Cher Public

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don deal

La Cieca has just heard that as of this afternoon, La Scala has dismissed Giuseppe Filianoti from their opening night new production of Don Carlos (scheduled for a worldwide telecast Sunday) and replaced him for the entire run of performances with American tenor Stuart Neill.

Per La Cieca’s source, at the Thursday open dress rehearsal of the Verdi opera, Filianoti “wandered around incoherently” in the third act (i.e., the prison scene in the four-act version) and, again quoting our source “basically took a huge shit. He didn’t even know what opera he was in, apparently.”  La Cieca hears further that La Scala originally was going to remove Filianoti from only the first night or two of the opera, offering him dates later in the run, but the tenor turned them down.

Opera Chic also reports that La Scala’s management is trying to find a third tenor to take over some of the later performances (December 10, 12, 14, 16, 19, and 21 and January 4, 8, 11 and 15) in order to remove some of the pressure from Neill. Does Roberto Alagna know the part in Italian?


  • balabanov11 says:

    Stapp -- adequate, serviceable “any and all repertoire” sopranos, who while not having a large voice, had a throat of steel. Saw her many times in her CityOp/Met days -- was very good as LadyM, 2nd cast to Scotto in the infamous Hall production.

    Fun lady, but crazy -- when doing Norma at CityOp, those on stage never knew what was going to happen, in rehearsals or performance -- she would add/discard props, costume pieces, and staging at will. When staff asks Sills what to do about it, her response was always “We have no cover -- give her what she wants”. Judy Forst as Adalgisia got her thru the duets, somewhat in tune.

    On a Met broadcast interview, when asked if she had trouble shaking off her roles in her personal life, she said that when she sang Medea, her kids hid in the closet until it was over! Crazy but funny….

  • J. G. Pastorkyna says:

    I remember reading (or dreaming) that Nilsson withdrew from the Idomeneo recording because she would have been paid only 60 pounds.

    Also -- en un rincon del alma -- I remember that Lucille Udovick did have a comeback of sorts (I hate that word), similar to Suliotis’ several comebacks through the years. Late seventies? Early eighties?

    Finally, I remember Stapp in SF, circa 1982 -- 83, as Abigaille. This was a production that borrowed the elaborate costumes from the Paris production with Bumbry and Milnes -- which I had also seen. Stapp was exciting in a generalized way: nothing terribly special moment to moment, the voice was a bit fibrous and the passagework inexact, but there WAS something going on. She was very well received. I think the Nabucco was Manuguerra, but I don’t remember for sure.

  • Often admonished says:

    “Or wait -- a fine Don Carlo from some years ago -- is Luis Lima still alive?”

    …not alive in a tenor way, no

  • The Vicar of John Wakefield says:

    Why not Justin Lavender as Don Carlo????

  • Often admonished says:

    I saw Lavender take over Arnold from the indisposed Mr Merritt.
    Though in a reasonable orchestra seat, I was unable hear it.

  • The Vicar of John Wakefield says:


    But the artistry and tonal quality place him in the ranks of such outstanding British tenors as Edgar Evans and John Brecknock.

  • olivia nordstad says:

    nilsson’s stockholm debut was under the direction of leo blech -- who had been forced to spend the war conducting opera in stockholm; it was in the role of agathe and he really did not like her; busch, on the other hand, conducted nilsson’s first lady macbeth -- where he permitted her to take the high d flat instead of a second singer, nilsson felt that if someone was going to crack on the note and get booed, it might as well be her rather than someone else cracking and birgit getting booed anyway; she always had fond words for busch and, in fact, it was busch who insisted on nilsson for the ’51 idomeneo electra in question; it was her “international debut”; back to blech, the two eventually sort of made up because blech conducted nilsson’s berlin debut a sieglinde in a conert performance of walkuere act 1; nilsson’s hard feelings toward blech remained; fwiw, herbert sandberg, a resident conductor in stockholm who must have conducted opera performances with nilsson many times was blech’s son-in-law

  • T&I says:

    Cover info addendum:
    The Alagna/Filianotti cover in Rondine is going to be Raul Melo (who never goes on anyway -- with two exceptions in 4 years). Good news, Maria Gavrilova covers Gulegina as Adriana Lecouvreur (much better voice fit for the role, not a “truck driver” going trough it, :) :):).

