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Grand, hotel

Sneaking in under the wire during the final week of May were two highpoints of New York’s opera season: the Cleveland Orchestra’s Salome with a stunning Nina Stemme and operamission’s revelatory US stage premiere of a complete edition of Handel’s first opera Almira. While the former overflowed the stage of Carnegie Hall, the latter packed eight excellent singers, a period orchestra of 21 and an enthusiastic audience into a curtained-off portion of the Gershwin Hotel’s lobby in Manhattan’s East 20s.  

The excellence of the Strauss was no surprise, but Saturday night’s baroque fans were lucky to be treated to one of the best local Handel productions in years by this new and ambitious group, led by conductor Jennifer Peterson.

One doesn’t want to over-sell the show (of which two more performances remain): there was no set, no costumes other than evening dresses for the ladies and suits or jackets for the men, but I’ve rarely attended a local show with such integrity and one that radiated a stirring belief in the work’s musical worth, while Jeff Caldwell’s tastefully restrained production always trusted the beautifully-coached performers to embody their characters with a minimum of directorial intervention—one got the essence of Handel’s (and Feustking’s) Almira—nothing more, and certainly nothing less.

Hoping to escape a law career being forced upon him by his father along with a church gig he’d grown bored with, the eighteen-year-old Georg Friedrich Händel fled to Hamburg getting a job playing second violin at the Gänsemarkt Opera, by then one of Europe’s leading houses and one that didn’t rely on royal patronage but was supported by its middle-class audience. Encouraged by his friend Telemann, Handel soon was playing harpsichord as well and caught the notice of the theater’s manager, prolific opera composer Reinhard Keiser, who commissioned a first opera from Handel: Der in Krohnen erlangte Glücks-Wechsel, oder Alimira, Königin von Castilien which premiered in early 1705.

Almira’s very successful run of over 20 performances led to a second opera just six weeks later: Die durch Blut und Mord erlangete Liebe usually known as Nero.  No other operas by Handel arrived before his departure for Italy in 1707 although two premiered after he left: Der beglückte Florindo and Die verwandelte Daphne in 1708.  Of the four, only Almira has survived.

Those familiar with Handel’s later operas might not immediately recognize Almira; for one thing, most of the opera is in German–but not all of it. Often characters who have been conversing in German launch into an aria in Italian or a character singing an accompanied recitative in German will follow it with an Italian aria—it really keeps one off-balance. German opera of the time was an uneasy synthesis of the simpler style of German aria, the more elaborate Italian aria (usually in a da capo form) and French dance music: Almira includes many dance numbers, particularly for the coronation scene in act 1 and the pageant of the nations in act 3; these dances remain the opera’s most famous calling-card.  Even those unfamiliar with 18th century vocal music will know the stunning piano transcriptions made by Franz Liszt of a sarabande and a chaconne:

Almira is a typical German opera of its time, including an astonishing 49 arias, though many are quite short, often accompanied by basso continuo only, and in a modified da capo form where the A repeat is left to the orchestra only rather to than the singer. His next extant opera–1707’s Rodrigo–demonstrates that an absolute sea-change occurred after Handel arrived in Italy earlier that year.  And by 1709 at age 24 Handel had written for Venice his first unarguable masterpiece, the wickedly funny, unexpectedly moving Agrippina.  But the uneven Almira does contain some gems, including an aria for the title character with a sublime oboe obbligato:

While Italian, French and English baroque opera are flourishing today, German works continue to be rare. I missed New York City Opera’s recent production of Telemann’s Orpheus oder Die underbare Beständigkeit der Liebe (yes they do all seem to have extraordinarily long titles!), but it was received with ambivalence by many, although René Jacobs’s recording of “Orpheus” reveals a fine opera. However, I prefer Telemann’s 1704 Germanicus (contemporaneous with Almira) and especially his splendid Der Geduldige Sokrates (which I saw at the Berlin Staatsoper conducted by Jacobs in 2007) to his Orpheus. One hopes rumors of a CD or DVD of the Jacobs Sokrates are true; in the meantime, Flavius Bertaridus, König der Langobarden arrives next month with Miriways also on the horizon.

