Cher Public

Saddle sore?

giordani_thumbLa Cieca was just forwarded the following ominous announcement: “The George London Foundation Recital event that was to feature tenor Marcello Giordani and soprano Susanna Phillips at The Morgan Library & Museum on Sunday, December 12, 2010, at 4:30 PM, has been canceled. Mr. Giordani has been hospitalized with a severe case of sciatica and is unable to perform.” Does sciatica improve between a Sunday and a Tuesday, or should Carl Tanner report for costume fittings?

  • dallasuapace

    Would it have been caused by bending when he kissed Deborah Voigt on the HD broadcast?

    • louannd

      beat me to the punch. He did not look like he was in too much pain today.

      • andrewr

        …if they do really film all those segments live.
        Mighty fine show though!

  • ilpenedelmiocor

    Speaking of tenors (i.e. otherwise totally off-topic), has anyone heard Ismael Jordi live? Just stumbled across him on youtube and wondered if he’s as good as he sounds/looks (CUTE!) on the small screen.

    • Buster

      I heard Jordi’s Gennaro, not a very pleasing sound. But he looks great -- like a torero.

    • operalover9001

      I have a recording of him as Romeo from Amsterdam, I think. I think he’s quite well suited to the French repertoire, and a friend of mine who’s heard him live says that his sound is quite nasal, but very good.

  • Just got back from Milano and the Die Walküre -- and there was a last minute replacement for Simon O’Neill for the performance on the 10th. Frank Van Aken, a young tenor from Frankfurt who had sung Siegmund last month there. Word has it that O’Neill was sick on the 7th -- and from the sounds I heard around town on Friday and Saturday half the city must be sick with him. No word as to if he will sing the next performance on the 14th.

    • oedipe

      “half the city must be sick with him”

      Sick WITH him or OF him?

    • MontyNostry

      I see that Frank van Aken has sung Tannhaeuser at Bayreuth, which I guess still has some clout. As it turns out, I have seen him, though it was only as Aegisth at Covent Garden 2008, with the valiant, punctilious, but underwhelming Bullock as Elektra.
      It was in fact a performance where the men — especially Johan Reuter as Orest — were more impressive than the women. Not what you really want in Elektra …

      • Cocky Kurwenal

        Monty, my sentiments exactly about that Elektra -- I even used the word punctilious to describe Bullock too, the way every single ultimate consonant was spat out on the first quaver of the next bar, as if she’d been coached in the role by a cathedral choir master. Reuter was much the best thing about it, Schwanewilms was the worst.

        • MontyNostry

          Never mind Cecilia, Cocky, I agree with you absolutely on all three of those singers. I haven’t seen Reuter since (I didn’t fancy the ROH’s McVicar Salome with Denoke, who’s a good actress with a pallid voice), but I would love to hear more of him. Maybe I should get hold of one of his recital CDs.

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            I saw Reuter again, as a ‘special mystery guest’ at a Carreras/Kiri Christmas gala (ask not what I was doing at such an event). He was a very strange choice for such a billing given that only opera afficionados would have noticed him in this country up to that point, but he was very impressive all the same!

            I gave the Salome revival a wide berth for the same reason, having heard Denoke have a dismal stab at Chrysothemis at the Barbican under Gergiev -- I’m completely baffled as to why she’s getting jugendlichdramatische gigs when I think she might make an OK Countess (Mozart or Strauss). Anja Kampe, the other great white hope in that rep, also disappoints me, but she is preferable. Moan, moan, moan.

          • richard

            I don’t get Denoke much either. I find her voice to have a bit of that same brittle, croakiness that Behrens had(OOOOPPS, is it ok to mention a dead singer if you dis them????)

            On the other hand, Denoke is an attractive woman and she’s a good actress with a lot of magnetism on stage. Here she beats out the late lamented Hildy, who had a lot of sincerity but not a lot of glamor.

          • richard

            I left out a phrase…the “brittle croakiness” was in the middle range in both voices, but ladies seem to have/had bright, full top ranges.

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            I can’t really understand the comparison with Behrens, Richard, or at least not one that finds Denoke superior on account of her glamour. I understand the possible similarities in the middle voice, but the top of Behrens’s voice was an utter marvel which Denoke’s is not, and Behrens’s artistry was extraordinary in the opinion of many -- I haven’t seen any comparable glimmers from Denoke.

    • Regina delle fate

      Frank von Aken is a bit older than O’Neill -- mid-40s I would guess. He’s about to sing his first Tristan in Frankfurt. Mr Eva-Maria Westbroek, by the way.

