Opera news: a return, a departure, and a premiere

Three noteworthy developments:

(1) New York City Opera emerged from bankruptcy in January and, in an event I managed to miss, announced its return with a new production of Tosca, the work with which the company had begun, in 1944. A recent email declares that NYCO is “once again on solid financial ground,” promises an announcement soon about a six-opera schedule for the 2016–17 season, and includes links for two events this spring. You should be able to read the text of that email here. NYCO’s main website is here.

(2) James Levine is retiring from his position as music director of the Metropolitan Opera, after a long and fabled tenure there. This has been widely reported, so I’ll provide no links. I’ll say only that Levine has been serving the Met for so long that he began to seem eternal; I first heard and saw him conduct during a Met tour to Dallas, Texas, in the late 70s, at which time he was already something of a phenomenon. Perhaps no one else will have thought to quote Abba in this connection, so I will: Thank you for the music, Mr. Levine.

(3) An opera about President Kennedy will premiere in Fort Worth this week, with a libretto by Royce Vavrek and a score by David T. Little. I discovered Little’s music only last fall, by way of a knockout piece of auditory calamity called “Hellhound,” performed by cellist Maya Beiser and company (a brief account is here); it left me longing to hear more of his work. The new work is titled, with utmost simplicity, JFK, and it nominally depicts—as the Fort Worth Opera web page puts it—“the hopeful night before that fateful day,” but, to judge from a New York Times advance feature, Vavrek and Little’s approach is far more psychological than documentary. JFK is the result of a joint commission, by FWO, American Lyric Theater, which is based in New York, and (according to ALT’s site) Opéra de Montreal, so there’s a good chance it’ll be staged again elsewhere.

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