Bloggy speculation about the forthcoming Luisotti Era at the San Francisco Opera has spun off in directions that I'd like to demur from, ever so gently — if only because some of it seems to have been spurred on, at least in part, by yesterday's post here.
At Out West Arts, for instance, the haplonymic Brian, after seconding my observation about Luisotti's limited track record with non-farinaceous opera, sighs, "Great — just what San Francisco needs, more Toscas and Traviatas" (which might should be "Tosche and Traviate," but leave it be). And in the Hills, these words were Reverberating: "I have to echo the concern that this means the opera is moving back to a repertory of about ten operas, all by Verdi and Puccini...I haven’t really been particularly impressed by many of the SF Opera's Verdi and Puccini performances through the years."
Well, I hate to put words into Mr. Gockley's mouth, but I think the point here is — neither has he. The goal of the Luisotti appointment, as I understand it, is to fix that chronic problem by hiring a music director who won't treat the Italian repertoire as the afterthought it too often is. This doesn't mean that spaghetti will become the sole staple of our operatic diet, or even that its frequency will necessarily increase significantly — only that what spaghetti we do get will be cooked really, really well. (And again, this is all based on just the one amazing Forza; I'd love to hear what people thought about his Seattle and Met debuts.)
Anyway, my worry was not about the proportions of the season schedule, but about whether Luisotti will be able to hold up his end as music director in other areas of the repertoire. Will he do as well with Mozart, for instance, or with French and Russian rep, as with Italian? How deep does he go, or, failing that, how fast can he get there? We'll see.