“Maria Stuarda,” Donizetti’s powerful Tudor queen opera, never before performed at the Met, screens on “Met Live in HD” this Saturday, January 19, 2013
While history informs us that that Mary, Queen of Scotts never actually met Queen Elizabeth I, Donizetti couldn’t resist putting the two rival queens together to clash it out in his dramatic 1834 opera, “Maria Stuarda.” The Metropolitan Opera premiered this fiercely dramatic opera—the second opera from Donizetti’s bel canto trilogy about the Tudor queens—on New Year’s Eve. With Joyce DiDonato as Mary Queen of Scotts and the debut of the remarkable San Francisco-trained South African soprano Elza van den Heever as Elisabetta, the power struggle between the two queens with two sets of religious beliefs and only one possible, bloody outcome couldn’t have been better cast. This David McVicar production will be transmitted live around the world on Saturday, January 19, 2013 as part of The Met: Live in HD series and will play at 10 a.m. PST in Sonoma County at Sebastopol’s Rialto Cinemas. Encore performances will play on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Approximate running time: 166 minutes
Those lucky enough to have experienced Joyce DiDonato’s rapturous “Drama Queens” performance in November at the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall know what magic this Grammy Award winning mezzo is capable of—channeling the very soul of her composers. While the role of Mary is normally a soprano role, it’s been transposed for diDonato’s rich and expressive mezzo. Here’s a taste of the passion DiDonato delivered while practicing the role. Deborah Voight’s interview was part of the Met Live in HD transmission of “Un Ballo in Maschera” on December 8, 2012 and speaks to the wonderful extras that are part and parcel of every Met: Live in HD experience—
Elza van den Heever went to extraordinary lengths to portray the legendary Queen, who is vividly developed in this production. She even shaved her head in order to better suit the elaborate wigs and high forehead depicted in portraits of the Monarch. The Wall Street Journal’s Heidi Waleson noted that her “big, well-controlled soprano” was “steely and assertive, with the flexibility to pull off Elizabeth’s vengeful, vitriolic cabalettas.” And I can’t wait to see her in a wide red skirt by John Macfarlane that opens like curtains to reveal pants. Van den Heever is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Merola Opera Program and San Francisco Opera’s (SFO) Adler Fellowship Program. At SFO, she last portrayed Mary Curtis Lee (general Lee’s wife) in the 2007 world premiere of Philip Glass’s Appomattox and Donna Anna in the Company’s 2007 Don Giovanni. She has also partnered with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, notably in their triple Grammy Award winning 2009 release of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8.
Originally premiered in 1835, Maria Stuarda is based on the German writer, Friedrich Schiller’s play Mary Stuart, which depicts the final days of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was viewed as a challenger to Elizabeth I’s throne and beheaded in 1587.
“In this mid-point opera we are really focusing on the relationship between two queens in the same moment and the political impossibility of these two women co-existing on the same small island,” said Mr. McVicar. “It’s based on the Schiller dramatization of Mary’s story which contains the great, mythical scene – which never actually happened in history – when the two queens meet and have a cataclysmic showdown. It crackles with drama, it crackles with romance and it’s a very, very powerful mid-point in the trilogy of these three operas.”
For Maria Stuarda, Mr. McVicar works with fellow Scotsman, John Macfarlane on set and costume designs. Mr. Macfarlane’s previous work at the Met has included the much-loved fantastical sets and costumes for Hansel and Gretel. Mr. McVicar says that this new production embraces the romance of Maria Stuarda, rather than realism: “When we did the production of Anna Bolena last season at the Met, we went for the ’nth-degree of historical accuracy, particularly in the costuming. With Maria Stuarda being a different type of opera, we’ve gone for a visual style that is free-er, that is more romantic and which somehow, rather than reflecting history, reflects the romantic nature of this retelling of the story and the sweeping romantic nature of Donizetti’s music.”
Cast: Joyce DiDonato, Maria Stuarda; Elza van den Heever, Elisabetta; Matthew Polenzani, Leicester; Joshua Hopkins, Cecil; Matthew Rose, Talbot
Artistic and Production Team: Conductor, Maurizio Benini; Production, David McVicar; Set & Costume Design, John Macfarlane; Lighting Design, Jennifer Tipton; Choreographer, Leah Hausman
Details: “Maria Stuarda” is Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 10 a.m. (PST), with encore (re-broadcast) performances on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. (PST). . Purchase tickets, $23, for Sebastopol’s Rialto Cinemas and select your seat here. A list of participating Bay Area cinemas and online ticket purchase is available at www.FathomEvents.com. For a complete list of cinema locations nationwide and schedule, please visit The Met: Live in HD. Ticket prices vary by location. NO ONE cares what you wear or what you eat or drink but please be kind enough to elbow your snoring partners to consciousness.
Rialto Cinemas Lakeside
551 Summerfield Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95405
Cinemark Napa 8
825 Pearl Street
Napa, CA 94559
The Lark Theater
549 Magnolia Avenue
Larkspur, CA 94939
Cinemark Century Northgate 15
7000 Northgate Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
Cinemark Cinearts Sequoia 2
25 Throckmorton Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941
No hassle Opera! The Met’s new “Live in HD” season kicks off this Saturday, October 13, at Sebastopol’s Rialto Cinemas, with a new production of “L’Elisir d’Amore” starring Anna Netrebko
When it comes to opera, it’s hard to beat the enduring popularity of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore—a whacky travelling salesman, fake love potions, rich girl, poor boy, botched communication and LOVE. The 7th season of The Met: Live in HD opens this Saturday, October 13, in Sonoma County at Sebastopol’s Rialto Cinemas, and at select theatres across the country, with this comic gem. The series runs through the end of April 2013 with a selection of 11 other top Metropolitan Opera productions, including seven new productions, two of which are Met premieres. Each live performance is broadcast through National CineMedia’s (NCM®) to participating local theatres in real time on a Saturday with a Wednesday “encore,” a re-screening of Saturday’s captured performance. Encore performances are always shown on Wednesday afternoons and evenings by the Rialto Cinemas.
