After Heart of a Soldier, The Perfect American, The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene, et al., the premiere of Theodore Morrison’s Oscar in Santa Fe last Saturday came as a welcome relief. Here for once was a real opera—not a would-be Sondheim musical, not a mere play-set-to-music, not a strong musical composition undermined by a flabby text, but a work in which words and music really interact and fill each other out in theatrically effective ways. It’s not without its flaws, but it still made for an extremely satisfying evening. Read more »
The Metropolitan Opera was just over 100 years old when on January 19, 1984 it premiered Rinaldo, its first ever opera by George Frideric Handel; Samson (not an opera, by the way), Giulio Cesare and Rodelinda have followed. History repeated itself on Thursday when Sir David McVicar’s eclectically entertaining production arrived, the second time the MET has resorted to importing a nearly decade-old Cesare from England. But with a hard-working cast crowned by a resurgent Natalie Dessay as Cleopatra, the Met has done an honorable job in bringing back this most popular and enjoyable of Handel’s great masterpieces. Read more »
Nearly 30 years after a Handel opera last played there, Carnegie Hall presented The English Concert opening a three-year opera-oratorio project on Sunday afternoon with Radamisto. The event just missed honoring the composer’s 328th birthday on Saturday; unfortunately, the performance also just missed. Read more »
La Cieca predicts you won’t be seeing any puritans at the Met next season, except of course for the ones who slouch around during intermission hissing, “You call that a trill?”
David Daniels (left) headlines a special sneak preview of The Enchanted Island on Wednesday, December 7 at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space. Also on hand will be Danielle de Niese, Lisette Oropesa and Luca Pisaroni, plus the pasticcio’s creative team, writer Jeremy Sams and director-designer team Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch. Midge Woolsey hosts. Tickets are $25.oo, but a very clever parterrrian has the chance to attend gratis, as detailed after the jump.
La Cieca hears that parterre fave David Daniels will get all eponymous and stuff for a world premiere opera entitled Oscar, based on the life of Oscar Wilde, for Santa Fe Opera in 2013, with Opera Company of Philadelphia to follow. The work is to boast music by Theodore Morrison and a libretto and stage direction by John Cox.
Among symbolic classical tropes, one of my favorites (perhaps because only another classicist will understand it) is Nessus’ Shirt, an emblem of glory (a promotion, say, or an expensive luxury) that destroys you.
Now, don’t you go thinking that Peter Gelb doesn’t listen to his public, which intersects quite steeply, of course, with the cher public. For instance, just the other day La Cieca and a couple of others were lamenting that opera has lost some of it mad silly gay folie lately. Lo and behold, today it appears that Met is putting together what looks to be the mad silly gay camp highlight of the 2011-2012 season, a baroque pastiche called The Enchanted Island.