Cher Public

  • La Cieca: Particularly inapposite to get all pearl-clutchy about Manon Lescaut, an opera that sort of malingered on the fringes of the... 5:47 PM
  • aulus agerius: Yeah, for some reason I’ve thought that Laddie was a cute young thing. Sexagenarian? Yikes! Oh, the shrinking... 5:39 PM
  • La Cieca: I have always thought it best that parterre writers draw a veil of mystery about the facts of their lives. 5:28 PM
  • armerjacquino: Although if he’s just entering his sixth decade he’s surely turning 51… 5:24 PM
  • laddie: sexagenarian 5:21 PM
  • laddie: Happy Birthday WCO! As a fellow sexagenerian (!) this year, I tell you, it’s not so bad. 5:21 PM
  • armerjacquino: Music has been cut from operas since opera began, continues to be cut, and always will be cut. You’re satirising the... 5:12 PM
  • aulus agerius: Why stop at updating or resetting operas to make them more relevant or interesting to present day audiences? Why should the... 5:10 PM

The Ironic Lady

Another grim narrative of the Gelb years, and one I think is generally hogwash, is that the Met has (at least in theatrical terms) lost its way entirely.  Those with a little less flair for offstage drama will at least acknowledge the success of an easily agreed upon core of imported productions that, in contrast to that alchemy or perhaps origami whereby successful theater directors are meant to be folded into successful opera directors, have actually marked a period of great creative innovation in the house.   Read more »

And no bones!

Apparently, opera fans got the bright side of the bargain: say “Macbeth” in the theater and you court cataclysm; utter the name in the opera house and, as often as not, you merely predict disappointment.  Read more »

Scenes from an occupation

There were rumors all day in the usual places, on the search string: Philip Glass, Lincoln Center, OWS.  The opera, though hypnotic, passed quickly, and Glass took a curtain call, got a hero’s welcome. Well, we thought, he can’t be both places at once. Read more »

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The sea was angry that day, my friends

It’s a sad story, really. Debussy and Maeterlinck had what the kids would call Major Drama over who was to sing Melisande (Mary Garden vs. the person you’ve never heard of) and so Maeterlinck didn’t see Pelleas until years after Debussy had died, so he never got to be like “word!” or, I suppose, “mot!” 

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Royal Hunt

Les Troyens is one of those things, or often two of those things, that should be a big event or it practically needn’t happen at all.* The keynote is grandiosity in the best way, from the subject to the musical demands (let’s include the implicit challenge of one singer performing both Cassandre and Didon—not because it happens often, but because it’s hard not to think about it simply on account of its ever having happened.)

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House of Atreus: Fall Collection

Elektra occupies a special place in the Met’s rep, in a cheap way. It’s no easier to cast than any number of things that inspire well-rehearsed refrains of “put it away for fifty years,”* and really over the last quarter century many a somber compromise has been made in casting. What sets it apart is that folks seem willing enough to lie back and think of Mycenae while Gabriele Schnaut humps the leg of Strauss’ towering score, content to soak in the piece under any conditions. 

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