Cher Public

Infectious diseuse

olga_thumbLa Cieca hears that Olga Borodina still has whatever it was she had on Wednesday, and so will have to cancel tonight’s Met performance of Carmen as well.

While we wait for Mme. Borodina’ recovery, let’s enjoy Madeline Kahn in an obscure Cole Porter ditty.

  • Lucky Pierre

    speaking of which, what’s happening to van rensburg? i thought he was quite good in rodelinda (not to mention good looking) but i don’t think he’s been back to the met since.

    • thomas

      Van Rensburg is one of the six tenors in Armida.

    • Uninvolved Bystander

      van Rensburg shared the “Idomeneo” performances with Heppner a couple of years ago.


    Mehta does have a rather “rounder” CT sound. I saw both Daniels and Scholl in the run the last time around. I am a huge Daniels fan, but the night I saw him perform it sounded like his body mike had fallen off. It was the only performance that I have ever seen him in that I didn’t like. Ahhh…the dream of Podles singing…well we can dream. Word on the street is that she is TRES difficult and was literally beating time for Leon Botstein a couple of seasons back. Any truth to the rumor? Difficult or not -- the Met needs to give her something more substantial than Cieca. No offense to our hostess. Any word as to whether or not she will grace us with her Erda in the new Ring cycle?

    • Often admonished

      Hey look, somebody’s got to beat time for Leon Botstein…

    • The Vicar of John Wakefield

      Why should Mr. Friend hire this Slav, whom nothing in the Met’s repertory suits, when he could bring the superb Hillary Summers or Catherine Wyn-Rogers to the Met as Erda?

    • Lucky Pierre

      i have met podles twice after performances. she’s reserved, cold and retiring, to the point i’d say she’s almost phobic of strangers, it seems. i still love her performances, but she’s not the super friendly type (to fans).

      • Krunoslav

        Do remember that she is an Eastern European woman of an age to have been bv brought up wary of strangers; and is also in some enduring pain after her car accident in Arizona a few years ago.

        Don’t expect all singers to be bubbly fanzine types.

        P. S. I have met her several times and she has always been very gracious. Perhaps such stories sometime say more about the manners of the person approaching than the person approached?

        • Lucky Pierre

          oh i totally see that. i don’t expect everybody to be a bubbly american cheerleader type (larmore was more like that). as i said, i still adore her singing, but i have seen her basically flee people that were simply asking her for an autograph. since she is an international diva that travels extensively, one would expect a less phobic reaction, a bit more graciousness. the first time i met her, she was reserved but kind enough to chat and sign autographs. the 2nd time, the first fan in line was an old lady, who grabbed her and wouldn’t let go or stop talking. after that, podles just wanted to get the hell out of there, so the rest of us coming after this old lady, were all left hanging.

          and perhaps she just like crusty grumpy old men like yourself, kruno? :-P

        • Liana

          With all respect, Krunoslav, brought up wary of stranger? In Poland? Are you kidding? She may well be a reserved person, but it doesn’t have anything to do with being brought up in communist Poland; it’s simply her character.

        • mrmyster

          The auto accident was in New Mexico, on her way from Santa Fe
          to the airport in Albuquerque. All others in her car were uninjured;
          they were wearing seatbelts. Ewa was not wearing hers, despite
          advice to do so. Her fracture was serious, and after a few days
          in hospital at Abq. she returned to Poland for treatment. In her
          Santa Fe recital she showed her usual stentorian contralto
          sound, her by-the-tricks coloratura (same school as Bartoli --
          clickety-clickety), and a very short top. She was stolid in her
          platform appearance, and unfashionable. The voice is a Force
          of Nature, the rest of it is as Kruno says, provincial Eastern
          Europen out of the Cold War era. I am, however, glad to have
          heard her in person, tho’ I don’t need any more.

        • Liana

          I have to object again, I’m afraid. People were not brought up wary of strangers in Poland during Cold War; of authorities (of any kind), yes, and this attitude is still very strong here -- a general distrust towards any form of government. Podles is simply not the “bubbly fanzine type”, because not every performer is, irrespective of their origin. She behaves exactly the same in Poland, and even during the interviews she doesn’t seem to be happy to answer questions. She appears to be a person enjoying singing, but not the whole bussiness of being a famous singer. So please, give up the stereotype of some “Eastern European out of Cold War character”; there is no such thing, exactly as there is no “Western European out of Cold War” character.

        • Buster

          Jadwiga Rappé is the same age as Podles, and she was very different on stage: slightly mournful, and very romantic. I have a hunch she was not exactly a party animal either. Lovely singer, though.

  • thenoctambulist

    That is a good question. Who’s the understudy for Fleming’s Armida? BTW, I saw part of the sets they were making for Armida and they were all kinds of brightly colored birds on there. It looked like Disney on steroids.

    • Ercole Farnese

      Angela Meade, if I am not wrong. And I do ardently, fervently hope she gets to sing at least one performance.

    • javier

      It’s Angela Meade from what I’ve read. I saw her on ‘The Audition’ and I like her alot. An interesting piece of trivia is that Renee was cast as Armida on short notice, and rushed with Pesaro Italy with newborn baby in hand when Anna Caterina Antonacci canceled. It was her first real international success. Armida is not a high role so Renee should still be able to sing it really well if she paces herself.

