Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Message From Peter Gelb, And A Message To Peter Gelb

On August 22nd I received the following email from the Metropolitan Opera. It was followed by a hard copy sent by mail of the same letter.

"Dear Subscriber:
Monday, August 11, was a frustrating day for opera lovers who came to the box office for the first day of our priority period for subscribers and patrons. We should have done a better job communicating new information about the more limited availability of tickets for exchange. Because you and our other subscribers are a vital part of the company, I would like to apologize for the inconvenience this caused.
Four seasons ago, the Met introduced instant ticket exchanges, an unusual measure begun at a time when subscriptions were faltering and ticket sales declining. Now that the company is beginning to thrive again at the box office, such a policy is difficult to sustain. Since we want our subscribers to be happy, some exchanges continue to be available. We've also added the opportunity for subscribers and patrons to buy single tickets before the general public.
I am proud that the Met is doing more for opera lovers than ever before—including numerous free public events, a rush–ticket program, more new productions, and our transmissions into movie theaters, on public television, and on the radio.
I appreciate that many of you have taken the time to share your thoughts, and I regret the confusion that took place on August 11. We are working to make sure that next season things will run much more smoothly and are very grateful for your loyalty and passionate interest in the Met.
Thank you.

Peter Gelb
General Manager"

I was not at the Met on this apparently very "frustrating day." I'm glad I wasn't there, from what I hear it was an absolute nightmare!

However, I didn't post this letter to complain about the situation on August 11th. I'm posting this letter in response to the new ticket exchange program for subscribers.
I was so grateful to have an exchange program like the Met's. It made everything easy and I got to see every opera that I could possibly want! I didn't want to see War and Peace? That's fine, I can see La Traviata instead! (hypothetical) It was also great for new subscribers, or people new to opera. They (probably) have no idea the importance of Eugene Onegin, but they know all about La Boheme! So they can see that instead. It was a wonderful process, but it was changed this season.
This season there is an exchange fee and you can't exchange your tickets online. You must exchange by mail or in person at the box office. I guess the free online exchange

I did some research and here's what I came up with :
(these are just the opera houses I researched, other opera houses may have different policies

Opera Houses Without Exchange Programs
Teatro La Fenice
Teatro Alla Scala
Teatro Real
Mariinsky Theatre

Opera Houses With Exchange Fees
Lyric Opera of Chicago
Royal Opera House

Opera Houses With Free Ticket Exchange
Washington National Opera (first two exchanges are free)
Gran Teatro del Liceu

Note: None of these opera houses let you exchange online.

I guess we're lucky to have an exchange program at all, but let's face it those opera houses don't have the assortment of operas to choose from like the Met does. At the Met you don't get all the operas in one subscription, you get 6-8 out of 24 operas. So, isn't the Met a special case?
I could just be an annoying whiner, but I'm sure other people share my views.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings.

Happy Listening!!! =)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Domingo Replacing Alvarez in "Adriana Lecouvreur"

Crisis resolved. TBA deleted. Domingo is a superhero.
Not only does Placido Domigo get a gala in his honor, but the Met is also "letting him" (not exactly) jump into the role of Maurizio after not singing it there for 25 years! It was the role he debuted at the Met in (with Tebaldi) and he only performed it at the Met once more in 1983.
Marcelo Alvarez, as we all know, has to replace Salvatore Licitra in Trovatore and can not perform in any of the six performances of Adriana.
Well.... Let's just say Adriana ticket holders aren't complaining. I'm sure Maria Guleghina (the leading lady) isn't either.

Domingo! To the Rescue!

Happy Listening!!! =)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Inevitable- Cancellations

Cancellation numero uno:

Anna Netrebko underestimated the time she would need with her new baby before returning to the stage. As a result, she has cancelled her scheduled performances of Mimi at the Met. Maija Kovalevska is going to replace the Trebster in those performances. However, La Trebs will still be singing her scheduled Lucia's at the Met.

Cancellation numero deux/trois:

Despite the amazing advertisements and super cool pictures, Salvatore Licitra will not be singing Manrico in the Met's brand new Trovatore. Marcelo Alvarez will be this season's Manrico (the run starts February 16th). This means that Alvarez will have to cancel Adriana Lecouvreur, but never fear! TBA is here! Old reliable "to be announced" has replaced Marcelo Alvarez as Maurizio until further notice.

Happy Listening!!! =)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How Will YOU Find Your Way To The Box Office?

Did anyone else see the humor in the Met's new link on their website: "Lincoln Center Construction: How to Find the Box Office"? You can look at it and say "Oh look, they're being so helpful!" Or you can look at it and laugh and say "Haha! Look at them taking a jab at the people who thought up this construction!"
Does Lincoln Center really need all those improvements at once? It definitely ruins the overall awe-inspiring affect of the plaza. Not only for the many tourists who go there daily, but for the veteran Lincoln Center goers. I personally don't like seeing my (yes "my") fountain and plaza torn apart. Not all at once, anyway. Do the front of the Lincoln Center Theater after the plaza is done, or vice versa!
Plus, the idea of not having it in tip-top shape for Renee's Big Opening Night is frustrating to say the least.

So how will YOU get to the Met Box Office?

On West 62nd Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, through the underpass/garage,
On West 65th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, through the underpass by the Vivian Beaumont Theater stage door,
OR from Columbus Avenue, via the lobby of Avery Fisher Hall

You decide.

Happy Listening!!! =)

PS. Michael Phelps is a god.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Divas in Beijing

In follow up of my post about my concern for the health of the opera singers currently in Beijing I've been wondering if any of you have been wondering whether any of us here on the Western Hemisphere will ever hear any of these concerts. I know that I always like to see concerts from around the world, i.e. Proms, etc., so I was excited to hear today that the "Divas in Beijing" concerts will be filmed. They are hoping to broadcast them in November or December of this year. See the Divas in Beijing website for more details on the schedule of releases!

It's fair to say that I am still extremely worried about the well-being of all singers/athletes involved. I'll admit that I hope the opening ceremonies are good. I always love watching those. Hopefully they all won't have to wear oxygen masks!!!

Happy Listening!!! =)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Opera's Biggest Stars Singing Through the Smog in Beijing

The "Divas in Beijing" concert, which is apparently one of the highlights of the "Meet in Beijing 2008 Olympic Arts Festival", will feature our most treasured opera stars. This includes, of course, Renee Fleming, Angela Gheorghiu, Dmitri Hvorostovky, Marcello Giordani, and others.
Angela Gheorghiu will start the string of concerts on August 7th, the day before the Olympics officially start. She will be accompanied by the China National Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Emmanuel Villaume. All the concerts will be at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

As cool as this may sound right now, this could have some serious effects on the singers. I'm very worried about all the singers (the athletes, too, of course) going through the smog in Beijing and the terrible pollution all around that area. I'm especially worried (as we surely all are) about Renee. It would be dreadful if the conditions should threaten her voice for the big Renee Opening Night Gala at the Met. (=]) It's a potentially disastrous situation for all the singers, but the Met (I'm sorry-- the Renee) Opening Night can't be spoiled because of the Olympics. Pardon my saying so, but Rondine, Trovatore, and La Damnation de Faust can't all be robbed of their lead singers because of a little smog and pollution!
In all seriousness, I'm concerned for the health (and vocal longevity) of all of the singers participating. (Once again, I'm concerned for the athletes as well.) At least they will be inside for the concerts, but I hope they don't breath in too many harmful fumes. I don't want anything terrible to happen just before, or during, what promises to be an exciting season in many opera houses around the world.

Happy Listening!!! =)