Cher Public

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Fais pâlir les étoiles!

costello_thumbLa Cieca just heard that Stephen Costello goes on tonight (i.e., in just a few hours) in Roméo et Juliette at the Salzburg Festival opposite Anna Netrebko. He’s jumping in for Piotr Beczala, who, if you ask Norman Lebrecht, is probably malingering with a South Seas cutie.


  • MontyNostry says:

    So, Mrs Costello (Ailyn Perez) stepped in for Nebs as Juliette a couple of years ago at Salzburg, and now Mr Costello steps in for Romeo. Maybe Mr and Mrs will have a chance to sing there together before long.

    • louannd says:

      I saw them sing it together in San Diego last spring. Married couples are always cool because there is a lot more real cool touchy feely stuff.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Slazburg sure ain’t what it used to be.

  • OpinionatedNeophyte says:


  • Donna Anna says:

    He sang Rudolfo with Ms. Perez in Cincinnati and he was excellent: a strong, lovely lyric tenor with plenty of dynamic range. En boca al lupo and a speedy recovery to Beczala.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Lebrecht may have all the dirt on Maestro Jimmy and the rest, but LA CIECA tops ole’ Normie for scoops and insight.

    • mrmyster says:

      Quanto, scoop NOT. Costello was scheduled to sing this performance
      all along; he sings several more, he is second cast. You and La C should
      take a look at the web site and see cast listings.

      • louannd says:

        sorry mr., but he wasn’t supposed to ever sing it with Anna, only Nina. I believe they changed the schedule already online.

      • SF Guy says:

        Both Beczala’s official website and Carlos’ Netrebko blog show Beczala as the originally scheduled Romeo for this performance.

      • operatweets says:

        Costello wasn’t scheduled for this performance, Salzburg Festival tweeted the change that morning and re-arranged the web-site.

  • operadunce says:

    He was wonderful in L’Elisir d’Amore in Detroit two seasons ago at the Michigan Opera Theatre. We were very lucky to have him and Ms. Perez in a season in which almost all major corporate underwriting and a lot of private donations had vanished due to the much publicized problems of the American auto industry. Despite all of the obstacles, David DiChiera still manages to provide us with these treasures.

  • sutherlandfan says:

    Anyone in the Philadelphia area in February will be able to see Mr. and Mrs. as Romeo and Juliette at the Opera Company of Philadelphia run at the Academy of Music.

  • Maury D says:

    In preemptive summary:


    Commenter 1: He’s hot!
    Commenter 2: He only gets hired because he’s hot!
    Commenter 3: He’s not that hot!
    Commenter 4: He’s destroying his voice!
    Commenter 5: I knew Richard Tucker!

    Commence variations.

    • louannd says:

      I have to say LOL to you. One of the few somewhat famous tenors I have actually seen and heard in an opera venue. His wife brings out the best in him, actually. I enjoyed every moment of their Romeo and Juliet.

    • LittleMasterMiles says:

      You forgot Commentator 6: Here’s an unrelated YouTube video! Let’s talk about that instead!

  • fartnose mcgoo says:

    I know the following has nothing to do with this.

    Recently, I heard Renee Fleming saying that she has another bel canto role planned for the near future. Is it possible that she would do La Gioconda? I’m curious because the Met recently threw out that set, and I figured they normally throw out sets of operas that are either old productions or operas that won’t be performed anytime in the near-late future.

    I also ask this because I was listening to Fleming’s rendition of the letter scene from Eugene Onegin and her low notes would sound really good for Suicidio.

    Sorry for asking what is potentially a ridiculous question.

    • richard says:

      Your question is not really so far out as you would think. While most people wouldn’t include Gioconda as a bel canto opera, Maria Callas was on record of making a kind of connection between the two. In her book the music that she really felt was worth doing was bel canto and it’s extended relatives, mostly early and mid Verdi. Also perhaps Mercadante would be included although I don’t think Callas was too familiar with that composer. But she also described Gioconda as being just within the bounds of “decent singing” to use her words.

      So , in a way, she made a sort of connection.

      That said, I don’t think the opera that Fleming is planning is La Gioconda. The ochestration is much thicker than the works which fall more neatly under the bel canto umbrella, the Donizettis, Bellinis, Rossinis. And Fleming’s voice isn’t getting any heavier. So my own guess is that she’s planning on something in this more narrow, more typical bel canto universe. Perhaps Beatrice di Tenda as she has already done Straniera and sonnambula much earlier in her career. Or maybe a somewhat unusual Donizetti. I’m hoping she stays away from any more Rossini. the comic rossini tends to be a bit low for her and the serious Rossini just doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. Armida seemed to be a bust at this point.

