Sunday matinees will be performed at the Met. Moreover,
in the following season, there will be a mid-winter break
in February when fewer people traditionally attend the
opera, allowing the season to be extended from mid-May
to mid-June—which Met General Manager Peter Gelb
believes will attract a new audience.
The Met revived Rossini’s Semiramide after 25 years, with
Angela Meade passing the stamina test, and the audience
having a surprisingly good time: at the Met premiere of
Nico Muhly’s Marnie, not so much. Another good time at
the Met was also provided by Nézet-Séguin at the helm in
revivals of Strauss’s Elektra—with Christine Goerke commanding in the title role and Elza van den Heever holding
her own as Chrysothemis—and Parsifal, which oozed with
1, 250 gallons of stage blood.
Several operas that had premieres elsewhere made it to
the United States, or were retooled for subsequent productions there. A new Dr. Atomic by John Adams and Peter
Sellars at Santa Fe Opera brought the story close to where
the Manhattan Project developed the first atomic bomb,
racing the Nazis to do it. The same pair’s new Girls of the
Golden West, co-commissioned with the San Francisco
Opera, is set in a California mining town. Its premiere there
had mixed reviews, as most current operas seem to.
Charles Wuorinen’s complex, atonal Brokeback Moun-
tain, which opened in Madrid in 2014, was presented at New
York City Opera, for which it had been originally planned
before the company’s demise and rebirth.
The Silver River, by Bright Sheng with David Henry
Hwang, tells an ancient Chinese story about a celestial
Classics released a seven-CD set of Bernstein’s mid-1970s
recordings with the Orchestre National de France. Antonio
Pappano and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa
Cecilia recorded the symphonies (Warner), and the New
York Philharmonic, which Bernstein conducted during the
turbulent 1960s. The Philharmonic's August programming
was dedicated to his memory, from audience education
to championing of Mahler, plus historic audio from
his legendary debut and the opening of Lincoln Center.
Memoirs were published, and Omnibus and Young People’s
Concerts were televised on Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
From the beginning, Lenny was known by one name
only—like Marilyn and Aretha. He lives on as a transcendent communicator: a brilliant conductor, teacher
of children and adults, memorable crossover pianist and
composer of Broadway musicals based on Shakespeare and
Voltaire. “If you miss Mars by a quarter-note,” he told a
conducting student, “you’ve missed Mars.” Did Leonard
Bernstein ever miss Mars? Sometimes, but what a ride.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s appointment as Metropolitan
Opera music director, originally scheduled for 2020, began
two years early due to James Levine’s departure and the
resulting turmoil at the Met’s top level.
The Met reached a “ground-breaking” contract settle-
ment with unions representing the orchestra, chorus,
singers, and stage managers. For the first time in the
company’s history, beginning in the 2019-20 season,
Elza van den
Goerke in the
title role of
at the Met. Photo:
© Karen Almond/
music director at
Photo: © 2018
YEAR in music