Thursday, November 13, 2008

On the chopping block

With City Opera in limbo and many smaller companies around the country considering closing, it's no surprise that budget problems have hit the Met as well. Today we find that the Ghosts of Versailles revival (and revision) has been axed and the cast switched over to Traviata:
None of the new productions planned for next season would be affected, [Gelb] said, but some revivals being planned may be replaced by cheaper productions.
I fear that some of next season's other notable revivals may be next to get the chop: specifically Herbert Wernicke's work of genius in Die Frau ohne Schatten, scheduled at last to be revived (uncut, I'd been hoping, unlike the disappointing first revival) with another real Strauss conductor, and the familiar John Dexter version of Berg's Lulu. The former is, as I recall, quite elaborate and never quite sold out despite critical raves, while the latter has never sold well despite its beauty and Levine's consistent championing.

I hope I'm wrong, of course. The Wernicke Frau might make a terrific movie presentation. (Though adjusting its lighting effects for the cameras might ruin the show.)

UPDATE (11/14): I'd meant to say this explicitly -- whether or not Wernicke's FroSch is suitable for on-camera moneymaking, I believe it's the greatest production the Met currently has, the high-water-mark of the Volpe era, and as such deserving of not only unaltered revival but prominent place in this season's 125th Anniversary Gala.


  1. I had Serious Issues with the Wernicke Frau, but that's a long story, and I do adore Fabio Luisi. The Lulu would be a real loss, though.

  2. "I had Serious Issues with the Wernicke Frau"

    I knew you'd mention that... I hope we get the chance to debate it after seeing a revival next season.

  3. Dude, mirrors everywhere. You'd see cameras too much.

  4. Minghella liberally borrowed the "big mirror" idea for his Butterfly, and they're doing that.

    Of course, not quite as extensive as in the FroSch.


Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.