lunes, noviembre 05, 2012

The Colón Ring, Act II: Valentina replaces Katarina

            Last Tuesday I told you the First Act of the convoluted troubles involving the Colón Ring, Katarina Wagner and the Colón´s Director Pedro Pablo García Caffi. The Second Act occurred during this past week. Katarina returned, but not because GC had called her telling her that things were ready for rehearsal. Instead, what happened was that Katarina and GC decided to call it quits "with elegance", surrounded by lawyers. Valentina Carrasco, an alternative denied by GC just one week ago, had accepted the succession of Katarina. This is what happened in a nutshell, but there are plenty of details to be told, and they are juicy. 

1)      It is interesting to imagine the talks between lawyers. Those for Katarina presumably would insist on her assertions that things weren´t ready when she arrived; but even if it were true, did she document the facts with convincing proofs? On the other hand, isn´t her acceptance of the Audi presentation in Germany on November 11 a flagrant breach of contract with the Colón?
2)     Last Wednesday conductor Roberto Paternostro arrived. The same day rehearsals began, as several singers are already here (though the exact information on this point is lacking).
3)     That same day Katarina was back and at midday met GC. On Thursday at the Hilton (both with lawyers at their flanks) some sort of agreement was arrived at, but the particulars remain to be told.
4)     And that day the costume designer Thomas Kaiser arrived. Carrasco would have to work with him, although a strange phrase in an article by Alejandro Cruz (La Nación) worried me: "she will come with her own creative team". If this only means that she comes with assistants, OK, but a lot of work has been done already and surely she will have to adapt (remember that GC said that 85% of the stage design was already executed, but on the other hand at the time of Katarina´s former visit she said that "costumes weren´t ready", although surely the sketches by Kaiser were already at the theatre). GC admits that indeed the Colón was behind schedule in this item, which gives some support to Katarina´s claims.
5)     GC also said this astonishing phrase: "We came to an agreement: she AND HER TEAM withdraw from the project due to the impossibility of going ahead with it". Well, does this mean that Kaiser and   Schlössmann are out? In that case, how can Carrasco get together a new team and the Colón execute the designs in just one month?  And why is it "impossible" to go ahead with Katarina and her team? Because she doesn´t want to? Because the Audi project will take too much of her time?  But GC contradicts himself when he says later on: "Valentina has been working for two weeks with the stage design people". And that means Schlössmann´s designs.  Again GC seems to forget that he denied connections with Valentina.
6)     Another GC statement surprised me (the man is a Pandora´s box): " there will be six hours of music". But from the very inception of the project Cord Garben said that there were SEVEN hours. It isn´t a small difference. How does GC arrive to SIX? Further cuts? How can this be if Garben is the author of the arrangement?  Who did the new cuts? If it isn´t Garben, isn´t the Colón infringing his copyright? But if there are six hours, this certainly makes it physically less terrible for the orchestra...and more comfortable for the audience. But at the cost of which scenes? So you see, that statement is anything but innocent. 
7)     And by the way, what about Garben? It is even more his project: but no mention whatsoever of the musician is being made, and he is not here! What does he think about this mess?
8)     The lawyer teams signed the agreement, very cordially. And Katarina is invited to the premiere... Still another "Believe it or not" from GC: "we hope to envision another project with Katarina for 2014".
9)     A further confusing statement from GC: Katarina and her team have already been paid  the amount that covers the elaboration of the project "and won´t be paid for the rest". Whose copyright is it? The team´s or the Colón´s? If Schlössmann and Kaiser won´t be here, that leaves all in the hands of Carrasco. Can she handle it? For she is a régisseuse, not a stage and costume designer.  And 85% of the stage designs already executed goes well beyond "elaboration".
10)   Carrasco arrived on Thursday, October 25, which means that GC had already decided on severing the agreement with Katarina; it stands to reason that this is the foregone conclusion, considering that the two ladies arrived with a 24-hour interval.
11)    GC told the legislators in a session where the Colón budget for 2013 was discussed that the Colón Ring´s production cost 7 million pesos (about 16% of the total production cost of the season).
12)   During this whole affair, not a word came from the singers who will be on stage for the two performances, nor from Paternostro. However, Salemkour complained to a German publication that the Colón pit isn´t big enough for Wagner´s orchestration (very strange, people like Wallberg, Decker or Leitner never complained) and that there weren´t enough harpists available.
      After all this, let´s hope for the best...

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