As you may remember, Pedro Pablo García Caffi, the Colón´s Director, explained that the performances of the Colón "Ring" were reduced from four to two because he had received an order to cut down costs due to financial difficulties. If it was true and not a dissembler for poor box office, it can be taken as an omen of what results from analyzing the 2013 season. It was merely mailed to me; there was no press conference (too much risk of embarrassing questions).
Some general conclusions: a) Opera: miserable productivity: just seven titles and one of them Argentinian (I don´t count as opera –it isn´t, though included in the subscription series- Britten´s "War Requiem"). The very minimum should be ten. b) Although the Colón budget wasn´t officially determined -it had to be treated by the Legislature as part of the total budget- of course the theatre had known for months unofficially that the money would be a good deal less in real terms (as it is expressed in pesos, the very least it has to augment just to be the same as 2012 is about 25% inflation). c) The principal culprit for 2013 is the total elimination of the wrongly named "Abono del Bicentenario", which offered -albeit with enormous prices- fantastic artists this year. There will be high-priced sessions outside of any subscription of two surefire numbers: the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta (August 25 and 27, featuring Strauss´ "Thus spake Zarathustra") and the Simón Bolívar orchestra led by Gustavo Dudamel on April 3, with another big Strauss, the "Alpine Symphony".
A gigantic mistake: after the pitiful Colón "Ring", García Caffi apparently believes that there is no need for Wagner in the bicentenary of his birth!
1) BIZET. Carmen. Back after ten years. Oksana Volkova, Thiago Aracam, Inva Mula, Rodrigo Esteves. Conductor (C): Marc Piollet. Producer (P): Emilio Sagi. April 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23.
2) RACHMANINOV. Premieres: Aleko / Francesca da Rimini. Surely the most interesting choice of the year. Sergei Leiferkus, Irina Oknina, Leonid Zakhozhaev, Maxim Kuzmin, Hugh Smith, Guadalupe Barrientos. C: Ira Levin. P: Silviu Purcarete. May 14,17, 19, 21.
3) R.STRAUSS. Die Frau ohne Schatten (The Woman without a shadow). Very important reprise, after 34 years. Stephen Gould, Manuela Uhl, Iris Vermilion, Jukka Rasilainen, Elena Pankratova, Jochen Kupfer. C: Levin. P: Andreas Homoki. Co-produced with De Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam. June 11, 14, 16, 18.
4) VERDI. Otello. 2013 is also the year of the bicentenary of this composer´s birth, and the Colón duly celebrates. After singing Otello in 1999, José Cura does the title role again, and is also the producer. Valuable debuts of Barbara Frittoli and Carlos Álvarez. C: Massimo Zanetti.July 18, 21, 24, 27, 30.
5) MOZART. Le Nozze di Figaro. Chris Maltman/Fabián Veloz, Maija Kovalevska/Natalia Lemercier, Julia Novikova/Marisú Pavón, Erwin Schrott/Fernando Radó, Serena Malfi. D: Roberto Paternostro. P: Davide Livermore. August 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21.
6) BRITTEN. War Requiem. Carla Filipcic Holm, Enrique Folger, Víctor Torres. D: Guillermo Scarabino. September 24, 27, 29, October 1.
7) PERUSSO. Bebe Dom o La ciudad planeta. Premiere. I find it an excess to premiere an opera by Perusso so close to his "Fedra"; either another living composer or the reprise of, e.g., Ginastera´s "Don Rodrigo", would have been fairer. C: Mario Perusso (the composer). P: Marcelo Perusso. Gustavo López Manzitti, Torres, Florencia Machado, Victoria Gaeta. September 25, 28, 30; October 3, 5. A rare closeness of dates with Britten.
8) VERDI. Un Ballo in Maschera. For the first time here we see the Swedish locale (the murder of Gustave III), which is the right thing to do. P: Alex Ollé (from La Fura dels Baus). Coproduced with Sydney Opera House, Brussels´ La Monnaie and Oslo Opera. C: Levin (an absurd insistence for the third time in the same season). Virginia Tola, Giuseppe Gipali/Marcelo Puente, Luca Salsi/Veloz, Susanna Andersson, Marianne Cornetti. December 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. The Colón takes a full 65 days to prepare the final title! Time for another two operas...
A poor year, based mostly on repeats. We need a Ballet Director that really will begin the arduous reconstruction of so much lost repertoire.
