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More than 30 years after it was written, Lewis Spratlan’s opera “Life is a Dream” is finally going to get its world premiere at Santa Fe in 2010. Spratlan couldn’t get a performance even after winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for a concert performance of the opera’s second act. But the Santa Fe Opera, which announced its 2010 season yesterday - the first entirely programmed under the company's new general director, Charles MacKay - will offer the complete opera as the most unusual work on what otherwise is a fairly conventional program ("Madame Butterfly," "The Tales of Hoffmann," "The Magic Flute," and Britten’s "Albert Herring"). Leonard Slatkin will conduct.

In Bloomberg News, Zinta Lundborg writes a scathing indictment of the New York City Opera, revealing that its endowment has shrunk, not to $10 million as reported in The New York Times, but to a mere $3 million. This is a result, Lundborg writes, not of the bad economy but of rank mismanagement.

The Royal Opera House Covent Garden just announced its 2009-10 season, with new productions of "Tristan und Isolde," a Tchaikovsky bagatelle called "The Tsarina’s Slippers," Prokofiev's "The Gambler," "Aida," and "Manon" with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón. Speculation will naturally center around whether Villazón will be in shape to sing Des Grieux by the spring of 2010, since he seems unable to pull out of the vocal difficulties that led to his taking several months off, were audible in his recent Met “Lucia,” and contributed to his cancellation of the run of “Elisir d’Amore.” Also notable is that Plácido Domingo will sing both tenor and baritone roles – Handel's Tamerlano and Verdi's Simon Boccanegra – and that the house will feature no fewer than three productions, including the new “Aida,” by the estimable (but possibly overextended?) David McVicar.

By Anne Midgette  |  April 22, 2009; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  news , opera  
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Next: In Performance: Local Reviews


Great post. Yikes.

As a player, I've always trusted the front office to perform their duties professionally. No interaction between musicians and management, other than contract negotiations, was expected. Are these days coming to an end?

Stephen Dunkel
Bass Trombone
WNO/KC Orchestra

Posted by: smdunkel2 | April 23, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Thanks again for another excellent summary of opera/music news.

As I wrote here in an earlier comment, Mortier was clearly a total loser for the struggling NYC Opera. The board and management there seem totally out of touch with reality. Sad.

Posted by: BethesdaFan | April 23, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Do we really need another boring season in Santa Fe? I'm getting tired of this ridiculousness, and I hope McKay doesn't screw things up again. Just because you throw in a world premiere doesn't mean it's an interesting festival season, especially if those world premieres are crappy as they are wont to be lately in SF. Why would anyone travel out to Santa Fe to see another Butterfly or Magic Flute with yawn inducing singers?! Totally beyond me.

No way Villazon will be able to do the Manon. Better get Vargas stat. And no way he'll be anywhere near up to the level needed for Hoffmann at the Met next year. It's disrespectful to keep him in casts and sucker people into buying tickets when we all know he won't be able to sing. Excited for the new CG Tristan, which is a co-production with HGO, so it will come stateside sooner or later.

Posted by: geddaisgod | April 24, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

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