      • MontyNostry

        Aha! I didn’t know that.
        Picture of the happy couple here …
        I heard Westbroek being interviewed on the radio the other day (about Tannhaueser at the ROH) and she sounded good news.

      • Thanks for the info Regina -- I had done a quick Google search -- as Scala told us nothing about him, when do they ever about any of the singer -- a 300 page hard covered programme without a word about the cast!!!!

        I knew he was married to Westbroek and the Frankfurt Walküre but not much else.

      • Chanterelle

        I found van Aken serviceable but unmemorable in the Frankfurt Walkure but he did have convincing chemistry with Sieglinde.

  • MontyNostry

    Incidentally, talking of Strauss sopranos, did you hear Christine Brewer on Radio 3 yesterday saying she is going to take on Turandot (in concert in LA, I believe), contrary to Birgit Nilsson’s advice to her?

    I just don’t think she has the right timbre or the ‘overdrive’ at the top of the voice. I admire Brewer very much as an artist, but it always frustrates me a bit that her voice seems to tighten in the high notes, though that doesn’t seem to have been the case when she did FroSch in Chicago.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      I didn’t hear that, but she might as well -- she hardly ever sings anything anywhere, it’s not like this is going to lead to back to back staged productions all over the world. If she sticks to current habit, she’ll have ample time to rest and recoup between performances. I actually don’t like her at all -- I find it a really white sound, not especially big, and certainly not this seamless miracle others describe. The tightness at the top is certainly something I recognise, and it effects everything she does. Frankly, it might be a bit more interesting to see what happens when she actually lets rip as Turandot, rather than all the really dull playing safe she does.

      • MontyNostry

        I think Brewer can be wonderful in more abstract stuff (say the Vier letzte Lieder) and I remember enjoying her concert ‘Vanessa’ very much, but she doesn’t convince me when she needs to get visceral. The CD of Elektra and Salome extracts sounded rather non-descript to me, though Radio 3 CD Review went duly bananas about it.

        • Regina delle fate

          She’s the BBC’s favourite American diva -- remember she ousted Renaaay from the BBC Musmag’s Top 20 all-time great sopranos to screams of “orrore” over the water where some deludedly thought Brewer was a Brit lol. As did Emma Kirkby, of course, for which screams of orrore are well justified.

          • MontyNostry

            Maybe Emma can take on Liu to Chris’s Turandot. Ian as Calaf?

      • Regina delle fate

        Re Brewer and Denoke -- Brewer must be 53-54 by now so she hasn’t got a lot to lose and it is only post-Birgit that Turandot has been regarded as this killer Italian hochdramatische -- lots of spintos sang it in the 1920s and 30s. Before the war, Cebotari, the first Aminta in Schweigsame Frau and a famous Susanna, sang it in German (with Tauber).

        I couldn’t agree more with both of you about Denoke. Scarily she will be the Brünnhilde in the next Bayreuth Ring. As for Bullock’s Elektra -- that was always going to be a stretch for her, and she has sung it too offer. It’s kind of surprising, though, that there wasn’t an epidemic outbreak of Vicaritis in here when she sang it at the Met last year.

        • Regina delle fate

          oops -- often not offer. assonance (sort of) alert.

          • MontyNostry

            I’m sure Brewer knows what she’s doing technically (and she admitted to being 55 on the radio yesterday, I think), but the voice has the wrong colours and vibes for Turandot, doesn’t it? There is something ‘laid back’ in the timbre to me ear!

            And to be perfectly honest, I find Birgit too Nordic and steely as Turandot, stunning though the top notes are.

        • richard

          Regina, looking at the performance history of Turandot, particularly in central Europe is sort of interesting in the way the approach to the role has changed. Cebotari, who sang all kinds of stuff, sang Turandot a fair amount and even left a broadcast.

          Other Turandots in between the two WWs were Anne Roselle, a Mimi and Marguerite and Maria Nemeth, a QotN and Konstanza amidst a very wide range of roles.

          These three all had rather bright, needle-ly sounding voices.

          The first Turandot in Vienna was Lotte Lehmann who left a recording of the aria(minus the final phrase)

          I think in Italy, the performances were sung with mostly heavier sopranos like Raisa and a bunch of screamers.

          Turner had certainly a hefty sound but it was very bright and laser like on top, like the mittel Europa ladies and Nilsson has some of the same characteristics.

