Author Topic: General Opera News  (Read 213285 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Offline Wendell_E

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1078
  • Location: Mobile, AL, USA
  • Currently Listening to:
    mostly opera and chamber music
Levine returning to the Met
« Reply #581 on: October 12, 2012, 03:37:28 AM »
According to a press release at the Met website, he'll be conducting the Met orchestra's May 19th Carnegie Hall concert, and in the 2013-14 season, he'll be conducting revivals of Wozzeck and Così fan tutte and the new production of Falstaff, plus three more Carnegie Hall concerts.

http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/levinereturns.aspx?sn=nf
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 03:40:11 AM by Wendell_E »
“Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

Offline Wendell_E

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1078
  • Location: Mobile, AL, USA
  • Currently Listening to:
    mostly opera and chamber music
Met 2013-14 season press release
« Reply #582 on: February 27, 2013, 03:43:31 AM »
http://www.metoperafamily.org/en/news-and-features1/press-releases/releases/2013-14-Season-Announcement/

Three Bellini operas, but no Wagner!  Apparently, the original plan was for a new Tannhäuser and additional performances of this season's new Parsifal, but the first fell through, and the second was replaced with some Wozzecks for the returning Levine.

After a season without a single Slavic opera, and two without one by Richard Strauss, they'll have three Russian operas (including the first Prince Igor there in nearly a century), one Czech, and three by Richard Strauss.
“Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

Offline Wendell_E

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1078
  • Location: Mobile, AL, USA
  • Currently Listening to:
    mostly opera and chamber music
New Orleans Opera 2013-14. Not business as usual.
« Reply #583 on: March 17, 2013, 04:17:27 AM »
While I'm excited, and will probably make the 2½ hour trip multiple times to catch both performances of the Marschner and Massenet, I do wonder what drugs they were taking when they chose the season.

October 11 & 13, 2003
Marschner: Der Vampyr
"recast in modern New Orleans"

November 15, 16, & 17
Britten: Noye's Fludde
it'll be performed in a church, hence the extra performance

Valentine's Day (awwww!) and Feb 16
Massenet: Cendrillon

April 4 & 6
Some Puccini thing about a bunch of bohemians
“Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8854
  • An American Hero!
Handel's Giulio Cesare, John Adams Latest
« Reply #584 on: April 09, 2013, 12:18:28 PM »
From a review by Heidi Waleson in the April 9, 2013 Wall Street Journal:

Quote
The Metropolitan Opera's new "Giulio Cesare" (1724), which opened last week, is a Handel production in its Platonic form. The funny yet poignant staging (originally from the Glyndebourne Festival) of David McVicar; the conducting of Harry Bicket, who knows better than anyone how to make a modern orchestra understand baroque music; and a top-flight cast, including countertenor David Daniels and soprano Natalie Dessay in captivating performances, made for 4½ hours (including intermissions) of musical and theatrical bliss. ...

The evening was paced with superb sensitivity by Mr. Bicket, who also played harpsichord. Every moment was full of life, with a constant awareness of the underlying pulse of the music and the breath between the notes; the orchestra and continuo felt like a cushion supporting the singers. The wrenching duet that concludes Act I, as Cornelia and Sesto are about to be dragged off to separate prisons, sounded like a series of sighs; and after hearing (and seeing) this version of Cleopatra's victory aria, "Da tempeste," one could never imagine it as anything but a dance.



And John Adams: The Gospel According to the Other Mary


Quote


"The Gospel According to the Other Mary" by John Adams and Peter Sellars, recently given its New York premiere by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, approximates the structure of Bach's Passions but has neither the devotional fervor nor the narrative energy that make those works unforgettable. Instead, the "Gospel," which ran close to 3 hours with intermission, nearly as long as the "St. Matthew Passion," felt bloated and episodic...

Act I centers on the death and resurrection of Lazarus; Act II the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The idea was to present the tale from a female perspective. ... the texts don't mesh, and the interpolated situations (women are jailed and beaten) and the fragments of character development ...read more like random bits of political correctness and sexual politics than organic storytelling.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, led by Gustavo Dudamel, sounded harsh and percussive in Mr. Adams's aggressive score. Sometimes this was effective, as in the heaving orchestra at the death of Lazarus, or when the chorus represented the wordless menace of the crowd at Golgotha...



See:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323550604578410423704652476.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_5

« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 12:21:45 PM by Cato »
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

jlaurson

  • Guest
Re: General Opera News
« Reply #585 on: April 24, 2013, 07:19:56 AM »


Crunch Time for Missing Children

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2013/04/crunch-time-for-missing-children.html

The Scoping Report on Missing and Abducted Children 2011 states the following: “Children who go missing are at risk of harm. When a child goes missing, there is something wrong, often quite seriously, in that child’s life. The reasons behind missing incidents are varied, where children go missing as a consequence of specific, distinct circumstances. The serious problem of missing and abducted children is a broad, complex and challenging issue. It tends to be poorly defined, lacking in accurate statistics, and is subject to an array of responses at local, national and international levels. At the same time, there is a pressing and urgent concern for improving responses to cases of missing and abducted children. Being missing from home or a place of residence not only entails several inherent risks for children and young people, but is also a cause and consequence of other grave concerns in any child’s life.”

The FBI cites a 2002 federal study on missing children according to which a heartening 99.8 percent of children reported missing “were located or returned home alive. The remaining 0.2 percent either did not return home or were not found. The study estimated that most of missing children cases involved runaways from juvenile facilities and that only an estimated 0.0068 percent were true kidnappings by a stranger. The primary conclusion of the study was that child abductions perpetrated by strangers rarely occur. However, when they do occur, the results can be tragic.”

Tragic, indeed. Which makes the following events all the more dramatic: After a domestic altercation on the evening of April 1st, two underage siblings went missing near Munich...


Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8854
  • An American Hero!
Tannhaeuser with Gas Chambers Canceled
« Reply #586 on: May 09, 2013, 07:22:00 AM »


Quote
In a statement, the opera house management said it was aware that the production would "arouse controversy".

The statement read: "We are responding to the fact that some scenes, especially the shooting scene depicted very realistically, have caused such physical and psychological stress that some audience members have had to receive medical treatment.

"After considering all the arguments we have come to the conclusion that we cannot justify our artistic work having such an extreme impact.

"In intensive discussions with the director Burkhard C. Kosminski we have considered the possibility of changing individual scenes. This he refuses to do for artistic reasons. Of course, we have to respect the director's artistic freedom."

See:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/10046415/Nazi-themed-Wagner-opera-cancelled-in-Germany.html
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 52789
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: General Opera News
« Reply #587 on: May 09, 2013, 07:38:36 AM »
Quote
In a statement, the opera house management said it was aware that the production would "arouse controversy".

"Well, duh! That's how we sell tickets these days."
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 07:40:18 AM by karlhenning »
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

jlaurson

  • Guest
Re: Tannhaeuser with Gas Chambers Canceled
« Reply #588 on: May 09, 2013, 09:01:54 AM »
I am trying to wrap my head around the fact that this director felt it necessary to take this plot and portray graphic violence and other sordid stage action?

Oh, yes, his artistic standards could not be compromised.

 >:(

We can't possibly, not having seen it, judge by a report from someone who also hasn't seen it (and doesn't sound like s/he would know what to make of it, if s/he had), whether it turned out well or not. Even if everything about that report seems to scream "gratuitous"!

Aside, the article's very opening sentence is questionable... "Deutsche Oper am Rhein, a leading German opera house..."

Well, if by "leading" you mean... somewhere in the Top 20, but definitely not Top 10...

Oh, yeah: and What Parsifal below said.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 10:18:23 AM by jlaurson »

Parsifal

  • Guest
Re: General Opera News
« Reply #589 on: May 09, 2013, 09:51:46 AM »
To say that Tannhauser "portrays a singing contest at a medieval castle" is not accurate.  It contains supernatural/mythical elements (a goddess) and portrays the abstract conflict between sensuality and reason.  A symbolic casting of the story (not necessarily the one referred to) is not inappropriate.

That said, it's not clear to me what Nazis have to do with it.

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8854
  • An American Hero!
Poulenc's "Dialogues" in Canada
« Reply #590 on: May 15, 2013, 06:45:33 AM »
A review of a Canadian performance of Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites appeared recently in the Wall Street Journal.

An excerpt:

Quote
I thought nothing could better the Metropolitan Opera's indelible John Dexter production of "Dialogues," also a minimalist interpretation, which I first saw more than 30 years ago and revisited in New York the night after the Toronto performance. But Mr. Carsen's staging sometimes did. In lessening the period specificity and heightening the tension throughout, it created an undercurrent of doom even in the opera's most serene moments. Still, the final scene of the Dexter production, with the nuns facing their end like human beings rather than as Mr. Carsen's abstract, gesticulating saints, remains the more harrowing of the two.

See:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323716304578480860986312372.html?KEYWORDS=Poulenc

"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: General Opera News
« Reply #591 on: May 15, 2013, 12:36:33 PM »

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8854
  • An American Hero!
Respect for Wagner's 3 Earliest Operas
« Reply #592 on: May 21, 2013, 06:16:24 AM »
The Wall Street Journal today (May 21, 2013) has an article on Wagner's earliest efforts:  Die Feen (The Fairies), Das Liebesverbot (The Ban On Love), and  Rienzi.

Concerning Die Feen:
Quote

...musically it's a magic-carpet ride. Defying fate, a mortal and a deathless fairy have married. ... the vocal lines soar and the spell of the tempestuous, star-spangled orchestral writing is hard to resist.

Das Liebesverbot:

Quote
...At moments of impetuous ardor, the gallants Claudio and Luzio, both tenors, seem ready to fly off into the sunset of Viennese operetta....

Rienzi:
Quote
...Some critics have mocked "Rienzi" as Meyerbeer's best opera, some as his worst, proving between them that Wagner hit his target.

The orchestral and choral writing sweeps all before it; the overture and the preparations for battle build with awesome force..
.

See:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323716304578481431543314390.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_5
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline knight66

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 9839
  • Location: Edinburgh
Re: General Opera News
« Reply #593 on: May 26, 2013, 09:50:21 PM »
I was at a lecture by Dr Jonathan Miller over the weekend. He explained some of his methods of opera direction. He has strict  rules for himself over whether or not he would consider updating the era in which the original opera is set.

He would never consider updating an opera where the composer had set a story that was contemporary to him. So for instance, Traviata was a contemporary story to Verdi and he feels the setting and mores are authentic.

He feels free to update a setting for any opera where the composer has basically setnit in a never-never land of history that almost always is inaccurate to the time in which it is set, for instance Rigoletto where he feels the opera does not attempt historical accuracy.

But when he considers updating, it has to be done carefully and he was contemptuous for the style of automatically updating everything, which he feels the ENO has been doing for some time. There has to be a point to it which brings the audience closer to the work, not alienating them from it.

I asked him whether he felt it akin to cheating when the only way to understand the 'concept' was to read the director's notes or interviews. He felt the work of art needed to stand by itself and that if it needed the kind of explanations he knew of, the project was a failure. The audience has to 'get it' by watching it, not by reading about the work itself.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Tsaraslondon

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2494
    • My blog
  • Location: London, UK
Re: General Opera News
« Reply #594 on: May 26, 2013, 10:49:06 PM »
I was at a lecture by Dr Jonathan Miller over the weekend. He explained some of his methods of opera direction. He has strict  rules for himself over whether or not he would consider updating the era in which the original opera is set.

He would never consider updating an opera where the composer had set a story that was contemporary to him. So for instance, Traviata was a contemporary story to Verdi and he feels the setting and mores are authentic.

He feels free to update a setting for any opera where the composer has basically setnit in a never-never land of history that almost always is inaccurate to the time in which it is set, for instance Rigoletto where he feels the opera does not attempt historical accuracy.

But when he considers updating, it has to be done carefully and he was contemptuous for the style of automatically updating everything, which he feels the ENO has been doing for some time. There has to be a point to it which brings the audience closer to the work, not alienating them from it.

I asked him whether he felt it akin to cheating when the only way to understand the 'concept' was to read the director's notes or interviews. He felt the work of art needed to stand by itself and that if it needed the kind of explanations he knew of, the project was a failure. The audience has to 'get it' by watching it, not by reading about the work itself.

Mike

Wise man. No wonder he has presided over so many successful productions.

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline knight66

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 9839
  • Location: Edinburgh
Re: General Opera News
« Reply #595 on: May 31, 2013, 03:15:47 AM »

HOW TO DO AN OPERA GERMANLY

1) The director is the most important personality involved in the production. His vision must supersede the requirements of the composer and librettist, the needs of singers, and especially the desire of the audience, those overfed fools who want to be entertained and moved.

2) The second most important personality is the set designer.

3) Comedy is verboten except when unintentional. Wit is for TV-watching idiots.

4) Great acting is hyperintens...See More
The music must stop once in a while for intense, obscure miming.

9) Sexual scenes must be charmless and aggressive. Rolling on the floor a must here.

10) Unmotivated homosexual behavior must be introduced into the staging of the opera at least a few times no matter that it has no relevance to the opera.

11) Happy endings are intellectually bankrupt. Play the opposite. Insert a sudden murder or rape somewhere if at all possible no matter that it has no place in the opera.

12) Avoid entertaining the audience at all costs. If they boo, your vision has succeeded artistically.

13) Rehearse the performance until it's dead. Very important.

14) Any suggestion of the beauty and mystery of nature must be avoided at all costs! The set must be trivial, contemporary and decrepit. Don't forget the fluorescent lights! (Klieg lights also acceptable.)

15) The audience must not know when to applaud or when the scene/act ends.

16) Historical atrocities such as the Holocaust or the AIDS epidemic must be incorporated and exploited as much as possible. Also, the lifestyle of the audience must be mocked.

17) Colors are merely decorative. Black, white and gray only! If you must have color, let it be garish eye-watering primaries in huge blocks, Toytown style. And with vast coarse flowery prints for the costumes — and something bolder for the women. (Under the trench coats, of course. See article 18.)

18) The chorus must be bald, sexless, faceless and in trench coats. The ideal is a line-up of devitalized Uncle Festers. For a court audience or other aristos (axiomatically boorish sneering decadents, especially if the music implies otherwise) tail-coats are permissible, as are crowns, provided they are jagged card circlets.

19) If the audience is bored it's proof positive that this is art.

20) Props are items of junk piled in a corner of the set. They must be overused pointlessly, then dropped on the floor, loudly. Best done when the music is soft so as to call attention to it. Be careful to keep dangerous objects at the lip of the stage so the blindfolded dancers can kick them into the pit.

21) All asides must be sung next to the person who is not supposed to hear them.

22) The leading performers faces must be painted as a white mask to ensure no individuality or variety of expressions as opera singers can't act anyway. This is already a fundamental Brechtian technique to conceal a) the limited range endemic to actors being ideologically sound, and b) the stereotypical nature of agitprop material. Less obvious if delivered by a stereotype where it can then be called stylization, and hailed as genius.

23) Preparation is important for the director. Try not to read the libretto in advance to make sure it doesn't interfere with your staging ideas. Not much harm in listening to the CD once, though that's not really your job.

24) Make the conductor feel useful though he's really nothing but a literal-minded hack.

25) The stage director must avoid any idea that is not his own. (This instruction is largely pointless as that idea is surely implied in this list already.)

26) A costume must serve at least two of the following criteria: a) make the singer look unattractive, b) obscure his vision, c) make hearing the orchestra difficult, d) impede movement, or e) contradict the period in which the opera is set (that last hardly worth mentioning).

27) Every once in a while, try to compensate for generating trash at the taxpayer's expense by producing an "opera for children." Nothing difficult here. Just have The Magic Flute performed around midafternoon by mediocre singers in an inappropriate setting, in a translocated staging, and by altering the story which you’ve determined is anything but suitable for children.

28) Hire your singers in the largest size possible, making every love scene look like a parody. Act surprised when no-one likes it, and afterwards declare in front of the press that contemporary audiences just don't connect with opera anymore, and that, further, more modernizing productions are needed.

29) Include references to Nazis or Nazi atrocities, directly or by way of suggestion or metaphor. This is de rigueur no matter how non sequitur.


To which I add a number....

30) On no account miss that obvious point in Dutchman in which to display a session of bukkake.

Mike

DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8854
  • An American Hero!
Re: General Opera News: George Benjamin's "Written on Skin"
« Reply #596 on: August 20, 2013, 08:21:31 AM »
George Benjamin's opera Written on Skin received a rave review from Heidi Waleson in the Aug. 20, 2013 Wall Street Journal:

Quote
George Benjamin's "Written on Skin," ... arrived in the U.S. last week in a shattering concert performance by the Tanglewood Music Center Fellows, conducted by the composer. A savagely beautiful score with a fierce, multilayered libretto, the 90-minute "Written on Skin" is an original. It pushes the boundaries of narrative while maintaining constant theatrical tension, and its musical inventiveness serves the drama impeccably...

...Every scene has its own musical character—the Protector's weight and obsession with power is heard in the horns, Agnès's sensuality in the sound of the solo viola da gamba, backed by high harmonics in violins; when the Boy sings "I've painted the woman's heart," you hear the heart's irregular beat in the double basses. Mr. Benjamin's music can conjure up the ferocity of Richard Strauss or Belà Bartok and delicacy of Claude Debussy or Kaija Saariaho, but the combination is all his own

See:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324108204579022703204814982.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_5
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Online Brewski

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 12052
  • "Man With No Shadow" by Makoto Tojiki (2009)
Re: General Opera News
« Reply #597 on: August 20, 2013, 08:45:15 AM »
Thanks, Cato, for posting this (for non-regular readers of the WSJ  8)). Though I couldn't go - and really wanted to - several friends who did were also very impressed. I believe the fully-staged version is coming to the Lincoln Center Festival in 2014.

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Marc

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3883
  • Sine Cerere et Bach friget Venus
Re: General Opera News
« Reply #598 on: September 07, 2013, 07:11:31 AM »
Help support the GMG Classical Music Forum by purchasing from Amazon using this link, this link, or this link

Online Brewski

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 12052
  • "Man With No Shadow" by Makoto Tojiki (2009)
Minnesota Opera commission based on "The Shining"
« Reply #599 on: September 16, 2013, 07:29:07 AM »
Composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell have been commissioned by the Minnesota Opera to do an opera based on Stephen King's The Shining, to be premiered in 2016.

http://www.mnopera.org/season/2015-2016/the-shining/

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY