Food display at Dallmayr
Munich, August, 2015
The New York Philharmonic has announced the creation of the Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman Classical Piano Prize at the New York Philharmonic, with 24-year-old pianistBenjamin Grosvenor named the inaugural recipient. The Ackman Prize is to be awarded every three years to an up-and-coming pianist or piano duo chosen by a confidential panel comprising prominent pianists, New York Philharmonic leadership, and other recognized musical figures. Prize-winners receive $30,000 and will perform with the New York Philharmonic, play chamber music with Philharmonic musicians, and serve as classical music ambassadors, taking part in community engagement and education initiatives around New York City. The Ackman Prize is made possible by a generous gift from Philharmonic Board Member Lawrence Ackman and his wife, Ronnie.Congratulations to young Mr. Grosvenor. I haven't heard him, but I keep reading good things about him.
New York, NY (October 18, 2016) – Janáček’s psychological drama Jenůfa returns to the Met for its first revival in nearly 10 years with Oksana Dyka in the title role of a downtrodden peasant girl and Karita Mattila—noted for her performances in numerous Janáček roles at the Met, including the title role in Jenůfa—debuting a new role with the company as the formidable but unstable Kostelnička. David Robertson will conduct Janáček’s tragedy of love and death in a rural village, also starring Hanna Schwarz as Grandmother Buryja; Daniel Brenna as Laca, Jenůfa’s unreliable love interest; and Joseph Kaiser as Števa, Laca’s half-brother.
Dr. Beranek was a sought-after acoustics genius, and Bolt, Beranek & Newman’s first contract was to design the acoustics of the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York. He also improved the acoustic environment in such landmark concert venues as the Koussevitzky Music Shed at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Mass., and Philharmonic Hall (now David Geffen Hall) at Lincoln Center in New York.Philharmonic Hall has been an ongoing acoustical disaster, and BBN did the original design. The problems were not their fault: the NY Phil board wanted more seats and the only practical way to get them was to extend the length of the hall, which is what made the acoustics such a problem. The obit doesn't mention Davies Symphony Hall in SF, which BBN also designed, and which also is problematic. The acoustician Christopher Blair helpfully discussed these two halls when he wrote a series of guest posts at Adaptistration in 2009; at that point, I had to stop ranting about and blaming Beranek, given the NYPO board and the state of the art when Davies was built.
Carsten Wittmoser will make his Met debut as Kurwenal in tonight’s performance of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, replacing Evgeny Nikitin, who is ill.
German bass-baritone Wittmoser’s recent performances include Amonasro in Verdi’s Aida and Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata at Germany’s Mecklenburg State Theatre; Lord Sidney in Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims and Sarastro in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Ópera de Bellas Artes in Mexico City; the title role in Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer at Germany’s Theater Bremen and Switzerland’s Theater St. Gallen; Don Pizarro in Beethoven’s Fidelio at Michigan Opera Theatre; and Cecco del Vecchio in Wagner’s Rienzi at the Bayreuth Festival.
Tonight’s performance of Tristan und Isolde is conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and also stars Nina Stemme as Isolde, Ekaterina Gubanova as Brangäne, Stuart Skelton as Tristan, and René Pape as King Marke.
Maria Zifchak will sing all eight performances of Hedwige in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell this season. She replaces Marianna Pizzolato, originally announced to sing all performances, who withdrew last week to star as Isabella in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri.
Maria Zifchak has sung more than 300 Met performances over the course of her 18-year career with the company. Her numerous other roles at the Met this season will include the Old Shepherdess in Janáček’s Jenůfa, the Slave in Strauss’s Salome, Third Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Giovanna in Verdi’s Rigoletto, and Annina in Verdi’s La Traviata. Her other recent appearances with the company have included Ines in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Hannah in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, and Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, a role she has sung 83 times at the Met.
The new production of Guillaume Tell will be conducted by Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi and directed by Pierre Audi. Gerald Finley sings the title role, with Marina Rebeka as Mathilde, Janai Brugger as Jemmy, Bryan Hymel as Arnold, Marco Spotti in his Met debut as Walter Furst, Kwangchul Youn as Melcthal, and John Relyea as Gesler. Guillaume Tell opens October 18, with additional performances on October 21, 25, 29 matinee, November 2, 5, 9, and 12 matinee.
1. The main character is a historical figure, Notker Balbulus (Notker the Stammerer), a ninth-century monk, musician and poet from Switzerland. Notker (sung poignantly by the tenor Topi Lehtipuu) is called Prophet in the text; he has wide-ranging exchanges with a jaded male angel (sung by a woman, the earthy-voiced mezzo-soprano Iris Vermillion), who has not been sober, he explains, since getting drunk long ago with Nietzsche. A blowhard narrator (the imposing actor Peter Simonischek, in a speaking role) dominates the oratorio, which unfolds in four parts, each asking a big question: “Who are we?” “Where are we?” “What do we want?” “What are we silent about?”
2. The suave baritone Nicola Alaimo was almost miscast as the hapless Taddeo, singing with elegance and richness of tone.
The sunny-voiced soprano Ying Fang perfectly inhabited the part of Elvira, Mustafà’s jilted, ditsy wife. The vibrant Canadian-Tunisian mezzo Rihab Chaieb, as Elvira’s slave, Zulma, and the solid baritone Dwayne Croft, as the put-upon pirate captain Haly, offered strong support.
3. There was excellent work from the mellow-voiced mezzo-soprano Gaëlle Arquez, as the confused prince Idamante, and the two singers playing the women who love him: the sweet-toned soprano Sophie Karthäuser as Ilia, a Trojan princess, and the intense soprano Alex Penda as the vengeful Elettra. Julien Behr brought a muscular tenor voice to Arbace, the king’s confidant.I'm just going to have to assume that there's an addendum to the house style guide.
Paul Appleby will sing the role of Don Ottavio in the November 1, 4, and 10 performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, replacing Ramón Vargas. The Met has released Mr. Vargas from his contract so that he may replace Jonas Kaufmann in the title role of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann at Paris Opera.