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Blood and Sandow

Friend and friend-in-law of parterre box Greg Sandow pours the oil of calm and rational analysis upon the troubled waters of the Met’s current labor negotiations (Oh heav’ns, can I make it out of this metaphor alive?) in the most recent installment of his always excellent (not to mention eponymous) blog.

243 comments

  • Cicciabella says:

    OT: medici.tv is broadcasting the following live operas and concerts from the Salzburg Festival. See the footnotes re unavailability in certain countries:

    SUNDAY 3 AUGUST AT 12.30PM****
    Mozart’s Don Giovanni
    Conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, directed by Sven-Eric Bechtolf – With Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (Don Giovanni) and Luca Pisaroni (Leporello)

    FRIDAY 15 AUGUST AT 12PM
    Verdi’s Il Trovatore*
    Conducted by Daniele Gatti, directed by Alvis Hermanis – With Anna Netrebko (Leonora) and Plácido Domingo (Comte di Luna)

    FRIDAY 22 AUGUST AT 12PM
    OPERA RECORDED ON AUGUST 14
    Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier
    Conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, directed by Harry Kupfer – With Krassimira Stoyanova (Die Feldmarschallin), Sophie Koch (Octavian)

    SUNDAY 24 AUGUST AT 4AM
    Gustavo Dudamel conducts Staar and R. Strauss**
    With the Wiener Philharmoniker

    MONDAY 25 AUGUST AT 12PM
    Schubert’s Fierrabras***
    Conducted by Ingo Metzmacher, directed by Peter Stein – With Michael Schade (Fierrabras)

    * This program will not be available in France, Germany and Austria.
    ** This program will not be available in France and Germany.
    *** This program will not be available in Germany and Austria.
    **** All times mentioned are EST.

    Presumably, these webcasts will also be available on demand for a limited time afterwards.

    • DellaCasaFan says:

      Ciccia,

      Do you know if any of these webcasts will be available in the US?

    • DeepSouthSenior says:

      I may have to subscribe to Medici TV. Current offer is $151.20 for a year of Classic+ subscription. The app works just fine on my iPad. I can mirror from iPad through Apple TV device to my plasma TV and home theater system.

      QUESTION: Does Medici provide English subtitles for opera live broadcasts and archives?

      • laddie says:

        I have tried mirroring Medici TV which does work well on i-phone, etc. but the television is locked in a portrait orientation.

      • Cicciabella says:

        No subtitles without a subscription. Don’t know if they’re available to subscribers.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Meanwhile, behind the scenes, plans for new Netrebko Met ADRIANA LECOUVREUR are taking shape.

    • Cicciabella says:

      Domingo’d better be the Michonnet.

    • oedipe says:

      IMHO, Netrebko’s “L’umile ancella” was the best moment in a strong Puccini/verismo second half program in her recent recital at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées. The first half was an all Verdi program. Like other people here, I increasingly find her verismo singing superior to her Verdi singing. She will be a great Adriana.

    • kashania says:

      Interesting that she’d take on such a low-lying role now considering that her top is in such good shape. Then again, Gheorghiu’s Adriana is wonderful so it shouldn’t just be aging divas doing the part. Still, I’d rather have Netrebko in that other diva role.

    • CwbyLA says:

      I think this will be a great role for her. The first time I saw this opera was with Gheorghiu and she was fabulous in it. I am sure Netrebko will be similar. What if there will be an alternate cast with Netrebko and Gheorghiu taking turns as Adriana? :-)

      • Cicciabella says:

        Nobody can sing the words “Io son l’umile ancella” with such winsome, blushing modesty like Gheorghiu. But Netrebko as Adriana: Hurrah!

        • kashania says:

          Gheorghiu’s “Poveri Fiori” is magnificent. The ROH Adriana with Kaufmann/Borodina/Corbelli is one of the greatest opera performances of recent times that I’ve heard.

