Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Bit Gratuitous but...

Okay...yeah, I know...but...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Opera at the Met in 2010-2011

I've known for a while now that Peter Sellars would be directing "Nixon in China" next year at the Met, but I've kept quiet until they announced this week. Peter hasn't revisted the piece in a long time, so I'm very anxious to see how time will change his approach to it. It is the first time he as directed at the Met. He was approached years ago to direct a double-bill of "Bluebeard's Castle" and I think "Il tabarro" (if memory serves). He countered with "Bluebeard" and "Il Prigionera"...Jesse Norman refused to learn the piece and it all fell through. Then he was supposed to direct "Dr Atomic" last season, but they insisted on cuts he was unwilling to make, and it fell through as well. So this is really something...

There is a lot of interesting work planned there at the Met (as well as a lot of crappy old wine in fancy new bottles...but at least they are getting rid of another F.Z. production). But yet another Bartlett Sher production...ugh.

Read all about it here.

Also, read all about Muti's debut at the Met with Verdi's "Atilla" and Pierre Audi's staging (they strangely call him a French director...hmmmm). Audi is not so much a director as a window dresser, so I'm not so sure I would like to see it myself. He is a wonderful window dresser though. Read all about it here. The set sounds amazing.

Trying this new format

Apparently I can email posts to my blog. I'm trying now to see if it works. Everything crossed...

Mums the word.

There are a lot of exciting things going on at the moment...but I can't tell what they are yet. I have three productions next year in Europe, one of which will be a co-production with AOT on one of our season's shows, and one which could mean 30 international performances of an AOT favorite show, but none of which I can talk about yet. I also have AOT's season pinned down, but I can't reveal it yet. It is going to be big and exciting though.

To hold you over here is a video of Adonis Abuyen as Escamillo in AOT's irreverent take on the Toreador Song.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Two Clips from Carmen

Have a meeting today about taking this production to the Nationaltheater Mannheim. Keep fingers crossed....

Card Aria + Duet

Final Scene

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Trailer for "Le Cabaret de Carmen"

Barely two weeks since it closed, here is the trailer video of "Le Cabaret de Carmen" from our friends at tonal vision. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A masked ball...

This week is opera week. I already reported on Flying Dutchman, and last night we saw Verdi's "Il Ballo in Maschera" (The Masked Ball) given in Amsterdam by the National Reisopera. This is The Netherland's "second" company, performing each of their operas in 13 cities around the country. Because of that the design and directorial approaches are different, but the quality no less strong.

I won't write AS much as I did on Dutchman simply because my work load has increased CONSIDERABLY in the last couple days. I've gone from having two operas to direct this Spring, to having five, and that means LOTS of preparation.

In short the production was fantastic. I had quibbles, and there were some cliches, but all-in-all is was a wonderful evening out. I sometimes forget how great this opera is. I think it is Verdi's best piece of drama. Most people feel that award should either go to the late "Otello" or Falstaff", but what I like about "Ballo" is that it is tragic and grotesquely comic all at the same time, making the drama that much more intense. The ensemble writing is beyond belief, and the final act is shattering. LOVE IT! In this production, there were a lot of metaphors used, and that worked for me. I thought the director balanced the comic and tragic perfectly. The costumes were ALL white, and there were some clever story changes that worked for me...the "ballo" became a surprise party (I've ALWAYS hated those), and Oscar remained a girl in love with her boss Ricardo. There was a lot of use of leaves and Ulrica was placed heavy-handedly in almost every scene, but I liked the production. The singing was wonderful (particularly the Oscar whose bright and crystalline voice was the right contrast to the dark and cold voices of the leads), and the orchestra was, by all accounts, perfect.

Afterwards we spent an engaging evening of drinks with both Nicolas Mansfield of the Reisopera and Hein Mulder of the Netherlands Opera. That is interesting because they are both what we would call in the States "Artistic Administrators" of their respective houses. Very smart people indeed.

Tonight I'm back at the Netherlands Opera to see "Nozze di Figaro", and I hear, because they are the only seats available, I'm being given Pierre Audi's seat. Not sure how to feel about that...

Lots of work to accomplish first though!

Monday, February 1, 2010

One of those days...

Its been one of those busy days where a lot of things happened, and at the end you don't feel you've accomplished much. I spent a large portion of the day pouring through the Jephtha score and making final decisions about cuts. Of course Handel operas can be extremely long (yesterday I did cuts for Giulio Cesare which clocks in at almost four hours of music, and I needed it down to 2.5). The oratorios aren't much better; and more, since they were written as concert pieces, a lot of the music is contained within spectacular choruses that don't do much for the action.

I'm a little unsure about large cuts, but in both of these cases outside pressures require the score be cut down. One of the greatest challenges is to still tell the same story without all the music. Baroque purists would urge against cutting da capos, and would prefer that the whole aria be cut instead, the same for internal cuts. the real world, the dramatic world, I need most of those movements in order to tell the story. If I cut half the arias, I cut half the story. So it becomes a painful and long process of making delicate and not across-the-board cuts. Also, in both cases, I'm doing some radical things with the stories, which means the cuts are even more unconventional. It took a long time...

It was an encouraging day in other aspects. I was asked to direct two seperate and innovative new music projects. Both of these have a lot of depth and possibility. I look forward to exploring them further, and talking about them here on the blog once things are a little more clear. One in particular is the wonderful combination of philosophical substance, and marketing "sex" appeal.