Cher Public

Don’t ask, do “Tell”

Repertory for “Bel Canto at Caramoor” 2011: H.M.S. Pinafore and Guillaume Tell

With Will Crutchfield leading, casts will include Georgia Jarman, Robert McPherson, Jorell Williams, and Vanessa Cariddi for the G&S on June 15, and Daniel Mobbs, Michael Spyres and Julianna Di Giacomo in the Rossini on July 9 and 15.

  • armerjacquino

    I’m not much of a G&S fan, but it does surprise me that some of their arias don’t find their way onto more recitals. ‘The hours creep on apace’ from Pinafore is a smasher.

    THE best recording of anything by Sullivan is Arleen Auger’s STUNNING ‘Armer Pirat’ from a German ‘Pirates’ which features none other than Martha Modl as Ruth.

    • brooklynpunk

      I love TELL…and…PINAFORE…and..CARAMOOR..!!

      ..looking forward to this…..

    • danpatter

      Thanks for the heads-up on this. That was a recording I did not know about, and so I’ve ordered it from Amazon. I know you won’t lead me astray! It’s amazing what’s “out there.” With the demise of Tower Records and nowhere to browse, I keep feeling I’m missing so much.

  • Evenhanded


    The Pinafore is a disappointment. G&S tend to get their due during the summer at local theaters all across the US. Do we really need Caramoor for this? And it certainly doesn’t have rarity value (now, Ivanhoe I might have understood), nor is it even slightly ‘bel canto’. In a word: bummer.

    As far as the Guillaume Tell, it could be interesting. However, with most of the audience traveling up from the NY metro area, it sounds like a LOOOOOOOOOOONG evening to drive home after. And does Mobbs really have the chops to pull off Tell? And will it be interesting enough to warrant the investment of time? Hmmmm…

    At the very least, Crutchfield should benefit from the concurrent release of Pappano’s live recording of the complete opera on EMI. Perhaps Tell will be on the radar screen more than usual due to the recording and folks will come out to give Crutchfield a try.

    Neither choice is particularly inspiring in the final analysis. Too bad.

    • Belfagor

      Pappano’s concert performances of ‘Guillaume Tell’ are coming out on CD? I heard bad things about Malin Bystrom (not come across her). won’t that be a tough sell -- as there are 2 amazingly good studio recordings of that available -- Bacquier/Gedda/Caballe/Gardelli in French -- and Milnes/Pavarotti/Freni/Chailly in Italian. The Muti isn’t as good.

      I did see ‘Tell’ a few times at ROH in the early 90’s. It was very long! Am hazy about who sang it (I think a very underpar Lelli Cuberli -- and a very unstylish Jane Eaglen) -- but the score is grandiose. Was it Berlioz who said that it was written by a genius, but the 2nd act written by a god?

      • oedipe

        “Was it Berlioz who said that it was written by a genius, but the 2nd act written by a god?”

        Doubtful! In his Memoirs Berlioz called Rossini’s music “the music of a dishonest man”.

        • Belfagor

          Quite right -- I looked it up, and it was apparently Donizetti!

  • Avantialouie

    Oh, really? You mean that if enough lower-level companies take interest in a work, it automatically leaves the province of any top venue? At least, nowadays, SOMEBODY is doing the G & S masterpieces besides high schools.

    • Belfagor

      Well G&S is fun -- the Opera North exhumation of Ruddigore was huge fun. But Bel Canto it ain’t. Maybe if lighter fare was desired, something by Offenbach could have been done -- that really does require singers with technique, and is way beyond the abilities of most schools, summer stock to deal with….

      • Alto

        And if TELL is long, PINAFORE is short: hasn’t it traditionally been done as part of a double bill with TRIAL BY JURY (or, if G&S is now bel canto, TRILL BY JURY)?

  • Bill

    Note -- Anna Netrebko is taking on a new role in Vienna at the Staatsoper in 2013 -- the Figaro Countess together with Schrott as the Count, roles they will
    first preview together in Baden Baden that summer.
    This was just announced in the Vienna Press by Schrott. Many famous Susannas have graduated to the Countess in the past including Schwarzkopf, Seefried, Gueden, Rethy, Soederstrom, Cebotari, Popp. Others like Margaret Price, Jurinac, Janowitz came from
    Cherubino. So Netrebko’s move is not at all unusual.

    Diana Damrau is doing Donna Anna at Baden Baden
    this summer with Joyce DiDonato as Elvira

    Krassimira Stoyanova is scheduled for 5 Rusalkas
    in Vienna at the Staatsoper January/February 2014 --
    do not know if it will be a new production or the old
    Benackova production (borrowed by the Met for over the last decade) will return to Vienna. Stoyanova will be
    essaying a new Elisabeta in Don Carlo in Vienna this Spring, also her customary Desdemona there and later in 2013 her first Vienna Anna Bolenas (after Nebrebko sings it this season, and Gruberova with the Staatsoper in Japan in the future).

