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Ex cathedra

red_shoesSo, who do you think said this?

It is unfortunate that for the Met’s first production of ATTILA they could not do a more “conventional” production. The sets and the costumes had nothing to do with the period of the opera or the characters. I know from having been at rehearsals that the director gave the singers nothing and the set prevented them from doing anything dramatically. The production is a fiasco!

The answer is after the jump.

Samuel Ramey (I was the Pope)” [Dallas Morning News]


  • 21
    poisonivy says:

    It seems rather unprofessional, but “Attmeph” used to post at Opera Oasis quite a bit and no one ever doubted it was him. He seemed like a fun guy. Maybe Sam is upset that by the time the Met got around to one of his favorite roles, he was no longer in a position to sing the title role. Or maybe he’s pissed off that he’s not singing the title role. (Remember all those old ladies in Rasponi’s book who swear they could have sang for years longer had they wanted it?) Or maybe he’s pissed off that he’s clearly being shown the door (albeit in a polite way).

    • 21.1

      Or maybe, as Bart suggests, he’s just tired of all the BS. That’s my hope. Oh BTW (tick tick tick)

    • 21.2
      Malapasqua says:

      Yes, back in the great days of the Opera Oasis on AOL, Sam posted fairly often as, and that was 10 years ago — same email address, and we all knew it was really him. There were several singers who were regular participants back then, like Susan Graham and Christine Goerke and Tony Griffey. Sam was quite capable even back then of saying just what he thought online, such as exactly what he thought of René Pape, and it wasn’t all good.

  • 22
    Will says:

    I assumed that the Red Shoes tie-in was the fact that Madama Prada designs the red shoes that Pope B16 wears.

  • 23
    aloki miyeyi says:

    Ramey is on the roster next season (as per season schedule published in the subscription brochure). His performances last season included a Leporello, dramatically apt, musically fine (no really extended phrases, so wide vibrato not really an issue). This season, Timur, the character being a very old man, the wobble was not fatal. The Leone was passable vocally, and a towering cameo performance, in the context of bland supplied by the other principals (pace Manou). What is the source of the information that anyone at the Met will not work with him?

    • 23.1
      Baritenor says:

      Well if he is singing it’s not in a major role. He’s not listed in the Met’s Rep/Cast press release at all. Maybe he’s cameo-ing in Traviata (Grenvil’s onstage the entire night in Decker’s production. Wouldn’t that be cool, just have Sam Ramey hovering around the stage all night?). Or perhaps he’ll be singing Crespel, or The Sprecher in Flute, or Monterone. There’s all sorts of stuff for an aged bass to collect a quick paycheck for.

      • 23.1.1
        aloki miyeyi says:

        From # 23:
        “Ramey is on the roster next season (as per season schedule published in the subscription brochure).”

        Mea Culpa -- I have combed the season schedule from the subscription brochure, and Ramey is not listed for any roles major or minor. James Morris is, however, for at least one major role: presumably he will be relying on kunst rather than stimme, if this year’s Fiesco is any indication of the state of his art (considerable) and instrument (compromised). Also among the superannuated, there is Paul Plishka, as the landlord and Alcindoro again, and as was the case this year, I suspect there will be more character than voice, with no harm done. I have no problem with compromised voices, if the role is chosen with the particular debility taken into consideration, and if the artistic achievement is at least as evident as the vocal decline. Of course, being scheduled, or being listed on the roster do not always tell the eventual story, as Hei Kyung Hong has not been on the roster or scheduled in advance for several years, and yet has appeared when cancellations allowed. She is singing several Traviatas this year, but was not listed in advance. So Ramey may yet appear during the next season. I would hope that if he does it will be in some capacity that is within his present compass, which is actor who sings, and that the current flaws in his singing will not compromise the performance.

  • 24
    mrmyster says:

    Of course that quote was not Ramey — it had to be,
    who else, Marcello Alvarez!
    And wasn’t Betty Bacall the perfect old diva tonight in receiving
    that Oscar (filmed the other day), and giving a smart speech.
    Very well done by all concerned.

  • 25
    Lalala says:

    I can’t believe Ramey would go looking for the review in the Dallas paper in order to make his comments. This review came out well after the other major reviews. I think Ramey has better things to do than worry about this--and I believe too much class to do so as well.

  • 26
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Apparently it’s true about the comment being from Ramey. No big deal. WOuld that more singers would speak up before they find themselves immersed in Gelb drek.

  • 27
    La Valkyrietta says:

    Leo starts with the letter “L”. :)

  • 28
    Harry says:

    I know the film Red Shoes well. If we want to read more into it (the use of the poster to tell a story) remember the red shoes are the last image left at the end of the film ‘the absent ballerina’s performace’ and therefore then who plays the Met’s Antom Walbrook role of megalomaniac in all this?

    Attila: anyway is is a walking caricature of some operas of that period. Singer comes on, belts out their rage of being wronged, raped, whatever: chorus (all rumph- tee- dah!)join in for a verse or too, ready to unite in a cause of ‘calls to arms’.and then singer of attraction trapes off until the singer is needed to come on again and repeat the soap opera effort with someone else!

  • 29
    florezrocks says:

    For those wanting a preview of Fleming’s Armida

    Here’s “D’amor al dolce impero” from a 2009 concert -- gives a much better indication than her 1996 recordings

  • 30
    florezrocks says:

    ALSO: Youtube now has the full Nixon in China production from Houston up

  • 31
    CruzSF says:

    OT: Lawrence Brownlee is interviewed in anticipation of Armida on WNYC’s Soundcheck. To hear it, you can download the show’s podcast from iTunes or listen to it on the WNYC Website.