HD productions offer those of us in the extended northern Bay Area, the opportunity to sample a rich menu of almost live opera for $25, without crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and all the time and expense that entails. The immersive screen experience offers exacting close-ups of the performances—facial expressions, costumes, scenery—and informative specially produced features—generally interviews—hosted by Met opera stars such as Renée Fleming, Natalie Dessay, Plácido Domingo, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Patricia Racette, and Deborah Voigt. These backstage chats with cast, crew, and production teams give an unprecedented look at what goes into the staging of an opera at one of the world’s great houses. All transmissions have on-screen English subtitles, the same ones used in live performances at the opera house.
In fact, the popularity of the Emmy® and Peabody award-winning series has skyrocketed, reaching over 3 million people in more than 1900 theaters in 64 countries, making the Met the only arts institution with an ongoing global art series of this scale. The 2012-13 season will be broadcast in over 660 select U.S. cinemas and in 100 additional independent venues worldwide.
A rare occurrence, last year’s Metropolitan opera season opened with Donizetti’s tragic Anna Bolena, with Netrebko in the title role, and its new season also opens with Donizetti and Netrebko …again. This is the first time in 20 years that the Met season has featured a comedy for opening night and the first time ever that The Met: Live in HD opens with a comedy. Anna Netrebko, starring as Adina, and Matthew Polenzani, as Nemorino—both making their Met debut in these roles—received rapturous reviews the first night and the production has been praised for its insightful new staging. The opera co-stars Mariusz Kwiecien as the soldier Belcore, Adina’s swaggering fiancé, and Ambrogio Maestri as the potion-peddling traveling salesman Doctor Dulcamara. (Run time: 125 minutes including 2 intermissions) Encore: Wednesday, November 7 at 1 and 7 pm.
On October 27, Verdi’s Otello, the first opera to be televised from the Met nearly 65 years ago, comes to HD. The Shakespearean masterpiece returns with an exciting cast that includes South African tenor Johan Botha singing the title role opposite the star soprano Renée Fleming as Desdemona, with Symyon Bychkov conducting.
Donizetti’s L’ELISIR D’AMORE
NEW PRODUCTION Saturday, October 13 at 10am and Wednesday, October 17 at 1 & 7pm
Saturday, October 27 at 10am
and Wednesday, November 7 at 1 & 7pm
Ades’ THE TEMPEST
MET PREMIERE Saturday, November 10 at 10am
and Wednesday, November 14 at 1 & 7pm
Mozart’s LA CLEMENZA DI TITO
Saturday, December 1 at 10am
and Wednesday, December 5 at 1 & 7pm
Verdi’s UN BALLO IN MASCHERA
NEW PRODUCTION Saturday, December 8 at 10am
and Wednesday, December 12 at 1 & 7pm
Saturday, December 15 at 10am
and Wednesday, December 19 at 1 & 7pm
Berlioz’s LES TROYENS
Saturday, January 5 at 9am
and Wednesday, January 9 at Noon & 6pm
Donizetti’s MARIA STUARDA
MET PREMIERE Saturday, January 19 at 10am
and Wednesday, January 23 at 1 & 7pm
NEW PRODUCTION Saturday, February 16 at 10am
and Wednesday, February 20 at 1 & 7pm
NEW PRODUCTION Saturday, March 2 at 9am
and Wednesday, March 6 at Noon & 6pm
Zandonai’s FRANCESCA DA RIMINI
Saturday, March 16 at 9am
and Wednesday, March 20 at Noon & 6pm
Handel’s GIULIO CESARE
NEW PRODUCTION Saturday, April 27 at 9am
and Wednesday, May 1 at Noon & 6pm
Details: Tickets are available at participating cinema box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com . For a complete list of cinema locations and schedule, please visit The Met: Live in HD. Ticket prices vary by location. Tickets at the Rialto Cinemas are $25 and season subscriptions are available, allowing you to choose your seat. NO ONE cares what you wear or what you eat or drink but ladies please curb check your snoring partners, or be kind enough to elbow them to consciousness.
Rialto Cinemas Lakeside
551 Summerfield Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95405
Cinemark Napa 8
825 Pearl Street
Napa, CA 94559
The Lark Theater
549 Magnolia Avenue
Larkspur, CA 94939
Cinemark Century Northgate 15
7000 Northgate Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
Cinemark Cinearts Sequoia 2
25 Throckmorton Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941
ARThound visits the Metropolitan Opera: Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina—a grand, intense and brooding Russian epic with a stellar line-up of Russian and Georgian singers, through March 17, 2012
I can’t think of a more enthralling opera to see live at the Metropolitan Opera this winter than Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina, which marked my first return to the Met since I was in graduate school at Columbia some 25 years ago and experienced Otto Schenk’s classic Ring cycle as my not-so gentle introduction to opera. This is the first time that Khovanshchina—epic in scale and length (4.5 hours)—has been performed at the Met for 13 years. Having seen last season’s spectacular Boris Godunov, through the Met’s “Live in HD” simulcast, I was primed for more Russian opera and keen to hear Mussorgsky live. The Met delivered in spectacular fashion and proved to me that nothing tops the live opera experience for both learning and sheer sensual pleasure. It’s one thing to watch a fiery immolation scene on HD and another to literally smell it as it takes its tragic toll on stage before your eyes. And, despite the opera’s ripe old age of 135+ years, I can’t think of a more timely opera in terms of capturing what’s unfolding in Russia right now–Russians are living in a moral and ideological vacuum and are awakening to the idea that if they want democracy and real social justice, they need to engage in active struggle.
Mussorgsky was obsessed with Russian history. His dramatic Khovanshchina delves deeply into the political and religious struggles that embroiled Moscow upon the turbulent eve of Peter the Great’s coronation in 1682, a definitive period when Russia felt the pull of modernism and the great tug of tradition—the struggle for Russia’s very destiny. The stellar Slavic cast includes the magnetic Russian mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina as Marfa, a passionate member of the religious movement called the Old Believers, the Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov as Dosifei, the spiritual leader of the Old Believers and Russian tenor Vladimir Galouzine as Vasily Golitsin, a liberal-minded aristocrat, and Ukranian bass Anatoli Kotscherga in his Met debut as central character Ivan Khovansky, the leader of the conspiracy against Peter the Great. Conducted by Kirill Petrenko who put his own spin on Shostakovich’s end to Mussorgsky’s unfinished original score, the music was breathtaking and fresh—at times tender and at times evoking the cataclysmic clashing of bells. Backed up by a glorious chorus and a finale of immolation, this is a production befitting the tormented Russian soul. To read the full article, click here.
