2020 MUSICAL AMERICA DIRECTORY 37
Year in music
daughter will rule. But, as in all fairy tales, the results are
unexpected. The Handmaid’s Tale, composed by Ruders in
2000, was revived at Boston Lyric Opera.
Saratoga Opera presented Ricky Ian Gordon’s easy-to-
digest Ellen West, about a woman (the wonderful Jennifer
Zetlan) with an eating disorder.
Atlas, Meredith Monk’s lengthy 1991 excursion into the
permutations of a couple of notes, was heard at Walt Disney
Hall under Yuval Sharon.
Opera Theater of St. Louis introduced Fire Shut Up
in My Bones by Terence Blanchard, about the upbringing
of New York Times columnist Charles Blow, starring bass-
baritone Davóne Tines, recipient of the Sphinx Medal of
Excellence. Long Beach Opera offered The Central Park Five
one reviewer, the staging apparatus looked better from
the cheaper seats. Apparently there was more action in
Tanglewood’s concert version of Walküre, performed in
three concerts over two days.
Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel was decidedly
better liked by critics than by audiences.
The Met, which offered buyouts to 21 administrative
employees and settled James Levine’s lawsuit, commis-
sioned its first operas from women. Missy Mazzoli’s Lincoln
in the Bardo is a ghost story with multiple narrators, and
Grounded, about a pregnant fighter pilot, is by Jeanine
Tesori. The libretto is by George Brant.
San Francisco Opera, which gave the West Coast premiere of Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life, cancelled its
concert plan to mark Plácido Domingo’s 50th anniversary
with the company when Domingo was accused of sexual
harassment. On the same day, the Philadelphia Orchestra
withdrew its invitation to him to sing at its opening gala.
The Los Angeles Opera, of which Domingo was general
director, was investigating the charges. The Met initially
decided to await L.A.’s determination, but amid outcry
from Met singers and employees, Domingo withdrew from
the three Macbeths for which he was scheduled. Željko
Lučić, who was to sing the final three, was assigned all six.
The Met statement said, “The Met and Mr. Domingo are
in agreement that he needed to step down.” Eight days
later, he resigned from LA Opera and said he would sing at
neither company again.
Poul Ruders composed The Thirteenth Child , introduced
at Santa Fe Opera, with a libretto by Becky and David
Starobin. A paranoid king banishes his 12 sons so that his
Composer Poul ruders (center), whose opera The Thirteenth
Child had its premiere at Santa Fe Opera, is pictured in Odense,
Denmark, with the opera’s librettists Becky and David Starobin.
Photo: © Lars Skaaning.
Stéphane Denève began his first season as music director with the
St. Louis Symphony. Photo: © Dilip Vishwanat.
Jaap van Zweden conducted the New York Philharmonic in the world
premiere of Julia Wolfe’s powerful Fire in my mouth at David Geffen Hall,
January 24, 2019. Photo © 2019 Chris Lee.