Sorry you’re only hearing this now. I’ve been cleaning my room. I organized all my shelves and wound up with an entire row of opera books and DVDs. That was fun!
Anyway, Traviata ended a little while ago. I really enjoyed this performance. When Calas played Violetta in the fifties, she was noted to be singing “unusually” and lacking “tonal beauty”. When asked about this, she said “Well I’m supposed to play a sick person, or course I sound sick!” (That’s not what she really said, I just paraphrased it)
In the beginning, Perez sounded ill. She sounded raspy and unpleasant. By Act III, she sounded “better” as in “less ill” which felt a little odd. To put it in short, she sounded prettier in Act III. She was a convincing Violetta and gave a particularly touching reading of Germont’s letter on her deathbed.
Beczala was a lyrical and articulate Alfredo, using all his good diction powers to deliver a strong but sensitive Parisian lover.
Keenlyside was a sensitive Germont, but he sounded harsh and convincing when he asked Violetta to separate from Alfredo. He also gave an authoritative “Di Sprezzo Degno” at the end of Act II.
Alright, this year in opera. It was a tumultuous year everywhere, and the stage is no exception. Here is a list of 5 memorable (I didn’t say you’d want to remember them) moments of opera in 2011:
5. New York City Opera dramatically Leaves Lincoln Center.
Money disputes and difficulties caused this New York mainstay to leave its Lincoln Center home. Plans are still up in the air about what this important company’s next steps will be in 2012.
4. Angela Gheorghiu Cancels Romeo et Juliette and Faust.
This is a bullet that further emphasizes my protest for this “diva”. She canceled an entire run of Romeo, which was relatively heavily publicized and then Faust, which was very heavily publicized. I have a feeling in my bones she won’t be singing too much a the Met anymore.
3. Don Giovanni at the Scala, that People Actually Like
It has been a while since there was a opening night of anything, anywhere, where criticisms didn’t run ramped. Robert Carsen’s “Scala” inspired Don Giovanni, received good reviews and was enjoyed by the public.
Nico Muhly’s new opera about ploygamy opened at Covent Garden this year. It’s been a while since there was an English language opera as influential as this since Menotti or Britten. I predict the New Year will bring much success to this opera and it’s composer, Nico Muhly.
1. The Enchanted Island
I consider this a positive thing of 2011, even though it hasn’t premiered yet. It’s isn’t often a new work, using the best of the best, comes to the Met and makes its home there, but we’re very lucky it did! The Enchanted Island is a wonderful, compelling, and funny opera that is perfect to ring in a New Year! Good luck to all performing in it tonight. You’re going to do great!
Happy New Year Opera Lovers!