          I think it might turn out to be an interesting choice for Brewer, again it’s a bright sound. Agree she doesn’t have all that much to lose, she’s said she’ll stop singing at 60 (But then that kind of thing has been said before)

          • Camille

            And speaking of Turandot--I just made the acquaintance of this fabulous singer, of whom luvtennis has spoken so highly. Today I was to have heard her Valencia Fura del Baus Bruennhilde but decided to stay home (it’s raining in NYC).

            Why isn’t she the Walkuere for our new staging instead of that disgraceful Debbie. No matter what she once was, DV cain’t sing no mo’. She’s gone from DV to PV.

          • Here Camilly you can have the Siegfried Brunni free from me --

            always happy to re-post this.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Seriously: my chiropractor could fix him. I hope he has explored good chiropractic care.

    • NYCOQ

      Finally someone mentioned poor Giordani. I dealt with sciatica about 10 years ago. The pain is excrutiating. I started all of this anti-inflammatory, pain medication bullshit and then a friend pointed me towards his chiropracter. The sciatica was gone after the first session.

  • DonCarloFanatic

    Sciatica is a term for extreme pain caused by a disk pressing on a major nerve in the leg. If the disk is not herniated, three days of bed rest and drugs should do it.

  • Bill

    ilpenedelmiocor -- saw Ismael Jordi in Martha at the
    Wiener Volksoper a few years back in a new (and
    delightful) production. He, I suppose, is Spanish but sang in German and also spoke the dialogue fluently -- he is a handsome slender fellow on the stage and acted
    with verve. The voice is somewhat nasal (a la
    Florez) has a slightly restricting tight vibrato, but gave pleasure as he was absolutely dead on in pitch and sang with cultivated style. I have seen his
    name pop up here and there since but have not
    encountered him again in performance.

  • isoldit

    from personal experience can tell you all sciatica is painful and no fun, and three days is often absurd, I had attack three weeks ago and still have quite a bit of residual pain. I have known people for whom the attacks have lasted for months at a time. The first few days leave you feeling totally debilitated.

  • oh rest

    Brewer is too fat for that role, sorry.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      That’s a bit of a daft comment -- without dredging up the size debate yet again, there is rather a lot of precedent for Turandot being played by larger ladies, so singleing out Brewer for special mention is rather redundant and spiteful.

      • Regina delle fate

        Well said Cocky -- Sharon Sweet, Alessandra Marc, Audrey Stottler -- where are they now? -- Jennifer Wilson -- Brewer is very much in the mainstream of Turandot performers these days. Francesca Patanè and Lise Lindström are the thin glamorous ones. Anyway, Brewer is doing it in concert, so her size is immaterial as she won’t have to move or wear a costume.

        • richard

          If you are going back to hefty Turandots from the 90s don’t forget Eaglen!

          • And let’s not forget Martina Arroyo, who sang a fearless Turandot in Cincinnati. I was just listening to the riddle scene 2 days ago and boy she nailed it.

        • oh rest

          I didn’t realize it was in concert form. My bad. She’s still big as a house.
          Not healthy.

          • Simon Blackmouth

            I’m sure your criticism will inspire her to lose weight.

            You sound like a peach.

          • You know? A first I thought this was just sarcasm and we lost the humor on that comment,given how it was painfully obvious that it was announced as a concert performance; and how heavy set Turandots have been around since the beginning of time.

            After this one, there is only very few things to add beyond “you are an ass, no wonder everything that has come out of your mouth these last days has stunk as much as a fart.”

        • The difference is that Patane can not sing the role to save her life. Lindstrom, on the other hand is a decent Turandot, I just wish she worked on her Italian.

  • andrea-chenier

    No knock on Giordani, but having seen Tanner several times at NYCO, I’m sure he’ll be terrific if called upon.

  • orfeoedeuridice

    Out of subject but I just want to say that the fantastic Minghella Butterfly from the Live in HD series with Racette & Giordani is going out on DVD on January 25!
    Three other HDs are released under the same label (Sony Classical) on January 25: Salome with Mattila, Dr. Atomic with Finley & Boccanegra with Domingo.

    • I thought DG had the rights for those. I wonder what happened.

      • Regina delle fate

        the DG man who was in negotiation with the Met went to Sony and presumably took the contracts with him. Domingo’s Royal Opera Boccanegra is just out on DVD from EMI.

        • Interesting. Thanks for the insight. For some reason I thought that contract was a multi-year contract.

