One in-haus recording from the late 1990s that Opera Chic has had the misfortune to listen replays -- literally -- ad nauseam -- an unfortunate Der Freischütz that took place at La Scala, leaving the melomani quite appalled. And even a not-that-lofi sound (yay for oldskool DAT) can clearly show what a bad night the guy on the podium had -- he promptly ended up booed quite savagely by angry loggionisti.
On the Milanese podium was Donald Runnicles, an otherwise quite competent conductor who has been chosen as the new musical director of Berlin's Deutsche Oper (starting in August 2009) replacing poor Renato Palumbo (who, ironically, has had major trouble this past April in Berlin conducting... you guessed it, Der Freischütz).
We have no beef with Runnicles beefy, muscular style, even if it's not our thing -- OC is more of a Temirkanov kind of a girl. We'd only advise him to lose the mullet, it's just not working. But what we do have a problem with is that the Germans never gave that excellent conductor who is Renato Palumbo a fair chance.
Palumbo had only taken over at the opera last year, after his predecessor, Herr Christian Thielemann, had quit.
Palumbo (and GM Kirsten Harms who chose him) had had to take an enormorous amount of cr4p, because he's an Italian and he had the temerarity to replace a 100% Aryan German hailed by fans as a "new Karajan" (not necessarily a compliment).
Maestro Palumbo shouldn't feel too bad; after all, over there in Berlin, the Thielemann supporters had already given a shiny-booted welcome to the "Jew Barenboim", quote unquote. Palumbo just had a taste of the same brand of hospitality.
Runny, currently music director at the San Francisco Opera, is also principal guest conductor at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Grand Teton Music Festival and is set to become chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in 2009.
OC memo to Runny: whatever you do, do not mention the war.