          • Cicciabella says:

            Absoultely, Kashania. Angela IS the Adriana of our times. It’s just that the words “humility” and “Gheorghiu” are polar opposites, fluttering eyelids notwithstanding. That RO Adriana is perfectly cast, and the production just the thing for a diva vehicle. The Met has a high contemporary standard to live up to if it’s putting on Adriana for Netrebko, but it promises to be a great role for her. Jamie Barton or Ekaterina Semenchuk as the Principessa de Bouillon although it’ll probably be Anita Rachvelishvili.

            • kashania says:

              It’s just that the words “humility” and “Gheorghiu” are polar opposites, fluttering eyelids notwithstanding.

              :) My sentiments exactly. But if that’s price we pay for having a good old-fashioned diva in our mix in the age of the Diva Nextdoor, I don’t mind. Based on her Marina, I’d love to both see and hear Semenchuk dig into the Principessa.

            • armerjacquino says:

              The ‘umile ancella’ aria has always struck me as, in the best possible way, pretty disingenuous anyway…

            • kashania says:

              AJ: What, you mean she’s not but a mere humble servant of art?!

            • Cicciabella says:

              That precisely why Gheorghiu’s perfect for the part, and that aria in particular, AJ. And, of course, she sings it gheorghiusly.

      • Lady Abbado says:

        SFO was a co-producer of the ROH Adriana, so Angie’s more likely to sing it in “her” production, in San Francisco rather than the MET (same goes for Liceu, maybe soon after Paris 2015).

        On the other hand, she and Anna alternated as Mimi at La Scala in 2012, so they don’t seem to have an issue with sharing a role.

        • oedipe says:

          same goes for Liceu, maybe soon after Paris 2015

          Liceu has already premiered that same Adriana co-production a couple of years ago, with Frittoli and a sensational Alagna as Maurizio (a perfect role for him).

          • Lady Abbado says:

            Interesting, since at the time she was still with him…

            • oedipe says:

              I think plans for the Liceu production were made before they got back together, so Liceu offered the part to Frittoli. On the other hand, I believe Vienna last season was supposed to have Bob & Ange. That didn’t work out, as we know.

    • Lohengrin says:

      Who is suspected to sing Maurizio?

    • Krunoslav says:

      “plans for new Netrebko Met ADRIANA LECOUVREUR are taking shape.”

      Yay! Broadway’s Betsy Wolfe as Duclos!!!

  • Cicciabella says:

    I love it how medici.tv doesn’t even announce who’s singing the title role in Il Trovatore. Abuelo Domingo is the alpha male.

  • Clita del Toro says:

    I am torn between Nabucco now on WETA and Rosenkavalier in ten minutes. I love both operas.

  • Cicciabella says:

    For lovers of American musicals: Live in a little over half an hour on BBC Radio 3 (19:30 hrs GMT) Prom 21: Kiss Me, Kate.

  • La Cieca says:

    “They are not performers,” said Alan Gordon, executive director of the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents chorus members, referring to 32BJ. “I don’t want to be derogatory but nobody cares who the usher is.”

    http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20140801/ARTS/140809998/met-opera-makes-small-progress-in-labor-dispute

    • blansac says:

      Could Gordon be a bigger jackass? Just show some decency for the people who work on the same side as the ones he represents. Gordon is a clown and he’s toxic. It’s crazy that this idiot may have the power to take down the Met.

      There are some really, really great people working as ushers at the Met. Funny, kind, creative, and smart. Some with incredible knowledge of opera and singers. Others maybe not so much but who will gladly -- often bluntly and amusingly -- tell one their opinions of productions. They all deserve respect.

      All Gordon had to say was the ushers were a different situation than the chorus. Instead he goes out of his way to demean them.

