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l’elisir d’amaro

As you all know by now, Rolando Villazón is out of the rest of the performances of L’elisir at the Met. The Met press office held on to this news until after 7:00 tonight, which is perhaps some indication of just how bad the Met considers this news to be.

This is what La Cieca knows. Villazón was scheduled for a coaching of his music yesterday; obviously he either didn’t show or else didn’t sing up to a level that the Met management felt confident sending him on tomorrow night. 

La Cieca also has heard from several sources that representatives of the Met’s artistic administration have been phoning around since late last week trying to line up tenor replacements for the next four performances. These efforts at recasting are ongoing — for example, La Cieca has heard that as of tonight the Met still does not have a tenor signed for Saturday the 11th.

Also heard is the story that since early in March the Met has been discreetly sounding out leading tenors about appearing in next season’s new production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann.  Which leads La Cieca to the very sad conclusion that this is the end for Villazón at the Met.

UPDATE: La Cieca now hears whispers that the Met is in talks with Massimo Giordano to star in the “new” Don Carlo (!!!) scheduled for 2010-2011.


  • Zzzzzznombula says:

    #119: Perhaps boidseverywhere (see #108) has some information to a link. Thinking more about it now, I believe the theater was in Reggio Emilia -- the opera house where Pavarotti made his professional debut -- and the concert, celebrating the 40th anniversary of that performance, would have been in 2001.

    Since boidseverywhere was there, perhaps we can get more information and possibly, a link to a video clip -- or even an in-house recording.

    I’ve never found anything through trading or online and tried searching You-tube, but didn’t find anything there.

  • Zzzzzznombula says:

    And -- #119 : Gheorghiu didn’t take over from Scotto. It was a failed attempt because the other singers supported Scotto.

    As boidseverywhere wrote:
    “…Vaness, Millo, Zajick, Remgliosi, cedolins, and Mishura sang out lustily in revenge for Scotto….”

    The video clip I saw was online not long after the concert and I haven’t found anything since….

  • Zzzzzznombula says:

    PAVAROTTI 40th Anniversary CONCERT -- 2001

    I guess it was Modena -- and not Reggio Emilia!

    Interesting photo here:

    And -- it was a broadcast -- so there must be recordings around!

  • mrmyster says:

    #115 Maria, thank you for your insight on Matthew Polenzani. His great teacher at IU had him positioned for light German rep., and I continue to think that is where his voice really is (by ‘light German’ I mean such as Mozart, Handel, smaller Wagner — there’s plenty for a career). He does not sound himself in Italian lyric and I thought him badly over-parted as Romeo. Gosh! Not at all his thing; I don’t know how these people can rave so over it (except maybe out of ignorance of what a real Romeo should be?). But I am casting no stones; we all hear differently.
    I just know when I hear MP sing David and Belmonte I can relax and enjoy — he’s the real thing in that; MP’s Tito would be wonderful, right up there with Richard Cross who is supreme in that repertory. There is a peculiar posting above that seems to defend Polenzani’s character against personal attacks — odd, because I have seen no such attacks here or elsewhere against him. And what does it matter anyway? We don’t go to the opera house to see ‘character,’ we go to see and hear music and singing. Parterre Box is an interesting example of how the messenger is often confused with the message, and most especially, how people can become emotionally involved with a singer they don’t even know, and internalize him/her to the extent that anything negative said about the singer is taken as said about the fan. It seems that Nerva Nelli and Turandot are two such posters and they can turn very vicious and personal. That is most unfortunate, and I believe it should be discouraged. Even when one agrees with them and their judgments, you are very likely to get the back of their hand the next moment. “Free-floating hostility” one psychologist called it. Too bad Donizetti isn’t around to make a caricature of them into a comic opera :) Tragic-comic!

  • Casual Opera Fan says:

    Regarding my comment about Gheorghiu holding final notes beyond the bounds of good taste and the subsequent discussion of the Pav Gala thing:

    I do seem to recall seeing this clip on the website for the gala but it was taken down after a while.

    There was a risible and humiliating mixup in the Brindisi followed by a visible contretemps in which Gheorghiu seemed to push forward past Renata Scotto to hog a prestige moment -- and then at the end someone blared out a high D in some type of defiant vocal gesture but some thought it was Gheorghiu trying to have the final say?

    Is this the incident of which we are speaking?

    If so I have not seen that video since it was taken down but someone, somewhere, must have it since it aired live that way!

    If anyone posts on European boards they could put out a request for it and maybe someone will post it somewhere.

    If that is not the incident then I can’t believe Gheorghiu would do the same thing twice!!!! No, actually I can believe it.

  • Huckleberry says:

    How come no one has suggested getting Shicoff for Hoffmann?

  • Zzzzzznombula says:

    CASUAL OPERA FAN at 125:

    Yes -- that’s the clip I saw and I thought it was Zajick who oversang Gheorghiu.

