29 September 2010

The Future has been revised

Who cares about the season just opened? Sieglinde announces gigantic updates to Brad Wilber's indispensable Met Futures Page for the next four seasons. Check out the following:

For Season 2011-12:
1. Ildar Abdrazakov replaces John Relyea as Enrico in Anna Bolena.
2. Waltraud Meier will share Waltraute in Die Götterdämmerung.
3. Marina Rebeka debuts as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni.
4. For Faust, Marina Poplavskaya will share the Marguerites with Angela Gheorghiu, Piotr Beczala will sing some Fausts, George Petean will sing some Valentins, and Ian McNeill will design instead of Robert Brill.
5. The Enchanted Island has a cast: Danielle de Niese as Ariel, Lisette Oropesa as Miranda, Joyce DiDonato as Sycorax, David Daniels as Prospero, Anthony Roth Costanzo as Ferdinand in his Met debut, Placido Domingo as Neptune, and Luca Pisaroni as Caliban.
6. Maestro Michele Mariotti has been taken off Elisir d'amore.
7. Sondra Radvanovsky has been taken off Aida.
8. Tom Fox sings Doctor Kolenaty in Makropoulos Case.
9. Marianne Cornelli will share the role of Abigaille with Maria Guleghina in Nabucco.
10. Angela Meade joins the cast of Ernani as Elvira.

For Season 2012-13:
1. Elza van den Heever will make her Met debut as Elisabetta in Maria Stuarda.
2. Matthew Polenzani will be Lensky in Eugene Onegin, which will be directed by Deborah Warner.
3. Maija Kovalevska will sing Micaela, Yonghoon Lee will be Don Jose, and Maestro Michele Mariotti will make his Met debut in Carmen.
4. Marcello Alvarez and Dmitri Hvorostovsky have been added to the cast of Un Ballo en Maschera.
5. Katarina Dalayman will sing Kundry in Parsifal.
6. For Il Trovatore, Franco Vassallo will sing Di Luna and Maestro Daniele Callegari will conduct.
7. Norma has been added to the repertory, starring Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role.
8. Barber of Seville has been added to the repertory, to be conducted by Yves Abel. Some performances will be in abridged family version.
9. Giulio Cesare has been added, to feature a new (borrowed) production with a cast that includes David Daniels and Rachid Ben Abdeslam, debuting as Nireno.
10. Maestro Fabio Luisi will share conducting duties for Don Carlo. Marambio and Smirnova have been taken off the cast list.
11. Jose Cura will be Otello.
12. Maija Kovalevska will sing the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro.

For Season 2013-14:
1. Falstaff will be a new production, with a cast that includes Lisette Oropesa as Nannetta, Stephanie Blythe as Quickly, and Franco Vassallo as Ford. Jack O'Brien will direct.
2. For I Puritani, Mariusz Kwiecien will be Riccardo, and Maestro Michele Mariotti will conduct.
3. Anne Schwanewilms will make her Met debut in Die Frau ohne Schatten as Kaiserin, with Johan Reuter as Barak.
4. Fanciulla del West has been added to the roster.
5. The Nose has been added.
6. La Sonnambula returns, with Diana Damrau and Javier Camarena.
7. A new production of Prince Igor has been added to the list, with Ildar Abdrazakov.
8. Werther will be a new production, to be directed by Richard Eyre.

Season 2014-2015:
1. Renée Fleming will star in a new production of The Merry Widow, to be directed by Susan Stroman.

She said what

Some of the more boldface guests weren't necessarily well-versed with the story. "But I did my research," said fashion designer Rachel Roy. "A family member who's German downloaded me before I came."

28 September 2010

Valhalla fail

So this is what the Met's new Das Rheingold ending was supposed to look like. On Monday, everyone pretty much exited to the sides soon after their music ended, leaving Loge alone onstage, which appeared weird. It's a good thing the production failed this way, rather than, say, crushing a singer to death or dropping a Rheinmaiden from four stories up. Though they ought to be very careful with the curtain calls: there is a sizeable gap between the downstage area (where the curtain calls occur) and the immense modular apparatus. James Levine was about three feet away from being the biggest tragedy of my opera life.

Met opening night, 2010

Wagner DAS RHEINGOLD, Met Opening Night, 27.IX.2010; c. Levine; Terfel, Blythe, Owens, Selig, Koenig, R. Croft, Siegel, Oropesa, Johnson, Mumford, Harmer.

Here's a pic of Deborah Voigt interviewing light a.k.a. Robert Lepage. There were celebrities in attendance, muttering "what, no intermission?". It was rainy too, which ruined more than a few entrances. Seating for the outdoor simulcast was hell.

Inside the house, James Levine reasserted his place in the universe with a characteristically balanced reading of the piece-- vibrant but controlled. I never spend a thought on Bryn Terfel, but tonight he wasn't his typical self-indulgent self, which is to say, he was brilliant as Wotan. Shades of a young James Morris, minus the snarl; the voice was appropriately overbearing, forming a heavenly pair with Stephanie Blythe's lush fat Fricka. (Next to Levine, she got the loudest ovations.) The Freia, Wendy Bryn Harmer, was thrilling and visceral, as was Franz-Josef Selig's Fasolt and Eric Owens' Alberich. And the Rheinmaidens too. Everyone benefited from Lepage's modular steroid-raked stage, which reflected sound outward, and also pushed most of the singers downstage. Richard Croft's Loge was the sole failure: too earnest, too dainty-- but I think I caught him sneezing a couple of times, so he may have been under the weather. Regarding the Cirque du Soleil: I'm a big believer, and it didn't disappoint. There were moments of tension--like, will Freia fall from the net and break her neck, did Fasolt's slide down the stage break his neck, did any of the stunt doubles break their necks, will Woglinde's wire break and break Lisette Oropesa's neck, etc.--so that took attention off the music a bit. But still it was magical and enormous and multidimensional and correctly alive: a true 21st century production. Costumes and hair, on the other hand, were just awful.

One alarming note: James Levine seemed to have unusual difficulty navigating the couple of shallow steps to get onto the stage for his curtain call. He didn't look healthy.