The Met’s losses are Tanglewood’s gain

The Boston Symphony is quietly whooping up the PR on its forthcoming Tanglewood performance of the second act of Puccini’s Tosca, featuring Kristine Opolais and Bryn Terfel and conducted by Andris Nelsons.

Opolais and her husband Nelsons have pulled out of the Met’s showcase Tosca on New Year’s Eve.

press release:

On Saturday, August 26, Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director Andris Nelsons will lead the orchestra in Act II of Puccini’s Tosca, featuring soprano Kristine Opolais in the title role, along with bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel as Scarpia. The performance will also feature tenor Russell Thomas as Cavaradossi; tenor Matthew DiBattista as Spoletta, and baritone Douglas Williams as Sciarrone (in his BSO debut). The Opera Gala program will also feature songs and arias from composers including Smetana, Dvořák, and Mozart. Ms. Opolais and Sir Bryn recently performed Tosca in concert together at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod on July 4, 2017, under conductor Gareth Jones.

In May, it was announced that Sir Bryn Terfel would replace baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who withdrew from the concert for reasons of health.

Mr & Mrs photo (c) Marco Borggreve

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  • While Nelsons is a catch as top notch conductor, it is nepotism to keep engaging his wife especially since the quality of her voice and singing are nowhere near his level, conductorial-wise. She may make for good promotional copy but that’s just about it. Still, I’d choose her above Katherine Jenkins any day. And yet ….

    • I had not heard Ms Opolais until her recent performance as Tosca in Llangollen, and it was an absolute triumph. Every bit the match for Sir Bryn. I do not say that there is not some appearance of nepotism, but despite that I do not think the Met audiences are being shortchanged by this fine singer and excellent Tosca. With a better conductor than she had in Llangollen she may even give a finer performance.

  • Funny to see Cavaradossi reduced to the level of Spoletta and Sciarrone. Russell Thomas should probably just phone in his Vittoria!

    • Agree with your observation, but Russell Thomas doesn’t phone in anything. What a fine, fine singer. Under-utilized by the Met, which is good for other major houses.

  • The life of a travelling musician is exceptionally hard on the family life, and it is entirely understandable that they should want to work with their other halves if they can and, if it is merited artistically, why not? Maybe not always, but often is understandable.

    • Exactly – a sane and compassionate response, at last. They may also want to spend time together as a family with their little daughter.

      The knee-jerk assumptions of cynicism are profoundly depressing. They’re both world-class artists; she’d be in anyone’s current top 5 pick for that role, internationally. And in his 7 years with a UK orchestra, Nelsons engaged her possibly about 3 times (that’s out of some 100-odd concerts). “Nepotism” should be made of sterner stuff.

  • First, how is this Tanglewood’s “gain?” Pretty sure it was booked long in advance, and it’s a one-off rather than an extended production, so it’s not as though the MET cancellation made this possible. The event isn’t news – maybe just the BSO’s promotion of it.

    As for Opolais, she was terrific in the MET’s Rusalka, and she works with a lot of good conductors besides her husband. Amazing how a lot of people get unhinged by one less-than-stellar aria at the MET gala.

  • What’s the line from that famous Sinatra song?

    “If I can make it there,
    I’ll make it anywhere.
    It’s up to you, Tanglewood, Tanglewood.”

    😉

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