Opera 9

Posted by: Lorna

Opera 9 - 08/18/14 08:29 PM

Wow. The Met just narrowly avoided a shut-down.

Met vs. Unions
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 08/18/14 11:44 PM

Been following interesting discussion about that on Facebook because I am "friends" (in real life as well) with one of their semi regular conductors, Steven White, (and his wife Elizabeth Futral).
the two largest unions have reached tentative agreements with the Met, however we aren't out of the woods, yet...They still need to negotiate with the rest of the unions, and they are no less critical to a production.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 08/18/14 11:48 PM

Steven is the General Director of our local opera company in Roanoke which is why I am lucky enough to know these two neat people.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 9 - 09/08/14 09:00 PM

If you haven't already checked, here's the new season of Met simulcasts.

Oct. 11 -- Verdi's Macbeth, with Anna Netrebko and Željko Lucic. This is the Adrian Noble production from five or six years ago that I liked so much, with its chorus of slatternly witches that I still think about now and then plus the best sleepwalking scene I've ever seen.

Oct. 18 -- Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, with Ildar Abdrazakov

Nov. 1 -- Bizet's Carmen, with Anita Rachvelishvili

Nov. 22 -- Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, with Isabel Leonard and Christopher Maltman

Dec. 13 -- Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg , with Johan Reuter and a whole lot of other people

Jan. 17 -- Lehár's The Merry Widow, with Renée Fleming

Jan. 31 -- Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, with Vittorio Grigolo

Feb. 14 -- Double Bill: Tchaikovsky's Iolanta with Anna Netrebko, and Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle with Nadja Michael and Mikhail Petrenko

Mar. 14 -- Rossini's La Donna del Lago, with Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez (Met premiere)

Apr. 25 -- Double Bill: Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana with Marcelo Alvarez and Eva Maria Westbroek and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci with Alvarez again and Patricia Racette

Cav and Pag for dessert, how nice. grin From what I can gather, Cav will have a traditional production, but Pag will be set at a 1948 truck stop in the same village, and the players are a roaming vaudeville troupe. Vaudeville? There was no more vaudeville in 1948; it was long dead.

The other double bill strikes me as rather strange -- Tchaikovsky and Bartok? What a clash of musical styles. Can't wait to see it.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 09/08/14 09:54 PM

Thanks. I have not checked but am assuming we in the boondocks will still get these at the local college...our local theaters won't show them...
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Opera 9 - 09/08/14 10:47 PM

Hmm. No Puccini, Donizetti, Strauss...but two Rossini. Interesting.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 09/08/14 11:08 PM

Hmmm...Lucia and Boheme are on the schedule but not for broadcast...and you are right about the Strauss....The season list is here: http://www.metopera.org/metopera/season/index.aspx?type=current&sn=st
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Opera 9 - 09/09/14 12:22 PM

Barbara, is that Carmen the same production as the one Elena Garanca appeared in a few years ago?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 9 - 09/09/14 02:08 PM

Yes. The new productions are Le Nozze di Figaro, The Merry Widow, Iolanta/Bluebeard's Castle (co-production with Polish National Opera), La Donna del Lago, and Cav/Pag.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Opera 9 - 09/13/14 10:24 AM

The new Merry Widow is interesting (in advance, at least) on several counts. It is directed by Susan Stroman (a star alumna of my own University of Delaware, by the way), who is famous on Broadway for her visual and choreographic flair. Theater directors in opera are nothing new, of course, but we'll have to wait and see if she, who began as a dancer and deviser of tricky dance routines (as in Crazy for You and the Oklahoma! revival) adapts to opera needs. Or operetta, in this case.