Khovanshchina Productions Details: Khovanshchina opened on February 27, 2012 and was performed on March 1, 6, 10, and 13, 2012. The final performance of Khovanshchina is Saturday, March 17, 2012, at 12 p.m. E.S.T. which will also be broadcast through SiriusXM Live Broadcast (Sirius channel 78 and XM Radio channel 79) and Toll Brothers-Met Opera Radio Network Broadcast. Margaret Juntwait, now in her 8th season of hosting, will interview singers backstage at the first intermission. You can try the subscription for free for 30 days by signing up here.
Metropolitan Opera Details: The Metropolitan Opera is located at Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, between West 62nd and 65th Streets and Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. Refer to the Metropolitan Opera website (here) for information regarding programming. The Met’s 2011-2012 Season has 13 remaining productions. The Met’s 2012-13 Season includes seven new productions, two Met premieres and 16 revivals as well as a complete Ring cycles and a special holiday program. Individual tickets as well as season packages are available online here. There are also special ticket pricing offers, student, and rush tickets.
For the past year, the beloved opera superstar Frederica von Stade, a long-time Bay Area resident affectionately known as “Flicka,” has been making farewell appearances and the great opera houses and concert halls worldwide, whose stages she has graced for the past 40 years have been paying tribute, one by one. Now, it’s the Bay Area’s turn. On Saturday, December 3, 2011, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Performances, Cal Performances, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music will join in an unprecedented team effort to celebrate the illustrious life and career of our treasured mezzo, arts advocate, and musical celebrity.
Eight extraordinary artists and friends of von Stade─and some as of yet unannounced surprise guests─ will lead the special one night only musical tribute, joined by von Stade and accompanied by Jake Heggie, John Churchwell and Bryndon Hassman: Sir Thomas Allen, baritone; Susannah Biller, soprano; Zheng Cao, mezzo-soprano; Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano; Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano; Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, soprano; Samuel Ramey, bass; and Richard Stilwell, baritone.
The concert will feature highlights from von Stade’s expansive performance and recording career, including arias from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria; songs by Ravel, Mahler, Poulenc and Berlioz; selections from American musical theater; and contemporary songs by Jake Heggie. The evening will also feature personal tributes and recollections of working with Ms. von Stade.
An intimate gala reception with the artists in the lobby of the War Memorial Opera House will follow the performance, with proceeds supporting University of California Berkeley’s Young Musicians Program and the St. Martin de Porres Catholic School in Oakland.
What’s it like to work with Flicka? Rauli Garcia, who is the CFO of HGO (Houston Grand Opera) made his stage debut as a supernumerary in Dead Man Walking earlier this year and his account “What a rush!”was posted on the HGO (Houston Grand Opera) blog on January 31, 2011.
Recognized as one of the most beloved musical figures of our time, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade began at the very top, receiving a contract from Sir Rudolf Bing during the Metropolitan Opera auditions and since her debut has enriched classical music for over four decades with appearances in opera, concert and recital. The first aria in her career was Thomas’s “Connais-tu le pays”. Von Stade has sung nearly all the great roles with the Met and in 2000, the company celebrated the 30th anniversary of her debut with a new production of The Merry Widow. She made her 1971 San Francisco Opera debut as Sextus (La Clemenza di Tito) with Spring Opera Theater and her main stage debut in 1972 as Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), and has appeared with San Francisco Opera in more than a dozen roles, including Mélisande (Pelléas et Mélisande), Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier), Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Countess Geschwitz (Lulu) and the title roles of La Sonnambula, La Cenerentola, and The Merry Widow. She created two roles in world premiere productions by San Francisco Opera: Marquise de Merteuil in Conrad Susa’s The Dangerous Liaisons and Mrs. Patrick de Rocher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking; she also created the role of Madeline Mitchell in Jake Heggie’s chamber opera Three Decembers, presented in its West Coast premiere by San Francisco Opera and Cal Performances in 2008.
Known as a bel canto specialist, von Stade is also beloved in the French repertoire, including the title role of Offenbach’s La Périchole. She is also a favorite interpreter of the great “trouser” roles, from Strauss’s Composer (Ariadne auf Naxos) and Octavian to Mozart’s Sextus, Idamante (Idomeneo), and Cherubino. Von Stade’s artistry has inspired the revival of neglected works such as Massenet’s Chérubin, Ambroise Thomas’s Mignon, Rameau’s Dardanus, and Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, and she has garnered critical and popular acclaim in her vast French orchestral repertoire, including Ravel’s Shéhérazade, Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’Été and Canteloube’s Les Chants d’Auvergne. She is well known to audiences around the world through her numerous featured appearances on television including several PBS specials and “Live from Lincoln Center” telecasts.
Miss von Stade has made over seventy recordings with every major label, including complete operas, aria albums, symphonic works, solo recital programs, and popular crossover albums. Her recordings have garnered six Grammy nominations, two Grand Prix du Disc awards, the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Italy’s Premio della Critica Discografica, and “Best of the Year” citations by Stereo Review and Opera News. She has enjoyed the distinction of holding simultaneously the first and second places on national sales charts for Angel/EMI’s Show Boat and Telarc’s The Sound of Music.
Von Stade was appointed as an officer of France’s L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1998, France’s highest honor in the Arts, and in 1983 she was honored with an award given at the White House by President Reagan. She holds five honorary doctorates from Yale University, Boston University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (which holds a Frederica von Stade Distinguished Chair in Voice), the Georgetown University School of Medicine, and her alma mater, the Mannes School of Music.
Details: Celebrating Frederica von Stade, Saturday, December 3, 2011, at 7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102. Tickets for the concert are $50, $75 and $100. Tickets for the gala reception, which includes premium seating for the concert, are $500. Tickets for the concert and gala reception are available at http://www.sfopera.com or the San Francisco Opera Box Office at 301 Van Ness Avenue, or by phone at (415) 864-3330.
