Well, after weeks of mournful rumors about a drastic reduction of activities, this writer received the complete Colón season by mail, with no press conference (so, no questions, no dialogue) and things don´t look so bad for a country in a steep slope of degradation. I have some qualms about the chosen repertoire, especially because during months there was talk that finally in 2015 we would have the première of the complete "Les Troyens" by Berlioz. The long wait will continue.
There are a few "name singers": tenor Ramón Vargas in two operas, Anna Caterina Antonacci in a mezzo role (she was here long ago as a soprano), mezzo Violeta Urmana (debut), soprano Irene Theorin (debut) as Kundry in "Parsifal". No renovation in conductors, again Ira Levin and Roberto Paternostro will have the main titles. A matter that will raise eyebrows and be bothersome for many will be the change to 8 p.m. in beginning time (the traditional 8,30 p.m. was much more comfortable); this may have sense in long operas like "Don Carlo" but not in short ones. (This will also apply to ballets).
Productivity will keep being very low, seven titles against the fourteen of the Sixties (plus a summer season with three operas!). Naturally no information whatsoever about the current condition of the building (a big piece of masonry fell recently and could have injured orchestra players) or about what remains to be done (for the Colón is still incomplete, and there´s the scandal of the library in containers since 2006). And the Legislature no longer investigates.
The orchestras have been protesting before performances with placards about low salaries and bad treatment; but I very much doubt that Mauricio Macri will redress complaints; such things don´t win votes, big public works do. And I don´t think that the orchestras will strike: they might lose their resident status as happened recently in Rome!
This is the season. Basic facts in this order: conductor (C), producer (P), singers (S).
MASSENET. Werther. C: Ira Levin. P: Hugo De Ana. S: Ramón Vargas, Anna Caterina Antonacci. April 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21. Good cast for an unnecessary revival, there have been many "Werthers" in the past decade, including the Colón at the Coliseo of 2007. Why not "Thaïs", missing since 1952?
DONIZETTI. L´elisir d´amore. C: Ivan Ciampa. P: Sergio Renán. S: Adriana Kucerova, Ivan Magri, Giorgio Caoduro, Simón Orfila. Except for Renán, obscure debuts. The piece was chosen because a comedy was needed, but it would have been much more interesting to offer "La Fille du Régiment", incredibly a première for the Colón. May 8, 9, 10, 12, 14.
LUCA FRANCESCONI. Quartett, on Heiner Müller´s play. Première. C: Brad Lubman. P: Alex Ollé, of La Fura dels Baus. S: Allison Cook, Robin Adams. This work may be interesting, but it leaves out other much needed premières, such as any Henze or Hindemith or Britten´s "Billy Budd". When the season is so improductive (just seven titles), every choice matters. June 16, 19, 21, 23.
MASCAGNI. Cavalleria Rusticana. LEONCAVALLO. I Pagliacci. C: Roberto Paternostro. P: José Cura. S: all Argentine, including Cura. July 14, 17, 18, 119, 21. Last coupled at the Colón in 2000, it is plausible to programme it, though other institutions have presented them, sometimes separately, during the intervening years.
VERDI. Don Carlo. The Colón has opted for the 4-act Italian version. C: Levin. P: Eugenio Zanetti (a debut at the Colón, I believe). S: Vargas, Tamar Iveri, Violeta Urmana, Fabián Veloz, Alexander Vinogradov. September 20, 23, 26, 29. Last at the Colón, 2004.
PROKOFIEV. The Angel of Fire. C: Levin. P: Florencia Sanguinetti (debut as producer of this artist of the Colón staff). S: Vladimir Baykov, Elena Popovskaya, Roman Sadnik (debuts). This fascinating opera had very successful performances here in 1966 and 1971 and it is an excellent idea to revive it, now in Russian as it should (we had seen it in Italian). November 3, 6, 8, 10.
WAGNER. Parsifal. C: Paternostro. P: Katharina Wagner. S: Christopher Ventris, Irene Theorin, Stefen Milling, Ruan McKinny, Kay Stiefermann (all debuts except Ventris). December 4, 6, 9, 11. At last "Parsifal"! Twenty-nine long years have passed since the Decker-Oswald collaboration. And we are still waiting for "Die Meistersinger" (1980!) and "Tannhäuser" (1994). And of course, the last complete "Ring" dates from 1967... Yes, the Colón has much amends to make in this direction. And I tremble to think of Katharina Wagner as producer, she has been ruining Bayreuth´s artistic standards for years.
Two things stand out: the enormously postponed (since the 1940s!) of what for me is one of the five best ballet scores of the XIXth Century: Léo Delibes´ "Sylvia" (the others: Delibes´"Coppélia" and the three Tchaikovsky items). My special thanks for its inclusion in the beautiful and stylish Ashton choreography. The other surprise: all ballets are offered with the Buenos Aires Philharmonic conducted by Emmanuel Siffert. And one rather sad conclusion: not even one of our conductors is given a chance either in opera or ballet, which is grossly unfair.
There will be a new "Neoclassic trilogy" with choreographies by Bigonzetti, Frédéric and Wainrot. March 15, 17, 18 to 21.
An incredible and incomprehensible lapse of five months will go by before the première of the Ashton choreography of "Sylvia", which will have the wonderful presence of Alicia Amatriain, of the Stuttgart Ballet. August 23, 35 to 29.
Than , the welcome revival of the Cranko "Onieguin", with the special event of Paloma Herrera in her farewell performances. October 11, 13, l4, l5, 16, 17. The dates with odd numbers will be danced by Herrera.
There has long been an "Anna Karenina" ballet with music by Rodion Shchedrin written for his wife, Maya Plisetskaya, but the one that will be premiered has a collage of Tchaikovsky music (as also happens in "Onieguin") and the choreography is by Boris Eifman, whose "Rodin" was premiered here this year with success. December 20, 22, 23, 26, 27.
With "popular" prices (that is, less expensive) the current "Swan Lake" will be offered on May 26 to 30. There will be two galas: one will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Colón reopening on May 24 and will include two short ballets along with other items; the other will be an international gala with soloists from SODRE (Montevideo), the Royal Ballet of London and the Royal Flemish Ballet. Maricel de Mitri will give her farewell performance on that gala, August 16.
For Buenos Aires Herald