I was at the Final Rehearsal of Elijah Moshinky's now 15 year old production of Nabucco at the Met yesterday morning. And it was memorable for two reasons. Firstly the remarkable Placido Domingo takes on the title role at whatever age he is now - older than me I think.....his charismatic presence is undimmed, as indeed is his singing. Is he immortal?
And secondly we had a fire! One of the torchères (I think they are called) lost the plot and a couple of men came on with a ladder which they perched precariously on the multi level set and killed the thing with a well aimed shot with a fire extinguisher. So the rehearsal was suspended for 40 minutes while the smoke was ventilated out of there........terrific work by the Met staff as usual!
There was a stentorian Zaccaria from Dmitri Belosselskiy, and how wonderful to have James Levine back in the pit connecting Verdi with Placido Domingo. Such memories of their hundreds of performances together over the years........
And last night I was at performance of another production from the Met's huge collection, Jürgen Flimm's Salome from 2004. I was delighted to see the Canadian Opera Company's terrific music director Johannes Debus making his Met debut. Patricia Racette was a brave Salome, Željko Lučič a huge scary voiced Jochanaan, and Gerhard Siegel a remarkable Herod.
These were enjoyable side shows to the main purpose of my trip which was meetings and auditions in connection with a collaboration between the Met, English National Opera, and the Netherlands Opera. I can say no more other than it was an entirely productive two days of work - as many of you know I am on a temporary assignment for ENO. It is good to be still hard at work after all these years!
I will be back in London this evening. There is the luxury of Internet access over the Atlantic so I can get this done now rather than at a late hour tonight.