The Met Orchestra is renowned as one of the greatest opera orchestras in the world. We sat down with Principal Oboist Elaine Douvas to find out what she is looking forward to this season.
How long have you been with the Met Orchestra?
Thirty-seven years. Prior to that I was with the Atlanta Symphony before I took one of the Met’s famous “Behind the Screen” auditions and it was my lucky day!
The season starts in just a few days, and on the second day of the season, we welcome James Levine back to the Met podium for the first time in two years. Have you been working with him since he’s been back?
We’ve been working with him during the pre-season, including a symphonic concert at Carnegie Hall. It’s wonderful to have him back. He’s a great interpreter and a great conductor and he’s back to his old self!
Are there any particular operas that you are looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to playing Prince Igor, since I haven’t done it before. And I’m looking forward to Eugene Onegin, it’s one of my favorite operas. We oboists have to hand-make our reeds, so I have to make sure that I have a wonderful reed with a glowing tone for Onegin. The Letter Scene is not only a wonderful vehicle for the soprano, but Tchaikovsky wrote a lot of expressive music for the oboe.
What does a typical week look like for you?
The weeks are never evenly loaded. There are 2 principal oboes, so sometimes we divide operas, other times we switch back and forth. So things really come in waves. Some weeks you have 4 or 5 rehearsals, and then I’ll get the occasional no-rehearsal week.
Special sense of excitement in the pit for opening night?
There are lots of things to be excited about here, and opening night is a big one. The audience is dressed to the nines, plus it’s a new production, the costumes are gorgeous, Anna Netrebko sounds amazing–and I just love her outfit for the last scene. The Live in HD broadcasts are definitely special events as well. Everybody wants to do their best!