09. November 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Opera

I just read this:

Both Los Angeles and Washington are looking at not presenting Wagner’s Ring Cycle as planned.

I’d read about the ring cycle in LA, and it sounded like a huge deal. Has anyone heard that it might be off now?

09. November 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Reviews

The Merc has the review for Elixir already. He liked it, although we are a bit too loud in Act II according to Mr. Scheinin. (I thought we were too loud earlier, and asked someone about it. I was told it was fine. Ah well.)

I’ll be curious to read what other say about the production. What I hear is good, but I think some tempi are too slow. I’m looking forward to San Francisco Opera’s production; I’m guessing it’ll be faster, but we’ll see.

Today was our second performance, so it was with the alternate cast. I think both casts sound very good. We always have two casts for our operas here.

We only have one orchestra.

09. November 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links, Opera, Ramble, Videos, Watch

I hadn’t blogged about Mortier stepping down from New York City Opera up until now. I figured it was news everyone already knew, and not something I’m all that familiar with in any case. The only connection I have to the organization was from eons ago; Beverly Sills brought singers here, along with a conductor from the group (*more on that in a minute), and San Jose Symphony (RIP) was hired as the orchestra. I remember playing at Flint. I remember the conductor, and I remember we did the Overture to William Tell. That’s about all I remember. And yes, Beverly Sills was there. I remember that too. Of course.

But … rambling on … Mortier has resigned before really owning the position. So I just sort of thought, “meh” and went on. At the same time I wondered if the economic situation was the reason. this does suggest money was an issue.

Figures.

And there are also the commissions:

The opera house is in discussions with Mortier about two new commissions: Philip Glass’s opera based on the life of Walt Disney and Charles Wuorinen’s setting of E. Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain.” It’s uncertain whether both properties will stay with City Opera. The fate of Messiaen’s “St. Francis of Assisi,” an invariably costly endeavor, also hasn’t been resolved.

I was interested in Glass’s opera. My daughter and I once got stuck in “It’s a Small World”. It was one of the few rides she would go on, as it wasn’t scary (she found a lot of rides to be scary when she was very young). So there we were, stuck in a boat in the middle of the ride. The singing went on and on. In some ways it was kind of like Glass, but not quite, since it was the same over and over rather than altering bit by bit. Finally they turned the music off, but the dolls mouths continued to move, so you could hear this clacking sound. It was nearly like a horror movie, really. But maybe Glass will use the tune. I think there’s potential …. ;-)

But back to Mortier — he’s gone. And there you go. Before he was really there.

And no my little aside about the NYCO concert we played. When we had our rehearsal we ran William Tell once. The maestro (whoever he was I thought he was fabulous; I wish I’d kept a program!) looked up, said to the flutist and yours truly, “Your solos are great and we won’t need to do them again.” Or something like that. That frequently makes me quite happy. The more I play something the more worried I become. So once at rehearsal and once in performance and I’m often a happy camper. (And of course that’s a work we’ve played and played, so it’s not like I don’t know the thing.)

I wonder if NYCO will remove the following video:

09. November 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Quotes

The classical-music world desperately needs Milo. He belongs to a generation of kids who look at a violin and see a strange, archaic object, who think of opera as a faintly embarrassing pastime of the upper crust, rather like riding to hounds. The good people at Carnegie Hall have erected a costly and wonderful educational apparatus to nurture audiences of the future. But bequeathing musical taste—like cultivating a penchant for good food, or ethical behavior—is a parent’s job, and it can only be done with conviction.

-Justin Davidson

Read here

;-)

09. November 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Other People's Words

Let me see if I can recall the instrumentation (which the program did not indicate): two flutes (doubling piccolos), two oboes, two French horns, bassoon, English horn, two clarinets (one of them doubling the squeaky high one).

Wouldn’t you love to have your instrument referred to as “the squeaky high one”? Or maybe not. I’m assuming the writer means the E flat clarinet. The place I found this implied this was from a review, but I can’t imagine a reviewer referring to an instrument that way. Hmm. I wonder. Maybe I’ll call it that from here on out, though.

09. November 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

I woke up with Swannee River running through my head. Then, all of the sudden, I realized that a song with lyrics was there. I don’t know if it’s a real song (doubtful) or something that was maybe in my dream. The only lyrics I could hear were “this vapor trail”. They don’t sound terribly song-like to me.

But now? I just realized I have a little lick from Elixir in my head. And it’s on repeat. And repeat. And repeat ….

Help!

Ah well. It’ll leave eventually, as I’m going to church today. A few hymns and I’m sure I’ll be done with Elixir. Until 3:00.

Speaking of hymns, Madison Symphony does something you’d never see (or hear) here: they do a “hymn sing”*. I’m gonna guess that a lot of people here don’t even know what a hymn sing is!

*Link no longer working.