Cher Public

Steel yourself

Now that the New York City Opera season has bogged down, and while we’re waiting for reports of the Met’s 2012-13 programming (old news!), La Cieca thinks it would be fun for the cher public to play George Steel (or, given the difficulty of the task, Superman) and devise an upcoming season for NYCO. Details after the jump.

Here’s your task, parterrians: come up with a season of four operas, with casting and production details, for NYCO’s 2012-13 season (when, as and if, of course). Insert your plan along with whatever corroborating prose you choose below, in the comments section.

Following the close of the competition on Saturday February 25 at midnight, La Cieca’s crack team of judges will sift the answers for the winners in two categories:

Most Plausible (a season that actually has a chance of playing and succeeding), and

Most Visionary (a season that would require a combination of superhuman effort and the generosity of a billionaire to accomplish, but would then be talked about for decades to come).

The best in each category received a coveted Amazon gift card worth $50.00.

Start your engines, and may the best impresario win!

  • Nerva Nelli

    Maybe NYCO would collaborate on an Opening Gala LES NOCES/ LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS with Susan Baker — one-time only!!! — as The Chosen Victim.

  • Signor Bruschino

    Here’s my choice for a season- I’ve left out casting- but production team ideas (and some revivals thrown in

    The Ghosts of Versailles -- new production by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch)
    Antony & Cleopatra- new production directed by Catherine Malfitano
    Mourning Becomes Elektra- revival
    Madame Sans-Gene- new production by Laurent Pelly
    Vanessa- revival
    Emperor Jones- new production by George Wolfe
    Man Without a Country- (performed in Damrosch park)

    A season of works by American and European composers, all of which premiered at the MET… Don’t be scared of the former neighbor across the plaza, but show that you take their musical history more seriously than they do!

  • grimoaldo

    La C’s instructions, I point out,were to “come up with a season of four operas, with casting and production details.”

    OK I don’t know if this is practical or visionary or just silly but here is my four:

    Il re pastore, Mozart, with Philippe Jaroussky, Lisette Oropesa, Charles Castronovo, Genia Kühmeier, directed
    Christopher Alden

    I Masnadieri, Verdi, with Roberto De Biasio,Carmen Giannattasio, Quinn Kelsey,Eric Halfvarson directed Calixto Bieito -- a soprano role written for Jenny Lind, a tale of robbers, depravity, massacres, murder, patricide, Bieito would be just the man

    Patience, Gilbert and Sullivan
    Patience, a Dairy Maid, Georgia Jarman
    The Lady Jane, a Rapturous Maiden, Stephanie Blythe
    Reginald Bunthorne, a Fleshly Poet, Matthew Broderick
    Archibald Grosvenor, an Idyllic Poet, Nathan Lane
    Lt The Duke of Dunstable, Toby Spence
    Col Calverley, Officer of Dragoons, Eric Owens
    Directed by Ian Judge

    Akhnaten, Phillip Glass, title role played by Bejun Mehta, Achim Freyer re-creating his original 1984 Stuttgart Opera production

    • ianw2

      I will line up for many tickets to your Akhnaten, which is one of my absolute favourite pieces. Also that Patience looks so delightfully wacky I’d happily head off to that too.

      • Buster

        I saw an incredible performance of Echnathon once, in a theatre at a river bank, built especially for the opera. It was made of old shipping containers, except the back of the stage, which was plexiglass. During the opera the passing ships became part of the decor!

