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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"What a Dump!"

City Opera to junk its past productions.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Classic New York City Opera productions may soon be seen on Staten Island.
Photo of the Fresh Kills Landfill from brainz.org.
In April of this year, at the New York City Opera's annual press conference to announce its 2013 spring season, opera journalist Bruce-Michael Gelbert asked company general manager George Steel about the fate of the company's most beloved productions from its past.

Specifically, Mr. Gelbert was asking about The Cunning Little Vixen last seen at the City Opera's old home, the New York State Theater, in the 1990s.

I can't remember the exact wording used (it was six months ago) but Mr. Steel said something to the effect that it was unlikely that the Vixen would be revived.

Today, a story by Dan Wakin in The New York Times revealed that the City Opera planned to junk not just its old productions, but more recent ones as well.

This's soon-to-be-scrapped legacy includes classic stagings by Maurice Sendak, Hal Prince and Mark Lamos. Imaginative shows in its history include an elegant, sad production of Korngold's Die Tote Stadt, the New York premiere of A Quiet Place and a brilliant staging of Richard Strauss' domestic comedy Intermezzo.

On the bright side, this means we won't be seeing a revival of Stephen Schwartz' Seance on a Wet Afternoon. 

Mr. Wakin's article goes into some detail regarding the fate of the company's Christopher Alden production of Don Giovanni from 2009. This Don, which moved the action of Mozart's dramma giocoso to a surreal funeral parlor, was a major hit for City Opera that season. But now, following a run of the show at the Portland Opera, the production will be junked.

In the case of the City Opera's former partners the Glimmerglass Festival, the company has asked its northern neighbors to retreive the productions, bring the, back to Cooperstown, NY and  and presumably place them in storage. Other shows, including musicals like The Most Happy Fella will be sold off through a broker.

So hold tight to those memories of golden evenings at the New York State Theater, opera lovers. You'll never be seeing any of those classic shows again.
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.