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10-01-2013, 07:13 PM

Businessweek ‏@BW 56m
The New York City Opera is simply the latest victim in a long-running classical music recession | http://buswk.co/1eWWXBC by @cfarrellecon

10-01-2013, 08:44 PM
Not exactly, dardar1126. NYCO is a victim of board bungling and fiscal and artistic mismanagement. They have been making disastrous decisions for a number of years now, and this is the result. Someone who went to the final performance on Saturday night (Anna Nicole) told me that one singer listed in the program was brought over from England for this production to sing exactly one solo line, the rest of his/her singing was as part of the chorus. Why spend $$$ to bring someone over from England for one solo line? Examples like this abound.

10-01-2013, 09:29 PM
Anything that lessens the public's cultural options makes me sad.
I wonder how Ms. Sills would feel?

10-03-2013, 09:00 PM
Ms. Sills went to her grave ruing the fact that she pushed for Peter Gelb to take over the Met, bypassing the front-runner for the job. She had moved on from NYCO.

For Bay Area people: KQED is broadcasting SFO's production of "Lucrezia Borgia" tonight at 8pm (PDT) and again at 2am Friday on 9. There are two audio broadcasts listed on their schedule on KQED Live on Monday, 7 October at 7pm and Tuesday, 8 October at 1am.


10-03-2013, 09:51 PM
ETA: I just saw this:
Did AIDS Kill NYCO? (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/perry-brass/did-aids-kill-new-york-city-opera_b_4003493.html)

The "Traviata" the author writes about was a fantastic production.

Wonderful essay. Beautifully written.
Whatever other issues might have been, NYCO lost its identity, tried to find it and could not. It is unthinkable that NYC cannot support two opera companies with different visions. London has 2, Paris has 3(?), Berlin has 3, Moscow has 3+ etc. I hope NYCO gets revived with a clear vision at some point.

10-04-2013, 04:19 AM
It is unthinkable that NYC cannot support two opera companies with different visions. London has 2, Paris has 3(?) ... (snip)

Two of the Parisian opera houses - the Bastille and Garnier operas - are simply the two venues of the Paris National Opera, a company with 50% state subvention, under the direction of a short-sighted idiot with no vision and no taste for originality. JMHO. :P The third opera house, the Opéra Comique, stages about 7-8 usually excellent productions with fewer big names and with only about 10% of the state subvention that the main company receives. However, its programming is often too academic to attract new audiences. The variety of the yearly program is not sufficient to call it a real opera company. The Theatre des Champs-Elysées also stages 3-4 operas per year, usually conservative productions with big name singers.

IMHO opera productions in big opera houses have gone crazy. Operas that were created with smaller, more intimate theatres in mind are being staged in huge spaces that kill the warmth of the voice, with bigger orchestras, with more and more technology, more expensive costumes on the stage. 10% of the Ministry of Culture subventions are spent on the Paris National Opera alone. How are these expensive productions justified? How exactly do they contribute to the interpretation of these works or to the enjoyment of opera by the public? :rolleyes:

Several years ago, I saw two productions of Rigoletto in the same season: one in the Bastille Opera, the other in the Prague Opera. In the Bastille production, the stage consisted of a humongous construction built on a round platform that turned around to change the scene while the curtains were open. The singers had to climb from one scene to the other while the platform turned - they looked like tiny ants in a huge ant nest. I admired the nobility with which they were able to do this circus act. :rofl: In the scene where Gilda is abducted, the male chorus of abducters was so big that they looked more like an occupation army. Everything was so exaggerated that the intimate nature of this opera was lost - even Gilda's death was not touching, because it was difficult to concentrate on these two tiny people among all the detail of the stage settings.

