“Disciplined and intelligent.” “Clean and transparent.” “Fleet and lithe.” Though Fabio Luisi’s Wagner performances draw frequent praise for their tidy professionalism, there’s often an undercurrent of frustration with the Genoese maestro for not wringing a little more blood out of the scores, or putting a personal stamp on them. Frequent work in the house where James Levine reigns has a way of creating invidious distinctions, even when clear vision and tasteful restraint can be welcome virtues. Read more »
At the Opernhaus Zürich, the coat check is not optional. A collective hush extends throughout the hall just before the dimming of the lights. And it may be the last opera house in the world where the overwhelming majority of patrons still dress in formal attire; I have never felt like such a slob in my khakis and untucked shirt. Yet the pomp is not without reason; I do not believe there is another opera company in the world that maintains such impressively high musical values while performing in a fairly intimate space with stellar acoustics. Read more »
Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This can be illustrated by two opposing kinds of opera fans: the kind who thinks that if it doesn’t happen in his backyard, it didn’t happen at all, and the other kind of fan for whom the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
The very small, very rich and very tax-free Opernhaus Zürich is often considered the Greenest Other Side of the Fence by opera aficionados who, well, don’t live in Zürich. They get the big stars before they become Big Stars (for everyone who heard Quinn Kelsey as Germont this fall/winter at the Met and thought he would be a wonderful Rigoletto, that was so two years ago in Zürich). They get the Big Stars who decide to only sing in Zürich (Cecilia Bartoli). And those tax breaks! It’s enough to make anyone mad with envy. Read more »
Wednesday brought the Met’s “real” season opener, an indelible, indispensable night at the opera: a starry revival of Verdi’s Macbeth crowned by Anna Netrebko’s demented Lady.
The Met stage was filled with considerable magic Monday night when its dizzily effervescent revival of La Cenerentola starring Joyce DiDonato and Javier Camarena stirred a bewitched audience to some of the most ecstatic ovations heard this season.
La Cieca has been wining, dining and otherwise wooing her Met connection (pictured above) and he (or is it she?) has come across with some tidbits about upcoming seasons at Casa Gelb.
La Cieca thought it would be amusing to do a bit of speculation about what’s to come as we approach the middle of the decade.
No, not a Regie quiz—though that feature will return soon enough now that the season is up and running—but rather an image from the new Dmitri Tcherniakov production of Jenufa for the Opernhaus Zürich.
Among conductors on the roster whom Luisi personally invited to be part of his first Zurich season are…