Cher Public

In the beginning

jockstrap“Enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Jovanovich also began taking paying jobs around town. His first mention in The New York Times came in a 1996 review of the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players in The Gondoliers at Symphony Space. Anthony Tommasini noted Mr. Jovanovich’s bright voice and strapping physique…” [NYT]

  • MontyNostry

    Gurewitsch could well be a Parterrian, inserting that quote for the greater amusement of La Cieca and her acolytes.

    Neither Brandon nor Elina will thank the newspaper for choosig that particular shot of the two of them.

    • mrmyster

      Well Monty, the Times’ illustration is more attractive than Parterre’s
      (above)! yes? :)
      I think Gurewitsch is out of touch with reality, maybe? I wonder if he has
      heard Brandon sing lately? The top voice is very uneasy — I do not find his
      upper register attractive or comfortable, though his celebrated “new” voice
      teacher’s fundamentals are in place. Brandon should have been using them
      all along; most teachers do.
      B.J. was here singing Pinkerton all summer -- he’s very impressive on
      stage and seems a good performer, but I would recommend Wagner as
      soon as feasible. He could be a distinguished Wagner tenor and have
      nothing above A-natural, and he might be very successful that way. But
      his Italian days seem growing short.

      • louannd

        and boiled everything down to breath support and placement. When all is said and done, singing is a matter of relaxation, of getting out of the way of what your voice can do.

        Who has he BEEN studying with?

        • Baritenor

          Probably someone with very similar teaching philosophies as the studio I am currently working with. This is very close to things my own teacher has said. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it; it’s worked marvels for me. I think the biggest name that currently subscribes to this kind of method is Nathan Gunn, who studied with my teacher’s teacher.

      • Tim

        Slightly off thread but related to the rple of Pinkerton you may want to check out youtube for Calleja’s “Addio Fiorito” at Housten. Sounds really good to my ears. Makes me ask the question Grigowho?

      • Gualtier M

        Myster Van Sant: Brandon’s Don José Met debut last winter was miles ahead of anything I had heard previously from him. I had heard a very troubling Turiddu at City Opera where he was forcing and breaking above the staff -- usually passaggio problems. He worked out everything for the Met and even sang lovely voix-mixte high notes at the end of the Micaela/José duet in Act I and the Flower Song. The baritonal quality in the middle was appropriate and he looked like he belonged there. Olga Borodina, Maija Kovalevska and Teddy Tahu Rhodes were his partners. He wasn’t overshadowed. Hopefully he will build on this success next Thursday.

  • Lucky Pierre

    just wondering if anyone was at the trovatore at the met tonight. julianna di giacomo scored a great success tonight when she went on after the intermission for racette. it was fantastic. was that her debut at the house?

    it’s too late to go into details right now but i’ll post more later after some sleep…

    • manrico

      I was there -- she was a welcome substitution. The cast was very uneven for the first half, but as soon as di Giacomo opened her mouth, everybody relaxed and things began to gel. Would love to know if it was her debut as well, she seemed confidant and at ease. Have to say, Racette didn’t sound awful, but was wise to pull out -- have heard other singers at the Met insist on giving us much worse.

  • MontyNostry

    Didn’t di Giacomo sing Lina in Stiffelio at the Met, alternating with Radvanovsky?

    • Byrnham Woode

      Yes she did. And she broadcast STIFFELIO on the Saturday matinee last year.

      • Lucky Pierre

        thanks, i had checked the met database but the search came up empty. i had typed in “digiacomo” instead of “di giacomo” (although she’s listed as DiGiacomo in met’s roster in the printed program).

        she has a really rich, creamy, large spinto voice. isn’t she also a belcantista? i can hear her singing norma, all the big verdi parts, maybe even strauss? she got the biggest ovation of the evening, after “d’amor sull’alli rose.” when they made the announcement at intermission, i was excited, i knew she was going to be good. she’s a big girl (but nothing like the behemoths) and she moves well. racette was not bad in the first half, but she did not seem to have the breath for the long phrases in “tacea la notte placida” and, i think, probably lacks the requisite agility. but i liked the basic quality of her voice, a bit tremulous, she’s a convincing actress, and she’s got a lovely figure. so it was a great evening, i got to hear 2 sopranos for the first time, and i liked them both. digiacomo came in the 2nd half, showing no signs of nerves, and tackled “d’amor” immediately. i wonder, did she even get any rehearsals with the conductor? there didn’t seem to be many problems in coordination between her and the conductor.

        alvarez is a good singer, but what the heck? no loud, sustained, ringing notes at the climax of “di quella pira?” i know there’s no high C, but still… there wasn’t much impact there, the final note lacked volume or squillo for me.

        cornetti has a blunt, throbbing instrument — i heard parts of her ortrud online and she can be exciting. but after a while, she sounds just monotonous. this is my 3rd trov at the met (3 different productions), and the previous azucenas were zajick and mishura (who had the most beautiful voice and figure, but perhaps not suited for this part). lucic has a nice voice, beautiful tone too. i really don’t like this opera as staged usually — such a difficult plot to stage well. i love the music but watching it, it always makes me roll my eyes. whatever, it was a very good evening at the opera. thank goodness, they only had one intermission, instead of 2.

        with kizart and meade, digiacomo is the great hope for future american verdians…

  • Nerva Nelli

    Gurewitsch has an unmatched knack for puff pieces that will please any given Met regime and his enablers at the TIMES. (Heaven forfend he should use any press quotes *not* from the TIMES!)

    Somehow he managed to forget Jovanovich’s regional breakthrough, at Glimmerglass in THE MINES OF SULPHUR, which deserved more mention that the 2007 Tucker…

    • MontyNostry

      It is certainly a rather sloppy, bitty article that turns into a press release at one point.

    • Will

      Yes, that was a significant performance on all levels. Vocally he aced a difficult role and physically he dominated the stage with seeming ease.

      He recently did a fine Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos in Boston, taking the top notes with ease, looking and sounding every bit the young god.

  • yappy

    OT: Atention PArterrians who understand German: Deutschlandfunk is running a feature on the Met in two minutes (3:05 pm Central European time). Listen online here:

  • Henry Holland

    From the article:

    For some the breakthrough came in April 2009 in Los Angeles, with a rare revival of “Die Vögel” (“The Birds”), by Walter Braunfels. [snip](Arthaus plans to release the production on DVD in November.)

    Great news! The production was compromised by LAO’s bizarre decision to do it and Die Gezeichneten at the same time as the Freyer Ring, which meant both productions had to accomodate that steeply raked roundtable. Dumb-ass LAO “management”. Oh well, something to look forward to at Christmas at least.

    • Baritenor

      Very glad to hear this; I had to miss Die Vogel and was very disappointed.

      I know that there’s also a plan to release a dvd of the TRITTICO from San Francisco, which featured him in top shape and Racette in significantly better form than she apparently was last night.

      • CruzSF

        Racette has been battling a cold for the last week, so maybe that influenced her decision to bail midway.

        • Lucky Pierre

          the announcement made from the stage was that she had tracheitis and was unable to continue.

          sometimes these announcements are odd. a few weeks ago, i was at the rigoletto, and after intermission they announced that gagnidze was ill but would still continue. but you could barely tell that was the case. on the other hand, no announcement was made for schaeffer, and, even though she sang well, it seemed that she still was suffering from the cold that caused her to cancel a previous perf. (i heard that makarina went in for her). i suppose gagnidze requested that the announcement be made but she didn’t.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor


  • operacat

    When I saw BJ in Carmen last year, I kept thinking “could he be a great Aeneas?” Glad to hear he will be doing it and hope he learns it in time to replace Giordani for the MET’s next outing of the Berlioz!

    • The Vicar of John Wakefield

      Surely the Met will deploy Treleaven or Berkeley-Steele in this crucial role.

      • Regina delle fate

        I do hope so! Then I won’t have to cross the Atlantic to see it. Luckily Covent Garden have cast Jonas in their new production and with luck they will sign B.J. for the revival.

  • Orlando Furioso

    I’m glad the article at least mentioned The New Moon, which is where I first encountered Mr. Jovanovich nearly a decade ago. He sounds very good (he’s Second Man to Rod Gilfry) on the recording that was made of that production. Is that still his only commercial CD recording?

    • Nerva Nelli

      No, Jovanovich and the rest of the fine Glimmerglass cast recorded THE MINES OF SULPHUR, available on Chandos. And on Glyndeboune’s house label his RUSALKA with Ana Maria Martinez has been released. The latter will not replace the Benackova or Rolex Girl versions, but is very enjoyable.

      Meanwhile, the TIMES is giving another push to the CARMEN revival:

      Literally every production, new or no, commands ( I think that is the operative word) a feature.

      • richard

        Yeah it does seem like the NYT is part of the Met’s PR department these days but I don’t really think it’s so bad.

        These “features” (good term!)can serve to draw in new audiences or restimulate inactive ones and so in that retrospect they serve a useful function.

        Where I have a problem is when these pieces start to blend into the area of criticism rather than description and often the NYT still appears to be a spoke of the Met’s PR wheel. And that’s not good at all!