Around The Classical Internet: September 30, 2011

Anna Netrebko in rehearsal for Donizetti's 'Anna Bolena' at the Metropolitan Opera, September 2011. i i

hide captionAnna Netrebko in rehearsal for Donizetti's 'Anna Bolena' at the Metropolitan Opera, September 2011.

Ken Howard/courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera
Anna Netrebko in rehearsal for Donizetti's 'Anna Bolena' at the Metropolitan Opera, September 2011.

Anna Netrebko in rehearsal for Donizetti's 'Anna Bolena' at the Metropolitan Opera, September 2011.

Ken Howard/courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera
  • The critics were all over the place in their assessment of opening night at the Metropolitan Opera, which starred Anna Netrebko in Donizetti's Anna Bolena — the first time this opera has been seen at the Met.
  • The headline on Manuela Hoelterhoff's review for Bloomberg News: "Could Executioner Come on a Little Earlier?"
  • Anthony Tommasini in the Times loved Netrebko — "this remains a major voice, with resplendent colorings and built-in expressivity" — but hated Marco Armiliato's conducting.
  • In the New York Post, James Jorden (aka the blogger behind Parterre Box) raved that Netrebko's "radiant performance at the company's opening night Monday catapulted her to 'prima donna assoluta': undisputed superstar."
  • Anne Midgette would like to disagree: "Monday's performance was littered with missed intonations, smeared runs and a good deal of running about the stage with clasped hands, which evidently qualifies as operatic acting."
  • Speaking of the Met, the Wall Street Journal's Heidi Waleson gets to know the Met's new principal conductor, Fabio Luisi. About the energy of New York, Luisi says: "You can really smell and breathe it all the time ...There's a feeling of wanting to be alive and be productive for oneself, family, neighbors and society. In Europe, the growing tendency is, 'I don't care, someone will provide.' Here, I feel the taking of responsibility. It's quite amazing for me — as an Italian, especially."
  • Huang Ruo's opera about Sun Yat-sen has been canceled just before it was to open in Beijing. " Mr. Ruo's management, Karsten Witt Music Management in Berlin, said a government official had gone to rehearsals and decided that the music was inappropriate." (It's not the text the Chinese government found problematic — it's the music.)
  • Quick-change artists: The LA Times has a cool video of how their hometown opera company switches from staging Cosi Fan Tutte to Eugene Onegin in just 4 1/2 hours.
  • Last night, a "lost," reconstructed Beethoven quartet movement — the original Op. 18, No. 2 slow movement that the composer discarded and rewrote — was performed in Manchester, England. University of Manchester Professor Barry Cooper reassembled surviving sketches and filled in unwritten parts.
  • Monday will be Steve Reich's 75th birthday. In advance of the occasion, he's given an interview to Deutsche Welle at Beethovenfest in which he pointedly passes over the festival's namesake composer: "Beethoven was a great, great composer, whom I admire enormously. For me, music history basically begins with Gregorian chant then goes to the end of 1750 with the death of Johann Sebastian Bach. Then it goes on without me paying much attention until Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Bartok and so on. The entire classical and Romantic period is filled with geniuses that I don't listen to and from whom I've learned absolutely nothing."
  • In planning a major renovation, Cincinnati is getting rid of up to 1500 seats in its Music Hall.
  • Alas, several other pieces of not-so-good news. Twenty board members from the beleaguered Colorado Symphony Orchestra have all resigned, and both the chairman and vice chairman positions are open.
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra is asking for a $3.1 million loan to cover its operating costs through the end of its bankruptcy case.
  • New York's floating concert hall Bargemusic was abruptly shut down this week by the city due to problems with its emergency exit gangway. They hope to reopen in time for tonight's concert, which includes the MacArthur-winning cellist Alisa Weilerstein.

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