  • La Cieca says:

    I don’t think anyone would call La Gioconda a bel canto opera, and that would go double if Fleming attempted it.

    La Cieca has heard some whispers that Fleming might try Bellini’s Giulietta.

    • fartnose mcgoo says:

      Hahaha, Cieca. For some reason, I thought Gioconda was written forty years earlier than it was. Anna and Reneenee then are going to be having one massive catfight over that new production, as Elina Garanca leers at the two of them.

    • luvtennis says:

      La Cieca:

      And if she is well coached she could be wonderful in the role -- 5 years ago.

    • kashania says:

      This is deeply unfair to the public (especially of the Cher variety). Didn’t Fleming recently state that she was done with new bel canto roles? I thought Armida was going to be the end of it.

    • justanothertenor says:

      Dear La Cieca, I have just heard whispers that the Fleming Met Norma may just be back on for 2013 or 2014…

    • prunier says:

      If Fleming is going to add another bel canto role to her repertoire, I would like to suggest Donizetti’s Parisina d’Este.
      With the three Tudor queens constantly under discussion at the Met, it would seem she might want to try one. I don’t think Elisabetta would be right, but I can imagine her taking on Maria or maybe Anna.

      • orfeoedeuridice says:

        Question: Who would be better as Anna Bolena: Fleming or Netrebko????

        • kashania says:

          Hmmm… neither is great in bel canto but both have some qualities that would recommned them.

          Fleming has the better overall technique but has no sense of style. And for whatever reason, bel canto brings out the worst in her when it comes to tacky emoting, etc.

          Netrebko’s technique may not be as strong as Fleming’s is (or was?) and she’s hardly the ultimate in bel canto style. But, Netrebko sings the music with a straightforward delivery that one wishes one could get from Fleming. So, Netrebko doesn’t necessarily reveal any deeper meanings in the music but at least she doesn’t pull and push at the music in the vulgar way that Fleming can. And she compensates somewhat with her acting which is superior to Fleming’s mugging.

          Also, while I haven’t heard either soprano live, it seems to me that Netrebko has the bigger voice, which would allow her to fill out those grand moments better than Fleming would.

        • operatweets says:

          Mariella Devia :P

      • havfruen says:

        Flemming is terrific in the recording of Donizetti’s Rosmonda d’Inghilterra. The problem is that the character is quite young, as is Parasina. The role of the queen in Rosamonda would be a better fit. I think her bel canto days are over. Sadly, she didn’t “make hay while the sun shone”

        • richard says:

          Yes, I like her in that recording too. And I saw her in an OONY Straniera CA 1994 that was really fine until she got tired and ran out of voice in the final scene. Her Armida in Pesaro/Sony Cd was also good.

          But I think that time is well passed. I really don’t think she has either the voice or the inclination for bel canto anymore.

        • kashania says:

          Yes, early in her career, Fleming’s singing was not yet beset by her jazzy mannerisms. She may not have been a great stylist but she sang the music honestly and had fabulous technique (and a golden tone) to back it up. It’s easy to see why people got so excited when she first burst on the scene.

  • Constantine A. Papas says:

    Netrebko devours her Romeos like no other Juliet! She had four in New York, I think, and now two in Salzburg. BTW, how is she doing? Someone wrote that her voice sounded the best ever.

    • fartnose mcgoo says:

      Are you talking about the Gounod one? I was talking about the Capuleti one. I’m sure she’d be good as Juliette in Gounod’s telling.

  • Sanford says:

    One of my favorite complete recordings of all time is Capuletti with Larmore and Hong. OMGawd! AMazing singing and conducting. Frankly, if push came to shove, I’d rather hear Renee in Capuletti than Trebs in Anna Bolena. But I don’t think either singer is right for those operas.

  • manou says:

    Just for the heck of it, and for those who have not seen it and have a couple of hours to spare :

    Julia Migenes a few years ago in her one-woman show.

  • Buster says:

    The bookclub thread seems to be closed. On James McCourt:

    Great book. Excellent choice for this site too -- since most of what we know about Mawrdew Czgowchwz we only know through comments by other people -- fans, in particular.

    There are about four pages in the book where the diva herself speaks, but those pages (two dialogues between her and the curiously faceless Jacob Beltane) read more like a script for an unrealized movie than a “real” dialogue. How real is that Beltane guy, anyhow?

    I am certainly planning to read more of his work. I also loved the Koestenbaum introduction. The style of the book reminded me more of Answered Prayers than of Firbank, by the way. Loved it to bits.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    I’m glad this host is not broadcasting in the USA:

  • LittleMasterMiles says:

    OT, especially since he didn’t even have to cancel, but it’s another sign of heterosexuality run amok in the music world: