The Novelty Advantage

October 2, 2022

That last week’s opening night of the Metropolitan Opera presented Medea (an Italian revision of Cherubini’s Médée) reminds me of a wonderful story that Hugo Weisgall told. Leonard Bernstein had a brilliant success at La Scala conducting the work with Maria Callas in the title role. As a result, the theater gave him a generous contract that was cancelled after he conducted Puccini’s La Boheme. He was lamenting this fact to some colleagues, saying that he couldn’t understand the change of attitude by the opera company and the public. To which Virgil Thomson suggested: “Lenny, they KNOW La Boheme.”


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