“I will never sing the role again. It was frightful. We were a set of madwomen…There is nothing beyond Elektra. We have lived and reached the furthest boundaries in dramatic writing for the voice with Wagner. But Richard Strauss goes beyond him. His singing voices are lost. We have come to a full stop.” Read more »
Esa-Pekka Salonen made his American conducting debut with the LA Philharmonic in 1984 at the tender age of 26. Back when LA Opera was still finding its sea legs, the orchestra wasn’t our strongest suit so whenever something really challenging was programmed they would hire the LA Phil. So the glorious David Hockney designed Tristan und Isolde, which was my first, in 1987 with Jeanine Altmeyer, Florence Quivar and Martti Talvela had Zubin Mehta and the Philharmonic spinning gold in the pit. The next year came Berg’s Wozzeck with Simon Rattle and his then-wife Elise Ross as Marie with a very abstract production and LA audiences stayed away in droves. Read more »
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato is first among equals in a spectacular cast when she sings the title role of Ariodante in this season’s installment of Carnegie Hall’s critically acclaimed cycle of Handel’s operas in concert. A brilliantly melodic work, the opera features outstanding arias for each of the principal singers, including Ariodante’s melancholy “Scherza infida” and show-stopping “Doppo note.” Harry Bicket and The English Concert bring authentic Handelian brilliance to this marvelous opera. (Photo: Simon Pauly) Get tickets. Read more »
James Levine turns 72 this year. Even though his health has improved considerably in the past year and he may continue to conduct for a decade or more, it seems inevitable that he will step down as the Met’s Music Director sometime in the next few years to assume the role of Conductor Laureate. This is why the role of Principal Conductor is so critical to the company; the person in that role serves as the unofficial successor to Maestro Levine. Read more »
The team that made the Met’s 2009 production of From the House of the Dead one of the undisputed highlights of the Peter Gelb era will return five years from now to create a Richard Strauss tragedy. According to Helsingin Sanomat, director Patrice Chéreau and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen will collaborate on a new production of Elektra in 2016, to be shared between the Met and La Scala.