The Prague production was the exact opposite. The opera house is of course much smaller to begin with, the voices filled the space in a vibrant and satisfying way. The decor was mainly some painted cardboard separations acting sometimes as the façade of Gilda's house, sometimes as the inn etc. The singers were not as excellent as in the Paris production, but I was totally into the music and the acting. In much of the Italian repertoire, even if there is a social background, the intimate feelings of a few people are what the opera is about. This isn't elite music or avant-garde theatre! You show this to anyone above 12, he'll "get" these popular melodies and understand Rigoletto's anguish as well as he understands a soap opera. The Prague production was a "real" Rigoletto. The Bastille production was a collection of expensive technological tricks that didn't contribute anything to the opera. Back to basics. ;)

10-04-2013, 04:37 AM
I must have been lucky, then, because I saw three wonderful productions at Paris Opera, none of them traditional: the Bill Viola "Tristan und Isolde," the Martin Kusej "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk" -- I think the production came from the Netherlands -- and the 2008 "Il Prigioniero."

10-04-2013, 05:00 AM
I must have been lucky, then, because I saw three wonderful productions at Paris Opera, none of them traditional: the Bill Viola "Tristan und Isolde," the Martin Kusej "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk" -- I think the production came from the Netherlands -- and the 2008 "Il Prigioniero."

My point was not that the Paris Opera is rubbish, but that expensive productions relying on tricks and technology are unnecessary, independently of the opera company.

I've seen many wonderful productions in Paris. My favorite is Lev Dodin's reading of Pique Dame, which goes right to the heart of the work. At the end there was some booing combined with some ecstatic cheering. That's something else that opera needs though, isn't it? Some healthy controversy! :)

10-04-2013, 09:14 PM
The Viola "Tristan" relied upon 4+ hours of constant video. Technology itself is neutral. Some directors know how to use it better than others. I've seen Robert Lepage productions of opera and theater where the use of technology was wonderful, but the actual direction was, too. Then there was his Ring at the Met -- not so much. Unlike most companies in the US with a limited geographic visitor base and/or highly conservative audiences, where each production is expected to be The Iconic Carmen, Paris produces a lot more Regie productions, and there are going to be clunkers. It's so much easier to do the Zefferellian excess.

JDD is currently giving a Master Class at Juiliiard, that is being streamed live as I type:

I don't know if it's geo-blocked.

It runs until 6pm EDT/3pm PDT.

10-04-2013, 09:17 PM
Thank you!

10-06-2013, 02:35 AM
Did anyone else go to Eugene Onegin Live in HD today? Did you lose the sound during the overture?

10-06-2013, 03:23 AM
In Vancouver BC, the sound was very low during the initial intros. Then they put it on full blast just before the music started, until someone figured out how to turn it down. The sound loss must have been location-specific.

The Bell system that was used to broadcast it popped in with instruction screens just after Lenski's big aria, and we missed most of the dialogue before the duel. The system seemed to think no one was watching and was going to shut down automatically until they figured out how to make it realize we were, indeed, watching.

This theater once gave out two premium passes per person when the Bolshoi broadcast went dead during "Le Corsaire," and it wasn't their fault then, but I suspect it was because there were so few of us, whereas here, when it was their issue, they had a large and a small theater packed to the gills :)

I loved this production so much more than the last one (Fleming, Vargas, and Hvorostovsky sang in it).

10-06-2013, 01:06 PM
Hmm everyone in the audience thought it was on the Met end so the theater got off without having to answer for it. There was a previous Live in HD where there were problems, I thought with the satellite feed not the theater and they gave free tickets for future movie performances to everyone. Oh well, as long as it doesn't happen again...

I've watched the opening of the old production and didn't like it at all. I loved this one, so much better. I really like Mariusz Kwiecen.

10-06-2013, 01:44 PM
kwanfan and BR, it's interesting that you both liked this production, or some aspects of it, more than the old one. I've seen the old one only once and liked it a lot. This new production did not get such hot reviews and got a lot of bad press concerning all the backstage drama revolving around the director, or lack thereof. I may have to check out a re-airing of the HD broadcast just to see for myself. I'm not a Ntrebko fan at all; that's really what's held me back from considering going. How was she?

(Also, I was otherwise committed yesterday to seeing the all-female Julius Caesar, set in a women's prison, with Frances Barber as Caesar and Harriet Walter as Brutus.)

10-06-2013, 02:03 PM
I am a Netrebko fan and I thought she was really good in the part, especially the letter scene. I love her voice.

I liked the staging for the first act, but I didn't think the third act was as effective. I found the large pillars disruptive.