Dear Marc and list:
Marc Shepperd points out a long series of operas new to the Met, or
returning after a long absence. Obviously, tastes differ, and what one
individual may be totally facinated by, can be totally uninteresting to
someone else. But the fact remains that, in my own area of greatest interest
(the Italian ottocento and French opera from say 1825 to 1875) the Met has
been the least adventurous major house in the world. This applies most
strongly to one of my own favorite composers, Donizetti, the bicentenary of
whose birth is going to be celebrated world wide next year. Yet, the folks
who run the Met have not done one single opera seria of his other than
Lucia, and La Favorita during one season. Where are the three queens,
Lucrezia Borgia, Poliuto, Maria di Rohan. Don Sebastiano? Rossini and
Bellini have fared only slightly better for non-buffo works (Norma,
Puritani, Semiramide, Sonnambula). What about Capuleti, Otello, Ermione,
Armida, Zelmira? As for the French works of the period they did do a
Prophete. What about L'Africaine, Les Huguenots, Robert le Diable, La Juive?
Or maybe even one of Auber's delightful opera comiques. I know some of these
are difficult to cast. And maybe I shouldn't ask for a Huguenots if they
can't even cast Aida, Forza, or Trovatore.
On the other hand, there are plenty of Rossini tenors around-and some of
them should be able to handle not only Rossini, but Donizetti as well.
The last really adventurous work of the 19th century that I remember the met
doing was Esclarmonde, about 15 years ago.
Now I realize that the Met cannot possibly satisfy everyone's taste every
season, and that mine is more than a bit esoteric, but they really seem to
have gone out of the way to avoid operas by the composers I just mentioned.
Tom Kaufman [log in to unmask]
bel canto rules