The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: This Saturday the critically acclaimed new production of Francesco Cilea’s “Adriana Lecouvreur” is featured in cinemas in “Live from The Met in HD” satellite broadcasts and on Wisconsin Public Radio. Read a rave review | January 10, 2019

FORWARD A LINK TO IT OR SHARE IT (not just “Like It IF YOU LIKE A CERTAIN BLOG POST, PLEASE”) ON FACEBOOK. Performers can use the extra exposure to draw potential audience members to an event.

By Jacob Stockinger

This Saturday afternoon, Jan. 12, brings the fifth production of this season’s “Live From the Met in HD” series: Francesco Cilea’s “Adriana Lecouvreur.”

This 1902 opera – the only well-known one by this Italian composer (1866-1950) — seeks to capture the Baroque era’s richness of Paris and the French court in 1730. It is based on a real-life French actress who captured the public with her on-stage and off-stage passion.

The Metropolitan Opera’s new production, directed by Sir David McVicar, features superstar soprano Anna Netrebko as Adriana while the acclaimed tenor Piotr Beczala plays Maurizio, who is as smitten with Adriana as she is with him. (You can hear their duet from Act I in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

The conductor is the acclaimed and much in-demand Gianandrea Noseda (below), the music director of the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and a frequent conductor at the Met.

Mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili (below) has also received critical acclaim for her powerful singing in the production.

The hi-definition broadcast of the live performance from the Metropolitan Opera (below) in New York City starts at 11:55 a.m. and runs until 4:15 p.m. with two intermissions. (It will also air at noon on Wisconsin Public Radio.)

The encore HD showings are next Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The opera will be sung in Italian with supertitles in English, German, Spanish and Italian.

Tickets for Saturday broadcasts are $24 for adults and $22 for seniors and children under 13. For encore showings, all tickets are $18.

The cinemas where the opera can be seen are two Marcus Cinemas: the Point Cinema on the west side of Madison (608 833-3980) and the Palace Cinema (608 242-2100) in Sun Prairie.

Here is a link to the Marcus website for addresses and more information. You can also use them to purchase tickets:

Here is a link to the Metropolitan Opera’s website where you can find the titles, dates, casts, production information and video clips of all 10 productions this season, which includes operas by Bizet, Wagner, Donizetti, Saint-Saens, Puccini, Verdi and Poulenc plus a new work, “Marnie,” by Nico Muhly:

Here is a rave review of “Adriana Lecouvreur” by senior classical music critic Anthony Tommasini for The New York Times:

Here is a link to a synopsis and cast list:

Here is a link to other information about the production of “Adriana Lecouvreur,” including photos and audiovisual clips:

And here is a Wikipedia history of the broadcast series that gives you more information about how many cinemas it uses, the enormous size of the worldwide audience – now including Russia, China and Israel — and how much money it makes for The Met.

Posted in Classical music
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. What is also appealing about the partnership between Catapault and Montclair State University (in New Jersey) in offering chamber opera is that this could well bring in a new and younger audience. That’s because the operas are mostly in English and perhaps more topical.

    Here are some of their offerings:
    “Wilson’s unexpected reimagining of Amahl and the Night Visitors will be followed by the Spring 2021 U.S. premiere of Nadia Boulanger’s recently-discovered opera La ville morte, with a symbolist libretto by Gabriele d’Annunzio, directed by Robin Guarino, with new chamber orchestration by Stefan Cwik and Joseph Stillwell. In Fall 2021, Mary Birnbaum, who recently directedFrank London and Elise Thoron’s Afro-Cuban-Yiddish opera Hatuey: Memory of Fire at Peak Performances, will return with a new staging of David Hertzberg’s The Wake World, winner of the Music Critics Association of North America’s award for best new opera of 2017. In Spring 2022, Catapult will produce The Silent Twins, a U.S. premiere from “renaissance woman of contemporary British music” (The Observer) Errollyn Wallen, to be staged by acclaimed director Charlotte Braithwaite.”

    Comment by fflambeau — January 10, 2019 @ 9:35 pm

  2. Jake,

    I want to thank you for your diligent reporting on events and ideas around here and beyond. Looks like a full-time job to me. I’ve recommended signing up for THE WELL-TEMPERED EAR to member of Euterpe (you know about this music group, I assume). And regret not being able to take advantage of EVERY opportunity you illuminate. ADRIANA LECOUVREUR, for example. We have accepted an invitation from Tony Evers to visit the Governor’s Mansion on Saturday afternoon. But maybe there will be a repeat HD performance locally.. Will check that out.

    BTW, last Saturday we saw VICE at the Hilldale movie theater. My husband, Ray, is hard of hearinga, , and finds closed captions extremely helpful. Alas, til now, no movie theaters offered this option. But yes, there they are: a sort of gooseneck device that follows the sound track fast and accurately, while shielding itself from other movie patrons. Makes all the difference for Ray, and now we will go to more than our traditional one movie a year.

    Also, I’d like to add to the acclaim for the Trio Celeste concert at Farleys. Really engaging group. I sat in the front row to the right and found the piano sound sort of overwhelming, but that didn’t lessen my enthusiasm fo these musicians and their enduring. Huge audience!



