In the News: Future of La Scala; Die Fledermaus in Philly; La Clemenza di Tito in London; Reinaldo Arenas as Opera; The Undiscovered

La Scala leader seeks ‘historic change’
By Alan Riding The New York Times [Int’l Herald Tribune, 5 May 05]
PARIS For all the poison and politics that accompanied the recent management meltdown at La Scala, Stéphane Lissner never hesitated last month when he was invited to become the first non-Italian in 227 years to run the legendary Milan opera house. Before accepting the job, though, he did call one old friend, the French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez.
“He told me, ‘A chance like this comes once in a lifetime,”‘ Lissner said with an unabashed smile.
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Die Fledermaus (Graphic: Opera Company of Philadelphia)
‘Die Fledermaus,’ all in featherweight fun
David Patrick Stearns [Philadelphia Inquirer, 3 May 05]
The Opera Company of Philadelphia’s biggest challenge of the season wasn’t anything so grand as Aïaut;da, but Johann Strauss’ featherweight Die Fledermaus, if only because of its many variables. Will the language be German, English or a mixture? Is the leading character tenor or baritone? What version of dialogue (there are many) and how many topical references will be used?
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La Clemenza di Tito
George Hall [The Guardian, 4 May 05]
Zurich Opera’s latest flying visit to London brought a concert performance of Mozart’s final opera seria, a work that has undergone significant revaluation in recent times. Once regarded as a throwback to a moribund tradition dashed off because Mozart needed the money, it is now viewed as the harbinger of a sparer style the composer didn’t live to develop.
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Tracing the Life of a Gay Cuban Dissident
By ALLAN KOZINN [NY Times, 4 May 05]
American Opera Projects does the useful task of presenting workshop performances of new scores, often before the ink has dried. Last year, the company began offering glimpses of Jorge Martín’s “Before Night Falls,” an opera about the Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas, and on Monday evening at the Clark Studio Theater at Lincoln Center it presented scenes from the work’s first act.
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Telemaco, Schwetzingen Festival
By Shirley Apthorp [Financial Times, 4 May 05]
In the process of apologising for ailing singers, Thomas Hengelbrock mentioned that there are some 40,000 still-unpublished opera manuscripts from the time before Mozart alone. The mind boggles. It puts the whole rediscovery business into perspective.
Connoisseurs know that Alessandro Scarlatti was different. He was influential and inventive, and his operas deserve disinterment. Not all 114 of them, perhaps. But certainly several.
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