Thursday, July 13, 2006

The show must go on

A week after Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's shocking-if-unsurprising passing, online talk has already bubbled up about her possible replacement in next season's Met/Mark Morris Orfeo. With Hunt, it was the most anticipated event of the coming season. Now -- as it's probably impractical and definitely unwise to cancel the production -- things are up in the air. There's no official word (or strong rumor) on a substitute, just speculation.

From a purely vocal standpoint, I wonder if the house could do better than one of its own youngsters. I'd never thought I'd hear a sound like Kathleen Ferrier's, but Tamara Mumford's lower register has some of that great Orfeo's uncanny contralto timbre. Even more remarkable, I think -- and again recalling Ferrier -- is the pure, unforced seriousness of the young mezzo's natural manner. It's too bad opera has few leading parts for such a combination.

But I suspect it's unlikely that the Met would entrust a new, high-profile production to a twentysomething-year-old third-year Lindemann singer, no matter how talented. So if it's to be a "name" star, I'd like to see Vesselina Kasarova -- an excellent singer who hasn't yet been shown in her element in New York.

Naturally, I'm sure Peter Gelb et al. have their own ideas.


UPDATE (7/19): Via a helpful commenter, the replacement seems to be David Daniels. Those who've read the archives may recall that I consider the countertenor-in-old-repertoire phenomenon essentially fraudulent, and Daniels -- whose voice sits far too high for these parts -- doubly so. I've no doubt this choice will sell tickets, but what an artistic waste.

3 comments:

  1. Way ahead of you on this one. Back when LHL cancelled her performances for the rest of this season, I had coincidentally just been looking at the Met roster and performance schedule for 06-07 and noticed a tiny but interesting connection amongst the various cast members.

    Lorraine was listed for the Orfeo, and a certain colleague of hers, who, as you all will recall, had taken over the role of Kitty Oppenheimer for the premiere of Doctor Atomic, was/is on the books as Idamante in the 07 Idomeneo.

    So I propose/guess Kristine Jepson.

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  2. Per La Cieca:

    Per the Met's website, David Daniels will sing the four performances of the new Orfeo ed Euridice production in May 2007

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  3. Henry, La Cieca, Maury, AUV, anyone:

    Somebody pleae tell me who in the hell makes these kinds of decisions anyway???

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Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.