In Cirque du Soleil’s new “Totem,” Mankind’s Evolution Unfolds…Aided by Crystal Man and a Giant Turtle
With “Totem,” Robert Lepage and Cirque du Soleil again prove they are a match made in heaven. Lepage’s endless imagination and Cirque’s deep pockets have led to a stunning new production that opened in San Francisco last Friday under the Grand Chapiteau (Big Top) in Cirque’s Village on Wheels near AT&T Park. Even if you’ve seen a Cirque production lately, this is a show worth seeing with lots that’s new, especially in Lepage’s signature area of technical wizardry. Inspired by many founding myths, “Totem” loosely traces the human evolutionary journey through a series of mind-blowing specially choreographed acrobatic acts performed by elite athletes in gorgeous costumes. A backdrop of stunning video projections bring a new dimension to the stage. “Totem,” explains Lepage, “is inspired by the foundation narratives of the first peoples and explores the birth and evolution of the world, the relentless curiosity of human beings and their constant desire to excel. The word suggests that human beings carry in their bodies the full potential of all living beings, even the Thunderbird’s desire to fly to the top of the Totem.”
“Totem” is Lepage’s second Cirque du Soleil show. It follows the immensely successful jaw-dropping “KÀ,” which took a whopping $165 million to launch and has been running in an enormous 1,951-seat theatre at the MGM Grand since late 2004. “KÀ” traces the epic journey of Imperial twins who embark on an adventurous journey to fulfill their destinies and is the most technologically sophisticated show I have ever seen. It features a giant rectangular 150 ton stage that floats and rotates in the air and can pivot from horizontal to vertical and transform into several landscapes, making things like battle scenes come alive as actors scale and rappel a vertical battlefield.
For San Francisco audiences, “Totem” also falls right on the heels of Lepage’s highly publicized and controversial production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Metropolitan Opera where some of his ingenious and expensive technology failed to perform as expected. In the Ring’s first installment, Das Rheingold (September, 2010), the video technology, which was supposed to project imagery on 24 planks operated by a hydraulic system—the 45 ton “Valhalla machine”–failed during the climactic scene in which the Gods walk across a rainbow into Valhalla. That problem was resolved but others emerged in Die Walküre (April, 2011), the second installment, including leading ladies Deborah Voight and Stephanie Blythe both slipping on the planks of the $16 million machinery. “Totem” is not as spectacular as “KÀ,” nor does it carry the weight of Valhalla, but it makes for a wonderfully entertaining afternoon or evening and it is perfect for kids.
Where “Totem” really excels is in the use of video projection and special effects, all masterminded by Pedro Pires, Image Content designer, in conjunction with Set and Props designer Carl Fillion and Lighting Designer Etienne Boucher. In “Totem,” the projection screen is a virtual marsh at the rear of the stage. The images projected are all drawn from nature and Pires shot most of them himself on travels to Iceland, Hawaii and Guatemala. Throughout the show, these evolve in long mixes or morph to create an ever-changing tableau of gorgeous eye-popping color. Way way cool factor—infra-red tracking cameras positioned above the stage and around the marsh detect movement and produce kinetic effects that interact with the artists’ movements in real time. The results are poetic—water flows across beaches, molten lava streams, projected swimmers swim across the stage while real time swimmers emerge at the side. As performers wade across projected water, projected ripples swell out from under their feet.
Kym Barrett’s creative costumes have ingenious attention to detail and look fabulous on these well-toned athletes. Barrett explained in the press kit that, in brainstorming with Lepage, the idea was to create a real world that evolved into a fantastical world─from a documentary style to fantasy, keeping the human body and its possible transformations in mind at all times. Her designs emphasize themes of evolution, nature itself and
changes of the seasons, traditional cultural and tribal designs and sophisticated surface treatment of fabric to achieve costumes that constantly interact with and adapt to the show’s ever-changing lighting.
Most striking is Crystal man—a recurring character—who represents the life force. He descends from space and sparks life early in the show and dives into a lagoon at the close. His dazzling costume is covered with about 4,500 crystals and reflective mirrors and when he twirls and drops down from the sky, he glistens like a falling star. The ten performers in the Russian bars act also stand out in their vibrant op art unitards—each is different but collectively these costumes have a harlequin meets the lost civilizations of South America vibe. Humans, scaly fishes, clowns, a toreador, cosmonauts—whatever the costume, Barrett has designed it to accentuate the bodies and all the possible movements of these outstanding performers.
For all its wizardry and outright coolness and camp, “Totem” doesn’t really present any clear-cut thesis or timeline about where mankind has come from or is going—the approach was to throw in everything and anything and mix it all up in a series of vignettes with great stunts. It’s an environment where Planet of the Apes chimps, Darwinesque explorers, Native Americans, clowns, businessmen, Cosmonauts, and Bollywood players all meet up. At the end of it all, my favorite act was a male female trapeze duo cleverly enacting a romance─from an innocent game of seduction to gradually intertwined bodies enthralled in a vertical dance of unusual movements and lifts.
Cirque Facts: The cast of “Totem” comprises 51 artists from 17 countries.
The “Totem” hybrid show is the first Cirque du Soleil show to be created in such a way that it can be adapted to the reality of arenas and other venues from the very outset.
As part of the celebration festivities surrounding the 400th anniversary of Quebec City in 2008, Robert Lepage created Le Moulin á images─the largest architectural projection ever produced─on the walls of the Bunge, a massive grain silo.
In January 2012, “Totem” will travel to London to the Royal Albert Hall.
Details: Cirque du Soleil’s ”Totem” takes place under the Grand Chapiteau (Big Top), AT&T Park, Parking Lot A, 74 Mission Rock Street, San Francisco. Tuesdays and-Wednesdays 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.; Sundays 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Closes: December 11, 2011.
