Cher Public

A Prima Donna’s progress

090708 Prima Donna MIFLa Cieca is told that Rufus Wainwright announced tonight from the stage of Carnegie Hall (not pictured) that his maiden oeuvre Prima Donna will be performed by the New York City Opera in 2012. (Photo: Clive Barda)

  • Jay

    Ah, you are watching a TV feed, Camille, so you’re getting a better sense of what’s going on.

    • Camille

      I am certainly NOT in a parterre box @ Scala, Jay!

      Waltraud’s interview is being replayed. She admits to singing 16 Wagnerian roles. She covers the waterfront!

      • Jay

        Waltraud was just interviewed on Radio Tre. The interview is was three languages, Italian, German, and English. Those 16 Wagnerian roles must include Valkyries, a Norn, and a Rheinmaiden. Und Erda??

        • Regina delle fate

          to have sung sixteen Wagner roles she must have sung all of the Valkyries and the odd Rheintochter, no?

          • m. croche

            + David.

        • Regina delle fate

          they must include several Walküren, a Norn, a Rheintochter and all three of the lower-voiced Blumenmädchen in Parsifal. Has she done Die Feen, Das Liebesverbot or Rienzi. She could have done Mary and Magdalene in her youth, I suppose. Venus, Ortrud, Brangäne, Isolde, Fricka (times two), Sieglinde, Waltraute, Kundry we all know about, so she could easily have done five assorted Valykries, Norns, Rhine/Flower Maidens. Anne Evans has done 12 roles in The Ring alone, apparently, counting Brünnhilde as three.

          • Jay

            The three Blumenmädchen seems right. Eine Stimme? Perhaps.

  • Camille

    Waltraud is speaking at intermission about her various Wagnerian roles (in English). She certainly is an extremely handsome woman, particularly for her age. She projects youth and beauty as Sieglinde.

    Now the director is speaking, explaining his regia. Wotan loses control, he says. No Fooling! Hunding’s world is two-dimensional, he says. Wotan looks thru his eye with tunnel vision. Huh?? We see a dysfunctional family. O dear, now he is ‘splaining what “Gesamtkunstwerk” to us. This regista, M. Guy C. Seems like a nice enough fellow. I have to say that Franny Zambello’s regia worked better for moi. She had a noticeably younger, and therefore more credible cast to work with and it had a rather taut dynamism that this doesn’t quite have, although still very good.

    • Jay

      I’m hoping the HD telecast will encored at a theatre closer to where I live, since the intermission features you describe may be included. Better than listening to the latest wikileaks update and other intermission filler on Radio Tre.

  • MontyNostry

    Hugues Cuénod est mort!

    • Jay

      Sad news, but he lived a long life. RIP.

    • Belfagor

      Ce n’est pas possible!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wasn’t he immortal?

    • Will

      Really?! What a tremendous life, in artistry and longevity — and that MET debut at 85. Une bénédiction sur vous cher maitre Cuénod.

      • MontyNostry

        At least cara Magda is still with us.

        • Belfagor

          now my 1951 live broadcast from the Royal Opera of Le coq d’or in English -- with Mattiwilda Dobbs (who is still with us -- ??) will appreciate in value. As the Astrologer he pings out a fabulous top E in the last act………and the conducting by Diaghilev’s last protege, Igor Markevitch, is tremendous…….

          • iltenoredigrazia

            Mattiwilda is still with us in the Washington area and is occassionally seen at the Kennedy Center. Still looking lovely and as nice a lady as any.

          • Belfagor

            good news, finally. Interesting, like Josephine Baker, she had to go to Europe to make a career, as she peaked before Marian Anderson’s breakthrough….

          • Regina delle fate

            Mattiwilda Dobbs -- ah! -- the Konstanze on the first recording of Mozart’s Seraglio (auf Englisch) I bought! She must be a good age now.

          • Belfagor

            born either 1925 or 26 it seems -- so a year or two older than Leontyne -- but she started young, as she was at Glyndebourne in ’53 as Zerbinetta, the first African-American singer at La Scala the same year, and the ROH in ’54 (not ’51 as I had it earlier) in Le coq d’or -- according to Wikipedia

      • Gualtier M

        He would have been 108 this past June 26th. One of the oldest humans on the planet. Here is a picture of him and his partner Alfred (un beau mec!) three years ago.

        http://www.playbillarts.com/news/article/6704.html

    • Jay

      Wasn’t Cuénod one of the two singers mentioned in the Trivia Quiz during last night’s Faniculla broadcast intermission? I wasn’t pay closing attention to that part of it, but I’m pretty sure he was one of two (then) still living artists who performed Puccini at the Met and were born in or before 1910. (1902 in Cuénod’s case and 1910 with Madame Olivero.)