  • Practical:

    Form an alliance with the Santa Fe Opera, import some of their most successful productions of the last few years, like Faust, Albert Herring, The Letter (Patricia Racette can reprise her role), Life is a Dream (that one won a prize awhile back) which Ian will have to direct so he can fix the plot, The Tales of Hoffman directed by Christopher Alden, and, Griselda with a new director and a new set -- wait that means a whole new production actually -- never mind -- just bring in Fabio Biondi’s L’oracolo in Messenia instead. If he can tour the western half of the US with Vivica then he can bring a REAL pastiche to New York. I wouldn’t mind seeing Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream from ENO (wasn’t that directed by Christopher Alden?) instead of the Herring, which, practically speaking, is already being done in LA. Yes, I know, Faust is being done by the Met again, but when they see the Lawless production, they will wonder why that production wasn’t done in New York. Throw in Mariusz Kwiecien in King Roger and Luca Pisaroni for Maometto II and, VOILA,
    a wonderful season.

    Visionary(because, really, who has this kind of money except for the 1% of the wealthiest Americans who have no taste apparently):

    Herheim’s Onegin -- anybody but Bo Skovus in the lead.
    Lohengrin with the Rats -- we need a venue -- talking about hip and cool -- Klaus FV reprises his role of course.
    Bieito’s Fidelio -- nothing more need be said except Kaufmann must do it!
    The Messiah -- staged by Guth -- for the holidays of course.
    La Vie Parisienne -- the Pelly production -- do this on New Year’s Eve --

    • ianw2

      Life is a Dream (that one won a prize awhile back) which Ian will have to direct so he can fix the plot

      Why do you hate me so very much?

      La pif la pouffe la pif la pouffe!

    • Feldmarschallin

      Bieto’s Fidelio isn’t very controversial so you might be disappointed if you are looking for a scandel. No one hear bats an eyelash when it is played. Better to take something else if you are looking for scandel like his Entführung maybe.

      • Regina delle fate

        FM -- it’s meant to be coming to ENO in London, but not next season as they are bringing in Bieto’s Carmen next season. Has Bieto done anything else in Munich? I’ve only seen a handful of his productions, but the quality seems to be variable, as if usually the case with very “successful” Regie directors (they do too much for it all to be good). I’m told his Stuttgart Parsifal was great, but I heard that his Manon in Frankfurt was so bad, and trashed by usually Bieto-friendly critics, that they had to cancel performances after the third one because no-one was going. Come to think of it, the conjunction of Bieto and Manon, at least for three-fifths of the opera, seems improbable to say the least.

        • Feldmarschallin

          oh I thought it was a fictional thing. The Fidelio isn’t bad at all (his first production here but I doubt his last), but not as exceptional as some of his others like the Parsifal, Don Giovanni or Wozzeck. Every great director has his signature style but sometimes things just dont gel right. Bietos Holländer was also a great success btw. And sometimes there are works and directors which you don’t think go hand in hand or would be a good fit and work out extremely well (Herheims Boheme for example). Kaufmann sang the Premiere and Festspiele and then Seiffert sang the revival this past fall with Kampe singing all the Leonoren. While Kaufmann was of course more to my liking there were many in the audience including myself who were very happy with Seiffert even if he didn’t look like he was starving in the dungeon. You could be happy with either of them. I am hoping when it comes back and Fidelio is quite popular here and comes quite often it will be with a different Leonore.

        • the quality seems to be variable

          You mean Bieito is not a machine that cranks out productions flawlessly? How oddly he must fit into the milieu of opera, where singers are invariably in perfect voice, never needing to cancel, and conductors display the identical perfect affinity to every work they attempt. And it goes without saying that every other stage director in the world produces production after production that utterly delight every member of their diverse audiences, meanwhile winning unanimous raves from the critics.

          You’d almost think this Bieito was some sort of hu-man!

      • Nothing says “impossible to stage anywhere else” except Bieito’s Seraglioat Komische Oper. Let’s go with his Don Giovanni instead. They should actually do that at Santa Fe because that opera was my life for awhile as a home-visiting, mental health worker in the western cities of the U. S. of A. The only thing missing is the children.