Tickets: $55 to $360 Information and to purchase tickets: www.cirquedusoleil.com/totem
Sonoma Chapter of the San Francisco Opera Guild readies for the Ring…Cori Ellison speaks Thursday at Kenwood Depot
This Thursday, June 9, 2011, the Sonoma Chapter of the San Francisco Opera Guild will host Cori Ellison, dramaturg, New York City Opera, who will offer an in-depth look at Wagner’s Ring cycle operas. Ms. Ellison will speak at 10:30 a.m. at the Kenwood Depot in Kenwood, CA. San Francisco Opera Guild preview lectures bring renowned musicologists to the greater Bay Area for an in-depth look at the season’s operas. Cori Ellison was a consultant to Francesca Zambello in the new production of the San Francisco Opera’s Ring cycle which is beginning next Tuesday, June 14 and running through July 3, 2011. Ellison is also speaking this week at the Marin, San Jose, Peninsula, San Francisco, and East Bay Chapters of the San Francisco Opera Guild. She will also talk about female protagonists in the Ring in an all day Ring Symposium (“Wagner’s Ring: The Love of Power, the Power of Love—Cycle 1 Symposium.”) sponsored by the Wagner Society of Northern California on Saturday, June 18, 2011.
Ellison’s talk in Kenwood will establish why Wagner’s Ring is so popular and important. She will situate the 4 operas contextually in Wagner’s career, in European history, and in philosophical thought, also discussing his source materials. She will introduce Wagner’s idea of “Gesamtkunstwerk” or “total work of art” that aims to make use of all or many forms of art. She will also give signposts that the audience can grab onto throughout the production to help them get the most out of their experience, with emphasis on leitmotifs. She will also share special details about the production based on her experience as part of Francesca Zambello’s core creative team.
“One of the wonderful things about Wagner and the Ring is that it really sparks deep thought and conversation in a way that other operas don’t,” said Ellison. “One of the biggest challenges in talking about Wagner, which I’ve done all over the country for a number of years, is that you are pretty much in a little red school house situation where some of the people are themselves experts and the others are novices. Bridging this divide is tricky—I’ll try to find thoughts that will be of help to both groups.”
“What interests me most about Francesca’s production in San Francisco is that she has so wisely revealed the threads that speak to the American experience in particular. Of course, every character speaks to forces within each of us, but she’s managed to make us see America too. That’s why she’s a visionary–no one sees the big picture the way she does.”
“And without Wagner’s even realizing it, this is so much a story about women and the way they are treated by society and how what’s unique in the feminine can save the world,” added Ellison. ”This is not superimposed by Francesca–it’s organic in the work, but it took Francesca to see that and tease it out in this remarkable way. It’s like looking at a vast tapestry where there are millions of details and she finds one of those details that she feels is a basic. She shines a light on it and, of course, that leads to what she’s know for–some very psychologically probing interpretations.”
The Sonoma guild has roughly 1,500 members, 250 of whom are active participants. ”We’ll have a turn-out for this lecture because of the group’s interest in Wagner,” said Neva Turer, who’s been running the group for several years now. The guild’s educational component is one of its most important functions. “We host 6 annual music education lectures for our members and the community with experts selected by the San Francisco Opera,” said Turer. “Even if people don’t make it in to the operas themselves, they will get a lot out of these wonderful talks. We also do education programs in about 25 local schools to provide the important foundation that they can’t anymore with all the cuts they’ve had.”
It was Turer who worked with Ky Boyd to bring the very popular Met Opera: Live in HD opera broadcasts to the (former) Rialto Lakeside Cinemas. The series, now in its 5th season, is currently held at the Jackson Theatre at Sonoma Country Day School and is a program of the Jewish Community Center of Sonoma County by arrangement with Rialto Cinemas. “I had to plead with Ky to get them to bring this here and I promised that we’d fill the seats,” explained Turer. “Now, it’s become a phenomenon with a life of its own.” Attendees have had their Wagner appetites whetted this season with two ambitious Robert Lepage productions in the Met’s new Ring Cycle. Das Rheingold, which opened the 2010-11 Met Opera: Live in HD season and Die Walküre, which it closed with in May.
“We have members in our group who live for Wagner and some new ones who are excited to get into it,” explained Turer. “We are all looking forward to this SF Opera production. Several saw Zambello’s 2008 production of Das Rheingold in San Francisco and we’re waiting to see how it all comes off.
David Marsten of Calistoga is one member of Sonoma group who has seen the Ring over 20 times and has a passion and breadth of knowledge that is inspirational. When I called him, he was just running off to St. Helena with books and recordings to share with a member who was new to the cycle. Marsten tries to catch all the major performances and has found camaraderie in the group. In 2009, when his granddaughter was being born, he suddenly found himself with a spare ticket to a Ring cycle in Seattle, so he persuaded another member, who he didn’t know at the time, to spontaneously travel with him to see the performance. He also went to the Los Angeles Opera’s cycle in 2010.
“When you’ve done this for awhile, and needless to say, you have recordings of all the major performances—you find that there’s an enormous breadth of interpretation, different versions of the same opera, and that’s exciting. It’s amazing that Götterdämmerung, for example, can be as short as 5 ½ hours and as long as 6 ½ hours and that’s without intermission, just straight musically. You come to the realization that this breadth can encompass very slow conducting to more rapid versions—and generally it’s all valid. And what makes it work is that concept of Gesamtkunstwerk—a unity of the arts–when it all comes together poetically.”
“Wagner was one of the few operatic conductors who really did it all,” said Marsten. ”He wrote the story and then he put the text into a very curious verse form of the archaic German ‘stabreim’ (alliteration) which had the effect of liberating him from normal rhyme patterns. Then, he wrote the music and created all sorts of incredible effects with a huge orchestra that he could only imagine. In fact, in the case of the brass section, he invented three completely new instruments that didn’t exist previously—the Wagner tuba, bass trumpet and bass trombone. The most amazing thing about this was that he imagined the sound he needed to complete the tonal range and it was written on paper and lived inside of his head for 25 years until he actually heard it in the rehearsals in 1876. He was just a remarkable visionary…. It’s not so easy, but step by step, you enter and you begin to see that beyond the genius of the music itself, it’s all a gigantic metaphor, like a Tibetan sand mandala, that operates on many levels that you can work your way around and into.”
