Cher Public

I can’t do the sum

Pencils down! We have a solution; please see below.

A conductor leads a performance of Ariadne auf Naxos in St. Petersburg Tuesday night, then boards a private jet headed west to New York at a speed of 600 miles per hour. In New York he is scheduled to conduct a performance of Boris Godunov on Wednesday night at the Metropolitan, then travel east the 4,700 mile distance to St. Petersburg where he will conduct Ariadne again on Thursday.

Question: Who is going to conduct Boris at the Met tonight? Please show your work.

Answer: “Pavel Smelkov will conduct this evening’s performance of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, replacing Valery Gergiev who is suffering from exhaustion and resting in St. Petersburg. Gergiev still plans to conduct this Saturday’s matinee performance.”

  • florezrocks

    I wonder when was the last time he showered?

    Haven’t there been some people being refused entry onto airplanes given their scent?

    That could be an additional variable.

    • operadunce

      Maybe that’s why it’s a private jet. The question is: who’s paying for it?

      • florezrocks

        oh right -- my oversight! of course Gergiev has a private jet! paid for by Putin.

      • The richest man in Vienna, obviously. “Zuvörderst diese Ariadne auf Naxos, danach das für Punkt neun Uhr noch einmal Ariadne auf Naxos, und zwischen beiden die eingeschobene Boris Godunov.”

        • Oops, Boris should probably be masculine. Die Grammatik gefällt mir nicht.

        • Regina delle fate

          Haha Zerbinetta! You are from my favourite Strauss opera!

  • operadunce

    Well, I guess Valery Gergiev is too obvious since he is actually listed on the Met website, so I’m going with James Levine or Leonard Slatkin! Placido?? :) And La Cieca, if I was able to show my work, I wouldn’t have to wear this pointy hat.

  • Panthair

    Boris isn’t the problem, unless Mlle Cieca has intel that he isn’t actually on the way!
    Ariadne1 in Petersburg ended late afternoon yesterday in NYC, which leaves time for flying, napping, dining and then a leisurely stroll to the Met. Boris ends tomorrow morning 0800 in Petersburg; eight hours flying plus a couple of hours in a taxicab drops him neatly on the podium for Ariadne2 -- and if he’s a bit late, perhaps it would not be the first time…

  • Gualtier M

    Evidently Gergiev was too tired to do the sum either:

    “Pavel Smelkov will conduct this evening’s performance of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, replacing Valery Gergiev who is suffering from exhaustion and resting in St. Petersburg . Gergiev still plans to conduct this Saturday’s matinee performance.
    Smelkov conducted Boris Godunov earlier this season on October 30, and is scheduled to lead it again next week on March 17. He has conducted regularly at the Mariinsky Theater since 2000 and made his Met debut with Shostakovich’s The Nose last season. He is also the founder and artistic director of the Baltika Youth Chamber Orchestra.
    Boris Godunov features René Pape in the title role, with Ekaterina Semenchuk, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Oleg Balashov, Evgeny Nikitin, Mikhail Petrenko, and Vladimir Ognovenko in other leading roles.”

    • florezrocks


      But what is NOT understandable is : WHO THE HELL MAKES HIS SCHEDULE!!!!?????

      • m. croche


        • Gualtier M

          I wouldn’t put it past Rocky the Flying Squirrel either M. Croche…

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    This smelly question is enough to stump Val -- not Gergiev …
    Val on the Nanny!

  • phoenix

    Well, I think St. Peter got the best of this deal. I am sure Val’s Ariadne is not half as dull as the Met Boris.

  • In other cancellation news, Thomas Quasthoff and András Schiff canceled their Liederabend, scheduled for tomorrow night in Vienna, and moved it to… March 2012. I’m sure they both have busy schedules but they really couldn’t find a date sooner than that?

    • MontyNostry

      Ach, in Wien, we don’t rush things … There is always time for Kaffee und Kuchen and a leisurely read of the newspaper (mounted on sticks, of course).

    • Alto

      Perhaps it was not just their schedules but that of the hall?

      • Yeah, I’m sure that was a factor as well, the Konzerthaus has some empty spots but not too many. I’m just pissed that I’m not going to be able to go; I’m not even going to be living in Vienna in March 2012.

        But ach, Monty, Kaffee und Kuchen is eigentlich Berlin German. In Wien haben wir die Jause.

  • Edward George

    As NYC is 8 hours behind St Petersburg, and the flight just under 8 hours, he could theoretically have just made it into New York before he left St Petersburg (so to speak). Getting back would have been trickier.

  • I was at the “Boris” tonight. Smelkov was very fine and energetic. Alas, it wasn’t one of the best nights of Pape. The top notes were so strained, I can only call them “abrasive.” The low register was inaudible. Still his middle range and stage presence were sublime…until the first intermission, after which I fled. Boris is not an opera for a week night! One needs a quadruple espresso right before a matinee, then perhaps…

    • phoenix

      Yes, that is what I expected it would be like, just as you say.

  • Bill

    Macbeth -- at the Boris tonight I thought Pape sang
    quite well -- perhaps not erasing memories of
    some of the previous great Borises -- but a most
    attractive voice (sort of lyrical in the Ramey Boris style), not as pointed or expressive as Ghiaurov or Christoff -- I heard London, Siepi, Hines and Rossi-Lemeni early on then liking London the best of that group but that was long ago. Most of the singing tonight was of a reasonably high level, Petrenko as Pimen, Antonenko as
    Grigory, whoever sang the Simpleton were all vocally very effective though I was not overimpressed with the Marina -- but that may in part had to do with the production. She seemed to be more a scheming floozy than an Princess. After the Polish scene there was a second intermission and the public was fleeing in droves. With practically no sets to change in this production, it is ridiculous to have such long intermissions. I must say though that I missed the opulence of other productions seen in the past, at Salzburg under Karajan, at the Met, Bolshoi, Budapest. The sets for the Polish scene were downright ugly -- the fountain is referred to in the text but all I saw was a few benches and a flimsy set. The advantage of such a set is the ability to change scenes without a break at all and I guess the fact that it was a very low budget production which will not often be revived.

    • Dear Bill,

      That’s true, he sang quite well. I still think he is the best around. I thought of using “lyric” when describing him as well. If I appreciate one thing with Pape is that he sings with his own voice and doesn’t try to sound like someone else.

      Of course, my essential Boris is none but the King Christoff, alas! That clear diction, pinpointed silver voice was unique.

  • Virgilio Guardepassa

    So, class, what is our takeaway from this? Oh, -- that there is some reason (money?) that Gergiev gets to do WHATEVER THE FUCK HE WANTS NO MATTER HOW LITTLE ARTISTIC OR LOGISTICAL SENSE IT MAKES? Thank you, Met Artistic Administration. Now that we have cleared that up, let’s get back to the other looming massive clusterfucks on the horizon….