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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Operas of October

The opera season in New York is off to a strong start, with the Met's surreal Lucia competing for attention with the gritty new Cav/Pag at the City Opera. As October gets under way, highlights to look forward to include:

  • Alexander Zemlinsky's little-heard A Florentine Tragedy at the New York Philharmonic. Zemlinsky was the teacher of Schoenberg, and was long considered a lost example of early 20th century Austrian opera. His works have come under reassessment in recent decades, thanks to the efforts of conductor James Conlon. Maestro Conlon leads concert performances of this opera at Avery Fisher Hall, starting Thursday, Oct. 18.
  • The following week features the second new Met production of the season, a new staging of Verdi's Macbeth starring baritone Željko Lucic and Maria Guleghina as his lady wife. Based on Shakespeare's blood-soaked "Scottish Play," this is the first performance of this famously unlucky opera at the Met since 82-year old singing coach Bantcho Bantchevsky fell from the balcony during the intermission of a matinee performance in 1988. His death was ruled a suicide, the first and only to occur during a performance in the company's history. Hopefully, this new staging (by Adrian Noble) will keep opera lovers in their seats until the final curtain.
  • Handel's baroque showpiece, Agrippina, takes the stage at City Opera, a house that has become known for quality presentations of operas by the great baroque composer. The City Opera's 1997 production of Xerxes sparked the baroque revival in New York and spurred the careers of David Daniels and Lorraine Hunt. This Agrippina is a welcome revival, featuring the singing talents of countertenor David Walker.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats