Cher Public

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Something unseen

Which opera company has informed a budding composer they are willing to add his new opera to their repertoire for next season… so long as said composer can pony up the estimated $2 million it would cost to present his work?


  • 1
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:


  • 2
    Vergin Vezzosa says:

    “pony up” -- maybe Madrid and Wuorinen Brokeback Mountain? Real has got to be increasingly $$$$$-conscious given the economy. Second guess, SFO and the Gordon Getty House of Usher thing, but I thought that was a couple of seasons off. He can certainly afford it but I would guess that he is paying for it anyway.

    • 2.1
      m. croche says:

      You know, I was going to make a Gordon Getty joke, but even after exerting my punning powers to the utmost, I couldn’t get the connection to “budding”.

      And now I learn he really does have an opera awaiting production stateside. I guess the joke is actually on San Francisco Opera.

      You know the joke.

      It’s the one which the punch line, “Now we are just haggling over the price.”

      • 2.1.1
        Quanto Painy Fakor says:

        No need to joke about Gordon. He has a very good heart.

          m. croche says:

          You’re a mischievous cat, QPF, so I’m not sure whether you’re pulling my leg. GG is a terrible, awful, hideous composer who, so far as I kow, has to bankroll the (infrequent) performances of his music. A musician I know who turned down oe such offer said, “I’d rather listen to shit plop into a toilet than listen to GG’s music.”. If SF Opera is really doing Usher House, than they have hit rock bottom. May God have mercy on their souls.

          SilvestriWoman says:

          Yeah, right… In the past, colleagues have served as musical entertainment at parties at his home. You are under orders not to speak to any of the guests. More importantly, don’t expect to get see a red cent because, unlike hookers, you’re performing pro bono.

          • manou says:

            Of course the hookers are performing pro boner.

          • Phoenicia Pomegranate says:

            Have you heard the story about a rich Long Island lady hiring Caruso to sing at one of her parties? “What is your fee?” “One thousand dollars.” “Very well. Oh, and Mr. Caruso, you will not mingle with my guests.” “In that case, the fee is five hundred dollars.”

            • grimoaldo says:

              Yes, I have heard a variant of that story, the way I heard it it was not Caruso though, I don’t remember who it was.

            • grimoaldo says:

              Paderewski, that’s who I heard that story about. Which is not to say it really was him and not Caruso.

    • 2.2
  • 3
    steveac10 says:

    Unlikely it’s Wuorinen -- the last thing he could be called is a budding composer. He was already a well established composer by the time I hit college in the late 70’s.

    • 3.1
      Henry Holland says:

      Wuorinen’s opera is being done in January, it would be odd if it was canceled at this point. I’m curious to hear it, I like his opera Haroun and the Sea of Stories.

    • 3.2
      armerjacquino says:

      Isn’t’budding’ more likely to be there as a clue than for its literal meaning?

      ie (bad example, but you get the gist) Voigt might be encoded as a ‘deer-hunting soprano’ whether or not she’s ever been near a Bambi.

      • 3.2.1
        ianw2 says:

        I JUST discovered you wrote one of my absolutely favourite things ever.

        Anyway, I’m not going to talk about since we mustn’t talk about it but I’m going to continue lurking and, above all, will REMAIN INDOORS.

          armerjacquino says:

          Oh, how nice, thank you! Always pleasing to know people enjoyed what we did.

          Although it doesn’t get us any closer to this blind item, at any event. NO! DO NOT MENTION THE EVENT!

          • Baltsamic Vinaigrette says:

            You’ve got me. I can think of Jon Voight getting an Oscar for “the other 1978 Vietnam movie”, Coming Home…

            • armerjacquino says:

              Aaargh, I always make that mistake. I should have remembered the handy summary from FRIENDS: ‘John Savage was Deer Hunter, no legs. Jon Voight was Coming Home, couldn’t feel his legs’

              Trust me to further confuse things.

          • Edward George says:

            Recently found footage of The Event reveals it was not actually some apocalyptic disaster, but the MET premiere of the Bondy Tosca. REMAIN INDOORS!

          Baltsamic Vinaigrette says:

          But I am with you re “budding” -- isn’t there a reference to the pair “stemming the rose” in the original story (and film) of Brokeback Mountain?

          • aulus agerius says:

            I guess that phrase really sticks in the mind. I wonder if Proulx came up with it herself; I’ve never heard it before or since. I only recently threw out my saved copy of the New Yorker in which the story made it’s debut. I remember reading that story and being blown away and moreover marveling that a woman could have written it.

            At about the same time another story appeared in Harpers entitled Lucky Ducks about a gay relationship. It was also very insightful and moving and it was also written by a woman, whose name escapes me.

  • 4
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    It not this one either

  • 5
    LittleMasterMiles says:

    Speaking of things unseen (my feeble excuse to position this as not OT), the Grandage Figaro will not be appearing at the Met after all. (Did we know about this?)

    • 5.1
      LittleMasterMiles says:

      Although the Glyndebourne “Figaro” was a co-production with the Met, Mr. Gelb said that the Met had always planned to build its own sets, so that switching productions was, economically speaking, “a wash.”

