Top 5 operatic performances of 2007:
1. Tristan and Isolde, La Scala, Milano (review here)
2. Tristan and Isolde, Munich (review here)
3. Parsifal, Berlin State Opera (review here)
4. Don Giovanni, Berlin State Opera (review here)
5. Meistersinger, Bayreuth (review here)
Top 3 non-operatic performances of 2007:
1. Wagner Gala in Munich (review here)
2. Renée Fleming in Thaïs (review here)
3. Pollini recital in Salzburg (review here)
Worst performance: Hans Neuenfels´ staging of the Magic Flute at Komische Oper in Berlin. I´ve tried to forget it, but at times like this, it just pops up (review will follow soon).
Best opera on CD: Testaments release of the complete 1956 Keilberth Ring from Bayreuth. It beats every other version out there, even Solti. Link here.
Best opera on DVD: The complete Kupfer/Barenboim Bayreuth Ring. It´s also top of my Ring DVD list now. Link here.
Best recital disc: Karita Mattila´s Helsinki recital. More here.
Best singer: This will have to be split between René Pape and Waltraud Meier. René Pape for: Filip, Boris Godunov, Gurnemanz, Marke, Hunding and Don G. (link here) Waltraud Meier for these Isoldes. And Ortrud as well. And Sieglinde (link here).
Best conductor: Daniel Barenboim. For the unparallelled intensity he generates conducting Wagner live. And Mozart as well. For: Parsifal, Tristan and Don Giovanni (link here). With Christian Thielemann a close runner-up for that magnificent Bayreuth-Ring.
Best director: Patrice Chéreau. For this. With Dmitri Tcherniakov as a runner-up. For this and this.
Best opera seen on TV/in cinema: Eugene Onegin from the MET. More here. Searing. Unbelievably moving. (Chéreau´s Tristan has moved to the "live opera" category or would otherwise probably have won this category).
Biggest disappointment: To have to close my ears to the awful singing in Siegfried Act III in Wagner´s own theater in Bayreuth, while at the same time listening to Thielemann´s magnificent conducting. More here.
Biggest surprise: To suddenly find myself on stage in Carl Nielsen´s opera Maskarade at the Royal Danish Opera. More here.
Most misunderstood: Katharina Wagner´s staging of Meistersinger in Bayreuth. Claiming that she is an exceptionally radical stage director is simply far off the mark, and is due to the fact that almost nobody has actually seen her work, which lies plainly within the ”modern” German staging tradition and not the slightest radical. More here.
Most ridiculous: The whole game of succession regarding the leadership of the Bayreuth Festival. More here.
Strangest and most amazing: Being in Bayreuth and attending the performances in the Festival House. More here.
Worst behaviour: Bryn Terfel canceling the ROH Ring at almost no notice. More here.
Best behaviour: Reading here about how Plácido Domingo took time to go backstage between acts and meet his fans at the Royal Opera Walküre and apparently was very pleasant as well.
Most generous: When a stranger gave me a free first-rate ticket to the Pollini recital in Salzburg immediately before the performance. More here.
Most irritating: Sitting almost in front of Daniel Barenboim at a Pierre Boulez concert in Berlin, where he was continuously shuffling some papers very noisily around for the entire concert..only to find out that the day after we were sitting right beside him at another Pierre Boulez concert (with the same paper shuffling going on…) .
Most boring: Regardless of excellent productions, and performances of the highest musical quality, baroque operas just are very long…. (no link, since it´s really not the performers fault that baroque opera doesn´t appeal to me)
Most funny: Attending Hoffmann´s tales ath the Royal Opera in Copenhagen an evening where both the tenor lead and substitute were ill and were substituted by….the conductor! More here.
Most disappointing statement: That René Pape has canceled Hans Sachs in Berlin 2008. More here.
Most exciting statement: That he will sing Wotan at La Scala 2010. And Waltraud Meier will be Brünnhilde. More here.