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A Waltz Dream

Two time Oscar winner and Quentin Tarantino muse Christoph Waltz is branching out into opera direction, helming a new Rosenkavalier in a production to premiere at the Vlaamse Opera in December and, in 2016, to travel to London’s Royal Opera where his Marschallin will be Renée Fleming. (Image based on a photo by Ken Howard.) [Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung]

158 comments

  • 1
    bang_bang_bang says:

    I love him as an actor, but I wish his mentor Quentin Tarantino would direct an opera production.

    • 1.1
      perfidia says:

      I don’t think Tarantino cares for opera, even if his cinematic style is the very definition of operatic.

      • 1.1.1
        bang_bang_bang says:

        Well, yes, I’m pretty aware of that.

      • 1.1.2
        Rowna says:

        Who knows what goes on inside Tarantino’s mind? He called one of his leading characters in his last flick Broomhilde and had the story of The Ring, retold in short form. I would venture a guess that although he might not know a great deal about opera, he could add an original touch to a project. Re Waltz directing . . .why would anyone be incensed about his being hired? He hasn’t done a bad job yet. If he does, then you can begin railing!

  • 2
    antikitschychick says:

    ITA bang_bang…and this will supposedly be for her “ROH farewell”, which would deserve a good production me thinks…in any case, best of luck to him.

  • 3
    Chanterelle says:

    “Can you believe she’s checking her Facebook after the time we just had?”

  • 4
    bassoprofundo says:

    cringeworthy.

  • 5
    messa di voce says:

    What’s cringeworthy? Rosenkavalier? The ROH? Fleming? Waltz’s directorial skills?

    • 5.1
      bassoprofundo says:

      The fact that one of the most important opera houses in the world is hiring someone who has absolutely no experience directing an opera to stage a new production of one of the most important works in the repertoire. We had this conversation already several weeks ago. It’s just ridiculous. Who knows, he may create the most amazing Rosenkavalier ever. But why does he deserve to do so? why should anyone, anywhere ever spend years studying to become an opera director, if actually it’s so easy to direct an opera that you require no experience to do so? how many directors out there have worked decades and never gotten a chance like this? why does this guy deserve this opportunity? this isn’t Kansas City Summer Opera Around the Corner. It’s one of the biggest houses in the world, no doubt millions will be spent to fund this production, and they’re leaving it in the hands of someone who has never done so before, ever, and whose qualifications are… what exactly? being a film actor? so being a film actor means that you’re qualified to direct opera? huh? why is someone like JJ not more qualified to do this? the answer is of course, JJ is a thousand times more qualified. So why doesn’t he get hired, instead of someone who has NEVER EVER IN HIS LIFE DIRECTED AN OPERA?

      • 5.1.1
        armerjacquino says:

        May the gods protect us from living in a world where the arts never take a risk.

        • 5.1.1.1
          bassoprofundo says:

          armer: it’s a risk of millions of pounds. Does that mean nothing to you? he’s not paying for it himself, the taxpayers do. It’s a “risk” of a production that is a major staple for a rep company, which means it will be revived at least a few times. Again: this is not just a “risk,” it’s a ridiculously expensive risk that sends a bad message: you don’t need any prior experience to direct an opera at a major company.

          That doesn’t seem a bit odd to you?

          • bluecabochon says:

            Plenty of name directors screw up multi million dollar productions. Your point, again, is what?

          • armerjacquino says:

            His point is that they should have gone for an established opera director like Robert Lepage.

          • CruzSF says:

            Waltz comes from a theater family, going back at least 2 generations. He’s spent much of his life in the theater, and had family involved in both the acting and technical sides. Let’s just wait and see how his effort turns out.

          • bang_bang_bang says:

            I thought you are worried about the artistic level of this production, not ROH’s finances.

          • bluecabochon says:

            Cruz! You’re back! :)

            From Wikipedia:

            Christoph Waltz was born in Vienna, the son of German-born Johannes Waltz and Austrian-born Elisabeth Urbancic, set and costume designers.[5] His maternal grandfather, Rudolf von Urban, was a psychiatrist and psychologist who wrote the book Sex Perfection and Marital Happiness.[6] His maternal grandmother was Burgtheater actress Maria Mayen, and his step-grandfather was actor Emmerich Reimers. His great-grandparents also worked in theatre.

          • LittleMasterMiles says:

            To whom is this “bad message” allegedly being sent? Is this “bad message” dependent on the production’s being a failure? Or on its being a success?

          • manou says:

            It’s a typo for “bed massage”.

          • louannd says:

            You GO Señor Cruz!

      • 5.1.2
        Maury D says:

        Anthony Minghella never directed an opera before the Met’s iconic Butterfly.

        • 5.1.2.1
          bassoprofundo says:

          What is your point? I’m not saying that it’s a foregone conclusion that his Rosenkavalier will be bad. On the contrary it might be the most brilliant Rosenkavalier ever. The point is, we have no reason to think that, and he has no qualifications to do be hired to do so, just because it “might not be a mistake.”

          Again: can someone please tell me why they would not hire JJ instead?

          • messa di voce says:

            His Viennese psychiatrist grandfather wrote the text “Sex Perfection and Marital Happiness.” What more do you want in the way of qualifications?

