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Alma costanza

“The Met also said a new production of Bellini’s Norma with Anna Netrebko and Joyce DiDonato will open the 2017-18 season.” [AP]

  • Sign me up.

  • diva2themax

    I’ll be there with bells on.

  • phoenix

    Love the Norma foto!
    -- ‘Fleming’s farewell to staged performances of the core opera repertoire.’??? Does this her Dutchess of Krakenthorp will become the gold standard?

  • uwsinnyc

    Wow that could be great.
    We’ve had everything from horrible to boring to exciting to great Normas since this production premiered… Hopefully Netrebko’s will be one for the ages.

    I wonder if she’s trying it out in other theaters first?

    • antikitschychick

      Yes her first run will be at the ROH in London.

  • Hot damn!

  • antikitschychick

    An exciting prospect to be sure, and they’re obviously two of Opera’s biggest stars and two of the very best, if not THE best singing actresses but I just don’t think this casting choice makes sense either from a dramatic standpoint (JDD is older than AN) nor from a vocal standpoint, in terms of the voices blending in the duets and so forth (two VERY different voice types) BUT maybe the production concept will not be traditional and Adalgisa won’t be played as a young ingenue?? I can see that approach as more convincing…

    I know they sang together in I Capuletti a few years back in Paris (2008 I think?) but that was before AN had her baby. Actually I think she was pregnant during those performances lol. The whole thing is up on YT I believe. It was a great performance. I liked it very much. Still, I just think Anita Rach, or Elina Garanca or heck, even Sonya Yoncheva would have been better casting choices for Adalgisa, but we’ll see. I could be totally wrong. In any case this will be AN EVENT and an Epic one no doubt!!

    • merveilleux

      I thought that AN and JDD blended quite well on the Pappano recording of Rossini’s Stabat Mater. Not a natural pairing, as Garanca would be, but JDD has sung Adalgisa before and would serve as a good foil to AN. I just hope they get a decent tenor for once. No mor Marco Berti.

      • antikitschychick

        Interesting. I have not heard that Stabat Matter, although it’s a recording so it’s not comparable to a live performance. The vocals may have been edited to blend better, but maybe not. I do know Joyce has sung Adalgisa opposite Edita Gruberova in Europe. I’d be curious to know how you think Joyce would be a good foil to AN? I’m not questioning your suggestion, am genuinely curious as to what you have to say. To me, they have different voices but are both stage animals and very musical…physically there is definitely a contrast between them.

        • la vociaccia

          Yesterday I would have been cynical and said its definitely Marco Berti, or Antonenko or…y’know, Massimo Giordano.

          But since the announcement that Naglestad is doing Salome, I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it’s Hymel. Or Russell Thomas.

          • antikitschychick

            haha that’s the spirit! And hey, for all we know, you could be right!. Personally, I’m hoping it will be Kaufmann or Michael Fab even though neither of them sing Pollione LOL but hye, we can dream…

            • merveilleux

              Fabiano would be fun. As would Hymel and Kaufmann! But I won’t dream too big so as to avoid the broken heart.

            • la vociaccia

              Surprised we didn’t consider the possibility that it will be Mr. Netrebko.

            • merveilleux

              I’ve not actually heard Mr Netrebko sing. Anyone have any thoughts on the matter?

            • phoenix

            • Gualtier M

              @merveilleux: Eyvazov I have only heard once in his second ever performance of Calaf at the Met last November. My impression was of a basically colorful, ringing and rich tenor instrument with a frankly provincial technique. The top was fairly easy but the middle was nasal and there was a need for refining and polishing. That was a good night for him however. There are Youtubes of his concert appearances with Anna where he is frankly incompetent. In some of them he got booed and Anna had them pulled from Youtube claiming copyright issues.

              He isn’t a kid anymore but there is good material and Anna has the money to get him a new teacher and some decent coaching. I think there is enough inherent fine quality vocal material to warrant the expense and effort. However Yusif might decide to ride the coattails of her influence, connections and fame.

            • moi

              I watched the Classic Talk interview on Youtube w Peretyatko and her husband Michele Mariotti. Two very interesting people (I wish I would have liked her Elvira more….).
              He said, that operatic couples are a very charged issue, so they don’t even have the same management- respect!

          • antikitschychick

            NO!!! NO MR. NETREBKO!! NO NO AND NOOOO!!!!!


