I've always wanted to an Orchestra play Camille Saint Sean...where will this happen? When?
Nice to see Masur's still going strong into his 80s. I always thought it was a shame his contract with the NY Phil was not renewed. Have you seen Alan Gilbert conduct yet?
Royal Philharmonic with maestro Charles Dutoit plays Saint-Saens' Piano Concerto no. 5 in San Diego in January
San Diego Symphony plays Saint-Saens' Cello Concerto No. 1 in March
LA Phil plays Saint-Saens' Symphon No. 3 in January
If I make it to the CONTACT concert Gilbert conducts that one. And if I make it to see Gruppen in June Gilbert will be one of the conductors there, too. After how much I enjoyed the one Saturday I really want to see more, too. I will be sure to post thoughts.
Jealous of NYers who get to see Satyagraha at the Met. It's back at the Met now through Dec. 4th. Looks amazing..
So the other week I realized that the Met has a weekly drawing for pairs of $25 seats to near all of their performances. The seats are in the orchestra or grand tier so they're great locations.
For last weekend I tried for the Satyagraha but did not get selected. Yesterday I put in for the same plus Rodelinda... though listening to the latter last night I am not sure how interested I am, actually.
Their season is packed with old warhorses but I would not complain about seeing Don Giovanni or La Traviata or Faust at that price. I bought normal (albeit nosebleed) seats for Vec Makropulus and will likely be going for weekday rush tickets for Khovanschina and Gotterdammrung.
In non-warhorse opera news my friends just unwittingly saw the last performance of the world premiere run of Dark Sisters, Nico Muhly's second opera. I need to keep more abreast of such happenings.
Also I keep putting off getting tickets for Rufus Wainwright's Prima Donna, premiered by New York City Opera. Hmm. Maybe tonight.
We've got Moby Dick this season, along with Salome, Don Pasquale, and Barber of Seville.
I will eventually do a little write up in the travel thread but I attended my first ever Opera and it was in Vienna a few nights ago. I Absolutely loved it. It was at the Wiener Staatsoper. L'Italiana In Algeri a 4 Euro standing ticket and I had the front row center position in the Parterre section. The venue was outstanding and beautiful.
Also, earlier in the day I saw a special intimate performance in a smaller room of the Staatsoper by the Wiener Philharmoniker 3 (Wiener Kammerensamble). It was 30 Euro to attend and only about 100 or so chairs set up and it was sold out. I sipped some red wine while watching this matinee. My program is in German but this is what was played.
Mozart: Sreichquartett in D Dur, KV 499 Hoffmeister
Carl Maria Von Weber: Karinettenquintett in B Dur op.34
Franz Schubert:Oktett in F Dur. D 803
A few photos from the day.
My view. This shot was before the opera. No photos during obviously.
The view of my section that i took from the floor during intermission.
Blurry shot of the cast at the end.
Those venues looks amazing, Mark.
And I'm glad you loved the Rossini! You will have to see more once you get back to the states! I know Arizona Opera still has Aida and several other shows in their season!
I definitely say go for it, in regards to seeing a production by Arizona Opera. I quite enjoyed the few I got to see, and since you have time beforehand you can Grooveshark/Spotify the operas first to see what catches your fancy!
I have not yet been to the Met. I don't know this opera very well but I listened to it the other week and am quite excited.
<---------- Living vicariously through mountmccabe.
I keep reading such amazing things about Satyagraha. Looking forward to the review! I have a friend who works for the Met and she said it wasn't selling well, so sounds like you'll have great seats.
Hot damn that was awesome. Giant puppets! Fire! A libretto in Sanskrit!
The final act moved a little slow and was less spectacular but that's mostly because the other two acts were so stellar.
The text was adapted from the Bhagavad Gita rather than being dialogue or whatnot. The action was scenes from Ghandi's time in South Africa and often involved a stage full of people, moving slowly, repetitively to create or build to something. In this way it worked much like the music.
It was a very odd opera but it worked; I like the music and the action on stage was generally entrancing and at times stunning.
My seats were fine, in the orchestra section but near the back corner under the first of the balconies. The sound seemed fine and we could see the main part of the stage, just not the right wall from whence people of the company would emerge (but generally they would also be emerging from left side as well and we had a great view of that.)
You can see production photos from an earlier performance.
And I just found out that there is some Xenakis going on tomorrow evening so I am going down to Greenwich Village to see the following program:
Taka Kigawa, piano - Evryali (1973)
Mariel Roberts, cello - Kottos (1977)
Milica Paranosic, composer - A Hélène (2011)
Doug Balliett, double bass - Theraps (1976)
Gene Pritsker, composer - Xenakis RemiX (2011)
I am not sure what the deal is with the 2011 pieces but the others are straight Xenakis compositions.
Theraps is a really good piece.
Does anyone know where I should start with Kagel?
FELDMAN Piano and Orchestra
IVES A Concord Symphony (orch. Brant)
Carnegie Hall has a special deal for folks 20-40 as well, so I should be able to see that, the Vienna Philharmonic playing some Sibelius symphonies and maybe the Cleveland Orchestra doing the following:
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2
KAIJA SAARIAHO Laterna magica (NY Premiere)
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 6 in B Minor
Also I got tickets for the Met's third Ring Cycle for Christmas and I am so thrilled.
A Hélène was an arrangement of that piece with some live vocals, done through a computer.
The program lasted just over an hour and there were maybe 50 people in attendance.
There I learned of another all-Xenakis program, coming up in April:
Iktus Percussion and LoadBang
Kassandra, for baritone/psalterion and percussion (1987)
La déesse Athéna, for baritone soloist, piccolo, oboe, E-flat
clarinet, doublebass clarinet, contrabassoon, horn, piccolo trumpet,
trombone, tuba, percussion and cello (1992)
Atrées, for flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, horn, trumpet, trombone, 2
percussionists, violin and cello (1962)
Khal Perr, for brass quintet and 2 percussionists (1983)
Keren, for trombone (1986)
Okho, for 3 djembés (1989)
I can't fucking wait for the pieces from/for Orestia, especially.
Nice. Gustavo never sends me anything. I still have that performance on my DVR, but I probably won't get to it. I have the same TV I've owned since I was 19. LA Phil's got their Mahler Project in full swing right now. I'm going to try to catch No. 2 before the project ends.
That should be great. My favorite Mahlers are the 6th, the 5th and the 1st. I was starting to accept his symphonies with vocals but then I started switching to opera anyway. I should revisit! I am sure I would want to see the 8th in concert, just because.
Speaking of getting opera obsessed so I shall leave for Avery Fisher Hall to see my 4th opera of the year. This is a concert production of Richard Wagner's Rienzi by Opera Orchestra of New York.
I have also seen one musical (Follies) and one NYPO concert (Bruckner's 8th) and no rock shows. For February I have tickets for two more operas - La Traviata and Prima Donna plus a concert production of Merrily We Roll Along.
I was here six months last year and saw 6 rock shows, two musicals, one opera and four classical concerts. When I started thinking about living in NYC I thought, oh, I'd get to see more shows... but I didn't think it'd go this way.
Ahh, Prima Donna. This is Rufus Wainwright's 2009 opera about an opera singer contemplating her return to the stage. Tiffany noted that it was more than a little Grey Gardens.
It has a small cast - four singing roles plus two silent ones - but it is an intimate piece (without being a chamber opera) so I never missed or expected a big chorus to show up and fill the stage. The small cast was fantastic. Melody Moore led the day as the retired soprano; she covered the most emotional range and turned in a great acting performance as well. The journalist seemed a little underpowered at times but was otherwise solid. Kathyrn Guthrie Demos sang a near-coloratura soprano as the maid and was also quite remarkable.
I should also note that this is not a pop music show, this is not Broadway-style, this is very clearly an opera.
My favorite vocal section was the very end of the first act, as everyone is trying to comfort the Madame; the maid and the butler are singing the same words but with very different intentions/thoughts/meanings. I was most in awe of the section in the second act where the Madame puts on the record of her last opera and they roll that. The ending was also quite lovely; I half-expected no final aria but I am glad we got one.
This was the U.S. Premiere, by New York City Opera (this is a repeat of the original production, I believe) at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, NY. Rufus Wainwright sat about a dozen seats away from us, dressed more or less as a matador and a necktie/scarf that looked to be made out of an unrolled disco ball (which I complimented him on.) Also in attendance were Yoko Ono, Susan Sarandon and Angelica Houston.
Has anyone heard Perlman as of late? I just got tickets to see him perform Mendelssohn, pretty stoked about it since this will be my first Classical concert with an implant.
