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#6742 - 03/18/13 03:12 PM Re: Opera 6 [Re: Lorna]
Christopher Offline
Member

Registered: 07/02/02
Posts: 3558
Ka-POW! Lorna, I think that's the best one-sentence critique I've ever read. Perhaps that's why Francesca is so rarely done?

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#6743 - 03/18/13 04:44 PM Re: Opera 6 [Re: Kay]
Andrew Offline


Registered: 09/27/11
Posts: 425
Loc: York, England
I heard several bits of Francesca on Saturday (BBC Radio 3) and wasn't wowed by it. I'm not a great fan of verismo (with a few exceptions), and the only operas by Zandonai that I've previously seen were "I cavalieri di Ekebù" (OK) and "Conchita" (boring), both at Wexford. On the other hand, I enjoyed Rachmaninov's one-act "Francesca da Rimini" a few years ago.

Interesting to see that Zandonai's "Francesca" has been performed 41 times by the Met - 11 performances from 1916-1918, then 16 in NYC and on tour in 1984, then 10 in 1986, then 4 so far this year.

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#6744 - 03/19/13 01:19 AM Re: Opera 6 [Re: Andrew]
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
41 times over a 97-year span? Hm. I wonder how many times Faust was performed during that same period. The old Met was once nicknamed the Faustspielhaus because they did it so often.

During one of the intermissions Saturday we were given a glimpse of next season's simulcasts:
Oct. 5 -- Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin

Oct. 26 -- Shostakovich's The Nose

Nov. 9 -- Puccini's Tosca

Dec. 14 -- Verdi's Falstaff

Feb. 8 -- Dvořák's Rusalka

Mar. 1 -- Borodin's Prince Igor

Mar. 15 -- Massenet's Werther

Apr. 5 -- Puccini's La Bohème

Apr. 25 -- Mozart's Così fan tutte

May 10 -- Rossini's La Cenerentola
The Met's web site doesn't have all the details listed yet, and the glimpses we got of the upcoming season were very brief, but I'm fairly sure the four repeat operas are using the same productions that were used the first time we saw them. Eugene Onegin has that weird outdoor bedroom. The still from Tosca showed the second-act set, which is supposed to be Scarpia's luxurious offices but instead looks like a 1930s bus station. Only a tiny glimpse of the Bohème set, but it looked like the Zefferelli production. And the Cenerentola still showed that same horrid blue and white striped wallpaper that made me cringe the first time I saw it. Joyce Di Donato gets to be Cinderella this time.

Is it possible that the Met dug out parts of the old sets just to get some early publicity pictures? And new productions are in the works? Or is that wishful thinking on my part?

As I have so tiresomely mentioned before, I'm no fan of Massenet; so when I saw Werther on the schedule, I thought "There's one I'll skip." The last Werther I saw had Franco Corelli singing the title role -- it's been that long. But then I saw the name "Elena Garanca" on the screen, so now I'm going to have to sit through an opera I don't like just to hear her sing. But two "new" operas for me, Rusalka and Prince Igor. Yippee!

Andrew, have you seen The Nose? Is it all atonal? Is it funny, really?



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#6747 - 03/19/13 01:07 PM Re: Opera 6 [Re: Barbara]
Austin
Unregistered


FOUR repeats? Have there been any repeats before?

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#6748 - 03/19/13 01:08 PM Re: Opera 6 [Re: Kay]
Andrew Offline


Registered: 09/27/11
Posts: 425
Loc: York, England
I've seen two productions of The Nose, one at English National Opera some years ago and the other, much more recently, at the Buxton Festival.

I don't regard anything by Shostakovich as atonal (Jon may perhaps wish to correct me). He was a bit of a chameleon and wrote a lot of film music, 15 (I think) symphonies, lots of string quartets. Coincidentally, I'll be going to Manchester next Sunday to see his Paradise Moscow at the Royal Northern College of Music. Opera North put it on some years ago and I bought the recording - it's more or less an operetta with lots of good tunes. One scene, very reminiscent of the Marx Brothers' Monkey Business has the neighbours all crowding in to admire a young couple's new apartment to a tune that sounds to me like a polka.

I've also seen his Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk three times. It's a real opera which gets darker and darker but has a number of comedy turns in between.

As for The Nose, well, it's an absurdist work based on Gogol (I think) and has lots of short scenes. The music isn't particularly memorable but it's well worth seeing. The protagonist's nose is accidentally cut off by his barber and it takes on a life of its own - at one point it becomes a councillor and turns up in church. The chief of police (high tenor, countertenor or soprano!) is on the trail and eventually the nose is returned to its owner. You can read the libretto here: http://web.archive.org/web/20080215065304/http://www.mrichter.com/opera/files/nose.htm

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#6749 - 03/19/13 01:52 PM Re: Opera 6 [Re: Kay]
Andrew Offline


Registered: 09/27/11
Posts: 425
Loc: York, England
Originally Posted By: Barbara
41 times over a 97-year span? Hm. I wonder how many times Faust was performed during that same period. The old Met was once nicknamed the Faustspielhaus because they did it so often.


Faust has been performed 747 times by the Met, according to their online archives. Some of these performances took place away from NYC, e.g. Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, St Louis, Cincinnati, Washington D.C., Baltimore, etc., up to about 1972.

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#6751 - 03/20/13 10:44 PM Re: Opera 6 [Re: Andrew]
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
747 performances, wow. Figuring from when the Met opened in 1883 up to 1972, that averages out to a little over 8 performances every season. I saw only one of those 747 performances (Nicolai Gedda and Jerome Hines).

I'd read about The Nose earlier, and I couldn't figure out from the skimpy plot descriptions exactly what it was satirizing. But "councillor" and "church" answers that question. Since it's Shostakovich, I should have known it would be political satire. Since you say the music isn't particularly memorable, that throws more weight on the story. Frankly, the story sounds unpleasant...starting with the barber's discovery of someone's nose in his beard.

Austin, there's been one repeat so far -- Lucia. But they were different productions as well as different casts.

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#6755 - 03/21/13 08:23 PM Re: Opera 6 [Re: Barbara]
Rita Offline


Registered: 09/22/04
Posts: 3264
Loc: St. Paul, MN
He found someone's nose in his beard? Yuck.

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#6761 - 03/22/13 09:27 AM Re: Opera 6 [Re: Kay]
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA


Rise Stevens, just shy of her 100th birthday.
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#6797 - 03/30/13 12:41 PM Re: Opera 6 [Re: Kay]
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Diana Damrau really took her time with the "Ah! fors'è lui". I liked it. grin

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