Plácido Domingo

LA Opera's 2010-2011 Season

September 23- October 16 2010: Il Postino
September 26- October 17 2010: Le Nozze di Figaro
November 27- December 18 2010: Lohengrin
February 19- March 13 2011: Il Turco in Italia
March 12-27 2011: The Turn of the Screw

LA Opera's new season opens with a world premiere, with Plácido Domingo singing the part of Pablo Neruda. Domingo conducts Le Nozze, with Bo Skovhus singing Almaviva in his LA Opera debut. Ben Heppner sings the title role of Lohengrin, Soile Isokoski is Elsa, and Ortrud Dolora Zajick. Paolo Gavanelli sings Don Geronio in Il Turco. Patricia Racette and William Burden star in The Turn of the Screw.

Press Release | Official Site

San Francisco Opera's 2010-2011 Season

September 10- December 5 2010: Aida
September 15- October 1 2010: Werther
September 21- October 22 2010: Le Nozze di Figaro
October 12- November 27 2010: Madama Butterfly
October 24- November 12 2010: Cyrano de Bergerac
November 10-28 2010: The Makropulos Case
June 14-July 3 2011: Der Ring des Nibelungen

Dolora Zajick shares the role of Amneris with Guang Yang. Plácido Domingo sings the title role in Cyrano, Ramón Vargas is Werther, and Karita Mattila is the lead in The Makropulos Case. Noteworthy debuts at San Francisco Opera next season include Danielle de Niese as Susanna in Figaro and Elīna Garanča as Charlotte in Werther.

Season Announcement | Official Site

Washington National Opera's 2010-2011 Season

September 11-25 2010: Un Ballo in Maschera
October 7-23 2010: Salome
February 26- March 19 2011: Madama Butterfly
February 27 2011: Juan Diego Flórez Concert
March 12 2011: Bryn Terfel Concert
May 6-29 2011: Iphigénie en Tauride
May 13-27 2011: Don Pasquale

Today WNO announced the new season, which is reduced to 5 operas, but does include two "Celebrity Concerts." Deborah Voigt sings Salome. Patricia Racette makes a role debut as Iphigénie opposite of Domingo.

Press Release | Official Site

Tamerlano at LA Opera

Laopera-tamerlano * Notes * 
Yesterday evening Tamerlano had the third of five performances this season at Los Angeles Opera. William Lacey had the orchestra sounding uncharacteristically crisp, serving the music well. Most of the singing was of a high standard, only Ryan McKinny (Leone) and Jennifer Holloway (Irene) did not stand out, both lacking heft and fullness. Sarah Coburn sounded and looked pretty as Asteria, though her vibrato could be excessive. She sang her Act II aria, "Se non mi vuol amar," nicely. Patricia Bardon cut a fine figure as Andronico, and the warmth of her voice was pleasant. She too sang with rather too much vibrato for this sort of music. Plácido Domingo (Bajazet) sounded surprisingly lovely, even if the music does not particularly suit him. Domingo seemed only slightly fragile, his timing imperfect, however, his timbre is beautiful, so sweet. In the title role, countertenor Bejun Mehta had a fresh effortlessness, his volume strong, without sounding strained or constricted.

The production, directed by Chas Rader-Shieber, was a somewhat silly. The most unintentionally hilarious bit was in Act II when Tamerlano took Bajazet's long brocade coat and wore it over his suit in an apparent fit of tyranny. David Zinn's scenery was clean and his costumes elegant. Best of all was the lighting from Christopher Akerlind, understated at first, and building up to the last act, which featured red reflected off of the black floor rather dramatically.

* Tattling * 
There were some mobile phone rings, most disruptive in Act III, during the recitative between Tamerlano and Bajazet. The couple in H 75 and 76 of Balcony B would not stop talking during Acts I and II, despite my repeated attempts to express my displeasure with their noise levels. The male half of this couple had a bad cold and snorted about 25 times in the first act, and I was sure they would not return after the first intermission. They did come back, only to litter cotton swabs and tissues all over the ground around their seats, and to take photographs of Domingo. Their camera emitted various high-pitched sounds during the music. I asked to be reseated after the second intermission, and the ushers were very accommodating and helpful.

