Looks like Dominique Meyer and Franz Welser-Möst’s first joint year as intendant and music director of the Wiener Staatsoper, which began so warmly, has hit a rocky patch. As Intermezzo points out and neatly summarizes, Welser-Möst has let loose a withering critique of director Jean-Louis Martinoty’s work on the house’s two new Mozart productions, to which he himself contributed competent but uninspired conducting.
Welser-Möst says Martinoty didn’t learn from his mistakes, didn’t collaborate and listen to the singers and musicians, and didn’t have the will to assemble a coherent concept. Meyer dismisses it as a matter of artistic differences.
As Intermezzo says, this kind of dissent is unusual. But the utter dreadfulness of Martinoty’s productions was also unusual. I don’t know about Martinoty’s rehearsal process, but Welser-Möst nails the stagings’ lack of coherence. Here is my review of the least funny Figaro to ever happen, and here the least interesting Don Giovanni. The Figaro was an import from Meyer’s previous house, the Théatre des Champs-Elysées.
Martinoty is somewhere far from the A-list of opera directors, but he is a friend of Meyer. The directors of the two remaining new productions of the season are similarly French and obscure in Austria–Eric Génovèse in Anna Bolena (premiering 2 April with both Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca) and André Engel in Kat’a Kabanová (not until June)–but both have somewhat more distinguished credentials. We’ll see how that goes.
Photo: Meyer and Welser-Möst (not Martinoty)