Viewpoint

Viewpoint: French Import

by F. PAUL DRISCOLL

Viewpoint Koch sm 314
Koch as Charlotte at Covent Garden, 2011
© Catherine Ashmore/Royal Opera House/ArenaPAL 2014

The formidable French mezzo-soprano Sophie Koch makes her first appearance in The Met: Live in HD series on March 15, when her performance as Charlotte in Werther will be transmitted to movie theaters all over the world — more than ninety of them in Koch's native France. The February 18 premiere of the Met's new Richard Eyre staging of Werther marked Koch's company debut, introducing one of opera's most admired exponents of French repertory to the Met audience. Koch is a particularly versatile and vivid artist; her successes as the unambiguously French characters of Mère Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites and Siébel in Faust are not surprising, but she is also in demand for Richard Strauss's Octavian and the Composer, as well as several Wagner mezzo roles, including Venus, Brangäne, Fricka and the Götterdämmerung Waltraute. Koch has been singing Charlotte for almost a decade, and her command of the role's singular dramatic and musical challenges is impressive, as demonstrated by her performance opposite Jonas Kaufmann's Werther in Benoît Jacquot's 2010 Paris Opera staging, which is available on DVD. 

Charlotte, who enters the action of Werther as an ingenue and ends it as a married woman, is not a flashy character. Emma Eames, the unfailingly dignified American soprano who was the Met's first Charlotte, in 1894, found the role congenial; the glamorous, peppy Geraldine Farrar, star of the Met's next Werther production, was less happily cast. Charlotte is discretion personified — not the type of lady thought of as a "diva role," although several top-flight stars have sung Charlotte with great distinction at the Met, among them Christa Ludwig, Régine Crespin, Tatiana Troyanos, Frederica von Stade and Susan Graham. It is a pleasure to welcome Sophie Koch to their number. spacer 

F. PAUL DRISCOLL

Divider Ornament 

We are happy to announce that Katherine Hagstrum, a national member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, is the winner of this year's OPERA NEWS Awards sweepstakes. Ms. Hagstrum will be given round-trip air transportation for two to New York and a two-night stay at Trump International Hotel & Tower on Central Park. She will be our guest at the gala dinner at the Plaza Hotel on April 13.

CORRECTIONS 

Red Spacer 1213 The principal male character in Victor Herbert's Naughty Marietta is Captain Richard Warrington, not Captain Jim, as stated in Viewpoint (Jan.).

Red Spacer 1213 Because of an editing error, our review of Florida Grand Opera's production of Mourning Becomes Electra misstated the name of the work's librettist. The opera's text was written by Henry W. Butler, not William Butler, as stated in In Review (Feb.).

Red Spacer 1213 The notice about subscription fraud on page 5 of the February issue of OPERA NEWS contained incorrect information about OPERA NEWS mailing labels. We apologize for any confusion. As of the current issue (Mar. 2014), subscription expiration dates will be clearly marked on our mailing labels. The letters EXP DATE will be followed by the month and year of expiration. For example, the label for a subscription that expires in April 2015 will read "EXP DATE APR15."


The opinions expressed in OPERA NEWS do not necessarily represent the views of The Metropolitan Opera Guild or The Metropolitan Opera.


Letters to the Editor: 
OPERA NEWS
70 Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY 10023-6593
e-mail: letters@operanews.com



Follow OPERA NEWS on FacebookTwitter Button 

Current Issue: October 2014 — VOL. 79, NO. 4