Cher Public

  • PCally: Armer, can you say what you don’t find appealing about Gens as the Countess? Most reviews of the recording point to her as... 4:42 PM
  • armerjacquino: You have to be careful with Jacobs in Mozart- for me the COSI is spectacular, the NOZZE is very good (although Gens is a... 4:05 PM
  • PCally: I wasn’t aware he’d recorded the opera until reading your post armer. I’ve been listening to Nézet-Séguin... 3:57 PM
  • armerjacquino: Ha! Although I’m no royalist so all the Queenery (large ‘Q’) annoyed me, I watched that gala to DEATH as... 3:08 PM
  • kashania: Because it`s been a while since we had this on parterre: httpv://www.youtub yVeLh0U 2:57 PM
  • kashania: The murky depths of Wedekind/Berg are a long way from the fizzy shallows of The Nose. I tip my hat, sir! 2:39 PM
  • armerjacquino: Anyone heard the new Jacobs ENTFUHRUNG? I’ve been listening to it online for the last hour or so and it’s a... 2:20 PM
  • mercadante: Some people love to spend a lot of money to go to the opera; staying is another matter. 2:08 PM

Ancien regie

“When it was new, Merrill and O’Hearn’s work sparkled, reflecting the piquancy of Strauss’s score and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s witty, learned libretto. But like any production left out in the sun a few decades, it gradually faded into mere decoration. The sets were dusted and periodically repainted, but they nevertheless grew stale. Der Rosenkavalier, a bittersweet parable of a society on the verge of convulsive transformation, became merely a plush, pretty nostalgia trip.” [New York Times]


  • La Cieca says:

    Here’s a look at Robert Carsen’s first thoughts on Rosenkavalier a decade ago at the Salzburg Festival. (He may well do the opera quite differently for the Met.)

    • Porgy Amor says:

      I hope Piotr Beczala is available again. I rarely hear a performance of this aria to which I would give an “A,” and great singers from Araiza to Kaufmann have stumbled badly in it, but PB was at least well above average in that 2004 Carsen/Bychkov.

    • Feldmarschallin says:

      I saw that production in Salzburg and it will be interesting to see if the naked whore who washes herself will be shown at the Met.

      • Porgy Amor says:

        It is my understanding that Carsen is not just dusting off his Salzburg Rosenkavalier and retooling it a bit; this is going to be all-new work. The announced set and costume designers are different (Steinberg and Reiffenstuel respectively); Pabst did both duties in 2004.

        There was also some full-frontal male nudity in the Salzburg one, a walk-through by one of the johns, shaking up Baron Ochs (this is what he asks “Mariandl” if she saw, and she feigns ignorance).

        • Feldmarschallin says:

          Yes forgot about that and we all know how many Americans are very puritan about nudity.

    • mercadante says:

      Except for the updated costumes which were a mess of 1930′s for the Marschellin, possibly 1950′s for Sophie and pseudo military for Octavian nothing was different at all. Three people lined up, Octavian in the middle. The only novelty was Sophie getting a little kittenish on the bed. Golly gee, how innovative, how new. So many deep insights into the characters I never saw before. It totally changed how I understand Rosenkavalier.

  • m. croche says:

    ” Der Rosenkavalier, a bittersweet parable of a society on the verge of convulsive transformation”


    • Batty Masetto says:

      It loses a bit in the translation from Warlikowski’s original Polish…

      • Batty Masetto says:

        It’s not hard to argue that a fair chunk of Hofmannsthal’s output is at least subliminally about the transition from an idealized 19th century Austria-Hungary to a new world that (as he saw it) had no use for manners, sensitivity, etc. – either about the transition itself, or the anxieties it provokes.