Handel’s other Gänsemarkt colleagues haven’t been as lucky as Telemann, although Jacobs has also done Keiser’s Croesus, yet no operas of Johann Mattheson have been recorded (other than some excerpts of his setting of Cleopatra.

Based on hearing a live recording of his Boris Goudenow, the lack of a complete Mattheseon is unfortunate, but Mattheson (who also sang as a tenor) remains destined to be best remembered for having fought a duel with Handel. Mattheson’s habit was to return to play in the orchestra after he had finished singing, but at one performance Handel was supposedly reluctant to give up his place at harpsichord, so an eventually harmless duel transpired right outside the opera house. But neither Mattheson nor Handel bore a wound nor a grudge as Mattheson sang the leading role of Fernando at Almira’s premiere less than a month later.

A glance at Almira’s checkered performance history (helpfully included in the operamisson program) reveals a surprising international disinterest: Although notable for being the only Handel opera performed anywhere during the 19th century, Almira had never been given outside of Germany until a truncated version was staged at the 2004 Amherst Early Music Festival. It has yet to be performed in England (usually home to all things Handelian) or France. Even operas by his Hamburg boss Keiser have fared better: Croesus was produced by both Opera North in England and by the Minnesota Opera during the past decade.  And his delightful Der Lächerliche Prinz Jodelet had a smashing revival in Hamburg in 2004.

Operamission was clearly tackling something important Saturday night by presenting Almira’s uncut US stage premiere (which ran a bit over four hours), but I didn’t arrive with high hopes based on CPO’s rather drippy 1994 recording by Andrew Lawrence-King and Fiori Musicali.

However, Peterson assembled eight exceptionally well-prepared singers who made a strong case for Handel’s maiden effort.  Friedrich Christian Feustking’s libretto–an adaptation of late 17th century Italian libretto by Giulio Pancieri–revolves around many convoluted encounters among three pairs of royal lovers who eventually find their way back into the right configuration by the curtain. There must, of course, be a lieto fine, but this one involves a particularly absurd last-minute revelation of a long-lost prince rescued as a child by a fisherman! Added to the mix of the six lovers are the older Prince Consalvo, Almira’s guardian, and Tabarco, her lover Fernando’s servant, the only comic character that I can think of in Handel until Elviro turns up in his penultimate opera Serse.

Happily, Karim Sulayman’s Tabarco was one of the evening’s highlights; no aging, nearly voiceless character-tenor, Sulayman combined a richly agile voice with a loose-limbed comic flair that never threatened to go over the top.  As his handsome master Fernando, the Queen’s lovelorn secretary who is always being discovered in deceptively compromising situations, Michael Weyandt brought a lovely virile baritone to a role originally written for a low tenor, a casting decision which paid off as his voice effectively contrasted with the two tenors and two basses. Keith Jameson, who recently shone as the Novice in the MET’s Billy Budd, revealed a surprisingly accomplished florid technique while fussing and fuming amusingly as Osman, the “long-lost” Fernando’s brother.

As Prince Consalvo, bass Mark Risinger was properly stentorian but a bit too gravely for my taste; David Kravitz arrived only in act 2 in the shorter bass role of Raymondo but was gifted with one of the score’s real beauties: a touching third act aria “Zweier Augen Majestät” which he sang tenderly. He also handled the coloratura a bit more deftly than Risinger.

As the spitfire Edilia Nell Snaidas gamely tackled the role’s extravagantly demanding challenges; however, a less aggressive, more accurate approach would have been more rewarding. She did do fine job with her entrance aria “Schönste Rosen.” the opera’s best-known vocal number. Soprano Kristen Plumley as Bellante had less to do but sang well. In the title role, soprano Christy Lombardozzi started slowly, failing to properly gauge the extremely live acoustic of the room, sounding over-bright, even harsh.

During the evening’s second half, she settled into both the space and the character, whose music in acts 2 and 3 contains several of the more forward-looking numbers. Like some of Edilia’s music, Almira’s often rises to high Cs, yet Lombardozzi in her great vengeance aria “Kochet ihr adern entzündete Rache” confidently handled those while adding ornaments taking her even higher.  In fact, all the ornamentation throughout the evening was beautifully done, stylish and grateful to the singer and the character.

One of the evening’s pleasures was the large (21 strong), young and hard-working period orchestra (including numerous alumni of the newish Juilliard Historical Performance program), particularly in the lush numbers for orchestra alone. Yet it must be said that many entrances were shaky, and the band sounded like it could have done with another week’s rehearsal, and the fatigue of the long performance seemed to tell more on the orchestra than on the singers, but I suspect the two remaining performances will be more confident.

For those outside the New York area wishing a sampling of Handel’s first opera, Akademie für Alte Musik has released a superb sampler of orchestral music from the Gänsemarkt, including a suite from Almira.

The biennial Boston Early Music Festival has regularly presented important US premieres of German baroque operas, including with Conradi’s Die schöne und getreue Ariadne  in 2003 (which it recorded beautifully for CPO with Karina Gauvin in the title role) and Mattheson’s Boris Goudenow, in 2005, and had scheduled another, Graupner’s Antiochus und Stratonica, first for 2009 and then again for next year. However, the Graupner has once more been postponed, and BEMF has announced Almira for its 2013 festival centerpiece.

The festival will no doubt produce it on a lavish scale, but I think it will have to work very hard to surpass the passionate world of the Castilian queen created in a hotel lobby Saturday night by Peterson and her talented collaborators. I’m eager to see what operamission decides to tackle next!

Illustration by Tomi Um.

 

 

48 comments

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    I love this review and the integrations of the illustrative YouTubies. The music in the List transcription bears a resemblance to “Lascia ch’io piango” and certain measures of “Piangerò la sorte mia”. Were those arias then Handel’s self-borrowings for his later operas, or Liszt’s synthesis of Handel for the transcription? In other words, apart from the Lisztian variations, is the music in the Liszt entirely from Almira?

    • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    • grimoaldo says:

      The melody of “Lascia ch’io pianga” does indeed appear as an “Asian dance” in Almira of 1705. Then the great self-borrower Handel re-used it as the aria “Lascia la spina” in the 1707 Italian oratorio ” Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno” and finally as “Lascia ch’io pianga” in his first Italian opera for London,”Rinaldo”, 1711.
      These works were written respectively for Hamburg, Rome, and London so the audiences in those different locations would have been extremely unlikely to have heard the other versions.

  • m. croche says:

    Nice, enthusiastic review. One very small nitpick:

    Based on hearing a live recording of his Boris Goudenow, the lack of a complete Mattheseon is unfortunate, but Mattheson (who also sang as a tenor) remains destined to be best remembered for having fought a duel with Handel.

    Actually, isn’t Mattheson’s Der Vollkommene Capellmeister (available here: http://tinyurl.com/752qwfv ) a frequently-cited source for music theory and practice of the period?

    (Even tinier nit: “Wunderbare” statt “underbare”)

  • grimoaldo says:

    How surprising that there should be another opera from the very interesting but short-lived attempts at establishing German opera from the Theater am Gänsemarkt in Hamburg, so soon after the NYCO’s Orpheus of Telemann.
    It was perhaps because Hamburg was a prosperous free Imperial city, ie not part of a kingdom or duchy ruled by a local prince, that the middle classes there supported, at least from 1678 -- 1738, this theatre which developed a tradition of recitatives in German so that the audience could follow the story, arias in Italian, and French-derived dance sections.
    In most other places, the aristocratic rulers who paid for opera preferred Italian opera at that time, just as they preferred French wine to whatever local wines there might be.
    Thanks for another informative review and the youtube clips!
    It would be nice to think that interest in Baroque opera is growing in NY.

    • CruzSF says:

      I hope that growing interest in Baroque opera spreads west.

      • m. croche says:

        No opera on the program, but there is this June’s Berkeley Early Music festival…

        http://bfx.berkeley.edu/

        Also: Philharmonia Baroque will do Purcell’s Diocletian at the beginning of their Fall season.

        Also, too: On July 20, the American Bach Soloists, as part of their summer season, will do a double-bill of Rameau’s Pygmalion and Purcell’s Dido.