          • bluecabochon says:

            Maury’s point is to defuse your doggedly backward assertions that a novice opera director does not deserve to be entrusted with a production at the ROH. He presented a valid argument in the form of Anthony Minghella and his successful Butterfly. Is that so hard to grasp -- that he’s right?

            Patrice Chereau was also a novice director when he took on The Ring for Bayreuth.

            The OBVIOUS answer to you question is that Waltz is A recent multiple
            Oscar winner with great connections and I’ll bet, a brilliant mind. You have no idea what he is planning as far as the Konzept is, do you? If you have inside knowledge of this coming production enough to negate it, please share it with us.

          • armerjacquino says:

            They won’t just have called him up out of the blue, you know.

          • bassoprofundo says:

            blue: Minghella has nothing to do with it. If the point is “well, look, one opera novice director succeeded,” then I am sure I could find you just as many who put on awful productions. And obviously I have no idea what kind of production he is going to be staging, but as I said, that is totally irrelevant. I specifically said twice that it could be the most amazing Rosenkavalier ever, but that doesn’t mean that RIGHT NOW, with no knowledge whatsoever as to whether or not it will be a good production, that he is worth hiring. As for the Oscars thing: what is your point? you’re suggesting that somehow winning an Oscar, in film, a totally different industry, for one’s acting, a totally different occupation, is somehow relevant to directing an opera, in a live performance? really?

            Again, can someone please answer this question: is JJ not better qualified to direct this opera than Waltz?

          • armerjacquino says:

            The only ‘qualification’ an opera director needs is the ability to put on a good production. Covent Garden is clearly convinced that Waltz will do so, just as ENO and the Met were convinced that Minghella (who you don’t get to dismiss as irrelevant just because he harms your argument, btw) could.

          • Hippolyte says:

            JJ’s Q-rating isn’t as high in Antwerp.

          • messa di voce says:

            I’d say the only qualification one needs is the ability to sign the contract if the manager of the house offers one. We can cringe or not cringe once we see the results.

          • bassoprofundo says:

            Well of course, I don’t blame Waltz for accepting, I’m sure 99% of us would. The problem is with the house for watering down the notion of opera direction. It’s not Waltz’s fault. Nor did I say that Minghella’s production was bad. My point is: for every Minghella there are ten others who put on awful productions. So I don’t think you want to go down that road.

            Even so, the idea that some people here are so passionately defending it seems a bit odd. I don’t think it’s even moderately up for debate that he’s absolutely not qualified. And if someone thinks he *is* qualified, then it means that it takes relatively little to qualify to be an opera director, thus making education, prior experience etc irrelevant. Why should an assistant director pay his dues, working long hours for little pay and little recognition for years, if in the end someone who has never done it before can just swoop and and be deemed to have the same (or indeed, more!) qualifications than the one who has made his life work out of it?

          • bassoprofundo says:

            “I’d say the only qualification one needs is the ability to sign the contract if the manager of the house offers one.”

            Okay, so, according to you, the only qualification required for being an opera director is the ability to write your name on a piece of paper.

            Who knew! that’s great news, apparently there are billions of qualified potential opera directors all around the world.

          • bluecabochon says:

            This gets better every minute. Thanks for the ACE Wednesday afternoon entertainment, basso! It’s Backtrack Central!

            *gets the popcorn to better watch basso run in circles, arguing with himself*

            “What’s your point?”

            “Really?”

            “I never said that”

            “My apologies if I have offended you” -- insert automatically after a particularly offensive posting

            “What does that [pertinent fact] have to do with it?”

            “I’m not saying that he has no right to work there, but he hasn’t!”

            “Being a successful artist in one discipline negates success in another! One is allowed success in ONE DISCIPLINE ONLY!”

            “why can’t JJ/BASSO/ my mother direct at the ROH?”

          • messa di voce says:

            It may get me put on moderation, but I think Waltz is cuter than JJ.

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            I would like to see other Oscar winners be similarly deployed.

            Kim Basinger is a natural for von Einem’s DER BESUCH DER ALTEN DAME. Nicolas Cage can be inked for PALESTRINA, and Roberto Benigni PELLEAS ET MELISANDE

          • LittleMasterMiles says:

            JJ, despite his multiple skills (and personalities), has never—to my knowledge; correct me if I’m I’m wrong—performed or directed in anything at a professional level. (Appearances on Operavore as himself excepted.)

            Waltz has considerable experience performing in both theater and film, and has directed a TV movie. Also, he apparently asked.

          • CruzSF says:

            I believe JJ has actually directed at least one production in NYC.

          • bluecabochon says:

            I saw a LUCIA that JJ directed in NYC in the early aughts, at a professional venue.

          • LittleMasterMiles says:

            I stand corrected. The ROH, or the Met, should offer him a major production immediately.

          • kashania says:

            Nice to see you back Cruz!

          • CruzSF says:

            Thanks, blue and kashania.

            I also vote for a JJ prod at ROH, Little MM.

          • CruzSF says:

            Thanks, manou. I thought for a moment it would be a frowny wooden spoon. (I still use the image you posted for me as a laptop wallpaper on occasion.)

          • m. croche says:

            Heya, Cruz, nice to see you back.

