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. The first act is a masterpiece of the operatic canon. There’s sex, there’s danger, there’s suspense, there’s humor, and there’s absolutely great music. And there’s also a wonderful sense of ambiguity—for instance, what exactly is Don Giovanni doing in Donna Anna’s bedroom? is it a rape, or something else? Is Zerlina really just a naive young thing? “Batti batti bel Masetto” has such an artificial, coy feel to it that you have your doubts. All of these events converge in the suspenseful Act One finale. Read more »
Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is his masterwork and its themes of social convention and unrequited longing surely struck a deep chord in a composer who, in late 19th century Russia, was gay and had to conduct himself carefully.
I’d like to say a brief requiem for the Metropolitan Opera’s last production, brilliantly designed by Michael Levine and directed by Robert Carsen. Its strong use of color and abstraction brought an easy focus to the unabashed romanticism and melancholy of this work. Read more »
Last night, the Met opened the 2013-14 season with a handsome, fairly conservative new production of Eugene Onegin by Deborah Warner that replaces the handsome, fairly conservative one by Robert Carsen. (The trend is clear.) The major singers were good, the lesser ones could have been better, the applause at evening’s end was polite and nobody carried on (aside from a brief, pre-opera gay rights demo in the Family Circle). All was serene as the Neva in midwinter between storms. Storms are undesirable to management. 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?”
La Cieca has been sniffing around her generally reliable (and fragrant) sources, and she thinks she has pieced together a list of the dozen operas to be featured in the 2013-2014 season of “The Met: Live in HD.”
Karol Szymanowski’s 1926 King Roger was the sleeper hit of SFO’s season, not so much for its weird, mystical theme and feeble libretto but because the music is powerfully effective.
“Juan Diego Flórez made an untraditional Nemorino, his small but diamond-bright tenor unlike the luscious lyric voice usually heard in this part.”
Not only has physical therapy healed Mariusz Kwiecien‘s shapely back, it’s apparently added a third to the top of his range. [New York Times]
Good news, barihunk lovers! According to a press release from the Met, Mariusz Kwiecien will return to the stage for the title role of Don Giovanni on October 25, in time for the HD telecast October 29 as well as remaining scheduled performances through November 11.