      • MontyNostry

        Faniculli.. Faniculla [sic]

        • Jay

          I was correcting myself, Monty, not you, so apologies.

      • Jay

        Fanciulla, not Faniculla. A fanny coolah’ is a different type of product.

        • iltenoredigrazia

          funiculli, funiculla ?

        • MontyNostry

          Love it, Jay. Italian is a glorious language, but a pain to type. All those vowels …

        • Camille

          A fanny coolah’ del West loves Dick.

          • Jay

            Naughty ‘n nice!

      • iltenoredigrazia

        Yes, he was. Olivero was the other singer mentioned as born before 1910.

      • MontyNostry

        Jay, what Puccini did Cuénod perform at the Met? The Emperor in Turandot? BBC Radio 3 played a tribute to him this evening, Poulenc’s ‘C’. In its way, it was perfection. Not sentimentalised at all — and quelle diction!

          • Camille

            Monsieur Cuenod was excellent in this, I well remember it.

            Wonder if Placidone will take the cue and be singing the Emperor at age 87, as well, just so’s he can say he is the oldest opera singer ever. Oh no, Magda has every beat on that count, I guess.

          • I have no doubt that Domingo will keep the Emperor in his rep until his dying day, even if he has to have the entire scene transposed down!!! :)

        • Jay

          Monty, Cuénod made his debut as Altoum in 1987, and sang in 14 performances of Turandot during 1987-88. According to the Hughes Cuénod Wiki entry his partner was 41 years younger than M. Cuénod and three years ago they entered into a civil union. Hope that BBC tribute is available for a few days.

          • MontyNostry

            It was just one track on the magazine show In Tune. In the first hour of the show, I think.
            http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wbkvg

          • Jay

            Thanks for the link, Monty, I’ll look for, and hopefully listen to, the tribute tomorrow.

    • papopera

      mon dieu ! à 108 ans !!

  • Camille

    M. Cassiers, the registra, entreats us to “open up our senses” and to see what the music means to us. I rather liked him. A sensible regista!

    • Camille

      Sorry for all my misspellings.
      Regista! Who is Guy Cassiers, anyway?

      Can’t wait to see if Nina Stemme pulls off another great Bruennehilde!

      Zweiter Akt!!!!!! Ho-jo-to-HO!!!

      • Jay

        Nail it, Nina!!

      • Regina delle fate

        “Famous” Belgian theatre director, apparently.

        • Regina delle fate

          Famous in Belgium, that is.

          • Camille

            Belgian? Grazie, Regina.
            Maybe that’s why the Ardennes made their way onto that dark, dreary stage.

  • I just tuned in now in time for the Wotan-Fricka scene, one of my favourite parts.

  • Camille

    NINA hits a Homer!

    GO, Team Stemme!

    Jeepers, first time I’ve seen Fricka in a strapless evening gown--a Russian lady--Ekaterina Gubanova--didn’t she sing in the recent Hoffmann? Wotan kinda looks like a seventies drug dealer from Miami. Unfortunate wig.

    • brooklynpunk

      …WHAT are…”danzatori”….?

      (as listed in the Scala cast list….)

      • Camille

        We should ask Ercole Farnese, but wouldn’t that mean “dancers”--but where? Haven’t seen them yet. Maybe there are some at Hunding’s death. I’ll keep an eye peeled.

        WotanzzzzzzzzzZ

    • Jay

      Camille, is Fricka’s gown a grey-blue billowing schmatta, with cone-like breasts?

      • Camille

        No, Jay, it is lowcut, dark grayish-greenish-blackish with a bustle in back and splotches of red on one side (to denote the Vaelsung Blut?) And she looks good enough in it and carries it well. I don’t care for her mean face but her singing, especially the high notes, is excellent.

        Oh, it just now occurred to me that the black masque on the left side of Wotan’s face, rather than the customary eyepatch, was borrowed from Phantom of the Opera. That and the Louis XV wig make for a peculiar looking Wotan.

