"You haven’t really learned one thing at [Bronx High School of] Science that you didn’t already learn back at Dalton. Science was an excellent school, but, with few exceptions, what they were doing in effect was going over all the stuff I’d already been exposed to. One exception was music. Science had a wonderful music-appreciation course, in which I learned all about the Second Viennese School. It changed my life. We listened to a part of Berg’s opera Wozzeck and, after we listened to Webern’s Passacaglia, heard the story of his death, how Webern had been shot by an American soldier when he went out on his front steps for a cigarette after curfew. Webern and Berg have been among my favorite composers ever since. A lot of the students, when our music teacher played the last three scenes of Wozzeck, began to snicker and asked, “What is that? That’s just noise! What kind of music is that?” But I was knocked out by its expressivity. All I could think was, Wow! Our music teacher explained the twelve-tone system to us, and I went home and started composing a twelve-tone piece that afternoon.”

—Samuel Delany, The Paris Review, 2011

The 2011-2012 Season; or Why I Still Have No Money

Broadway 

  • Jerusalem (2 times)
  • Master Class
  • Follies
  • Other Desert Cities
  • On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
  • Chinglish
  • Porgy & Bess
  • Death of a Salesman
  • Clybourne Park
  • End of the Rainbow
Off-/Off-Off Broadway
  • 4,000 Miles
  • King Lear at EPBB
  • Unnatural Acts
  • Arok of Java at EPBB
  • These Seven Sicknesses
  • Look Back in Anger
  • Richard III
  • Carrie
  • The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabbler at EPBB (2 times)
  • An Illiad (2 times)
  • Hurt Village
  • And God Created Great Whales
  • The Lady from Dubuque
  • Being Shakespeare
  • February House
  • Storefront Church
Encores!
  • Merrily We Roll Along!
Team Opera
  • Cunning Little Vixen at NY Philharmonic
  • Dark Sisters
  • Satyagraha
  • Faust
  • La Traviata
  • Prima Donna
  • L’Elisir D’Amor
  • Makropolos Case
Concerts
  • Rufus Wainwright in concert with City Opera
  • Broadway Stands Up for Freedom at NYCLU
  • Carrie Preview Concert at MCC
  • Nico Muhly in concert with Gotham Opera
  • Ryan Adams at Carnegie Hall

"You turn on the computer and there’s all these opera queens who are, like, ‘it’s not the music I hate, it’s the hype,’" he said wearily. "If it’s any consolation, I hate it, too."

Oh, Nico. I promise I won’t be one of those opera queens after tomorrow night’s premiere of Dark Sisters. 

"You turn on the computer and there’s all these opera queens who are, like, ‘it’s not the music I hate, it’s the hype,’" he said wearily. "If it’s any consolation, I hate it, too."

Oh, Nico. I promise I won’t be one of those opera queens after tomorrow night’s premiere of Dark Sisters

(Source: gothamchamberopera.org)

This is prophetic! I foreseeA time will come when luxuryDissolves into the atmosphereLike a perfume, and everywhereThe simple virtues root and branchAnd leaf and flower. On that benchThere we’ll relax and taste the fruitOf all our actions. Why regretLife which is so much like a dream?
This is prophetic! I foresee
A time will come when luxury
Dissolves into the atmosphere
Like a perfume, and everywhere
The simple virtues root and branch
And leaf and flower. On that bench
There we’ll relax and taste the fruit
Of all our actions. Why regret
Life which is so much like a dream?
mikedressel:

