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OperaNow! #233: Rosie and Domingo

New Yorker article takes a deeper look at what is happening at The Met and the board responds...Anthony Tommasini hints that Domingo should "just back away"...LA Opera has a costume sale...High School seniors in Mobile Opera chorus.

This Week in part 2 of Oliver's look into Dead Man Walking:  Helen and Joseph go together like peas and carrots.

Guess Who Died?

This week features Michael, The OC and Doug Dodson.

Reader Comments (8)

I agree with Michael. It really feels like boards across the US are asleep at the wheel/keeping themselves purposefully ignorant of how this business is changing and how their companies, no matter how large or storied need to change. For the budget of the Met to have increased so much in the past few years when we were in the midst of an economic downturn is hard to comprehend. Perhaps, someone much more knowledgeable than I understands the "plan" better, but to me, it seems that Gelb is only interested in creating a Bing-like legacy. Here's the thing, though. Bing straight up saved the Met when he took over. By all accounts, things were in DIRE shape. I don't think Volpe left the Met in shambles. I don't think Gelb came in to "save the day". Bing may have been a horrible tyrant, but based on what I've read, he seemed to have been a tyrant about things like financial responsibility and preserving productions when possible. He talks constantly in his memoirs about how he wanted to do new productions of things, but had "perfectly serviceable" productions on hand and couldn't justify spending the money. Bing constantly struggled to balance quality with expense. Gelb doesn't seem all that concerned.

I could ramble about Domingo, but I'm pretty sure I've already done so once or twice. Big ol' sigh........

I wish I had anything intelligent to say about Oliver's Corner this week. Shit, Mike Mayes. Holy. Shit. That's all.
April 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTimothy
Apologies for the lack of comments lately - I have been pretty busy, but I have been listening!

Just wanted to say that the opera/film music crossover is by no means a recent phenomenon. Listen to Bernard Herrmann's (really good) version of Wuthering Heights from 1951, for example.

I think the comments about Gelb's quest for "relevance" contrasted nicely with the story about the Manon Lescaut chorus. You can have all the relevance and theatricality and showmanship you want, but if people don't even have a passing familiarity with the art form, why would they ever be interested in investigating it in the first place? Without education and exposure early on (beyond piecemeal outreach, cue a "three little pigs: the opera" joke), there's never going to be any younger audience to replenish the current, ageing one. A bit of glitz and PR from Gelb should just be the icing on the cake, but he and others are acting as if it's the whole recipe. One institution (or one man) can't change everything - it takes more than that.

I thought you did a really nice tribute to the victims of the plane crash. When I heard that opera singers were involved, my first thought was "What if that had been Michael and Jenny?". I realise that's stupid because I don't know you at all, but... yeah. It made me stop and think.
April 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMenuet alla Zoppa
Nice episide. Just a little disappointed Oliver didn't use the recording of Jenny and Mike that I sent him. But Mike does sound good in the recording that was used.
April 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterZach
That's right, y'all- you don't get many comments because you deliver a consistently informative, high-quality and laugh-out-loud funny product every time. There's nothing to complain about. I love the show, don't let the lack of commentary get you down. And thank you!
April 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine
Hello Zach

I did not receive any recording from you.
Please re-send to

Thanks in advance
April 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterThe OC
Also just wanted to say - the difference between the US and Europe is not so much "800 years of culture" or whatever. I think it's more the fact that A) The Met is an enormous barn compared to even major European houses and B) Even in recent times, state subsidy here is massive compared to the US.
April 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMenuet alla Zoppa
I always like when Michael plays devil's advocate to really push a point as he did in questioning this whole quest for "relevance" that opera companies seem to be going through these days. I think that Gelb and the MET do have a lot to do with everyone jumping on that bandwagon. Not that I don't think productions should reflect modern sensibilities at all - nothing worse than a fusty, boring traditional production. But in the end [as has been said many times on this podcast!], opera is kind of an acquired taste that people come to gradually and from all sorts of points of view. I'm still not sure the HDs have much to do with it other than providing the core audience with more of what they love already. The problems at the MET are probably due to a myriad of factors including some of the more recent productions that haven't been well-received. In my opinion, this is not because they've been too "edgy" but because too many of them have tried to keep a foot in both camps [contemporary vs traditional] and so, end up being neither.
Great to be listening the Dead Man...and thanks for including a Michael Mayes recording. Depending on how many more weeks you're going to spend on it, maybe either Michael or Jenny will be back to talk about it on the show?
April 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGianmarco
Love the show everybody.

Each week or thereabouts, I look forward to hearing your entertaining and irreverent take on the opera news of the day. Oh God, I hate myself for that sentence. Any show described as irreverent makes me think of people trying too hard to be wacky or edgy.

Anyway, I suppose it’s better said that I’m a fan of the honest, unvarnished, and humorous analysis and opinion you provide. I feel like a fly on the wall listening to shop talk among arts professionals.
Not to mention how each episode the OC plunges deep, and packs me so full of knowledge that I’m often fully spent and slightly euphoric when he breathlessly ends his machinations.
The consistent high quality of the show bespeaks your abilities as broadcasters and your commitment to sharing with us civilians the beauty and timelessness of the unamplified voice.

In conclusion, as a podcast award voter, I’ll say:
The fact that you have to compete with a big budget radio show like TAL is fuckin’ ponderous man - fuckin’ ponderous!
April 14, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPonderous

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