Likewise, importing musical-theater performers for "special" featured roles has been going on a long time -- the Met has always done so for Frosch in Fledermaus (Jack Gilford, Sid Caesar, Danny Burstein) -- but entrusting a soubrette role, even in "light" opera, to a Broadway leading lady like Kelli O'Hara (The Pajama Game, South Pacific, Bridges of Madison County) is something new for them. Of course she, like many of her type, studied legitimate voice in college and performed in their opera productions. But putting it on the line after all this time is another matter. I'm curious, for sure.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 9 - 09/13/14 05:36 PM

I saw the Jack Gilford Fledermaus back when I was still in college and I still remember his performance. I saw it in Cleveland; the Met was still touring then. But I've never seen a stage performance of The Merry Widow, only the Jeanette MacDonald movie (confession: I have never liked Maurice Chevalier, not in anything I've ever seen him do). Luckily, I missed the Lana Turner version. I don't think the original plot was used in either movie.

We'll just keep our fingers crossed for Kelli O'Hara.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Opera 9 - 10/09/14 05:25 PM

Macbeth this Saturday. I want to see those witches.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 10/11/14 04:51 PM

I guess it was well done...I'm emotionally exhausted...I should have known better...when I saw the Scottish play in Stratford years ago it just about wiped me out and gave me nightmares for weeks. At least we were spared the severed head.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 10/11/14 04:51 PM

Oh, and the witches....kind of different, huh?
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Opera 9 - 10/12/14 06:20 PM

Definitely different. I see now why Shakespeare called them "the weird sisters". But memorable? Barbara, is that the chorus you've been remembering for years?

Netrebko was incredible. She came on strong with that first aria, setting a standard for herself, and she never failed to meet that standard. She always sounds good, but I've never heard her sound better than as Lady Macbeth.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Opera 9 - 10/12/14 07:47 PM

What with the blond hair, the tubbiness, and the cleavage, I thought she was channeling Anna Nicole Smith. But even so, she stole that opera, plain and simple. Powerhouse performance. I doubt if I'll remember the witches, but I'll remember Netrebko.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 10/12/14 10:47 PM

Absolutely on Netrebko...fantastic performance....I would have liked the witches to be a bit more fantastic...they looked like housewives fighting for bargains at Marks and Spencer in the 1950s. I didn't catch it but my companion noted that one of the witches ended up spread eagled with her knickers in full view...oh, well...
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 10/13/14 12:34 AM

Andrew: what did you think of Verdi's treatment of the Bard?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 9 - 10/13/14 02:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Christopher
Barbara, is that the chorus you've been remembering for years?
No. It was completely re-staged, losing most of what made the earlier chorus so stunning. Loss of precision, loss of momentum, loss of the glazed look on the faces of the women, loss of the hypnotic quality of the intricate choreography perfectly executed. (Hey, fellas, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.) One thing they got right was dividing the witches into three groups in their first scene, a stage direction Verdi indicated but which is usually ignored. But on the whole this staging gave us a bunch of clowns, with a new element of sluttiness added to the mix. This is a chorus I want to forget. HUGE disappointment.

But I couldn't agree more about Netrebko. She made this opera her own, powerful and subtle and nuanced all at the same time. I've never heard a Lady Macbeth like that before.

BTW, did you catch Anita Rachvelishvili's little slip in one of the interviews? She wished two singers luck in La Clemenza di Figaro.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Opera 9 - 10/13/14 12:11 PM

Ha! Missed that.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 9 - 10/19/14 06:58 PM

I thought Figaro's Nozze was an absolute delight. The updated setting (the 1930s) wasn't intrusive, the turntable set was great, and everybody sounded wonderful. (Well, almost everybody. I didn't care much for Amanda Majeski's voice (the Countess) -- which most likely is a perfectly good voice, but I probably haven't got Eleanor Steber out of my head yet. The "Dove sono" didn't sound quite there.)