Unter den Linden's 2009-2010 Season

August 29 2009- April 5 2010: Tristan und Isolde
September 6- October 10 2009: La Traviata

September 5- November 14 2009: Il Barbiere di Siviglia
September 7-22 2009: Die Entführung aus dem Serail
September 15-17 2009: Così fan Tutte
September 23- October 25 2009 : Der Rosenkavalier
October 1- April 23 2010: Salome
October 24 2009- March 30 2010: Simon Boccanegra 
November 1-15 2009: Lohengrin
November 19 2009- February 20 2010: La Bohème
November 21- December 6 2009: Die Fledermaus
December 7-22 2009: Il Turco in Italia
December 9 2009- January 9 2010: Die Zauberflöte
January 8-16 2010: Madama Butterfly
January 17-23 2010: Die Ferne Klang
February 4-14 2009: Agrippina
February 11- May 7 2010: Le Nozze di Figaro
February 21- March 7 2010: Faust
March 10- May 15 2010: Carmen
March 26- June 5 2010: Eugene Onegin 
April 9-25 2010: Tosca
May 16-30 2010: L'etoile
May 18-28 2010: L'elisir d'amore

René Pape sings Gremin in Eugene Onegin and Méphistophélès in Faust. Domingo sings the title role in Boccanegra. Magdalena Kožená is Lazuli in L'etoile, conducted by Simon Rattle.

Official Site | 2009-2010 Season [PDF]

Die Walküre at the Met (Schenk)

Marty-Sohl-Met-Opera * Notes * 
Last night's performance of Die Walküre at the Met was more impressive than Das Rheingold. For the most part, the orchestra continued playing rather cleanly, though there was noticeable trumpet error in Act I. The singing in this act was especially strong. René Pape sounded very different as Hunding than as Fasolt the previous night. Adrianne Pieczonka sang Sieglinde with great beauty, she has a big voice with a controlled vibrato. Her German is clear, especially in contrast to Plácido Domingo's mumbling. Diction aside, Domingo was incredible as Siegmund, very heroic, with lovely high notes and fine volume. The rest of the cast sounded hale as well. Albert Dohmen was distinguished himself by singing his farewell to Brünnhilde quite exquisitely. Yvonne Naef was strident as Fricka, though this is appropriate to the role. As for the Valkyries themselves, they were a disparate bunch, some voices were quite pretty, others rather shrill, and they did not always blend perfectly when singing together. Katarina Dalayman is promising as Brünnhilde, her low notes are warm and pleasant.

The stage was dark for much of the opera, at least from the Family Circle. As a result, it was difficult to discern what exactly was going on, though the characters did pace about the stage quite a bit.

* Tattling * 
One of the Walküren did a face-plant during Act III. This provoked some gasps and titters.

There were two watch alarms at 7pm, and a telephone rang during Act III. Standing room was tight during Act II, and I simply stopped looking at the stage during that act, since it was not of much interest anyway. I noted much whispering from the people next to us, which continued during the singing, and was still audible after they found seats during Act III. The rest of the audience was fairly quiet.

After the first intermission, one of my companions overheard someone say "I either have to go home or die quickly." I hope the person in question got home safely.

ROH's 2009-2010 Season

September 7-14 2009: Linda di Chamounix
September 15- October 1 2009: Don Carlo
September 19- October 18 2009: Tristan und Isolde
October 3 2009- June 26 2010: Carmen
October 17-28 2009: L'Heure Espagnole /Gianni Schicchi
October 30- November 14 2009: Artaxerxes
November 20- December 8 2009: The Tsarina's Slippers
December 7-22 2009: Der Rosenkavalier
December 19 2009- January 11 2010: La Bohème
January 22- February 3 2010: The Rake's Progress
January 29- February 17 2010: Così fan tutte
February 11-27 2010: The Gambler
March 5-20 2010: Tamerlano
March 19- April 1 2010: The Cunning Little Vixen
April 3-19 2010: Il Turco in Italia
April 26- May 12 2010: Powder Her Face
April 27- May 16 2010: Aida
May 11- July 17 2010: La Traviata
May 17- June 4 2010: La Fille du Régiment
May 31- June 30 2010: Le Nozze di Figaro
June 22- July 10 2010: Manon
June 29- July 15 2010: Simon Boccanegra
July 3-16 2010: Salome

Covent Garden just announced their season this week. Eglise Gutiérrez stars in Linda di Chamounix. Stephanie Blythe sings Baba the Turk in the revival of The Rake's Progress. Kurt Streit shares the role of Bajazet in Tamerlano with Plácido Domingo. Streit also sings in The Gambler, and Domingo sings the title role in Boccanegra. Dmitri Hvorostovsky returns as Germont for the May performances of La Traviata. Natalie Dessay stars opposite of Juan Diego Flórez in La Fille. Erwin Schrott sings the title role in Le Nozze, with Mariusz Kwiecien and Jacques Imbrailo sharing the role of the Count.

Press Release [PDF]| Official Site

LA Opera's 2009-2010 Season

September 12-30 2009: L'Elisir d'Amore
September 26- October 17 2009: Siegfried
November 21- December 1 2009: Tamerlano
November 29- December 19 2009: Il barbiere di Siviglia
April 3-25 2010: Die Götterdämmerung
April 12-24 2010: Die Gezeichneten
May 29- June 26 2010: Der Ring des Nibelungen

Nathan Gunn stars in L'Elisir with Rolando Villazón and in Il barbiere with Juan Diego Flórez and Joyce DiDonato. Plácido Domingo and Bejun Mehta sing in Tamerlano.

Press Release [PDF] | Official Site

LA Opera's 2008-2009 Season

September 6-26 2008: Il Trittico
September 7-26 2008: The Fly
October 2-18 2008: Madama Butterfly
November 15- December 14 2008: Carmen
January 10-25 2009: Die Zauberflöte
February 21- March 15 2009: Das Rheingold
April 4-25 2009: Die Walküre
April 11-26 2009: Die Vögel
May 21- June 21 2009: La Traviata

Two U.S. premieres and the company's first Der Ring des Nibelungen. Quite a lot of film directors this season: William Friedkin (Il Tabarro/Suor Angelica), David Cronenberg, and Woody Allen (Gianni Schicchi). I'm most interested in hearing Nathan Gunn as Papageno and Plácido Domingo as Siegmund. I have to say I'm disappointed that LA Opera is starting Der Ring the same year as Seattle Opera and Washington National Opera, and only a year after San Francisco Opera unveils Francesca Zambello's production on the West Coast.

Press Release [PDF] | 2008-2009 Season Official Site

Der Reine Tor

WilsondonutA new production of Parsifal opened at Los Angeles Opera on Saturday, directed and designed by Robert Wilson of The Black Rider fame. The production itself is awful in every sense, being no less than pretentious, cold, and boring. The choreography involves a lot of lying on the ground, random angular arm movements that relate neither to the text nor the music, slow walking, and having the characters ignore each other. The highlights of Stephanie Engeln's set include an enormous swan wing falling slowly in the background, a lighted giant bagel-half that descends from above, a bunch of small white birds of paradise sculptures that move across the stage, and a large version of one bird of paradise that takes the same path of the wing from Act I. The Frida Parmeggiani costumes have an Egyptian flair, dresses for everyone, in black or white, save Kundry's plum-colored outfit. A.J. Weissbard's lighting does not seem entirely polished, at several points the lights wavered and did not follow the characters.

Plácido Domingo sings Parsifal well enough, the tenor strains a great deal and the apparent lack of affect that characterizes the production did not make him very convincing as a young man. Bass Matti Salminen also sings beautifully as Gurnemanz. Linda Watson's Kundry is not wild in the least, her high notes may be clear and brilliant, but her low notes are weak. Kent Nagano certainly tosses his hair a great deal, at least he conducts with some passion, perhaps the only sign of life to be seen all evening.