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Opera :: Stories from The New York Sun



Last Build Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 01:32:43 -0400

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Fleming, Mattila, and Damrau Ignite the Opera Season

Wed, 17 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

The "first semester" of the 2008-09 classical-music season is loaded with opera. I will give my sense of the highlights. They will not include anything from City Opera, as that company is somewhat sidelined this year. They are transitioning. What they're transitioning to, we can't be quite sure. But we can hope for the best. At the Metropolitan Opera, Renée Fleming will star in a gala (September 22). It is devoted to her. Ms. Fleming is a great singer and a great opera performer, as will be...



Woody Allen Makes Opera Debut

Mon, 8 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Woody Allen would take no bows. He had just made his successful debut as an opera director Saturday, creating a hilarious and memorable production of "Gianni Schicchi," the third of the one-act presentations in Puccini's "Il Trittico." The Los Angeles Opera's opening-night audience at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion kept applauding, wanting to see the 72-year-old filmmaker join the cast and conductor James Conlon for the curtain call. But Mr. Allen remained out of view, unwilling to come onstage...



Great-Granddaughters To Lead Wagner Festival

Tue, 2 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

The foundation that oversees the Bayreuth Festival appointed Katharina Wagner and her half-sister Eva Wagner-Pasquier, the great-granddaughters of Richard Wagner, to lead the annual opera event founded by the German composer, according to a statement from family member Wolf Siegfried Wagner. The decision ends years of tussling over who should succeed Wolfgang Wagner, the 89-year-old father of Katharina and Eva. He stepped down as director of the festival in August after 57 years. The...



Met's HD Broadcast Program To Grow by 30%

Fri, 22 Aug 2008 00:00:00 EST

The third season of "The Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD," the popular program that broadcasts Met performances to movie theaters and performing arts centers across the country, will reach 30 percent more venues this season than in 2007-08, the opera house announced Wednesday. The program, a partnership between the Met and National CineMedia, a cinema advertising and movie theater-event company, will reach 440 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 2008-09. Last season, more than 900,000...



Glimmerglass Times Four (on an Elizabethan Stage)

Thu, 21 Aug 2008 00:00:00 EST

The Glimmerglass Opera has four productions on its bill this summer, and each employs a shared backdrop: an elegant facsimile of an Elizabethan theater in pale gray timber. In front of that background, the flats and scenery for each opera float in. Operagoers who attend performances to applaud lavish sets rather than the singing and staging may be disappointed by it, but the ingenious device — which is both artistically apt and economical — successfully unifies the quartet under a single theme...



Domingo Replaces Álvarez in 'Adriana Lecouvreur'

Thu, 21 Aug 2008 00:00:00 EST

Plácido Domingo will replace Marcelo Álvarez in the role of Maurizio in the Metropolitan Opera's February production of Cilea's "Adriana Lecouvreur," the organization announced Wednesday. Mr. Domingo made his Met debut in the role 40 years ago, and has since performed the part at the opera house only once, in 1983. Before the casting switch was made, Mr. Domingo was set to conduct this production; in his place, Marco Armiliato will conduct...



Opera Singer Mark Lundberg Dies

Thu, 21 Aug 2008 00:00:00 EST

Mark Lundberg, an opera singer whose voice was so versatile he was able to compete as a bass, baritone, and tenor, died at age 50 after a brief illness, his management company said. Lundberg sang bass, then baritone, for many years before making the transition to dramatic tenor roles. He competed at the regional finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions as a bass, baritone, and tenor, according to the Pittsburgh Opera, where Lundberg was to perform the role of Samson in...



Met To Honor Pavarotti With Free Concert

Tue, 19 Aug 2008 00:00:00 EST

The Metropolitan Opera will offer a free concert performance of Verdi's Requiem on September 18 to honor the memory of one of its greatest stars, Luciano Pavarotti, who died last year of pancreatic cancer. Tenor Marcello Giordani will sing the music once made radiant by the Italian tenor, with James Levine on the podium. They will be joined by soprano Barbara Frittoli, mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina, and bass James Morris. Pavarotti sang 378 times at the Met during his career with the New York...



Pavarotti's Widow Breaks Silence on Will

Mon, 21 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EST

ROME — Luciano Pavarotti's widow has broken her silence to speak for the first time about her bitter will dispute with the opera singer's children. Nicoletta Mantovani, 38, said that she had reached an agreement in the multimillion-pound wrangle with the three daughters "in honor of Luciano" and disclosed that she is about to make a film on his life. Pavarotti, who died last September from pancreatic cancer at age 71, left a fortune estimated to be worth nearly $500 million in property, shares...



Fleming To Don Couture for Met Gala

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EST

The soprano Renée Fleming will wear costumes created by couture designers John Galliano, Christian Lacroix, and Karl Lagerfeld for the Metropolitan Opera's season-opening gala on September 22, the opera house announced Thursday. Ms. Fleming will wear costumes by Mr. Lacroix as she performs scenes from Verdi's "La Traviata," a costume by Mr. Lagerfeld for Chanel in an extract from Massenet's "Manon," and a costume by Mr. Galliano in a selection from Strauss's "Capriccio." This will be the first...



Opera Legend Sutherland Hospitalized

Tue, 8 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EST

Opera legend Joan Sutherland is recovering well after breaking both legs during a fall at her Swiss home, her agent said Monday. "She had an accident while doing the gardening, and somehow managed to break both her legs," agent David Sigall said. The 81-year-old soprano is now in a Swiss hospital undergoing rehabilitation, Mr. Sigall told the Associated Press by telephone from London. "She has been moved to the rehabilitation section," he said, adding that Ms. Sutherland would likely remain...



Seattle Opera Introduces LGBT Nights

Tue, 8 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EST

The Seattle Opera will host lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender nights during designated Friday performances in the 2008-09 season, the opera house announced Monday. The LGBT nights will include $100 admission to orchestra seats, which usually cost between $94 and $140; private intermission receptions, including complimentary refreshments, and free admission to a pre-opera lecture. The program will include performances of the operas "Aida" on August 22, "The Pearl Fishers" on January 23, and "The...



Strike Looms at La Scala

Thu, 3 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EST

Workers at La Scala opera house in Milan are threatening to stage a strike next week that would cancel the first three performances of "La Bohème." But union representative Giancarlo Albori said Wednesday that talks with management were still going on. He said a decision on whether to strike would be made at the end of meetings, possibly on Friday. Scenery and costume workers, chorus members, and the orchestra are in contract renewal talks. The strike would target the Monday performance of...



George Manahan Re-Ups at City Opera

Wed, 2 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EST

Maestro George Manahan has renewed his contract as music director of the New York City Opera through 2012, the organization announced Tuesday. Mr. Manahan was appointed music director in 1998. He has since conducted 53 different operas, two of them in world-premiere productions, and has worked on four albums, including the 2003 Grammy-nominated "Desire Under the Elms" (Naxos) with the London Symphony. Mr. Manahan is scheduled to conduct performances of Igor Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress"...



Pavarotti Family Settles Will Dispute

Tue, 1 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EST

A lawyer for Luciano Pavarotti's widow said his family has come to a friendly agreement on how to divide up his estate. Pavarotti had drafted two wills near the end of his yearlong battle with cancer. One divided his assets by Italian law, giving half to his second wife, Nicoletta Mantovani, and half to his four daughters. The second left the tenor's American holdings to Ms. Mantovani. Pavarotti died last September. He had three adult daughters from his 35-year marriage to his first wife, Adua...



Komische Oper Director Leaps to Zurich's Opernhaus

Wed, 25 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EST

Andreas Homoki, the director of Berlin's Komische Oper opera house, will leave his post in 2012 to become director of Zurich's Opernhaus, the Swiss opera company said in a statement. He succeeds Alexander Pereira, who will prolong his contract by one year to fill the gap before Mr. Homoki's contract begins. Mr. Homoki, who is 48, has led the Komische Oper since 2002. Last year, music critics chose the house as winner of Opernwelt magazine's "Opera House of the Year" title. "Even though we...



The Met Arrives in Prospect Park

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EST

Even though Senator Schumer, introducing the festivities in Prospect Park on Friday, stated that the summer solstice was the "longest night of the year" — it is, of course, just the opposite — the time seemed to fly by as the Metropolitan Opera presented soprano Angela Gheorghiu and tenor Roberto Alagna singing a program of highlights and arias. This was typical summer fare: Everything was fine, nothing was great. I have profound admiration for Ms. Gheorghiu. Her steadfast refusal to appear in...



Charles Wuorinen Takes On 'Brokeback'

Mon, 9 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EST

Gérard Mortier, the incoming general manager and artistic director of the New York City Opera, has commissioned composer Charles Wuorinen to create an opera based on "Brokeback Mountain," Annie Proulx's short story, first published in the New Yorker magazine and later adapted into a celebrated movie by Ang Lee. The opera is currently scheduled to make its premiere during City Opera's 2013 spring season. This piece will be Mr. Wuorinen's second world premiere at City Opera; the first was another...



Bells and Whistles For 'War and Peace'

Wed, 12 Dec 2007 00:00:00 EST

Two nights ago, the Metropolitan Opera revived Prokofiev's "War and Peace," and, this time, no one fell into the pit. When this production made its debut five years ago, a supernumerary — one of Napoleon's soldiers — tumbled into the orchestra, or at least appeared to do so: He was saved by a net. Monday night, a cylindrical couch pillow rolled toward the pit. Like the soldier, it did not quite make it. Prokofiev's opera is epic, like the novel from which it springs. The score is vast, and...



