12 February 2009

There's always next (next) year

Now that the Met 2009-10 season roster has been officially announced, it's time to shift our collective obsession to seasons 2010-11 and beyond. Brad Wilber's Met Futures page, which will remain in Sieglinde's Diaries for the foreseeable future, has just been updated with the following info:

In La Boheme, Vittorio Grigolo and Kristine Opolais will make their Met debuts in the fall of 2010 as Rodolfo and Musetta respectively, joining a cast which already includes several debuting international artists.

In the new production of Das Rheingold, Eric Owens is Alberich, and Hans-Peter Koening is Fafner.

In Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Isabel Leonard will sing Nicklausse.

In Don Carlo, Sonia Ganassi will take the role of Eboli.

11 February 2009

Recession special: three giants on stage for $15

Cilea ADRIANA LECOUVREUR, Met 10.II.2009; c. Armiliato; Guleghina, Borodina, Domingo, Frontali.

Rush review: in his slow decline, Placido Domingo can still convene a worldclass performance. A bounty of audience goodwill goes a long way, of course. His tours above the staff are understandably calculated, with some top notes on the verge of faltering, but with Domingo there is never fear of total meltdown (cf. Villazon). Thus, no matter how arduous it seems for him to scale the heights these days, the audience never feels uncomfortable or burdened. A true wonder that it's his 40th year at the Met. In the style department, he remains unmatched, bailing out this artless opera with rare elegance. Nothing he can do with his Adriana, however. Maria Guleghina is always the show within the show. Her elements were present: extraterrestrial sound, massive resonance, diminuendos galore, crystal pianos, and stage deportment matched only by her big feet. Too dominant, she's always Maria and never the role, and we've all learned to love her that way. During her duets with Domingo, I imagined instead another scene involving incestuous twins, and just how grand it could be. Why the f*ck doesn't she move onto Wagner already. I'd forsake pork shoulder for one her "Rache! Tod! Tod uns beiden!" I mean, really. The highlight of the evening, of course, was the bitch slap with Olga Borodina (who was stellar, by the way). They turned it way on, I swear they looked like they were going to burst out laughing. Forget Cilea, forget Adriana: it was Ukraine vs. Russia. All the queens went home happy.

09 February 2009

Keep it clean, boys

Anthony Tommasini, the chief classical music critic of The New York Times, is answering questions from readers Feb. 9-13, 2009. Questions may be e-mailed to askthetimes@nytimes.com.