Anyone coming to see Rufus Wainwright’s performance as part of this year’s River to River festival had to pass through a phalanx of disgruntled, if nattily attired, musicians out front of the World Financial Center, passing out leaflets urging the public to SAVE THE PEOPLE’S OPERA. (Sign the protest on Facebook! Tweet them @SaveNYCO!)
City Opera—the embattled institution in question— is slated to present Wainwright’s Prima Donna as part of its new season, but without an artistic home and plagued by internecine squabbling who knows what will actually come to pass.
Artistic director and general manager George Steel seemed nonplussed in his opening remarks for the program, telling the crowd that the company would be announcing the entirety its season shortly. Throughout the evening, the few references to the future of City Opera were met with eye rolls and mild snickers from those following the slow, public implosion of the storied opera company. One companion kiddingly remarked, “maybe they’ll stage their upcoming season here.”
Wainwright, wearing formal wear up top paired with skimpy black shorts and clunky sandals, assumed the dual role of emcee and featured talent for the evening. The program only featured two selections from Prima Donna, one sung by Anne-Carolyn Bird and the other, “Les feux d’artifice,” by the composer himself, which he also recorded for his last album All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu. The rest were arias chosen by Wainwright and performed by a cast of singers, which he introduced with brief anecdotes about their personal relevance. Two selections were favorites of his mother, Kate McGarrigle, who passed away in 2010. Nothing on the bill was too obscure: A bit of Verdi, some Wagner, a particularly stirring “Au fond du temple saint” from Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles, all accompanied by the adroit Kevin Murphy on piano. Interspersed were songs from Wainwright’s own catalog, including his paean to doomed divas “Damned Ladies” and “Vibrate.”
Wainwright said at one point, despite how nice it was to present a blend of opera and pop, that there was a slight Tiffany vibe to the proceedings, even launching into a few bars of “I Think We’re Alone Now.”
That was nothing if not incorrect! There was a definite shopping mall sensibility during the show, as children played tag on the polished floor (they did not behave!), a woman sitting over my shoulder breastfed her infant, workers and strollers passed by and gawped and shrugged, and security guards in their black polyester suits roamed around the polished high-end confines of the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden.
Those not attune to the City Opera schadenfreude enjoyed the proceedings at face value. And plugs for the ailing institution were kept to a minimum. When Wainwright remarked that like London, Berlin and Moscow, New York was a city that should support two professional opera companies, my friend J. turned to me and honestly said “I didn’t know we even had two.”
Still, it’s a wonder that Steel’s minions weren’t posted at the exit as the large crowd streamed out, begging everyone to sign a mailing list, like an upstart indie band or a fledgling theater company might. If you want to reverse the perception, to go from institution to upstart, you gotta scramble a bit, and capitalize on that eager, or at least intrigued, captive audience.

This is a great write-up of last night’s mall concert, er, City Opera concert and brilliantly captures the slightly absurd and surreal tone of the entire evening (and Rufus’s awful tux shorts. I mean!).
Only one correction: I was not joking about City Opera holding its next season there. There were more people last night in the World Financial Winter Garden than attended any night at The New York State Theater this past year. I’m really pretty sure it’s Steel’s plan. What better way to leave the “travertine” and “bring opera back to the people” than by moving to a mall? Think about it: they could even mall hop, one show at the Time Warner Center, the next at the Seaport. I dread the opera that gets stuck in the Manhattan Mall though.

mikedressel:

Anyone coming to see Rufus Wainwright’s performance as part of this year’s River to River festival had to pass through a phalanx of disgruntled, if nattily attired, musicians out front of the World Financial Center, passing out leaflets urging the public to SAVE THE PEOPLE’S OPERA. (Sign the protest on Facebook! Tweet them @SaveNYCO!)

City Opera—the embattled institution in question— is slated to present Wainwright’s Prima Donna as part of its new season, but without an artistic home and plagued by internecine squabbling who knows what will actually come to pass.

Artistic director and general manager George Steel seemed nonplussed in his opening remarks for the program, telling the crowd that the company would be announcing the entirety its season shortly. Throughout the evening, the few references to the future of City Opera were met with eye rolls and mild snickers from those following the slow, public implosion of the storied opera company. One companion kiddingly remarked, “maybe they’ll stage their upcoming season here.”

Wainwright, wearing formal wear up top paired with skimpy black shorts and clunky sandals, assumed the dual role of emcee and featured talent for the evening. The program only featured two selections from Prima Donna, one sung by Anne-Carolyn Bird and the other, “Les feux d’artifice,” by the composer himself, which he also recorded for his last album All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu. The rest were arias chosen by Wainwright and performed by a cast of singers, which he introduced with brief anecdotes about their personal relevance. Two selections were favorites of his mother, Kate McGarrigle, who passed away in 2010. Nothing on the bill was too obscure: A bit of Verdi, some Wagner, a particularly stirring “Au fond du temple saint from Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles, all accompanied by the adroit Kevin Murphy on piano. Interspersed were songs from Wainwright’s own catalog, including his paean to doomed divas “Damned Ladies” and “Vibrate.”