        • MontyNostry says:

          As I remember from my long-distant studies of Hofmannsthal, he was preoccupied with ‘Das Gleitende’…:
          ‘An essential recurring concept in Hofmannsthal’s essays is “das Gleitende,” meaning “that which slides,” a concept that points at the essential instability of the relation between the subject and the world in modernity.’
          From: Modernism Astradur Eysteinsson, Bjorn Thor Vilhjalmsson (Ed) -- 2007

        • m. croche says:

          The “subliminal parable” may be an entirely new genre.

        • Avantialouie says:

          So let’s KEEP those wonderful-but-faded Merrill/O’Hearn sets, only use them for the wonderful-but-faded opera created specifically to articulate the very theme you’ve identified: “Arabella.”

    • La Cieca says:

      Not to get into a whole big THING, but I think it can be argued that the “verge” mentioned here is between the 19th and 20th centuries, between a “romantic” past and whatever it is the future might be, which presumably is going to be something very different from “romantic.”

      This is certainly the tack Stefan Herheim took when he directed the work, opening the piece with a “Rape of Europa” ballet with the Marschallin in the title role.

      • m. croche says:

        Not to get into a whole big THING, but

        1) “Der Rosenkavalier” is not a parable in any conventional understanding of the term -- ZW’s editors were asleep at the wheel,

        2) the “convulsive transformation” clearly indicates WWI which of course postdates “Der Rosenkavalier”*,

        2b) “convulsive transformations” are, at any rate, hard to detect in “Der Rosenkavalier”.

        3) I thought we weren’t fond of critics who peremptorily declared what a particular opera “is”.

        * (If something less than World War One is indicated by “convulsive transformation”, like the “verge” between the 19th and 20th centuries, then what words remain that could describe the killing fields of Europe and the profound social changes they wrought? And if Hofmannsthal was interested in painting a society on the edge, why did he choose 1740s Vienna? The French Revolution happened half a century later in a different country.)

  • steveac10 says:

    Frankly, aside from the immediate impact when the curtain goes up on act 2, this production was looking dowdy by the time it was telecast in the early 80′s. I always felt the outer acts looked cheap and dingy -- like someone had set them amid the dusty faux porcelain figurines on my Aunt Irene’s buffet.And at the time of my first exposure it was less than 10 years old. The 3rd act costumes looked downright community theatre restoration comedy even in 1981 on Troyanos and Te Kanawa. A fresh take is long overdue.

  • Signor Bruschino says:

    I’m more intrigued about what is not said in the article -- that Tcherniakov was at a point rumored to be directing this new production. Are things not going well on the Prince igor front? Adding to the intrigue is that Des McAnuff was announced (in the Canadian press) to be doing the Falstaff production, which was replaced then by the Carsen production. hmmm

    • Gualtier M says:

      Yes but Gunther Groissbock as Ochs? Really? Not really a fat juicy deep bass and way too young and good-looking.

      • peter says:

        That’s the regie in this production. The Ochs is going to be young and handsome.

      • MontyNostry says:

        I could be mistaken, but didn’t Hofmannsthal originally think of Baron Ochs as a man of about 40? Let’s face it, by 2016 Renee is technically going to be 25 years too old for the Marschallin.

        • Porgy Amor says:

          Franz Hawlata, a regular in Carsen productions (the Water Goblin, La Roche), was exactly 40 when he played Ochs in the Salzburg staging excerpted above. What Gualtier writes of Groissböck could be said of Hawlata too. It is not a Kurt Moll voice; he could only scrape the very lowest notes. But he was appropriate casting for that version of the character — a younger Ochs than we usually get, better-looking and lighter on his feet. Ochs there was a monocle-sporting military type, a bully/coward with some swagger and charisma about him. Hawlata danced well and was good at comedy too. There’s a real laugh near the end of Act II, when Ochs calls for a doctor (I don’t want to spoil it) and goes into his litany of complaints.

        • tiger1dk says:

          You seem to forget, MontyNostry, that in the 18th century life expectancy was maybe 40 and people, due to inferior healthcare etc, aged much quicker than today. So a person at 40 in the 18th century might actually be at the same place in life (and also look it) as a person at -- say -- 60 today.

