Monday, July 17, 2006

2006-2007 American Opera Season To Be Led By World Premieres By American Composers Tan Dun, David Carlson, And Ricky Ian Gordon

..."[Albert Imperato of 21C Media Group]: What are you excited about looking ahead to the new season [of Opera in American] — starting here in New York with the Metropolitan Opera?

[Opera News Editor-in-Chief F. Paul Driscoll]: The Met's new season looks great. The Anthony Minghella production of Butterfly, which I saw in London, is beautiful visually. I'm very excited by Bart Sher coming to the Met to do Barber of Seville; his work has been fantastic. I loved his Don Juan at Theatre for a New Audience a couple of years ago and Awake and Sing and The Light in the Piazza for Lincoln Center Theater were sensational. The Met is taking a bold step by giving him a comedy that has been a Met repertory staple since the 1880s. He'll do a great job.

The First Emperor, the world premiere by Tan Dun, will be very exciting. It's only the fifth time a living composer has conducted his own work at the Met; it's also Plácido Domingo's first world premiere at the house. I think Deborah Voigt in Egyptian Helen is going to be a terrific experience. David Fielding, who is directing the Met production, has gotten excellent reviews for his production of Helen in England. The Magic Flute in English — the 90-minute reduction — I hope it will be the beginning of a great new relationship between the Met and families in the New York area who will bring kids to this event that Julie Taymor has created from her original Zauberflöte production. And the [Puccini] Trittico with Jack O'Brien directing — a total master of the theater — is another interesting thing that the Met has coming. Those three operas haven't been played in the repertory in a long time and the Met's cast is a fantastic collection of artists: Stephanie Blythe is doing all three mezzo roles, Barbara Frittoli is doing Angelica; Salvatore Licitra and Maria Guleghina are the lovers in the Tabarro.

Q: And elsewhere?

FPD: New York City Opera will be doing Handel's Semele with a great cast, headed by Vivica Genaux and Elizabeth Futral. Peter Sellars's Tristan Project is coming to New York next spring, courtesy of Lincoln Center. Looking outside New York to other companies, I am excited by Lyric Opera of Chicago doing Robert Carsen's staging of Dialogues of the Carmelites with Patricia Racette singing her first Madame Lidoine. Chicago's Salome with Deborah Voigt should be amazing — a real milestone for this wonderful artist.

There are terrific things going on at Los Angeles Opera — such as the Mahagonny with Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald. Marcus Haddock is a terrific tenor, an American just coming into his own in this country. He's doing Ballo with Deborah Voigt at San Francisco Opera. Dallas Opera is doing Donizetti's Mary, Queen of Scots [Maria Stuarda] with Ruth Ann Swenson.

Two exciting world premieres by American composers this season are Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath at Minnesota Opera and David Carlson's Anna Karenina at Florida Grand Opera. There's a lot of activity going on all over!" ...

Matthew Westphal "Q & A: F. Paul Driscoll, Editor of Opera News, on Where Opera in the U.S. Is Headed" Playbill Arts July 16, 2006

Anna Karenina again steps from screen to opera stage (before stepping in front of a train).

It looks like American Opera is beginning to catch up with British Opera. British composer Iain Hamilton composed an opera on Anna Karenina, for the New York City Opera, in 1978.

The libretto to that opera, published by Theodore Presser Company, Philadelphia, is available for $9.50, shipped anywhere in the world ($4.50 for the libretto and $5.00 for shipping). Click here. Next, click on Iain Hamilton for a link to a Britney Spears song.

For those who want to look cool at the beach, the complete text of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, the novel, is available online.

Photo credit: Keith Hamshere and Metroactive. With thanks.


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