Archive for the 2008 Category

E l’amor uno strano augello

Posted in 2008 on January 19, 2008 by lacieca

A reader sends us this page from the Los Angeles Opera season brochure for 2008-2009. (Click on the image to enlarge).

La Cieca wonders if perhaps this production was originally planned for Giulietta Simionato and Mario del Monaco

Tit for tat

Posted in 2008, 2009, barihunk, blog, maury d'annato, opéra bouffe. barihunk, san francisco, the opera tattler on January 17, 2008 by lacieca

La Cieca has Maury D’annato to thank for (passively) calling her attention to the blog The Opera Tattler, which in recent days has been detailing next season’s plans in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other opera companies of the Transhudson. (The) Opera Tattler also reviews a lot of West Coast opera, and at least so far as La Cieca has read, his (?) blogatorial voice is either very arch or very sincere, either of which is fine by me. (“However, perhaps I should go to Bayreuth in 2009, since I will have the time,” writes the Tattler. How can you not love that?)

More bloggerei (in Italian, but it’s penetrable enough) may be found on the wild ‘n’ wacky site Opéra Bouffe, one of many various efforts by the lovely and apparently tireless Giorgia Meschini. At the moment attention at the Bouffe is split between the”new” Zeffirelli production of Tosca at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and the recent purchase of “le boat slippers dell’Adidas, blu e oro. Con ‘Respect’ stampato sulla linguetta… ‘firmate’ da Missy Elliott.” Bloggy!

Then Opéra Bouffe pointed your doyenne to the utterly necessary Schrott-Locator ™: ¿donde está Erwin?. Even Barihunks doesn’t have this level of detail.

Wanderjahr

Posted in 2008, 2009, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede, nyco, nyt on December 15, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca has obtained exclusive video footage of a presentation by Susan L. Baker, chairwoman of the New York City Opera, announcing plans for the company’s 2008-2009 “season.”

NYCO’s announcement, dumped into the scarcely-read Saturday Times, would seem to indicate that our speculation of the past couple of weeks was, in fact, accurate.

Dark year for NYCO?

Posted in 2008, 2009, 2010, mortier, nyco, sad on December 6, 2007 by lacieca

UPDATE: La Cieca has just heard that the “dark season” is not a done deal just yet. The NYCO board meets next week to make that decision. (Given how late in the game this is, most likely the “decision” will be no more than a formality. But La Cieca will keep her ear to the ground, not to mention her shoulder to the wheel and her nose to the grindstone. She also intends to free her mind with the intention that her ass should follow.)

La Cieca has been hearing whispers and grumblings from here and there for a couple of months now, so maybe it’s time to go out on a limb and predict that the New York City Opera will take a season-long hiatus in 2008-09. Yes, that’s right, no season at all, not until the opening of Gérard Mortier‘s first year of direction in the fall of 2009.

The primary reason driving La Cieca’s gloomy prediction is the lack of any sense of what the repertoire or casting would be for 2008-09, even as 2007 draws to a close. NYCO, like other opera companies, has a fairly long lead time in planning upcoming seasons. Their practice in recent years has been to lock in repertoire and casting more than a year before the beginning of a given season.

For example, it was fairly common knowledge by the summer of 2006 that the current NYCO season would include Vanessa, Cendrillion, King Arthur and so forth; major casting was already set by then as well. Repertoire choices for Mortier’s first season leaked several months ago: 2009-10 will feature The Rake’s Progress, Einstein on the Beach, Nixon in China, Věc Makropulos, Pelléas et Mélisande, Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, Saint François d’Assise and Death in Venice.

No such details have surfaced about plans for 2008-09; in fact, an informant tells La Cieca that ever since early last summer “managers have been attempting to nail down the schedule and engagements for their artists, but have been met with stone cold silence from the [NYCO] administration.”

This same source continues with a little speculation that your doyenne must say she finds reasonable enough:

The official reason given [for the cancellation of the 2008-09 season] will be that Mortier wants to freshen up and fix the hall in conjunction with NYCB (and they certainly will take the time given to do some work on the State Theater, remove the sound system, etc.) but the real reason was he was so patently appalled by every performance he saw this year and last that he wants a literal fresh start for the entire company, and wants no attachment whatsoever to the past artistic administration.

Something to give thanks for

Posted in 2008, bel canto, met, millo, oony on November 22, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca hears that our dear Aprile Millo (who recently had to cancel a Teatro Grattacielo appearance due to illness) is ready to bounce back big time in 2008.

Word on the street is that Millo will join longtime colleague Dolora Zajick for a bel canto duet in OONY’s spring gala, followed by a return to the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for the 2008-09 season.

While we wait, here’s some prime Millo via YouTube.

"TBA" about to be announced?

Posted in 2008, gelb, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede on September 11, 2007 by lacieca

A source close to the Met whispers to La Cieca that Maria Guleghina will step into the TBA performances of Macbeth in January 2008 including the HD transmission on the 12th. Your doyenne also hears that la Guleghina has been approached to take over the May performances of the Verdi thriller, currently announced for Andrea Gruber. “The word is that Gelb felt Guleghina was exceptional in the broadcast of Trittico and wants her to build on her prominence at the opera house,” our source concludes.

Judgment at Nuremberg

Posted in 2008, wagner, world leaders dancing in underwear on July 28, 2007 by lacieca

Well, this is what La Cieca gathers from Katharina Wagner‘s production of Die Meistersinger (without, of course, having had the benefit of actually seeing it!)

KW’s basic idea is that Great-grandfather Richard presented an overly optimistic view of the dramatic action of the opera. Walther is taught by Hans Sachs to moderate his radical musical ideas by adopting traditional forms; that way his music can be understood by his audience. KW sees this compromise as a sellout, so she depicts the climactic singing contest satirically, as an “American Idol” hypefest.

Walther basically grows out of his rebellious phase (e.g., splashing white paint all over the church in Act 1) and becomes just another bourgeois mastersinger. Sachs is played as an aging hippie type who also cleans up his act for the sake of popularity and respectability.

Meanwhile, Beckmesser the pedantic marker is transformed radically by the experience of the Act 2 riot. Depending on your point of view, he is either driven mad or else he has a profound spiritual awakening. The text of Walther’s song that he filches for the competion is on a ripped-up sheet of paper, so his performance at the contest is nonsensical and the crowds laughs at him. And yet to him the song is the purest, most genuine music he has ever created — but nobody else will ever be able to appreciate it. In a way he has become the radical artist that Walther aspired to be.

[La Cieca’s earlier remark about Beckmesser appearing nude in Act 3 was mistaken; she apologizes.]

Now, it is safe to say that this is probably not the meaning Wagner had in mind when he wrote Meistersinger, and it is even a reasonable bet that this meaning is at best extremely difficult to convey through this particular text and music. Now, La Cieca doesn’t know much about these things, but as she understand its, part of the current Regie philosophy is that a canonical work like Meistersinger is so utterly familiar to the audience that there is no point in performing it “straight,” that you have to try to find something new to say through the work. Whether you believe in this philosophy or not (your doyenne is on the fence), you can perhaps agree that it is meant to be a serious way of approaching the work, not a frivolous one.

Another point is that historically the first year’s iteration of a Bayreuth production is expected to be an imperfect first draft; the artistic team are expected to do major revisions for the second year’s run, based on what they are suppposed to freely regard as the mistakes of the first year. So really we’ll have to wait until 2008 for the finished version of the youngest Wagner’s vision. (Does anyone know if there are plans to telecast this production? The bits seen so far on video look as if it would adapt well to TV presentation.)