Greg Freed is an opera fan who grew up listening to Met broadcasts in Kentucky and later attended as many performances as possible at Austin Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and, for 10 years, the Metropolitan, where he occasionally reviewed under the name Maury D'Annato. He currently lives in Oakland, and was Parterre's Bay Area critic (under his own name) for two seasons. His primary vocation is social work, and as such, has spent a decade in sentencing advocacy. Greg loves live recordings of the singers of today and those of yesteryear, with special regard for the contralto Ewa Podles.
There were rumors all day in the usual places, on the search string: Philip Glass, Lincoln Center, OWS. The opera, though hypnotic, passed quickly, and Glass took a curtain call, got a hero’s welcome. Well, we thought, he can’t be both places at once.
It’s a sad story, really. Debussy and Maeterlinck had what the kids would call Major Drama over who was to sing Melisande (Mary Garden vs. the person you’ve never heard of) and so Maeterlinck didn’t see Pelleas until years after Debussy had died, so he never got to be like “word!” or, I suppose, “mot!”
Elektra occupies a special place in the Met’s rep, in a cheap way. It’s no easier to cast than any number of things that inspire well-rehearsed refrains of “put it away for fifty years,”* and really over the last quarter century many a somber compromise has been made in casting. What sets it apart is…