Cher Public

  • Camille: Thanks for the advance notice. I pray for his wellbeing and safe recovery. He is a treasure. 2:28 PM
  • Camille: MingoSenzaDo. 2:27 PM
  • messa di voce: Agree! 2:16 PM
  • antikitschychick: Also, just wanted to reiterate my continued well wishes for Dima! Hope everything works out well for him, and his family... 1:54 PM
  • antikitschychick: Glad to see he’s still on the roster for September 25th, which is the performance I plan to attend (if I can get... 1:48 PM
  • Ilka Saro: This puts things back in perspective. I didn’t want to come down hard on Jo Yo, who writes so wonderfully and is also an... 1:47 PM
  • m. croche: David Gockley’s Bourgeois Dinner avec Dinner Music Wine coolers – made by the piano-cocktail from Denisov’s... 1:20 PM
  • chicagoing: I am considering treating myself to a first time visit to the San Francisco Opera next June for Don Carlo, an opera I have not... 1:16 PM

Tanks a lot, but no tanks

Bayreuth’s most recent production of Tannhäuser was set to be retired. So of course they captured the 2014 performances for posterity and released it on video. The DVD has the typical Bayreuth package—it’s well-filmed, with a fairly steady camera that often pans out to full-stage shots instead of the using the new HD technique of constant close-ups. Good job, Bayreuth film crew.

The production by Sebastian Baumgarten is however the type of regietheater that’s not a rethinking or reconstruction, but just a hot mess. The first clue that the director might have been a little too high on his own ideas is the fact that the pre-curtain time AND intermissions are staged. Yes, that’s right, Baumgarten apparently thought his ideas were such treasures that he expected the audiences to not pee during a five-hour opera. I have no idea how this actually played in the house and whether everyone really stayed put during intermissions but this is how it’s presented in the video. Read more »

Shave and a haircut


It’s fun to wonder what might have happened if Rossini had never composed Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Would Giovanni Paisiello’s earlier adaptation of the work be a repertory favorite? Or would it have faded into obscurity with an occasional revival here and there?  Read more »

Paris original

Another month, another La Traviata release on video. This performance was culled from the 2014 Glyndebourne Festival and is in many ways the performance of La Traviata that you would get if you took all the major Traviata productions from around the globe and averaged them. The performance doesn’t feature spectacular performances but since none of them are outright bad they round off to “extremely professional and competent.”

Director Tom Cairns’ production and Hildegard Bechtler’s designs follow recent Traviata trends without adding any original touches: vaguely modern-dress, “timeless” non-descript sets, and rather cold person-regie between the opera’s three protagonists. The curtain rises on a modern salon that nonetheless has a chandelier and some other trappings of elegance that would be more true to the demi-mondaine life than the modern high-class escort.   Read more »

Met Auditions

All futures great and small

The Metropolitan Opera yesterday afternoon was an uncommonly cozy place, as the auditorium was packed to the rafters with friends and family members of the nine National Council Audition Finalists.

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The devil is in the details

Certain operas are better in theory than practice.

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Star, crossed

The key to enjoying Bellini’s I Capuleti e Montechi is to do a hard factory reset and reformat your brain to forget all other works based on Romeo and Juliet.

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Table bodied

Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

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Bluebeard

Door to door

The Met’s planned premiere of Iolanta/Bluebeard’s Castle was cancelled due to the Great Blizzard That Wasn’t.

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Hoffmann

A wasted time

Vittorio Grigolo in the title role of the Met’s revival of Les Contes d’Hoffman is the opera version of the charming homeless drunk.

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thermos

The year in Ivy

2014 was a year of lemons into lemonade.

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