December 16, 2012

"The List": What's in and out for 2013

Renée and Sondra? Renée needs to lose the beard...
You never know, as a blogger, which posts will attract a handful of page-views, and which will go viral. At least, this blogger has yet to get a handle on it. However, certain trends do start to start to pierce the fog of my distracted brain over time, such as these:
  • Top 10 lists are pretty popular. (Thanks, Dave!!)
  • People seem to like posts of the "rant" variety; you know - griping, complaining, generally venting on pet peeves, irritants and things that drive me crazy.
  • On the other hand, insightful, penetrating musico-dramatic analyses of operatic masterworks (in other words, what I'm supposedly good at) reliably fall into the "read by my wife and a handful of opera geeks" category... <sigh> 
And then there was last year's post of "The List" for 2012, the premise of which was to duplicate the Washington Post's annual tabulation of what's "in" and "out" in American culture, but focusing (naturally) on the opera world at large.

Wow, you liked that - a lot! No, not as much as my tirade-rant about child prodigies (which continues to draw 1,000 views a month and was the subject of a column in Forbes), but still pretty good for an opera blog.

So, bowing to the ancient principle of supply and demand, here we go! Grab a cup of joe, put your feet up, and wallow in the second annual edition of:

"The List": What's in and out for 2013

OUT: "Gran dio!!"
IN: "Errmergerd..."

OUT: Four annual productions at Virginia Opera
IN: Five annual productions at Virginia Opera plus bonus shows this season and next.

OUT: Spectrum Resident Artist Program at Virginia Opera
IN: Emerging Artist Program at Virginia Opera

OUT: James Levine playing computer solitaire while watching reruns of "Law & Order: SVU"
IN: James Levine conducting operas at the Met

OUT: Fabio Luisi as heir apparent to take over permanently for Levine at the Met
IN: Fabio Luisi as dedicated Music Director of Zurich Opera, with occasional Met moonlighting

OUT: James Levine perceived as a slouching, barely conscious robot on cruise control at the podium
IN: James Levine perceived as masterful sculptor of variegated, luscious, world-class orchestral color

OUT: Rolando Villazon as the Albert Pujols of opera (i.e. superstar big bopper tenor)
IN: Rolando Villazon as the Peyton Manning of opera (i.e. trying for post-surgical comeback)

OUT: Lyric Opera of Virginia
IN: Virginia Opera as "the" official opera company of the Commonwealth; as always.

OUT: Peter Mark as Virginia Opera's competitor at Lyric Opera of Virginia
IN: Peter Mark as Virginia Opera's Artistic Director Emeritus

OUT: The Enchanted Island as the Met's "Big Premiere Thing"
IN: The Tempest as theMet's "Big Premiere Thing"

OUT: Renée Fleming as opera's "It Girl" and leading lyric soprano
IN: Sondra Radvanovsky as opera's "It Girl" and leading lyric soprano

OUT: Robert Lepage's Ring cycle being anticipated with excited anticipation; "Cirque de Soleil Meets the Met".
IN: Robert Lepage's Ring cycle as bruised, battered recipient of reviewes ranging from scathing to scornful for its creaking, unreliable set, silly mechanical horse and lack of directorial vision.

OUT: Jay Hunter Morris, anonymous journeyman opera singer
IN: Jay Hunter Morris, star Wagnerian tenor

OUT: The Metropolitan Opera House as 20th-century dinosaur with outmoded sub-par technology
IN: The Metropolitan Opera House as a 21st-century facility with sixty million dollars' worth of planned computerized renovations.

OUT: Chicago Lyric Opera as the home of standard operas by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and the like.
IN: Chicago Lyric Opera as the home of mariachi opera. ¡Olé!

My book THE OPERA ZOO: SINGERS, COMPOSERS AND OTHER PRIMATES is available from Kendall Hunt Publishing. Order online or by phone from customer service: 1-800-344-9034, ext. 3020. Also available at

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