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Monday, 20 May, 2002, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Miller 'fired' by New York opera house
Jonathan Miller
Miller has criticised the opera star system before
Jonathan Miller has said he considers himself "fired" by the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, after a dispute with general manager Joseph Volpe four years ago

In an interview with US music magazine Opera News, the director said the falling-out followed artistic disagreements with star soprano Cecilia Bartoli.

Cecilia Bartoli
Bartoli is one of the biggest draws in opera today
Miller said that in 1998, when he was directing The Marriage of Figaro at the Metropolitan, he differed from Bartoli on the inclusion of two rare arias.

The opera house manager sided with the star and, according to Miller, "kept on sort of jabbing a blunt finger in my face".

In his interview with music critic Martin Bernheimer, Miller also renewed his attack on what he called "Jurassic Park performers".

'Massively inert'

He singled out the Three Tenors, saying that Jose Carreras "just can't act" and describing Placido Domingo's work in a Miller production at La Scala as "stiff and unyielding in many ways".

And he added he would never work with Luciano Pavarotti.

Miller's remarks about working at the Met are unusual in their frankness.

Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennet
Miller: Came to fame with Alan Bennet and the Beyond the Fringe team
Though he returned to the opera house to direct Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande for the 1999-2000 season, he said he regards himself as "fired".

Referring to the dispute with Bartoli over which arias to sing, Miller told Opera News: "I had a sort of set-to.

"I expressed my misgivings quite strongly. I found the arias almost impossible to rehearse.

"I couldn't get my head around things that had nothing do with the action."

The Met's general manager then intervened.

"It obviously got to Volpe's ears that I had been, as he would have said, uncooperative," said Miller.

"When my agent made some inquiries about what other things I might be doing in New York the response left no doubt. I'd been fired".

But Miller is returning to the US to direct Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin this summer in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

"Some of the best things I've done are in what is often disparagingly called the regions," said Miller.

See also:

17 May 02 | Entertainment
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06 Aug 98 | Entertainment
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