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November 2012
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January 2013

Casting Change for the Met's Les Troyens

Bryan-hymelAccording to a press release issued today, Bryan Hymel (pictured left, photograph by Dario Acosta) will sing the role of Aeneas in the remaining performances of the Met's Les Troyans this season, replacing Marcello Giordani, who has withdrawn the role from his repertoire. Giordani will return to the Met for Francesca da Rimini in March 2013.

 Production Web Site for Les Troyens | Press Releases

Don Giovanni at the Met

Don-giovanni-met-2012* Notes * 
The Michael Grandage production of Don Giovanni (Act II pictured left, photograph by Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera) is currently having a first revival at the Metropolitan Opera. The performance last Saturday was good, but not outstanding. Edward Gardner conducted a lively and speedy orchestra. Raymond Aceto could have sounded more commanding as the Commendatore. Ekaterina Siurina's voice is creamy and sweet, and seemed perfectly fine for Zerlina. Emma Bell's Donna Elvira was slightly unhinged, but never out of control. Erwin Schrott was an amusingly silly Leporello.

Charles Castronovo (Don Ottavio) has a dark warmth to his voice, but he struggled with some of the high notes. Susanna Phillips was promising as Donna Anna, her voice is strong, but has a nice bell-like quality. Ildar Abdrazakov, on the other hand, lacked brightness in "Fin ch'han dal vino." It seemed like the role was just a bit high for Abdrazakov, but he projected well for "Deh vieni alla finestra."

The production dates from last year, yet was not particularly fresh or inventive. The large set is monolithic and rumbles when moved. The handling of Don Giovanni's descent is certainly the most exciting visual moment, as it uses real fire.

* Tattling *
At least one cellular phone was heard in the Family Circle during Act I.

SF Opera's 2013-2014 Season

Open-house-david-wakelySeptember 6- October 2 2013: Mefistofele
September 18- October 4 2013: Dolores Claiborne
October 8- November 2 2013: Falstaff
October 22- November 15 2013: Der fliegender Holländer
November 13- December 1 2013: Il barbiere di Siviglia
June 1- July 2 2014: Show Boat
June 11- July 13 2014: La Traviata
June 15- July 9 2014: Madama Butterfly

David Gockley announced San Francisco Opera's 2013-2014 season today. The season starts with Boito's Mefistofele starring Ildar Abdrazakov, Ramón Vargas, and Patricia Racette. Racette returns for Show Boat and Butterfly in the summer. Dolora Zajick sings the title role in the world premiere of Tobias Picker and J.D. McClatchy's Dolores Claiborne. Bryn Terfel is Falstaff and Greer Grimsley is the Holländer. Ailyn Perez and Sonya Yoncheva share the role of Violetta in Traviata, with Stephen Costello and Saimir Pirgu as Alfredo.

Press Release [PDF] | Official Site

La Clemenza di Tito at the Met

Clemenza-di-tito-met-2012* Notes * 
A revival of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito (Act II pictured left, photograph by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera) opened at the Metropolitan Opera a fortnight ago. Last Saturday I found myself in Family Circle Standing Room for the matinée performance, which was also broadcast live in HD. The cast included those with considerable talent, not least of which was mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča, who sang the role of Sesto. Garanča's voice is pleasantly light and pretty, but well-supported.

Barbara Frittoli made for a comical Vitellia, her voice is somewhat shrill, but not inappropriate for the part, and kept her distinct from the other soprano. Kate Lindsey sang Annio with grace. Lucy Crowe sounded brilliant and sweet as Servilia. Only Giuseppe Filianoti (Tito) disappointed, he sounded a little raveled, and his notes were not precise. That said, the resonances of his voice had warmth, and he seemed less apt to crack than in other recent appearances.

The orchestra played somewhat ponderously under Harry Bicket, who kept time metronomically. The music is quite beautiful and does seem difficult. Bicket never overwhelmed the singers and seemed respectful of the score. The chorus was luminous and together.

Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's 1984 production is functional but still very descriptive. The set is elaborate, but the scene changes are made easily and do not create much noise.

* Tattling *
During Act II, a cellular phone rang when Vitellia confessed her involvement in the plot against Tito.