          No matter what, I am glad we will see these titles released. The Buterfly was a beautiful performance. I am exited to get a copy to replace my copy of the telecast.

    • SF Guy

      In addition, the Met version of the Bondy Tosca with Mattila and Alvarez was just released on December 7 by Sony. Wonder why they didn’t opt for the later, somewhat better Munich performance with Mattila, Kaufmann and Uusitalo…

      • This is weird, as in Europe it’s definitely out on EMI!!!

      • orfeoedeuridice

        The Bondy Tosca is not under Sony but under Virgin Classics

        • SF Guy

          Oops--sorry about that! (I still wonder why they didn’t opt for the Munich version, though.)

          • orfeoedeuridice

            Does the Munich version had backstage features (ex. interview, etc)? Because it may be because of that that they chosen the Met version.

      • spiderman

        Probably they had nothing to patch… Despite the non-jump im Munich there were also several problems in Mattilas vocalism -- and I am not even talking about her “diffondereeeeem” which was about a third flat.

      • florezrocks

        AGREED!! the Kauffmann is available on youtube….quite good indeed

      • Vivaldi

        This MET Tosca is quite good, both Alvarez and Mattila on top form. Mattila is not really a Puccini singer but she sings and act magnificently and she is very moving. True in Munich her Vissi d’arte was real DEMENTIA, as opposed to the Met, but still very exciting. Kaufmann is fantastic as usual, but Usitallo was just TERRRRRIBLE.

  • Let’s hope it is just that and not,like how it happened to a friend of mine, signs of a clot. My friend ignored them for weeks and then proceeded to have a mild stroke in front of me and several customers while we shopped at the counter where she works. She was out of commission for 6 months.

    Good vibes to Mr.Giordanni for a prompt recuperation and the hopes it is not something more serious.

    • Buster

      Hi CF, my report:

      Gal James did extremely well this afternoon. Sold-out house, including every seat on stage. Ion Marin conducted the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, replacing Yakov Kreizberg, who was ill. After warming up with Dvorak’s Carnival Ouverture, James made her entrance, descending the big staircase, dressed in black, with masses and masses of curls -- looking just like George Sand, petite, and very gorgeous. Then that voice. She has no technical problems -- always a blessing in the Four Last Songs. She is no trumpet, so here and there she is covered by the orchestra, which I much prefer to louder and less sensitive singers. The timbre is so beautiful -- femine and warm, made for Strauss. The voice never turns shrill in the big climaxes. She is obviously an intelligent woman, with a thorough understanding of the music and the poetry she is singing. In the first two songs she was most at ease. She was just perfect in September, caressing the lines with a lot of feeling, marvelous! In the final two songs she had to husband her resources more carefully, but the climaxes were all there, most notably an extremely beautiful “und die Seele unbewacht” (beautiful violin solo, too). Ion Marin was always alert, and held back at all the right moments. Im Abendrot moved me a lot. Some people said she needed more volume, but from where I sat she could be heard fine, and I found the introspective mood for this song heartbreaking. James is repeating the concert tomorrow.

      • Thanks for your wonderful report, Buster!

        I’m so glad to read that she did well. I’m rather for lyrical Strauss voices (I.e. Arabella, Marschallin, Madeleine) in the VLL instead of dramatic, plush voices (Isolde type) because for me a lyrical voice projects better the autumnal intimacy of the music.

        Very proud of Gal!

        • Buster

          You are welcome -- I forgot to mention there was a lot of applause, bravo’s (one mine), and the tiniest bouquet of flowers I have ever seen.

          • MontyNostry

            No excuse for small bouquets in the Netherlands, of all places!

    • Io tremo. When did this concert take place?I will assume it was a concert performance because these days only EMI is booking studios for opera recordings. Most of DG’s operatic releases have been scheduled around concert performances.

      AG as Fedora?That sounds as ridiculous as Eva marton as Violetta.

      Thank God we still have the Marton-Carreras recording and the Olivero del monaco one as well. Shame that Scotto never recorded the role, but the video from Spain with Domingo is great consolation.

      • Edward George

        As Richard says below, a studio recording made in January 2008 (click on a track name for more info):

        • Gualtier M

          Okay, a few reasons this got made -- 1) Domingo must preserve in the studio every opera he ever sang. 2) Gheorghiu is an EMI artist? Anyway she must have had an unfilled contract.

          • Nerva Nelli

            Maybe their AFRICAINE, with Dancin’ Danielle as Ines, can be next!

