Cher Public

Una vittima della sventura

Remember the disastrous 2010 Traviata at the Met, “conducted” by Leonard Slatkin on the opening night (before folding his tent and skedaddling), the one Village Blitherer Brian Kellow admitted he neither heard nor saw, but why did Anthony Tommasini have to be such an old meanie, etc. etc.? 

Well, it turns out you remember wrong. Mr. Slatkin has now written a book that explains that even though he admitted on his own blog he didn’t really know the score (“…this is an opera I had never conducted and the first real repertoire standard for me at the Met. But after a while, I concluded that since everyone else in the house knew it, I would learn a great deal from the masters”) he in fact knew the score perfectly and only thing that went wrong was that he was targeted for (per Norman Lebrecht‘s scurrilous précis of Slatkin’s argument) “collusion between certain writers on the Times and a colourful opera blogger.”

  • berkeleygirl

    Oh, please… I have it on excellent authority -- a musical staffer who attended the first rehearsal -- that he also arrived at Lyric Opera of Chicago to conduct Salome without knowing the score.

  • Colourful blogger. LOL

    I had completely forgotten about this incident but it all came flooding back. It was one of TT’s better reviews.

    • Armerjacquino

      Speaking of forgetting things- I do love a post that links to an old megathread. There are always so many speculations and predictions- of varying levels of accuracy- and it’s fascinating to see what received opinions knocked around here years ago.

      Would it be interesting to have the occasional old thread as a feature, or would we all go blind?


    I was in the Baltimore Symphony Chorus for three years and one of our performances was the Sea Symphony by Ralph Vaughn Williams with Slatkin conducting. I had to drop out due to illness before the performances happened but my friends assured me it was a near train wreck. Slatkin insisted on cueing the chorus at the beginning of their measure as opposed to their entrance within the measure (ala Stokowski during the famous ’61 Met Turandot’s by the way). Rare is the singing who can sing and count at the same time I assure you and with little warning that it was his ‘style’ the chorus remained confused throughout. He was the favored son at the Hollywood Bowl for a while and then that dwindled. I can understand not knowing Traviata. I can’t understand showing up for the gig STILL not knowing it.

  • Cyrus E.

    I was at this disaster of a performance and sat behind our very own disaster of a president.

  • Rosina Leckermaul

    Just reread the TIMES review. It raised two questions. Why does Slatkin keep getting work? Whatever happened to James Valenti?