1) NEOCLASSIC TRILOGY III. Vivaldi en concierto (Choreography –Ch-, Lidia Segni; music -M- , Vivaldi). Fuga técnica (Ch, Eric Frederic; M, Alexander Balanescu). Sinfonía en Do (Ch, Balanchine; M, Bizet). March 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23.
2) CARMEN. Overkill, in a year that incluyes the opera. Ch, M. Wainrot. M: Bizet, Albéniz, Turina. June 30, July 2, 3, 4, 5.
3) ALICIA EN EL PAÍS DE LAS MARAVILLAS. Ch: Alejandro Cervera. M: Mozart, Purcell, Satie, Rameau. A potpourri on Carroll for kids. July 20, 23, 26, 28.
4) DON QUIXOTE. Ch: Segni on Petipa. M: Minkus. One of the most overdanced of all ballets. September 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 (farewell perfomance of Silvina Perillo).
5) INTERNATIONAL GALA, to be announced. A yearly event, not a title. September 11.
6) CINDERELLA. Ch:Renato Zanella. M: not the habitual by Prokofiev, but "Aschenbrödel" by Johann Strauss II. The most interesting thing of a year that needed in addition some important new ballet of the Twentieth Century at the very least. Or worthwhile great ballets premiered here decades ago. November 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.
7) SWAN LAKE. Ch: Peter Wright (new). M: Tchaikovsky. December 17 to 22, 26, 27, 28.
No guests except for the gala, which is lamentable. But at least the Colón Ballet will do two tours, one in the Provinces and the other in the Arab Emirates (May).
BUENOS AIRES PHILHARMONIC
Good news: the subscription concerts will be 19, against the miserly 16 of 2012. Not so good: too many are conducted by Enrique Diemecke (12), and the invited foreign conductors aren´t hot: Mikail Jurovski, Adam Medveczky, Daniel Raiskin, Pavel Kogan. Some interesting foreign soloists: pianists Barry Douglas, Sergio Tiempo and Pascal Rogé, violinist Vadim Gluzman; quite fewer than in 2012. The season will start on March 7 and finish on November 20. The repertoire is much lamer than this year, and there is a howling lack of first-rate premieres (and my God, there are dozens missing!).
A selection of valuable scores that aren´t overfamiliar: Górecki, Third Symphony; Tchaikovsky´s Second Piano Concerto; Poulenc´s Piano Concerto; Rachmaninov´s First Concerto; Bruckner´s Symphony Nº 5; Nielsen´s Flute Concerto; Villa-Lobos: A Foresta do Amazonas; R:Strauss: Aus Italien; Vaughan Williams: Flos Campi; Prokofiev: Symphony Nº 7; Khachaturian´s Cello Concerto; Vaughan Williams´ Oboe Concerto. Nice, but far from enough. And very conservative indeed. Oh, those wonderful Fifties and Sixties full of surprises, most of them enriching...
CETC (CENTER FOR EXPERIMENTATION)
I´m afraid that recent years of the CETC have been poor in quality of the projects themselves, and risking prejudice the announced programming impresses me very little; so I won´t detail it, save for three piano integrals: the Gandini Sonatas, Elliott Carter and the Berio.
This project is partly in tandem with the Contemporary Cycle of the Teatro San Martín; those events where the Colón intervenes are valuable. The Arditti Quartet is quite extraordinary (April). There will be worthwhile Xenakis monographic concerts conducted by Arturo Tamayo in june 13 and 15. The Ensemble Modern is first-rate and will play an experimental piece by Heiner Goebbels, "Black on White", in July. I am not attracted by Sciarrino, but he is a "name" nowadays; the Colón Orchestra under Tito Ceccherini will play two of this composer´s scores in November. Surely the most important item is the premiere of Nono´s "Prometeo", a two and a half hour opera that will be played by the London Sinfonietta under Baldur Brönnimann.
This free cycle will continue two Sundays a month at 11 a.m. with well-chosen artists; at least two concerts will include non-classic music, and I certainly don´t agree. But most will be classical and feature, e.g., the Camerata Bariloche, the Petrus Quartet , the Ensamble Instrumental de Buenos Aires and the Estudio Coral de Buenos Aires.
Unfortunately, as happened this year, the Colón Orchestra won´t offer some Saturday concerts as it did in 2011.
Of course, as I explained in an earlier article, the Mozarteum Argentino will have its season at the Colón, which will also receive for certain sessions Nuova Harmonia and Festivales Musicales.For Buenos Aires Herald