I remember when the Willy Decker production of La Traviata was first announced at the Met. There was much pearl-clutching that it would limit casting to sopranos who could fit into the “little red dress” and also how the production was vulgar, cheap, scandalous, and Verdi was turning over in his grave. Read more »
One of the major complaints about the five year casting system (as well as the shared productions by different companies) is that operatic events are rarely surprises anymore. You thought Diva So-and-So and Divo This-and-That were great in Composer X’s “________”? Well, prepare to see them in that exact same opera and exact same production in London. And New York. And Munich. And Vienna. And so on and so forth. Read more »
Every year I say I’m not going to another La Bohème because I’ve seen this too many times. And every year I end up going to multiple performances. I always find an excuse. “Oh there’s so-and-so singing and I haven’t heard him in anything but Madama Butterfly and that doesn’t even count because the tenor doesn’t sing at all after the first act …” But today after I won the lotto for yet another Bohème I wondered if I go simply because the opera (and production) is comfort food. At this point in my second career as an opera-queen-with-two-X-chromosomes, La Bohème doesn’t require very active, pins-and-needles listening. It’s like watching an old MGM musical. Read more »
If you are of the belief that Show Boat can stand on its own as a classic score and thus doesn’t need the trappings of musical production, you’ll love the New York Philharmonic’s “semi-staged” production.
At the first intermission at last night’s Met revival of Aida, I turned to my companion and said, “So… what about the Aida? I thought she was supposed to be good.”
The Metropolitan Opera desperately needed a new production of Le nozze di Figaro.
I always think of Don Giovanni as half of the greatest opera ever written. Or, actually, about 2/3 of the greatest opera ever written.
After viewing Stefan Herheim’s production of Rusalka, I’ve got a new category: “regie slick.”
The appeal of Ariadne auf Naxos (for me anyway) is the acknowledgment that underneath it all, opera (and all other forms of “high art”) is really show business.