‘Tis the season to speculate

Finley-Gerald-02With a month or so to go before the Canadian Opera Company officially announces its 2013/14 season it’s surely time for some uninformed speculation.

There are three big anniversaries in 2013; the bicentenaries of Verdi and Wagner and the centenary of Benjamin Britten.  One would think all would be represented but maybe not.  We know Verdi will be.  Gerald Finley announced at the Rubies that he would make his role debut in the title role in Falstaff at COC in 2013/14 so we can ink that one in.  Britten seems probable.  There’s a Houston/COC co-pro of Peter Grimes, directed by Neil Armfield that is due to to come to Toronto.  I think we can pencil that one in.  No idea on casting but I would love to see Stuart Skelton myself.  Wagner, I’m not so sure.  Maybe February’s run of Tristan und Isolde will be COC’s sole nod to Wagner.  Certainly the next most likely candidate; the Lyon/Met/COC Parsifal is, apparently, not expected before 2015.

rebecca caineWhat else is likely.  Rumours have been around for ages of a new Lulu.  I have reason to believe 2013/14 will be the year.  Now the last person to sing the title role in Toronto was Rebecca Caine who has, more recently, been polishing her twisted german aristocrat skills as the Baroness in The Sound of Music.  It would amuse me no end to see her return, twenty years on, as the Countess Geschwitz.

Something earlier than the nineteenth century is pretty much inevitable.  There’s the Tcherniakov Don Giovanni still floating in the ether and a promised Hercules from Peter Sellars.  I’d guess at least one of these will be programmed; probably the Handel because there is Mozart this year and Handel the season before.  I wouldn’t rule out both.

Sondra_Radvanovsky_-_Cropped_-_Photo_by_Pavel_AntonovIt’s hard to imagine two seasons running without Puccini (though hope springs eternal).  I’d guess there’ll be Puccini and I’d guess based on what has and hasn’t been done in recent years that it will be Turandot.  Please let it not be that piece of claptrap Fanciulla unless it’s given to a director who will thoroughly deconstruct it.

What else?  There’s a copro of Strauss’ Arabella that premiered at Santa Fe.  I think it’s unlikely on cost and casting grounds but who knows?  There’s been talk for a while about Sandra Radvanovsky in Norma.  We haven’t seen her for a couple of seasons and it would make sense in terms of balanceI wouldn’t rule out a second Verdi production; perhaps Nabucco?  It’s hard to see anything post Grimes if both Lulu and Grimes are programmed.

So here are my seven predictions in descending order of certainty:
Falstaff
Lulu
Peter Grimes
Hercules
Norma
Turandot
Don Giovanni or Nabucco

If more than four of these are correct I shall be astonished.

ETA: Seconds after posting this I got notice of the Official Announcement.  It will be on 23rd January.  Watch this space!

10 thoughts on “‘Tis the season to speculate

      • I was going to let the “claptrap” lie…but, since it’s been mentioned! Yes, there are a couple of very unfortunate episodes/characters in this opera which from our point of view today are racist…without a doubt. However that charge can be made against so many works of art – so it’s a question of how do you handle it, rather than not ever performing it I think. Having said all that…Fanciulla to me is Puccini’s most mature work both musically and dramatically. I find the music thrilling, and a bit challenging (in a Puccini context) and the main characters are some of the most human you’ll find in all of opera. The cowboy/Wild West theme may on the surface look a little cliched to some given it’s familiarity from film and pulp fiction BUT if you really examine what these characters are all about – their vulnerability; their self-loathing; their desperate desire to grab happiness wherever and with whomever they can…Fanciulla emerges as a really great piece. I hope we get to hear it again soon in a thoughtful production.

      • I’d be curious to see it in a thoughtful production. I’ve only seen the Met and ROH versions and “thoughtful” isn’t the word I’d use for either. The ROH one in particular seems to play up the racial stereotypes in a quite repellent way.

      • There’s a new production from Swedish opera with Nina Stemme which I think was on Youtube (might still be there) which really looked great. The opening sequence is worth watching alone. I’d imagine those Northern Europeans would take the piece seriously enough…

      • It occurs to me that Puccini doesn’t seem to get many “thoughtful” productions. There are occasionally playful ones but mostly he seems to get done pretty straight. I guess Herheim did a Boheme but mostly the more radical directors seem to stay away. If there is an undiscovered stash of Kusej/Guth/Carsen Puccini out there I’ve missed it.

  1. Pingback: In which the futility of speculation is revealed | operaramblings

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