Tuesday, February 01, 2011

WNO Announces

Hrm. I guess we'll just agree to call this a retrenchment season:
  • Tosca (Dallas): Racette/Ushakova, Porretta/Hughes Jones, Held/Hendricks; Conductor Domingo/Gursky
  • Lucia (ENO): Coburn/Petrova, Pirgu/Dolgov, Chioldi/Mulligan, Palazzi/Pecchioli; Conductor Auguin
  • Così ("Seattle"): Futral, Pokupic, Prieto, Tahu Rhodes, Shimell, Kemoklidze; Conductor Auguin
  • Nabucco (New): Vassallo, Boross, Panikkar, Chauvet; Conductor Auguin
  • Werther (TBD?): Meli, Ganassi, Foster-Williams, Robbins; Conductor Villaume
On the rep and personnel front: it looks like the one A-lister of the season will be Pat Racette in the opener (at least out of the pit--I guess for consolation we get more time with Plastico on the baton). Slightly less boldface names include a welcome Alan Held as Scarpia and Futral and Teddy Tahu Rhodes in Cosi--I find Futral solid and look forward to hearing TTR in person so that's cool. I also note that Sean Pannikar who did a great Narraboth in the fall is back in a bigger role for Nabucco. Have really been enjoying Auguin so far so it will be nice to hear him conducting so much. Rep choices obviously leave some variety to be desired: all Italian with just the mildest respite in Werther (and Cosi).
On the production front: I'm personally looking forward to seeing Nabucco and Werther on stage for the first time. Speaking of Werther, that TBD production is ominous--this company WILL get a production to the stage by any means necessary but "Werther: IN CONCERT!!!" just doesn't sound as fun. The Nabucco production is by the team who did Hamlet the other year, which is not hugely promising. There were some intriguing moments in that show but the more I think about that production the more I feel like it was exercising its freedom to look cheap and ugly without any real ideas to redeem it (and no, updating to a nondescript fascist period is not an idea anymore). The Cosi is that modern-dress Jonathan Miller production that has been making the rounds for years (much to the chagrin of some people). If the company can overcome any alleged suckiness in the production and bring the same sense of humor and light it brought to Nozze last year, that could be a season highlight.
So, no obvious stinkers to leave out of a subscription (better than this year for me--I am still on the fence about Pasquale). That said, I think its safe to say DC isn't going to be a destination city for opera travelers next year. People seem willing to get on board with some curtailed ambition for the time being (i.e. Midgette is more forgiving than I would have expected) but WNO PR Department, please use this season as an opportunity to get everyone juiced up about future seasons, m'kay?

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