Friday, October 02, 2015

In My Book, This was the Wrong Choice.

James Levine has dropped out of conducting the Met Lulu in favor of Tannhaueser.  Draw the obvious conclusions about his energy reserves. I'd certainly rather hear him in Lulu.

From the Met:

James Levine Will Focus His Energies on Tannhäuser This Fall;
New Production of Lulu Will Now Be Conducted By Lothar Koenigs

New York, NY (October 2, 2015) – Faced with the demands of rehearsing and performing two large-scale operas simultaneously this fall, Met Music Director James Levine has decided to lighten his workload by removing the new production of Berg’s Lulu from his schedule so that he may focus his energies completely on Wagner’s epic drama Tannhäuser. Levine has long been identified with Tannhäuser at the Met, having conducted 62 performances of the opera with the company since 1977. Lothar Koenigs, who made his Met debut in 2008 conducting Mozart’s Don Giovanni, will now lead the first 5 performances of Berg’s Lulu, a work he recently conducted at Welsh National Opera. The conductor of the final three performances will be announced at a later date.
“Conducting evening performances of Tannhäuser while rehearsing Lulu in the daytime would be an ambitious undertaking for any maestro, let alone for someone who only recently returned to full-time conducting,” said Met General Manager Peter Gelb. “I’m pleased that Jim will now be able to concentrate his energy onTannhäuser and that Lulu will be in the capable hands of Mr. Koenigs.”
Tannhäuser opens October 8 and plays seven performances through October 31, which will be a worldwide transmission as part of the Met’s Live in HD series. The cast features Johan Botha in the title role, Eva-Maria Westbroek as Elisabeth, Michelle DeYoung as Venus, Peter Mattei as Wolfram, and Günther Groissböck as the Landgraf.
The new production of Lulu, directed by William Kentridge, opens November 5 and plays eight performances through December 3, including a worldwide Live in HD transmission on November 21. The cast features Marlis Petersen in the title role, Susan Graham as Countess Geschwitz, Daniel Brenna in his Met debut as Alwa, Paul Groves as Painter and African Prince, Johan Reuter as Dr. Schön and Jack the Ripper, and Franz Grundheber as Schigolch.

UPDATE: Perhaps you found yourself wondering who Lothar Koenigs is, since the Met only bothers to mention his Met Don Giovanni performances and Wozzeck at the Welsh National Opera. The press release should have mentioned that Mr. Koenigs is the Music Director of the Welsh National Opera.

1 comment:

Henry Holland said...

I had a reply to the insipid Camille at Parterre Box ready to go but didn't bother posting it. In the last five years alone, Lothar Koenig has conducted productions of Wozzeck two separate times in Munich and Lulu in Brussels and Cardiff. He's also conducted Moses und Aron and there's a DVD of him conducting Krenek's 12-tone Karl V, he knows the idiom, the Met performances of Lulu will be fine.

I've never liked James Levine's conducting of Berg's operas, his preference for slower tempos just doesn't work for me. Of course, the fact that I learned those operas via Pierre Boulez' recordings and Boulez obviously wasn't one for leisurely tempos (i.e. the 1970 Bayreuth Parsifal that fits snugly on 3 CD's) might have something to do with that. :-)