Headshot of La Cieca

Cher Public

  • alejandro: THANK YOU! This is one of my favorite shows ever. I’m a Japanophile and a Sondheimite . . .... 8:10 AM
  • La Valkyrietta: Enjoyed the review. I loved the performances Monday. Camarena is definitely a new star in New... 8:04 AM
  • Cocky Kurwenal: I saw the opening night PI, which I don’t suppose was the broadcast performance, but... 7:52 AM
  • Cocky Kurwenal: I would also go with Sills for this opera, overall, even though I have never particularly... 7:47 AM
  • Regina delle fate: Surely La Cenerentola is Rossini’s comic masterpiece, Camille. Which are your other... 6:54 AM
  • Regina delle fate: Bartoli at the Met is an entirely different thing from Bartoli in Zurich or at the Haus... 6:51 AM
  • manou: mskapay – it is very clear that you are not happy with the tone of this blog (“it’s really... 6:49 AM
  • Regina delle fate: I’ve got it already Buster! But not played it yet. Grim – thanks for the... 6:48 AM
  • Regina delle fate: Camille – I didn’t see her at La Scala, but I’ve seen her Elsa twice at... 6:46 AM
  • oedipe: Great. But you don’t consider baroque opera to be synonymous with Handel, I hope. How about a... 5:56 AM

The Met: What is to be done?

Coming as Peter Gelb did from the music industry, opera lovers hoped that he would display a more distinctive knack for casting and an improved talent pipeline than Joe Volpe offered during the waning years of his tenure.   Read more »

The Met: Can it be saved?

Short answer: yes. But let’s begin by dismissing a blatant canard. One thing that the Metropolitan Opera does not need to do is to scale back the number of performances in a season.

The greater New York Metropolitan area has 20 million people. 54.3 million tourists visited New York City in 2013. Many millions of people attend theater performances in New York City each year. Those numbers suggest to me that with an astute artistic approach, enhancements to the experience of attending the Met, outreach, marketing, ticket pricing, and a more sensible budget, the Metropolitan Opera should be able to thrive while producing 200 or more performances per season.

So what, specifically, will bring an audience to the Met for all those performances? Read more »

The Met: what’s really wrong?

The 2012-13 season at the Metropolitan Opera was a financial disaster, with the company taking in only 69% of potential total box office revenue—a troubling 13 percent decline from the previous season and the lowest box office percentage in over a decade. Thanks to discounting, the Met did manage to sell 79% of total seats but that, too, was another low.   Read more »

david_amazon

Falling in love, never again

Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s opera David et Jonathas, written for a celebration at a Jesuit school in 1688, premiered together with a Latin verse drama, Saul, now lost.

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Regie, redeemed

Stefan Herheim’s production of Parsifal for Bayreuth is the regie Holy Grail—a production that completely fulfills the promise and purpose of Regietheater.

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I know why the caged rat sings

Hans Neuenfels‘ new staging of Lohengrin for Bayreuth is the grimmest version of this work I’ve seen.  Not that this opera is all bright lights and lollipops, but he gave us a particularly dark take on the work, motivated, in part, by Wagner’s writings at the time of the opera’s composition. 

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Sacred and Propane

Fertilization; birth; growth; decay. Eating; digestion; defecation; fermentation; biogas recovery; food production. Wagner’s Tannhäuser is a meditation on the relentless, repetition of cycles that define our existence and man’s insistence on the possibility salvation despite all the biochemical evidence to the contrary.

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She Dodon him wrong

Our Doyenne demonstrated her omniscience once again by sending me a DVD of Rimsky Korsakov’s Le Coq d’Or (Zolotoy Petushok) to review.  I’m with musicologist Richard Taruskin who stated that Rimsky Korsakov was “perhaps the most underrated composer of all time” (and I’m sure his editor insisted on including the “perhaps”). 

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Two ghosts

The ENO was filled with ghosts last week. Spectral, possibly illusory figures fleetingly materialized in the Internet chatrooms that provide the setting for much of Nico Muhly’s new opera Two Boys, and brutal boarding school memories came back to troubled life in director Christopher Alden’s dark take on Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

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Future imperfect

The world has come to an end and we are at the end of the world, the collapsed ruins of a bridge that can no longer be crossed. There is no greenery; the few trees that are left are dead and being chopped down for fuel.  Shell-shocked survivors wander through this hellscape, fighting over the scraps of whatever is left.  This is the milieu of director Calixto Bieito’s Parsifal seen at the Stuttgart Staatsoper on Sunday March 20.

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