          • Camille

            Don’t you think, NN, that Dancin’ Danielle, now that she is Mrs. Christie, she should throw caution to the winds and just GO FOR IT, to sing the *Star* part of Selica??

            Falke, falke, wer ist mir das?

    • Yes, this Fedora was announced a long time ago, as a part of the contract Veronesi has with DG to record verismo operas. I love Fedora, I like the conductor. I’d love to hear it.

  • Byrnham Woode

    Tanner indeed would probably be quite good, if called on. He is scheduled for a single performance of FANCIULLA later this month. So I bet he’s had his costume fitting already.

    • operaddict

      Carl sounds great in this part. In cover rehearsals, even with a cold (which is now gone) he sounded wonderful. You won’t be disappointed.

  • m. p. arazza

    Wasn’t Julianna Di Giacomo the soprano?

  • richard

    This was recorded in the studio not in concert. Photos were posted on facebook.

    I think the only way Domingo could manage Loris these days without major transpositions and rearrangements is in the studio.

  • zinka

    Dear Marcello has to rest…They beat him up so much in the Fangulla..Fanciulla….I hope he can do other shows..I saw Tanner as Canio and he was not good, although in the past he had been fine…I recommended my physical therapist to Marcello…and then he will really hit high D’s…as I did in the beginning when I had sciatica..ouch..but massages help….
    Hope he is better..he is such a good guy.

    • Camille

      zinka, i must say thank you to you for being the one person to remember that good old term Fangulla. i was awaiting its arrival at some point during the festivities of the last daze, but as yet, i had not seen it ’till now.

      pul=leeeeez tell marcello to get better by the 22nd as camille doesn’t want to hear the tan man!

      • I am going back to Fanciulla on the 22nd for Elisabeta Matos. If you tell me what gown and hairdo will be be sporting, I’ll look for you

        • Camille

          Egregio Ercole:

          As a long time undercover operative for La Nostra Benedetta Signora Cieca, I am obliged by my duty to Herself, not to reveal my identity on this site.

          However, the enticing opportunity to encounter Ercole Farnese is too tantalizing a prospect to decline. You may ask our Doyenne for my details. She may be seeing me in a few days, Herself, so will give you the colour du jour of my coiffure. The costume--well you know women--I have yet to decide upon, but I won’t be wearing rancho regalia with boots.

          • For a change.

          • Camille

            Cieca, you jes’ jealous ’cause my boot’s is size 5 1/2 and you wear them big ol’ size 11’s!!!

        • manou

          Camille will be wearing her erudition lightly.

  • brett

    No one’s talking about Susanna Phillips? Perhaps no one knows her? I saw her on a recital in Milwaukee last February, and she was pretty fierce, especially considering she’s not even 30. She sang a brilliant Der Hirt auf dem Felsen.

    • louannd

      I love her! I heard her sing at Santa Fe in 2009 as Donna Elvira. Wonderful voice.

      I used to listen to Ameling’s Der Hirt over and over and over….

    • Lily Bart

      Also love her. Saw her Countess in the most recent Santa Fe Nozze and was impressed.

      • mrmyster

        Phillips impresses me as a very off-on singer; her Fiordiligi and Elvira
        were excellent; her Countess was bad — her high voice was not working
        that summer — the A’s in Dove sono were very forced, no high-Cs in
        the Boudoir scene and just generally uncomfortable and out of sorts; that
        Autumn her Musetta at the Met got bad notices. But, on the other hand,
        she can sing like an angel and often does.
        Brett, where do you get your information Susanna is not yet 30? Hee haw!
        That’s a good joke.
        # # #

        • brett

          An Opera Today review from September of her Eurydice says she was 29; she may have had her 30th birthday by now, I suppose.

        • Lily Bart

          Yeah, I knew you’d disagree with me. You shall always outrank me in volubility and seniority on this site.

          • mrmyster

            Ms. Bart: I stand corrected. Mutual friend tells me Phillips is
            age 29. Good for her!!! I heard her Fiordiligi several years
            ago — four or more the first time around (it was repeated),
            and she sounded very mature and excellent.
            s/jake wallace

  • stignanispawn

    Went to the Pelleas Et Melisande dress this morning. Cast was in great vocal form and the Debussy score shows off the Met Orchestra beautifully. That being said, I can’t work up enthusiasm for the opera — four hours is an awful lot of Maeterlinck. Am going to Fanciulla tonight; hope that Marcello is back in the saddle.