takes place on a bleak prairie; its premiere at Washington
National Opera was followed at Opera Omaha and New
York City’s Miller Theater.
Aiden Lang left his Seattle Opera post of general
director after four years for the Welsh National Opera.
Alexander Neef became the first artistic director of Santa
Fe Opera, and Houston Grand Opera appointed Eun Sun
Kim principal guest conductor.
It is cruel but wonderful that the Met Orchestra,
elevated to greatness by James Levine, did fine without
him. Conductors Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Michael Tilson
Thomas, and Gianandrea Noseda were well reviewed with
Speaking of Noseda, the National Symphony Orchestra
extended his contract as music director through 2024-25.
Noseda, who at the Kennedy Center’s Shift Festival showed
himself to be skillful and gracious, will benefit from the $10
million raised for recordings of Beethoven Symphonies,
radio broadcasts, and touring.
Jaap van Zweden has concluded his decade-long tenure
as music director at the Dallas Symphony, officially moving
into his new position as music director of the New York
Philharmonic. Meanwhile, the new Dallas Symphony
music director is Fabio Luisi, and the orchestra’s CEO is
Tod Machover’s sixth of his “city symphony” projects,
Philadelphia Voices, is for the Philadelphia Orchestra,
Northwest, in Portland, Oregon, got it this year. St. Louis
presented the American premiere of the racially charged An
American Soldier, by Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang,
about an army private of Chinese descent.
Houston Grand Opera moved back into surroundings
restored after Hurricane Hugo, presenting The Phoenix, by
Tarik O’Regan and librettist John Caird, which featured
Thomas Hampson and Luca Pisaroni playing different ages
of Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart’s librettist.
Opera Philadelphia introduced Sky on Swings, by
Lembit Beecher with Hannah Moscovitch, about memory
loss, starring Frederica von Stade and Marietta Simpson.
The Philadelphia company also presented the short, darkly
gothic Elizabeth Cree, by Kevin Puts and librettist Mark
Campbell, creators of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent
Night. Cree was then mounted by Chicago Lyric Opera, and
a local review stated, “Not since Sweeney Todd have operatic
blood, guts, and dismemberment been so entertaining.”
Proving Up, the third opera by Missy Mazzoli, has a
typically weird plot, a surprisingly unwelcoming score, and
Ope As Opera: The State of the
YEAR in music
Art Conrad L. Osborne. The
dis guished vocal teacher and
op a-recording critic of the sorely
m ed High Fidelity magazine has
p ished his long-awaited magnum
o s at last—already in its second
nting. “It is, without question,
e most important book ever
itten in English about opera
performance,” wrote Joseph
Horowitz in the Wall Street
Journal. Cover art by Yael Saiger.
Frank Gehry’s celebrated Disney Hall blooms in celebration of the
Los Angeles Philharmonic’s centennial year. Photo: © WDCH Dreams,
rendering by Refik Anadol Studio.
Cleveland Orchestra Music Director Franz Welser-Möst and pianist Lang
Lang celebrated opening night of the acclaimed ensemble’s 100th anni-
versary. Photo: © Roger Mastroianni, Courtesy of The Cleveland Orchestra.