Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Favorites by Year 2009

This year I went to Munich because both Jonas Kaufmann and Cecilia Bartoli were there at the same time.  I continue to wish this happened more often.   This was also my first experience of Nadja Michael when she did Salome in San Francisco.  This was a relatively slow year where I reviewed only 30 performances, including only 1 DVD, 9 HDs, 20 live performances and 1 movie.

Favorite Performances

  • Porgy and Bess at SFO ** Musically it was very exciting and starred Eric Owens* and Laquita Mitchell* in their SFO debuts.  This has become a DVD and plays occasionally on PBS.   Local

  • (ND) Natalie Dessay's La Traviata at Santa Fe **  She jumped from box to box more than could possibly be imagined.  I don't see how they could get anyone else to do this.  This was Natalie's first Traviata, and Saimir Pirgu was her Alfredo.  Travel
  • (CB) Sacrificium   I think this is my favorite recital recording by Cecilia Bartoli.  CD

  • (JK) Munich Lohengrin ** There is a film of this with Anja Harteros, but my live performance had Emily Magee.  I enjoy Munich quite a lot.  Live in the theater there were things going on at the sides of the stage that cannot be seen on the film.  I think sometimes it would be fun if you could view the same performance from different camera angles.  Travel

  • (CB) Sacrificium Tournee **  Cecilia Bartoli had cancelled the official opening, making this performance in Munich the opening of her tour of Sacrificium.  This is a spectacular program and she gave herself some fun costumes for her imitation of a castrato. Travel
  •  Jenůfa at the Bayerische Staatsoper  ** with my first experience of Eva-Maria Westbroek as Jenůfa.  Another treat was the appearance of old favorite Helga Dernesch as the grandmother. Travel
  • All Purcell concert at Mondavi **  This was Philharmonia Baroque and included a terrific Dido and Aeneas starring Susan Graham.  The rest of the program was filled out with more pieces by Purcell, a first for me.    Local
  • Johan Botha's Otello at SFO ** Nicola Luisotti has once again broken the SFO Verdi curse.  Soon we will not remember that it ever existed.  This is perhaps my only live experience of Johan Botha who has since died.   Local

Singer of the Year

I must award the singer prize for this year to Jonas Kaufmann AND Ceclia Bartoli.

Didn't like

I didn't like at all La Sonnambula in HD.  The singing was fine but the staging was incoherent.

New to Me Opera

My new operas list is short this year:

  1. Gluck's Alceste (1767) live in Santa Fe. **
  2. Janáček's From the House of the Dead (1930) was a DVD
  3. Moravec's The Letter  (2009) world premier live in Santa Fe. **
  4. Snow's Footloose musical (1998) live in San Juan Capistrano. **
  5. Webber's Cats musical (1981) live at the Music Circus. **

##20 top 20 all time

** live, live stream or live in HD

Things recommended to buy


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