    Comment by hjtstatz — January 10, 2019 @ 9:14 am

    • “I sat in the front row to the right and found the piano sound sort of overwhelming….” Ugh! What an idiotic comment.

      Comment by fflambeau — January 10, 2019 @ 9:30 pm

  3. By the way, chamber opera, not defined above, is opera written for an a chamber ensemble rather than a full orchestra. Earlier small-scale operas such as Pergolesi’s La serva padrona (1733) are sometimes known as chamber operas.

    Other 20th-century examples include Gustav Holst’s Savitri (1916). Benjamin Britten wrote works in this category in the 1940s when the English Opera Group needed works that could easily be taken on tour and performed in a variety of small performance spaces. The Rape of Lucretia (1946) was his first example in the genre, and Britten followed it with Albert Herring (1947), The Turn of the Screw (1954) and Curlew River (1964). Other composers, including Hans Werner Henze, Harrison Birtwistle, Thomas Adès, George Benjamin, William Walton, and Philip Glass have written in this genre.

    This notion, especially the partnership with a university, looks ideal for Madison as does the notion that the operas will travel on the road:
    “Productions will rehearse and premiere under the auspices of Peak Performances at Montclair State University and then be available for touring. An associate director/stage manager, tour manager, and lighting designer will arrive with the cast to adapt the production to your local venue, while Goren rehearses your orchestra. Local residency will be kept to a minimum in order to ensure cost efficiency.”

    Also looking like a perfect match for Madison (and the university) is this: “Integral to Catapult Opera’s mission is the belief that Opera is a space of inclusion and acceptance. Because of this, Catapult will endeavor to promote gender, racial, and cultural diversity in all aspects of their casting, production, and administration.”

    Sources: (a longer and yes, more detailed, article than the one at the NYTimes).

    Comment by fflambeau — January 10, 2019 @ 2:35 am

  4. Here’s something in the world of opera that is more interesting. Note the innovative opera organizer’s use of the terms, universities as “incubators” or the “Medicis of our time”. Spot on.

    Here’s a big excerpt from the article:
    “A New Company Rises From the Ashes of Gotham Chamber Opera”

    By Michael Cooper
    Jan. 9, 2019

    The 2015 closing of Gotham Chamber Opera, which performed operatic rarities from all eras in locations as varied as the Hayden Planetarium and a Lower East Side burlesque house, dealt a blow to New York music lovers. The company boasted creativity, musicality and frugality, but it still failed to survive — shutting its doors amid a sea of red ink.

    Now its founder, Neal Goren, is back in business — thanks to an unusual collaboration between his new company, Catapult Opera, and Peak Performances at Montclair State University, which will present four of Catapult’s productions, beginning with the premiere of a new Robert Wilson staging of Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in the fall of 2020.

    The collaboration promises to bring an important artistic voice back to the region, and to offer hope of a financially viable model for Mr. Goren to continue putting on chamber opera. Jedediah Wheeler, the executive director of Peak Performances, said he had long admired Mr. Goren’s “tremendous imagination and gumption,” and added that the new partnership dovetails with his vision of universities as incubators of new work.

    “For lack of a better term, the Medicis of our time are at the universities,” he said.

    Mr. Goren, who was also Gotham’s conductor and artistic director, said he had pored over the company’s old financial statements to see where he could find savings. “The biggest expense after payroll was real estate, basically: performance space, rehearsal space and office space,” he said. “I thought, how can we reduce that?”

    With the new partnership, Peak Performances will underwrite four productions over two seasons, covering the cost of the productions, providing spaces for rehearsal and performance, and taking care of marketing. Mr. Goren, who will conduct the works, said that the shows would be designed to be tour-ready.

    In the spring of 2021, Catapult will give the United States premiere of “La Ville Morte,” by the influential French composer, conductor and teacher Nadia Boulanger, written with Raoul Pugno to a libretto by Gabriele d’Annunzio. The opera, directed by Robin Guarino, will feature a new chamber orchestration by Stefan Cwik and Joseph Stillwell.

    The following fall, the company will perform David Hertzberg’s “The Wake World,” which had its premiere at Opera Philadelphia in 2017, in a new production by Mary Birnbaum. (Before Gotham closed, it had awarded Mr. Hertzberg, whose music Mr. Goren described as “wildly ecstatic and erotic,” a prize and commission that it could not see through.) And in 2022, Catapult will give the United States premiere of Errollyn Wallen’s 2007 opera “The Silent Twins,” staged by Charlotte Braithwaite.

    Mr. Wheeler, who has made Peak Performances one of the most vital performance series in the region, said he was pleased that the collaboration would give Mr. Goren a home, and that he hoped it would attract new audiences to opera, beginning with the students at Montclair State.”

    After all, why pay between $20 and $30 for what is essentially a movie when you can see the real thing for about the same price?


    Comment by fflambeau — January 10, 2019 @ 2:20 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,268 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 2,368,608 hits
%d bloggers like this: