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  1. #501

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    This time next week I'll be going to the Met for the first time.

  2. #502
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    Excellent -- it's a wonderful venue to experience.

    Manuella Hoelterhoff, the executive editor of Bloomberg News's arts section, wrote this scathing article about NYCO's demise:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-1...ommentary.html

    She was (and still might be) Francesca Zambello's partner at the time this all went down, and Zambello was one of the names discussed as a successor to No-Show-Mortier, so some of the bitterness could be personal. From everything I heard from Dallas, too, George Steel was considered a disaster there, almost as great a mismatch as Mortier would have been for NYCO. (I would much rather have seen the disaster that Mortier and Dallas would have made, because the Texas boards like to do things on an epic scale, and that would have been epic.)

    The one thing critiques have in common is Susan Baker, and not just the generic "She was the President of the Board and the big turd drops at her feet" criticism, but lots of specifics. If a finance person comes into an arts institution -- she was from Goldman Sachs -- and they can't master the basic finances of that institution, the is second only to that shown for a musician director who doesn't know the basic operatic repertoire, but if you're a woman to boot, then the is second to nothing.
    "'Is this new BMW-designed sled the ultimate sledding machine for Langdon and Holcomb?' Leigh Diffey asked before the pair cruised to victory. I don’t know, but I know that sled is the ultimate Olympic Games product placement.." -- Jen Chaney

  3. #503
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    The demise of NYC Opera is neither surprising nor particularly sad to me. The Met was always where I wanted to be during my 25 years in NYC and even before getting to NYC, and I still subscribe. I probably attended fewer than a dozen NYCO performances, to see unusual repertory or singers who were not yet, or no longer, at the Met, and nothing stands out in my memory as thrilling, although I do recall some lemons. (I went to see Sherrill Milnes in Falstaff with high hopes. He was awful. Then there was the ludicrous revival of the famous Sills-Triegle production of Julius Caesar....) It was always weird to have two opera houses side by side and often running simultaneously. At least by the time I came along, in the post-Beverly era, City Opera was always seeking a clear identity and functioned basically as a cardboard version of the Met in a theater with way worse acoustics and tickets that weren't that much cheaper, esp. if you knew where to sit at the Met.

    What I relished far, far more than NYCO were the various small opera companies that were always popping up around town, as well as occasional student productions at Mannes, Manhattan, and Juilliard, where you could hear both rare and standard repertory on a small scale (although I would put Eve Queler's valiant concert productions at Carnegie Hall in this category too). Hearing Nicolai Gedda in Benvenuto Cellini, something neither the Met nor NYCO touched, at least in my time... watching Will Crutchfield develop a generation of baroque singers... seeing unknown young singers tackle and conquer Cosi in a theater seating 300-400 people... it was glorious to seek out and find these gems. There was one company that specialized in French opera, various chamber opera companies, the Amato that sang to piano accompaniment (I never dared to attend that one), Vincent LaSelva's NY Grand Opera with its complete Verdi series (all done outdoors in Damrosch Park, if I am not mistaken), and the adventurous Bronx Opera (whose board I served on for about a month before realizing that I would never get on with the company's director). Not living in NYC any more and with a lot less time for music, I don't know if these smaller companies and projects still proliferate, but they gave me a lot of joy, and if they are victims of the economy or of a culture that is less and less interested in opera, it is them I would weep for. As for the big companies, the Met's future is worrisome enough. City Opera RIP.

  4. #504

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    A former boss of mine, an architect, was on the board for a bit. He was brought in to give specific advice from an architectural standpoint on issues such as acoustics, building renovation, etc. He identified one point in particular that he felt was the most critical issue for the opera company if they were to remain at Lincoln Center. The board completely ignored his advice, and in the first round of negotiations with City Ballet, gave in to NYCB's contrary wishes without so much as a whimper. My boss left the board shortly thereafter.

    ETA: I saw/heard many thrilling productions at NYCO. I am going to miss it tremendously, and in some ways, I truly prefer it to the Met.
    Last edited by emason; 10-07-2013 at 10:19 PM.

  5. #505

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    Quote Originally Posted by reckless View Post
    This time next week I'll be going to the Met for the first time.
    So happy for you! When are you getting to NYC? I decided against staying for Tosca, but if you're available on Sunday for coffee, let me know!
    Whee! Going to Eugene Onegin this Saturday and to see Met Orchestra under James Levine, with Joyce DiDonato at Carnegie Hall

  6. #506

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    Quote Originally Posted by SaSherka View Post
    So happy for you! When are you getting to NYC? I decided against staying for Tosca, but if you're available on Sunday for coffee, let me know!
    Whee! Going to Eugene Onegin this Saturday and to see Met Orchestra under James Levine, with Joyce DiDonato at Carnegie Hall
    We arrive Saturday morning at 7 a.m. on the red eye from LA. We're seeing Pippin Saturday night, but keeping the plans for the day fairly flexible since we don't know what kind of shape we will be in when we arrive. (I upgraded to a flight that has seats that turn into beds in the hope we can sleep on the flight, but who knows if we actually will.) If we are feeling up to it, we'll probably hit the Tkts booth in Times Square, which is a block from our hotel, and go to a matinee.

    I doubt I'll have time on Sunday unless it's very early. My Sunday is looking like your Saturday. My mom insists on having brunch at Norma's. Then we are seeing a matinee of Glass Menagerie, meeting my cousins for pre-theater dinner, and going with them to see Kinky Boots.

  7. #507
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    You're going to the Met on Monday night, yes? Radvanovsky is getting very high praise list to raves for her Norma from a major opera list, even from people who've never liked her, have thought she is overrated, and were when she was announced. You should have a wonderful time.
    "'Is this new BMW-designed sled the ultimate sledding machine for Langdon and Holcomb?' Leigh Diffey asked before the pair cruised to victory. I don’t know, but I know that sled is the ultimate Olympic Games product placement.." -- Jen Chaney

  8. #508

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    You're going to the Met on Monday night, yes? Radvanovsky is getting very high praise list to raves for her Norma from a major opera list, even from people who've never liked her, have thought she is overrated, and were when she was announced. You should have a wonderful time.
    Earlier in the thread, I raved about Radvanovsky's Tosca, which I saw last spring. She was astonishing in that role, so I am very excited to see her as Norma. Plus, this is the culmination of a lifelong dream for my mom, who has always wanted to see Norma. She was in grad school at Yale when Sutherland performed the role at the Met, but could not afford tickets.

  9. #509

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    Quote Originally Posted by reckless View Post
    I doubt I'll have time on Sunday unless it's very early. My Sunday is looking like your Saturday. My mom insists on having brunch at Norma's. Then we are seeing a matinee of Glass Menagerie, meeting my cousins for pre-theater dinner, and going with them to see Kinky Boots.
    My Saturday is indeed unpredictable as we're likely arriving just in time for Onegin at 8pm, but Carnegie concert is at 3pm on Sunday, so if you're having brunch at Norma's, I can potentially meet you there.

  10. #510

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    There's going to be a live broadcast from Berlin, starting any minute now, of Rimsky-Korsakov's Tsar's Bride with Olga Peretyatko and Anita Rachvelishvili on Mezzo TV (you can watch online here: http://myru.tv/online/mezzo

  11. #511

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    I loved Eugene Onegin at the Met (I saw the encore screening). LOVED it. I'm very much an opera newbie, but so far this is my favorite opera.

    So, a question for you aficionados -- which is the best recording to get? A lot of people online say this one, but I'd like to get some more opinions before I pick one.
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club

  12. #512
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    I love Onegin too. Although I have not seen the cast of the recording you linked, or heard the recording, Hvorostovsky and Shikoff are wonderful, wonderful singers and it looks worthy to me.

    My own bias when it comes to Slavic music in particular is for native singers. The languages and their sounds are very foreign to singers from most other regions, who usually have to learn their lines phonetically. This limits their ability to meld words and music idiomatically. Even conductors who don't know the language intimately will be less idiomatic than native-born conductors. I noticed this especially in recordings and performances of the Czech composer Leos Janacek. That said, great singers and conductors can overcome the language barrier for me.

