Viewpoint: The Next Generation
Yunpeng Wang, Sophia Muñoz, Mary-Jane Lee and Andrew Stenson at the Opera News Awards, 2015
© Dario Acosta
IN THE JANUARY 28, 1967 issue of Opera News, Douglas A. MacKinnon’s review of Simon Boccanegra from Geneva included a favorable mention of one of this year’s Opera News Award honorees: “José van Dam, in his first major role at the Grand Théâtre, portrayed a moving, smoothly rendered Fiesco.” Then twenty-six years old, van Dam was a few years away from international recognition, but his progress was swift: when John Rockwell of The New York Times reviewed van Dam’s Met debut, as Escamillo in a 1975 Carmen, he cited the Belgian bass-baritone as “the leading singer of the role in the world today.”
Opera News has covered van Dam and all of his four fellow honorees—Joseph Calleja, Elīna Garanča, Waltraud Meier and Anna Netrebko—from the beginnings of their international careers. In April 1998, almost four years before her official Met debut, Netrebko was cited as an artist to watch in a preview essay on the Russian singers who would appear at the Met’s Kirov Opera Festival that month. In his review of the 2001 Wexford Festival, Brian Kellow noted the promise of the twenty-three-year-old tenor cast as Zéphoris in Adam’s Si J’Étais Roi—Joseph Calleja. Opera News brought Elı¯na Garancˇa to the attention of its readers in 2005, when she was a rising star in Vienna and Salzburg, and documented the manifest beauties of Waltraud Meier’s Isolde from her first Bayreuth Tristan in 1993 to her 2015 farewell appearance in the opera. The editors of the magazine believe that our readers have a profound connection to these singers that is based on the enduring richness of their artistry.
As with all living art forms, opera is enriched not only by its past glories but by its future potential. There’s a new generation of talented singers waiting to make history. Perhaps some of them will be at this year’s Opera News Awards.
F. PAUL DRISCOLL
Editor in Chief
The opinions expressed in OPERA NEWS do not necessarily represent the views of The Metropolitan Opera Guild or The Metropolitan Opera.
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