Ildar Abdrazakov was a new name, face, and voice to me, but what a Figaro he made! Beautiful singer and a good comic actor to boot. The acting was broad, but it fit in with the nonsensical plot. Isabel Leonard made a charming Cherubino; she's singing Rosina in Barber next month. The best thing about this production was that everyone was having fun, singers and audience alike. Definitely thumbs up.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Opera 9 - 10/20/14 02:54 PM

I've been enjoying Ildar Abdrazakov for some years now, watching his gradual and well-deserved rise to the top. I saw him as Escamillo at the Met, some years back and in 2006 made the trip to DC with some students to see L'Italiana in Algeri at the Washington National Opera. He was a splendid Mustafá (much more real singing than one often gets in the Rossini comic bass roles), his wife Olga Borodina a wonderfully grand and spirited Isabella (the Italian Woman of the title), and a young tenor, on the verge of hitting the big time, Juan DIego Florez (both hilarious and meltingly sung). All three were so satisfying, that was one of my best nights at the opera.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 10/20/14 10:03 PM

I think I remember you posting something about that at the time...and Barbara's summary of Saturday's matinee is spot on...fun, fun, fun. Nozze plays well in any time period, I think...I've seen it done in everything from fairly contemporary (well, I guess this was too) to Victorian to the actual time period...the music is just so wonderful...
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 10/20/14 10:04 PM

Hated to see Jimmy Levine confined to a wheelchair but it didn't seem to affect his conducting.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 10/20/14 10:08 PM

And I still remember Te Kanawa in a televised performance years ago as sort of setting the standard for Countesses...
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 10/20/14 10:18 PM


Dame Kiri but I am not sure of the date....FYI there appears to be a complete version from 1976
Posted by: Jon

Re: Opera 9 - 10/21/14 03:03 PM

That's the 1973 video of the Glyndebourne stage production directed by Sir Peter Hall (a GREAT opera director in addition to all his fine Shakespearean credits). It's my own first choice, with Te Kanawa, Ileana Cotrubas, and Frederica von Stade in the summer when she burst upon Europe (after a season or two singing small roles at the Met) and enchanted everyone.

There's also a film directed by Ponnelle; that may be the 1976 one you mention. I find it not as successful: poorly lip-synced or else sung in voice-over (which to my mind never works in opera) though there are some intriguing casting elements.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 11/01/14 10:00 PM

As Carmens go, this one was well done. When I was a mere child (ok, I was in college) I got to see Rise Stevens live on stage in New Orleans. That woman set the mark for Carmen. I really liked the young soprano who did Michaela. Jose not so much.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 9 - 11/23/14 08:31 PM

Yes, there was a time when anyone said "Carmen" -- everyone thought "Risë Stevens". I also saw her once in the role, in Cincinnati. Kay, what did you think of Rachvelishvili?

Well, I got to see less than half of Barbiere. Shortly after "La Calunnia" there was a monster power outage -- it knocked out blocks. Imagine sixteen movie auditoriums emptying their audiences all at the same time, everyone standing in line to get a rain ticket. The drive home was bumper to bumper, made more tedious by the fact that most of the traffic lights weren't working -- eight lanes of traffic taking turns crossing the intersections. And that was my Day at the Opera.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 11/23/14 11:52 PM

Sounds totally awful frown

A double dose of opera yesterday and I can barely remember Carmen! Greatly enjoyed the simulcast of Barbiere although the theatre where it was shown was freezing cold. Dashed back for some dinner and went to a local live performance of Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio. Wish they hadn't tried to update it to Chicago gangland (WHY do all the opera companies seem obsessed with these time shifts!) but the singers were competent and the acting was ok.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 11/23/14 11:57 PM

Two operas in one day reminded me of the times when the Met was still touring....driving from Little Rock to Dallas and catching one on Friday night, two on Saturday and a matinee on Sunday before driving back ... And happy I did it because I got to see Milanov, Stevens, Peters and Merrill, Siepi...Leonard Warren...wish I knew where those programs were!
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 9 - 12/15/14 07:34 PM

Nobody went to Meistersinger, hm?
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 12/15/14 08:20 PM

Too many conflicts....
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Opera 9 - 12/16/14 02:50 PM

I didn't go, and I didn't listen to it on the radio. Jon can revel in six hours of Wagner, but I can't.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 9 - 12/16/14 10:43 PM

Yes, I had to make a decision between those six hours and a couple of other things that included food, fun and games and it was kind of a no brainer...