Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I am in Santa Fe on an elderhostel, and when I found that one of my fellow hostelers was from San Francisco, I prodded her into talking about the San Francisco Opera, always a popular topic for me. To my great surprise she came out on the Pamela Rosenberg side of the argument. She loved Pamela and is very angry about David Gockley, the new general director. She blames him for driving out Donald Runnicles whom she is very fond of.

It's true that Gockley is very much the tyrannical intendant style of manager, the first we've had since Kurt Herbert Adler who ran the opera with an iron hand. The last minute firing of Hope Briggs before the opening of Don Giovanni is an example of what is to come. My fellow hosteler said she attended the dress rehearsal and thought Hope Briggs was lovely.

I continued to question her until she told me to shut up or she would sit somewhere else. She is very angry about Gockley.

I came down pretty hard on Gockley's Rosenkavalier, mainly because I disliked the casting of Miah Persson as Sophie. Sophie must project as a child and Miah comes across as a fully adult woman, both in her voice and her appearance. This is not a generic criticism--she appears to be an excellent singer.

We are attending lectures on New Mexican pottery and archeology, and on Tan Dun's Tea. The lecturer pointed out that the piano vocal for the opera is only 70 pages. Tan Dun does not compose nearly so many notes as Mozart. He also said that no matter how rhythmically complex it sounds, it's all composed in 4/4 time. My preliminary impression is of something quite fragile and delicate.

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