Thursday, December 06, 2007


My son has pointed out this article from a web site called On an Overgrown Path claiming to know the future of opera. He thinks the stars will all pass away and lose their glitter--based on Valery Gergiev having missed his plane, apparently--and be replaced by ensemble companies.

This is wishful thinking. There are successful ensemble companies in the top rung and there always have been. The Zurich Opera is a prime example, but then their ensemble includes Cecilia Bartoli, Jonas Kaufmann, Matti Salminen and Vesselina Kasarova. Is that what you were talking about? Somehow I doubt it.

The ensemble company has always been the norm in Germany. I say always, but I mean as long as I've been observing it. Star appearances don't happen at the Ulmer Theater.

Pamela Rosenberg was trying to run a German style ensemble company in San Francisco, and we know how that turned out. Now Pamela is gone and the stars are back.

Anna Netrebko sells out virtually instantly, as does Cecilia. I can't even get into the movie theater in London to see Romeo and Juliet. This is so far from happening that it's ludicrous.

The stars are not created by the opera companies. It's the record companies that do that. And the public. Most of the fanatical opera goers I know are devoted to particular singers and fly to wherever they are singing. Stars sell tickets. Producers talk big, but when the tickets don't sell, the stars come back.

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