- Otto Schenk will direct once again in Vienna. On the phone with Dominique Meyer he said words to the effect of ‘But I’m practically dead’, only then to ask which set designer he could work with.
- Holender-era regular Marco Arturo Marelli is also signed up to direct a new production.
- Official reason for FWM’s veto of a Thielemann Ring CD is that one performance of each opera wasn’t enough for a recording and could ‘affect the reputations of the artists involved’. Citing cancellations, Meyer might have simply referred to those who stepped into these performances more or less unrehearsed and left it at that. Thielemann’s view was that one performance was enough and for those of us, including myself, who found these performances exceptionally poor on the orchestral side, Meyer’s reference to this might be interpreted as an implicit acknowledgement of problems that patch sessions would not have resolved. My view is that FWM made the right call on this, and for those who thought more highly of these performances there will at least be a full broadcast on the ORF (27 April, April 28, May 1, May 5).
- Do we need another Wiener Phil FroSch so soon after this? Yes, says GMD Franz Welser-Möst – the revival he recently conducted was recorded for CD.
- The Staatsoper’s upcoming Fleming Arabella, also with Welser-Möst, will be broadcast on French TV and possibly released on DVD.
- Lots of new Strauss too: Sven-Eric Bechtolf’s co-produced Ariadne next season, a 2015 NP with a role-debuting soprano, and later an Ägyptische Helena NP; the FroSch centenary in 2019 was also mentioned.
- Tentative Palestrina discussions are underway with Thielemann.
- On Italian rep: ‘We already have a good [Graham Vick] production of Ernani,’ said Meyer, ‘and I would programme it if only I could rely on two casts capable of singing it’.
- Il Trovatore NP on the back burner – check back in 2016/17, commented Meyer.
- Meyer is no great fan of French repertoire with the exception of Pélleas, and is happy to leave this to the TadW (where in any case Pélleas has been recently performed) – but every season he wants one or two NPs of operas new to the Staatsoper (no word on what happened to similar new commissioned opera promise).
- 30% is the reduction in performances the Staatsoper would have to make were they to pay the same soloist fees as La Scala or the Bay Staats.
- But according to Meyer one singer has asked for more (and been turned down) – Marcelo Álvarez.
- Meyer says that legally he can’t do anything about scalpers who resell tickets directly outside the house but has had words with them (which I’ve seen firsthand). But even if we accept that these people are trading unofficially, that does not alter the fact that there is official trade between the Staatsoper and a number of independent commercial ticketing agencies in operation across the city. This would seem to make good commercial sense were the Staatsoper to be hedging against genuine risk, but for three or four fairly sizeable agencies to have remained in business for so many years indicates a profitability that the house is willingly ceding. One only has to look in the windows of these places to see the mark-up that is commercially viable for certain performances. Whether the Staatsoper sees any cut of this is unclear, and perhaps there would be uproar were Meyer to introduce 800 euro premier seating (which is what certain people seem willing to pay for Anna Netrebko), but this is an issue which the house is not discussing in an entirely open manner.
Tuesday, 24 April 2012
Wiener Staatsoper future plans
I couldn’t attend Dominique Meyer’s recent Publikumsgespräch and since the press didn’t report it I assumed that nothing of interest was said. Stimmt doch nicht! I translate from the Merker [with corrections due to unwisely posting this in too much of a hurry, see the comments/upbraiding below], starting with the most alarming item: