Why do Janácek's operas still fail to sell strongly at the Met? Last night's revival of Jenufa was well attended, but seats remain available in almost all categories for remaining shows in the run. It would be good if Peter Gelb's Met were to direct its prodigious energies at marketing twentieth-century masterpieces such as this — i. e., sell the music, not just the performers or director. The cast could not be bettered. Karita Mattila again glows with ardor and power in the title role (here's my review of her 2003 performance). Opposite her is the ageless, uncanny Anja Silja, whose Kostelnikca is frightening and heartbreaking in equal measure. Jorma Silvasti supplied a finely detailed, affecting portrait of Laca; Jirí Belohlávek conducted with great authority, obtaining some of the most incisive playing I've heard in the score. I still don't care for the production, particularly in comparison with the masterly Nikolaus Lehnhoff staging I saw in Berlin in 2002, but all told this is a tremendous night of theater, one of the Met's best shows of the season. (If you happen to have homosexual leanings, the Met is hosting Gay and Lesbian Singles night at Jenufa this Friday.)
The limits of my fame: when I announced myself at the Met ticket window as "Alex Ross," the youngish guy behind the glass cheerily said, "Just like the painter!" At one point I thought of asking the other Alex Ross to illustrate the cover of my book, drawing Schoenberg, Shostakovich, and Steve Reich as caped superheroes, but I never got around to it.