Press Room

Metropolitan Opera Guild News June 2009

 Every June, the editors of Opera
guide readers to the finest
opera festivals in the United States. 
This year, the spotlight is on the Pacific Northwest and Seattle
recurring Ring cycle,
with the company’s new Brünnhilde, American dramatic soprano Janice Baird, featured on the cover.  Ms. Baird sings in all three Seattle Ring cycles in August, under the watchful eye and ear of
director Stephen Wadsworth, who pilots his production through its third series
of performances in the Wagner-mad, caffeine-driven city.  James C. Whitson interviews Ms. Baird,
who made front-page news last season with her last-minute Metropolitan Opera
debut as Isolde.

Author Brian Kellow,
Features Editor of Opera News,
returned to his native Pacific-Northwest to assess Seattle’s singular
atmosphere.  In “The Blue and the
Gray”, Kellow expatiates on the question: “When does cool turn to chill?”  Anyone who’s been there, especially in
summer, knows the feeling.  Add
green for the deep forests – especially during a Ring cycle – to the blue water and (often) gray skies,
and there’s a rich palette.

Staying in the cool Pacific
Northwest, Opera News also covers
events in Oregon.  Despite sometimes being overshadowed by
its neighbor to the north, Portland
is, in its cozy way, as lively as its “sister” Seattle, with thriving opera,
symphony, ballet, and many other attractions, as detailed for Opera News by Oregon-based critic Richard Speer.  Marjorie Sandor travels to Eugene for a visit to the Oregon Bach Festival.

As part of its
June festival season, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is presenting a scaled-down
version of The Ghosts of Versailles, John Corigliano’s epic opera that was first seen as a Met
commission in 1991.  The
, Paul
Moravec’s new opera based on Somerset Maugham’s play, with a libretto by Terry
Teachout, has its world premiere in July at Santa Fe Opera.  Barry Singer looks at these two very
different works and reveals how they reflect the changing face of opera

The monthly Opera
supply of
performance, recording, DVD, and book reviews enhances the June issue – and
includes timely recommendations for summer reading and listening.  The magazine’s website,, always has extra
features available exclusively to subscribers and Met patrons.  June features hot young Latvian mezzo Elina
– star of the
Met’s Live in HD transmission
of Rossini’s La Cenerentola in May – talking about her new recording of Bellini’s Capuleti
e i Montecchi
, and an
exclusive free audio download of a duet between her and American tenor Matthew


Luncheon for Plácido Domingo 

The 2008-09
season included Plácido Domingo’s 40th anniversary at the Met, which
was a big theme all season long, culminating in the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s hugely successful 74th-anniversary
luncheon at New York’s Waldorf=Astoria in his honor.  Seven hundred guests crowded the room, with a couple of
dozen notables on the dais, including the honoree and his wife, opera director
Marta Domingo, as well as over 30 of the tenor’s famous colleagues.  The annual Guild Luncheon benefits the
organization’s education programs all over the country – indeed, all over the
world – and this year’s event brought in $350,000 for its diverse
programs.  Domingo’s friends and
fans came in from far and wide, and were treated to several videos produced
especially for the occasion, one entitled “Where in the world is Plácido

In this video, the
tenor’s wife and colleagues joked about never knowing where he was because he’s
busy everywhere, all the time. 
Sopranos Deborah Voigt, Martina Arroyo, and Renata Scotto told tall
tales about Domingo’s non-stop schedule, and the video ended with Voigt asking,
“The luncheon is April 23?  And Plácido’s
going to be there?  I think we have
a concert in Paris that night!”  In
the course of the luncheon, there was a sung tribute by Dolora Zajick, as well
as spoken tributes by Arroyo, Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes, and Samuel
Ramey.  There was also a serenade
by students from New York’s Channel View High School, who sang a Mexican folk
song they had learned in the Guild’s “Urban Voices” program – which is also a
dynamic force in the Boston area. 
For a full report on the event, visit Howard Kissel’s delightful
“Cultural Tourist” blog for New York Daily News:


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