Friday, May 29, 2009

Turning the page

The Met season finally closed last Thursday -- at Carnegie Hall -- with a dose of welcome virtuosity: from the orchestra in Stravinsky's Petrushka (revised version) and piano soloist Lang Lang in the first Brahms concerto. Despite carping in the press, Lang Lang's maximally and inimitably transparent account of the Brahms was a treat.

It was not, of course, the highlight of the season (or even the pianistic highlight of the season), but a nice coda to what has been a most memorable eight months of concert- and operagoing. Despite one opera company leaving the field (not, I hope, for good), it was a season that presented Maija Kovalevska's Mimi, Sondra Radvanovsky's Leonora, Peter Mattei's Don Giovanni, and -- in perhaps greater form than ever -- James Morris' Wotan: not just great performances, but wondrously apt intersections of singer and role (and opera) showing each at their most significant -- not just for a moment or a single run, but (even more remarkably these days) over time. Whether 2008-09 may have been nearer the beginning of this time (Kovalevska) or its end (Morris), it was a grand thing with these magic combinations in it.

(And yes, I've left out Karita Mattila's Salome and Tatyana, Susan Graham's Elvira, Anja Harteros' Violetta, Patricia Racette's Butterfly, Renee Fleming's Thaïs, Waltraud Meier's Isolde, Angela Gheorghiu's Magda, Stephanie Blythe's Orfeo, Joseph Calleja's Duke, Juan Diego Florez's Elvino, John Tomlinson's Hunding, Yvonne Naef's Fricka, and much else that would have headlined a lesser season.)

*     *     *

In any case, May is nearly gone and summer is in sight. I have updated the summer opera schedule to include Lorin Maazel's first Castleton Festival (all Britten this year), though its location 60 miles from DC is pushing the "semi" of the "semi-reasonable driving distance of New York City" limit.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.