The season that was

There was good, there was bad, and there was the end of Götterdämmerung. Let’s look back at classical music in New York this season. Honestly, I found many of the more hyped events of the season disappointing, most of all the big and stupid Ring. The good stuff was further away from the spotlight.

Sorry for the recent lack of blogging; I am leaving for Europe on Wednesday and have an enormous amount of work to do before that. My first stops are Berlin, Dresden, and Vienna!



  • Anna Bolena was on the dreary side, but Anna Netrebko was fabulous, and considering what the rest of the season ended up being like we should have been pretty happy with what we got production-wise, actually
  • I liked the direction in which Dark Sisters was headed, but it didn’t really get there?
  • The Opera Orchestra of New York’s concert Rienzi found an excellent mezzo and a surprisingly enjoyable opera
  • Simon Rattle and the Berlin Phil, I don’t know, you guys. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
  • The Met’s Manon was mostly distinguished among the house’s new productions for being competent and not a disaster. Yay? Anna Netrebko was great, again.
  • Jennifer Rowley was quite a find in Telemann’s Orpheus at the New York City Opera, though the opera itself is maybe not quite that much of a find. (Rowley has just had a big career break, by the way; she will be replacing preggers Diana Damrau in the ROH’s Robert le diable this fall. Congrats! [I am hopefully seeing Damrau as the four women in Hoffmann this summer. A pregnant Olympia will be interesting.])
  • Natalie Dessay wasn’t up to the challenges of Traviata, but Willy Decker’s production is wonderful


  • The Met’s milquetoast Don Giovanni sent us all running towards hell, because it’s probably more entertaining down there
  • The Met’s Siegfried was insipid
  • Neon lights! Convulsing nuclear bomb victims! No idea what is going on, ever! It takes a really awful production like say Faust to have Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s ace conducting, Marina Poplavskaya’s insanity, Jonas Kaufmann’s high notes, and René Pape’s eyebrows and STILL end up on the Distressing list.
  • For lovers of Baroque opera, watching so-called pasticcio The Enchanted Island was like having your favorite Romanian art film remade by Michael Bay
  • Götterdämmerung ended ignominiously, but at least there was Waltraud Meier
  • Make that the whole Ring. It was all distressing, though Bryn Terfel’s Wotan and Katarina Dalayman’s Brünnhilde were stellar.

The next production I will be writing about will be a certain Serse. Did I mention that somehow I have acquired tickets to almost every single production at one of the major European festivals this summer? Not sure how this happened. Hint: not Salzburg, because then I would be bankrupt. And in Salzburg. See you soon.

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