        • CruzSF says:

          Hi m. croche,
          I’m attending at least one performance during the BEM, and plan to hear Purcell’s Diocletian in the fall. Unfortunately, the ABS summer season falls during the week I’m traveling for work. I return to SF the night of the Pygmalian & Dido. It might be worth moving my flight to an earlier time…

          I did attend the Philharmonia Baroque’s performance of Alexander’s Feast a couple of month’s ago. I thought the music was well-played, interesting, and beautiful. I enjoyed the singing, too. But I think I need to learn more about the oratorio form because I think the point eluded me.

          • grimoaldo says:

            I said above “It would be nice to think that interest in Baroque opera is growing in NY” partly because I have been listening for lo these many years to recordings and broadcasts of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under Nicholas McGegan, based in the Bay Area of California, one of the original leaders of the Historically Informed Performance movement and one of the leading Baroque ensembles of the world, so I think NY is behind CA in that area.
            I am a bit bemused by your comment “I think I need to learn more about the oratorio form because I think the point (of Alexander’s Feast) eluded me.” If you enjoyed the beautiful music and singing, isn’t that enough of a point?
            In fact “Alexander’s Feast” is an ode, not an oratorio strictly speaking, set to a pre-existent poetic text by John Dryden, “Alexander’s Feast, or the Power of Music’ which had already been set to music by composer Jeremiah Clarke (which music is now lost). It indeed does set out to show the power of music, and I would say it succeeds, and that that is the point.

          • CruzSF says:

            Thanks for the explanation, grim. I suppose I expected more in the sense of drama, but that clearly wasn’t the point. It seemed to me a whole lot of narration and not much action, and I was surprised after the end of it, thinking that it was an oratorio and not an ode, that English audiences had grown tired of opera and preferred works like Alexander’s Feast for an evening’s entertainment.

          • m. croche says:

            Cruzsf: maybe you can try thinking of oratorio as the musical equivalent of old-time radio. In an oratorio, the composer and the poet have to create the entire scene for you without the help of stage pictures. The burden of creating striking imagery is borne more directly by the words and music. You will find wonderful musical effects in oratorio that you would not typically find in contemporary opera, precisely because as stage music it might be too distracting. The oratorio form is designed to appeal to the audiences imagination and fantasy.

          • m. croche says:

            “audience’s”, of course.

          • grimoaldo says:

            However Cruz is right that “Alexander’s Feast” does not have much action, it just describes how at the celebrations for Alexander the Great’s victory over the Persian empire,the musician Timotheus played his lyre and aroused various moods in Alexander, finally prompting the conqueror to burn down the city of Persepolis in revenge for the Greek dead.
            It is an ode, not an oratorio, which typically do involve unstaged dramas.
            The original performance also included a harp concerto and an organ concerto by Handel as well as the first performance of the Concerto Grosso in C “Alexander’s Feast”.

          • CruzSF says:

            Thanks, grimoaldo & m. croche, for your continued assistance. I can understand the old-time radio drama analogy and am now looking for an orotorio recording to buy so I can study it.

            By coincidence to this review and this thread, I just started the Donald Burrows biography of Handel and am 50 pages into it. I’m guessing this book will have something helpful to say re: orotorio.

            I’m already looking forward to next April, when Philharmonia Baroque will present Teseo, with the soprano Dominique Labelle singing the role of Medea. I thought she was very impressive in Alexander’s Feast. (Grim, I’m a late-comer to this period. The Philharmonia’s performance of Handel’s ode was only the second time I’d attended one of their concerts. My first live exposure to a Baroque opera was last autumn’s Serse in SF.)

          • La marquise de Merteuil says:

            Cruz -- Medea is all wrong for Labelle -- her voice is way too light for this role. Written for the grewt Schiavonetti who also sang Armida in Rinaldo -- this part needs a bit more weight IMO.

          • La marquise de Merteuil says:

            Personally I prefer the Minkowski version -- but this gives you an idea of voice type needed:

          • armerjacquino says:

            ‘Medea is all wrong for Labelle- her voice is way too light’.

