iago. At least LA Opera has made the wise decision not to go to one of the head hunters usually chosen by American opera companies to fill such positions, resulting in a game of musical chairs with less than the best results for the product being marketed.
I know from experience that it’s always the marketing department’s fault when a big ‘ol turkey gets served up…someone must fall on the carving knife…and I was lucky enough (NOT) to have driven down to LA Opera to see only the “Siegfried” which I found to be a total bore across the board and a sloppy mess musically and production-wise. Certainly musically, it was not in the same league with SF Opera “Walkure” I attended a few days before. Say what you want about her, Zambello is a singer’s director.
Pity the person that has to come in to take over the marketing department in LAO. Truth be told, Kurt Herbert Adler went through marketing people like they were going out of style, which I guess they did.
The Siegfried was the the worst of the lot in the Cycle, I thought, so it’s too bad that was the one you saw. Treleaven made an awkward staging even worse with his miserable performance… whatever it was that he was doing… but it wasn’t singing. More like being strangled, sometimes on pitch.
I wonder why the position is open now though -- did they have a VP before, or only managers and support staff? Maybe they woke up and realized they need to get a heavy hitter in there. About two years ago, as the economy began to tank, they laid off a slew of staff but I don’t know the particulars. I suppose if anyone has a recent program the staff at that time would be listed there.
Even after sitting through all four operas, and sitting on the experience for a month, I still can’t exactly fathom what I saw. The only quick conclusions I can form are of the singers performances: Vitalij Kowaljaw’s Wotan was exceptional, Linda Watson’s Brunnhilde was less so but still worth a mention, John Treleaven needs to retire immediately, and Richard Paul Fink may be the greatest Alberich around today. Fink spent the entire cycle hidden behind one of Freyer’s masks, and yet he projected more character through his voice and body language then everyone else onstage combined. I’m not kidding.
I think if I have to make a final judgement call on Freyer’s Ring (which was my first complete cycle in the theater), it was that I neither loved nor hated it. It confused me a great deal, but there were truly striking moments where the text and Freyer’s vision perfectly congealed. One example: as Mime claims to be Siegfried’s mother and father (singing to a warped version of Sieglinde’s motif), a Sieglinde double began to cross the stage at the back, proving his lie visually as well as audibly. I was, on the whole, impressed with Freyer’s treatment, but I wouldn’t exactly want to see it twice, and I look forward to seeing a more literal production next summer here in San Francisco.
Treleavan was beyond awful in the Covent Garden Ring three years ago and I am just praying that he won’t be back for the 2012 revival. Trouble is, the options aren’t limitless. Lance Ryan -- who is the new replacement Siegfried in this summer’s Bayreuth Ring -- can do one of the Siegfrieds but not both of them in the same week. Then there’s Stefan Vinke who has some good notes and some very bad ones -- good actor, though -- and Heppner who hardly ever turns up (usually substited for by Ryan or Vinke in Europe). I suppose Gary Lehmann will be doing it soon, and there’s the Fucking Brit Ian Storey bound for San Francisco but no doubt he will be subjected to the “Not since Jon Weaving” treatment here. Having heard his Tristan from La Scala, I think I’d prefer his Siegfried to Treleavan’s any day. He’s better looking, too.
Regina delle fate, I have bad news! Just google Ian Storey’s website. It is a sorry looking website, but it has pics of him in various productions, and it appears that he has gained a ton of weight since that La Scala Tristan (where he does indeed look pretty good). He no longer looks as good unfortunately.
I was at the LA Ring and am one of the few who enjoyed it. I thought the symbolic representation of the events, places, people, and the cartoonish characters worked better than a Ring set in a specific time like Nazi Germany or something. It was still the universal story. I had heard that Freyer was booed early on, but at the third cycle everyone cheered. I didn’t think I would like it from the pics, although I didn’t find them as bad as others did. Then, after Rheingold I thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t have come to this Ring,” but each opera won me over after that and I was hooked into Freyer’s concept/world which did not do away with the main story. It was there. I went with a friend, and she said it was her 10th Ring, and she loved it also.
My reaction to the LA Ring was along the same lines as Baritenor’s. Some of it was brilliant, some confusing, but it was certainly not the disaster that some try to make it out to be. It was definitely different and unlike any other I have seen and kept me thinking about it for days afterward. Was it worth $36 MM? Maybe not. But parts of it were good enough that I’d want to see those bits again. It will be a shame if they didn’t capture it on DVD. The way I described it some weeks ago was that Freyer seemed to be playing visually with the leitmotif system; there were many examples of the sort that Baritenor wrote about above.
What I really didn’t get was who re-hired Treleaven after his Tristan from a few years back? Didn’t they hear his vocal troubles then and try to find somebody else? He was the dullest, most nondescript Tristan I have ever seen or heard. Seriously, for Pete’s sake, Melot had more stage presence and voice than Treleaven. It was almost laughable to read his complaints about the Ring production: he had no mask, no towering wigs, no cages, to encumber him.
I don’t get Ian Storey either. He was Otello here that same season that Tristan was offered, and he wasn’t any better than Treleaven. Maybe not the vocal troubles, but just a big “blah” on stage; he displayed about the same amount of charisma, outraged jealousy and frightening fury as if Don Ottavio had stubbed his toe.
As to the VP of Marketing position -- I don’t suppose anyone knows the real story behind the scenes?
I am puzzled: Lance Ryan can do one of the Siegfrieds but not both of them in the same week? And what exactly is he doing in Bayreuth this summer four times (counting the dress rehearsals)?
Also, given that Heppner has had four engagements in Europe for singing Siegfried, two in Aix and two in Salzburg, I can’t see that he is “usually” replaced by anybody when he has been replaced by Ryan once and Vinke the next year. I do not see a pattern there, except Heppner not singing at Salzburg.
Truth is, it will be interesting to see who is going to sing the next Covent Garden revival and who will actually finish on the Met’s stage. My guess would be Gould.
Agreed about Rchard Paul Fink. His Alberich in Toronto a few years ago was fabulous.
Furchtbarer Ring, indeed.
In the last month I have received two calls from the L. A. Operation, attempting to solicit funds from me.
You see,I had made the mistake of donating back to them the unused tickets for GD and Gezeichneten,which I missed due to an illness. They apparently interpret this action on my part as a willingness to be a schmuck that gets stuck supporting their grandiloquent overblown mess of a Ring. Nicht so. Now when I see a 213 number on the phone I hit the Ignore, pronto.
Hummmmmmm…I have received yet ANOTHER unsolicited and unwanted call, while on the phone, this a.m. This time I’ve called them to tell them not to bother me again.
Let Placidone find another Vilar to pay down this desastre.
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