Thursday, May 31, 2012

Le Nozze di Figaro Preview 2012-2013 season

Jonathon Miller's production of Le Nozze di Figaro gets a starry cast led by Ildar Abdrazakov in the role of Figaro and Gerald Finley as the Count.

The Production
The current production of Le Nozze di Figaro returns to the Met after a 3 year absence. The production by Johnathon Miller had its premiere in 1998 and was immediately recorded on live television. Jonathon Miller who made his Met debut in 1991 directing Kata Kabanova and is known for his straight forward approaches to Opera. Sometimes he tinkers with relationships and settings but with this opera he sticks to the basics. For this production he keeps the work in the 18th century and lets the score tell the tale Mozart’s way. For the last run in 2009, Gregory Keller oversaw the stage direction and changed some scenes from their original staging. For example Figaro now sings “Se vuol ballare” while spit-polishing the Count’s boots and Cherubino no longer disrobes behind the Countess’s screen. According to critics, the balance of subtlety and slapstick were moved slightly toward comic broadness.As for the production's sets and lighting, Miller clearly designed it with with sensitivity to both the time span and the highly stylized fashions of the day. For example Miller used bright lights in Acts I and II to denote day time, and warm candle light with dark filter of blue light for Acts III and IV. While the staging isn't the most evolutionary production to come to the Met, audiences have loved it for years and this year with its exciting cast should not be an exception.

Ramon Vargas to replace to Jonas Kaufmann

Netrebko-Schrott-lA few days ago it was announced that superstar tenor Jonas Kaufmann would not sing at the Royal Albert Hall. Now word comes that Mexican tenor Ramon Vargas will sing the concert alongside Anna Netrebko and Erwin Schrott. For the full story click here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Salazar Family Opera Circle celebrates its one year anniversary

Last year on May 30, 2011 the first article for our opera blog was published. That was the first annual HD awards. Now after one year 235 articles have been written with over 50 comments published by the fans. Our facebook page has 38 fans and our twitter has 9 followers. Finally the page has received over 38,000 hits.

Thank you so much to the audience because without you we would have an empty blog. We hope that you continue to enjoy this blog over the next year. Finally if you still have not joined our facebook page here is our link:


Monday, May 28, 2012

Kaufmann's illness continues

After canceling the Met's Walkure and Zurich's Kaufmann Gala, news has arrived that Jonas Kaufmann has withdrawn from the anticipated Les Troyens production at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and from the Royal Albert Hall and Wigmore recitals.

Speculations are now arising of whether he will sing in Ariadne Auf Naxos and Carmen in Salzburg this summer. As for the Les Troyens, Bryan Hymel will takeover the role of Enee and the Royal Albert Hall concert will take place with Anna Netrebko and Erwin Schrott. The Wigmore recital has been cancelled. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Barbara Frittoli will sing Don Carlo at the Met

After major casting changes announced last week, the Met has just announced that Barbara Frittoli will sing the role of Elisabetta in Don Carlo replacing Sondra Radvanovsky who will be singing Un Ballo in Maschera.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Democracy prevails!

Earlier today I published an article about Peter Gelb not allowing Opera News to publish reviews about the Metropolitan Opera Performances. Now the Press Office releases this "In view of the outpouring of reaction from opera fans about the recent decision to discontinue Met performance reviews in Opera News, the Met has decided to reverse this new editorial policy. From their postings on the internet, it is abundantly clear that opera fans would miss reading reviews about the Met in Opera News. Ultimately, the Met is here to serve the opera-loving public and has changed its decision because of the passionate response of the fans.
The Met and the Met Opera Guild, the publisher of Opera News, have been in discussions about the role of the Guild and how its programs and activities can best fulfill its mission of supporting the Metropolitan Opera. These discussions have included the role of reviews in Opera News, and whether they served that mission.  While the Met believed it did not make sense for a house organ that is published by the Guild and financed by the Met to continue to review Met productions, it has become clear that the reviews generate tremendous excitement and interest and will continue to have a place in Opera News."
I guess Mr. Gelb isn't the dictator we all thought.  

Gelb: The Dictator

Yesterday it was announced that after 76 years, Opera News, one of the leading classical music magazines in the country, would stop reviewing the Metropolitan Opera, a policy prompted by the Met’s dissatisfaction over negative critiques.” The decision came after negative reviews for the Ring Cycle, Gelb's most ambitious project to date. The decision however is  is troubling as it shows Gelb's lack of confidence in his product and his lack his sensitivity toward criticism. The Magazine run by the members of the Guild stopped reviewing Met productions in 2012. This announcement comes a few months after Gelb protested the WQXR blogger's comments on the Ring. For more information click here

The fact that this is occurring will put discord to many who read the magazine as it will be censored. I for one always enjoyed reading about the Met's production whether they were negative or positive. What do you think about this topic and do you believe Gelb is censoring by not allowing people to have their opinions written? 

Monday, May 21, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Natalie Dessay cancels June Manon and Netrebko comes to the rescue

Natalie Dessay who has been suffering from health issues since her Met Traviata has canceled the new production premiere of Manon at La Scala. Anna Netrebko who is currently singing Giuletta in I Capuleti e Montecchi will step in for the premiere on June 19 and 22. The Diva premiered Laurent Pelly's production in the Royal Opera House in 2010 and in the Metropolitan Opera this past April 2012.  Ermonela Jaho will step in on the 25, 29 of June and 2, 5, 7 of July. 

Update: Anna Netrebko has cancelled the final two performances of I Capuleti e Montecchi

I Capuleti e Montecchi full performance video

For those who missed the live stream from Saturday evening, here are some videos of the  superb transmission.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau 1925-2012

Celebrated bartione Dietrich Fischer Dieskau died earlier today in Bavaria at the age of 86. The bartitone was famous for his lieder particularly for Schubert's "Winterreise" and his opera interpretations. The opera community will miss this legendary artist.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stemme Confirmed to Sing Isolde and Electra in 2016-17

According to a New York Times Article published today, Nina Stemme will not sing at the Met until the 2016-17 season when she will sing Isolde in a new Willy Decker Production of "Tristan und Isolde" and as the title role of Strauss' "Electra."

More more information, read the article here.

Breaking News: NUMEROUS CHANGES to 2012-13 Casts

Here we go! In the tumultuous world of opera changes are to be expected time and again. but today, without much fanfare, new changes appeared across the Met's website. Here is a list of some: 

Ballo in Maschera: Sondra Radvanovsky is now set to star in next year's new Met production of Un ballo in maschera. All of Radvanovsky’s dates in Don Carlo  are now TBA, and it probably won't be Matilla. My guess is that it will be Poplavskaya who has sung the production on numerous occasions. Additionally, Marcelo Álvarez will sing Gustavo III in Un Ballo in Maschera on November 27, replacing Roberto De Biasio. That is a shame considering Di Biasio's incredible performances in Ernani last season. Álvarez will now sing all performances of the role in the 2012-13 season.
Il Trovatore: Gwyn Hughes-Jones will make his Met role debut as Manrico in Verdi’s Il Trovatore at the September 29 matinee and will also sing the role on October 4, 8, 12, 17, 20, and 25. Carmen Giannattasio will take over Radvanovsky's Il Trovatore  dates (October 12, 17, 20, and 25) in addition to the dates already assigned to her.
Aida: Dolora Zajick will replace Olga Borodina as Amneris in Verdi’s Aida on December 19, 22, and 28. As previously announced, Borodina will still sing the role on November 23, 26, 29 and December 3, 7, 12, and 15 matinee.
L'Elisir D'Amore: As previously noted Erwin Schrott will make his Met role debut as Doctor Dulcamara in Bartlett Sher’s new production of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore on January 30. He will also sing the role on February 2, 6, and 9 matinee.
Otello: Italian baritone Marco Vratogna will make his Met debut as Iago in Verdi’s Otello on March 27. He replaces Thomas Hampson, who will still sing the performances on March 11, 15, 20, 23, and 30.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

La Clemenza di Tito Preview 2012-2013 season

Jean Pierre Ponnelle 's classic production of La Clemenza di Tito returns for the first time since 2008 with an all star cast that includes Giuseppe Filianoti, Elina Garanca, and Barbara Frittoli.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Met's new policy on Cast changes!

“Based on journalist feedback,” the Met’s press office has ceased issuing email announcements of cast changes, which is totally believable, because if there’s anything journalists simply detest, it’s convenient access to up-to-date information on the beat they’re covering. As as result of this news the cher public will have to keep a constant watch on the Met’s website, where cast changes will be made as quietly and unobtrusively as possible. 

Based on this policy the Met seemed to have lost money with the many cast changes that occurred this past season. Not making press releases seems like a way to make sure that ticket holders go to the performance no matter who sings. 

What do you think of this new policy? 

Monday, May 14, 2012

I Capuleti e Montecchi photos

The first pictures of I Capuleti e Monetcchi have been released for the Bavarian State Opera. The production stars Anna Netrebko and Vesselina Kasarova. Yves Abel conducts.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Parting thoughts on the 2011-2012 Metropolitan Opera Season

by Francisco Salazar

Another Met season has passed and like the ones prior  there were many successes, disappointments, and failures. Like last year, I will give an analysis of what I believe were the successes, failures, surprises, and disappointments of this season. As a disclaimer, I would like to emphasize that the following comments are my opinions and that I will not write about every single work I saw or was presented this year. I respect those who believe that everything I say is completely wrong and I welcome any contradictory arguments. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Met Opera Review: "Vec Makropulos" and Matilla a pairing for all ages

By David Salazar (For 5.11.12 performance)

I will confess that until a week ago, "Vec Makropulos" (or "The Makropulos Case", or "The Makropulos Affair," or "The Makropulos Secret," or "The Makropulos Thing") were not in my plans at all. Sometimes you grow into a certain repertoire and isolate yourselves from other potential works of art because you attach a certain stigma to them. Music of the 20th Century has always been a tough sell for me (save for Shostakovich, Prokoviev, Strauss and a few others not coming to mind at the moment) and as a result I have generally found myself avoiding the modern operas that the Met has offered.