Wainwright said at one point, despite how nice it was to present a blend of opera and pop, that there was a slight Tiffany vibe to the proceedings, even launching into a few bars of “I Think We’re Alone Now.”

That was nothing if not incorrect! There was a definite shopping mall sensibility during the show, as children played tag on the polished floor (they did not behave!), a woman sitting over my shoulder breastfed her infant, workers and strollers passed by and gawped and shrugged, and security guards in their black polyester suits roamed around the polished high-end confines of the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden.

Those not attune to the City Opera schadenfreude enjoyed the proceedings at face value. And plugs for the ailing institution were kept to a minimum. When Wainwright remarked that like London, Berlin and Moscow, New York was a city that should support two professional opera companies, my friend J. turned to me and honestly said “I didn’t know we even had two.”

Still, it’s a wonder that Steel’s minions weren’t posted at the exit as the large crowd streamed out, begging everyone to sign a mailing list, like an upstart indie band or a fledgling theater company might. If you want to reverse the perception, to go from institution to upstart, you gotta scramble a bit, and capitalize on that eager, or at least intrigued, captive audience.

This is a great write-up of last night’s mall concert, er, City Opera concert and brilliantly captures the slightly absurd and surreal tone of the entire evening (and Rufus’s awful tux shorts. I mean!).

Only one correction: I was not joking about City Opera holding its next season there. There were more people last night in the World Financial Winter Garden than attended any night at The New York State Theater this past year. I’m really pretty sure it’s Steel’s plan. What better way to leave the “travertine” and “bring opera back to the people” than by moving to a mall? Think about it: they could even mall hop, one show at the Time Warner Center, the next at the Seaport. I dread the opera that gets stuck in the Manhattan Mall though.

The 2010-2011 Season; or Why I Have No Money

My mother asked why, despite my raise this past year, I either didn’t pay down debt or acquire some savings. I created her a list:

Broadway 

  • A Little Night Music (3 times)
  • Promises, Promises
  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (2 times)
  • A Life in the Theater
  • Brief Encounter
  • The Importance of Being Earnest
  • American Idiot
  • The Book of Mormon
  • The Normal Heart
  • Arcadia

Off Broadway

  • John Gabriel Borkman 
  • Mistakes Were Made 
  • Small Craft Warnings
  • The Other Place
  • The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures

Encores!

  • Lost in the Stars
  • Where’s Charley

Special Events

  • Stritchy Reading of The Pretty Trap (Etc.) 
  • Stritchy at 92Y
  • Kate Baldwin, American Songbook Series
  • Stephen Schwartz Concert at NYCO

Team Opera (miss u, NYCO!)

  • A Quiet Place
  • La Traviata
  • Nixon in China (3 times)
  • Le Comte Ory
  • Monodramas (2 times)
  • Elixir of Love
  • Wozzeck 
  • Seance on a Wet Afternoon
  • Ariadne auf Naxos

"And this doesn’t count the pre-show drinks and post-show dinners, let alone friends’ shows and concerts and all that jazz, Mama," I said. "As long as you think you’re making adult choices," she replied. "I just wonder how long this can continue." 

"Well, the new season starts tomorrow night with 4000 Miles and then there’s Master Class and I still want to catch The Motherfucker with the Hat and Death Takes a Holiday starts soon and this fall I can finally see Other Desert Cities and then when the Met starts back up… OMG!” She interrupts. 

"Adult choices, Mac. Adult choices."

"The kind of adult I want to be simply has to see Anna Bolena, Mom. Simply has to.”

The pinkie! Look at the pinkie! I think this is the determinative proof I’ve been seeking.

The pinkie! Look at the pinkie! I think this is the determinative proof I’ve been seeking.

(Source: fotovideolab.it)

Does the sweater prove he’s gay or just Italian? Or both? I think the moustache is far less conclusive.

Does the sweater prove he’s gay or just Italian? Or both? I think the moustache is far less conclusive.

(Source: salzburgerfestspiele.at)

Step aside, Juan Diego Florez! I’ve found my new opera crush. 

(Source: barihunks.blogspot.com)