According to Dan Wakin in today's Times, the Met, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to cut ties with singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, who has been writing an opera, Prima Donna, under commission from them for the past two years. The reason? Wainwright wrote the libretto in French. Now, I realize it might sound pretentious for a New Yorker to write an opera in a foreign language, but Wainwright is: A. From Montreal; and B. Writing about an aging French soprano. It is a perfectly legitimate choice.
For his part, Met Director Peter Gelb says that all the commissionees are native English speakers and were expected to write in English.
“Presenting a new opera that is not in English at the Met, when it could be in English, is an immediate impediment to its potential success with audiences.”
Right, which is why no one ever goes to see Carmen. Or Faust. Or Pelleas. Mr. Gelb would do well not to underestimate his audience's appetite for foreign-language opera. I mean, isn't that what MetTitles are for? Oh well, at least they're still moving ahead with Nico's joint about Internet stalking.