In Final Twist, Ill Pavarotti Falls Silent for Met Finale
After three days of speculation, complete with fat-man-won't-sing tabloid headlines and a replacement half his age waiting in the wings after being flown in on the Concorde, Luciano Pavarotti backed out of his scheduled appearance in "Tosca" at the Metropolitan Opera last night, less than an hour before curtain time.
Kurt Masur's Bittersweet Goodbye With Might Have Beens
EVEN the harshest critics of Kurt Masur would have to grant that the New York Philharmonic has played better during his 11 years as music director than it did in the decade before.
Mr. Masur improved the orchestra's morale (some residual grumbling aside), its discipline, its responsiveness and its overall sound. He worked some of those changes almost instantly, more quickly in any case than could have reasonably been hoped. He also proved a livelier interpreter than many had expected on the basis of his earlier New York appearances with the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig.
Now, sooner than some might have hoped, Mr. Masur — his health recently restored by a kidney transplant — is preparing to leave the Philharmonic at the age of 74. Forced to leave, actually, by a board that seemed to be seeking a more drastic change — generational, perhaps? — than it ultimately achieved in the hiring of Lorin Maazel, 72, as his successor. On Thursday, Mr. Masur opens his last major home stand: three weeks of concerts, including several of his benchmark works, at Avery Fisher Hall.
Yet for all that he has accomplished, he leaves a lingering sense of unfulfillment — of an opportunity missed.