John Treleaven in LAO's Siegfried
Photo: Monika Rittershaus/LAO 2010
What can I say about this
. It shouldn’t come as a surprise really. Historically, it's more the rule than the exception that performers in Ring cycles have long lists of complaints about the productions in which they’ve been cast. It’s really too bad that Linda Watson and John Treleaven’s unprofessionalism may tarnish what is essentially a fantastic and groundbreaking production of the Ring
. They are certainly entitled to their opinions about the artistic value and demanding physical challenges in the production. Freyer’s love of steeply raked stages is well known and I imagine maneuvering on it can be pretty difficult. The changing demands on any opera singer’s physical habitus is a well-documented fact at this point in time. And it’s certainly about more than just beauty. We want performers who can sing, act, look good while doing both, and who are able to do more physically challenging feats on stage as well. Treleaven and Watson are by no means in the best physical shape of their lives, based on their recent stage appearances, and the entire casts’ safety should be a primary concern.
As for the artistic values of the production – these complaints are exhibit A why performers are not usually hired to direct their own opera productions. The costumes and masks in Freyer’s Ring may well interfere with the acting and vocal performances of the cast including Treleaven and Watson. I suspect, however, that both artists may be overestimating the quality of those skills generally, considering how mediocre they’ve been here in L.A. in Wagner productions in the past
that gave their “acting” more leeway.
It’s too bad that these two opera stars can’t be a little more graceful. Give me Joyce DiDonato any day. She’s suffered through injuries
and challenging productions
herself in the last year, and has had the ability to talk about them publicly on her own blog with wit, class, and the upmost professionalism.
Labels: LA Opera 09/10