      Surely this is a bit of dissembling. As a co-producer of Grandage’s Figaro at Glyndbourne the Met must have paid its share of his fees and those of other creative artists (set, costume, and lightening designers, etc.), right? Gelb will now have to pay new artists for all the new designs.

      I’m not blaming Gelb for any of this; the blame must lie with Gandage, who let himself be double-booked and simply didn’t care to show up to stage a revival of his work at one of the companies that paid for it.

      • 5.1.1
        Signor Bruschino says:

        I don’t think that double booking is to blame here- I think that after Don G, Peter G decided that (probably will be one day) Sir G isn’t right for the Met. and after watching the online stream from glynebourne of the nozze, i tend to agree. and the final paragraphs of the article talking about not updating the time period seem to add more fuel to the idea that the production wasn’t right for the met…

          messa di voce says:

          Agree, signor.

          armerjacquino says:

          Yes, I suspect there’s some sm

          grimoaldo says:

          “(probably will be one day) Sir G isn’t right for the Met”

          As one of this “in-group of a few people showing off to each other about how knowledgeable they think they are”, I feel I must point out that when that day comes he will be Sir M, not Sir G.

          • armerjacquino says:

            Something I’d already managed to do *without* randomly insulting everyone else in the thread…

          • Signor Bruschino says:

            His surname is Grandage (thus the Sir G), but I guess you guys are on first name basis…

            • grimoaldo says:

              If Joe Bloggs is knighted, you call him Sir Joe, not Sir Bloggs. Just as te Kanawa or Sutherland were not Dame te Kanawa or Dame Sutherland but Dame Kiri and Dame Joan.
              Minor picky point, I know, but that is the correct usage and it sounds very jarring to British or Commonwealth users to hear it the other way.

            • oedipe says:

              Sounds jarring? You showing off again, ha?

            • grimoaldo says:

              That’s what we do here!

            • Baltsamic Vinaigrette says:

              Actually, I liked Signor B’s G-string in the original post, but must defer to the show-offs, who have (for all I know) got it right.

              I think that if the knight of the realm enjoys an existing title, then that goes first: Professor Sir Grim O’Aldo, General Sir Idi Pey. Thus you never separate the Sir from the first name. And the key difference between Lady surname (e.g. Rattle) is that she is married to Sir Simon, whereas Lady first name (e.g. Diana) was born into nobility as, say, an earl’s daughter. So help you if you call Lady First Name by her surname, so.

              [Di was probably christened by the Vicar, who no doubt will put me right].

            • kashania says:

              Grim: But once they’re named a Lord, then one reverts back to the surname, right? So, Sir Laurence became Lord Olivier.

            • grimoaldo says:

              hahaha balts that is funny.
              Yes, if a knight goes “up a step” to a Lord, he would go from Sir Laurence to Lord Olivier, to use the example you quote kashania. There are even fussier little rules than that, but that is quite enough for anyone to know. If in doubt, leave it out is a good maxim, no one would care if he were referred to as Laurence Olivier whether knight or lord, but if you use the title incorrectly it sounds very wrong.

            • armerjacquino says:

              And it gets even more absurdly complicated: Sir Laurence Olivier’s wife will have been called Joan, Lady Olivier (in that order). But once he became Lord Olivier she will have become Lady Joan.

              Can’t wait for the first member of a gay married couple to be ennobled…

            • kashania says:

              I love this stuff.

            • Signor Bruschino says:

              What a can of worms this Sir stuff has become! Let’s just call it a day and go back to talking about how much Debby Voigt hates us…

            • manou says:

              …and do not forget that if you are writing to Lady Olivier (wife or Sir Laurence), she has to be upgraded to The Lady Olivier when Laurence becomes Lord Olivier.

              Among other niceties.

            • manou says:

              armer -- that is not correct. She could only be called Lady Joan if she was the daughter of a nobleman (as in the Lady Diana example).

            • armerjacquino says:

              Yes, I meant Lady Olivier, rather than Joan, Lady Olivier. Then I typed Joan. Chalk another one up to today!

            • kashania says:

              Just so I’ve got this straight. The wife of a Sir is always Lady + Last name. When the husband gets an upgrade to Lord, she becomes The Lady + Last name. OK!

            • manou says:

              Yes kashania, but only on an envelope and on her place name at a banquet -- and of course when announced at a grand reception.

            • armerjacquino says:

              Not quite, kash. The wife of a Sir is firstname, Lady surname. You put her first name in there to distinguish her from the wife of a Lord.

            • manou says:

              Only at 3.20pm on the butler’s monthly afternoon off

            • Baltsamic Vinaigrette says:

              BTW what is the Hollywood name of Baroness Haden-Guest of Saling? She turns up to the opening of the Lords (or is it Queen’s Speech? over to you, manou/aj) generally looking pretty fit.

            • manou says:

              Jamie Lee Curtis, of course,giving her tiara an airing on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament.

            • Regina delle fate says:

              O Soave Sir John -- not o Soave Sir Falstaff

          Gualtier M says:

          The other crucial element is that the Grandage “Don Giovanni” at the Met is a total failure -- ugly, undramatic and boring. The idea of a Grandage Da Ponte cycle is really dispiriting.


          I saw that webcast and I did not find anything offensive about the production, except for the singing of whomever did the Countess, who was verging on awful. I know the met audience has a resistance for updating s, but this specific one I thought worked well, and the story telling was pretty straight forward.

      • 5.1.2
        SilvestriWoman says:

        To the despair of some posters, I followed the Times’ link. Grandage is making a movie, starring Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender. If I were booked at the Met, I’d get out of my contract to work with either of those men, let alone both.

  • 6
    armerjacquino says:

    Yes, I suspect there’s some smoke and mirrors here.

    (He’s plain old Mr Grandage by the way, not Sir M)

  • 7
    rysanekfreak says:

    I found this is a review of Plump Jack:

    Usher House will receive its staged premiere by Welsh National Opera on June 13, 2014 and performed by the San Francisco Opera in 2015.

    This blind item sounds more like it’s about Brokeback Mountain.

  • 8
    rysanekfreak says:

    I found this in a review of a Plump Jack recording.

    “Usher House will receive its staged premiere by Welsh National Opera on June 13, 2014 and performed by the San Francisco Opera in 2015.”

    The blind item sound more like it should be about Brokeback Mountain.

    Something bizarre happened when I hit the submit box, so pardon me if this ends up as a double post.

  • 9
    Liz.S says:

    I feel like I have to defend Grandage a bit. His stuff is just very difficult to make it successful, especially with young singers whose main concerns could be if they can sing OK at the Met. It seems to me his way of directing requires active participation of singers with strong acting skills and deep insights into the role already, the team of singers who are also good at making chemistry among them.
    Sure, his Don G with Mattei and Kwiecien was so so or dull sometimes, but remember the circumstances? Kwiecien had physical limitations and Mattei didn’t have much time to rehearse with the co-stars.
    I have to tell you, the third set of cast made it a BLAST!!! -- Finley (Don G,) Terfel (Leporello,) Polenzani (Don O)
    I’m kind of sorry for Grandage that Finley & Terfel version was not filmed to prove that his direction could work so well. Mein Gott, even Rebeka, who was a bit frigid with Vargas earlier, revealed her potential as a stage actress – unexpectedly, that was the most sizzling Donna Anna and Don O I’ve ever seen!
    Was it so much fun because of Grandage’s skill, or could a set of strong cast even save the boring production? That I don’t know yet…

    • 9.1
      SilvestriWoman says:

      Interesting take… At least one review of the Glyndebourne felt that Grandage didn’t give enough direction to the singers, rather leaving them a bit to their own devices -- wonder if that was the case with Giovanni? I know that some singers struggle with that, but others thrive. When I was singing, I certainly did. In my experience, the best directors came to the production with a strong vision, but were flexible in allowing the singers to help create it. This is especially helpful when a role is double-cast.

      • 9.1.1
        Liz.S says:

        Ah it makes sense, SilvestriWoman. Perhaps Grandage’s not really dictatorial or his vision is not strong enough for the singers to follow? His approach could be extremely in collaborative “Let’s build it together” fashion so it only works with a set of leading singers with strong opinion and vision of their roles to start with? I feel when it works, it really works great because each singers personality and strength really shines in this approach, instead of giving me the uncomfortable feeling that the singers are struggling to fit into the mold that the director envisioned.
        Grandage may not be one of the best directors out there, but he could be one of the interesting ones, I think.

  • 10
    aulus agerius says:

    What about Lorin Maazel? Does he have anything up his sleeve? Apparently he can afford it -- he personally paid for the ROH mounting of 1984 didn’t he?
    That baritone, Etienne Dupuis, in the Usher clip sure is a looker. Ah, but there are so many…..

  • 11
    Lady Abbado says:

    Here we have a potential replacement for Racette in Mefistofele:

    • 11.1
      Feldmarschallin says:

      Not bad but I still prefer Callas or Olivero. That voice is a bit flutterly no? And those hands have a life of their own. But at least she has a very distinctive voice unless Racette.

      • 11.1.1
        Cocky Kurwenal says:

        This has become a very predictable riposte on Parterre these days, but in this case I think it applies: Callas is unavailable, and although Olivero might free, I still think Gheorghiu has the edge on her in terms of current suitability.

          Batty Masetto says:

          Cocky, I’d say Gheorghiu is in the “unavailable” category too, just for different reasons. :)

  • 12
    papopera says:

    If Ludwig II von Bayern were still around…

  • 13
    jeepgerhard says:

    oh dear, Nico Muhly? Gordon Getty? Giacomo Puccini? So MANY choices, but I think my nickel is on Monsieur Muhly!

    • 13.1
      jeepgerhard says:

      OH, DUH! You wanted to know which OPERA COMPANY, did you not? The Met or San Francisco? Surely not Houston, despite all the oil-dough there.