        • Regina delle fate says:

          Monty -- I think Strauss wrote specifically, later in his life when Rosenkavalier traditions had already become “eine Schlamperei” that Ochs should be a “Don-Juan Schönheit” of about 36, so four years older than his ideal Marschallin. Octavian is said in the libretto to be 17. Ochs refers to “seine siebzehn Jahr’ ” so Sophie is presumably about 15, although she could be as young as 13 as that was considered marriageable age in the 18th Century, for aristocrats at least.

          • MontyNostry says:

            Thank you, Regina -- After I posted that comment I wondered whether it was in fact Strauss who said that Ochs should be comparatively young and sexy — I’d forgotten about the ‘Don-Juan Schönheit’.

      • Why would that be a problem. Surely not the first hot fucker that opens his mouth and removes all doubt that he is better seen and fucked than talked to.

    • Porgy Amor says:

      I first had heard Jack O’Brien (Blythe was to be Quickly even back then), and then McAnuff, and then Carsen. I’m just happy that more of Carsen’s work is being seen at the Met, however soon his name is coming up in the discussions. I know Volpe had not liked the Onegin, but I found Carsen suspicious by his absence for the first several years of Gelb. We might have had the prospect of a new Rosenkavalier by someone with no track record in opera, or by Sher.

      • Porgy Amor says:

        Er, “conspicuous.”

      • kashania says:

        Agreed. When Gelb first arrived and announced a new emphasis on directors, the names were Lepage, Stein (who backed out of the Boris), Bondy, Minghella… but no Carsen. I found this odd. Carsen’s Falstaff only came about when the Met decided to sack McAnuff and buy in to the Falstaff co-production already underway with several companies. So, it seems that Gelb is a late, even reluctant, collaborator with Carsen. Better late than never, I suppose.

        What I like about Carsen is that he has keen musical intelligence, knows all the ins and outs of directing the art form, and has a wide creative palette. Carsen productions don’t all look the same or rely on the same limited vocabulary. Few directors have more productions on the world’s opera stages right now, and yet, Carsen’s productions are wonderfully varied.

    • e-Straniera says:

      I’ve read somewhere (most likely even here, on parterre) that Renée wasn’t enthusiastic about collaboration with Tcherniakov. That can be the answer, but I’m not hundred percent sure. On the other hand, Fleming seems to enjoy working with Carsen and some of his best productions are Strauss operas (and vice versa: my favourite Renée DVD appearances are mostly Carsen productions) so for me it is a very good and promising combination.

  • Sorry but it has the be done:

    Canard of the day: Baron Ochs must be old, fat and unattractive for the character to work. A young dashing man can not in any way make that character repulsive or unlikeable enough.

    Because we all know Sophie would see him and want to bounce on his groins immediately.

    • alejandro says:

      Ochs sinks this opera for me (not terribly so since I love the stuff he’s not super involved with) . . . so I would welcome a hot Ochs who might make me reconsider my total dislike for the character. At the very least we can have eye candy.

      • I actually would welcome an interpretation where Ochs is actually competition for Octavian and his cocky ass. I think a little healthy competition would actually make the opera and some of those scenes a little good.

  • Tamino says:

    This is bittersweet to me, as this production had its second performance the night I I was born (yes, I looked it up).

    I was born at 10:10 pm. so I figure somewhere during Act II?

    Metropolitan Opera House
    January 27, 1969


    Octavian…………………Christa Ludwig
    Princess von Werdenberg……Leonie Rysanek
    Baron Ochs……………….Walter Berry
    Sophie…………………..Reri Grist
    Faninal………………….Rudolf Knoll
    Annina…………………..Rosalind Elias
    Valzacchi………………..Andrea Velis
    Italian Singer……………Flaviano Labò
    Marianne…………………Judith De Paul
    Mahomet………………….Celeste Scott
    Princess’ Major-domo………Gabor Carelli
    Orphan…………………..Mary Fercana
    Orphan…………………..Pamela Munson
    Orphan…………………..Dorothy Shawn
    Milliner…………………Elizabeth Anguish
    Animal Vendor…………….Charles Kuestner
    Hairdresser………………Harry Jones
    Notary…………………..Paul Plishka
    Leopold………………….John Trehy
    Lackey…………………..Joseph Folmer
    Lackey…………………..Edward Ghazal
    Lackey…………………..Lou Marcella
    Lackey…………………..Lloyd Strang
    Faninal’s Major-domo………Robert Schmorr
    Innkeeper………………..Charles Anthony
    Police Commissioner……….Lorenzo Alvary

    Conductor………………..Karl Böhm

    • peter says:

      The first time I saw this production was with Gwyneth Jones, Yvonne Minton, Reri Grist, and Marius Rintzler and the Italian tenor was Neil Shicoff. I was sitting in one of the score desks way up top so I could hardly see the stage but OH what singing.

      • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

        It was my very first performance at the Met: 07 March 1970 -- Rysanek, Elias, Berry, Raskin; Böhm. I subsequently saw it many, many times (including just about every Rysanek and/or Ludwig performance after that!). I shall miss it dearly!

    • Krunoslav says:

      But could Rudolf Knoll trill?????

    • damekenneth says:

      My first time with this production was December 29, 1979. Tomowa-Sintow was a lovely Marschallin and Gianni Rolandi made her Met debut as a sparkling Sophie. Leinsdorf’s conducting I remember as being mesmerizing, but I was very young.. I well remember the impression of those sets and the still crisp production.
      The same week, I saw Patti Lupone as Evita, Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett and, best of all (!), Sandy Duncan as Peter Pan! Oh yes, and an incredible Devia as Gilda opposite young and virile Shicoff with Milnes as the Rigoletto. Such a memorable week.

      • Krunoslav says:

        damekenneth, I was at Rolandi’s Met debut and it was actually December 26, opposite the single Marschallin Johanna Meier ever sang there. Both were excellent, and Baltsa had not yet ruined her voice. Haugland was pretty crude as Ochs.

        You saw Rolandi’s second show. I went back a but later when Blegen was Sophie, also excellent with more telling German--and AT-S as the Marschallin-- well as the latter sang, I thought Meier had been far more specific and moving in the part.

    • Jamie01 says:

      Hey, this is fun. My birthday performance was a Rigoletto with Cornell MacNeil, Richard Tucker, and Gianna D’Angelo (nee Jane Angelowich).

    • kashania says:

      This game is a bitter one for me as this was the performance on my birthday.

      Metropolitan Opera House
      October 3, 1974


      Cio-Cio-San………….Enriqueta Tarrés
      Pinkerton……………Harry Theyard
      Suzuki………………Jean Kraft
      Sharpless……………John Reardon
      Goro………………..Robert Schmorr
      Bonze……………….Andrij Dobriansky
      Yamadori…………….Russell Christopher
      Dolore………………Gina Puleo
      Kate Pinkerton……….Alma Jean Smith
      Commissioner…………Arthur Thompson
      Registrar……………Kun Yul Yoo

      Conductor……………Richard Woitach

      When Jean Kraft is the most recognisable name on the list… (no offence to Ms Kraft)

      • olliedawg says:

