Cher Public

everything but the bloodhounds

Well, the first thing La Cieca will say about the Met’s 125th Anniversary Gala is that for all its sprawling splendor it doesn’t look quite what you’d call entertaining. Or rather let’s say it looks as if it won’t sound very entertaining. The visual element — you know, computer-animated Marc Chagall murals and Waltraud Meier prancing about in a copy of Rosa Ponselle‘s Carmen drag — will likely achieve a level of instant camp approaching that of Rosie O’Donnell‘s variety show last night. (La Cieca had no room for the phrase in the previous run-on sentence, but, anyway, good old Rosa’s “controversial” toreador pants ensemble was of course designed by “dyke, ya know” Valentina.)

Leaving aside such questions as “are there really more than a dozen people in New York iwho are really panting to hear Natalie Dessay sing Violetta,” what La Cieca wonders is: can there be a less appropriate selection for a gala than the final scene from Parsifal, and to close the first half (a la Birdie Coonan) yet? Surely someone at the Met realizes that as soon as the audience starts applauding, some heligie Kunst nut will bellow, “Shuddup! It’s a sacred festival play!”

On the other hand, La Cieca feels that in the current political climate it is a deliciously subversive act for the Met to program this music drama for its anniversary, since the company’s 1903 premiere of the work constituted perhaps the greatest example of theft of intellectual property in operatic history. Pirate-y!

  • kashania: Surely it’s more than a little ominious that the final sung words of a gala should be “Falsch und feig ist, was dort oben sich freut!”

  • Peter’sPeck, is there actually anything about any opera or any singer that you like?

  • Sanford

    It’s the day after my 49th birthday, so I was going to go, but it sounds like a really boring concert, musically. Visually it actually sounds fascinating.

  • kashania

    La Cieca: LOL, true enough, but great music!

  • kashania

    Cassandra: You obviously missed my follow-up “never mind” post regarding Dessay’s Violetta.

  • Peter’sPeck

    My, my…Dirk Va thank you for asking.

    Yes, I favored Flagstad over Traubel, loved Nilsson and Rysanek, Steber was perfection in the Mozart and Lisa Della Casa like rose champagne. Raisa and Milanov, Rise, and Licia Albanese. Siepi and Giaotti are basses in my ear,

    I adore Merrill over Warren, Bastianini uber alles, Crespin,
    Corelli over most, Tebaldi in anything, Freni in a few things,
    Callas in most things, Caballe early, Moffo early, Sutherland, Pavarotti, Horne.

    More recent, I liked very much Battle early, Domingo when he can sing all the notes, Zylis Gara, Bianca Berini, some Hvrostofsky, practically no baritones of today other than he, they mostly bellow, or are too lyric. Renee in Mozart and Strauss, early, Millo early, some later things are wonderful and the sound is like no one else today, Borodina when healthy and inspired, some Zajac, of the newer singers,

    Giordani also when inspired and rested, Netrebko, all about sound now but may grow more interested in words, great sound, and the tenor who just debuted from poland who’s name starts with a B. Spelling is beyond me this late.

    Productions, Carsen some, Franco Z, early all, now some,
    Visconti alllllllllll, Biexito NONE, Hugo de Ana some, Otto Schenk most.

    at the old age, I know what RPM represented, LOL, I still expand horizons, just not a lot of people are fully formed, sing in pitch, and have a message. The sound for me has to be first rate and few are. Blythe is an example of an ample plummy sound.

    In these little sound bites I am negative recently, pity. I want so to be positive about opera. It just doesn’ t sound like anything I remember or will want to remember. Working on staying open.

  • Tiger

    Well, I don’t understand what is so horrible about ending the first half with the Parsifal finale. It is a great piece -- and since it can end a whole evening at the opera, why not the first part of the gala? Also, since the gala is for Domingo partly, it makes good sense to hear him in a Wagner role which is arguably what he has been doing best the last 5-10 years. And probably the fact that his 40 years are being celebrated is the reason for him singing more pieces than anyone else?