            Oh, I wouldn’t say that…

          • Hippolyte says:

            If you care to preview the Philharmonia Baroque’s Teseo, BBC Radio 3 is broadcasting last summer’s Teseo from Gottingen (in two parts on Thursday and Friday afternoons) with McGegan conducting five of the six soloists scheduled for next April’s performances. The best news is that Susanne Ryden whose Teseo at Gottingen was catastrophically bad has been replaced. I had the broadcast but didn’t keep it--Labelle was actually pretty good, but otherwise it wasn’t so interesting and Drew Minter wasn’t sounding so hot fifteen years ago, so you can imagine what he sounds like now! And of course McGegan is light-weight and dull as usual.

          • CruzSF says:

            I hope it’s not as bad as you remember, Hippolyte. Thanks for the pointer to these broadcasts.

      • louannd says:

        I try to make all of the Baroque performances on the local touring circuit. We were recently treated to Fabio Biondi and L’Europe Galante with Vivica Genaux not an opera but an amazing instrumental and vocal performance of the highest caliber.

        I am with you on getting more Baroque opera out here. Santa Fe is trending more towards French opera and Rossini and less Handel and Mozart it seems. I wish we could have it all.

        • CruzSF says:

          I totally agree with you, louannd. I want more Baroque opera. I’m grateful, I must stress, that the SF Bay Area isn’t a Baroque desert and that we have several ensembles that present both instrumental and vocal works (and their performance schedules rarely clash). Where vocal music is concerned, however, opera remains my favorite, and I just want more more more.

        • mrmyster says:

          LouLou, we can and are having it all! Both Mozart and Rossini between
          this year and next, one Mozart (NdF) and two R (Maomet & Lago). What
          I wish we had at SFE is better singing and less kitschy staging. I wish
          Peter Sellers would go away and stay away. Peter is sort of the LaPage of
          SFE Opera, the more he screws up the more they hire him! Hah! :)

      • Camille says:

        CRUZSF!! This is 4 U!! A performance of “Teseo” (Haendel, I guess) will be done on the 3rd of June in San Fran and the following week on the 10th, by the adorable Pocket Opera of San Francisco (see this: http://www.pocketopera.org). If you want a painless, enjoyable easy way to get to know Haendel’s operas, This Is Your Ticket!!!

        They will also be giving “Norma” later this month and in July, again, once in SF and the following in Berkeley.

        It is a fun and enjoyable experience and I hope you will get a chance to know this very worthwhile group.
        With good wishes from me.

        • CruzSF says:

          Thank you, Camille. This little company had fallen off my radar but I have a couple of friends who LOVE Donald Pippin and his fun productions. Not all worthwhile opera needs to cost a million bucks.

          • Camille says:

            Oh good! I am so happy you saw this, as I had trying the name of the company since this discussion began. I saw a very enjoyable version of a Harndel opera with thrm, in the summer of 2010, at the Legion of Honor Thatre.
            One other time, when I was at the museum, they were doing that Polish opera, “The Haunted Manor”. Most sorry to say they were sold out, and was mot able to hear it.

            Mr. Pippin has been on the job since the mid- seventies, when I heard a production of Don Pasquale. Fun. It has been going on for a long time mow, so I do hope you will have a chance to hear the inimitable Mr. Pippin before he retires. One thing is for sure, you will enjoy yourself and the medicine will go done painlessly.

            There is now a Pocket Opera in NYC. I was to have gone to their Savitri but was to pooped to pop.

            HAVE FUN!!!

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Look what else is happening at the Gershwin Hotel!
    “Floor Fabuloso (4th) is the home-away-from-home for up-and-coming models. The Cozy Canadian Cocoon (with complementary moose-head above bed) is good for you-know-what.” They also serve “bird-friendly coffees and teas”. They also have an artist in residence program.
    http://www.gershwinhotel.com/the-hotel/about-the-hotel/#/rooming/
    and they help children too;
    “Human trafficking and sex slavery (mostly children) is the third largest criminal activity in the world. The fastest growing one, it is happening right here right now. We must stop it. Polaris Project our chosen charity, was named after the North Star, which helped guide slaves from the South to freedom to the North. Polaris Project headquarters are in Washington D.C. This fall they will open offices and shelter in New York. We need them here. Help us help, make love real.

  • Nerva Nelli says:

    “Keith Jameson, who recently shone as the Novice in the MET’s Billy Budd, revealed a surprisingly accomplished florid technique while fussing and fuming amusingly as Osman, the “long-lost” Fernando’s brother.”