        Well, here comes Brunny again, and the commencement of the monologue, so Boys, it’s time for my post-prandial nap! ZZZZZZzzzzzzzz O Heilige Schmach!

  • I like this Gubanova. Her tone reminds me a bit of Ludwig.

  • Camille

    Waltraud managed to interpolate Lucia di Lammermoor into her scene. Wahnsinn, indeed! If she only had a little more voice and it didn’t quiver so. The tongue gyrates back and forth.

    Here comes Nina-Brunny. Simon had a little crack on Schwester, geLiebte! I hope he just holds on now! No time to give up.

    I do not want to offend Miss Voigt, but frankly speaking, after last night -- do not know how she will manage to get through Walkuere. Stemme is so secure and as a result is enjoyable in the role. I guess we will all soon find out, alas.

    I just noticed Bruennehild’s costume from behind. It has flaps and bustle-like thing. It sort of resembles a samurai warrior’s costume to me. Her wig is sitting on her head like a hat!

    The mise-en-scene is very dark and foreboding. I wonder how it looks in the theatre. I guess OC will fill us all in on that….

    • peter

      It’s so refreshing to hear a gorgeous voiced Brunnhilde and to hear one who can actually sing the low lying music in the Todesverkündung.

      • Camille

        It certainly was, Peter! It makes for a totally different experience of this opera. Usually I am sitting on the edge of the seat or grinding my teeth or getting ready to heave my stomach contents. I have heard her several times now and each time it is consistently and warmly beautiful sounding. The high notes are shorted, but they are there and they don’t wobble. After all the HIDEOUS Bruennhilde imitations I’ve heard, I’m very grateful to finally hear someone that sounds legitimate. If I want to hear those high B and C’s, I’ll go slap on a recording of Nilsson and get my fix. A warm, beautiful sound, more like Traubel, even, than Varnay, whom C+F has pointed out that she resembles.

    • rommie

      “I was in LaScala tonight wearing my chanel gucci DVF miu-miu bukkake dress and you werent!”

      • Camille

        You were, rommie?

        Okay, walkuerenstein is kind of stock staging, like almost always, funny. Thank god Brunny drug Sieglinde on. Susan Foster, the lady who came on to save the third act of Tristan, the night Dalayman died at Act II, is the Helmwige. Oh god, Waltraud sang an A#, oops there’s the other--thank god that’s over.

        Walkuerenstein looks like some kind of Dantean nightmare, what with those swirling tormented figures projections.

        I cannot get over the shock of a wobble-free Bruennhilde! What a relief!

        Walkueren have on warrior ballgowns. It’s alta moda wargear, I guess. Ask OC for the designer.

        Uh-ohhere comes Big Daddy!!

        • Jay

          The Valkyrie’s wargowns are also posted on Google images (search Walkure and La Scala). And these really are schmattas!

  • Am I the only who thinks the Siegmund is sounding a bit Mime-ish?

    • Jay

      Siegfried is running out of steam.

      • Batty Masetto

        It did sound as though he was tiring, but it’s such an odd voice -- goes back and forth between being on the money and weird. I arrived just in time for the Todesverkündigung, it sounded as though it was very well acted.

  • Camille

    Yeah, he did a little, but didn’t go that far off.

    Hunding’s a real prick--he goes back to stab him through when he’s down and out--oh goody--bad karma comes around when Wotan says “GEH!”
    You’re dead, dude, too! Another funny duel staging.

    • Jay

      Applause doesn’t sound as enthusiastic as after Act I. The Wotan was a bit light-weight. The ladies carried the second act, although as Camille notes, the Siegmund managed most of it, although he had a couple of rough patches (Camille already noted the slight crack, and one of On’Neill’s Todesverkundiung notes sputtered. But I wouldn’t hang him out to dry because of a couple of missed notes).

      • Jay

        O’Neill, not On’Neill in 30.1. A guy who runs another opera blog claims to be O’Neill’s boyfriend, but I think he’s blowing smoke.

  • iltenoredigrazia

    No comments yet from anyone at the Met last night?

    • peter
      • I think when reviewing Voigt’s post-surgery singing, talking about the tonal quality isn’t enough. Yes, we all know that her voice has lost much of its warmth and roundness of tone. I’m willing to accept that and move on. She can still contribute a great deal as a singer, even without a round tone. The problem is her pitch, which was consistently flat from what I heard last night. TT didn’t even hint at that.

