Cher Public

if ever i would leave you

Got to give credit to Bryn Terfel: he’s now canceling a whole season in advance. The bass-baritone scrapped his spring 2009 appearance in the Met’s L’elisir d’amore several months ago, and now he’s pulled out of the company’s 2009 opening night, a new production of Tosca that now stars Karita Mattila and Marcelo Alvarez. The frankly unstarry Juha Uusitalo subs as Scarpia under the baton of James Levine in this new Luc Bondy production.

Uusitalo is also skedded for Jack Rance in the 2010-2011 Fanciulla which is to feature Marcello GIordani‘s Dick, plus plucky hometown favorite TBA as the eponymous girl.  This, and oh so much more, may be found on the recently updated Met Futures Page.

And, speaking of updates, it appears Roberto Aronica will not flee the country after his espresso ordeal yesterday. La Cieca’s spy reports that the tenor reported this morning for a Madama Butterfly staging rehearsal. And (did I mention this?) promptly fell off the back of the set.

pubic domain

La Cieca has managed to obtain a few fragments of the camera rehearsal for Saturday afternoon’s Salome HD telecast. Note the cutting-edge video techniques employed to distract the (presumably) pre-adolescent audience from Karita’s Kooter of Kontroversy.

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rebel without a cooze

Although the staging of the Met’s Saturday afternoon’s production of Salome will remain unchanged (i.e., Karita Mattila intends to jam out with her clam out) the HD cameras will demurely divert their lenses at the climactic moment of the Dance of the Seven Veils.  According to Culture Monster, instead of the Full Mattila, the video audience will see “something, well, much more restrained.”

“You’ll see the camera pan away from her as she does the dance,” a Met spokesman told Culture Monster. “Either it will pan discreetly away to the audience, or it will do a close-up of her face.”

The decision not to show the nudity came from Met general manager Peter Gelb, who, the spokesman said, “decided early on that the ‘Salome’ broadcast would not feature nudity.”

salome (met) 9/23/2008

I was there in the house and it was a good night.  I still think that Mattila and the production were fresher in 2004 with a wider range of colors and dynamics.  However, she didn’t sound frayed or at the end of her rope.  Some of the louder high notes can get a blanched quality but they were dead on pitch and held for a good while with no wavering.  She looks good but definitely a woman of a certain age and the girlish, kittenish business looks calculated now.  Its a well kept body but definitely spreading a bit in places.   Supposedly Mattila was the one suppressing the 2004 taping since she disapproved of some of Flimm‘s choices (Salome being drunk was one).  Well she was still doing some drinking (perhaps less this time) and really there weren’t that many changes from the last time that were crucial.  The Dance of the Seven Veils is like an outtake from the Showgirls pole dance scene.  I don’t think that kind of obvious tackiness was what Strauss had in mind.  They need to put out the 2004 filming which is really superior on DVD and bypass Mattila’s objection.  However, Gelb will probably want his product, his HD filming on the market so that will never see the light of day like the Ariadne with Voigt and the Wozzeck with Struckmann and Dalayman.

Joe Kaiser sounded fine and looked like he took off some pounds from last season.  German suits him better than French to my ears.  Begley and Komlosi were good as the Herods.  Big letdown: Juha Usitalo – ordinary timbre, hollow small tone – when he was amplified in the cistern he wasn’t impressive and he was definitely underwhelming when he emerged.  Fat man with little stage charisma – basically made a hole on the stage.  Morris Robinson came out as the first Nazarene and that sounded like the voice of God.

BTW: I am coming to the conclusion that there is less to “Salome” than meets the eye.  It all is very effect driven without great profundity underneath and all the characters are basically monsters or concepts without a core of humanity underneath.  I like Elektra so much better.  Elektra seems to get better every time I see it whereas I really find Salome silly and meretricious in some ways. — Gualtier Maldè

we are all interested in the future

… for (as the saying goes) “that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.” Well, when La Cieca reflects upon where she’s going to spend the rest of her life, the first place she turns to is Bradley Wilber‘s MetManiac. So you can imagine your doyenne’s deep relief when she realized that this indispensable site is back online.  Here you will find informed speculation about the Metropolitan’s seasons from opening night 2009 (a new production of Tosca directed by Luc Bondy with Karita Mattila, Marcelo Alvarez and Bryn Terfel, James Levine conducting) through […]

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life, universal and everything

As La Cieca first reported back in March, Jeffrey Vanderveen, recently split from IMG, will now head up Universal Music Classical Artists Management and Productions, a division “meant to provide management services for and produce live events for prominent classical musicians.” IMG has responded by filing filed suit against Vanderveen and other Universal honchos, claiming criminal conspiracy and theft, specifically the improper soliciation of certain clients who have made the move from IMG to Universal. Among these clients are Anna Netrebko, Elina Garanca, Karita Mattila, Joseph Calleja and Thomas Hampson.  A story by Steve Smith in the New York Times […]

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out there in the dark

La Cieca is putting her entire nest egg into popcorn futures, since next season opera lovers will rarely emerge from their local movie palace. The Met will do an astonishing 11 HD simulcasts during the 2008-2009 season.  Monday, September 22, 2008: Opening Night Gala starring the astonishingly well-preserved Renée Fleming in fully staged performances of La Traviata (Act II), Manon (Act III), and the final scene from Richard Strauss’s Capriccio. Ramón Vargas, Thomas Hampson and Dwayne Croft support milady; James Levine and Marco Armiliato share the arduous conducting duties. October 11:  Salome with Karita Mattila baring all or, perhaps, near-all. November 8:  Doctor Atomic.  A […]

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season scorecard

Cher public, the Met is expected to unveil the specifics of their 2008-2009 season later today. While we’re waiting for all the luscious and/or gory details, La Cieca thought it might be fun to do a quick recap of the season as is is predicted on Brad Wilber‘s MetManiac site. Brad (who historically is spot-on to the point of clairvoyance in his predictions) surmises that the next season at the Met will feature six new productions: 

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