        • merveilleux

          You’re quite right about the recording of course, but I suppose I am operating on blind fail lol. As for JDD as a foil for AN, I think it would depend on how the production plays the relationship between Norma and Adalgisa. I’m not sure I see JDD as the most delicate of virgin priestesses, but she could pull it off I bet.

          It would be far more interesting if Adalgisa was portrayed as bit of a fallen woman -- not quite to the point where Norma has fallen, but perhaps a little more understanding of romantic/physical love. The relationship between the women is not especially a deeply complex one, to me, in traditional productions, but if they complicated Adalgisa a bit, I think JDD could do great things with it. AN does her best work with singers of a high calibre, so if all the moving pieces come together, it could be great.

          • antikitschychick

            The idea of Adalgisa being portrayed as a fallen woman is interesting, especially since Norma is kind of a fallen woman, or at least, internally perhaps. I would contend that the relationship between N & A can be complex, if portrayed with subtlety and nuance and maybe some sapphic tension. The duet is certainly erotic enough for that type of dynamic. So yeah there are some possibilities that could be explored. Adalgisa’s loyalty to Norma is certainly admirable and it’s great she doesn’t let herself get duped by Pollione lol. Women ‘ingenues’ in Italian operas are usually gullible and Adalgisa is I think one of the few exceptions.

    • grimoaldo

      Washington National Opera (I always have to write that out in full as “WNO” to me still means Welsh National Opera) did “Norma”a couple of years ago with Angela Meade in the title role and Dolora Zajick as Adalgisa. Yes, it was slightly comical the idea of Zajick as the younger bit of fluff Norma had been rejected for, but in the end, who cares? it was a great evening with great singing. Nebs and JDD together in those roles is something I would like to see.

      • DonCarloFanatic

        I was there. Enjoyed it. Their comparative ages did not matter.

        It’s two women, not an older versus the younger necessarily. Norma could have been the younger one, and Adalgisa could be the older one wildly in love for the first time ever. They’re virgin priestesses, after all.

    • PushedUpMezzo

      Thanks for the reminder of that Capuleti in Paris. I saw it live and it was indeed superb. Actually the second time I’ve seen a pregnant Giulietta. Sally Matthews sang the cavatina at a Covent Garden Young Artists performance about a decade ago. Both ladies excelled.
      Here’s the Paris Capuleti in full.

  • antikitschychick

    “The Met sold 69 percent of box office capacity last season, down from 79 percent in 2010-11, and Gelb said this season is slightly behind.”

    YIKES. Not good.

    • grimoaldo

      I would be interested to know if other major US opera companies like SF, Chicago, LA, Washington National Opera, Seattle, Houston, have experienced equivalent declines.

      • antikitschychick

        Good question Grim and point taken about Meade and Zajick

        • Krunoslav

          Um, Callas and Stignani in London n 1952?

          • armerjacquino

            I mean, DiDonato is all of TWO WHOLE YEARS older. It’s hardly a generation gap. Given that Germont is routinely younger than both Violetta and Alfredo, the Bonze younger than Butterfly, Amonasro younger than Aida, etc, I don’t see any reason why the production would make a big deal out of JDD being a toddler when Netrebko was born.

        • Lohenfal

          Anti, there was a recent article in December’s Opera News, pointing to a general decline in attendance among American companies. It seems to be the falling off of subscriptions which is the main problem. According to the article, Lyric Opera of Chicago is down to 70%, when it used to be almost 100%. San Francisco Opera has gone down from 60 to 40% over the last 10 years. There just aren’t enough single-ticket buyers to make up for those vanishing subscribers. Thus, all the various attempts to attract attention from the public. It looks like the emphasis on the basic standards at the Met this season hasn’t worked very well. I didn’t think it would, but it was worth a try. Maybe they’ll come up with a more successful formula next season.

          • Chanterelle

            Met subscribers don’t get much incentive to tie up their money in advance. Many houses offer more substantial discounts, plus subscriber discounts on extra tickets purchased during the season.

            Plus, if they really wanted to fill those swaths of empty seats, they could offer actual last-minute discounts. The bad seats begrudgingly sold as rush tickets really are the dregs, while better seats all over the house often stay empty. They could figure out a way to avoid cannibalizing regular sales--pre-paid punch-card vouchers? Eligibility requirements? Establish a last-minute club? Comping the staff doesn’t bring in new people.