    The indeed accomplished Mr. Jameson sang Handel’s Oronte very well as in NYCO’s ALCINA opposite Christen Goerke in 2003, and he regularly sings MESSIAH.

    • Hippolyte says:

      I was just thinking about that NYCO Alcina the other day during the discussion of Christine Goerke’s emergence as a potentially important dramatic soprano. I recall the Alcina was disappointing (I think it was also around the time of her Norma in Seattle which I think didn’t go particularly well either). Soon afterward she sang Donna Elvira in the premiere of the Marthe Keller “Don Giovanni” at the Met and was terrible and then she pretty dropped out of view for a while (I think there was a baby around this time too).

      Then I saw that she was singing “Fidelio” and Chrysothemis and I wondered if the change toward a heavier rep was really going to work out. The Met return as the Foreign Princess wasn’t that great, but I heard the broadcast of the recent Madrid “Elektra” and I thought it was pretty spectacular. So here’s hoping she can finally fulfill the great potential of those early wonderful Iphigenie’s at NYCO.

      • RDaggle says:

        The ‘Alcina’ at NYCO was a drab disappointment mostly because of the staging, IMO.

        But Ms. Goerke was a hoot and a half as Armida in a stellar production of ‘Rinaldo’ at NYCO a few years prior. (David Daniels in the title role, Lisa Saffer as Almirena)

        Are people really expecting some great wave of Baroque opera to come crashing over us at this late date? NYCO did at least a dozen Handels between 1995 and 2005.

        And the big Handel revival — on recordings anyway — was set off by his Tricentennial in 1985. That was 27 years ago.

        If anything, the baroque wave is probably heading back out to sea at this point.

        • oedipe says:

          Although I have been reprimanded on Parterre for saying that baroque opera is far from flourishing in the major American opera centers, I would still agree with you, baroque opera is and will remain PRIMARILY a European phenomenon. Just like Broadway musicals are and will most likely remain PRIMARILY an anglo-saxon phenomenon.

        • grimoaldo says:

          Nobody is expecting “waves” of Baroque opera. However since there are so many excellent singers and performers of Baroque music today it seems that it would be nice if opera companies at least occasionally put on these works that current performers are actually capable of performing well, as opposed to performance after performance after performance of Verdi / Wagner / Puccini etc with major cast members who cannot do their parts justice.
          I know NYCO did a series of Handel operas, good for them, and even in their much reduced state they remain committed to Baroque pieces as witness the recent Telemann Orpheus. The Met too, which never used to do Handel or Baroque works, does include them from time to time now. We can see from this site that there are lovers of Baroque music in the US and I hope I may be allowed to hope that their numbers will grow and opportunities to enjoy good performances of Baroque music will increase.
          Also not totally irrelevant to this group, there are so many excellent counter-tenors of today, who have a big gay fan base, the pin-up boys of opera queens of today (?) We want to be able to see and hear them live!

          • Krunoslav says:

            Hmm. In the last 15 months I have heard:

            HERCULES and RINALDO at Lyric Opera of Chicago

            AGRIPPINA at Boston Lyric Opera

            LES INDES GALANTES at Boston Baroque

            NIOBE (Steffani) at the Boston Early Music Festival

            AMADIGI at Central City

            GRISELDA (Vivaldi) at Santa Fe

            ORLANDO at Mostly Mozart

            ATYS at BAM

            APOLLO E DAFNE at Curtis Opera Theatre

            RODELINDA and ENCHANTED ISLAND at the Met

            SEMELE at Canadian Opera Company

            ORPHEUS (Telemann) at NYCO

            …..
            Granted, I seek out baroque opera. But there does not seem to me an especial drought of it in North American companies at present.

          • oedipe says:

            Granted, it’s all relative, but America is a big country!
            Meanwhile, little Versailles Opera has just announced its pared-down (crisis) future program: 5 Handel operas, 1 Rameau, 1 Monteverdi (plus Orphée and the Vivica Carmen). That’s just one European example; there are too many others to be listed here.

          • Krunoslav says:

            Versailles Opera is a baroque venue which specializes in baroque work. Like the BEMF.

            That is different from saying that “large American cities” don’t have baroque opera at all. Besides the ones I heard, there have been Handel operas in San Fran, Houston, Dallas, Seattle in the last few seasons…

          • oedipe says:

            OK, you win!

          • RDaggle says:

            I agree that baroque has established a foothold with the big companies, but I’d be surprised to see growth beyond what we are getting now.

            I think there is also an issue with HIP-sters who don’t want to hear these operas performed by the Met/Lyric/SFO orchestras, but prefer a more period-appropriate ensemble. (And would the Met ever have done Rodelinda without Ms. Fleming’s influence?)

            If there was anything so vulgar as a futures market for opera repertory, I’d almost bet we see more stagings of Glass/Adams works — oh, and more Slavic works, too.

          • kashania says:

            Lovers of French Baroque should run to see Lully’s Armide at Glimmerglass this season. http://glimmerglass.org/the-festival/2012-productions/armide/

          • oedipe says:

            Lovers of French baroque…you mean, all 100 of them?

          • Rory Williams says:

            LOL, Little Rory makes 101!

          • Rory Williams says:

            Yes! Grim, you are so right. When I read people on Parterre complaining that opera is not exciting to them any more becuz no one does--I don’t know, let’s say--Azucena to their specs, I think, “Dude! There’s SO MUCH hot stuff out there right now!” Not meaning to trash them or etc., but I can’t accept that I am in some wasteland. I really don’t think I am. Just in a different world, and if you can’t grasp the white hotness of PJ and all, well, I don’t know what to say. I guess failure to meet their expectations seems venial, at best. :grin:

          • Rory Williams says:

            OK, Rory went to a brunch that turned into lunch that almost turned into dinner, and he’s well sloshed. Not meaning to put down the array of opinions here on Parterre, they rock. Didn’t intend to trash posters from older days, they have given me much enlightenment. (OK, how drunk is Rory?) :grin:

    • mrmyster says:

      Herva: Keith (Richards) Jameson is a great favorite here in Santa Fe. I was so impressed by his Novice in our recent Budd, we had lunch and I published an
      interview with him on Opera Today — delightful fellow and very talented in
      so many ways. Rare that you have a tenor who holds a doctorate from Eastman!
      He’ll be back next summer, ’13. I am so glad you appreciate him. He should
      perform more at the Met, tho’ the house is a bit big.

  • Krunoslav says:

    Having heard Goerke as Leonore, Ortrud, Chrysothemis and Eboli in the last few years, I can assure you that she is indeed fulfilling her promise!

  • oedipe says:

    Good news for the (numerous, I hope) Parterrian lovers of baroque opera: you can watch the Opéra National du Rhin Farnace on Arte Live Web today at 2:00pm EST.

    http://www.operanationaldurhin.eu/opera-2011-2012--farnace.html?PHPSESSID=ebe5f6c5dfa6e705db8188739e4a3271

  • Sanford says:

    While I’m thrilled that operamission is getting attention because of Almira, and any attention paid to smaller NYC companies is appreciated, it’s interesting to note, and I admit I’m biased as a member of the company, that no attention was paid to Amore Opera’s American premiere of Mercadante’s I Due Figaro last Fall. In fact, it was only the second recent production follwing Riccardo Muti’s conducting of it at Salsburg last summer. I was a huge success for the company and was beautifully sung and conducted. (I was not a member of the cast, by the way). It should also be noted that this coming season, Amore will be giving the American premiere of Donizetti’s little known Olivo e Pasquale in repertory with Don Pasquale. Considering that the company is only three years old, to have given two American premieres in as many years would seem to warrant some sort of attention, especially when they’re performed so well.

    • Sanford says:

      My, so many typos. Oops.

      • Camille says:

        Nevermind the typos, Sanford, as the point you bring up is a very good one.

        I am going to look up the “Olivo” opera and see if there is sufficient interest for me to make the effort of attending. This coming season I will be keeping a close eye on these burgeoning smaller companies, as I am fed up with the Met. I’d rather give my shekels to someone who TRIES HARDER. Thanks for speaking up and I believe you did well to do so.