          • CruzSF says:

            Thanks, m. croche. Though I’ve been quiet for a while, I’ve continued to read Parterre for the reviews and news, and have appreciated your thoughts on operas, including reports from the Chinese art form.

          • m. croche says:

            As always, Cruz, you are the soul of gentility.

          • Rory Williams says:

            Sorry, LLCoolB, but anyone who can do this gets my vote.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDMGVaHgTv4

          • Rory Williams says:

            Not sure where this will land, but … ditto re glad to see Cruz posting, and ditto re “reports from the Chinese art form” from M Croche. Rory, The Infinitely Ignorant (my official name), has really enjoyed those posts, Croche.

          • m. croche says:

            (thanks for the kind words, Rory. No need to make me a subject of this thread, though -- I don’t take basso’s childish remarks at all seriously.)

          • CruzSF says:

            Rory: :-)

          • Batty Masetto says:

            Cruz, ol’ man! So glad to see you back. Settle in and stay a while!

      • 5.1.3
        m. croche says:

        I’m imagining Basso 30 years agoscreaming and jumping up and down.

      • 5.1.4
        Rowna says:

        Here is a link to the 1989 Rheingold directed by Lenhoff. Can anyone tell me what this production is about? Couches? A seasoned director no less . .
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJZDoaVHkhw

        • 5.1.4.1
          bassoprofundo says:

          you’re the self-proclaimed “paid music professional.” you tell *us* what it’s about.

          • Batty Masetto says:

            No, Basso -- you’re the guy who lives by spreading negativity. Rowna doesn’t owe you a word of answer, and neither does anybody else.

          • Rowna says:

            If I knew what it was about -- why would I ask anyone else to explain it? As far as being a self=proclaimed blah blah blah, I have never once called myself an expert on anything.

        • 5.1.4.2
          louannd says:

          Dear Rowna:

          You got me to watch a bit of this. I will take a stab and say that whenever living room furniture appears in many an opera production, I often think first about perhaps an intention of bringing about more intimacy to the production.

          I look forward to watching more of this production.

          • DonCarloFanatic says:

            I watched some, too. Standing on the wardrobe equals stealing the gold? Strange. I liked the bit with Wotan playing with his Valhalla toy. Thanks.

          • Rowna says:

            Thanks, Louannd. I couldn’t make my way through it although I am a big fan of the Alberich, whose name is too complicated to type.

        • 5.1.4.3
          La Cieca says:

          It’s an attempt at postmodernism and not apparently a very good one. Strong influence of the much superior Chereau production.

          Lehnhoff I think is at his best when he can approach a work ironically, which Rheingold doesn’t support all that well, at least in this case. He did a very fine Makropulos Case with Anja Silja, though perhaps it should be mentioned that with Anja Silja on hand, it would be quite difficult to do anything less than a very fine Makropulos Case.

          The Salome he directed for the Met I thought much superior to the one that replaced it.

          • m. croche says:

            I didn’t watch the whole thing through, but watched a number of long excerpts. I have to say I found the Rheingold kind of charming -- the nostalgic appeal to the land of “es war einmal”, the grown-ups looking like children playing in well-appointed rooms of some large family house. It seems kind of characteristic for its time -- for a couple decades before, the demand on the arts was to be “real” and “progressive”, here you can see people simply enjoying the prospect of playing make believe. It seems like an approach that would work well enough for me.

          • m. croche says:

            I mean, the “Es war einmal” is half -- ironic, since we’re watching adults, not kids -- the element of escapism is made conspicuous and not concealed. But contrast that with the many, many “Es war einmal”s of Guther Grass’ Hundejahre, a generation earlier -- there the fairy-tale beginnings (from what I recall) all end up as dystopic nightmares. The romanticism of “Es war einmal” is ground up with the rubble and bones of the German catastrophe.

          • Rowna says:

            Thanks, La! At least I know I am not alone in my puzzlement.

  • 6
    Buster says:

    Very curious. The cast looks terrific, with the always expressive Doufexis, and the lovely Karg. It will be the first Marschallin by Maria Bengtsson, she should be great too!

  • 7
    m. croche says:

    Nobody show La Cieca this:

    Waltz hat keine gute Meinung vom Regietheater, wie er im „FAZ“-Interview erläuterte: „Ich finde es, ehrlich gesagt, im Theater schwierig, wenn ich dem, was passiert, nicht mehr folgen kann. Wenn ich als Zuschauer plötzlich zum Ko-Autor gemacht werde und mir zusammenreimen muss, worum es da eigentlich geht“, sagte der gebürtige Wiener. „Wenn ich keinen Platz mehr da vorne im Bühnengeschehen habe, als Zuschauer, dann muss ich mich zurücklehnen. In dem Moment, wo ich mich zurücklehne, ist eine Distanz geschaffen, dabei möchte ich doch viel lieber involviert werden.“ Ein Regisseur müsse eine Geschichte erzählen wollen, meinte Waltz.

    • 7.1
      bassoprofundo says:

      Who cares what he thinks, he can write his name down, ergo, he’s qualified!

      in other news: great, they’ve hired someone with no experience to stage a completely traditional production. What a coup! only Waltz could have thought of something so original and innovative!

      • 7.1.1
        m. croche says:

        I wonder whether there is a term for a back-seat driver who is not actually in the car at the time, but is on an entirely different continent.

        • 7.1.1.1
          bassoprofundo says:

          isn’t there some Chinese opera performance that you need to be watching, so you can go talk to yourself in a room about it afterwards?

          • peter says:

            Basso, you’re the biggest bore. You take up so much time and space on this site. Maybe it’s time for a vacation.

          • m. croche says:

            Yeah, I know you love flame wars, basso. But I’m not playing. Since you missed the point, I’ll go back to the words-of-one-syllable approach that seems to work best with you:

            Boy would I hate to have you in the back seat of my car. Most of us care more that the show is “good” and care less that it is “new”. Plus: You do not in fact run the ROH. It’s not your job. You have not met with Waltz to talk with him about the production (big word!) and I doubt that you have e’er seen his directorial (one more big word!) work on stage or film. You don’t know what they know. Why not wait and see the show first?

            Now why don’t you go have a nice nap?

      • 7.1.2
        LittleMasterMiles says:

        Surely you wouldn’t have preferred to hear that he was going to do something NON-traditional? There’s just no pleasing some people.

        • 7.1.2.1
          bassoprofundo says:

          Why not? they’re going out of their way to bring in someone who has no experience, I would seriously hope that he would have at least SOMETHING different to bring to the table. The fact that they are paying him to mount a production that will ostensibly be entirely traditional is even more mind-boggling. The only conclusion left is that they’ve done it for the name, to sell more seats, which doesn’t make sense as they do quite well at the ROH. I really don’t get this one.

          The only moderately good thing about this is that they’re trying it out in Antwerp first, although it’s not like that’s some provincial house where he can screw around.

          It’s just a travesty from top to bottom.

          • Batty Masetto says:

            Basso: Der Geist, der stets verneint.

          • LittleMasterMiles says:

            Clearly, basso, you should phone the ROH immediately and demand to be given a major revival. They’re apparently handing them out to anyone, and I’m sure you’d do everything right.

            Unless you’d prefer to “screw around” in a provincial house for few years to perfect your skills. Is that how it’s supposed to work?

    • 7.2
      La Cieca says:

      Well, everyone is entitled to an opinion. It seems to me that Waltz is setting up a bit of a Strohmann here, by saying, “I don’t care for theater that confuses me and leaves me unable to follow the story.” Well, the only specific counterargument to that statement would have to run somewhere along the lines of “Oh, but I adore confusing, self-indulgent theater,” which of course sounds like nonsense.

      Everyone has their own taste and it would be foolish for Waltz to adopt a style of direction that he doesn’t like or understand simply out of a desire to be trendy. I don’t think he is so naive, however, as to think that a director can approach a well-known classic like Rosenkavalier with no ideas at all; rather, he seems to indicate that he will not take a radical approach.

      • 7.2.1
        m. croche says:

        Well, I think he’s setting himself up in opposition with Brechtian, distancing forms of the theater, where the audience is expected to become intellectually engaged with the action on stage, to do some work for themselves and not simply be passive absorbers of what they see. To that extent, I don’t think he’s setting up a straw man -- I can recognize the position he’s arguing against.

        To each their own. But since we’ve had a few of these “Aimez-vous Regie?” interviews in the past couple months, I thought I’d add this to the pile.

        • 7.2.1.1
          oedipe says:

          I think he’s setting himself up in opposition with Brechtian, distancing forms of the theater

          Maybe he feels the Brechtian thing is to a large extent passé? (I, for one, certainly do: give me François Girard any day.) Maybe his production will be the “groundbreaking” new new thing?

      • 7.2.2
        louannd says:

        “Oh, but I adore confusing, self-indulgent theater”

        Ironically, this may well describe a great deal of Tarantino’s work to a tea, substituting “film” for “theater.” Certainly Tarantino can be “self-indulgent.”

  • 8
    Buster says:

    It is an odd opera to give to someone who has never directed an opera before, I must say.

    To simply get the action going in a convincing way, and to give it enough space in all three acts to really breathe, and flow well must demand tremendous technical skills.

    Once you have figured all that out, what on earth can you do with it, really? The work almost seems to shake off every concept a director brings to it. It always remains what it is.

    • 8.1
      bluecabochon says:

      So, Buster, one one hand, the director is nothing but a traffic cop for this opera -- all he has to do is make sure that no one falls into the pit or gets hit by scenery.

      That scenery would look like what, without a director? Is there a ROSENKAVALIER shop somewhere in Europe where you can walk in and pick out the decor, costumes and lighting plot for 20-odd kinds of productions?

      On the other, there’s no reason to direct it at all as the opera itself defies interpretation? What is IT, exactly, that one can’t breathe visual, musical life or a point of view into?

      • 8.1.1
        einfreund says:

        “Is there a ROSENKAVALIER shop?” Actually yes, kinda of. Rosenkavalier is the only opera I can think of that is still occassionally played in either reproductions (SF) or close approximations of the original production.

        For what it’s worth, Waltz told Terri Gross he is trained as a singer and performs lieder, and that his actor parents came out of the school of theater of Max Reinhardt, who staged that first Rosenkavalier.

