fall arts preview
The materials of Richard Serra’s two enormous new sculptures, currently dominating the Gagosian Gallery on 24th Street, will be recognizable to anyone who knows Mr. Serra’s work. They’re made from curved, continuous steel plates more than thirteen feet high, rusted into shades from powdery orange to Martian mahogany, and marked with what are or appear to be scales, drips, streaks, stretch marks, shadows, calcium deposits, water stains, and lightning bolts. The rust continues so evenly that it’s only the occasional glint of a silvery, unrusted corner that looks like evidence of the human hand. Seen from above, their shapes are also recognizable: Cycle is a triskelion composed of three floppy, interlocking “S”s, which create three roughly circular clearings and three spiraling corridors. Junction, also made of steel plates doubled into corridors, looks more like a pinched, four-pointed star.
fall arts preview
Atys, Brooklyn Academy of Music
The show that BAM sees as having revived French Baroque in its 1989 run in Brooklyn returns to our shores. Atys, the late-1700s adaptation of Ovid, was a favorite of Louis XIV’s, France’s soi-disant Sun King. The show depicts the goddess of Spring and her nymphs—the perfect subject to watch with our September coat-and-scarf schmatte piled on our lap! (Watching an opera about the spring, let alone a Baroque opera in a time of austerity? It’s called escapism.) The opera, which has a gala performance Sept. 18 followed by four night performances, is co-produced with a number of French companies, including Opéra Comique and Opéra National de Bordeaux, and is to be directed by Jean-Marie Villégier, who is known for his work in France. If Roman Polanski can shoot Carnage in Paris and make it look like Brooklyn, Mr. Villégier can surely transport us to the Sun King’s France!
James Levine will not be conducting at the Metropolitan Opera this fall. There is no fall season at the New York City Opera. It is the end of an era for an art form and a city.
Mr. Levine, who has suffered yet another setback in a long series of health problems, retains the title of music director, but there is now little doubt that his period of leadership is over.
When I was working recently on a profile of the baritone Sanford Sylvan for this newspaper, I watched a DVD recording of one of the performances that brought him widespread acclaim in the opera world. It was in one of the iconic productions of the 1980s: Peter Sellars’s version of Mozart’s Così fan tutte.
The Read More
The Eight-Day Week
Rafael Viñoly is known for his dramatic buildings, which in New York include the boomeranging Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the controversial New Domino housing development on the Williamsburg waterfront. The Urguay-born, New York-based Mr. Viñoly also has a thing for real drama, that of the stage, reports Observer opera critic Zachary Woolfe—even if at the same time, in his difficult way, the architect criticizes his multifarious colleagues:
Wednesday, June 22
Opera—it’s not just for opera houses anymore! We had enough to keep up with between the Met and the City Opera (O.K., we mainly kept up with the Met), but more and more, we’re hearing of opera performances put on by orchestras (the skill set’s not too different, one Read More
Last night, The Observer managed to catch the closing night reading of “Billy Blythe,” a folk opera based on early life of President Clinton (who took his stepfather’s name at age 14) at the Medicine Show Theater in Midtown, arriving just as a slideshow of documentary photographs faded to a piano ditty and Read More
Looking back, it should have been clear in October how New York City Opera’s year was going to end.
The company opened its season then with the New York premiere of A Quiet Place, the strange, flawed, fascinating final opera by Leonard Bernstein, one of the city’s favorite sons. The opera is close to the Read More
Last week the baritone Sanford Sylvan sat over coffee at the Hilton Hotel in Midtown, talking about the kind of New Yorker he used to be. It was the morning after Mr. Sylvan sang, for the first time in a decade, “The Wound-Dresser,” a Walt Whitman setting that John Adams composed for him in 1989. Read More
I’ve seen many performances of Elijah Moshinsky productions at the Metropolitan Opera, but according to Elijah Moshinsky, I have never seen an opera actually directed by Elijah Moshinsky.
“I don’t understand how revivals work,” Mr. Moshinsky, 64, said by phone from his home in London, England, reflecting on the Met’s current remounting of his 1993 Read More