Cher Public

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Spy-jo-to-ho!

You really didn’t think your doyenne would let a top-secret dress rehearsal at the Met slip away without getting an exclusive on-the-scene report for you, the cher public? Now, did you? Well, if you did, you’re wrong, because La Cieca’s mole (pictured) has filed the following report:

The Machine worked very well; a few lighting problems, but nothing unsolvable. The set has many more possibilities than one would have assumed from Rheingold. Many striking images.

Westbroek and Kaufmann will bring the house down, not only for their superb singing, but for their total immersion into their respective roles. Example: when they first look into each others’ eyes early in Act 1 is a moment of true magic. Kaufmann is not the biggest voiced Siegmund we’ve ever heard, but he may be the most musical. Köing is also most impressive.

Terfel succeeds on some levels and not on others. He blusters his way through the full forte sections, sometimes impressively, sometimes pushing for all he’s worth. It’s the quiet moments he’s not equipped to deliver. The part is too low for him to have much projection in much of the big scene with Brünnhilde. His “Das Ende” moment went for nothing. He looks much better than he did in Rheingold. The hair covering half is face is gone, replaced by a traditional eye patch.

Voigt – what can I say! She should not have undertaken this role. She does not disgrace herself on the battle cry, but she doesn’t come close to covering herself in glory in the rest of the role. The unknowing public will accept her because she looks good and moves well. It’s just the singing that’s lacking.

Blythe was a force of nature as Fricka. Her entrance is spectacular. She never moves from the “throne” on which she enters (she’s harnessed into it so as not to fall forward).

I felt Levine was accommodating to both Voigt and Terfel in helping them get through passages they weren’t equipped to do full justice to. He seemed quite energetic from my vantage point (naturally sitting the entire time) and got his usual fine playing from the orchestra.

The Valkyries were a mixed lot, as usual. They certainly were loud!

I can already hear your chat room on Friday night. The usual shredding of everything will occur – some deserved, some not. One really needs to see this production to be able to accurately evaluate it.

La Cieca has also heard vague rumors about at least some portion of the rehearsal being recorded covertly and uploaded to the internet; she will try to track down this mysterious (possibly apocryphal) sound file.

169 comments

  • poisonivy says:

    Too bad I will be on vacation Friday with family, but I will look forward to seeing this in the house May 5. Great inside report! And I am hopeful that the Boardwalk will be more expressive than it was in Das Rheingold.

  • fartnose mcgoo says:

    On a Walkure related topic, how was Pape’s first Walkure Wotan in Berlin?

    • willym says:

      I saw his Rheingold Wotan when he debuted the role in Milan last year and I wrote on it at that point for Opera Britannia. He was replaced for the Walkure that opened the season and is not listed for the Seigfried next. Would like to know how the Berlin went also? Anyone attend or hear anything?

      • operaqueen says:

        You make it sound like Pape was bad and was “replaced.” Far from it. He was superb. He HATED the production and withdrew. I was there. He was terrific. I didn’t hate the production of Rheingold but wish he had stuck around since the Walkure was actually quite good.

        • willym says:

          Sorry didn’t mean it to sound that way and reading it over I don’t get that meaning out of what I wrote -- Pape was splendid in the Rheingold as I wrote at the time. I agree with him whole heartedly about both the Rheingold and Walkure productions however it was the same production in Berlin????? I had heard that he was not comfortable with the part itself and had second thoughts.

          Sorry will have to disagree with you on the Walkure being “good” -- it was a lame production in staging, decor and costuming redeemed by several very fine and two great singers.

        • papopera says:

          Bravo Pape for withdrawing. At last a singer who’s got a pair.

          • ianw2 says:

            More importantly, a singer who has enough income to be able to choose to withdraw due to ‘artistic differences’ rather than worry about a mortgage. ‘A pair’ have not an awful lot to do with it.

          • phoenix says:

            ianw2, knowing Papsy as I do, I’m sure he meant au pair, not a pair.

    • jrance says:

      A friend of mine who is singing in the Staatsoper RING says the WALKURE Wotan lies too high for Pape.

