Archive for February, 2007

Auteur! Auteur!

Posted in fleming, parody, robert wilson, youtube on February 28, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca has managed yet once more to scoop the everloving world. Here, for your enjoyment, prior to its unveiling in the Met’s Schwartz gallery: an exclusive sneak preview of the just-completed video portrait of Renee Fleming, directed by Robert Wilson.


While I waste these precious showers

Posted in fleming, robert wilson, voom on February 28, 2007 by lacieca

Until the Met gets around to installing their Robert Wilson video portrait of Renee Fleming, we can bide our time with the artist’s take on Brad Pitt. (Warning: audio contains wild ranting and screaming, but at least it’s not “I could have danced all night.”)


Posted in mortier, nyco on February 28, 2007 by lacieca

First Opera Professional: Mortier will be a disaster at NYCO! He has the worst taste in singers of anyone in the business!

Second Opera Professional: Oh, then he must have done the casting for for their 2007-08 season.

The dotted line has been signed

Posted in la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede, mortier, nyco on February 27, 2007 by lacieca

The New York Times reports that Gérard Mortier will become general manager and artistic director of the New York City Opera in 2009. Of course, you already knew that, didn’t you?

To infinity, and beyond!

Posted in alagna, domingo, first emperor, gelb, levine, met, midgette, mortier, nyco on February 27, 2007 by lacieca

The delectable details of the 2007-2008 season at the Metropolitan (discussed this morning in a press conference with Peter Gelb, James Levine and representatives of the new season’s production teams) may be found on the Met’s web site. Our publisher JJ was there in the flesh, and he forwards his impressions:

The biggest news this morning was something unspoken. Instead, it was Levine’s body language, which (in contrast to previous years) suggested he is both comfortable and secure working with Gelb. Levine stayed for the entire press conference and was particularly attentive when Phillip Glass was speaking.

The press conference was as carefully staged as a Met performance. In fact, a lot more carefully than Simon Boccanegra. The meeting began at exactly seven minutes after 11 a.m.

Mr. Gelb reflected on the successes of the current season, which include:

  • An increased audience for the HD simulcasts, now up to 250 screens for Eugene Onegin
  • The box office (though “not necessarily a thermometer”) is running nine percentage points higher than this point last season
  • This season so far 61 performances have sold out, in contrast to 20 sellouts for the entire 2006-2006 season
  • Eight HD presentations are booked for next year
  • Opening night 2007 (new production of Lucia di Lammermoor) will be simulcast in the plaza, and the Met is in negotiations with NYC to show it in Times Square as well.

James Levine chimed in that what he finds “even more exciting” than the many innovations this year is that he sees a strong sense of follow-through. It is one thing to get new audiences into the theater the first time, but to sustain that audience you must offer them quality. He adds that he is pleased with how Gelb works with him on a day-to-day basis on solving problems. Levine will conduct the new productions of Lucia and Macbeth next season, plus revivals of Manon Lescaut and Tristan und Isolde, as well as the Met Orchestra’s Carnegie Hall series.

Tweaks to next season include revival of the Anthony Minghella Butterfly with Patricia Racette and Roberto Alagna, Barbiere and (as reported by La Cieca a while ago) The First Emperor.

Mary Zimmerman (funny, unpretentious and smart) talked about her production of Lucia. Scene changes in this staging will be done “a vista.”

Glass and associate director and designer Julian Crouch introduced Satyagraha. The composer stressed the political and social content of the work, and Crouch talked about how the set materials of corrugated iron and newspaper were suggested by the themes of the opera.

Stephen Wadsworth waxed un peu teachy-teachy on the subject of Iphigénie en Tauride (“Gluck was an ethnic Czech, did you know that?”), but, as Dawn Fatale pointed out, at least the set does not include a built-in shower. The edition of the score will be based on Gluck’s Vienna revision, in which Oreste is a tenor, presumably in order to facilitate the participation of Placido Domingo.

The other producers appeared on video. The most buzzworthy statement from this segment was from Adrian Noble, who says the design of his Macbeth is suggested by photographs by Diane Arbus.

The cutest stage director of the whole group was Laurent Pelly (La Fille du Régiment), with Crouch and Richard Jones (Hansel and Gretel) tied for second.

Zoe Caldwell will the the Duchesse de Krakenthorp.

In response to reporters’ questions, Gelb said that the Met has negotiated rights to release all its archival performances on CD, DVD, download on demand and “media not yet invented.” Anne Midgette asked if there were updates on new commissions by the Met, but Gelb declined to comment, saying that the Met would have a statement later this season.

And then, finger sandwiches and coffee on the Bass Grand Tier, where yet another of’s web of reliable sources noted that the Gérard Mortier/NYCO deal is all but signed on the dotted line.

Hello, Mister Wilson!

Posted in 2011, fleming, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede, met, nyt, youtube on February 27, 2007 by lacieca

The most startling news from tomorrow’s press conference at the Met (as released early to the New York Times) — in 2011, a new production of Bellini’s Norma, starring Renee Fleming and directed by Robert Wilson. The casting of Cecilia Bartoli as Adaligisa is La Cieca’s own whimsy, but, hey, stranger things have happened. (For example, a Wilson/Fleming Norma…)

UPDATE: The role of Adalgisa in the Fleming/Wilson Norma scheduled for 2011 will not, as La Cieca puckishly suggested, be sung by Cecilia Bartoli. In fact she has just been informed by one of her most impeccable sources that the part will go to Elīna Garanča.

And in other exclusive Decca recording artist/avant-garde legend related news, the Schwartz gallery at the Met is awaiting installation of a Robert Wilson “video portrait” of La Fleming. La Cieca will inform you when the Wilson film makes it on to YouTube.

Vilar to "Post"

Posted in met, vilar on February 26, 2007 by lacieca

Holding cell for Alberto Vilar

Ah, dear Alberto Vilar — remember when he was going to swoop down from the skies and rescue the Metropolitan Opera and The Royal Opera at Covent Garden and, well, just opera, in general? And, more to the point, remember how he never tired of bragging about his munificence, and demanding lavish expressions of gratitude? Well, he’s in the news again. To be more specific, Vilar has turned up in the pages of the New York Post. The tab rag reports that the “former philanthopist” is complaining about how cruel and unusual it is to be confined to an 11,000 square foot duplex at United Nations Plaza, with time out only for visits to doctors and lawyers, church services, errands, and of course his daily 90 minute stroll. Vilar wants to spend more quality time with his his “significant other,” Maria Muñoz, or, as the Post so vividly puts it, to “play daddy to his gal pal’s son while she wages a battle against life-threatening cancer.”