In Revival of Verdi, a New Note of Drama (Slatkin shows up to the MET not knowing the score)

In Revival of Verdi, a New Note of Drama

Published: March 30, 2010

Who would have guessed that a routine revival of “La Traviata” at the Metropolitan Opera could cause such a ruckus? The problem was that the conductor Leonard Slatkin, appearing at the Met for the first time in 12 years, showed up for rehearsals not fully knowing the score. You did not have to believe the reports that spread on opera chat lines to know this. Mr. Slatkin conceded as much on his personal Web site, leonardslatkin.com.

“I do not perform a lot of opera” and “had never conducted” this Verdi staple, he wrote in a post earlier this month. But he figured that “since everyone else in the house knew it, I would learn a great deal from the masters.”

Hmmm. For a conductor to use the opportunity of a Met production to learn “La Traviata” doesn’t seem the best idea. Those “masters” Mr. Slatkin referred to included the soprano Angela Gheorghiu, an acclaimed Violetta, and the baritone Thomas Hampson, a veteran Germont. Mr. Slatkin reported on his Web site that during rehearsals he seemed to be “the only person who has never performed ‘Traviata,’ ” which, he added, caused “some raised eyebrows.”

complete article here.

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