      • Lucky Pierre

        look, few singers these days can match the tonal beauty of renee’s voice. if she behaves, i think she can be a great armida. but i just can’t stand the mannerisms, all that cooing and scooping, all that pretty pretty (sarc.) singing. too saccharine, and i’m diabetic.

        i’m not marshie, but i think maybe studer couldda sung armida in the past, too bad she never did. does brewer have the agility for rossini? i mean, she sings donna anna, doesn’t she?

    • pernille

      Better Disney on steriods than set in some undefined fascist country between wars ( WWI and WWII, that is) Maybe Home Depot ran out of bricks?

    • Lucky Pierre

      btw, years ago, someone named brenda harris was singing armida and norma. whatever happened to her? does anyone know whom i’m talking about ?


        She and Louis Otey did the Lord and Lady of Scotland, broadcast from Utah Opera last October. As I recall, not half bad, and preferable to other higher profile performances.

      • calaf47

        Brenda Harris is singing the title role in Roberto Devereux at this moment at Minnesota Opera. She garnered excellent reviews for her portrayal.

        • Lucky Pierre

          thanks, but i’m sure you don’t mean the title role…

          there are some clips of her on youtube doing deverreux, tosca, lady…

        • calaf47

          You’re right…NOT the title role..but the role of Elisabeth.

      • Malapasqua

        Brenda Harris took over for Hasmik Papian at the last moment a couple years ago singing Norma in Portland OR… I had gone clear out there just to hear Hasmik and was most annoyed that I wouldn’t get to… but I could not have possibly been more satisfied with her replacement. Brenda was excellent, very impressive, and should certainly be better known.

  • Nerva Nelli

    Plus, need we be reminded, Renée Fleming is not just one of opera’s most celebrated sopranos, but perhaps its most convincing actress.

    • kashania

      I hate it when I can’t tell if someone is being sarcastic or serious.

      • pernille

        Me too!

        I hope we get Malibran’s ( Rossini’s) Armida, whoever sings it

      • Nerva Nelli

        I think Rolex meant this laugh line seriously!

        • kashania

          Ah, it’s a Rolex line! That makes sense. I have to say, even when I’m happy with Fleming’s singing, I usually can’t stand to watch her — too phony. The only exeption for me so far is her acting in the final scene of Onegin which was wonderful. I wish she could be like that in everything she did.

      • Reggiani

        On one of the sites that I frequent, it is required that sarcastic remarks be printed in purple….my favorite color.

  • mandryka

    Honey, that wasn’t ACTING in Onegin. That’s what happens when Dima pushes himself up against you and begs for it.

    • kashania

      Good point. LOL

      But seriously, Fleming displayed a poise and good judgement in that scene that I have not seen in any other acting I’ve seen her do.

  • Camille

    OLGA’S BACK and sounding great tonight, Feb. 1st — whatever bug she had is gone — She just finished the Card song and when she sings “La Mort” it ought to scare the bejabbers outta Jose — she has a wonderful sound. Hope she continues this way as I do love her singing.

    • suzyQ

      Camille, I agree that Olga sounds good! Jennifer Black also sounds good here as Micaela.


        May I put in a note of praise for Brandon Jovanovich? At least from what I could hear on Sirius, he was going for, and sometimes achieving, effects other tenors can only dream about. For once, the “Parle-moi de ma mere” sounded like two young people in a conversation. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Act One, as character and drama, was about as good as I’ve ever heard.

        • Regina delle fate

          His Don José was exceptional at Glyndebourne, as was his Prince in Rusalka there. Either next year or the year after he’s doing his first Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Lewes, East Sussex.

        • calaf47

          Yes..I was in the house and I agree. It’s only in the final two acts that Jovanovich can’t pull up the power to compete with Borodina. His voice won’t allow that kind of thrust to make his Jose truly frightening.


          Two considerations color my comment: 1) i’m judging strictly by what I hear on Sirius, and 2) I very much want to have Jovanovich succeed — “Montana boy, y’know.” Yes, he was underpowered in Acts 3 and 4 -- McCracken he ain’t, thank God -- but even Borodina seemed to sense at “Tu ne m’aimex donc plus” that an underpowered tenor with a knife still ain’t nobody to fuck with.

  • Nerva Nelli

    And won’t Dancin’ Danielle be fabulous as she Funky Chickens her way through “O Sachs, mein Freund” and tosses batons during the Quintet?

  • Clita del Toro

    I thought Borodina and Black were excellent. On the radio, I preferred Borodina’s Carmen to Garanca’s—btw, tomorrow I will see the “encore” HD of Carmen. Black sounds more like a Micaela than her mother, Frittoli!
    Jovanovich was very good--not the most beautiful voice, but he sang very well.

    • karajan

      so? Borodina or Garanca? Alagna or Jovanovich? Black or Frittoli? ALtinoglu or Nezet Seguin? Which one did you prefer?

      • Nerva Nelli

        Not since…

        Carmen………………Brenda Lewis
        Don Jose…………….Giulio Gari
        Micaela……………..Laura Castellano
        Escamillo……………Frank Guarrera

        Conductor……………Kurt Adler