Monday, January 09, 2012

The week in NY opera (January 9-15)

The calendar is slowly, slowly coming out of holiday slowness.

Metropolitan Opera:
Faust (M/F), Tosca (T/SM), Enchanted Island (Th/SE)
Although Calleja dropped out ill after the first intermission of his first scheduled Faust, he's again on the calendar this week. Tosca -- with Racette, Alagna, Gagnidze, and new conductor Mikko Franck -- starts its season tomorrow. My own bit of illness has kept me from writing up a full Enchanted Island post, but for now I'll just say it's terrible theater with some good singing.

Carnegie Hall:
Met Orchestra concert (Sunday 3pm)
Not exactly opera, though there's a fair amount of singing: Mahler songs on the first half and Barber and Herrmann opera excerpts in the second. Renee Fleming seems reasonably well suited to the latter and not at all to the former. Perhaps more interesting is the one-off return of former Met Orchestra principal clarinet Steve Williamson, who was poached by the Chicago Symphony before this season. Williamson's remarkable way with a romantic phrase made the much-discussed departure of his predecessor Ricardo Morales (to Philly) a change rather than a loss. Now, though the Met's other excellent clarinet principal Anthony McGill (also soloing in this program) remains, the orchestra is no longer two-deep in the same way, and events like the first-cast run of Faust -- without McGill -- are less for it. (If last week is any indication, McGill may be playing in these latter Fausts.)

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Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.

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