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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

NSFW Opera Update

I know it was a week ago now, but La Cieca did post, along with a tasteful is-that-a-shadow-or-is-that-your-scrotum nude photo of barihunk David Okulitch, the rumored 2009-2010 season of the New York City Opera, George Steel Edition, and I know you've all been holding your breath until I weigh in with my opinion—seeing as I've already put my money on Maestro Steel as opera impresario. (Oh look, and the Times confirmed those rumors today. "I'm hopeful we'll return to our right size," says George Steel, which if you're reading this, John Ashbery, please use that line in a sonnet.) Well, I'm going to keep my thumb in the Up position, for the time being. This is a nice, short season—five operas, 33 performances—and it's exactly the stuff that you want to see the City Opera doing. It's their niche: Okulitch sings Don Giovanni in a new staging, we blow the dust off Charbrier's adorable L'Etoile, we get our Puccini fix with Butterfly, we get Handel's Partenope because City Opera did Handel before it was cool, and we get Lauren Flanigan singing the title role in Hugo Weisgall's Esther because Lauren Flanigan IS CITY OPERA. Wait hold on did you just say Hugo Weisgall's Esther? YES I DID. Well the reason I ask is, how often do you think about Hugo Weisgall's Esther and here it's come up in conversation like three times for me already in 2009. First I thought of it when chatting about The Death of Klinghoffer with the Straussmonster, apropos of this conversation—she I had both read Robert Fink's intriguing article on Klinghoffer's reception (PDF here because Robert Fink is not afraid to share—AWESOME), and he uses Esther as a sort of control subject for the public and critical reception of Jewishly-themed operas. Then for the Timeses "Talk to the Newsroom" feature, somebody asked Anthony Tommasini what opera did he most want to see produced in New York, and he was all, "I wanna see Hugo Weisgall's craggy, atonal Esther!" And now here it is getting produced. I'd say that he must be in Hog Heaven but clearly he will not be in Hog Heaven until they finally produce Wuorinen's Brokeback Mountain, an opera that promises to be craggy, atonal AND strapping. Speaking of which, I've saved the best news for last. Someone seems to have uploaded footage of either the Met's gripping new production of Trovatore or the earlier, identical production at Chicago; it's a short clip, and the sound doesn't quite synch up, but it's worth a peek for anyone who didn't get to see Tony T's new favorite "Anvil Chorus" live. UPDATE: Some have complained that the embedding didn't work; link here.

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