        May I reminisce for a moment about why I became an opera fan(atic)? It was 1980-something, and I was vamping around Lincoln Center waiting for a friend to arrive for a NYP concert. On a whim, I walked into the Met store for a look-see. That’s when I heard the most amazing, sublime, fabulous music/singing piped into the shop. Naturellement, I asked the guy behind the counter what that incredible sound was, where was it from, and, apropos of this thread, it was The Final Trio. I don’t remember who the singers were on the recording, but I strolled over to the box office, grabbed a performance schedule (remember when so much was printed and foldable?), and promptly bought a ticket to my first Rosenkavalier — all by my lonesome, and nice seat at that. I can’t recall the entire cast, but I absolutely know who sang the major roles: Tatiana Troyanos and Gwyneth Jones. Maybe Kathy Battle sang Sophie? Is that possible? DJ wasn’t peaches-and-cream sound, but she looked great and acted beautifully. TT, on the other hand, just blew me away — she commanded the stage, swashbuckled, put over the laughs, and had enough oomph at the end to give the goosebump moments. And, I said to myself, “If this is opera, I want more.” If TT was singing, I was there. That woman brightened up many a dull performance (don’t get me started on her Princess Eboli — that perky little hat and the fan — work it, girl), made my hair stand on end with her Sesto (which is why La Clemenza is on my short list of desert island operas). I’m still pissed that she died waaaay too young. Thanks to the goddesses for sending such an inte

      • armerjacquino says:

        Tarres was the Elettra in the Glyndebourne IDOMENEO more notable for the performances of Janowitz and Pavarotti. Reardon is the Schaunard on the Beecham BOHEME, I think. And I have an idea that Theyard was an NYCO regular.

        I was born ‘out of season’ but the Met was on tour, so as I entered the world Bumbry, Milnes and Tozzi were tearing up Detroit with MACBETH.

      • Krunoslav says:

        John Reardon was *very* well known in the 50s-70s, at least in North America. He worked all the time, on Broadway, at NYCO, Santa Fe, Boston/Tanglewood and the Met, plus many regional companies. And he was on TV opera quite a lot, including the US premiere of FROM THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD ( as Goryanshikov) and Papageno opposite Leontyne Price, with Balanchine staging.

        He was the go-to guy to create American light baritone roles- John in SUMMER AND SMOKE, Oren in MOURNING BECOMES ELEKTRA and many, many more. Beside the latter his Met NPs included PIKOVAYA DAMA (as Yeletsky) and JENUFA (as the Foreman), ROMEO ET JULIETTE and WERTHER. He was in all kinds of US premieres and WPs at Santa Fe.

        He also sang a lot of operetta-- a far better Eisenstein than Maltman! He recorded MERRY WIDOW opposite della Casa. He’s the Harlekin in the BSO telecast of ARIADNE w/Watson (Claire, not Janice) and Sills under Leinsdorf. Armer mentioned the Schaunard for Beecham; he also recorded Nick Shadow under Stravinsky and several B’way cast albums including DO RE MI.

        I heard him late in his career-- in a show tune and operetta concert w/Orch and chorus at Saratoga in 1983-- but he was very capable.

        Like SO many American lyric baritones of that era, he died of AIDS a few years later. Sad to realize he is not remembered/recognized by die junge Leut.

        • peter says:

          Kruno, what other baritones died of AIDS? William Sharp comes to mind but who else?

          • m. p. arazza says:

            Don’t you mean WIlliam Parker?

            • Krunoslav says:

              William Sharp is very much still with s, and still singing well!

              I am heading out the door. A short list would include John Reardon, William Parker, Ben Holt, Charles Long, Ron Bottcher, Stephen Dickson, Scott Reeve, and Bruce Hubbard.

              Alas, I am sure many more will be named.

            • peter says:

              Oh my. Apologies to William Sharp. I meant William Parker. The old Mark Twain saying: The reports of my death are …

      • kashania says:

        AJ and Kruno: Thank you both for the information on Reardon. At least, some good came about of my bitter whining. I did not know of him (or of a televised From the House of the Dead, or a Balanchine Flute with L. Price).

  • Sempre liberal says:

    Even though I sit a few boxes away from the stage (albeit up a bit), my eyes are so bad that I cannot tell when a production is repainted or dusty. If it is a production I haven’t seen before, I am even more oblivious as to its age.

    There have been MET productions in the past few years which, though new, have seemed stale (Grandage’s Don Giovanni) or half-baked (Zimmerman’s Sonnambula.)

    Even when I think of productions I am dying to see again, there are not that many, and they are all relatively new.

