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Subject: Re: Next season at the Met
From: Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 16 Feb 2017 06:46:38 -0800
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I agree about "Cosi" and the size of the house. The opera really needs intimacy so that the singers and orchestra can convey nuance and maintain the kind of ease of sound production that is virtually impossible in a large barn like the Met. Yet, there have been great performances of the opera at the Met and San Francisco (thinking of my first with Margaret Price and Teresa Berganza).

Even on records back in the 50s, EMI always used Kingsway Hall for their Karajan recordings, never Abbey Road. However, when they started to record the 1954 "Cosi" with Schwarzkopf, Simoneau and Merriman, they just couldn't get the sound right at Kingsway; it was too "big" a sound. They ended up moving to one of the Abbey Road studios.

A couple of years after, there was a really beautiful set of performances (judging by a broadcast recording) conducted by Cantelli with some of the same cast members as the Karajan recording. Even La Scala was too big, so it was done at the "Piccola Scala" in Milan.

Re: Luisa Miller, I'm not as totally dismissive (my intro was a San Francisco performance in 1974 with Ricciarelli and Pavarotti) but each time I've seen it, I've been left with a sense of dissatisfaction, realizing how much more Verdi would have made of things like the final scene once he got to his "Rigoletto"/"Traviata"/"Trovatore" period. I've also been disappointed with how strong elements of the Schiller play seem to me to fail to come across. One of these is the subtle and interesting character of Lady Milford who is reduced to a cardboard figure as Frederica.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPad

> On Feb 16, 2017, at 00:48, James Camner <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Looking at the Met's announced season from these distant Pacific shores, I
> think the O'Hara Despina is quite a coup if she can bring it off -- those
> trills, that legato, the control the role demands is, as far as I know, way
> beyond the vocal requirements of any role she's sung previously, especially
> without a mike. Maybe she sang it in college? O'Hara was dandy in The Merry
> Widow, but let's face it, The Merry Widow is a musical comedy. So too I
> guess is Cosi Fan Tutte, but what a difference. 
> 
> I don't get the hating on Cosi Fan Tutte I've been reading on the list.
> Looking at the Met's season, I don't think there's more than seven or eight
> operas in the announcement that really matter, much of the rest is dated
> claptrap of one level or another, for instance Luisa Miller, one lovely
> tenor aria, and that's it. But Cosi is one of those operas that matter and
> Verdi wrote nothing close to it musically. The real problem as far as Cosi
> Fan Tutte and the Met Opera is that the house is way way way too big for it
> and that's why no production I've seen there has worked. But good luck to
> them, at least in an HD (is there an HD?) it won't matter. Coney Island. Sigh. 
> 
> But let's have some respect for Cos Fan Tutte. Tosca? A masterpiece of
> Verismo, but compared to Cosi Fan Tutte, it's merely a lot of noise. Is
> Jonas Kaufmann singing again? That would be good news.
> 
> Now imagine if the Met announcement had included a house premiere of "In The
> Heights"? But never fear, for contemporary "relevance" there's Thomas Ades.
> No doubt all his hundreds of admirers will crowd the box office.
> 
> James Camner
> 
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kXPmIdLuqk
> 
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzgsGoVL-fQ
> 
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