Saturday, May 30, 2009

Farewell to Runnicles

As a farewell to music director Donald Runnicles, the Verdi Requiem was performed in the San Francisco Opera house last night.

It was OK, I guess, perhaps precisely suitable to represent and celebrate the tenure of Runnicles.

In the note in the program, he talks about his rapport with the San Francisco Opera orchestra, as if the orchestra was the main thing. In the Requiem he coddled and indulged them, brought out heretofore unheard details in the orchestration, while ignoring and even inhibiting the flow of the vocal line.

When do you have a great Verdi Requiem? When they really wail. The piece never hit its groove. Stephanie Blythe was disappointing. I got into bass Andrea Silvestrelli a bit--he came as close to wailing as anyone in the room.

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