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Getting All Modern on Your Ass

Everyone in Blogville is up in arms, positively and negatively, that Gérard Mortier will become artistic director at New York City Opera. For all of the annoying things that have been reported about productions under Mortier's various tenures, let us not forget that it was he who commissioned John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer for Brussels, opened his tenure in Paris with Robert Wilson's staging of Pelléas et Mélisande (originally from Salzburg in 1997), brought back Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise to Paris, has produced enough Janáček and Martinů for even the most devoted fan, and Hindemith and Shostakovich, too, not to mention some exceptional Strauss. I'm thinking about relocating to New York.

Marin Alsop, conductorThere are good things happening around these parts, though, especially with the announcement of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's first season under the leadership of Marin Alsop. Alongside a complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies, John Adams, Tan Dun, James MacMillan, and Thomas Adès will all conduct performances of their own compositions. Get all the details in the official press release (.PDF file). Tim Page called the lineup, quite rightly, "an infinitely more thought-provoking season than the one the National Symphony Orchestra offered for 2006-07, which has been much criticized for its timidity and reiteration of standard repertory."

Even better, to honor the 25th anniversary of the opening of Meyerhoff Hall, private donors have made it possible for the BSO to offer subscription tickets at the very affordable price of $25 each. (That does not affect prices at Strathmore, of course.) Will the people of Baltimore respond? If they don't, they must have no pulse. We will see what the NSO has to say next week.


Garth Trinkl said...

Charles, for sake of completeness I think that it should be noted that Austrian composer HK Gruber will also be conducting (and narrating) his popular Frankenstein!! potboiler, with the BSO, just before next fall's Halloween.

I was also somewhat surprised that Time Page, writing in the Washington Post, failed to mention Christopher Rouse, John Corigliano, and Mark O'Conner in his BSO preview of the eleven living composers to be featured by the BSO and Marin Alsop -- especially Christropher Rouse, given his strong ties to the BSO and Baltimore.

In fact, I personally would not be unhappy if Peter Gelb and James Levine, in May, announced a MET Opera commission to Christopher Rouse and (possibly) an American playwright, novelist, or poet.

Of course, I'd also be interested if the MET Opera picked up the commission for Aaron Jay Kernis and Ann Patchett's "Bel Canto"; or commissioned an opera from Joan Tower, Steven Mackey, or Mark O'Conner. But, personally, I'd be most interested in an opera by Christopher Rouse (and one of his artistic colleagues).

If the MET Opera doesn't extend such a commission, perhaps the Washington NATIONAL Opera, the Baltimore Opera, or the "New" New York City Opera will do so.

Charles T. Downey said...

Garth, the link to the complete press release is in the post.