Friday, January 19, 2007

LA Opera, I hate so much about the things you choose to be.

Well, Los Angeles Opera has announced its 2007-08 season, and it's a decidedly mixed bag. They're performing several operas that I've never seen before, plus some rarely performed ones by composers whose work was long-suppressed by the Nazis. This last bit is due to James Conlon's influence, and it's very commendable. Performing Don Giovanni, La Bohème, and Tosca again is NOT.

I love Don Giovanni, but do I really want or need to see the incredibly stupid production from a few years ago again, with the same singer as Don Giovanni. No, I do not. Erwin Schrott is good, I suppose, but will I get that much out of seeing him flounder around in that ridiculous Ursula the Sea Witch/Garthem/Queen of the Night get-up or counting the wrinkles in his cock in those hideous skin-tight hot pink pants? Not really, no. They've also re-hired the same tenor as a few years ago for La Rondine--the fairly egregious Marcus Haddock--and this year's recital is going to be Bryn Terfel again. Will he pull a rose out of the onstage floral arrangement and give it to a lady in the front row as he sings "Deh vieni alla finestra"? Does the Pope look like Emperor Palpatine? Isn't it a sign of insanity to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome?

La Bohème and Tosca have been relegated to my "Smell Ya Later" list along with Carmen, and only a really spectacular singer would get my ass in a seat at either of them.

The only explanation I can think of is that LA Opera is trying to save money by reviving recent productions in order to spend that money on getting better talent. To some extent, that may be true. I'm particularly thrilled to see that they've gotten Karita Mattila for Jenufa. But Boheme (among others) is cast with mostly winners of Placido Domingo's Operalia contest, mostly young singers who are just starting out and don't command huge fees... so where is the money going?

The Good: Seeing operas I've never seen before, since I always need new fodder to either praise or deride; no Robert Wilson!; Karita Mattila in Jenufa and Klaus Florian Vogt in Fidelio (he was great as Lohengrin at the Met).

The Bad: No Andreas Scholl or Simon Keenlyside, again. But that's my usual complaint, isn't it?

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At January 24, 2007 at 4:30 PM , Blogger Charlise said...

The newly announced season is less than inspiring. It is hard for me to believe I will see 3 productions of Don Giovanni this year. Is it not hilarious that SF and LA will both have La Rondine next season?

At January 31, 2007 at 3:53 PM , Blogger Sternflammenden said...

They do this all the time, I'm afraid! Opera Pacific tends to overlap with LA quite a bit too. For example, I think they're also doing Porgy and Bess this season. Even when they think they're being clever by doing a more obscure Puccini opera, they still get it wrong!


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