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October 2004
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December 2004

Le Grande Macabre

The last performance of Ligeti's Le Grande Macabre this season was this afternoon. I must admit, I only went out of force of habit, as I had attended a performance of this the previous month and was duly unimpressed. Ligeti's music is cacophonous, the libretto is absurd, and the production involved cross-dressing, spousal abuse, Venus suspended in mid-air, her nipples modestly covered with pasties.

Amando and Amanda's choreography was particularly odd, though the singers, Sara Gulgoni and Anne-Sophie Duprels had pretty voices. The White and Black politicians (John Duykers and Joshua Bloom, respectively) were amusing, readily understood as the opera is in English. Caroline Stein sang well as both Venus and Gepopo, especially the latter. Her voice is clear and cold. Her movement as Gepopo was also excellent.


Sara Jobin conducted this particular performance of Tosca, and it was her San Francisco Opera debut, and the first time a woman has conducted during the main season of this opera house. The production is one owned by San Francisco Opera, and is revived every two or three years.

Soprano Carol Vaness has the dubious honor of being one of my least favorite singers. She was much more quiet than previously as Floria Tosca and somewhat breathy.