The ROH announced earlier today that Diana Damrau has pulled out of autumn's Robert le diable because she's pregnant. As the bomb was dropped via the less-than-universal medium of Twitter instead of the usual press release, it's probable the many readers booking tomorrow won't have heard the news. Clearly customer relations are not a priority right now, so consider this a public service announcement.
(The bun is still in the oven, by the way - the infant above is one she made earlier.)
Les Contes d'Hoffmann - Nationaltheater Munich, 12 November 2011
For all its garish wallpaper, vintage frocks and toy animals, this new production is not a lot of fun. You can forget about the gondolas for a start.
Richard Jones takes a decidedly sober view of what might make someone hit the bottle. Jones's own youth informs much of his work, so perhaps it's not surprising he shows Hoffmann's creative identity to be moulded by past experiences.
Hoffmann is not the usual garrulous taproom raconteur, but a depressive alcoholic at a artistic standstill. Rolando Villazon, playing against type, tones down remarkably effectively - the clown behind the mask, and not just the clown. (And yes, it was Just Acting - he reverted to the usual japes at the curtain call.) He makes a tough act for Barry Banks to follow when the show comes to ENO next spring.
It doesn't take long for Rolando Villazón to prove he's not off whatever he's usually on in this Bavarian State Opera video. It's an introduction to Richard Jones's new production of Les Contes d'Hoffmann (the one that's coming to ENO next spring), which opens in Munich tomorrow night.
The title role is the most demanding thing Rolando has done since his recent operation - but even more impressive is Diana Damrau's assumption of all three lady parts.
Production photos by Wilfred Hösl for Bavarian State Opera below.
No, not the big screen version, the real thing. Tuesday night's performance was filmed as a dry run for the big HD event, with the cameras a distracting presence on the periphery, and what I assume was clumsy amplification lending a pronounced echo to certain voices. As so often at the Proms, I had the lurking feeling that those of us in the house were a second class audience, a mere applause machine dragged in to provide 'atmosphere' for the consecration to hard copy. And despite some truly fabulous singing, the show was never quite engaging enough to shake off the doubts.