Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Let the Speculation Begin.

Now that the 2014-15 season is over...

San Francisco Opera will have its 100th anniversary in a few years; this is even mentioned in the summer, 2015 programs. Certainly the company is going to plan a very special season to celebrate; see, for example, the wonderful centennial season of San Francisco Symphony. Here are some....possibilities:
  • The announcement of a campaign to replace or greatly improve the opera house, which has antiquated facilities, terrible storage and rehearsal space, etc.
  • A commission or two
  • Birtwistle. Need I say more?? Perhaps Gawain, perhaps The Minotaur, perhaps Henry Holland's fav, The Second Mrs. Kong, which sounds really weird.
  • Something spectacular. Could be:
    • A Ring revival, although it would be awfully close to the announced revival, which I believe is planned for 2017-18.
    • Die Frau ohne Schatten, not seen in SF since 1989; planned for the Rosenberg era but cut in favor of Ariadne owing to $$$ troubles
    • William Tell, considering that we've now heard a first-class tenor who can sing Arnold as the role is meant to be sung. 
    • Or if it's got to be something else by Rossini, Il viaggio a Reims, which has a cast of 14 principal singers
    • Or perhaps something by Meyerbeer, because see "tenor who can sing these roles"
    • Something from the Licht cycle
    • A revival of Les Troyens. Well, I can dream, but it does cost less than the Ring.
    • From the House of the Dead, promised long ago by Pamela Rosenberg
What would you like to see?

Here's what you would like to see; honestly, I like all of these ideas, so keep 'em coming:

  • Benvenuto Cellini (Rob Gordon)
  • Something by Henze, perhaps The Bassarids (Rob Gordon)
  • King Roger (Rob Gordon)
  • Rimsky-Korsakov fair-tale opera, perhaps Sadko, Tsar Sultan, Snegurochka, Kitezh (Rob Gordon)
  • Rimsky, Le Coq d'Or (JSC)
  • Ghosts of Versailles (JSC)
  • Schreker, Korngold operas not named Die Tote Stadt, Braunfels, Egk's Peer Gynt, Hindemith's Mathis der Maleror his three one-acters etc. (Henry Holland)


Anonymous said...

Well, high on my list (beside Benvenuto Cellini, of course) would be a major opera by Hans Werner Henze (The Bassarids perhaps), King Roger, and a Rimsky-Korsakov fairy tale opera: Sadko, Tsar Sultan, Snegurochka, Kitezh.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Those would all be great!

The Met is rumored to have Kitezh scheduled for 2019-20. Maybe we can borrow it.

CK Dexter Haven said...

La Traviata. Again. Because . . .
a) You've gotta have one warhorse, and if I were a betting man (and I am), they'll do it just to piss you off, Lisa . . .
b) I actually really like it.

Oh, and "The Rake's Progress" too

Patrick J. Vaz said...

I love all these suggestions, except maybe Traviata, which is the one we'll probably get. ;-)

JSC said...

I like those ideas, esp. Die Frau ohne Schatten, Guillaume Tell, and something by Meyerbeer. Also I think Le Coq d'Or and Ghosts of Versailles have been past rumors that also got discarded due to budget woes. Would love to see either of them at some point. I missed LAO's recent Ghosts due to conflicts with commitments here in SF.

Lisa Hirsch said...

CKDH, I would say you were cruel...except that it's been six years since I saw Traviata last and I recently got the urge to hear the music, at least.

JSC, yes. I missed Ghosts through poor planning.

Henry Holland said...

What's become of the idea that was floated years ago about SFO performing in places other than the aircraft hanger that is the opera house? Sure, I'd like to hear one of my hobby horses such as The Second Mrs. Kong but it would need to be done in a much smaller space than the opera house.

And it's not so weird, in fact it has one of my very favorite librettos: in the world of he dead, various characters live their lives over and over in an endless loop. Kong lives on, as does Pearl, from Vermeer's incredible Girl with a Pearl Earring. Pearl and Kong meet, escape to the world of the living with the help of Orpheus (who is searching for Eurydice), fall in love, but their love can never be: he's just an idea, a clay model in a movie, she's a 2-dimensional painting, they can never touch. The final five minutes is some of my favorite music by anyone, as Pearl and Kong sing melisama's on "Do you remember?" and "Yes, I remember".

The Minotaur would be a safer bet. Something from Licht, not in our lifetimes, I'd say, as the Aerosmith song notes "Dream on, dream on", they can't even get the things staged in Germany. Though the individual operas have all been staged, the talk of the complete 7-opera cycle being done in Koln fizzled out. The Met is allegedly doing L'amour de Loin in 2016-17, maybe SFO can borrow the production.

King Roger, absolutely, The Bassarids sure, Reimann's take on Medea is pretty conventional. I would love to see Kitezh as long as they take the standard cuts in the third act. I've seen two productions of House of the Dead, it's kinda boring, more a series of monologues than anything. I'd much rather see a production of Káťa Kabanová, Cunning Little Vixen or The Makropoulos Affair or even The Excursions of Mr. Broucek (which has some libretto problems), any of them but the conventional potboiler Jenufa again.

[insert my standard request for performances of Schreker, Korngold operas not named Die Tote Stadt, Braunfels, Egk's Peer Gynt, Hindemith's Mathis der Maler or his three one-acters etc. etc.]

Lisa Hirsch said...

There's a 300 seat theater being constructed in the Veterans Building, which is in the same block as the opera house, but that is awfully small. The company won't be traveling elsewhere, far as I know.

We have had productions of Kat'ya, Vixen, and Makropoulos in this century! Did you miss them? (I personally love Jenufa, however conventional it might be plotwise.)

Adding your daydreams to the list in the posting.

Henry Holland said...

No, didn't see the Janacek productions in San Francisco, saw Kat'ya at LA Opera in 1989, one of the first operas I went to, they did Makropoulous in 92/93, saw Vixen at New York City Opera (RIP) etc. I wanted to see a production of Mr. Broucek on one of my trips to Germany but it didn't work out scheduling-wise.

I think Pamela Rosenberg was planning a cycle, but alas.

Lisa Hirsch said...

She was, yes.

John Marcher said...

Il viaggio a Reims with a great cast would be a really spectacular way to celebrate a centennial- that's the top of my list.
I would also add these, assuming there will be 10 operas:
Die Soldaten
King Roger
Aleko/Miserly Knight/Francesca da Rimini
An American Tragedy
Adriana Mater
A new production of Einstein on the Beach

OSA Honors English 10 said...

My hopes are...A new "Turandot" perhaps. A new production of "Tristan." A revival of "Tannheuser." A new "Onegin." I agree with those calling for "From the House of the Dead."

Henry Holland said...

Die Soldaten

Not a chance in Hades, but if it's even considered, they should do it at the Bill Graham Civic and really use the space like the David Pountney production I saw at the Park Avenue Armory. Great series of photos here:

Marie! Marie! Marie!


Last done in the summer of 1998, it's about due. Here's a name from the past: I went to the 1989 production, the Lulu was Ann Panagulias, big things were predicted for her. He mostly has a reputation for Hollywood pops stuff now, but John Mauceri did a great job in the pit. I loved reading that he considered conducting Korngold's Das Wunder der Heliane (< HINT HINT) the hardest score he's ever done. Best of all, at the 1989 Lulu the 12-note death chord was REALLY loud. :-)

Adriana Mater

Thank you Lisa for making me see the error of my ways about this score.

JSC said...

I'd love a Parsifal, even before the centennial. It's not been on the SFO stage since 2000.

Henry Holland said...

Ha! For years my friends in San Francisco taunted me that I'd gotten in to opera about a year too late because the 1988 Parsifal production was so wild. Klingsor apparently did his scenes on top of a giant skull that took up most of the stage. Some pictures of the production here:

Great cast too: Moll, Meier, Kollo (past his prime to be sure), Berry, Hynninen.

Anonymous said...

As to that Parsifal, the problem was the conductor, John Pritchard. I think he was out of his element -- this was the least Wagnerian Wagner I have ever heard. I don't know exactly how to explain it, but the effect was kind of light-weight, without that deep thing in the sound, whatever it is, that Runnicles, or Levine, or Knappertsbusch, or any number of other people you could think of, manage to get.

That said, it was my first Parsifal, but even then I could tell that the cast was unbeatable. And indeed, so far in my experience it has been. And I don't think that René Kollo was past his prime at that point -- he was great.

Henry Holland said...

I went to the horrible (I know you liked it Lisa) Lenhoff production in 2000 just to hear Kurt Moll live. His voice had dried out but he was still magisterial. I'd seen the production at ENO and I hated it with all the fire of all the suns in the Orion Nebula, I was in the balcony and I sat down at the back wall and just listened. No, Mr. Lenhoff, having Kundry live and Amfortas die isn't great theater, it had been done before (at another production I saw in Berlin years before), it was just stupid.

Yeah, still bitter. :-)