Ecco il Sidestep

The saga of the peripatetic New York City Opera continues. According to a story in today’s New York Times (another Saturday newsdump! Well, at least someone has figured out how the media works here in the city!) Anyway, according to this NYT story, Gérard Mortier is kicking around a few ideas for keeping the NYCO brand from vanishing from the public consciousness during the company’s “hiatus” awaiting the reconstruction of the New York State Theater (and, not so incidentally, the official beginning of his regime in the fall of 2009). The company is looking at “probably” four productions in various venues, including “possibly” Carnegie Hall, the Beacon Theater and “other Lincoln Center halls.” Oh, and don’t rule out the Apollo Theater or the Hammerstein Ballroom, either. (To tell the truth, at this point La Cieca wouldn’t be surprised if she heard “Yankee Stadium” or “Splash.”)

Well, let’s table the venue discussion for a moment and move on to repertoire. Just what sort of operas might we expect in this transitional year? Of course, nothing’s set in stone yet. Well, maybe that’s an understatement. It appears, in fact, that nothing’s even scribbled on a Post-it at the moment. In the Times interview, Mortier coyly suggests Mefistofele “because of its association with the house in performances by the bass Samuel Ramey.”

Or, on the other hand, what about Rienzi — assuming, of course, that one could count on “finding strong enough singers.” Hey, what about a children’s opera for the holidays, that might work, and, just to mix things up a bit, “a major American opera.” But here’s something you put in the bank: the repertory “must be great things,” says Mortier.

Susan L. Baker, City Opera’s chairwoman reassures us that there will be some kind of announcement about next season in January. Or, failing that, February. Count on it.

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