Our JJ writes his rave of raves:
“If such a thing as perfection in opera is possible, in this House of the Dead, the Met achieves it.” [NY Post]
How truly wonderful it is to read something so positive about the MET for a change. Great review from James Jorden. Enjoy it while you can… things are sure to return to filth.
How great to hear Kurt Streit given the recognition his artistry so deserves. And I’ll bet he is a fully integrated member of the ensemble into the bargain. I’m so looking forward to seeing this!
Damn it!!! I just can’t afford to fly down to NYC to see this. Argh!
Thank you, La Cieca, for a beautiful and heartfelt review. Were I not booked between Urbino, Assisi, and Vienna, I would certainly come running! I have always loved Patrice Chereau, since THE ring; and his Tristan at Scala, not universally loved, sent serious shivers down my spine for reasons to numerous and complex to mention. I was deeply moved by it. I am sure this is extraordinary and am truly sorry to miss it!!
Lorenzo -- many people like the Chéreau Scala Tristan, even some critics, although needless to say it wasn’t Regie enough for the Germans. I am going to try to see this House of the Dead when it goes to La Scala.
Si, certo, anch’io.
Great review. Love the new pic too!
Excellent review. Also worth checking out: Martin Bernheimer’s Financial Times writeup at
I used to be terribly annoyed with Martin B. when I lived in LA and he was critic at The LA Times; he was ruthless with icons and referred to Pavarotti and Caballe (in an SF Tosca) as singing sofas, etc. That said, he is a smart cookie, and this review verifies that he has grown wiser as well as older… succinct, to the point, generoso.
Just to dispel some misinterpretations: the show originates in Europe (Aix-en-Provence) and then goes to La Scala, is definitively NOT the other way around.
I second Will!!! Having worked with Kurt, I can attest that he is a complete artist and true gentleman. Why is it that Mozart tenors never get there due?
Why on earth isn’t this show being sung in good, clean English?
As one OPERA reviewer observed recently, Cheryl Barker is now the recorded Kat’a of choice in old Norman Tucker’s splendid rendering:
Act I Scene 2: Ah, but you, what can you know of this?
Act II Scene 2: Far away my love is gone across the water
Act III Scene 2: Ah, Glasha! It’s awful to think of it
And of course without another Aussie (Sir Charles) no one would be performing Janacek today! He should be counted as an English composer.
Give me Elizabeth Soderstrom any day in Kata Kabanova, Makropoulos Case or Jenufa in the original language.! Some people fail to realise that she was not ‘just cast’ by Decca /Mackerras in those operas but due to her expertise , knowledge and singing ability of them. I know she had at one stage had sung the role of Emilia M. in four different languages for various productions. Let;s see the ‘roll call’ for other singers adapting to the same feats. She is just another of the singers that tend to be always overlooked, thinking back of the greats, here.
Harry, Soderstrom had an amazing command of languages. I heard her in five different roles, in FIVE different languages! English, German, Italian,
Russian, and Czech. I also heard her in recital where she included Swedish and French.
Richard I heard her in a long interview once, Boy! Soderstrom came across not only as warm, friendly and engaging; but with a sharp analytical brain and plenty of intelligence to boot.
Made me think : pity a lot of other opera singers did not have the same resources to interpret a role.
She was also hysterically funny when she wanted to be. I recall seeing her receive an award after intermission of a (Swedish Chamber Orchestra?) concert. She started off with “I don’t have a BIG voice…. [perfect pause] but it’s ugly.”
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