    I have seen EO live many times but have only one copy, which I love. It is an old Soviet-era Bolshoi recording which I own in a curious LP set where the box lists one cast and an insert lists another. Thank heavens I remember enough of the Russian alphabet to figure out the names. Based on the fact that the box lists Galina Vishnevskaya and I KNOW the Tatiana I was listening to was not Vishnevskaya, I am pretty confident in saying it is the following recording, from 1948 according to Wikipedia, which amazingly enough, is still available, and on CD. The tenor singing Lensky, Ivan Kozlovsky, is a real marvel. By chance, a musician friend who adores opera called up while I was writing this. I mentioned Koslovsky and he started raving about how wonderful he is. I dont think he ever sang in the US and he is not well known here, but he pierces the heart. Alas, he seems to have been a "court singer" of Stalin's, but I am unable to hold that against him while listening to him sing.
    http://www.amazon.com/Eugene-Onegin-...anov+kozlovsky
    Here is a clip of Kozlovsky singing Lensky's aria a few years later. I doubt any non-Russian could pronounce the words as he does, and his musical artistry (if not his acting!) is sublime.
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5hkwBgy294

  13. #513

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    We are at intermission during Norma. After Radvanovsky's first scene, my mother said, "Unbelievable." When the curtain fell at intermission, she said, "That is the best voice I've ever heard."

  14. #514
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    That's fabulous that you and your mother got to see Radvanovsky in Norma, reckless. I am envious. She was fantastic last year in the WNO's Anna Bolena.

    I'm off to see the WNO's La Forza Del Destino tonight. Quite a brutal review of it in the Post but I'm undaunted. I'm sure there will be enough to enjoy. http://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...45b_story.html
    Congratulations 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte!!!

  15. #515

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    It really was a spectacular evening. My mom is still on a high from the production, calling it the best she has ever seen (and she has seen some great divas in her day). I'm about to fly home and I can't decide what the high point of the trip was, since we saw one great show or opera after another.

  16. #516

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    I'm off to see the WNO's La Forza Del Destino tonight. Quite a brutal review of it in the Post but I'm undaunted. I'm sure there will be enough to enjoy. http://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...45b_story.html
    That was brutal, all right. Please report back -- I'll be interested to see if you agree with the reviewer or not!

    Oh, and Spun Silver, thanks very much!
    Last edited by Wyliefan; 10-16-2013 at 06:24 PM.
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club

  17. #517
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    That's fabulous that you and your mother got to see Radvanovsky in Norma, reckless. I am envious. She was fantastic last year in the WNO's Anna Bolena.

    I'm off to see the WNO's La Forza Del Destino tonight. Quite a brutal review of it in the Post but I'm undaunted. I'm sure there will be enough to enjoy. http://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...45b_story.html
    I love Mark Delavan and think Voigt is over the hill (sorry to repeat myself on that) so personally I would go to Forza with positive expectations.

  18. #518
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    Monday night's performance was broadcast on Sirius, and Radvanovsky sang beautifully.

    "La Forza" is a wonderful opera. I wish I could be there to see it.
    "'Is this new BMW-designed sled the ultimate sledding machine for Langdon and Holcomb?' Leigh Diffey asked before the pair cruised to victory. I don’t know, but I know that sled is the ultimate Olympic Games product placement.." -- Jen Chaney

  19. #519
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    I saw La Forza del Destino about 30 years ago with my mother when the Met came to the Kennedy Center. Leona Mitchell was Leonora. We were so excited about this opera when we saw it. I got my mother a tape of highlights and she played it over and over. So it has a special personal thing for me.

    I was a bit concerned that the WNO's updating of it to the present more or less might mean it wouldn't live up to my memory of it, but I have to say, it totally did! I was as excited about it as 30 years ago. I'll try to post some more detailed comments later, but right now, I just wish I could go to another performance!
    Congratulations 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte!!!

  20. #520

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    Glad to hear it!
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club

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