  • Buster

    To survive, the company needs to add a few letters to their name, and continue as The New York City Operetta, and present a season with four operetta’s from four different countries every year. There is plenty to discover and keep them going for ages. Properly cast, with young singers and the occasional (retired) Kammersängerin, a New York City Operetta ticket will no doubt become the hottest ticket in town:

    1. Zigeunerbaron, with Michael Spyres as Barinkay, Jane Archibald as Saffi, and Anny Schlemm as Czipra.

    2. Zirkusprinzessin, with Olga Peretyatko as Princess Fedora Palinska, and Edda Moser as the hotel manager.

    3. La Périchole, with Stéphanie d’Oustrac, and Nicolai Gedda as the second drinker.

    4. Frau Luna, with Eva Lind as Frau Luna, and Christa Ludwig as Frau Pusebach.

    • Regina delle fate

      Buster -- surely none of those titles will sell in New York -- especially with the original titles and how do you translate La Périchole and Frau Luna into English? I can’t see Mrs Moon or Lady Luna getting them to storm the box-office. And there’s only one hit number in it -- Glow, little glow-worm, glimmer. The casting is brilliant, though -- where is Eva Lind now? Arm-candy at the Wiener Opernball? She used to be on Austrian television as a sort of latter-day Anneliese Rothenberger.

      • ianw2

        If my hypothetical audiences are prepared to travel out to the Bronx and LGA; Buster’s can certainly all be fans of operettas.

      • Buster

        Regina delle fate: I am all in favor of the European approach: “Ich zeige dem Publikum, was sie sehen sollen, und nicht, was sie sehen wollen.” :-)

        Eva Lind has said in an interview her biggest wish was flying to the moon -- so Frau Luna might actually appeal to her. Brigitte Fassbaender hired her for a few Lustige Witwe’s this season in Innsbruck. Last year she sang a Rigoletto with Leo Nucci in Schwerin. She must have been very good because this summer she will be back to sing her first Nedda there.

      • brooklynpunk

        “And there’s only one hit number in it”


        Surely more then just ..ONE.-- no?

        Isn’t “Berliner Luft” from “Frau Luna”?

        • brooklynpunk

          …actually…”Glow-worm” comes from a different operatta, by the same composer-” Im Reiche des Indra”

          … and-- there would be a certain amount of “damage -control” to contend with , over Paul Linke’s connection and huge popularity in and during The Third Reich…..

          • grimoaldo

            I think “glow worm” is from Lincke’s “Lysistrata” bp and here is a quite fun version of it from 1937 with soprano Erna Sack throwning in some stratospheric high notes -- and I certainly intend no offense, btw, to anyone in posting something from that time period in Germany:

          • brooklynpunk


            Thanks!--and thanks fer the correction…!

            I also believe that youtube has a number of clips from the 1941 German film “Frau Luna”--I have a somewhat uneasy, yet still very enjoyable fascination with watching the musicals of that era …

          • Buster

            Frau Luna is from 1899, and was already popular during WW I. A 28-year old Anneliese Rothenberger can be heard in it in a radio broadcast -- one of her greatest recordings.

            Edda Moser did a sexy Lasst den Kopf nicht haengen, which is hidden on YouTube in that long August Everding interview.

          • Buster

            Found the Moser Frau Luna, right at the beginning of this:

      • Will

        I understand that Perichole translates to something like Sweet Bitch.

  • Nerva Nelli

    How about casts blending Original/Historic Cast Members with strapping young Tony-bait?

    VANESSA: Brenda Lewis/Mary Costa, Rosalind Elias, Regina Resnik, Nicolai Gedda/Stephen Costello, Keith Miller

    ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA: Leontyne Price, Justino Diaz, Michael Fabiano

    DEATH IN VENICE: Alek Shrader, John Shirley-Quirk/Liam Bonner, James Bowman/Anthony Roth Costanzo, Chase Finley guesting from NYCB

    LE DERNIER SAUVAGE: Gabriel Bacquier/Daniel Okulitch, Mady Mesple/Roberta Peters, Nicolai Gedda/James Valenti, Adriana Maliponte/Teresa Stratas

    Bernard Rogers’ THE WARRIOR: Regina Resnik, Kelly Markgraf

    • Poor Stephen, no respect. Really, they picked Meli instead.