      • 8.1.2
        Buster says:

        That is not what I said. It is a very hard opera to stage because you have so many different events and moods, that seem at first unrelated, but in fact all are. Many people apparently are bored by the first half of act three (not me), but a good production will make it clear the little play Octavian puts on there is directly related to his scene with the Marschallin in act one. Breathing and flowing means more than not falling into a pit, or being hit by the scenery.

  • 9
    Satisfied says:

    I’m sorry if this has already been covered, but has he ever directed anything before (theater, TV, movies)?

    If not, I don’t think the Minghella comparison is apt: that man has an extensive filmography and won numerous awards including an academy award in direction.

    I’m personally on the fence about this, but I’ll give the man a chance before the knives come out. One would imagine he had to present his concept to both companies before he was offered the position, no?

    • 9.1
      m. croche says:

      The sub-headlines in the German papers from the past day usually contain some variation of this line “Der österreichische Schauspieler hat bereits in Kino und Theater Regie geführt.” In 2000 he wrote and directed the TV film “Wenn man sich traut”. In 2010, 20th-Century Fox announced it had signed him to direct the film “Auf und davon”, based on his screen-adaptation of a novel. Because of his busy acting schedule, though, that film has not yet been made. Ausser “Der Humpink -- ein vergnueglich tragischer Film von und mit Christoph Waltz”, weiteres ist mir unbekannt…

      • 9.1.1
        DonCarloFanatic says:

        Oh, my god. That’s where I know Waltz from. An Internet meme that revived the career of Eduard Khil just before he died.

        Go, Waltz.

  • 10
    blanchette says:

    i don’t feel like getting into a huge thing but really guys- bp has a point- I think it’s about the name value of a very admired actor as a way to sell tickets, and I have to say that directing demands imagination, intelligence, the abliity to communicate, a knowledge of the performance process, a vision one is willing to implement with passion, tact, organization- I could go on and on- plus , in opera, an intimate knowledge of the score, an understanding of the conductor’s process, deep knowledge of all the technical aspects- light, sound etc. etc. Directing one tv movie and being from a theatre family are not really qualifications. IMHO. that said- if he has a great concept he will have an army of technicians and performers to implement it for him and will probably succeed- IF the concept is interesting.

    • 10.1
      m. croche says:

      I presume it’s not simply the “name” of the actor that they’re looking for, but the actor’s insights which he can communicate to the singers. Der Rosenkavalier is a talky opera with a sophisticated libretto -- my guess would be that the ROH is betting on the Viennese Waltz’s ability to do excellent Personenregie.

    • 10.2
      manou says:

      blanchette -- if basso had simply written:

      “Christopher Waltz is lucky that his connections have enabled him to have the opportunity of directing Rosenkavalier at a major opera house -- I hope it is a success but of course many directors may feel slightly aggrieved to see this plum job handed to an inexperienced beginner.”

      he may have had more support.

      In fairness to him his original post was the epitome of brevity:

      “cringeworthy”.

    • 10.3
      bluecabochon says:

      At first, Blanchette, when I heard about this a while back, my reaction was “oh no, another celebrity actor-director,” until I thought about it and did a little research. Stage designers are a talky bunch, and Waltz’s parents are/were set & costume designers, and he’s married to a costume designer, so he probably already has absorbed the “language” with which to speak intelligently with his own designers and technical staff, and talk with performers about stagecraft, concept, etc. As a working (stage) actor, he might have extra awareness of what would be comfortable for performers that *some* directors lack.

      I loved your description of the director’s responsibilities, blanchette!

      There are accomplished actor-directors out there, some quite talented, who don’t lose sight of the whole picture -- maybe Waltz will be one of them. Manou is quite right (as usual) in that we should give him the benefit of the doubt and hope for the best. I would think that Renee Fleming has clout and would not consent to this as her farewell if she felt he was a charlatan; she has been around the block a few times and has most probably already met with and vetted him. This isn’t foolproof, there are no guarantees, but this man seems thoughtful and is a talented actor from an interesting and theatrically compelling background.

      If the Met can be persuaded to invest obscene resources of manpower, time and money into a concept that ultimately is considered a failure, any company can, and has. That they are trying this out elsewhere first is a formula that has better odds for success, and I look forward to seeing the results.

    • 10.4
      Feldmarschallin says:

      Yes Basso has a point in that he thinks it would be best if this were not at Covent Garden but a smaller house. I have the feeling if the show starts in Antwerpen and it should bomb, it might never make it to Covent Garden. I also see the point Basso is trying to make that he never directed ANYTHING. That can be good or bad. But I also think we should give him a chance but maybe somewhere smaller first. Even Katharina Wagner started out in small German theater before moving on to Bayreuth and she was learning the fundamentals of being an opera director. On the other hand I would have loved to have seen a Ring or anything by Rainer Werner Fassbinder or Almodovar. But both are or were experienced directors unlike Waltz.

      • 10.4.1
        oedipe says:

        I fully agree. I would LOVE to see an opera directed by Almodovar!

      • 10.4.2
        Camille says:

        My first thought, as well, was this too—that Antwerpen will be the New Haven out-of-town tryouts—and if it fails there, his directorship will go no further. Even if it goes well there, it is a much smaller theatre and with a different cast from the ROH production, so still a lot of room for logistical problems to pop up.

        I don’t really know—but the fact this man is Viennese DOES seems important to this project, as Rosenkavalier is the Sachertorte of all Operas. Seems to me his basic instincts might work well for this piece. Then again, acting is one thing, directing another.

        Just out of curiosity, how much directing experience did Clint Eastwood have when he started out doing that after having spent some time as Rowdy Yates??

        Well, if all else fails, there’s always Thaddeus Strassberger and his birdcages! Wonder which directing school he went to come up with that!

      • 10.4.3
        Regina delle fate says:

        FM -- would you say that Katharina has learned the “fundamentals of being an opera director” on the basis of her one Bayreuth production to date? I’d say, on the evidence of the Meistersinger, which I saw twice in Bayreuth and again on DVD, that she hired a very clever Dramaturg who knows a lot about Wagner and the performance history of Meistersinger. I didn’t see much evidence of the fundamentals of being an opera director. But there again, I know some people who think this show is a masterpiece….You’re quite right about the “tryout” in Antwerp -- they COULD pull out if it bombs, but on past experience of the RO management -- pre-Kasper Holten, of course -- they seem to have such a lack of discrimination when it comes to Regietheater. The ROH is not exactly known as one of Europe’s more progressive houses. I imagine a “safe” Rosenkavalier is just what they want, as they did when they replaced the interesting -- and beautiful -- Visconti production with the hideous kitsch of the Schlesinger production. I pray that Waltz is at least an improvement on that. Given he is Viennese -- not a guarantee that he can direct -- and comes from a background steeped in the theatre, I guess there is a very good chance that he knows Rosenkavalier inside out. I’ve a vague memory of seeing a Merry Widow in Wien 40 years ago designed by his parents -- old fashioned but sumptuous -- and starring Mirjana Irosch and Harald Serafin, Martina’s Mum and Dad, as Hanna and Danilo. God, I’m old….

        General question(s): Does anyone know if the Stuttgart Herheim Rosenkavalier was filmed? And has it been staged anywhere else?

        • 10.4.3.1
          Feldmarschallin says:

          No Regina, I wouldn’t say that Katharina Wagner learned much but she did get rave reviews for the one production she did before she went to Bayreuth. The Meistersinger was certainly a flop but even experienced directors are entitled to productions that somehow don’t gel. Look at Richard Jones for example. His Hänsel is very good but the Hoffmann is a flop and the Lohengrin also not very good and Harteros almost pulled out because she was not very happy and certainly looked horrible in those overalls in the first act. Homolki is another director who can have brilliant ideas but the Arabella is a big dud. And Kriegenburg did an amazing Wozzeck only to bring a so so Rheingold, a below average Walküre and stunning Siegfried and Götterdämmerung.

    • 10.5
      armerjacquino says:

      It’s this idea of being ‘qualified’ that gets me. Like he hasn’t filled in the forms for his directing licence.

      The 21 year old vaudeville artist Rosa Ponselle wasn’t ‘qualified’ to sing FORZA at the Met.

      • 10.5.1
        Nerva Nelli says:

        Or that this foxy doxy isn’t “qualified” to sing Susanna at the Met!

        http://tinyurl.com/bq32b8z

        • 10.5.1.1
          oedipe says:

          Not only is she “qualified”, but she is without a doubt ZE best Sophie available in the world today, since most top houses -The Met, Wiener Staatsoper, Bayerische, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, among others- are scrambling to cast her in the role next season. And these houses know what they are doing, don’t they (never question authority!).

        • 10.5.1.2
          Feldmarschallin says:

          No she isn’t qualified but she has on a pair of killer heels. Alas, I will hear the Sophie since I want to hear Isokoski’s Marschallin and Petrenko conducting. At least no Susanna here :)

          • Feldmarschallin says:

            BTW Camille I have one birds nest with customers. I saw them flying in the other day and yesterday as well. They watch first to see if anyone is looking. Gorgeous summerlike 29 degrees here today. But I havent seen any take any baths yet.

          • Camille says:

            Gnädige Feldmarschallin!
            Your description of your garten made me so happy and sad–ein halb mal lustig, ein halb mal traurig—for it sounds so idyllic to me and it brought back the memories of my own beloved garten, now ewig verloren!!

            Be happy in your garten this summer for life is so short. It is such a wonderful thing to be in harmony with nature AND to have Jonas and Anya a scant zwanzig minuten away!! If I could fly like a bird, I would move in next to your birdies. Wish I could, alas.

          • Feldmarschallin says:

            Well Camille if you are ever in this neck of the woods please let me know as you can come by for Kaffee und Kuchen (baked by myself). Actually I prefer tea in the afternoon but it would be your choice. No opera performances for me now until Boccanegra Premiere the beginning of June. That gives me plenty of time to tend to gardening and by the time the Festspiele start the end of June everything will be growing and only need weeding, watering and deadheading.

          • Camille says:

            Danke, gnädige Feldmarschallin.
            If ever I would go to Germany, it would be to your fairest of cities.
            For now, it will be only the schönste träume.

          • Regina delle fate says:

            Lucia Popp must be turning in her grave, FM :)

        • 10.5.1.3
          Camille says:

          I will not fall i to Nerva’s bed of roses THIS TIME! I KNOW who is behind that click and it’s not the Wizard of Oz, either!

  • 11
    blanchette says:

    I hear that Manou- if this had been bp’s very first post perhaps readers would have taken less offense- it does get wearing- I just felt a bit perverse…anyway, basta, xxxx

  • 12
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    We have been though all of this before. I’ve been talking about Waltz doing his first opera for months here. It’s great news… but by 2016 the Marschallin might also be a cacklepuss What’s the heterosexual equivalent of puer sennex syndrome when the puer is a transvestite?.

    • 12.1
      marshiemarkII says:

      Quanto, bad gurl!, are you suggesting she’ll go from La Scoopenda to La Cacklenda three years time? :-) :-) :-)
      (But La Cacklenda is already taken)

      • 12.1.1
        Camille says:

        Who, pray tell, would be La Cacklenda?

        It’s all right for QPF to use ‘Cacklepuss’, as he has more than earned the right to judge and also originated this dubious sobriquet, warranted, though, as it may very well be. The rest of us should probably mind our P’s and Q’s, until the cackling stops, as it shall. Some day. One day. Any day now.

        • 12.1.1.1
          marshiemarkII says:

          Provocateur or Provocatrice?
          :-) :-) :-)

          • Camille says:

            Toujours provocatrice, comme toujours l’amour!

            Okay, I’ll leave this one lay on the shelf.

            Bom dia, MMIItm, and stay out of Jackson Heights as it could be bad for your health and TACKY, too! Tierra de Ugly Betty! Ugh.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            But MMII looooves tackiness, that’s why she is going back one more time to see that hypertacky Rigoletto, this Saturday :-)
            Actually I want to check out the Grigolo, I know it won’t be the glorious Piotr vocally, but I want to see those looks :-)
            Any parterrians going?

            CammiB, it’s not the Colombians that interest MMII La Fea in Jackson Heights, that was in the 90s…..remember Lucho’s? never went, but it was a de rigeur for Latin queens of the time.
            But now it’s the new wave……

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Think that we should ™ La Cacklenda?

          • Camille says:

            MarshieMtm—

            The heart wants what the heart wants….

            Are you really going to bother to see Grigoletto? Waste of time, I’d say. I’s rather you busies yourself with that letter to Anna, but you know your social calendar and the probability of another star-crossing with AN, so…I will close my cacklepuss on that item.

            Of course it must be tm’d but it is not quite up there with Cacklepuss, which is truly inspired, if malheureusement, true.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Oh unfortunately the Grigoletto (as was the sub-par La Traviata of two weeks ago) is part of the social calendar, not MMII heart’s wish. The last true heart’s wish was the Faust! but you gotta do what you gotta do right? It doesn’t hurt that I’ll get to see the fabledly gorgeous Vittorio, finally. He probably won’t be all that great shakes! There are probably better ones in Jackson Heights! :-)
            I really want to provide you (and Vally) with that link to the Gay 80s, but somehow it doesn’t allow me to post it. The post just vanishes…..

          • La Valkyrietta says:

            Jackson Heights is a lacuna in my New York escapades, and I certainly have been to many hidden corners of the city. I was documenting myself about it and it does have many historic landmarks. I should explore it. I know I have been under Jackson Heights as I read it is crossed bt the E and the F trains, and I have used those for one purpose or another at various times. I know I have gone to Jamaica, but that is not in Jackson Heights. I also went to the New York World’s Fair decades ago to see Michelangelo’s Pieta with a different lighting than in Rome. There must be something special in Jackson Heights that has escaped me. A restaurant with good arepas? A movie house with treats besides pop corn? I hope Jackson Heights is better than Yonkers. Hello Dolly apart, Yonkers does not catch my fancy.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Jackson Heights, Queens, as well as its sister Elmhurst, has some of the BESTEST restaurants in NYC — if you are into being adventurous and explore new things. In addition to the Latin American community (not just Central but also South American — so there’s all sorts of Mexican, Salvadoran, Ecuadorean, Colombian and Argentinian eateries), there’s a large South Asian community — thus not only Indian and Punjabi restaurants, but also Tibetan/Nepalese; and there are pockets of Thais, Indonesians and Filipinos, so restaurants serving those communities out there are much more authentic. If you are adventurous and like to explore… Also, some very good Korean and Chinese restaurants.

          • La Valkyrietta says:

            Bianca,

            Merci. I should explore the Heights. When the talk goes to ethnic restaurants, I think of that Seinfeld episode where he convinces his Pakistani friend to change his restaurant to Pakistani :). Joking aside, the weather is propitious to a Jackson Heights leisure walk. “Je marche sur tous les chemins!”

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Bingo!, that’s my gurl Bianca! that’s why I lover her!!! Punjabi Indian is the reason why MMII absolutely needs, and must, make her way to Jackson Heights prontisssssimo, like tomorrow night (uggggh forgot Grigoletto :-))
            I understand there is a cinema where they show Bollywood movies and that offers more than popcorn, is that true?
            Love all things Latin!, but for that there is plenty in Manhattan.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Vally! we must check it out together :-)

          • La Valkyrietta says:

            It is cloudy today, but what a coincidence, in channel 51 they just took a #7 train from Grand Central to Jacson Heights, showed the neighborhood a little and in an Indian Diner they had some food and showed part of the process to prepare Tandori chicken. :)

          • La Valkyrietta says:

            Sorry, tandoori.

