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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Angela Meade's Anna

I really can't believe I've now sat through three performances of Anna Bolena within a rather short amount of time. It's not my favorite opera by a long-shot, and the production is absolutely dreary. Read my thoughts on the first-cast performance here. But the buzz about the second-cast Anna Bolena has been strong among operaphiles, who have whispered that Anna Netrebko is the bigger star but Angela Meade the better vocalist. Meade made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2008 as a last minute substitution in Ernani, and since then has slowly been building up quite a following. So last night I dragged myself to the Met to sit through Anna Bolena again. Yippee.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

La Esmeralda in HD, Askegard's Farewell


The Bolshoi's live in HD program continued this Sunday with a transmission of Esmeralda. Esmeralda is actually a very old ballet; it had its debut in 1844, with choreography by Jules Perrot and music by Cesare Pugni. It had numerous restaging, and was rechoreographed by Marius Petipa. It was a favorite vehicle of Mariinsky prima ballerina Mathilde Kschessinskaya, who used to take her own pet goat onstage. But the ballet fell out of the repertory, some showpieces aside, until it was revived by the Bolshoi Ballet in 2009. The reconstruction has taken out the "Esmeralda pas de deux" with the tambourine kicking variation, but has kept Agrippina Vaganova's "Diana and Acteon" pas de deux. Weird.