Marsten’s recommendation: buy and read William Cord’s An Introduction to Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. Cord is a former music professor at Sonoma State University and has written extensively and insightfully on Wagner and the Ring.
Enjoying Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung with Speight Jenkins is a 2 CD set, one per opera, of the 1954 Bayreuth performance, with each playing about an hour that presents some of the major themes and leitmotifs in the Ring.
M. Owen Lee’s (University of Toronto) Wagner’s Ring: Turning the Sky Round, an excellent introduction to the Ring cycle.
Details: Cori Ellison will speak Thursday, June 9, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. at the Kenwood Depot, 314 Warm Springs Road, Kenwood, CA. Admission is $10 at the door. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Pat Clothier at (707) 538-2549 or Neva Turer at (707) 539-1220.
Visit sfopera.com/calendar and select “Ring Festival Event” from the “All Events” dropdown menu to explore upcoming events by month.
Smart marketing: the de Young Museum’s foray into pay-per-view–hook ‘em by streaming a sold-out Balenciaga Symposium and later they will visit
This Saturday, for the first time ever, viewers will be able to take in a long sold-out Balenciaga symposium at San Francisco’s de Young Museum without leaving their homes. The museum is streaming the Balenciaga and Spain Symposium live at 1 p.m. and for $10 viewers can watch the simulcast on Fora.TV and access it as many times as they want until July 4, when the exhibition closes. The move to pay-per-view makes good business sense for the museum, currently the 5th most highly attended museum in the country and known for its progressive and immensely popular shows.
“Pay per view is the greatest way to make our collections and special exhibitions available and accessible to as many people as possible and that’s what we’re all about—education and illumination,” said John Buchanan, director FAMSF. “We have these scholars and resources here and sharing the word in this streaming fashion geometrically multiples our audience and it will get people to come in and see the real thing. Streaming is a logical and profitable step.” For those of us who live in the extended Bay Area, this appetite whetter may just the enticement we need to cross the bridge for culture. For those more distant, it puts the show and the museum high on to-do lists. Win-win.
Museums are the newest entrants to the streaming and HD-live craze that has paid off big for the Metropolitan Opera which began simulcasting six of its operas in 2007 in select movie theatres across the country and hit pay dirt. As Peter Gelb, the company’s managing director, stated in the New York Times (May 17, 2007) the number of people who attended Met Live performances during the first season of the program, 324,000 at $18 a piece, led him to believe that the audience for the second year of the program would reach 800,000 and actually match the audience attending the two hundred plus performances in the actual Met auditorium. He called the simulcasts “a powerful marketing tool.” In 2010, Gelb reported that, for 2010, 2.4 million people in 1,500 theatres in 46 countries bought tickets to the series for a gross of $47 million. Half of that went to expenses, but still left a hefty and unheard of profit. Gelb also reported that the series has had an enormous impact on donations, adding almost 7,000 donors to the list of Met contributors in recent seasons.
“Embracing new technology is something we’re very proud,” said Buchanan. ”When images from museum first went online, people in the museum world were saying that people would stop coming to museums. In fact, that proved very false and it lured people in to the museums. This is going to have the same impact.”
For museum-goers and even those unfamiliar with the museum world, a simulcast featuring the trend-setting and enormously popular Vogue editor Hamish Bowles talking about Balenciaga might just take off big. Bowles guest curated Balenciaga and Spain and has already made a number of media appearances since he arrived in the Bay Area last week. The museum’s auditorium can seat an audience of 270 and the event sold out within an hour reported the FAMSF’s communications department. The FORA.tv option immediately makes the event accessible to an unlimited audience who can access the event at their leisure. The de Young Museum is already one of the highest profile museums in the country. Since it’s re-do six years ago, the latest statistics, current to 2010, show that it has attracted over 8 million visitors, and The Art Newspaper has ranked it as the 5th most highly attended museum in the country. Pay per view could bolster its popularity, especially if the programming has the popular (and non-academic) appeal of fashion.
Under the helm of FAMSF Director John Buchanan and FAMSF Board Chair De De (Diane) Wilsey, the de Young Museum has expanded its offerings to a number of tremendously popular shows addressing fashion–Nan Kempner: American Chic (2007), Vivien Westwood: 36 Years in Fashion (2007), Yves Saint Laurent (2008). Its sister institution, the Legion of Honor, has done the same and is currently offering Pulp Fashion: The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave through June 5, 2011. ”I firmly believe that if you buy the best that money can buy and you show the best there is to show, people will come,” said De De Wilsey. “Fashion and art are completely intertwined and it’s been my mission to show people the very best art. The very best designers are true artists.”
Saturday’s symposium will examine the underlying themes in Balenciaga and Spain which kicks off with a gala on Thursday and opens to the public this Saturday and runs through July 4, 2011. The highly anticipated exhibition focuses on the remarkable oeuvre of Spanish haute couture designer Cristóbal Balenciaga. His now iconic “balloon” skirt, “baby doll” and “sack” dresses, the 7/8-length “bracelet sleeve,” and the “dropped waist” created a new silhouette for women. Born in 1895 in a remote fishing village in Spain, Balenciaga learned sewing and tailoring at his mother’s knee. From this humble start, the persistent young man, opened his own fashion house in Paris in 1937 where he was greeted with immediate success. In the years following World War II, he became one of the most influential haute couture fashion designers. Balenciaga was a sculptor with a strong and unique vision who worked with space, the female body and fabric. Balenciaga and Spain features nearly 120 haute couture garments, hats, and headdresses designed by Balenciaga, some of which have never been seen before. This exhibition, conceived by American fashion designer Oscar de la Renta for a show last fall at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in New York, will be nearly twice as large at the de Young and it includes 17 pieces from the private collection of Hamish Bowles. The exhibition explores Balenciaga’s expansive creativity and is the first to focus on the impact of Spain’s art, bullfighting, dance, regional costume, and the pageantry of the royal court and religious ceremonies. Pieces were selected from Balenciaga’s archives in France, private collections, the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as from the FAMSF’s immense collection of over 12,000 textiles.