Curtain Up On 'War & Peace'

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 00:00:00 EST

When the Metropolitan Opera opens its "War and Peace" tonight at 7:30, the largest cast in the Met's history will be onstage. The production includes 250 extras, 118 chorus members, and 41 dancers, plus four chickens, one horse — and one goat. This opera, composed by Sergei Prokofiev, presents the Leo Tolstoy novel on a grand and glorious scale. The legions of extras and animals are used to dramatize the largest land battle in European history and the opulence of an Imperial Russian ball...



Collaboration Brings Opera From Germany

Tue, 4 Dec 2007 00:00:00 EST

Lincoln Center Festival will present a new production of the 20th-century opera "Die Soldaten" ("Soldiers") at the Park Avenue Armory in July. The production had its premiere in 2006 at the Ruhr Triennale — a festival, established by the incoming general manager of New York City Opera, Gérard Mortier, that stages performances of contemporary music and art in former industrial buildings in Germany's Ruhr region. "Die Soldaten," written in 1965 by the composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann, was...



Out & About

Thu, 4 Oct 2007 00:00:00 EST

Innovation is a mark of New York City Opera, and not just on the stage. At its Fall Fête on Tuesday, each table was stocked with a different selection from the 500 bottles of fine French wine purchased for the occasion by collectors Michael Lynch and Donald Zilkha during what Mr. Zilkha called "a two-day buying spree" at the September auctions. That meant that instead of the mostly forgettable wine usually served at such an event, the 300 guests supporting City Opera sipped wine valued at more...



Out & About

Thu, 13 Sep 2007 00:00:00 EST

For a certain set in New York, the first opening nights of the fall season are a beloved "back-to-school"-like ritual. Most of the time they are comfortingly predictable; but when they take the unexpected turn, it is a thrill to be remembered. Such was the case Tuesday night at New York City Opera for the opening of "Margaret Garner," which was composed by Richard Danielpour to a libretto by Nobel Literature Laureate Toni Morrison. The opera tells the true story of an escaped slave, Margaret...



Meeting Over Iran Nuclear Program Canceled

Mon, 11 Jun 2007 11:59:28 EST

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - A meeting between a senior Iranian envoy and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency was abruptly canceled Monday and diplomats blamed Iran's refusal to make good on a promise to provide answers about past atomic activities. The meeting, between Javeed Vaidi of Iran and IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei, had been billed as a test of Iran's readiness to end years of stonewalling and provide answers on aspects of its nuclear program that could be used to...



Trouble Looming for Rice

Mon, 5 Mar 2007 00:00:00 EST

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Rice's "Sunni strategy" is running into trouble. Her idea was to bolster a ring of moderate Sunni Arab allies as a front-line defense against Iran's regional ambitions. But the Sunnis don't appear to be cooperating, and the proponents of the plan within the State Department are heading for the exits. This weekend, Iran's Holocaust-denying president was fêted by King Abdullah, the Saudi monarch who rules the linchpin Sunni state in Ms. Rice's attempted anti-Iran...



City Opera Chooses A Daring New Director

Thu, 1 Mar 2007 00:00:00 EST

New York City Opera's choice of Gérard Mortier as its next general manager and artistic director means that New Yorkers will soon have the opportunity to see two dynamic — and very different — leaders in the opera field test out their ideas for the future of the art form just across Lincoln Center Plaza from each other. When Mr. Mortier, now the director of the Opéra National de Paris, takes over his new post in 2009, the two major opera companies in New York, City Opera and the Metropolitan...



International Heroin Ring Busted

Thu, 18 Jan 2007 19:05:13 EST

NEW YORK (AP) - An international heroin trafficking organization that processed drugs from Pakistan and Afghanistan through a storefront in Thailand has been busted with help from the first wiretap recordings to be authorized by Thailand judicial authorities, prosecutors say. Three men from Thailand extradited to the United States to face drug charges made initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, where they were ordered held without bail Thursday in a case authorities said...



A New Barber For a New Met

Wed, 22 Nov 2006 00:00:00 EST

The Metropolitan Opera has a new production of "The Barber of Seville," Rossini's opera-buffa masterpiece. It comes courtesy of Bartlett Sher, director of "The Light in the Piazza," a hit at Lincoln Center. In a program note for the Met, Mr. Sher pens the following, remarkable effusion: "In a time when even the Met finds itself in the process of extraordinary change, it is a wonder — and our good fortune — to have Rossini to speak fully and boldly, to help us, perhaps, to get a whiff of the...



The Disillusioned Opera Director

Tue, 3 Oct 2006 00:00:00 EST

Jonathan Miller is in a state of disgruntlement. Despite his congeniality and his mischievous good humor, things are getting him down. "I really can't carry on doing this," he said. "It barely covers the cost." The life of a globe-trotting opera director is not as glamorous as it may seem. The decades of dreary hotels, drafty rehearsal rooms, and bumping up against indifferent opera house managements have taken their toll. Apart from a project at the Brooklyn Academy of Music next year, to...