      • jackoh says:

        Let me offer a defense(of sorts) of Alan Gordon [ducks and runs for cover]. In the union negotiations with which I am familiar, there is always one person on the union side of the table who behaves like a junkyard dog- snarling, snapping, teeth bared, looking very dangerous(if not slightly deranged). This is all done by design, to make the others on that side of the table look reasonable and accommodating by comparison even when they are making very little in the way of concessions. This part is usually carefully cast and scripted and allows for some improvisation since it is almost always typecast. I only know Gordon through his public pronouncements and through fourth and fifth hand impressions relayed by people that I am acquainted with. So I am only guessing in suggesting that he may be playing a role that he was assigned or that he chose himself, and is probably, by nature, very good at. If you have never been in one of these negotiating sessions, let me assure you that it is theater at its most extreme.

        • ML says:

          @ Jackoh: Agreed. Of course, it is theater with a purpose, which in this case built a “campaign that successfully undermined the Met’s obduracy” (Lebrecht).

          • ML says:

            Sorry. Didn’t mean to place this twice in same thread.

            Still, credit where credit is due to Alan Gordon, and to Lebrecht for accurately summing up what happened.

            Frankly, I was certain of the lockout.

    • armerjacquino says:

      So this is where he loses me. I am instinctively pro-union and I think the unions have a decent argument in this fight, but this is not something anyone involved in a union should say.

      I was, as mentioned in a previous thread, an usher for years. That was fifteen years ago. Two of my ushering colleagues are now two of the best known comedians in the UK. Another writes a prime-time TV series. Another has a Perrier Award. More recently, I was in a production at the National Theatre where one of the principals had been an usher three months before rehearsals started.

      Not that any of that matters, of course. Ushers don’t deserve decent treatment just because they may be prominent at some future date. They deserve it because they work for the Met. They have a duty of care to the audience. They have a right to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment. And ‘not to be derogatory’ is as pathetic a disclaimer as ‘I’m not racist, but…’. Shame on Mr Gordon. His members deserve better.

      • steveac10 says:

        Despite my seemingly pro-management posts (and my union ushers, really? thoughts) I am pro union as well. I am a child of a steamfitter (who later in life moved on to management) and a high school teacher. My upbringing makes me reflexively pro union. That’s why Alan Gordon (and the powers that be at the musicians union) make my stomach churn. They make the unions look bad with their mud slinging, innuendo and vitriol (and that was before negotiations even started in Gordon’s case). There were reasons when I quit performing and moved on to the business world AGMA was the first membership I let lapse, because over 20 plus years of membership I received less than nothing. Alan Gordon was high on that list as well. He’s a bully, a blowhard and gives less than a shit about opera. He just wants the dues to keep flowing so he can collect his check.

        • kashania says:

          It will surprise many that I’m pro-union on the whole. But my union sympathies are much stronger in a for-profit scenario. For me, things become more tricky in a non-profit context. Not that unions shouldn’t exist at non-profits. Of course they should. But some of the cornerstones of union thinking are detrimental to non-profits.

          Specifically in a performing arts organisation, when the company is losing money and its audience is dwindling, I think it’s wrong for the union to fight for every penny as if it’s dealing with a profitable corporation and try to get pay increases that well beyond what the company can afford.

          Another part of the union mind-set that doesn’t work for me in an arts setting is the rigidity of overtime pay. If a performance goes overtime by a single minute, orchestra, chorus and stage hands all get paid for am entire unit of overtime. That is just not reasonable, in my view. It’s socking it to “the man”, when the “the man” is a struggling not-for-profit organisation running deficits.

          BTW, I agree that Gordon could’ve easily said that ushers and performers are different without putting one group down.

          • armerjacquino says:

            Kash: Very reasonably put. But I am going to put a word in for overtime pay. Overtime in the arts is the reason that tech rehearsals don’t go on until 5am and restart at 9. You know what production weeks are like. Nobody is going to be the one to disagree if a director suggests working through the night. Overtime pay protects artistic standards by preventing willing people from working into the ground. It’s always a huge relief in a tech when the stage manager says ‘It’s 11pm, we have to stop’, and you know that you can get home and have your mandatory 11 hours away from the building before starting at ten the next morning. Overtime pay doesn’t empty pockets, if your SM crew knows what it’s doing: it enhances efficiency.

