Just as the last major events of the spring season approached, including the final performances of Otto Schenk’s production of Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen at the Met, I realized that if I did not travel to Italy for an important family visit—no, it was not a junket to cover the grand opening of Angels and Demons—I would not be able to do it for months. I felt much better when I found that two extraordinary people were available to take my place: Rebecca Kim, a brilliant recent Ph.D. from Columbia, who wrote her dissertation on John Cage, had just completed one of the Met’s Ring Cycles and was willing to take my seat for a second traversal, and Roza Tulyaganova, who has delighted audiences with her Fiordiligi in Così and her Countess in Figaro, and is equally well-prepared to analyze performances through her work as a candidate for a doctorate in musical arts at Stony Brook. The result is a brilliant analysis of Schenk’s production, and an outstandingly perceptive consideration of the Met’s current Don Giovanni, both from a vocal and a dramatic point of view. This will appear in a few days, including my own observations on the October cast of Don Giovanni, as well as a separate review by Charles Warren of the Boston Lyric Opera’s production of the opera.
While these deserving ladies sat at the Met, I listened to polka music blaring from a fish van on its Thursday morning visit to Bomarzo, parked directly under our window, and a variety of marching bands, who participated in Bomarzo’s raucous Feast of S. Anselmo. If I had come a bit earlier, I could have heard a fascinating wind concert directed by Heinz Holliger at Santa Cecilia, and if I had stayed a bit later, I could have heard the great Fabio Biondi conduct Haydn’s oratorio, Il Ritorno di Tobia, but neither was possible. Over the next days and weeks, I plan to post an account of the aforementioned festa and its Palio, photographs of the glorious landscape, this or that about the Parco dei Mostri, and perhaps a word or two about the art we saw, including the important and marvellous exhibition, Beato Angelico, on the Campidoglio. And the fish from the van was absolutely marvellous!
In any case I am delighted that my absence has brought two fine new writers to the Review, and I look forward to their future collaboration.