Norman Lebrecht is hosting a discussion on his blog (and Twitter, and Facebook) about which now-living composers are most likely to be played in 50 years. The debate is intriguing though the parameters are unclear (played, for example, by whom? Orchestras are unlikely to play Steve Reich, because he hasn’t written much for orchestra). Anyway, voting is open on Lebrecht’s blog until 6 pm EST today. Have at it.
On Saturday, the Minnesota Opera revived “Casanova’s Homecoming” by Dominick Argento, a composer once at the center of American opera, now less-often performed. Everybody likes the idea; the first actual review is a little equivocal.
A postscript to the NEA Opera Honors: opera-lovers are encouraged to watch the tribute videos on the NEA’s website. Frank Corsaro, on his, makes a pithy observation about how singers with vocal problems are often actually having acting problems; it bore out something Gidon Saks said to me last week about a production in which he didn’t feel comfortable with the staging, and consequently became unable to sing well. I would guess this only applies to singers who are good enough actors to begin with that a difficult staging represents to them a violation of their own artistry.
It was also notable that Lotfi Mansouri at 80 looks better than he did in photos 20 years ago: trim and dapper and urbane. His memoirs are coming out next year from Northeastern University Press; the coauthor is Donald Arthur, who worked on the fine memoirs of Astrid Varnay and Hans Hotter. This should be a fun and juicy book, though Mansouri regretted that sections of it had to be cut because the publisher found them actionable. Bring it on.
Edited to add: I was badly negligent in failing, in the abovementioned NEA Opera Honors write-up, to mention Chris Pedro Trakas's fine performance of one of Nixon's arias from Adams's "Nixon in China." It was a first-rate piece of singing acting -- the diction so perfect you understood every word, Nixon's mannerisms even brought across -- and it deserved better from me than neglect.
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