This morning, on my flight from Chicago back to New York, it made me so proud to see the other people on the plane read the New York Times with the review and huge photo of our Nightingale on the front page of the Arts section. Tuesday's opening at BAM was a wonderful success and it is wonderful to see that the critics agree. What an achievement for our company!
I had flown to Chicago for one day to attend the dress rehearsal of Handel's Hercules, a new production by the fabulous Peter Sellars, conducted by Harry Bicket and a stellar cast of Handelians, a co-production of Chicago Lyric Opera with the COC. We'll be presenting the production in a few years from now (with the same cast and conductor) and I can't wait to see it on our stage. We'll all be in for a treat.
Now, I'm back in New York for an afternoon of auditions and the second performance of Nightingale at BAM tonight.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (1) / permalink
One of my secret passions is solo piano music. It also is a neglected one since I spend most of my time attending operas, our own or when I travel. So after a day of meetings in New York yesterday I felt really lucky to be able to go to Carnegie Hall for Mitsuko Uchida's solo recital. She's been my favourite active pianist for many years (if you need evidence just listen to her recordings of Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 23 and 24 or Beethoven's last three Piano Sonatas), but I had never heard her in concert. Let me just say that it was more than worth the wait. The insight and musicianship she brought to a difficult program (Beethoven: Sonata No. 27, Schumann: Davidsbündlertänze, Chopin: Sonata No. 3) was simply breathtaking. I can't think of anybody else who explores the dynamic regions of p, pp, ppp etc. on with greater nuance and intensity so that you could feel the whole huge auditorium of Carnegie Hall holding their breath. A profoundly satisfying evening.
I will be back in Toronto for the cinecast of Nixon in China from the Met and our own performance of The Magic Flute.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (3) / permalink
Is there another airline that - when you arrive at the airport at 6:15am - offers you to get on a 6:45am international flight instead of your scheduled 7:40am? You know which airline I'm talking about. Anyway, I was really grateful to get on my flight from Newark to Toronto without any airport waiting time which will allow me to put my luggage down at home before going to the office.
I had decided to add a day in New York to my schedule to hear a few young singers of the Met's Lindemann Program (including two wonderful Canadians, soprano Layla Claire and baritone Elliott Madore) and to be present for Sondra Radvanovsky's first Tosca at the Met. After her first Aida for the COC and her first Amelia (Un ballo in maschera) in Chicago this was her third big triumph this season. The ovation after her "Vissi d'arte" was so strong that she couldn't hold back her tears on stage. What a wonderful moment for a former young artist of the company. It felt very special to be there.
As it only happens in New York I ran into Christoph von Dohnányi and his wife Barbara on Broadway. One of the truly outstanding conductors of our time he had been my mentor Gerard Mortier's mentor in the 70s. We had worked together a few times in Salzburg and Paris, on two Strauss operas (Ariadne auf Naxos and Elektra) and a few symphonic concerts. Spending twenty minutes in his dressing room during a rehearsal break taught me more about Brahms and Richard Strauss than I could ever have learned through recordings or literature. I owe him a lot and it was wonderful to see him in great form. I just regret that I won't be able to hear one of his concerts with the New York Philharmonic in the upcoming weeks.
Posting this I am already back in Toronto for a press event about our new production of Magic Flute this morning. Tonight is the final run-through in the rehearsal room. We'll be on stage at the Four Seasons Centre on Saturday.
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