    Flimm, Fidelio
    McDermott/Crouch, Satyagraha
    Wadsworth, Iphigenie en Tauride
    Decker, Traviata
    Zimmerman, Lucia
    and (impossibly) Carsen, Eugene Onegin

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    These people enjoyed their visit

    and after that one must attend QVC in person (looks like fun)

  • mercadante says:

    I think the point of the article is a good one; especially in a house like the Met that has so many performances, productions should be retired after a reasonable time and replaced with something new. But I think that also should hold for the musical side too; give new conductors a chance also. How many works get the same musical team ie: Levine, time after time after time. I’m glad he’s well enough to be back, but good Lord, is he the only person with a damn baton?

  • kashania says:

    As for Fleming as the Marschallin. Yes, Strauss is a strength for her, and no doubt she’ll still be in good voice. But really? Hasn’t she had enough tries at the role at the Met. If she were a probing artist always finding new layers in her portrayal, then I could see a case being made.

    • Bill says:

      The Carsen production of “Die Frau ohne Schatten”
      in Vienna was quite interesting (lots of beds -- also a
      feature in any Rosenkavalier production) and well
      thought out. The two “Sezessionist or Jugendstil productions I have seen of
      Der Rosenkavalier respectively at the Frankfurt and later at the Budapest Opera Houses have not quite worked for me -- not musically -- but in the costumes particularly in the third act. The entrance of the Feldmarschallin in the third act in a huge hat in each case kind of stole away
      the glamour of the entrance in 18th century finery.
      That said, any production of Der Rosenkavalier with Elina Garanca in the title role (these days in my opinion our finest Octavian world wide) will be a treat
      despite any mannerisms Fleming may conjour up dramatically or vocally or however bland the Sophie.
      That said I shall miss the current production at the Met
      for the production, if not sparkling new, suited almost any guest artist who appeared over the 45 year span.
      Salzburg also has a new Rosenkavalier this upcoming summer (Welser-Moest having just recently taken over as conductor instead of Mehta with Stoyanova’s first ever Feldmarschallin) and it will be interesting
      to see what type of production it may be.

      A number of fine singers have made their stage farewells in their home theaters as the Marschallin including Claire Watson in Munich and Sena Jurinac in Vienna (but not Maria Reining -- she sang one final Don Carlo a week after her last Marschallin in Vienna) Schwarzkopf as well. To be sure, I am not Fleming’s greatest fan but it is a nice way for her to bow out at the Met -- as the Feldmarschallin which has been one of her signature
      roles these past 15 years.

      • kashania says:

        Bill: Is this Marschallin her Met farewell?

      • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

        Bill, did you happen to see Marco Arturo Marelli’s “Rosenkavalier” in Graz? It managed to be both visually gorgeous and intriguing (how is it that the stage floor -- seen by overhanging mirrors -- never stopped moving from right to left during the entire opera?) as well as quite moving, all taking a cue from “Die Zeit, die ist ein sonderbar Ding.” He also did a light and breezy “Arabella” (not what one usually thinks of with that opera), and a stunning “FroSch” there. I assume you know his Wiener Staatsoper “Capriccio” and “Die schweigsame Frau,” both of which I adore. Strauss seems to fit him best. When he did the (wretched) “Fanciulla” in October, he said that he’d never directed a verismo opera before. It looked like he’d never seen one before. I also hated his now-retired “Zauberflöte.” I haven’t seen the new one yet -- I hope it’s not another atrocity. How is it that Wien can have so many bad productions of “Zauberflöte?” I long for the old Robert Carsen production at Volksoper!

        • MontyNostry says:

          I loved Marelli’s FroSch too (in Antwerp), but then I tend to love FroSch. His Sonnambula in London was pretty grim, though.

          • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

            Having only seen the Met “Sonnambula” mounted for Sutherland in… when? 1963? -- I rather enjoyed Marelli’s Alpine nightmare, but maybe this has more to do with my love of “The Magic Mountain.” It’s also been at least a decade since I saw it. I’d certainly like to have another look at it if it ever returns. I am sure you know that Joe Volpe signed on to it, but then backed out and gave the Met the Mary Zimmerman production, about which I’ve heard nothing but unprintable curses.

            • grimoaldo says:

              The London production of Sonnambula Monty refers to was, umm, not helped by the fact that Amina was “sung” at its premiere by Elena Kelessidi, who actually could not sing it. At all.

            • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

              I got L’ubica Vargicova with Gregory Kunde in December 2001, and Milagros Poblador with Juan Diego Flórez (when Dessay cancelled at the last minute) in May 2002.

            • MontyNostry says:

              Just one of Elena Kelessidi’s triumphs during her short reign as the Royal Opera House’s diva of preference.

        • Bill says:

          Jungfer -- Unfortunately I did not see Marelli’s “Rosenkavalier” in Graz but read very
          good reports of it. I surely liked his “Capriccio”
          in Vienna and his elegant and ingenious “Schweigsame
          Frau” and his previous Volksoper Mozart operas which go way back and most of his other producions -- the staging always seems to be clever. Productions of “Zauberfloete” at the Volksoper have always been
          good and superior to the last several productions of that opera at the Staatsoper. Unlike some other opera productions at the Staatsoper which have lasted for decades they seem to have a new “Zauberflote” quite frequently each one worse than the last. (since the exquisite Chagall Met
          Zauberfloete, the two following productions at the Met -- the pasty cardboard Hockney and the latest
          overblown production were less worthy and “Zauberfloete” is an opera (like “Frau”) where one can do magical things with staging and scenery without offending the text or the music.

          Some very great singers have historically come out of Graz -and much of their current casting is at a high level.

          • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

            I think the absolute worst “Zauberflöte” I ever saw was David Pountney’s Seebühne production at Bregenz this summer. He even gave up on singers and had half the cast portrayed by giant puppets and body doubles. So much dialogue was cut that the story became incomprehensible. I took a friend, a native Vorarlberger, and asked him at the end if he had any idea of what he’d seen and the answer was No.

            My best friend lives in Graz, so we sometimes go to the opera when I am down there. Last season I saw the Herheim “Manon Lescaut” (interesting but flawed concept; miserable singers) and the Bieito “Mahagonny,” which almost made me homicidal. This season, the only thing that I will actively try to see is Peter Konwitschny’s “Jenufa.” I think the real glory days were in the early-mid 2000s when Philippe Jordan was GMD. And now we have him for the Symphoniker -- hurray!

      • Camille says:

        Happy new year Bill and many more trips to Budapest for you, Ich glaube!

    • antikitschychick says:

      I tend to agree with you on this kashania. My wish is that rather than performing her “staple” rep over and over again, she would concentrate on exploring roles (via recordings since she does has a recording contract with Decca) that she didn’t venture to sing on stage in a full-blown opera performance, such as Tosca, Butterfly, Norma (if still possible) and more obscure Russian rep. I think she’s done enough German rep already, and I’m sure she would attract reputable colleagues to make guest appearances on said projects. It would be a win win situation.

      I’d only be interested in seeing/hearing her do the Marschallin again if it were an interesting, non-traditional production with either JDD or Elina as Octavian and maybe Lisette Oropesa as Sophie…best of all would be Kathleen Battle making a surprise comeback. With Levine conducting lol.

  • Bill says:

    Kedves Camille -- Gleichfalls

    And yes, Budpest for certain in May/June when they
    are presenting Salome, Elektra, Rosenkavalier, Ariadne, a new production of Die Frau ohne Schatten and Arabella over
    a two week period to honor Richard Strauss’ 150th birthday.
    Strangely Vienna, Munich and Dresden are not doing the same -
    just a few individual performances. The Met is doing
    Arabella in 2014 but no other Strauss Operas from January 2014 through December 2014. Guess they shot their wad with Wagner and Verdi in 2013.

