Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Assorted info...

  • Are you checking out my regular updates on the 2011-2012 programs in Europe: in Zurich, Frankfurt,  Munich, London, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Oslo, Vienna... ?! See the right panel on this blog.

  • If you like Dialogues des Carmélites, you're not a newbie, and you're open to a more humanistic ending to this opera, then you might wish to buy a new DVD release of the BSO-Munich. I liked very much that production --directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov-- but I know quite a few people who found it anti-climactic. Here is the link where you can place your order [trailer here]
  • Another DVD release that I think is more than worthy of your attention is Samson et Dalila, produced last year at the Flanders Opera, directed by, conducted by Tomáš Netopil, and with Torsten Kerl and Marianna Tarasova in the title roles. Trailer here, order here. I did not see this show but if there is an opera house that knows how to produce a 19th century French opera to look relevant today, that this is the Vlaamse Opera. [I very much enjoyed their recent Hériodade!]
  • I like freedom and the fact that we are not ripped off each time when we buy CD for 30€  a piece, but I believe the civic behavior should be somewhere in between, and those who make these broadcast possible (including performers!) should be paid for their job.  How can this all business work if everything lands instantly on YouTube or rapids?!
    I am not sure I appreciate the fact that Le comte Ory --live broadcast from the Met to the movie theaters across the world last Saturday--  found its way to YouTube...  Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Florez sang beautifully and partly compensated the staggeringly bad stage direction [you may as well listen to the radio recording available on In Fernem Land [cf. here and here]
  • "Politics is everywhere!"... Jean Ziegler [most known for his anti-global stand] was supposed to give a speech at the opening ceremony of the Summer Festival in Salzburg this year, but due to his alleged closeness with  Gadaffi's regime and in light of the recent events in Libya the Festspiele organizers decided to cancel his speech. After the passions calmed down a bit, now it's time for debates [see here and here: Ziegler will apparently make his speech but not at the opening ceremony!]
  • The Bicentenary Ring in Bayreuth still needs its director. The most frequently mentioned names seem to be Tom Tykwer and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. I know that nobody cares what I think about it but I doubt there can be any more qualified director for this job right now than Martin Kusej.


  1. In regards to Bayreuth ring: Why does it have to be a movie director?

  2. I guess they want to make it "new" while playing it safe (big name). Those two are German directors, big names, did not produce opera so far... they fit the suit.

    Last time when they speculated about the director to produce the Ring in Bayreuth, they got screwed up big time: Lars von Trier backed out at the very last moment and they had resort to Tankred Dorst's proposal [you could see how bad his Walküre -- and Siegfried was much worse]

  3. 2011-12:
    Munich: Ghastly, are they just biding their time until Nagano leaves?

    Hamburg: Not bad, a new Lear even.

    Vienna: Looks pretty dire too but the Aus Einem Totenhaus looks interesting.

    I guess I'll never understand why the major German houses program so much 2nd-rate Italian stuff when so many great German-language operas are waiting for major productions.

  4. Hi Henry. Why don't you like the new season in Munich? To me it looks more than amazing that they are managing to mount the complete Ring in one season. Who could do this at such quality level today? I believe they planned to focus all their efforts on the Ring which partly explains why the rest of the program looks a bit rough around the edges.

    New Don Giovanni in Hamburg must be special, but a new Lear is definitely the one to watch. I hope the revival of the Neuenfels' production of Lear comes back to Komische next season.

  5. Yes, the Munich Ring is a strong proposal, with great casts and a very good director (and Nagano!), but certainly the rest is not that interesting (did you see they too play the Ponnelle Cenerentola?).
    For the Bayreuth Ring, there should be not just one name for this : why not Kusej indeed, but you could think to some youngsters from Kratzer to von Peter (well, why not? Chéreau in 1976 was 32), to Bieito, to many others (not Wieler and Morabito, who will certainly make a new Ring in Stuttgart very soon). I think the reason why they don't get any interesting name is that the production process in Bayreuth is so heavy and so slow that most directors don't want to waste so much time!

  6. LOL Rameau @ Ponnelle's Cenerentola! I saw they had to ditch Platée too. However mounting the entire Ring in one season is quite an achievement.

    I agree about the Bayreuth Ring which is what I said in an earlier entry. I'd love to see young guys given a chance to make the event remarkable.

    If instead they had to pick one director I think Martin would be the optimal choice: he did not direct any production of the Ring so far, he has experience, he is capable to make it different and non-trivial...

  7. BTW, two operas of The Geneva Ring will be staged in 2011-2012, directed by Christof Loy and conducted by Ingo Metzmacher.

  8. So, in Geneva, Brünnhilde will wear the little black dress?

  9. (Hope this isn't a repeat - I had a bit of a problem posting).

    I also think Munich is very strong. All the new productions are interesting, Don Carlo spectacularly cast, the remainder of the repertoire also good but not quite at that level.

    Vienna has some interesting singers and there is always TaDW for variety.

    For the Ring I like the idea of Kusej or Keith Warner but Donnersmark seems like it could be interesting as well.

    I think the Paris season is looking worse and worse as other things come out.

  10. I believe they planned to focus all their efforts on the Ring which partly explains why the rest of the program looks a bit rough around the edges

    That's it. I'm not a big Wagnerian --I only listen/go to performances of Parsifal and Tristan-- and I find the Ring after Act I of Die Walkure gets increasingly less interesting to the point that by the time that idiot Siegfried launches in to yet *another* recital of his glorious deeds, I'm cheering for Hagen to stab him.

    I'm also wary because my local opera company, Los Angeles Opera, poured all their resources in to the Achim Freyer Ring and it was a disaster financially; they're now reduced to doing 6 opera seasons with something like the 7th run of La Boheme in their 25 year history to make ends meet. Just kinda tired of all the attention the Ring gets when I think there's far more worthy pieces sitting on the shelf.

    Of course, the Wien Staatsoper schedule was released today and it's just as bad, it's a horrible time for those of us that have no interest in the Italian rep or pre-20th century stuff (Berlioz excepted!). To actually have a new production of Lear is almost shocking in the current atmosphere.

  11. thank so much for the Ory links. I have seen the opera in the cinema and liked it so much.

  12. The Lyon experiment with the components of Il Trittico is fascinating. However, I'd pair two of the double bills like this:

    Schicci/Von Heute auf Morgen (two comedies)
    Tabbaro/Florentine Tragedy (two Grand Guignol)

    The Ravel/Zemlinsky looks very interesting too.