            And I still think the Met should offer free introductory lectures before each show. Throw $100 at a starving musicologist--or a known witty commentator--for 20 minutes of plot summary and listen-for-this notes, and give new and old audience members a way into the work. Audience development, folks! It would also provide a potential marketing opportunity for the Guild.

            AND so this isn’t totally OT, DiDonato should make a fabulous Cougar Adalgisa.

            • Lohenfal

              It looks like the Met is moving in at least some of the directions you mention. They will be offering seat upgrades and also discounts on some extra tickets purchased by subscribers. I don’t know all the details but assume they will be revealed. What bothers me is that they’re always behind in these matters. Some of the improvements to subscriptions made in the last few years could’ve been made long ago. Free exchanges, for example--I’ve had those on my NYC Ballet subscription for decades. The Met makes these improvements only when absolutely necessary, begrudgingly. Some subscribers might have held on longer had they received these benefits sooner. It’s always too little, too late.

            • DonCarloFanatic

              The issue of cannibalizing sales is real. Hotels won’t give last-minute discounts for that very reason: Everybody waits for the discount. Old line department stores have found themselves forced into constant discounting. However, IMO not discounting is very short-sighted thinking for the Met and other arts venues given our current culture of discounting.

              As a for instance, what about a Met Groupon coupon? I’ve wasted plenty of money on those, and so would other people. Is there an HD gift card? Could it also offer a discount at the Met itself if a certain number of admissions were purchased?

              I’m once again touting the live pay-per-view idea in the comfort of my own home. The people I see at the HDs are so old they soon won’t be able to get to a movie house, yet they might have the cash to watch a live HD at home. The Met Player is not the same thing; it doesn’t have as strong a selection as I’d like and it should have a shorter subscription available. The Met always wants people to commit vast amounts of money to everything, but lots of us just don’t have such funds, or don’t in one place at one moment. Why not try to catch more small sales? Or is that too picayune for the august Met?

              I’ve had subs to other arts venues but it’s a pain to buy tickets eight months in advance and then find it impossible to attend because of the weather. Much more practical to buy close upon the date.

            • Fluffy-net

              The Komische Oper in Berlin allows you to pay 80 Euro a year to become a Friend. This gets you invites to stuff but also a 25% discount on tickets in the top four price classes. The theory may be for the house to give discounts to its friends and encourage them to go more often. In my case, even though I am there only a few months a year, I come out ahead, but the system has made me a KO booster and were I in Berlin more often I would probably move up a class or two.

              Even in the 1980s when I lived in New York and went to the Met as often as three nights a week, I did not buy subscriptions. There was always a couple of things in every subscription I didn’t want or couldn’t attend.

              Opera houses maybe need to get people to be interested in individual shows because they are fun (how many people actually go to the opera for fun?) rather than in a social ritual of attending a few performances no matter what.

          • JohninSeattle

            “It seems to be the falling off of subscriptions which is the main problem. According to the article, Lyric Opera of Chicago is down to 70%, when it used to be almost 100%. San Francisco Opera has gone down from 60 to 40% over the last 10 years.”

            Lohenfal, you are correct. The subscription model for arts administrators (typified in a classic arts administration book from the 1980s? called Subscribe Now!) is BROKEN. It’s not coming back.

            The generation that purchases a single track but not a whole album on iTunes is not going to purchase a subscription package.

            Numbers are valid across all non-profit arts disciplines for subscriptions -- dance, theatre, classical music.

            Subscriber numbers are not going to return. They will continue in free fall. Arts Administrators across the country know this and don’t want to acknowledge this as they don’t have a clue about a path forward. They keep doing the job exactly as it was done by their grandparents in the 60s, in the 70s, in the 80s…

            Non-profit arts are on perilous path as they refuse to live in 2016.

          • antikitschychick

            Those are very telling statistics Lohenfal and I think Opera houses need to find ways of mitigating those falling subscription numbers with more lucrative offers and package deals or maybe even an alternative to the subscription plan/system. They need to also look into advertising through different platforms and streaming services.

  • PushedUpMezzo

    Not seen it yet, but Marjorie Owens’ axe-wielding Norma looks fearsome. Maybe they can follow up with that Lizzie Borden opera. The English translation doesn’t seem to have been a total success.

  • Niel Rishoi

    I am really looking forward to this, maybe even a trip to NYC! Netrebko has what the last two Normas lacked: a better-produced voice, for one…but…she has that “unbuyable” commodity called STAR QUALITY. You can’t deny that she’s a stage animal.