  • Camille

    Zweiter Akt curtain calls. Danny mopping his brow.

    The Scala orchestra sounds wonderfully lyrical and full and seems to help the singing along. Beautiful.

  • iltenoredigrazia

    Tommassini gives last night’s Fanciulla a glowing review on the Times, very different from the views expressed by those in La Cieca’s chat room. It’ll be interesting to hear from those who heard it live in the house. What Tommassini calls a”fearless high C in Act I” sounded flat on Sirius but hard to judge accurately over the radio.

    • In other breaking news, the sun rose.

    • I didn’t hear yesterday’s act I, but I do remember from the radio broadcast of a couple of weeks ago that the high C in Act I was the only high note she nailed. It wasn’t pretty but it WAS fearless. But in that performance, she also nailed the end of act II which she did not last night.

  • sterlingkay

    TT has never given Voigt or Renee anything but a good review…never…anything he writes about either of them is worthless and not to be trusted.

  • Camille

    This is a very good Walkuere but I preferred the San Francisco staging to a much greater degree. This is a little static. Yes, Siegmund made slight errors twice but tht was all. He has a rather highly placed voice for Siegmund; nothing like Kauffman, e.g. From his name I would assume him to be Irish, and a typical sound for that type of singer. He didn’t force at all.

    There was an interview with Barenboim between Acts II and III wherein he made several very intelligent and pertinent observations on Wagner, his orchestration and his word setting, his alliteration, etc. He wore the most extraordinary getup. A pink and white polka dot tie with matching jacket with pink stripe Prince de Galles (I believe) pattern. Well worth hearing his comments.

    Uh-oh, here comes the Magic Fire and Lebwohl.
    Sorry, I have to go cry now.

    All for today.

    • manou

      Camille -- just back from the HD transmission here which I liked very much indeed. Just to say that Simon O’Neill is from New Zealand.

      • Camille

        Oh, good for New Zealand!
        The Irish DO get around.

        I hope you enjoyed the fine singing, as well. The dark sets and costumes began to pall after a while. I do enjoy Miss Stemme’s performing. She’s come a very long way from the girl I heard sing Dutchman a decade ago.

        The Wotan was Vitalij Kowaljow, apparently substituting for Rene Pape.

        • manou

          I enjoyed all of it -- although I do wonder what the gratin in the Royal (Presidential) Box could see as it was very dark indeed.

          The staging was by and large unobtrusive and had some good moments (the tree/swords in the fight scene). Having heard Monsieur Cassiers expounding his pretentious high falutin’concepts at the interval, I am surprised that he did not mess about with the production more than he did, for which I am truly grateful.

  • Interesting to hear online opinions about the new Walkuere, which I haven’t watched. This telecast has, in fact, the current generation’s two greatest Isoldes on one stage. Both, happily, real stage persona, especially Meier. She always communicates what’s going on within the character’s psyche. Stemme is partly a reincarnation of Varnay, she even looks like her, and the voice is patterned along the same lines. Entirely committed and intelligent, a joy to have onstage in the German rep.

    Looking forward to watch this.

    • Camille

      Salve Mmes C+F

      Waltraud’s Sieglinde is just terrific here. Glad to see someone at her age doing such a good job of looking good on stage. The voice is a little better than usual and actually sounds soprano-like, for a change.

      There is also a lovely interview with her between Acts I and II.

      Here’s hoping your rehearsal was not bad and you get some more rest. Still haven’t been able to hear the e-snip but that’s okay. I believe you, as I’ve listened to her Fidelio and thought that it was unusually good.

  • bluecabochon

    Did anyone record this visually? I couldn’t make the HD today.

    • Camille

      Howdy, bluecabochon.
      Did you get your New Yorker article on the Black Swan yet?

      Symphony Space will have another showing of Die Walkuere on Thursday evening, at 7pm, I think the time is.

      • bluecabochon

        Not yet! I have a commitment on Thursday, alas and will miss the replay. Right now I am waiting for Scottsboro Boys to begin and its a packed theater.TTFN.

    • Camille

      bluecabachon __ I was wrong. The re[eat performance at Symphony Space was tonight instead. So sorry.

  • manou