    Also, this habit of using petnames like Renny and Netty, my, it is so tiring. Ok, Renny I could guess but who the f… is Netty? So nice to be all smug and in the “in”…. This habit is about as annoying as the person (knowledgable and interesting as he often is) that cannot mention singers like Paul Plishka and Samuel Ramey without referring to them as “old buddy” etc.


  • DanPatter

    Tiger, I agree, this nicknaming can be a little too annoying at times. (Besides, I believe the accepted nickname for Netrebko is “Trebs,” not “Netty.”)

  • Stewball

    I suppose we could all go on debating the Parsifal scene’s appropriateness at this event till we all just turn into butter, but I think there’s a more interesting subject for speculation. Who, one wonders, will get to be Kundry in this excerpt? The total absence of vocal requirements would seem to throw open the door to all sorts of exciting possibilities for a glamorous star turn.

  • pirate jenny

    How great would it be to have something from ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ or ‘Vanessa’…

  • Regie Goodfornought

    Pirate Jenny, are you trying to do an American version of the Vicar’s line? I mean, if I wrote -- but what about Boughton’s The Immortal Hour or Goossen’s Nelson, I’d be ‘avin a larf, wouldn’t I? Though I’d have to admit Barber’s pieces are on a slightly higher level -- closer, mebbe, to Walton’s tedious-noisy Troilus and Cressida (or Ades’s Tempest, but let’s not get started on that again).

  • Perfidia

    The total absence of vocal requirements would seem to throw open the door to all sorts of exciting possibilities for a glamorous star turn.

    Renata Scotto. Better yet, Kathleen Battle.

  • venusofmoscow

    Don’t know how it would be done, but some year at one of it’s anniversary galas, maybe the Met could pay tribute to Signora Goldoni(Grace Golden) who appeared on the second night of the Met(1883) and sang the Page in Rigoletto for 3 performances and a Sunday night gala) and never returned. A tribute to all the singers who never became Big but for a brief time got on stage. Or do a tribute to the bought-out Oscar Hammerstein. Just some winter night thoughts.

  • mrmyster

    Hello: I have a novel idea for the upcoming March gala: Levine sits in a box with the chairman of the board and other top dogs of the Met, and a series of star conductors, those remaining, who have conducted the Met do the work in the pit.
    Think with me about that a bit. Would that not be worthy recognition for Levine and perhaps a very healthy move for the Met? If that does not work, how about the pit work being done by Luisi of SFO, Davis of Chicago, etc etc, including Pappano ROHCG, and let us hear what we’ve been missing?
    Finally, this: Do not be surprised if the 125 Gala is called off. It looks very expensive at every level, not very interesting, and in this time of deconstructed finances, who needs it? I say let’s spread the wealth, by supporting a revivied NYCO, and leave the Met to Hedge Fund Conservatives and Hank Paulson (who will be called upon any moment now to bail them out!).

  • Gundryggia

    Regie, I see nothing wrong with Troilus, though it is not a work to make a bloated invert weep like Vanessa, it is still a lot of fun to play at the piano, almost as much as Vanessa which takes the prize, they are followed by A Knot Garden the second act of which I love and adore and weep through (best musical meditation on Schubert EVER!!).

    However it had never struck me before that there are similarities between Troilus and Anthony and Cleopatra. They both sound like the composer worked for a while, then went for a long sit in the loo, whilst an imp of the perverse sneaked out of the closet and wrote a bunch, vanishing when the composer returned, and all he said was “got further than I thought, I guess”. I am talking of the FIRST Anthony, the revision is too sad.

    One thing to be said for Troilus is the highlights record with Evil Incarnate, Richard Lewis and a sniggering Peter Pears (“that’s a modulation BEN wouldn’t have made, heh, heh, heh.”) It is one of Evil’s most eccentric and bizarre performances and one must have it!

  • pavel

    Welcome back, Mrs. JC!

  • venusofmoscow

    Perhaps some year when The Money has returned, the Met could put Mozart and Salieri on the boards, or give us some new interesting works, such as Goebbels and Blackhead, or Tito and Zinka(the castings would be interesting). Re Grace Golden: there was an article on her years ago in Opera News. If I remember, she was a girl from Indiana? who did her brief stint at the Met and then sang around for several years before dying of TB in the 1890s. She may have sung with Sousa, if I remember.