The David S Operaworld blog

A series of commentary on the world of opera and of serious music hopefully with links to items of broader cultural interest, correlation with the subject at hand. There is plenty of room here for a certain amount of clowning around and general irreverence - not exclusive to me - but of course no trollers or spam please. Blog for coverage of the BBC PROMS 2010 - with thoroughly proofread/upgraded coverage of the 2009 Proms and of much else.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

News of the week - RAVE opera series and MetzmacherDSO Edinburgh broadcast (online this week)

First of all, it is hot to report that the Metzmacher concert is currently audio online.

The program, performed on September 2nd at the Edinburgh festival this month included the Passacaglia by Webern, Berg Violin Concerto with Christian Tetzlaff (before repeating the concerto two nights later at the Beethoven festival in Bonn) and the Brahms Fourth Symphony.

Your links for locating this are as follows:

This notable program, in intent an exposition of what is very logically construed as a tribute to Bach by all three composers listed, was played online live from Philharmonie in Berlin last February in anticipation of tour of four cities in Asia - and played just as listed above in Hong Kong in early March. It all turned out most excellent and as close to definitive as I have ever heard an interpretation of the Berg Violin Concerto. In other words, this is a concert not to be missed.

Easy to find on the BBC Radio 3 site by doing either a keyword search there or on google, is the Discovering Music link for a very easy to follow, coherent explanation of the Berg Concerto - as listed down just reasonably lengthy list of works offered this way there - this for those of you out there who may still have a little difficulty appreciating the music of New Vienna School composers - not so new anymore - the Berg Concerto just slightly past the heyday for all this is close to 75 years old - but widely accepted today as the timeless masteerpiece it is, at least approaching something in stature of the great single Beethoven and Brahms concerti for the instrument.

RAVE Motion Pictures has finally put together from their conversations with Emerging Pictures a series of opera in HD from the movies - from opera houses other than the Met. The way they go about presenting these, as I have seen so far, I find more professional than how the Met has gone about it so far. I welcome not being yanked by the arm backstage, so to speak, in view of the Metropolitan Opera House, before I have had a chance to catch my breath for instance at the end of Act One of Tosca.

Included in plans are a satellite streamed absolutely live presentation of Carmen as opening night at La Scala on Monday, December 7th - such as with a highly disappointing Don Carlo from La Scala happened at only six theaters in the U.S. last year. A new Georgian mezzo is the Carmen and Jonas Kaufman adn Erwin Schrott stand off as Don Jose and as the toreador respectively, with Barenboim conducting. The producer is, somewhat from the avant-garde theater world, Emma Dante. Barenboim's choices of producers for what he conducts I have found ninety percent trustworthy, and usually at least something engaging, provocative on some level.

The Robert Dornhelm studio movie of La Boheme, starring Netrebko and Villazon shows this Thursday night in theaters across the U.S., as it seems as promotional and with good cause of getting better attendance for the rest of the series. A live Trovatore from Barcelona follows the Carmen, starring Luciana d'Intino as Azucena and Marco Berti as Manrico on December 22nd, in a production by Gilbert Deflo.

Several delayed, recorded live presentations remain in between, including Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte in new Claus Guth production from Salzburg. Guth's Nozze di Figaro in starring Anna Netrebko as Susanna and as in Cosi, Bo Skhovhus, has done very well in the press, with audiences and by now in dvd sales. Miah Persson is the Fiordiligi and Adam Fischer conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Most notable among these several however are the I Puritani to show here next month from Bologna - Pier'Alli the producer, and starring Nino Machaidze, Juan Diego Florez and Ildebrando d'Arcangelo., and then in November the production of Eugen Onegin by Dmitri Chernyakov, who has made a few headlines lately, and starring Mariusz Kwiecien and (expected in Houston for Pique Dame this coming spring) Tatiana Monogarova (Tatiana), with Anatoli Kotscherga and former Tatiana Makvala Kasrashvili in the supporting cast. All important that Rave may have overlooked, in my opinion, is last-spring revival at La Scala the classic Luca Ronconi production of Rossini Viaggio a Reims with set design by architect Gae Aulenti - as audio preserved from Pesaro on DGG conducted by Abbado from Pesaro twenty years back, but still inexplicably not professionally on video as of yet.

For more information (dates, times, locations), consult RAVE site listed right below and then for casting, production details the website - latter again for a little more detail on each presentation coming here and then on opotential ones as well. Reviews of several of these events at least will appear on this blog, as well as for the Tosca listed right below. I personally encourage one and all to come out for this and encourage any to all who might even halfway take an interest to attend as well, and my hope as well that these are happening in a city near you. and

Tosca just opened at the Met Monday night, to be presented live on Saturday, October 10th, and received some booing there, for what is deemed to be a controversial production. So confident that Luc Bondy is the professional he is in producing theater and opera, such reaction from still pro-Zeffirelli members of the Met audience is more cause to attend this instead of avoiding it, in my personal and humble opinion.

The BBC Proms is over. There are only several events that I hope to finish giving coverage for here, once everything is ready. I am delayed on posting a review of Jonathan Nott and the Mahler Jugendorchester on what turned out one of the most excellent Proms of the season by circumstances, opportunity that has presented itself in the past couple of days - in addition to getting also a little hamstrung by combination of the complexity of the Zimmermann piece just reviewed, how everything has piled up the past few weeks, and a little fatigue as well.

History has repeated itself lately in Munich with the Philharmonic and at the Bolshoi in Moscow. Christian Thielemann benightedly thought that decisions about what guest conductors to invite back and programming decisions should be mostly up to the orchestra itself, as opposed to the Intendant, whoever might fill that position there. The Culture Secretary for Munich, Hans Georg Kuppers, however thought differently, and said now in need of replacing Thielemann in the position there, Thielemann now compelled to resign, that in doing so the orchestra does not need so much another star as someone who has good interpersonal skills. For those who know this business, 'interpersonal skills' is one of the worst euphemisms I have yet come across, and as addressing the position as needing someone to fill it who will get along with the orchestra (members). What I fail to read in any of this however is how this is a situation in which the maestro was slipping in any way in getting along with the orchestra. It seems that it was merely intendant and administration with whom he was doing less well in getting along.

At the end of the day I have a flash for Andre Schmitz in Berlin, concerning Metzmacher, Kuppers in Munich as well, and municipal leadership in probably both cities. There are those out there who, using interpersonal skills, are aggressively jockeying for open positions out there, and pushed beyond what they know (where to go and how to handle where they might wind up) by their coaches and booking agents, including one person I read on the list for who might eventually replace Thielemann. There are those who can turn on the 'interpersonal skills', and then there are those who come to their work to make music. Given what the real job description is, this is 90 percent of what matters, and to the musicians qualified to be in their jobs as well playing for those who are in the relevant positions.

Whatever you think of Metzmacher, Thielemann, Vedernikov in Moscow (fine conductor I am told for controversial production of Eugen Onegin playing at the movies here in November and across thirty RAVE motion picture locales across the U.S.), one has to admit that those who are running things or are badly attempting to do so are not only dropping the ball but behaving in as unethical a manner as can be construed possible. The business of preserving our orchestras, including those finest ones over in Europe, as some of the finest cultural institutions in our midst, is at stake here.

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