    Boidseverywhere -- who was there -- said (#108) that “Vaness, Millo, Zajick, Remgliosi, cedolins, and Mishura sang out lustily in revenge for Scotto”

    I’m not clear whether the concert was telecast or on radio other than on Pavarotti’s own website. I found an old webpage from the BBC which makes it seem that they broadcast the concert, yet another webpage says that it was going to be on the internet on Pavarotti’s website. If the BBC did have the concert on TV or radio, I agree that there would be recordings in circulation, yet I’ve never found one. Now that I’m reminded of this concert, I’ll try again to locate something. I wonder, though, whether that ending was “edited.” What I remember seeing was a clip of just the Brindisi at the end of the concert. I don’t think I saw an entire live concert.

    Look at and

    Perhaps Boidseverywhere, who was at the concert, can give us more information

  • turandot says:

    mymyster: Please provide the names of the “vocal professionals” who agree with you about Polenzani. Also, I’d love to see a list of the performances of his at the MET, in Chicago, Vienna, and other places that you have heard him sing.

    Maria: there was nothing “small scaled” about his Alfredo. Perhaps your hearing aid was off?

    It’s people like you who are so vicious about a wonderful young singer who make regular people want to flee an opera house. Blech.

    Go back to your Caruso records. I’m sure it’s the only thing that makes you happy.

  • maria says:

    Turandot: Polenzani is a light lyric tenor. That means that his voice is small-scale and unsuitable for Romeo. It might be suitable for Alfredo if he sounded like Schipa, but unfortunately there is no such resemblance.

    Please try not to place too much importance on criticism of singers, and please try to overcome your anger and hostility.

  • armerjacquino says:

    Well, I know they say that consistency is overrated…

    ‘Mr. Banks presents a horrid stage picture. I laugh out loud every time I see him. Because he looks so friggin’ ridiculous.’

    ‘It’s people like you who are so vicious about a wonderful young singer who make regular people want to flee an opera house. Blech.’

    Pick a team, love.

  • turandot says:

    Maria: you just simply have no idea what you are talking about. I have heard Mr. Polenzani sing Romeo at least 5 different occasions and I have never in my life heard that role sung so well, so beautifully, and so properly (unlike some more famous Romeos who don’t even attempt the diminuendo). He’s not a “light lyric tenor.” Shows how little you know. Singers evolve and voices change with time and age. You are often not the same singer at 40 that you were at 20.

    Try to overcome your ignorance and I’ll do my best to overcome my hostility and anger at that ignorance.

  • turandot says:

    130. You missed the operative phrase there. “Wonderful young singer.” Mr. Banks don’t fit that description. So no need for me to “pick a team.”

    Get it?

  • armerjacquino says:

    I see. Invective is ‘vicious’ when it’s against a singer you like, but fine when it’s unleashed against someone not to your taste.

    You’ll forgive the rest of us for not having a copy of your highly personal rulebook to hand.

  • Browser says:

    Polenzani is fine, but your not going to put him into anything more than a light lyric role at the Met without putting strain on the voice. Last year the voice did show any indication of growing too much. Voices do change of the time, but this is not consistent between one singer and another (and is more common in female singers, rather than in males -- often as physicality changes after childbirth). Many tenors simply remain doing what they were always meant to do. Those who go heavier, often come to grief.

    Turandot, you rant and rave; but you simply don’t underpin anything with any knowledge. I would be quite happy with Polenzani singing Hoffman at the Met, but it would have to be cast around him vocally. He’s a very different singer to Villazon, around whom the production as it stands has presumably been cast. And its a BLOODY long sing. You cannot compare it, for example, to Romeo..

  • mrmyster says:

    #134 Brower you are making sense, but I don’t think Polenzani can sustain a peformance of Hoffman, do you, really? I don’t this is tonal quality is right for it and I hope he does not make the attempt, if offered. He belongs in smaller European houses where his elegant Mozartean artistry can be apprecaited!
    Dr Turndot is irrational on the subject; just overlook that clod in the road.

  • Hippolyte says:

    For what it’s worth, Polenzani sang Edgardo a couple seasons ago at the Bastille (a huge barn and had a big success, I believe) and is doing it again with Gruberova in Vienna this spring.

  • maria says:

    I think the Bastille uses sound enhancement. At any rate, Villazon had big successes and look what happened to him.

    Having heard Polenzani as Alfredo, I have no desire to hear him sing anything heavier than Belmonte or Tamino.

  • Browser says:

    It would be nice to see directors take the Schlesinger reading of Hoffman (at Covent Garden) and cast Hoffman as a middle aged man stepping back into his youth. This would give them far more scope to cast a tenor more suitable to the role vocally. The opera world is littered with tenor pushed beyond their limits. This is partly because teachers are not taking the baritones whose voices would lift to make the lyric and lyrico-spinto tenors up and training them in the right direction (alla Bergonzi, Domingo etc).

  • José Acosta says:

    This is incredible, all of you are GENIOUS, all of you are EXPERTS in opera singers and it is easy for you to say…he doesn´t work anymore…, la comedia é finita…, he won´t sing anymore, The Met is finished for Villazon and you suggest this and this other opera singer is okay as if you were in the market buying tomatoes… I am sure all of you are failed opera singers and this is the only reason why you try to be or try to appear as very hard opera critic to let people know that you know a lot of opera, but you need to be honest, just wait…Rolando Villazon will be back to close all of your big mouths.