The Leonard Slatkin fiasco in La Traviata at the Met is playing out in the blogs. It is important to notice that they fired Slatkin and not Gheorghiu. For more background on the situation see this article.
Intermezzo reports here that Slatkin complained to the press that he gave cutoffs and what do you know Gheorghiu didn't cut off. Dear Mr. Slatkin. Karajan followed the singers, and what's good enough for Karajan is good enough for you.
Aprile Millo on her blog gives us this wonderful long quote:
It is a reflection of egos of today. No young conductor comes up knowing their craft really, slowly saturating to the music, understanding beautifully that many voices can sing a role, with help, some voices SHOULD be singing the roles, and some shouldn’t be hired at all. They come quick out of school and want to be the next great…..”Santini”…..
Mozart sounds like Rossini, Verdi sounds like Mozart, and they all sound alike ; badly fitting shoes that like to walk fast to get home to take them off because they hurt.
This alarming miscalculation of time coming with a maestro [Slatkin] of some twenty years career is a riddle to me. Where is the respect for the piece, the singers, and for goodness sakes, the Metropolitan Opera and it’s fabulous orchestra?
The men who beat time, in opera, should rehearse well, but in performance, especially with those that are artists, however quicksilver they can be and willfull, they should FOLLOW the voice. Personality is missing so much from opera today, encourage it…. inspire it….If you want to conduct something without voice, do a symphony. And learn it first, please.
Her [Gheorghiu's] choices are not always what I would want or do, but when she sings you know you are in the presence of a special message and a unique soul and voice, and I applaud her great courage and resounding success in so glorious a role under such a trying circumstance. Brava with only more beauty and calm to come.