Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Spring at the MET: Das Wagnersverbot?

The works of Richard Wagner have usually been a staple of Springtime in New York City. As the weather turns warmer, the days grow longer, and the Easter/Passover holidays approach, a weekend at the MET would always include one of the Ring operas (if not a complete cycle) and a return of Parsifal, just in time for Good Friday.

From this day to the end of this season, the only performance of Wagner at the MET will be on April 23, the radio broadcast of Die Walküre, featuring Plácido Domingo. One solitary performance of a work that the MET already presented at the beginning of the season, and is clearly bringing back only for the benefit of radio audiences (and taking advantage of the fact that Domingo is already here in the city rehearsing the new production of Franco Alfano's Cyrano de Bergerac.)

Nothing wrong with enjoying a good dose of Wagner in the Fall and Winter months. The MET presented Die Walküre during the first week of the season, and then went on to present a spectacular revival of Tannhäuser, conducted by Mark Elder, and featuring Peter Seiffert, Deborah Voigt, and the incomparable Thomas Hampson. It was the perfect antidote to the cold dark months of November and December.

Old habits are hard to break. Old expectations even more so. We want our Springtime Wagner, and we want it now!

Over in Europe, Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal are currently being presented at the Opéra Bastille in Paris and Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu. This will be the subject of my next posting.

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