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Sunday
Nov132011

OperaNow! #144: I'm a Kunst Lover...At Heart

City Opera unions offer to work for free...as City Opera releases its budget plans...Dallas Opera raises $20 million (it took 2 years to raise $10)...La Bat Shit joins forces with video recording of Maria Callas...Marilyn Horne spins her dirty tales...Portland Opera is a home for wayward cats...Vittorio Grigolo is a prick.

Oliver's Corner veers off it's original path with a look at Handel's Rodelinda and clips by Lucia Popp, Sophie Daneman, Simone Kermes, Joan Sutherland, and Sandrine Piau.

Plus Doug Dodson's E-News!

This week features Michael (as usual), The OC, Doug Dodson and Michael Mayes of the Texapolitan Opera Road Show!

Reader Comments (10)

The Two Michaels + Rodelinda. It doesn't get any better than this.
November 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarihunks
Doug, you make me laugh out loud every time.

Oliver - I have a question for you and your discussion of modernizing Baroque opera productions; Don't you think that part of the reason audiences were able to enjoy the specifics that you were talking about is that they were standard, and people knew what they meant, whereas today, if someone does a particular baroque gesture that may have meant something to a baroque audience, it's meaning and significance would be completely lost on an audience of today. Plus a modern audience has a completely different attention span and frame of reference, and while they may be able to enjoy the music thoroughly, a very stylized production might get tedious if they didn't have the knowledge to know what it means. In a way, presenting the baroque productions more like a modern play (since there is so much recit and since we now do have the supertitles) is a way to keep modern audiences enthralled in something they might not otherwise be able to stay focused on for 4 or 5 hours that they sometimes go on, uncut! What do you think?

I am going to personally make sure that Mike Mayes runs into Vittorio Grigolo on the street when he comes to NY in December. I will keep my iphone video camera running.
November 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenny
Well...if I can't even get my girlfriend to say a kind word about my contributions, maybe it's time to pack it in?
November 14, 2011 | Registered CommenterMichael Rice
Oliver, I should have said in my comment on last week's podcast that I love your segment and I learn so much from each one. I just want you to just get right to the meat of it without beating around the bush.

...no innuendo intended...
November 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly
OOH! And since we're making fun of famous douchey opera singers, I would like to point out Roberto Alagna's twitter account which is the most narcissistic, self-serving drivel I've ever seen, and I think it's hilarious.
November 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly
Yay. Rodelinda. There's a broadcast tonight from the Met if anyone is interested. I'm about to download and listen to the podcast now.
November 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterzach
So I went to the Rodelinda final dress and enjoyed it immensely, even though I ended up spending 5+ hours at the Met (including really long breaks). I love the production: great sets, everything straightforward and easy to follow, and great use of the mute son to keep us engaged with the heart of Rodelinda's dilemma. I did sometimes feel that the opera itself was poorly paced, though, especially since Rodelinda is a marathon run of arias without much recit. It was like: oh man, you're singing an aria AGAIN? But then again, this is Handel, so the aria was gorgeous and touching, and with this cast, well-sung (Iestyn Davies can sing me to sleep anytime). So yeah, if the singer misses the mark vocally or emotionally with an aria, the drama drags.

Oliver, I have to admit that I was introduced to Handel opera with a very modern and controversial DVD (The 1999 Stuttgart Alcina), so I am inclined to disagree with you about not modernizing Baroque opera. I guess I feel the same way about baroque opera stagings as I do about most opera stagings: historical dress vs. modern dress is ultimately irrelevant so long as there's a clear emotional arc I can follow. I can see myself fitting into Jenny's example of a modern audience: I don't know enough about baroque performance practice to get the stylistic nuances. So I look for a clear and compelling drama.

I'm curious as to what you think of the McVicar Giulio Cesare. I believe that production is coming to the Met.

Fabulous show this week (not that I'm surprised),
Laura
November 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfyeahoperasingers
@molly I'm pretty sure that Oliver has never beaten anywhere near a bush.
@jenny I'll beat his balls like Ali on a speedbag.
November 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermazer
Wow, we're being spoiled with riches with two podcasts so close together. Oliver, have you heard/seen a production by Toronto's Opera Atelier? They've been doing historically-informed staging since the early 80s, and have an international reputation. For awhile there when the coffers were flowing, they toured a lot in Asia, and have performed at Versailles on several occasions. I know several of their productions have been rented by US opera companies, and I'm pretty sure they've just struck up an association with Glimmerglass (Lully's Armide this coming summer) and have another of their productions, a new Don G. that just opened in TO, traveling to I think, Opera Columbus very soon.
Anyway, they incorporate historical gesture and lots of dance into their productions. They are extremely polished etc....I enjoy them BUT, do find that after awhile...it's all a bit the same. As much as I am happy to see this type of production on occasion, I need more variety. I mean, you wouldn't always want to see Verdi operas staged as they were in the 19th century (and you could insert any composer's name here). So, why would you only want to see baroque opera done one way? As Laura says, the important thing is that the staging is done well, makes sense, doesn't go against the score etc. etc. Maybe I just automatically associate baroque opera with a company like Atelier because I've sort of always had it at my doorstep. Maybe it's different in other centres that only occasionally do baroque opera for their public to first be exposed to a more historically informed production - is that what you're talking about?
Rodelinda has beautiful arias, for certain. We had a production by Tim Albery (not sure the OC would have liked it!) a few seasons ago with Daniele DeNiese in a slinky slip most of the evening. The Gheorighiu/Callas mash-up is appalling. I don't even mind her that much, but this is so presumptuous - what an ego!
November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGianmarco
The Met's Rodelinda is one of their best productions this century. I really hope it's released on CD, though I would have preferred the cast I saw when it was a brand new production (it was the Met's hottest ticket that year): David Daniels in place of Andrea Scholl (whom I also like, but friends of mine who saw him in this run report that his voice is unable to fill the Met). We also had Bejun Mehta (though I saw Iestyn Davis in NYCO's Partenope and he was excellent), and our tenor was Kobie van Rensburg, who was fantastic as Grimoaldo. I'm looking forward to seeing it tomorrow in our Raleigh movie theater. Alas, Fleming would not be my choice for the title role, but the Met mounted the production for her, so what are you going to do?

My favorite opera production EVER was the Glyndebourn "Bollywood" Giulio Cesare. It's really like an "homage" to baroque style and it really worked for me. I have it on DVD and saw it in Chicago. It is traveling to the Met and I will see it again when it does. I believe Christophe Dumaux will sing the title role rather than Tolomeo. I love his Tolomeo, and he's an outstanding Orlando, too, so I look forward to hearing his Cesare. Regarding productions of baroque operas, all I care about is that they don't go against the what the music and the libretto are saying. That happens more frequently in all opera, not just baroque. I do prefer a variety of productions and would probably get tired of them if they started looking the same. Alas, so many of the Met's productions, regardless of who the director is, seem to be increasingly nondescript to the point that they could be used interchangeably. Are directors starting to lose their edge in being edgy?
December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTamerlano

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