Opera Teen (pictured, second from left) is not kidding us: he had an interview with Peter Gelb, here seen sporting a futuristic yellow helmet.
“We don’t repeat works too often, and no opera has an unlimited capacity.” I’m not sure what ‘unlimited capacity’ refers to -- as far as repeating works, how many times does he have to repeat that dreadful Faust, the overplayed Carmen & Boheme, the insipid Rondine, etc. with no major changes of cast to draw us back into the House. To each their own.
-- A very professional interview that could stand on its own in any journal.
To be fair. The Faust returns for a second season with a change of conductor and four out of five principals, then goes out of the repertoire for the foreseeable future. The Rondine returns after four seasons with only Giuseppe Filianoti (one of the two Ruggeros in 2008-2009) repeating his performance.
Compare that to, for example, the Gioconda that premiered in the first season at Lincoln Center, with 30 performances in two years, almost all with Tebaldi.
The thing is, that kind of volume of performances is something the public would absorb back in the 1960s, and what’s being offered now is presumably aimed at what people are willing to go to now. There’s also the point that both the Faust and the revival of Rondine were planned as projects for a a big office star who didn’t happen to show up.
As for the Carmen and Boheme repetitions, that has been a fact of life at the Met for several decades now: these are operas that are relatively easy to prepare and have a built-in audience due to their title recognition. So long as it remains the Met’s policy to offer a 200+ performance season, a significant percentage of those performances are going to have to be crowd-pleasing standard rep. Sure, I’d love to see more interesting programming, but I’m also not deluded enough to think that such a change of artistic course is likely to happen in the middle of a recession.
The thing that confuses me is how the Met always schedules a second run the season after a new production -- Armida in 2010 and 2011, Faust in 2011/2013, Rigoletto in 2012/2013, and the Parsifal that was supposed be repeated next season as well. Do they really think that Armida, for example, would sell out the first run and then have some sort of “back by popular demand!” type thing the next season? Or is this something that’s done at other similar opera houses as well?
The ROH tends to bring things back very quickly too.
Usually Traviata and Boheme …
Presumably because storage is costly and if the piece is not a long-term repertory “banker” they tend to be revived quickly and then sold or scrapped. Glyndebourne keeps a couple of old rep jewels -- the Hockney Rake’s Progress the most obvious example -- but mostly the turnover of pieces is pretty rapid.
I think the Met was counting on Fleming’s star power selling the revival of Armida (though from what I recall, that didn’t happen).
I’m assuming that this practice of bringing a new production back the very next season stems from a history of new productions selling very well and not fulfilling the audience demand for tickets. I’m not sure if this is still the case (Armida being a case in point), and if it isn’t, then I’m sure we’ll start to see this practice fazed out in coming seasons. We’ve already seen one example of a new production (Parsifal) not being revived again the very next season. In that case, it’s because that work is one of the most expensive single operas to produce so any benefit of audience demand would be negated by the costs.
“…both the Faust and the revival of Rondine were planned as projects for a a big office star who didn’t happen to show up.”
Steve Carell was slotted for a Met debut? What happened?
Thnx for reminding me -- I didn’t factor in the recession casualties.
-- Still, I find Gelb’s statement too broad for an ordinary mensch like me -- he could have elucidated on the situation behind his ‘too often’ in a bit more detail, the way you did in your comment above.
Aida, Boheme and Carmen (the ABC of opera) have great tourist appeal. NYC will always be a big tourist draw. And for many tourists who want to catch some culture (and don’t necessarily go to the opera regularly), there’s nothing more romantic and grand than seeing one of those operas at the Met. I think we should be grateful that they’re opting to see an opera at the Met rather than a miked Broadway musical.
I think we should be grateful that they’re opting to see an opera at the Met rather than a miked Broadway musical.
Because, GOD knows, there is NOTHING worse than a Broadway musical.
I didn’t say that, AJ.
Yeah, I know, sorry. It just hit a nerve: there are some here who routinely write off anything from MT as trash, and it’s one of my pet hates.
Did we ever find out that it was Ildar?
Nice interview. But it’s 700,000 not 70,000 for annual audience attendance.
Wait. OT is….a HE?
Scoop of the year: Gelb loves opera!
Q: “How has the Met used the press as a positive means of promotion and publicity?”
A: “My dad dictated that glowing TIMES review of Borodina the other day--couldn’t you tell? No high note trouble mentioned (laughs).”
Bored with the Gelb interview, I decided to see what else people do with crescent roll dough. Who knew!!!
I wonder what Bocelli will sing at his next appearance at the MET
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