You may feel free to classify Neon Jonas with Eurotrash.
2013 was the year of streaming Jonas Kaufmann. Without leaving my neighborhood I experienced:
- Parsifal in HD from the Met in March, Conductor: Daniele Gatti
- Il Trovatore streamed from Munich with Anja Harteros in July, Conductor: Paolo Carignani
- Don Carlo streamed from Salzburg, also with Anja Harteros in August, Conductor: Antonio Pappano
- La Fanciulla del West from Vienna with Nina Stemme in October, Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst
- La Forza del Destino streamed from Munich, again with Anja Harteros at the end of December, Conductor: Kirill Petrenko. This one didn't happen yet--the stream is on December 28.
As we move into the awards you are bound to notice certain repeats from the above list. To be eligible for an award a live performance must have taken place in 2013.
- BEST VERDI OPERA AWARD is split to two awards: for production we award to the Metropolitan Opera's neon Rigoletto, while for music the award cannot help but go to the Salzburg Don Carlo. There was a lot of Verdi this year, but there was also some very high quality.
- BEST WAGNER OPERA AWARD must go to the Metropolitan Opera's Parsifal. I cannot indeed think of any Wagner performance I found superior. James Morris as Wotan. There are people who thought René Pape's Gurnemanz was boring, but for me it was exactly as I would have wanted it.
- BEST BAROQUE OPERA AWARD goes to the Metropolitan Opera's Julius Caesar, the Musical. This may be my last view of Natalie Dessay for a while. Her dancing was fabulous. I liked this opera best for David Daniels who made the character of Caesar really seem like someone who could conquer the world. In the constant search for ways to make the stagings of Handel operas seem interesting this one sets a standard.
- BEST ROMANTIC OPERA NOT VERDI OR WAGNER AWARD has quite a few entrants: Les Troyens, Francesca da Rimini and Eugene Onegin all from the Met, Les Conte d'Hoffmann and Mefistofele from San Francisco. For all its complexities I'm awarding to the very dark Les Conte d'Hoffmann with the Met's Les Troyens as a close runner up. That's a second award for Natalie Dessay.
- BEST REVIVAL OF A HISTORICAL MASTERPIECE AWARD goes to the Met's production of The Nose. I felt that the production itself rose almost to the level of a masterpiece and perfectly suited the opera.
- BEST MUSICOLOGY OUTCOME AWARD Musicology played a role in the American Bach Soloists' performance of the Bach St. John Passion, Les Conte d'Hoffmann and the Salzburg Norma. This means because of research into original performance practices, these works were presented in ways that were different from what the audience would be familiar with. I had a problem with the Bach Passion because this version of the score omitted my favorite part--the final glorious chorale. I award to Norma because it seemed to me that the complete transformation of this opera and the resulting re-emphasis on plot was significantly aided by the changes to the score.
- BEST TRANSFORMATION OF A FAMILIAR WORK INTO SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AWARD goes to Cecilia Bartoli's Norma from Salzburg with Julius Caesar, the Musical a close second. I very much enjoyed the film noir Norma with its increased realism. Pollione would leave Norma for a much younger woman, in opera terms a soubrette such as we see here, and not for the heavy mezzo we traditionally see. It's the only opera I traveled for this year.
- BEST ACTING IN AN OPERA AWARD goes to Cecilia Bartoli in Norma. I should award this category every year. Honorable mention goes to Nina Stemme in Fanciulla. BEST IMITATION OF ANNA MAGNANI EVER AWARD. This is obviously a one time award.
- BEST PUCCINI AWARD goes to Fanciulla from Vienna. There is hardly even any competition. People in the wilderness panning for gold don't really translate into factory workers, but the basic plot stayed in tact. For once all the singers were fully up to their roles.
- WORST EUROTRASH PRODUCTION AWARD goes to Il Trovatore from Munich. Other contestants in the running were Hippolyte et Aricie and Die Meistersinger, but they weren't bad enough to merit an award. Cupid popping out of an egg is just fun.
Other operas that were new for me were Spontini's La Vestale, Shostakovich's The Nose, Glass' The Perfect American, Humperdinck's Königskinder, Golijov's Ainadamar, Donizetti's Maria Stuarda, Barber's A Hand of Bridge, Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie, Bucci's Sweet Betsy From Pike, Barab's A Game of Chance, and Barber's Antony and Cleopatra.
- BEST NEW (to me) OPERA AWARD goes to Golijov's Ainadamar from Opera Parallèle, a wonderful opera with dancing, singing and time travel. It was new in 2000, which is new enough. The Met has commissioned Golijov to produce another opera for them.
It was a fabulous year for opera. These awards reflect only my taste.
- BEST FALSTAFF AWARD goes to the Met. It was both visually and musically extremely satisfying, in general an excellent performance for this difficult opera. I only added this because I saw 3 Falstaffs this year.