Cher Public

Fight club

“Now, why exactly am I repeating this story? Well, it’s because it illustrates how I felt seeing Bartlett Sher’s production of L’elisir d’amore at the Met on opening night a week ago. I literally wanted to punch Sher in the face.” [Rough and Regie]

  • almavivante

    Bear in mind what’s on the splash page of the Met’s website: “Rave reviews for L’Elisir!” Really?

    Deep, deep denial. (Yes, I know; it’s called marketing.)

    • armerjacquino

      Well, yes, it’s marketing, as you say. They could hardly be expected to splash with ‘COME AND SEE THIS! PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE SEEMS TO HATE IT!’ :-)

      • almavivante

        Very true, AJ. And as long as the tickets are sold and the seats are filled, the Met, frankly my dear, doesn’t give a damn.

        However… When Sher’s Barbiere opened, the Times’ reviewer wondered whether the production would seem as lively, or entertaining, when it was revived in future years, with lesser casts. Although I enjoyed it a lot at the time--who wouldn’t, with Florez and Damrau, and later with Joyce?--I haven’t revisited it, and I seem to recall that ticket sales were sluggish for its recent revivals. So I wonder if, void of Anna’s star power, revivals of this Elisir will become ho-hum in very short order.

        • And as long as the tickets are sold and the seats are filled, the Met, frankly my dear, doesn’t give a damn.

          In the context of the current conversation, I’m not sure what this means. By all means, let’s fault the Met for not having produced a single great home-grown new production in years. That is a real problem.

          But let’s not fault the Met for trying to take advantage of a good review (unwarranted or not) and using it to sell tickets. It’s the Met’s marketing department’s job to sell tickets (as many as possible).

          • almavivante

            Point taken about the duties of the marketing department, Kashie, and my regrets if I was unclear. But after sitting through unsatisfactory new productions like Attila, Sonnambula, Don Giovanni, and Armida (and avoiding some others for what I felt was good reason), I can’t help but suspect that too many of these productions get past the drawing board and are realized without close consideration of their (questionable) artistic merits, and instead for the shallow novelty value with which they may attract ticket-buyers.

  • Signor Bruschino

    The MET is just a mess. There is no way around it. Another production that is subpar, an upcoming one (Tempest) with a director who screwed up the ring, and based on the reviews from Quebec, has screwed up this one too, and seats not selling (take a look at pretty much anything this October)…

    Musically, no one is addressing the Lev-elevphant not in the room… Somethings gotta give

    • operalover9001

      The Lepage Tempest looks alright, although the opera-in-an-opera house concept is old. Most of the reviews from Quebec seemed to be more about the opera and music, rather than the actual production.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    More guns in opera:

    • PushedUpMezzo

      And another gun-toting cowboy in what looks like a most disturbing-looking JC at ENO. Has anyone on here seen this yet?

      • almavivante

        Just opened the link, took a look at the photo and read the review. Lord knows I have never had the slightest bit of use for Nancy Reagan, but what came to mind was: “Just Say No.”

        • grimoaldo

          So for the second time in two days, I say, half in jest (but only half), “Bring back John Copley!”

  • Hoffmann

    We just had Bartlett Sher’s production of South Pacific here is Sydney performed by Opera Australia… It was one of the worst, most boring productions I’ve ever seen… Sets looked like they were from the 1950’s, the direction was dull and boring and the costumes were awful… I can not understand how this was so popular in New York… and we have to endure a 9 week season of it again next year during the opera season… Having said that, I didn’t mind Sher’s Met Barbiere that much…

  • zinka

    In the words of SHER to Nick Cage..”Get over it!!!” SLAPPPPO

  • Vergin Vezzosa

    Just in from L’elisir this evening. A little surprised that I had a mostly nice time. Most of the production is asinine (for the many reasons already discussed here since the prima) but not asinine enough to me to overwhelm the principals and Donizetti’s lovely little opera itself. Anna was Anna as we have come to know her of late, whether she is your cuppa or not. I loved her and had no regrets whatsoever about carpooling in a Jaguar (really a Rolls) as somebody here has rather wittily previously analogized. MP did a great job and Maestri was terrific. MK was fine -- is it just me, but is the bloom beginning to come off of his vocal rose? Benini was no more than a routinier but at least a pretty snappy one. There were a few bits in the otherwise mean-spirited production that kinda worked for me. Best -- the thing with the prompter’s box in the first act and Nemorino with all of the girls in the second act. Worst, the first act finale with the violence and the Night of the Living Dead zombies pulling the hay into view during the Adina/Dulcamara duet which was totally distracting and bizarre in a production which was otherwise so totally naturalistic in its direction. I’m surprised that they had not been previously mentioned here unless, of course, if I missed it. Toodles, VV.

  • ardath_bey

    and I disagree that the ending of Dom Sébastien is weak. It’s brilliant. It was absolutely unheard for a grand opera of the time to end that abruptly, but that was exactly the composer’s intention. The Vienna version of the final scene is even shorter. In letters, Donizetti wrote that he didn’t even want music in it!

    The premiere in Paris had 500 extras and it was a grand spectacle hard to duplicate today. The opera came 25 years before Don Carlo and deserves to be properly revived if nothing else to show the undeniable influence it had on late Verdi and for being the obvious predecessor of one of Verdi’s greatest works.

    • Vergin Vezzosa

      Ardath_bey -- first, cudos for having an obvious passion for DS, a work that for some reason has remained on the very outer periphery of the repertoire. I also love it. The more I hear, the more I am inclined to believe that Donizetti, from different periods of composition, was the single biggest influence on Verdi. Not only DS and Favorite leading to Don Carlos, but L. Borgia to Rigoletto, Linda di C. (the great duet) and Maria di Rohan to Ballo, Faliero to Foscari, etc.

      On the ending of DS: I agree that the terseness was deliberate. Donizetti was clearly moving in that direction. His preceding opera, Maria di Rohan for Vienna originally included a cabaletta finale for Maria which he cut before the premiere. The direcly dramatic ending without the cabaletta is electrifying, especially since it immediately follows what IMHO is some of the strongest music that he wrote.

      I had not listened to DS since OONY did it last about 4-5 years ago. I refreshed tonight and realized that my disappointment was not related to the abruptness, but to the musically unremarkable quality of the final moments. Essentially just a short generic crescendo, a short basic recitative and a final one-line exclamation. In contrast, the very ends of Huguenots and Vepres for example are also very brief but have richer musical content and are therefore more effective in concluding very large works.

      • Vergin Vezzosa

        And speaking of the OONY performance, what happened to the very promising tenor D.Korchak?? I liked him a lot but have not heard anything since.

        • operalover9001

          He’s singing Arturo in Puritani in Paris, Ramiro in Vienna, and Lensky in Vienna with Netrebko and Hvorostovsky…

          • Vergin Vezzosa

            Thanks. Oh wow, cool. Seems to be a good one that the American companies are missing the boat on. Too bad.

          • oedipe

            Korchak is having quite a career, indeed. But I found his Nadir in the recent Opéra Comique Pêcheurs very disappointing.
            Hopefully I will like him better in the future. I will hear him in Puritani at the TCE (with Olga Peretyatko) and probably in Onegin at the Staatsoper.

  • manou

    The newly reopened Opéra de Lausanne offers a new production of Elisir by Adriano Sinivia. Jesús López Cobos conducts, Olga Peretyatko, Stefan Pop, George Petean and Lorenzo Regazzo are the impressive cast. The action does take place in the countryside…but the characters are microscopic people who live under a tractor. The soldiers emerge from tin cans, and there are gigantic flowers.

    Not so much Risorgimento as Picolissimento.