This past fall, I got the opportunity to see Phillip Glass' "Satyagraha" and realized what I had been missing out on. I lament not finding the time to make "Billy Budd" a part of my schedule this past week, but was excited at the prospect of Janacek's penultimate work.

And I was certainly rewarded. Combining science fiction, Hitchcock, and a haunting music from Leos Janacek, "Vec Markopulos" is one of opera's best kept secrets. Or at least it was for me. And the Met's performance (the last one in the run) added all the necessary ingredients to elevate the work to an even greater level of sublimity. A great conductor, a strong production, great direction, a strong supporting cast, and of course: a fearless diva to take on the role of the longest-living diva literature has ever known.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Review: Wagner's Dream

By David Salazar

During the course of the next few weeks, the Met will rescreen is famous (or infamous for those who have read my reviews) new Ring Cycle in movie theaters around the world. To kick off the cycle, the new making-of documentary "Wagner's Dream" saw its first major screening around the world (the film had made a debut screening at the Tribeca Film Festival).

The documentary in many ways succeeds where the actual production that it details fails. It is riveting, multifaceted, and rich in its content, scope, and the story that it sets out to tell. Whereas the production tends to be a rigid, flat, and consistently lacking in personality, this documentary more than makes up for it with wit and insight. After watching the film, I felt something that I hadn't felt while watching the actual production at the Met: I was rooting for the production to succeed. And I actually had some affinity for Met Manager Peter Gelb and Director Robert LePage. 

We watch as the planks take form from tiny models to the 90,000 pound monster it eventually becomes. We get a look at the original plans for the planks and then watch as LePage and crew learn of its limitations. The production team's frustrations become our frustrations.

Notable DVD and CD releases for the month of May

Massenet: Cendrillon

Massenet's rarely performed score is brought to life by the great Joyce Didonato. She was acclaimed for her interpretation of Cendrillon and now Virgin Classics releases the Royal Opera House production recorded last year. Laurent Pelly's production also starred Ewa Podles and Alice Coote.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Billy Budd returns tomorrow

Nathan Gunn brings his signature to the Met in John Dexter's classic production.  James Morris brings his star power to Britten's beloved work. David Robertson conducts the Met Orchestra.  

<i>Billy Budd</i> Returns

For more information visit our preview: 

Season of Cancellations Continue: The Latest "Canceller"? Anna Netrebko of Course!

As many have noticed, opera cancellations are running rampant these days. Surprisingly a certain Romanian Diva (notorious for consistently displaying this sort of behavior) has yet to make the headlines (cough...cough... Ms. Alagna). 

Now we have more news of more cancellations headlined by opera's superstar diva Anna Netrebko. 
Here is the story from the New York Times
The soprano Anna Netrebko has dropped out of a sold-out high-profile run of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” at the Staatsoper in Berlin – and ticket-buyers will receive compensation. Ms. Netrebko, in a press release on Thursday on the opera house’s Web site, apologized but said she had had a “very busy year” and needed to spend time with her 3-year-old son, Tiago. The company said Maria Bengtsson would take over for Ms. Netrebko, who was to have sung the role of Donna Anna. Five performances are planned from June 24 to July 6.
A spokesman for Ms. Netrebko, Sean Michael Gross, said she was not available to comment. He said the production was planned before “the demands of her current family situation” and added, “Her child is a huge priority for her and she hopes people will be understanding of the demands placed on her as a working mother.”
Conducted by Daniel Barenboim, the Staatsoper’s music director, the production has a top-level cast including Christopher Maltman, Giuseppe Filianoti, Dorothea Roschmann and Erwin Schrott, who is Ms. Netrebko’s partner and Tiago’s father. A spokesman for the opera house said that tickets were more expensive for the production because of the starry cast – $80 to $290 instead of a more typical $72 to $210 – and that ticket-holders would receive a partial rebate because of Ms. Netrebko’s absence.

Who is next? 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kaufmann cancels Final Walkure

Jonas Kaufmann has made his mark on this year's Ring Cycle; but probably not the way he wanted to. The Met has announced that Mr. Kaufmann is sick for the final Ring performance. Stuart Skelton will replace him for the final performance. Skelton sang the first Walkure during the Met's first cycle while Frank Van Aken replaced Kaufmann in Walkure performance #2. 

I Capuleti e Montecchi live on May 19

On May 19, the Bavarian State Opera will transmit I Capuleti e Montecchi live through the internet. Anna Netrebko and Vesselina Kasarova take on the doomed lovers Romeo and Juliet. Dimitri Pittas stars as Tebaldo and Spanish conductor Yves Abel conducts Bellini haunting score. The production by Vincent Boussard is a co-production with the San Francisco Opera.

The Bavarian has already transmitted three previous operas online this season, Eugene Onegin, Don Carlo and L'Elisir d'amore bringing millions of viewers world wide.

Another cancelled Traviata by Dessay!

Natalie Dessay has canceled tonight’s final performance of La traviata, leaving Hei-Kyung Hong to do the honors.