"Give me women, wine and snuff
Until I cry out 'hold, enough!"
Khovanshchina at the Met, March 13, 2012
By Modest Mussorgsky, in the Shostakovich orchestration with Stravinsky's final scene.
Original production by August Everding, choreography by Benjamin Millepied.
First off, Anatoli Kotscherga as Ivan was amazing; his singing was clear and powerful. His acting was also very good and he came off as an imposing figure, right up until he turns his back on the streltsy and collapses in on himself.
Interstingly the performance of this I know best [Abbado conducting the VSO] is with Kotscherga as a strong, snarling Dosifei that came off as almost sadistic. The Dosifei in this run at the Met, Ildar Abdrazakov comes off as benevolent, as a calming force.
I have always taken the broad strokes of this opera to be about groups of Old Russia in conflict with each other; the drunk louts of the Stretsly, the ascetic Old Believers and the scheming aristocracy, and that if these could only get along with each other they could keep their traditions alive. This production seemed to highlight more internal conflicts as well, between people otherwise allied.
Son opposes father, the streltsy fight amongst themselves and with their wives, the Princes squabble with each other and the Old Believers bicker amongst themselves. Things only truly seem dire for the streltsy when Ivan Khovansky, their leader, turns his back on them. These are in (most) every performance of this opera but I saw them as having an extra resonance in this production. [It is also the first time I realized that Ivan Khovansky was an Old Believer, too (though I suppose it is possible that this is not actually standard.)]
Dosifei keeps coming in and peacefully defusing situations. In that Vienna State Opera production where his entrance to save Emma from Ivan and Andrei is an event; in this Met production he just slips in, without fanfare. Without his cruelty he comes off as the horse to back... until he decides - though Marfa brings it up first - that they should immolate themselves.
The use of Stravinsky's orchestration of the final scene works very well with this production, with the Old Believers singing their hymns to mother Russia, releasing themselves to god as their home burns around them is haunting.
This is not a simple, good versus evil work but I think it is clear - especially in this production - that the message is that the old guard fell due to their own internal squabbling and inconsistencies and that in this much was lost.
I don't know much about ballet but the dance of the Persian slaves had too much shrugging (I almost want to directly invoke Bill T Jones and/or Thriller's zombies but that may be going too far) and too little dancing. It eventually got the point where Ivan Khovansky was gradually drawn in, titillated.
In the distracting mistakes in historical details department the Old Believers didn't have Old Believer crosses and Dosifei, at least, made the sign of the cross using his thumb rather than the two finger method of the actual Old Believers (many people crossed themselves many times but from my seat in the rear orchestra I could only see how many fingers they used when I borrowed binoculars. Which, I guess, means I worked at distracting myself (but, again, I was only questioning it because they had the crosses wrong.))
The main reason I was set on seeing this opera live was the deep, strong score and the Met Opera Orchestra, led by Kirill Petrenko sounded wonderful all night; I love the strings in Ivan's theme, the brass sounded bright and clear in fanfares announcing those working for the Romanovs.
I was largely unimpressed by Olga Borodina's Marfa, though she sang her scene 3 "A maiden wandered" with real emotion. I rather disliked the Andrei, Misha Didyk, his short, sharp, singing and agitated overacting didn't seem to fit with the calm, peaceful approach to the opera.
I didn't really care for Atrées; it never really seemed to be anything other than people making the strangest noises possible with their instruments, with no sustained melodic, rhythmic, textural or other threads. I mean, Keren and Kottos stretched their instruments and had some odd sounds but they were still grounded.
I liked Kottos better this time, having just heard Kassandra; the cello piece seemed to have some of the same chatter between the higher and lower voices.
But, yeah, seeing Kassandra was the clear highlight for me. The piece is sung by a single baritone (who also occasionally strums psalterion, a small high pitched lyre/harp type instrument) and is accompanied by a percussionist playing a variety of drums and tuned mallet percussion. The baritone sings in ancient Greek, from Aeschylus's Agamemnon and he sings the parts of both Cassandra and the answering Chorus, switching back and forth between a falsetto yelp/chirp and a more standard, deeper voice. Seeing that dialogue from a single person was amazing and the singer sounded clear in both voices.
The next live music I see should be the Ring Cycle at the Met, starting next Saturday!