Saturday, March 28, 2009

Met's 2009-2010 Subscription Highlights and Lowlights

Dear Metropolitan Opera,

I would like to first introduce some proposed improvements to your recent presentation of subscriptions...Lowlights!

  • Will someone PLEASE make sure that Rolando Villazon gets his life in order before we all get our hopes up about Contes d'Hoffmann????? From recent reports via Parterre and Opera Chic should we get the hint that maybe Rolando isn't going to be appearing at the Met if not after an extended absence, then ever? This whole situation makes me rather depressed.
  • Someone just remind me why we are replacing the Zefferelli Tosca? No, no I shouldn't think like this. I'll be open minded: Will someone reassure me that the new production will be fantastic??
  • Why, for goodness sake, can't the Met fit in a Der Rosenkavalier into any of the Saturday Evening subscriptions? That is one of the few operas that I am absolutely dying to go see and I can't squeeze it in to any of my subscription choices! I will have to buy tickets separately, but can't the Met replace anything with Rosenkavalier?
  • Another little detail they forgot about in the Saturday subscriptions: The Nose. This is another opera I want to see so badly (just for Paulo Szot, but shhhh don't tell anyone!) and it's nowhere to be found on Saturday Evening!
  • I just have this to say about Renee's new production of Armida: Can we trust Mary Zimmerman with another bel canto opera?

Alright, that's all the complaints I have. On a lighter note, here are some events I'm looking forward to this season...Highlights!!!

  • I'm very curious about From the House of the Dead. I have a very funny feeling about it, but a good funny feeling. Something is going to make this opera interesting. I'm intrigued!
  • The new Carmen! I'm usually very conservative when it comes to new productions, especially when they're for such staples as Carmen, but this is another case where I have a good feeling about it. I'm hoping that even if the production turns out eurotrashy or just flat out obnoxious (ie. the recent Sonnambula) the stellar cast will keep it afloat.
  • As I said in the Lowlights, I'm looking forward to the Der Rosenkavalier and The Nose, but for very different reasons. The primary reason in The Nose is, of course, Paulo Szot, but I'm trying to branch out into more contemporary opera to see if I like it. Trying to stay hip and "with it." =) Der Rosenkavalier, on the other hand is a shameless guilty pleasure. Not only does it star my dear Renee Fleming, but oh look! there's Susan Graham and Thomas Allen! Did I mention that this is one of my favorite operas of all time?
  • Maybe this season I'll finally get to see Damnation de Faust or Il Trittico. I wanted to see Damnation this year, but never got around to it. It looked like a strange production!!!! Il Trittico is in support of my darling Patricia Racette. She's got the triple bill going and I wouldn't miss it for the world!!!!!

This is sure to be a season of opportunity. There are so many new operas and genres to try, new productions to explore, and new singers to fall head-over-heels for (namely Paulo Szot). Even if we hate (or love to hate?) every single new production, or if we bash every singer in a revival, we KNOW that this season will NOT be boring. The blogosphere and Angela Gheorghiu will make sure that we will always have something to talk about during the 2009-2010 season!!!

Happy Listening!!! =)

PS. *sighhhhh* I missed posting! =)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bravo Domingo!!!! Audience Overflows at Domingo's Last Maurizio

The audience at the Metropolitan Opera's performance of Adriana Lecouvreur last night was far from its usual loud self. On the contrary, it was perfectly silent the whole evening. The one detected no-no was an overabundance of flash photography during curtain calls, but for once the nazi-ushers (I say that lovingly, of course) didn't cry out for "no photographs in the house!" Instead, they let the audience wallow in the greatness that was the presence of Placido Domingo and to bestow onto him every compliment and gesture of adoration we could muster.
In what was probably his final performance as Maurizio ever, Placido Domingo sang and acted as if he didn't have 40 years under his belt, but was still in his primmest prime. He doesn't put on airs, he does not act as if he is on top of the world (which he is, by the way), but he acts as he has always done: like the character he is playing. Acting like a dashing young prince can be difficult when you're an almost-70 [still dashing] king of opera, but it isn't hard to imagine any woman falling in love with Placido Domingo even when it is hard to imagine him riding into battle.
40 years ago Domingo debuted in this role opposite the illustrious Renata Tebaldi. Last night his final Adriana was Maria Guleghina who, despite what I have heard about her pushing, gave a wonderful vocal and dramatic performance. Olga Borodina was, as usual, the cool mezzo that she is, a worthy Princess to Domingo's probably intimidating Prince of Saxony. Her husband, played by John Del Carlo, was imposing and comic, towering over his colleagues and providing well needed comic relief. Roberto Frontali really stood out as Michonnet, the real tragic character in this opera, his powerful and beautiful voice that became the icing on this already stunning operatic cake.
What could possibly have been going through Domingo's mind last night as he stepped on to the stage? Could he have seen himself, 40 years younger, nerves bouncing off the wall, beside one of the greatest sopranos of all time? Could he have been reliving those glorious moments of his debut at the Met? Or is it possible that he didn't think of his debut at all, thinking only of the performance ahead and going over in his mind his endless knowledge of opera, its characters, and finding exactly what he needed for Maurizio?
Oh, Domingo, the world may never know.
Happy Listening! =)