            They are showing the Indian neighborhood. Patel Brothers. A huge zucchini. Sucking mangoes. They say it is the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the US. Now they are doing Nepalese cuisine…

          • manou says:

            Rullavano i tandoori…

          • Camille says:

            MMIItm + LaVal—

            Go to BIG Cinemas on East 59th Street to see and hear Indian films! You need never leave Manhattan. It is also the venue which hosts the Opera in Cinema and Ballet in Cinema series—that is how I happened to notice it, while shopping across the street at the dearly beloved and now demised Pierre Deux. Their telephone number is (212) 371-6683 to enquire after their schedule. Their Chai is excellent, not too spicey, and warming to body and soul on cold winter days. I have seen two openings of La Scala from my seat there but no Punjabi movies, although the titles of some of them are inadvertently hysterical.

            Go to the 74th Street stop for Patel Brothers excellent mangos and cheap produce, spices, etc., more importanly, dozens of Indian jewel shoppes where there are tons of beautiful sparkling gems. A treasure trove. I haven’t been for years now but you fellows bring it back to mind. No Tiffany yellow diamonds, unfortunately! I have heard tell of that Indian theatre in Jackson Heights but never been.

            Love,
            Camille

      • 12.1.2
        Quanto Painy Fakor says:

        Cacklepus © ™ Marca registrata

        • 12.1.2.1
          Baltsamic Vinaigrette says:

          And to think you decided to go with a single “s” in the end. Cruèl!

        • 12.1.2.2
          marshiemarkII says:

          Look what hath you wrought CammiB!
          :-0

          • Camille says:

            Yes, I’m checking into the Betty Ford Clinic to see if I may be cured of my addiction.

            Progress report to be following….

            In the meantime, walk softly and carry a big baton in Jackson Heights.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            You can’t check on the Betty Ford carisssssima CammiB, because they’d take your ipad away, and we would be deprived of your contributions, we already miss la Clitissssima so much, imagine without you? Loveya!

            Last night, after I left the office at 7:30 was on my way to Jackson Heights, and voila Columbia is under total lock-down, there was a suspicious package at the subway station, and the entire campus was locked-down, and I was stranded on the corner of 120th and Broadway for 45 minutes, unable to go backwards or forwards. So much for Jackson Heights…….it’s just not meant to happen CammiB!

          • scifisci says:

            marshie, it actually turned out to be an elderly lady who forgot her bag on a bench I believe. Thank heavens I left campus a bit early yesterday, otherwise I would have never made it to the uchida recital at carnegie on time!

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Wow scifisci, thanks! so that’s what it was, I figured it was nothing, after they cleared everything of course, but by then I was too frustrated to do anything! and today I absolutely need to be at gym, in Times Square!!!!!! and pretty terrified, as there are rumors the guy is already either in NYC or Washington, uffff…… we should all be very careful until this all clears, with hopefully minimum loss.

        • 12.1.2.3
          Camille says:

          Goodness, Maestro QPF, what happened to the Puss?
          It all ran to Pus all of a sudden.
          Enquiring minds want to know which is the correct Marca Registrata, please!

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Actually caro Quanto, I am utterly curious about th etymology of “puss” is it related to feline things, or mouth things? is the correct synonym “cacklemouth” or “cacklecat”? or is there another one?

  • 13
    shoegirl says:

    It smacks of great risk. It could be a great run, or fall flat. One is reminded of the 2005 LA production, by Gottfried Helnwein, the one which basically bathed the entire stage in single primary colours for each act, so there was a blue act, and a red act and a yellow act. Despite a good cast and strong musical settings, by most accounts it left audiences in the school for the bewildered.

  • 14
    javier says:

    if fleming is involved it shouldn’t stray too far from a traditional production. i just hope that she can still sing a good marschallin in 2016.

    ?t=30s

  • 15
    atomicwings says:

    Maximilian Schell did a new production of Der Rosenkavalier for Los Angeles Opera a number of years ago and he was a spectacular failure, thinking he could rely on his native German while not understanding what the opera was about, not being able to relate to the story and in the end being loathed by the entire cast. I think Waltz will be different, but it’s too back that he will have a old lady to sing the Marschallin.

    • 15.1
      Camille says:

      Would that all such “old ladies” looked HALF as good as Mme. Fleming or, for that matter, “overweight matrons” all over the world have been besieging Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, not to mention the houses of Dior, Chanel, Lanvin, Balenciaga et al, for The Anna Netrebko Look. Jesus H. Christmas in a Bunny Suit. Give the girls a break.

    • 15.2
      Camille says:

      Oh thank you for recalling these facts as my faulty memory bank has been trying to find that file and failed to, thus far.

      Yes, that was some débacle. Doesn’t bode all that well for the next Rose Cavalier, but let’s cross our fingers and hold our collective breath.

    • 15.3
      Regina delle fate says:

      Maria Bengtsson is a youngish lady and a very glamorous one.

  • 16
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    In the words of the Major Domo in Prokofiev’s War and Peace: “Valse! Valze! Valse, Madame! Valse, valse, Madame !”