Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Faust Preview 2012-2013 Season

Des McAnuff's incomprehensible production returns to the Met starring Piotr Beczala and Marina Poplavskaya.

The Production
Last year the Met unveiled The English National Opera's production of Faust replacing Andrei Serban's visually lavish production of Faust. Gelb's reason for replacing a production that had only been shown 13 times was because he wanted a more theatrical Faust. However what he got was an incomprehensible and confusing production. Rather than pleasing the audience with a dazzling, energetic and colorful take on the simple love story, Gelb bored audiences and critics alike. The production which takes place during World War 2 in Faust's laboratory has interesting and diverting sequences as well as interesting lighting effects. However when McAnuff is forced to work with the heavy material, he runs out of ideas and relies on the singers to engage the audience. As an audience member it did not matter how beautiful the singers were singing because I was confused and uninterested by the action. Critics were also not impressed by the work. They stated that "there was something about an atomic bomb, and Faust being a middle aged man with a mid life crisis who actually DRINKS the poison and then suddenly has a flashback because he returns to that moment where he drank the poison and dies as the final curtain comes down. Confused? So was I. McAnuff mentioned a flashback sequence, but only confusion arises from this: in a flashback, someone goes back to their youth, which Faust promptly does after Mephistopheles gives him the potion. However, Faust does not immediately turn young when he drinks the poison. He remains old, and invokes the devil to make him young again and the story proceeds as it normally does. It could have been interpreted that he flashed back when the devil showed up except McAnuff shoots this interpretation in the foot the moment Faust returns to the moment when he drank the poison the first time at the end of the performance." Critics also questioned many aspects of the production including where  Marguerite goes when she dies, Where are those stairs leading her to at the end, Is there a heaven in a universe where Science has presumably become/ destroyed God, and why is the Atomic Bomb concept abandoned after the Walpurgis Night Scene and make no impact on the opera's final scene. The point is the production was unclear and unfocused. Gelb's decision left me never wanting to see another Faust until this production is removed forever from the Met.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Elina Garanca's new album

Photo: In September Elina Garanca returns with »Romantique«, a new album with songs of love and despair portraying such different heroines as Tchaikovsky’s Joan of Arc, Gounod’s Sapho and Saint-Saëns’ Dalila. She will be accompanied by Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna under Yves Abel. Stay tuned for more updates!Deutsche Grammophon has just released the first images of Elina Garanca's new Album entitled Romantique. The album features works by Tchaikovsky, Saint Saens and Gounod and is conducted Yves Abel. The CD will be released in September.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Netrebko pulls out of La Scala Manon

The Teatro alla Scala has just released the following statment: Due to health reasons, Anna Netrebko has withdrawn from the performances of Massenet's Manon.
The role of Manon Lescaut will be sung by Ermonela Jaho in all the performances.

Netrebko was scheduled to sing the opening two performances of the run replacing originally scheduled Natalie Dessay.

After battling with a series of respiratory infections over the past month, Anna Netrebko has been advised by her doctor to rest for at least the next two weeks. She therefore must regretfully withdraw from her scheduled performances of Manon at La Scala on June 19 and 22. She was also forced to cancel her scheduled concert at the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg today. 

Anna is devastated to miss these performances as she was very much looking forward to singing in her home town St Petersburg, and to performing Manon at La Scala for the first time. She appreciates everyone's understanding during this difficult time for her. She looks forward to returning to the stage as soon as possible, and especially to her next engagement at La Scala in La Boheme this October.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Don Giovanni to be released

Today news comes that Don Giovanni starring Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Luca Pisaroni, Diana Damrau, Joyce Didonato, Rolando Villazon, and Mojca Erdmann will be released. The recording, done last year at Baden Baden, is slated to be released on September 7, 2012. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Final poll tallies

The final poll tallies revealed that Jonas Kaufmann disappointed the fans more than anyone else.
The original question was which cancellation is the most disappointing?

Jonas Kaufmann-Enee in Les Troyens in London, Die Walkure at the Met
  50 (65%)
Anna Netrebko in Don Giovanni in Berlin
  13 (17%)
Natalie Dessay in La Traviata and Manon at La Scala
  13 (17%)

Votes so far: 76 

Don Giovanni Preview 2012-2013

Michael Grandage's dull production of Don Giovanni returns to the Met after a sold out run with Ildar Abdrazakov, Erwin Schrott and a cast of up and coming singers.
The Production
Last year Michael Grandage made his awaited Met debut with this Don Giovanni production. Grandage promised an innovative and theatrical experience that would bring new insight to the work. However the result was the complete opposite. The production is made up of a unit set of  towers with balconies that close to form claustrophobic alleys and swing open for the ballroom and banquet scenes. Critics complained about the unfocused nature and its dullness. The problem is that the opera becomes rather bland and predictable. There is no play on any of the characters' ambiguities. Critics also stated that "There is a certain restraint in the violence, sex, and intrigue. This is a Don Giovanni that we have seen again and again. This lack of insight or depth makes me wonder where Grandage's attention was when directing this production, especially when one looks at the production's main attraction and greatest gimmick: the high walls filled with rows and rows of doors that open and close without any really method or direction." Last year the cast brought life to the production and in order for the production to succeed this year the cast must be spectacular as well. With young singers it will be interesting to see how they enliven this static production.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Notable DVD and CD releases for the month of June

This month represents a slower month on the Opera market. Still there are some very good selections that should be viewed.

Il Giasone [Blu-ray]