A little over two years ago, I was ecstatic at the notion of being in New York in December 2009 for New York City Opera's production of Messiaen's St Francis of Assisi. Apparently City Opera is doing some pretty decent stuff right now, but remember the pipe dream of Einstein, Nixon in China, Death in Venice, and St. Francis all in one season? I actually thought I would take a year off of school and hang around New York just to catch all of the productions. But alas, Mortier departed in the midst of economic collapse. It's hard to imagine a St. Francis in New York now. In a recession I think an esoteric, five-hour opera requiring a 110-man orchestra and a chorus of 150 might be a little indulgent.
If you treasure Saint Francis as much as I do, buy the Netherlands Opera's excellent new DVD and bask in Godfrey Reggio's spot-on depiction on the saint, Ingo Metzmacher's keen insights into the score, and Pierre Audi's complete understanding of Messiaen's sacred vision.
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