From the Desk of Artistic Director Jonathan Pell

by Megan Meister

New York Auditions Day 2 & Faust

Yesterday’s auditions were slow to get started, and it wasn’t until two hours into them that I heard a singer that I liked, and another hour after that before I heard a singer that I loved.

Later in the day there were four or five interesting singers, but the real standout was soprano Joelle Harvey, a young soprano who made her Dallas Opera debut as “Barbarina” in Mozart’s THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO in 2008, but who has grown into a remarkable artist.  You can certainly count on seeing her back in Dallas sometime  in the future.

Last night was a performance of the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Gounod’s FAUST.  When the Met first opened in 1883, FAUST was such a popular opera and the Met presented it so often, that some wag dubbed  the opera house the “Faustspielhaus” —a pun based on Wagner’s theatre at Bayreuth, which was known as the “festspielhaus.”

FAUST is not nearly as popular today, and although hardly a rarity,  a new production is something to which we all look forward.  The Met’s production was entrusted to Tony Award winning theatre director Des McAnuff,  and it has generated some controversy.  It is being transmitted this Saturday afternoon as part of the Met’s “Live in HD” series, so I suggest that you go and make up your own mind. Regardless of what you think of the concept (the scenery was designed by Robert Brill who also designed the set for MOBY-DICK in Dallas) the singing is most impressive.

The cast is headed up by Jonas Kaufmann and Rene Pape,  but don’t fail to notice baritone Jonathan Beyer in his Met debut in the supporting role of the  student “Wagner.”   Jonathan was “Captain Gardiner” in MOBY-DICk and returns to Dallas next season.

The conductor, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, an incredibly gifted young French-Canadian, inspires the orchestra to play the score magnificently.

Tonight—Renee Fleming and Andreas Scholl in Handel’s RODELINDA !

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