    So lots of Schlagobers tonight for you Camille and during 2014

    • pobrediablo says:

      Strauss operas are not a sure box-office hit, I suppose.

    • Byrnham Woode says:

      The MET featured both ROSENKAVALIER and DIE FRAU in fall revivals in 2013. Both will be given taped radio broadcasts within the next couple of months. Then comes ARABELLA. A new ELEKTRA (from the late Chereau’s recent European staging) is due in a couple of years. I’d expect revivals of ARIADNE and SALOME before long, too.

      Neither Verdi or Wagner are to be heard at the MET the rest of this season, except for a few remaining FALSTAFF’S is January. They did indeed “blow their wad” on both gentlemen last season.

      • mountmccabe says:

        Then there are six Verdi operas expected to be on the schedule for 2014/15. And a Meistersinger.

        I find it strange that seasons are expected to have the same balance. There is no way to please everybody as we all have different needs.

  • steveac10 says:

    The reactionary contingent is out in force today and ripping Woolfe several new orifices this afternoon on the Times website over this article. He appears to be taking the heat for JJ, they’re blaming him for the quote, not to mention rhapsodising every piece of glitter and fru-fru that has appeared on the Met stage i the last 50 years. They’re willing to accept Shakespeare set in 2013, but not their opera. Apparently in addition to great singing, the only other crucial aspects of an opera production are crinolines, velvet, crystal and gold leaf.

    • olliedawg says:

      steveac10: I often wonder about those kinds of comments. Yes, I saw 2 great performances of Der R with those sets/costumes (Troyanos/G Jones live; Graham/Fleming TV) — wonderful, incredible, amazing, fabulous, awe-inspiring — but…really. Strauss’ music and Hofmannstahl’s words will live on and on and on. Great singers will come and go. We will treasure the great moments and hold them to our hearts…but not so close that we can’t let a bit of air come through. Opera can intrigue a new generation without pandering, at least that’s my opinion for what it’s worth, and while there will be stinker productions (what is up with the Bondy Tosca?) and stinker singers (I can’t even name all the tired performances I saw back in the late-80′s/early-90′s when I had a Met subscription), a gem or two or three will emerge from the dross. Maybe it’s my silly little New Year’s cloud of joy (probably, no doubt), but I can’t help but feel hopeful about those kinds of changes at the opera.

  • damekenneth says:

    Thank you, Krunoslav, for the clarification. I remembered it was rolandi’s debut role and season but obviously was off a couple of days. Did she sing much at the Met?

    I agree that balsa still was in good shape. More than anything, I remember Shirley Love’s mugging, and hearing those beautiful duets and the trio for the first time. I was just 16!

    I am a big fan of your comments, Krunoslav. Thanks for your correction.

    Dame K

    • Krunoslav says:

      Thanks Dame K

      I was 18 when I first saw it, with Tatiana, Gwyneth and Reri!

      Rolandi did just those two Sophies in December 1979, came back for 5 Olympias in January 1983, four turns as Sravisnky’s Nightingale in Feb/Mar 1984, then Dec 1984/Jan 1985 saw her as Zerbinetta-- well acted, with real eelingbut the extreme top was beginiing to go-- however the really alarming news from that revival was that Maria Ewing had become a screamfest.

      So Rolandi only did 17 Met performances. Remember she was still active at NYCO ( I remember a superb Gilda and a very good showing as Cleopatra in the icky version Beverly continued to present; and Rolandi did a lot of other roles as well, the warm artist to Baby June’s ice queen-- but imagine having them both on the roster at once. The Met had Sutherland, Devia, Battle, Welting etc so didn’t need Rolandi that often.

      She began to appear also at San Franicisco- Lucia (once again the E flats beginning to go), plus SUPERB renderings of Susanna and Despina-- she is certainly among my very finest Despinas, along with Bonney, Mc Laughlin and Lilian Watson ( never saw Donath live).