20 January 2006

Spring is in the Air

Sieglinde's remaining Met tickets

1. La Traviata. Angela Gheorghiu v. Franco Zeffirelli. (Anne Midgette: "To sum it up: Ms. Gheorghiu made no demands; it was all a misunderstanding; and, oh yes, she is now getting the changes she wanted.")

2. Rigoletto. Another old college try for Anna; and a sampling of the fabled Netrebko/Villazon pairing, which I missed last month. Meanwhile, curious about Norah Amsellem's Gilda (set for May).

3. Lohengrin. Karita Mattila v. Robert Wilson, plus Luana deVol's Met debut; Ben Heppner always a velvet treat.

4. Forza del Destino. Decades from now, they'll speak of Deborah Voigt as the supreme Wagnerian and Straussian soprano of this generation. Don't ask me why the Met only has her singing such incongruous Italian roles (this Leonora and that Tosca) this season. Whatever. Meanwhile, big boy voiced Salvatore Licitra can clear my ear wax any time.

5. Tosca. Curious to hear a "Mario! Mario! Hojotoho!" (how often do we get this chance). Meanwhile, luxury cover Aprile Millo sneaks one performance in (last week of the season). And, hello?? Marcello Giordani.

6. Mazeppa. Met premiere; with Valery Gergiev, who's been doing a fabulous disappearing act as principal guest conductor of the company. (De-facto house conductor James Conlon has more engagements this year.)

7. Luisa Miller. The delicate soprano of Sieglinde's current favorite underdog artist, Barbara Frittoli, should be winning in the opera's final act; Neil Shicoff grayer but still fighting.

8. Don Pasquale. James Levine has always figured out a way to present every singer of any talent in the best possible light. So, Anna, let's see what you really got. Meanwhile, Juan Diego Florez is more than enough star to pull me into orbit.

9. Parsifal. What's an agnostic to do on a Good Friday night? (Wait ... this year's Parsifals fall a month after the Holy Week. What kind of dumb programming is that? Oh yeah, the same brain trust that installed An American Tragedy and Wozzeck during the joyous holiday season.)

10. L'Elisir d'Amore. The rapid return of Giuseppe Filianoti.

11. Rodelinda. Two countertenor debuts (Andreas Scholl and Christophe Dumaux); a Renee Fleming event (how can one miss?); a Stephanie Blythe event (ditto).

SO BASICALLY, the girl's got tickets to everything. Sieglinde's also looking into a Fidelio with Karita Mattila and Ben Heppner (and one evening with an anticipated debut of big-voiced Erika Sunnegardh as Leonore); A Hei-Kyung Hong Violetta; the Cyrano de Bergerac (with Placido Domingo, and Sondra Radvanovsky who I haven't seen in a while, and I refuse to acknowledge the existence of Die Fledermaus); a Samson et Dalila (I pay full price just to hear Olga Borodina carress "Printemps qui commence."); an Aida or two (with Andrea Gruber, Borodina, and Johan Botha; because it's my favorite Broadway show); the Volpe Gala. (Did I say everything.)

P.S.. Who's the new hottie at the box office? Ever since I can remember, the Met box office has always been manned by a crew of nice, jolly grey-haired men (never been rude to Sieglinde, I love them!), a couple of middle-aged tall men, and a couple of high-school-teacherish females; but now there's a city kid with penetrating eyes. Smells to me like it's part of incoming emperor Peter Gelb's masterplan (i.e., the Netrebko Strategy, a.k.a. Only Pretty People Please). A free copy of Sieglinde's Diaries, the Director's Cut to the first person to send me a photo of the Box Office Hottie!