    Elina Garanca will be an honored guest at this year;s
    Vienna Opera Ball.

    Next season I believe Kaufmann will sing Dick Johnson in Vienna with Stemme (who has Ring Cycles scheduled in Vienna for the future) as Minnie. Pity but I do not believe Stemme has anything much planned for the Met in the near future -- or am I wrong?

    • Hi Bill, maybe you already know this but you may be interested to hear that the Figaro new production Generalprobe has been closed to the usual Staatsoper Freunde. Ominous.

  • papopera

    Gilbert & Sullivan = zzzzzzzz zzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz

  • jrance

    Pinafore is musical baby food and Tell is a crashing bore with a couple nice arias. zzzzzzzzz….

  • grimoaldo

    HMS Pinafore like most of the rest of the G&S canon is sheer genius but I never imagined I would see anyone refer to it as “bel canto”.

  • Bill

    Unfaithful Zerbinetta -- No, I just came back from a Fortnight in Budapest/Szeged to New York City so I was unaware that the usually open General Proben in Vienna was closed for the new Figaro. But the recent new
    Don Giovanni there was not a success (particularly those cast in the women’s roles) and frankly I do not know why the Staatsoper needed a new Figaro in the first place having enjoyed particularly and often the old Ponnelle Inszenierung which was better than that at the Met.

    When you are next in Budapest you should check out the
    young tenor Szabolcs Brickner who I heard twice as
    Tamino on consecutive evenings -- it is a beautiful lyric tenor voice -- I had previously heard him as Jacquino and Lenski and he sings Romeo, Haydn’s Orfeo, Entfuehrung (in Strassburg this Spring), Elisir d’Amore and similar roles plus lieder and Haydn Oratorios and such -- (and TT of the NY Times would find Brickner “strapping” particularly as in this Zauberfloete production as Szabolcs opens the opera in bed in his briefs dreaming about the dragon -- everything is either in or around a bed or a window in this fascinating production -- beds as in Carsen’s 1999 Vienna Frau ohne Schatten) If he desires Szabolcs will have a brilliant career. He has sung in Weimar in Germany, his wife, a soprano
    just had a child and with a such a gorgeous tenor
    voice of such beauty he should be able to write his own ticket. But like the fabulous more dramatic tenor Janos Bandi, who sticks pretty much to Budapest, Szabolcs Bricker may not care to roam too far or too often outside of Hungary even if he could, with his limpid voice, eventually be a legitimate successor to the likes Fritz Wunderlich.

    Without boring all the Parterre bloggers who have
    no interest in what goes on in Budapest (or elsewhere in Eastern Europe), I can report that the Budapest
    Opera’s Pique Dame is as well sung as probably anywhere else, their Meistersinger is absolutely top notch as well with the wonderful Gabor Bretz as Kothner. The chorus in Budapest is among the best opera choruses I have heard anywhere. I heard a rather dreadful Cosi -- the glamourous Tunde Franko sang Fiordiligi wretchedly (and did not even bother with her Rondo aria which was unexplicably but thankfully eliminated) which was a pity as Franko a decade ago was a delicious Marguerite in Faust, an effective Butterfly and a touching Tatiana (plus has the looks of a combination of Netrebko and Sylvia McNair -- visually stunning). The Despina was pretty awful as well -- but these things happen in repertory houses in Eastern Europe. Plus with the new administration in Budapest, the opera director was fired (because of reported corruption but maybe because the Fidesz political party now in power wanted someone else as director)

    A couple visits to the Operetta in Budapest found alluring productions of Kalman’s ‘Csardasfuerstin’ and also Kalman’s ‘Bayadere’ (what a soprano role for a Netrebko) in fabulous elaborate productions (German subtitles for those such as I who know little Hungarian) -- maybe the best operetta house in the world. The audiences just would not leave after either performance applauding endlessly.

    A new Eugene Onegin in Szeged (updated to Post WWII
    Communist Russia deviated far to much from Pushkin to make any sense or have any success at all -- it is, however a jewel of a small opera house though only half full (and mostly students at that!) on the evening
    I attended. The singing, often quite good in Szeged, was not at all distinquished.

    • About Figaro, I heard from someone who has a ticket for the dress (and who goes to them regularly as a member of the Friends) that he was informed the rehearsal was closed. Weird, huh? Just thought you might be interested. I don’t see the point of this production either. I think the Ponnelle has had a fine life and should be retired, but buying an undistinguished 7-year old production from elsewhere for a rep staple like Figaro is just dumb. I know the production has Dominique Meyer connections, but while that make it understandable it doesn’t make it a good idea!

      And yeah, the Don was a freaking disaster. I saw the opening night.

      It’s good to hear that Budapest is still getting through despite their considerable recent turmoil.