  • T&I says:

    She hated the NYCO infamous Norma production. During that period her closest friend was dying of AIDS and she was his only “nurse”. Not a great situation doing it during the day and than go on stage as Norma (by the way Judy Forst remained good friends with her and they both disliked that production). Maybe she should canceled as Stratas did for the same reason during her MET Tritico run. But Stapp’s Verona Nabucco, Turandot (as well Torre del Lago and La Scala), her Fanciulla for Radio France, Berlin’s premiere of Macbeth under Sinopoli (yes, he betrayed her later and took Zampieri for the recording, since Mara was pushed by Philips)and her Elektra under Keene are legends, plus her mezzo times early in her career (Amneris to Galvany’s Aida, her Carmen’s or Giovanna Seymour at NYCO opposite Sills and Galvany were not at all lousy, today if properly managed she would be a star, because she looked good and could act on a level of a regular spoken theatre actress level -she was even considered for Sunset Boulvard on Broadway after her Opera career was over). The voice was not huge, but agree that it was kind of steely which easily cut trough in the huge Arena di Verona (Dimitrova’s voice was bigger by size, but had not the ability to cut trough as well, because it was darker). Was it Stapp’s fault that the MET hired her on the tail of her career? She might not been everybodies taste, but she was a damn good operatic artist. Her SF area operatic rewievs are fantastic, many of the NYC critics do not have such knowlegde, finess and written skills and as Artistic Director of the Walnut Creek Opera she showed respectable managerial skills as well.
    I am not her friend, but I hate whensomebody who does not even know her work claims about her or any other artist being lousy, just because he can.

  • La Cieca says:

    T&I: Let’s try to be accurate, please. La Cieca did not call Stapp “lousy,” but said that her singing in that Met Macbeth was lousy. What, should I say it was great singing just because she had a friend with AIDS?

    That Stapp Macbeth was one of a very few occasions on which La Cieca booed a performer in the middle of an opera. In fact, after Stapp butchered “Vieni t’afretta,” La Cieca yelled (easily heard over the perhaps half dozen people who were applauding) “Brava Renata Scotto.” Filth is filth, and I don’t care if the singer is Mother Teresa, filth should be treated as filth.

  • T&I says:

    Dear La Cieca!

    Your reply only shows that you have no HUMAN INTEGRITY (as you did previously on many occasions, including a perfect disrespect in your post about the death of Sergey Larin who was a gay man, died because of it and deserved more RESPECT from you especially, if you claim yourself being so open about it; his wife cried about your post for days -- not all of your jokes are always funny). Opera houses are not gay bars and ability to write a review does not make you a critic. You cannot take a single line of criticism yourself always jumping the guns, maybe the press department should review their decisions to trash their former bosses and artist alla Fleming (you cannot grow up on this issue either and every single time you can to trash her on your blog (I don‘t like her either, but I do not go around and do the same as you on an almost monthly base), it is very predictable and lowered my opinion about you as a person in general. For some of these reasons the “carpenter” made you a persona non grata. Maybe he was not that wrong at all. Bravo Volpe on the 15th anniversary, hope we want have to wait for another one so long! Winnie the “Pooh-Pooh” for you!
    No other comment because you are not worth my time.

  • omerta discussa says:

    T@ whatever your name is, leave already. Place is too hot for your widdle sensitivities. BYE. Don’t let the door hit’ya where the good lord split ya.

    La Cieca is the doyenne here. off. Oh by the way, your not so accurate, Millo is the official cover for the Adrianna and if the truck cancels it is Millo who will sing. The other voice you mentioned is a second first cover like they did for the Gioconda because of Millo’s back. I personally hope that russian cow cancels and we get an authentic reading of Adrianna with Millo.

  • Atomic Wings says:

    To T&I

    What are you talking about? I have searched for a reference to Sergei Larin’s death on this website without success. Not to say it’s not here -- I just can’t find it.

    I find it hard to believe that La Cieca would have said something harsh about his death. It’s just not her style.

    In any case, yours is the first time I’ve seen his death related to his being gay, despite the rumors of AIDS, which were always denied. And people, both gay and straight, do sometimes die of other things than AIDS. Are you stating that he died of AIDS and, if so, why should we believe you?

    What could La Cieca say that would make her cry for days? He wss openly gay and involved with a man in a long-term relationship. Surely she must have known that; his scene with another man (his lover?) in Les Poussieres d’amour (Love’s Debris) was intensely erotic.

    And, as much as I admire Olivia Stapp, her Lady Macbeth was really bad.

  • Krunoslav says:


    Sorry, I heard Olivia Stapp as Turandot at Torre del Lago (opposite Antonio Ordonez, Rosetta Pizzi and Paolo Washington, where are they now?) and though she gave an admirably thought-through acting performance, her singing was “quite adequate”-- which is saying something for Turandot, but does not add up to being “a legend”, nor-- unlike, say, Nilsson or Dimitrova-- is she remembered as such by any Italian opera critic or fan I have ever encountered.

    As I recall it from listening to the radio as a student, Miss Stapp’s SFO Donna Anna could be termed the stuff of legend in a very different sense.

    I am fond of this kind of professional but gutsy singer. Cynthia Lawrence-- assuredly less loony-toons than the Stapp of yore backstage-- is another such , and she gets short shrift too-- but let’s keep things in perspective.

  • La Cieca says:

    Atomic Wings: Larin’s death was mentioned more or less in passing here.

  • Atomic Wings says:

    Thank you both for that reference.

    In my opinion, it doesn’t seem disreapectful to Larin, unless one considers it disrespectful to refer to him as a gay tenor.

    Of course, his wife might feel otherwise, but I don’t think in that case anything La Cieca says is the real cause for her tears.