Cher Public

Alla cantata ancor manca la diva

racette_toscaPatricia Racette will sing the title role in Puccini’s Tosca on April 14, 17, 20, and 24 matinee, replacing Karita Mattila, “who is ill” — this just in from the Met’s press office.

  • Gualtier M

    I was at the “Aida” last night. Zajick canceled after the Triumphal Scene. Margaret Jane Wray was poised and professional. But the voice definitely is a soprano instrument, if a short one. As a soprano she has seemed to be all warm middle and no top. As a mezzo she was all top. The middles and bottoms in the Judgment Scene were all too soft-grained and light but the tops were loud and free. Hui He is an attractive-sounding, large-voiced singer who is useful rather than inspired. Everything seems applied from the outside. Licitra actually was being artistic (trying to sing piano, acting more than many Radames) but the voice is all over the place. Guelfi is tired and juddery, barking out sound.

  • Bill

    Nerva Nelli -- Curtin did sing some Fiordilgis in Vienna around 1960 plus Butterfly, Salome, Raviata -- I recently read some reviews of her performances there and the reviewer
    was not particularly pleased. After 1961 Curtin did not
    return to the Staatsoper.

    Lear did sing Fiordiligi in Salzburg in 1965 with Patricia
    Johnson as Dorabella. It was the first season at Salzburg that had neither Seefried nor Schwarzkopf nor Gueden nor della Casa but Jurinac sang Marina in Boris -- I saw one
    performance of Cosi with Lear and she was attractive on stage but ordinary vocally even that early in her Career. She also gave a liederabend that season in Salzburg -- all
    Hugo Wolf. Bumbry sang an all Brahms program and was
    quite impressive actually. The warmth of her middle voice was well suited to Brahms.

    Speaking of Brahms -- saw Bostridge last night at
    Tully Hall also all Brahms including many not so familiar songs. The oddity was that he never looked up at the audience during the entire recital (only once after completing one of his encores, Mainacht) -- he shuffled around looking at his shoes, the shoes of the pianist, occasionally at the people in the first row. While he sang
    with great nuance, there was absolutely no communication with the public at all -- one might as well have listened to
    the progrm on the radio. One cannot imagine a Seefried or a Schwarzkopf not singing lieder directly to those in the audience -- it creates a warmth, an intimacy, a feeling of communication totally lacking in Bostridge’s recital.
    One example of another current tenor also superb in lieder, would be Michael Schade. His recitals in Vienna have been
    masterful in communication with the public. That said, Bostridge is a very interesting singer but seemingly so much into himself on stage. Mostly he did not even face the
    audience or even look out into the auditorium but rather sang sideways to his accompanist. One felt totally detached from his performance -- very strange. All Brahms programs are not as common as one might imagine -- Seefried did them sometimes, and Fischeer-Dieskau (and the afore mentioned Bumbry) but Schwarzkopf sang very little Brahms in recital (also not so much Schumann) -- the songs seem to be best suited to sopranos like Seefried/Jurinac (or Mezzos like Ludwig, Kirschlager) with sumptious middle voices and to Baritones such as F-D.

    Incidentally I had quite forgotten but I did hear Kiri at the Met as Fiordiligi -- very elegant but perhaps slightly cool and a bit overshadowed by Ewing’s deliciously perky Dorabella which was so much fun (before Ewing’s total vocal collapse). If only Ewing had stayed with roles such as Dorabella she might have had a longer career.

    It seems that far more of the famous Fiordiligis since the war essayed Butterfly successfully rather than Tosca.
    And why is is that so many Italian sopranos shy away from
    Fiordiligi? (Frittoli an exception). Freni once in an interview spoke of thinking of doing it with her husband, Ghiaurov, as Don Alfonso but it never happened. Perhaps Cosi is rarely performed in Italy.

  • Krunoslav

    Bostridge couldn’t care less about his audience, he clearly despises them.

    Some more Fiordiligi/Tosca sopranos:

    That fine artist Johanna Meier and -- believe it or not, as concerns the Mozart- Tamara Milashkina. (Yuri Mazurok was the Guglielmo!) And — how could one forget — the sightly Bjorn’s mother, Celestina Casapietra!!!!!

  • miredinchaos

    Evelyn Lear sang Fiordiligi at San Francisco Opera in 1973. She replaced Elizabeth Harwood. Ryland Davies, Richard Stilwell, Geraint Evans, Frederica von Stade and Evelyn Mandac made up the remainder of the cast. John Pritchard conducted. These were charming performances.

  • Buster

    Bill -- thanks for the Bostridge review.

    There is a live Marjana Lipovsek recital from Salzburg that includes some of the best Brahms singing I know. I also like Edith Mathis’s Brahms a lot -- the Volks- and the Kinderlieder, and the Liebeslieder-Walzer (with Peter Schreier, Brigitte Fassbaender, and Fischer Dieskau). Lipovsek also recorded a group of Volkslieder accompanied by guitar and piano -- a lovely CD. She is my first choice for the Zigeunerlieder too -- although those last Lotte Lehmann recordings are wonderful also.

    Maria Ewing, according to her website is back in action “after a brief sabbatical.” She will tour small cultural centres in the Netherlands next year with a staged la Voix Humaine. Not to be missed.

  • Krunoslav

    And more: Karen Huffstodt, Sylvia Sass, Helena Doese, Anja Silja…

    This is clearly not a rare combination, folks.

  • armerjacquino

    Kruno, my point way back when was not that it’s a rare combination, but that it’s a rare combination NOW.

  • Jay

    I did go to Houston and saw the Tosca. I didn’t go specifically for that. I used to live there and go every winter for an opera week. Lots of good opera there as opposed to here in Florida where it mostly sucks.

    Anyway Racette was terrific, the Production was not great but better than the Met. Her costumes were boring, but that was hardly her fault.

    Since I am older than dirt I have seen opera at the Met with large and small voices…Kirsten,Albanese, Milanov, Callas,
    etc.etc. I don’t think the size of the voice counts for as much as the Temperament.

    I think Racette will be fine.

  • Krunoslav

    “She will tour small cultural centres in the Netherlands next year with a staged la Voix Humaine.”

    She must be filling the hole left by the Studer recitals in places like Entschiede and Gronigen.

  • Krunoslav

    Ah, sorry, that got lost in the wash of history, Armer.

    Maybe Dancin’ Danielle will take on the roles in a year` or two.

  • CruzSF

    Kruno@89: Thanks for the unexpected pleasure of seeing Entschiede & Gronigen mentioned here.

  • Baltsamic Vinaigrette

    Know what you mean, Cruz: Enschede and Groningen are small beer as it is -- but I’ve never even heard of these places.

    Perhaps they have special meaning for Ms Ewing, whose mother was Dutch?

  • Kilian

    The Netherlands Touring Opera (the ‘second’ opera company in the Netherlands) visits those places with their production of La voix humaine (with Maria Ewing as the soloist in that, and L’heure espagnol as the other production).