Cher Public

Ces lettres, ces lettres…

David Gockley has accepted Elina Garanca‘s withdrawal for “personal reasons” from San Francisco after discovering a “series of European concerts has been recently announced on Ms. Garanca’s website during the Werther performance schedule.”  [La Cieca earlier reported this story as Gockley’s giving “the boot” to Garanca, which was not accurate.]

One can practically see Gockley’s eyes flashing through the press release:

“It pains me greatly to announce that Ms. Garanca has chosen not to appear in next season’s Werther as promised. She is a glamorous young star who has created a stir in Europe and at the Metropolitan Opera, and I was looking forward to presenting her West Coast debut. However, after extensive discussions with her management and having filed a grievance through the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), I am satisfied that the financial settlement we have reached disposes of the matter.”

Alice Coote, who replaces Garanca, will likely want to buy a few copies of the papers where the following paragraph appears:

“I am very pleased to welcome back to the War Memorial Opera House stage Alice Coote, a highly accomplished and extraordinary artist who has had two very big successes with us beginning with Alcina in 2002 and with Idomeneo in 2008…. Her magnificent artistry has been acclaimed around the world for her repertory ranging from Charlotte, Sesto and Octavian, to her recent triumph as Hansel at the Met. We are very honored to feature her in our new production.”

  • iltenoredigrazia

    manou, thanks, but no need to apologize.


    @Cruz 32 -- Yes, that’s the “story” in Montsy’s bio. As to whether or not that’s how it went down is another story. As a fan of Caballe I was thrilled to read that bio given to me as a gift. I was even lucky enough to have Caballe sign it a fews years back when she appeared at a signing at the Met gift shop.

  • CruzSF

    @NYCOQ 42: thanks. I have the bio on order from the library. I really don’t know much about her, except for her fame and what I’ve read here (marked by extreme adoration of her pp. and extreme disdain of her “laziness”). I do have a Don Carlo with her, and she sounds fine to me. I look forward to learning more about her life and career.

  • rapt

    Andrew Porter gives a different story of the Bumbry-Caballe fracas in Music of Three More Seasons (1977-1980). (He says they argued about keys--Bumbry, as Adalgisa, wanting the higher key and Caballe the lower; then, when the conflict was resolved by Bumbry taking over Norma for later performances, Bumbry also choosing the lower key.) Could make for a Rashomon-style opera…

  • MontyNostry

    In that interview, how many times does Matheopoulos write “rightly considered one of the most excruciatingly difficult roles imaginable in living memory”, or words to that effect. And how many times does she manage to mention Karajan and Sternstunden?

  • peter

    I remember seeing one of those Adrianas in 1978 with Caballe, Cossotto and Carreras. Caballe was in great voice but I remember that they brought a chair out for her to sit down in while she sang her duet with Carreras. I don’t know whether she was having foot problems or was just plain tired.

  • iltenoredigrazia

    #44 That’s the story I’ve always heard about the London Normas with Caballe and Bumbry. Bumbry ended up singing the last three with Veasay as Adalgisa. The high key was fine for Bumbry when she was singing Adalgisa but surely not when she was singing Norma.

  • MontyNostry

    Well, I saw the first night of that run of performances with Montse and Gracie, who was not exactly the most sweet and submissive of Adalgisas. I remember her ‘struggle’ with Pollione (Pedro Lavirgen) — she looked like all she needed to do was deliver a left hook and he’d be flat out on the floor.

    I wonder how true the gals’ vows of friendship were?

  • MontyNostry

    Sorry, posted two versions of the same duet previously!

  • richard

    Peter @ 46, re Montsie and chairs….

    I saw a 1980 Tosca at the Met . Montsie, aka Tosca, came storming into the church in Act 1, BAU. Then Giacomini
    went and got a chair, which she set up in the middle of the stage. Montsie plopped down in it and sang the duet with Giacomini. She was in good voice that night and sang very well, tired feet or whatever.


    In the book Caballe (or those interviewed for the book) claim that Caballe was never informed that they would be doing the switch-off, which was a prime reason for Bumbry agreeing to sing Adalgisa again when she have “moved up” to Norma by that time. It was explained away with some sort of incorrect/alternate version learned by one or the other of the singers.

    I absolutely love Caballe and you certainly get the love from the biographers, they had an excuse for pretty much every last one of her major cancellations which are mentioned in the book. They also explain her weight issue as well. I love diva fiction (and there is some in this book), but she did have quite a lot of problems of the “female nature” that did prevent her from honoring a few of her engagements.

  • Lucky Pierre

    rapt, thanks for reminding me of the episode in the porter book. can someone explain to me what that means? what i am wondering is, what does the higher keys version means? i understand the singers (both norma and ady) would be singing at a higher tessitura? and did bellini write then 2 versions of this opera?

  • Haimes

    Having seen Elina live in La Cenerentola and Carmen at MET as well as in Abu Dhabi in recital a few years ago, she has certainly approcahed stardom. Her voice, smile and great looks all contibute to the package.

    Her Bel Canto CD is gorgeous, but she appears to now want more dramatic roles such as Carmen. Her role in I Capuletts and Montecchi alongside Netrebko will be remembered as a noatable classic.