Mystery score

Mystery score

Thursday, February 03, 2011

If I Were a Rich Geek

Okay, I'm going to stop complaining - well, mostly - about opera seasons that don't match my admittedly peculiar, out-of-the-mainstream, interests, because I'm simply at the point where I've seen most of the Big Standards and I'm mostly interested in works I haven't seen, whether old or new. No opera company in the world is going to program the season I really want to see.

If I had managed to make a mint in my 14 years as a technical writer (someone I saw recently jumped to the conclusion that "works at Google" = rich, which is not at all the case, not if you started long after the IPO), I would so have an opera company. It's an extremely expensive proposition, even if you pay everyone a salary, say, $50,000/year. You won't get big stars to sing for that kind of money, though I expect that you could put together a good orchestra of freelancers and recent conservatory grads for a steady salary.

That said, if I were a rich geek, here's the opera season of my dreams:

  • Ades, The Tempest
  • Hoiby, The Tempest
  • Birtwistle, The Minotaur (or one of his other operas)
  • Reimann, Lear (which I did not see in SF in the 1980s)
  • Britten - anything except Billy Budd
  • Janacek, From the House of the Dead
  • Berlioz, Les Troyens (would settle for Beatrice or Damnation)
  • Weinberger, Schwanda the Bagpiper
  • Strauss, Die Frau ohne Schatten
  • Verdi, Falstaff (would settle for Les Vepres Sicilienne, the only middle or late Verdi I've never seen)
  • Handel, any of the ones I haven't seen; there are plenty!
  • Zimmerman, Die Soldaten
  • Schreker, anything, even Gezeichneten, which I've seen
  • Korngold, Die Katrin or Der Wunder des Heliane, because I have seen the Decker production of Die tote Stadt that's been making the rounds. There are even singers around who know Heliane!
  • Monteverdi, Il ritorno d'Ulysse in Patria
Believe me, I know that it's impossible. Just putting on Frau and Troyens could bankrupt a company! Even my personal company of salaried everyone would have a tough time with learning and rehearsing that repertory, whiich takes in just about every style imaginable.

24 comments:

pjwv said...

I would subscribe. And donate!

Too bad I'm not rich either. . .

José Luiz said...

That's a very interesting repertoire! Some of the titles you chose I don't know yet - I'll try to find more about them!

I'd love to have an opera company too, or at least to have the money to produce operas by my own. But I'd choose rare Italian operas, mainly the ones by Mercadante and Pacini - and, of course, my beloved Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio, Verdi's first operatic work. :-)

Lisa Hirsch said...

Hi!

I would totally put on early Verdi and unusual 19th c. repertory!

pjwv said...

I should have mentioned: I would subscribe and donate, and then bitch because you're not doing Billy Budd, which I apparently like more than you do. You just can't win.

Lisa Hirsch said...

That's just the first season. We'd do Billy Budd once a decade or so.

Lisa Hirsch said...

(Or if I were being completely snarky, I'd have said, Look, I own and run the company. You'll have to settle for Gloriana or Midsummer Night's Dream.)

pjwv said...

As a donor, I'm voting for Gloriana, on the grounds that Midsummer Night's Dream is almost mainstream.

rdmtimp said...

Add a Tippett opera to that list and I'm there!

bgn said...

Fifteen operas in one season! That is ambitious...

Lisa Hirsch said...

Consider this the operatic equivalent of fantasy baseball: I get to make up the rules. :)

Joe Barron said...

Nielsen - Masquerade

sfmike said...

Here's another vote for Britten's "Gloriana" from a would-be rich geek in the subjunctive, intedeterminate future. From the Mackerras recording with Josephine Barstow, "Gloriana" sounds like Britten's most accessible "big" opera. The music is just spectacular and I can't believe I've never gotten to see it live.

Also, for the second season, could we have Nielsen's "Masquerade" and "Saul and David"? I used to have recordings of both, and they are wonderful.

And though most of Haydn's operas are on the dull side, "La Fedelta Premiata" is the bomb.

Ah, this would be too much fun.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I'm completely charmed by the double nomination of Maskerade. I have it on LP and like what I've heard, which is one side's worth.

I think it's time for season 2, don't you?

Henry Holland said...

As you don't hesitate to correct others spelling errors (see the NYPO post), I'm compelled to point out that it's Birtwistle, no h. [ducks]

I'd strongly urge those that like the Mackerras Gloriana to seek out the DVD from ENO. It's a searing performance, Sarah Walker simply *is* Elizabeth I and Anthony Rolf-Johnson (RIP) is perfect as that blockhead Essex.

http://www.amazon.com/Britten-Gloriana-Sarah-Walker/dp/B000I2IUM0

Great list Lisa, Das Wunder der Heliane is on my shortlist of Operas I Must See Before I Die. The production last year in Kaiserslautern got very good reviews, I'd love it if a DVD showed up, legal or otherwise.

For Birtwistle, I'd go for The Second Mrs. Kong. Lisa (or anyone, really), e-mail me if you want a copy of it, it's a great opera musically and the libretto is one of my very favorite. I remember, don't you Pearl? I remember........

karnevil9elp@gmail.com

What's the pot in the California lottery this weekend? [looks] Bah, only $12 mil, about $7.5 mil after taxes, that's barely 3 new productions.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thanks, Henry! I'll fix the Birtwistle spelling in a minute. And I will get the Gloriana video, too. (Unless I can borrow it from Patrick....I swear to return Powder Her Face....)

Yeah, $12 million won't go very far.

I wish Sergey Brin were a fan!

Michael said...

Larry Page seems the better bet among your founders - he played saxophone and attended Interlochen.

pjwv said...

Just saw this -- yes, you may borrow both my DVDs of Gloriana, as soon as I watch them, which will probably be around the time you watch Powder Her Face (haha!) -- maybe season 4 could include Powder Her Face?

Lisa Hirsch said...

With his upcoming new responsibilities, Larry probably hasn't got time to think about funding a vanity opera company - sigh.

Patrick, haha. I watched part of it while I was home sick in early December....

Steve Morrison said...

This is lovely. I posted mine:
http://stevemorrisonillustration.blogspot.com/2011/02/fantasy-opera-season.html

Lisa Hirsch said...

Nice, thank you!

Bruce Hodges said...

Excellent season, Lisa--I'd definitely subscribe.

Joe Barron said...

For seasn II, I'd put Carter's What Next on a double bill with Schoenberg's Von Heute Auf Morgen - although I saw What Next? at the Miller Theater a couple of years ago and don't know how that production could be bettered.

daremlamano said...

I love this. That is all.

daremlamano said...

I love this. That is all.