            • kashania says:

              Agree with all of this. It’s specifically the not-a-minute-more thinking. Or things like the rigidity of union halls where a non-unionised employee literally cannot plug a in light. Setting up a mic for talk requires a minimum four-hour call, and that marketing staff member who is there working that night anyway can’t possibly do it. It’s that rigidity that I was pointing to in my second point above.

            • ianw2 says:

              I’m unionised myself and am about to go through a what is predicted to be a brutal bargaining period due to ideological (i.e not financial) reasons and I totally sit on the fence with the ‘not a minute more’ stance.

              On one hand, it is hilarious and infuriating when the bows go down the second the mandated break starts. On the other hand, it’s a common tactic to make it seem small by saying “it’s just an extra two minutes a day!” which adds up over the course of a year to actually volunteering a full day’s worth of work.

            • steveac10 says:

              AJ- I understand the preventing abuse aspect of musicians unions, but I remember more than one oratorio and opera final rehearsal ending because the orchestra literally started packing up their bags at the three hour mark and walking out of the hall. To them the work rule trumped the final product. As an AGMA soloist with few rehearsal protections it pissed me off no end (most of the time I was doing them for nothing. Something a professional violinist or cellist would never understand -- but expected of a professional opera singer). The fact these guys couldn’t give us 5 or 10 minutes to ensure the opening would go well was infuriating and disheartening.

            • m. croche says:

              Sounds like your conductor did a poor job managing rehearsal time.

      • NoelAnn says:

        yes they deserve better.

      • manou says:

        The Rise Of The House Of Ushers.

    • NoelAnn says:

      nobody cares who the choristers are either. Usually just the soprano or tenor…

      • kashania says:

        We may not know individual choristers, but many of us do care about the chorus. I, for one, care very much in works like Aida, Troyens and Parsifal, just to name a few.

        I care about ushers too. They contribute to the overall experience of a performance. Some of the ushers at the Met have a lot of personality and clearly have a lot of institutional knowledge.

        • overstimmelated says:

          Ha! Maybe it’s one last dig at Gelb -- who began his Met career as an usher.

  • La Cieca says:

    The Met Announces One-Week Extension of Contracts
    To Allow For Independent Financial Review

    New York, NY (August 2, 2014) – The Metropolitan Opera, AGMA, and Local 802 announced today in collaboration with the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service that they have agreed to allow an independent financial analyst, Eugene Keilin, to conduct a confidential and independent study of the Met’s finances in an effort to help all parties reach new contractual agreements.

    The study commenced today and as a consequence, there will be a further extension of union contracts for approximately one week. Discussions with other unions, including Local One, Local 4, Local 751, Local 764, Local 794, Local 798, Local 829, Local 829BP, Local 1456, and Directors Guild of America, are temporarily on hold.
    Earlier this week, the Met announced that it had reached new contract agreements with three unions: Local 32BJ, Local 210, and Local 30.

    {Met Press Release]

    • m. croche says:

      Three cheers.

    • Chanterelle says:

      “Due to the highly sensitive nature of these discussions, FMCS has requested and the parties have agreed to honor the confidentiality of this process.”

      Finally!!!

      • steveac10 says:

        Lordy, What’s Gordon going to do with himself for a week without his usual bloviation. I would suggest some pilates.

        • m. croche says:

          A more urgent question: what are Parterrians going to do without Alan Gordon to bitch about?

        • ML says:

          Or, as Lebrecht correctly has it, the “unions agreed to observe social media silence after a campaign that successfully undermined the Met’s obduracy.”

    • luvtennis says:

      And they waited so long to take this step because … why?

  • Constantine A. Papas says:

    laddie,

    I watched all opera webcasts on my TV. But the setup is not wireless. Images or videos from my PC are transferred to my HD TV, which in the same room. There is a special cable that connects your hard drive to the TV. The video is sharp and sound is excellent.