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Ian Macmillan

Tony Pappano (not) to leave the ROH in 2020?

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In an interview with Richard Morrison for today's Times 2 supplement, Royal Opera Director Tony Pappano raises the possibility (probability?) of his leaving the ROH when his present contract expires in 2020:

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/antonio-pappano-i-will-have-conducted-enough-operas-at-the-garden-by-2020-30xfjpzrn?shareToken=ed82608100eae55dc4c7f2f1dabd4859

 

 

 

 

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Ian thank you for the link to the Pappano article.Does the new Otello really require this publicity? But then perhaps Pappano is insuring himself against the possibility that we may not appreciate the director's approach to the new production.It is interesting to read Pappano's views on the audience's reaction to some of the less appreciated productions which have been staged during his tenure. It would seem that it all boils down to the audience's inability to appreciate the directors' application of their intellect to the subtext and there I was thinking that the problem was that the director was staging the opera which the librettist and composer should have written rather than the one that they actually did.

 

If the real problem is that the audience is not bright enough to understand and appreciate  what the directors are doing when they stage their new productions perhaps we should be given some sort of IQ test before we are permitted to buy tickets for something like the artistic mess that was described as a production of Idomeneo with its new libretto and arbitrary treatment of the musical score or Holten's Boris or Meistersinger?

 

We can always hope that Pappano gets Munich if only because eighteen years is a long time to be in charge of any opera company. After about ten years however good the Music Director is, their prejudices, their enthusiasms and their abilities across the repertory begin to impinge on the repertory the audience is permitted to experience. Britten has not played much of a part in the ROH's active repertory during Sir Tony's tenure apart from that appalling village hall production of Gloriana during the centennial year. There is a lot of serious repertory that has not been seen on the Covent Garden stage for years. A new Music Director would at least mean artistic obsessions other than minor verismo composers and minor Puccini it might even have the effect of realigning and enlarging the company's artistic horizons.

 

 

Edited by FLOSS
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14 minutes ago, FLOSS said:

Does the new Otello really require this publicity? 

 

 

The live relay will want publicising at least.

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For Music Directors, as with Prime Ministers, too long in the job and hubris can set in.

 

Any suggestions as to the next incumbent? Notwithstanding the overly slow Cosi in the last run, Bychkov remains the stand out for me.

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1 hour ago, Scheherezade said:

Notwithstanding the overly slow Cosi in the last run, Bychkov remains the stand out for me.

 

Yes, I found that Cosi so exceptionally odd that I wonder if SB had other factors to contend with. The cast were young and not equally talented, but going slow would normally just makes things even harder for them. It was a puzzle.

 

Anyway, to Schehezade's most pertinent question, my answer is not a list of names but a list of essential (imho) job requirements:-

 

* A singer's conductor, so the ROH starts to win back its international reputation as one of the few places (cf Met, Vienna) where all the greatest singers appear on a regular basis, and where casts stop being one-major-voice-plus-others, but where just about all parts are cast at the top of the game.

 

* A conductor with international heft, so as finally to outclass and outsmart the ROH casting company of Katona and co, ditto.

 

* A conductor with the cunning to outwit one of the most complacent bands in the UK and/or their reprentatives at the MU, so the  orchestral standard goes up and becomes again reliably good most nights (rather than, as at present, good some nights). The brass, to name just the loudest offenders, could all usefully be re-auditioned, though the MU would no doubt try and stop this. 

 

Other qualifications - such as pleasing the Arts Council (fitting tick boxes as to youth, race, gender, outreach, commitment to young singers etc), or appointing a Brexit Brit (for reasons of cost and practicality if not politics), to one with strong repertoire, to someone collegially popular and so more open to world-class star engagements (someone who could entice say Muti back to ROH for a few nights) - are second order requirements. Imho.

Edited by Geoff
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2 hours ago, Scheherezade said:

For Music Directors, as with Prime Ministers, too long in the job and hubris can set in.

 

Any suggestions as to the next incumbent? Notwithstanding the overly slow Cosi in the last run, Bychkov remains the stand out for me.

 

I would also like to see Bychkov in the job.

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Another vote for Bychkov here. I saw Cosi late in the run and didn't find the tempi that strange - perhaps he'd sped things up by then. The ensemble was definitely off in places, but as always with SB there were moments of great illumination which make you forgive him.

 

I agree with Geoff about many things but especially wrt the casting department: surely it's time for a change there.

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The ROH has announced that Antonio Pappano will extend his tenure until 2023 and, having been in situ since 2002, will be the longest serving music director by the end of the 2018/19 season.

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22 hours ago, Scheherezade said:

The ROH has announced that Antonio Pappano will extend his tenure until 2023 and, having been in situ since 2002, will be the longest serving music director by the end of the 2018/19 season.

 

Yet the brass are still the laziest section of any orchestra in Britain. Is it too much to hope that the delightful Pappano - who is rightly adored by singers and audiences alike - might use his new security as an opportunity finally to tackle the institutional weaknesses of the ROH band and form them into a dependably world-class operation. Of course they can sound wonderful on occasion (the recent Verdi Requiem, for example) but far too often there is dodgy civilservant-like routine playing (and worse). 

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2 hours ago, Pas de Quatre said:

Are musicians still allowed to send subs along in their place?  

 

In this case I wish they would.

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On 16/06/2017 at 11:34, FLOSS said:

 Britten has not played much of a part in the ROH's active repertory during Sir Tony's tenure apart from that appalling village hall production of Gloriana during the centennial year. There is a lot of serious repertory that has not been seen on the Covent Garden stage for years.

 

 

Good to have some Britten next year at least- (isn't he the greatest national composer and one of the most important of the 20th C,  or is he out of fashion?) but, just planning my booking for next season, are there really only 4 performances of Billy Budd?? ( plus one just for students.)

 

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