Hamish Bowles, “Balenciaga and Spain: Cristóbal Balenciaga and the Power of the Spanish Identity” Hamish Bowles, fashion journalist, is the European editor at large for the American edition of Vogue. A graduate of the Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design, Bowles worked as a fashion editor and style director for Harpers and Queen from 1984 until 1992 and then joined Vogue in 1992.
Bowles is author and co-author of several books including Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People; Philip Treacy: “When I Met Isabella”; and Carolina Herrera: Portrait of a Fashion Icon. He also served as curator for the landmark exhibition Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years and as guest curator for Balenciaga and Spain.
Miren Arzalluz, ”Cristóbal Balenciaga. The Making of the Master (1895–1936)”
Miren Arzalluz studied History at the University of Deusto (Spain) and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics before specializing in the history of dress and fashion at the Courtauld Institute of Art. After working in various British museums, such as the V&A and Kensington Palace, she became curator at the Balenciaga Foundation in 2007. Her research covers the history of fashionable dress on the 20th century with particular emphasis on the life and work of Balenciaga. She has recently published the book Cristóbal Balenciaga. La Forja del Maestro (1895–1936), which focuses on the life and professional development of Balenciaga before establishing his haute couture house in Paris, and she is currently working on the permanent exhibition and catalogue of the new Balenciaga Museum project in Getaria, the couturier´s hometown.
Lourdes Font, “Austere Splendor: Balenciaga’s Legacy of Spanish Court Costume”
This talk is a survey of costume at the Spanish court from the late 15th c. to the late 18th c. as seen in royal and aristocratic portraits, making connections with surviving garments and accessories and tracing the influence of this legacy on Balenciaga’s designs.
Lourdes Font is associate professor in the department of History of Art and in the M.A. program for Fashion and Textile Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Among her recent publications are Fashion and Visual Art. Font is the co-editor of and contributor to the Grove Dictionary of Art Online. She has also contributed articles and essays to West 86: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum’s exhibition catalogue Fashion in Colors, and to Fashion Theory.
Pamela Golbin, “Balenciaga’s Designs and Development (1937–1968)”
Pamela Goblin, chief curator of the Musée de la Mode et du Textile at the Louvre in Paris, is an internationally renowned figure in the fashion industry with extensive historical knowledge of cultural and design issues. She is a leading expert in contemporary fashion and has organized landmark exhibitions worldwide. Ms. Golbin has organized more than fifteen exhibitions, including major retrospectives on iconic fashions legends such as Balenciaga and Valentino. Her latest exhibition was an award-winning retrospective of Madeleine Vionnet.
To sign up for the Balenciaga and Spain symposium, click here and you will be directed to the FORA.tv’s webpage. The pay-per-view symposium streams live this saturday at 1 PM and is available for unlimited viewing until the exhibition closes.
Details: The de Young Museum is located at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA. Admission to Balenciaga and Spain is $25 adults and free for members and children 5 and under. There is a $5 discount for purchasing tickets in advance. Ticket includes admission to the special exhibition Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico through May 8, 2011.
For a complete listing of the numerous special events associated with the exhibition visit its webpage Balenciaga and Spain.
Crawling Out of Bed for René Pape—Saturday’s Spectacular Met Opera Live in HD performance of Boris Godunov
It takes dedication to make it to a 9 a.m. opera in a blustery rain storm; when that performance is 4.5 hours long and tackles a complex historical theme, it discourages all but the die-hard. Count me among the dedicated and the lucky. I was one of 217 other Sonoma County opera devotees who turned up early Saturday morning at Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theatre for the Metrpolitan Opera’s “Live in HD” simulcast of “Boris Godunov,” the most riveting performance of its season so far. Whether you like the opera or not, the performance itself was one of near perfection—singers, chorus, orchestra, conductor and director came together in a perfect fit. And with director Stephen Wadsworth’s late entry to the new production, just 5 weeks before it opened, that is a fete. With an opera of this complexity, I really appreciated the riveting close-ups and back stage interviews that accompany the HD Live transmissions. The chance to literally crawl out of bed and into my car in yoga pants and to the theatre without the typical drama around what to wear makes it all about the music too.
The Met’s new production is based on Mussorgsky’s final (and fullest) version of the opera. It features German celeb bass René Pape in his Met debut in this role and a host of Russian and Slavic Eco-stars—Ekaterina Semenchuk (Marina), Aleksandrs Antonenko (Dimitri), Oleg Balashov (Prince Shuisky), Evgeny Nikitin (Rangoni), Mikhail Petrenko (Pimen), Andrey Popov (Holy fool), and Vladimir Ognovenko (Varlaam)—who all worked together like clockwork to keep the drama high in this epic story of the tormented unravelling of 16th Century Russian tsar, Boris Godunov. The opera really involves three embedded stories, the most important of which is Boris’ complete disintegration brought on by the psychological burden of the guilt he carries for murdering the rightful heir apparent, Dimitri, the young son of the late Tsar, Ivan the Terrible. The second story is that of succession—the grab for the throne that carries the drama through 4 acts. An ambitious young monk named Grigori realizes that he’s the same age as the murdered young heir apparent Dimitri would have been and he schemes to take over Russia himself while pretending to be the late czar’s son. As Grigori and his army march on Moscow, Boris is forced to battle the inner demons unlocked by his guilt. These chip away at his faculties, leaving him physically drained and demented, a short step from his death which occurs in the final act. The third story is that of the immiserated and fickle-willed Russian people themselves who are beset by religious and political separatism and poverty. As Director Stephen Wadsworth explains “In a bigger sense, the opera is about history repeating itself—in the beginning the people resent a leader who took power through deceit and violence, and in the end they celebrate a new leader who does the same. And they themselves celebrate with violence. It’s frightening.”
