Best of 2014

This was a big year for me personally: I finished grad school and started my first real academic job. But this took a toll on my operagoing, and this list is a bit thin this year. Without further ado, here is what stuck with me.

Best Performances
La forza del destino (Bayerische Staatsoper):  Perhaps it is disappointing that my No. 1 for the year happened on January 6, but opera doesn’t work on a film schedule. Despite some sizable drawbacks–lackluster conducting and a production which was only occasionally brilliant–it still seemed to be operating on a drastically higher level than virtually everything else I saw this year.

Verdi Requiem (Orchestra and Chorus of Santa Cecilia): I didn’t write about this one here, but it was on May 18 at the Royal Festival Hall in London, conducted by Antonio Pappano. A great performance with excellent solo contributions by Hibla Gerzmava and Joseph Calleja.

The Death of Klinghoffer
(Met): The most electric, urgent performance I’ve ever seen at the Met.

Best Individual Performances

Anja Harteros, La forza del destino (Bayerische Staatsoper)
Anna Netrebko, Macbeth (Met)
Michael Volle, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Met)

Achievement in Worthwhile Production of Relatively Obscure Opera
George Enescu’s Oedipe (Oper Frankfurt) 

Achievements in Comedy
The entire cast and production team of Gianni Schicchi (Curtis Opera Theater)
Kevin Burdette, The Barber of Seville (Opera Philadelphia) 
Michael Fabiano, Die Fledermaus (Met)

Achievements in Production-Related Kitsch
Werther and Die Fledermaus at the Met (tie)

Achievements in Unmemorable Productions of Le nozze di Figaro
Met and Royal Opera House (tie)

Achievement in Crazy
Simone Kermes, Platée (Les Arts Florissants). I’m never sure if we’re laughing with her or laughing at her. That’s a post I wish I had written.

Elektra (Aix-en-Provence Festival)
Rusalka (La Monnaie) (my review of this production from Dresden)

Will there be more in 2015? We shall see! I will be at the Met next week for Die lustige Witwe.

Photo: I have no idea where I got this GIF but it’s always a big, um, hit.

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  1. Congrats on finishing the Phd and starting that first big academic job. I've certainly missed having frequent reviews here on the site over the past year, as they are almost always excellent and engaging reading. I hope in the near future you consider publishing in book form some of the highlights here (similar to Edward Said's Musical Elaborations which put together some of his best music reviews from The Nation).