  • Regina delle fate

    Grim -- that Patience cast is pure genius -- almost as good as Sandra Dugdale, Derek Hammond-Stroud, Alan Opie and Anne Collins at ENO in the 1970s :)

  • operacat

    PRACTICAL (I am hoping the composer names and newsworthiness would make up for the lack of a surefire crowd pleaser):
    1) THE TEMPEST (Johann Friedrich Reichardt) this lovely 1798 singspiel would be an alternative to the Ades and I bet a lot more loveable. A lovely, dramatic work worthy of revival.
    2) GIORNO DI REGNO (Verdi) -- kick off the Verdi bicentennial with a lively, maybe even Monty Pythonesque production of his first opera.
    3) ANNA NICOLE (Turnage) -- lets keep with the pop culture operas. Threatened lawsuits would ensure news and it was more fun that alot of modern operas.
    4) LIEBESVERBOT (Wagner) -- while I would love to go with the Dove reorchestrated RING (as suggested earlier by Belfagor) for the Wagner bicentennial, I think this work, while very ambitious might be more in the purview of available singers (and would generate the publicity.
    We are already planning 2013-14: BURNING FIERY FURNACE/CURLEW RIVER (for the Britten centennial travelling to three different church spaces around NYC); the Dove reorchestration of Verdi’s FALSTAFF (his last opera to close the bicentennial); Heggie’s DELORES CLAIBORNE straight from San Francisco (our pop-op entry); and Offenbach’s RHEINNIXEN (“Weber by way of Offenbach” and first complete NYC production ever, I believe).

    • operacat

      The casts for these productions would not be based on stars but rather on consultations with Stephen Blier, Kim Whitman of Wolf Trap Opera and others. THE TEMPEST and GIORNO DI REGNO would be in smaller spaces. ANNA NICOLE and LIEBESVERBOT at BAM. Austerity considerations mean that LIEBESVERBOT, like RHEINNIXEN the following year would be semi-staged concerts with props and some stage setting; chorus in black and on book, orchestra on stage, soloists in costume and off book; hopefully as successfully entertaining as LE GRAND MACABRE from the NY Philharmonic a few years ago.

  • operacat

    IMPRACTICAL (our first act of business will be getting in good with the chorus again):
    1) DON CARLOS -- for the bicentennial, in a vast cathedral like space, the French Verdi in all its Paris opera grandeur.
    2)SAINT FRANCOISE D’ASSISSE(Messiaen) -- Mortier’s orginal idea of having an art installation installed at the Armory that could be visited during the day. Gilbert would conduct the NY Philharmonic.
    3)KING ROGER (Szymanowski) -- another installation, this time in the Cloisters, with Kweiczen.
    4)LOHENGRIN -- for the Wagner bicentennial, on Central Park Lake, a la Bregenz, on a giant swan.
    For 2013-14: FLORENCIA EN EL AMAZONIAS (Catan) on a cruising showboat with an open stage back to see the Palisades and the river as we sail and starring Renee Fleming; close the Verdi bicentennial with a complete LES VESPRES SICILIENNES in a vast cathedral space; Britten’s centennial MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM in huge red tent in Central Park with a Cirque du Soleil style production; and a Patrick Tatopoulos (UNDERWORLD:RISE OF THE LYCANS) designed and directed IL TROVATORE set “Long ago, in a galaxy far away” with Azucena and crew as green aliens (that includes Manrico, who will fly off in a jet pack as he hits his final stunning high C at the end of “Di quella pira”). For future seasons, we have commissioned Nico Muhly for an opera version of Alfred Bester’s THE STARS MY DESTINATION; Judith Weir for a life of Princess Diana including the royal conspiracy to have her killed; and Jake Heggie for an tale of a mythical President W. who always felt like the idiot son of an ex president who wants to do something his father could not do, overthrow the dictator of an oil rich Middle Eastern country.

    • *Interesting*. (That was for Betsy). How closely related is the word “impractical” to the word “visionary.” I never would have thought.

  • The NYCO at the Brooklyn Academy of Music:

    LES VÊPRES SICILIENNES (Verdi) – Carmen Giannattasio, John Osborn, Stephen Powell, John Relyea; Will Crutchfield; Stéphane Braunschweig

    DON CHISCIOTTE IN SIERRA MORENA (Conti) – Stéphane Degout, Inga Kalna, Christophoros Stamboglis, Bejun Mehta, Maria Cristina Kiehr; René Jacobs; Stephen Lawless

    THE SAINT OF BLEECKER STREET (Menotti) – Elizabeth Futral, Frank Porretta, Ginger Costa-Jackson, Samuel Ramey; Steven Mercurio; Francesca Zambello

    DIE FEEN (Wagner) – Tamara Wilson, John Horton Murray, David Pittsinger; George Manahan; Robert Carsen

  • How about a “Verismo Festival”?
    1.Conchita by Zandonai
    2.Die Lorelei by Catalani
    3.Isabeau by Mascagni
    4.Madame Sans-Gêne by Giordano

    4 lesser known works that are rarely done by 4 different composers.
    I’d attend all 4, but I loves me my verismo.
    Now who are the female singers who have taken up the mantle of verista to fill the roles?

  • Lucy

    As an impresario, I choose to delegate the task of choosing conductors to someone better qualified to do so. Most of the chosen singers are currently active in or around New York, although a few favorites from past NYCO seasons appear as well. Efforts have been made to reform the current abysmal state of marketing by providing a theme for each season (hopefully encouraging audiences not just to pick plums.)

    Season A: Unexpected Heroes
    1. Fidelio (to be performed in the suitably prison-like Kingsbridge Armory, decor minimal)
    Leonore: Lisa Flanagan
    Florestan: Adam Laurence Herskowitz
    Marzelline: Jessica Sandidge
    Pizarro: Stephen Powell
    Rocco: Per Bach Nissen

    2. Don Quichotte (borrow Seattle’s production or perform it at the NYPL)
    Don Quichotte: Craig Hart
    Sancho Panza: Cory Clines
    Dulcinea: Abigail Fischer

    3. Gianni Schicchi/L’enfant et les sortileges (existing NYCO productions… not sure when they last performed Gianni Schicchi, but a bedroom shouldn’t be hard to put together)
    Gianni: Mark Walters
    Zita: Margaret Lattimore
    Lauretta: Layla Claire
    Rinuccio: Taylor Stayton
    L’enfant: Hayden DeWitt

    4. Silent Night (import as many of the singers who created the roles at Minnesota Opera as possible. Celebrate the bringing of a good new opera to NYC.)

    Season B: Wraiths and Revenants
    1. Lucia di Lammermoor: Susanna Phillips Edgardo: David Lomeli Arturo: Stephen Powell

    2. Der Vampyr: Aubry: Issachah Savage Malwina: Kala Maxym Emmy: Karin Mushegain Ruthven: Rod Gilfry

    3. Die Tote Stadt: Paul: Adam Laurence Herskowitz, Marietta: Caitlyn Lynch, Frank: Daniel Klein (so glad I’m not the only one to have this idea)

    4. Turn of the Screw: Taylor Stayton as Peter Quint, Miles: treble; if the excellent Neel Ram Nagajaran isn’t tied up at the Met, tant mieux Governess: Sara Jakubiak Miss Jessel: Sofia Dimitrova (borrow production from Glyndebourne)

    Season C: I’m all out of casting ideas, but I’d love to see a “Voyages” season, as follows:

    Entführung aus dem Serail
    L’italiana in Algeri
    Excursions of Mr. Brou?ek
    Death in Venice