I love the opera because it explores just what is “Russianness,” and does the quality come from its peasants or its nobility, from Europe or from Asia? In real life, part of how the actual Boris Godunov meets his end is that he is not himself in the Romanov line. Instead, he was the orphan of a boyar (a citizen whose rank was just under than of the ruling class) who grew up in the household of Ivan the Terrible and became a very powerful regent who instituted the system of serfdom and helped secure Russia’s borders. When Tsar Ivan killed his son and successor Ivan, another of his sons, preferably from his current wife Anaztasia Romanova, had to take the crown. Fyodor, who was married to Boris’ sister Irina, was chosen but he had mental problems and proved an unfit Tsar. Throughout Fyodor’s reign, the Russian government was contested between his brother-in-law, Boris Godunov, and his Romanov cousins. When Fyodor died childless, the 700-year-old line of Moscow Ruriks came to an end. The Assembly of the Land elected Boris tsar in 1599, though Ivan the Terrible had another son, Dimitri, who to some seemed the true heir to the throne. Dmitri was born to one of Ivan’s earlier wives who preceded Anastasia Romanova. When Dimitri died of a throat-cutting at age 10, it was speculated that Boris was behind it. Modern historians tend to dismiss this but Boris Godunov has carried the stigma ever since and the story motivated Pushkin to write the play on which Mussorgsky based his opera. Once tsar, Godunov sought swift revenge on the Romanovs–all the family and its relatives were deported to remote corners of the Russian North and Urals, where many met starvation or were imprisoned. Like in opera, the Romanovs’ fortunes would again dramatically reverse with the fall of the Godunov dynasty in 1605.
The press hype around bass René Pape, set designer Stephen Wadsworth, and conductor Valery Gergiev has been phenomenal but well-deserved. Pape was born for this role and anchors the drama throughout despite his appearance in just a few scenes. With his Eurasian looks, dark expressive eyes, and long unkempt mane–which grew more tangled as the performance progressed– Pape looks as if he came right from very line of Tatars bent on breaking tsarist Russia. Pape’s plush bass gives Samuel Ramey, whose majestic 2003 performance as Boris at the the San Francisco Opera was the talk of the town, a run. Pape’s repertoire includes a spade of crumbling authority figures with huge issues–King Marke in Tristan und Isolde, Méphistophélès in Faust, Gurnemanz in Parsifal, and King Philip in Don Carlo–and these at the Met alone. What is brilliant about this performance is that Pape doesn’t overact the part. In fact, he downplays the physical drama, and through stunning vocal delivery gives us a Boris who is battling intense inner demons but remains vulnerable and tender.
Because of Director Stephen Wadsworth’s last minute entry to the production, it’s hard to know what exactly he is responsible for and what he accepted from his predecessor Peter Stein, who left in a reputed protest over an immigration issue.
The stage design is sparse but spectacular. Central to the drama from the very beginning and visible downstage in every scene is a huge (about 6 x9 feet) and beautiful book of Russian history, being penned at the Chudov monastery by Pimen (Mikhail Petrenko), an old monk who knows or thinks he knows the history surrounding Boris. I was completely smitten with Petrenko after his emotive Act 2 solo which he express both intense rage and compassion. When Pimen tells his young novice Grigori (Latvian tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko) that power hungry Boris murdered Ivan’s successor and son, Dimitri, so that he could become tsar, Grigori (the same age as Dimitri would have been) is motivated to take justice into his own hands by pretending to be Dimitri. From that point on, the book’s centrality is emphasized by many of the main characters actually standing and performing on it. In one scene, The Holy Fool, played splendidly by Andrey Popov, wraps himself in a page of this book, illustrating how a part of Russia’s history will be forgotten and lost and that the drama that is unfolding on stage reflects history being written before our very eyes. The book motif is even carried through in the scene at the Polish court with the large maps that foretell the future expansion of Marina’s empire.
According to the program notes, this new production is based on Mussorgsky’s final and fullest 1872 version of the opera with the 1869 version guiding the beginning of the final act and Boris’ monologue in the Act II Kremlin scene. The main thing about this long version is that it includes the Polish court scene in Act III, which I appreciated but some consider a lengthy distraction from the main story of Boris. Balarus mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk in her debut as the conniving Polish vixen Marina was fantastic. Her voice was rich and, with her fiery wavy long red hair and ample curves, she played the aging princess to the hilt. It was very credible that power-thirsty Marina is aching to become tsarina and is trying to steer her lover
Grigori towards the throne. The bizarre sensual relationship between Marina and her Jesuit confessor, Rangoni (baritone Evgeny Nikitin), who extols her to support the Catholic cause, was so over the top that it became farcical. What irony too, that I came across with such disdain for Marina and pretender Grigori/Dimitri while Boris, just as much the conniving murderer, pulled at my heart strings.
Valery Gergiev, using the original orchestration, did an awesome job of drawing out the very best musically from all of the performers from the main characters to those in the glorious chorus. The chorus, stand-in for the fickle Russian people, had a major part in the opera— they initially hail Boris as symbol of hope and later revile him as a Herod who has brought the wrath of heaven down on them. The chorus was especially effective when they were pleading for bread and later, when total anarchy occurs.
The HD experience can be a blessing and curse. Its biggest plus is that the camera precision is so fine that we can see things that can’t be seen even from the very best seats at the Met. It became very clear, for example, that large portions of Ekaterina Semenchuk’s face had been rendered immobile by Botox which may not have been visible to those at the opera house but produced some humorous close-ups of the outermost regions of her eyebrows moving expressively. On the other hand, we are captive to the cameraman’s framing and Saturday’s filming included a big blunder. We never got to see the actual grand and triumphant court entrance on horseback by Marina and Grigori, which was so disappointing since our appetites had been whetted during the second intermission when we got to watch these magnificent white horses being led through the corridors of the opera house as they readied for that symbolic entrance. What the HD audience saw instead—the horses as a static tableau, after the entrance had been made. Ahheemmnn. What is so wonderful about the HD performances though is the additional commentary that we are privy to at intermission. Saturday’s hostess was Patricia Racette. She lacks the verve of Rene Flemming, but she conducted informative interviews with Pape, Semenchuk, Popov, and chorus members. She didn’t ask Wadsworth what he inherited from Stein and what he did to imprint his signature on the performance.
The Metropolitan Opera’s HD live broadcasting is now in its fifth season. The opera series of 12 live transmissions is sponsored in Sonoma County by the Sonoma County Jewish Community Center by arrangement with Rialto Cinemas. There are two Sonoma County transmissions for each opera—a Saturday morning performance that is a live simulcast as the opera is performed in New York at the Metropolitan Opera House and a Wednesday evening encore performance.