      • Cocky Kurwenal says:

        I think we could probably have deduced that without making contact with people on the ground. Pape is a bass, not a bass-baritone, and he’s also very much on the basso cantante side, which means launching himself at it and hoping for the best won’t work for him the way it did for Tomlinson with his much larger, more robust instrument.

        • bassoprofundo says:

          I disagree. Pape is most definitely a bass-baritone. But not all bass-baritones have the same voice, so it’s not like you can just throw a singer at Wotan because he is a bass-baritone and not a bass and expect him to succeed. It’s absurd to put Pape in the same category as actually basses, Hines, Tomlinson, Siepi, Ghiaurov, etc.

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            He’s nothing like Hines, Tomlinson or Ghiaurov. Siepi, very slightly, but nowhere near Siepi’s league. But I still maintain he’s a bass, as does he which I think is quite important, and as do most people in the profession, apparently.

            And I do realise that being a bass-baritone isn’t the only criterion for succeeding as Wotan, thanks very much.

          • bassoprofundo says:

            >>But I still maintain he’s a bass, as does he which I think is quite important, and as do most people in the profession, apparently.

            In fact, that’s probably one of the worst factors to rely on. Thomas Hampson fancies himself a Verdi baritone; Netrebko thinks she’s a dramatic coloratura; Villazon thought he was a spinto; Terfel still thinks he’s a Wotan; and so on. I could call myself a cocker spaniel, but that doesn’t make me one. The voice and the comfort in a tessitura tell you what a singer should be singing, not his website.

  • CwbyLA says:

    • Regina delle fate says:

      OT -- RIP Vincenzo Lo Scola. Did he sing much/at all in the US?

      • phoenix says:

        Yes he did sing in the U.S. because I remember seeing him. The last time he sang at the Met was a Cavaradossi in 2006 with Andrea Gruber as Tosca. I remember listening to it on Sirius (I believe it was the first season they had the Sirius broadcasts) and sadly hearing how badly his voice had deteriorated, thinking he must have been in poor health I knew I’d never hear him again. RIP Vincenzo, I have wonderful memories of your singing, particularly in that Due Foscari DVD.

      • phoenix says:

      • papopera says:

        what happened to Vincenzo, he seems to be quite young, how old ?

    • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

      “ku moka” and “i za ya” sounds like she’s saying “… tout mon coeur… Israel, Isreal”

  • armerjacquino says:

    Kaufmann and Westbroek certainly have something singing together, whatever the rep.

    • Regina delle fate says:

      Can’t wait for the RO staging in 2014/15!

    • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

      Jonas and Ewa are not helped by the conductor and certainly not by the mp3 compression. Which conductor do you prefer and why?







      • phoenix says:

        Fakor, you took the time to post these clips of my favorite verismo duet so I owed it to you to take the time to attempt to listen to them.
        -- The 1st one from Ed Sullivan Show I couldn’t get through it because the brassy treble audio, dead or alive, hurt my ears.
        -- The second one also had terrible sound but the singers sounded wonderful & it was a great performance for me. I don’t know who they were.
        -- The third one goes well until Maria Callas loses her intonation below the stave. del Monaco is wonderful here. Callas’ expression in the tone of her voice is the only Maddalena I ever heard who tells me about her painful obsession with Chenier as well as her fear of the agony of dying such a violent death.
        -- The sound on the fourth clip is pretty bad to my ears. This was Corelli’s signature role for me (although others on this site prefer the heft he put into his Rodolfo). As i did on numerous occasions, I draw a blank from Caballe. Some nights she was on and gave an astoundingly passionate protrayl, but not very often. And certainly not as this Maddalena.
        -- On the fifth clip, Tucker modulates the music (with much greater subtlety & skill than in that Ed Sullivan show shtick) and I realize why I liked him so much when he did so. … I apologize to all her fans: I never cared for Zinka & that’s why I never went to see her or collected her recordings. Listening to this clip, I know exactly why but I won’t go into it here.
        -- The best clip of all IMO is the SIXTH one with the Japanese subtitles & Tebaldi & I don’t know who as Chenier but I sure like him.
        -- The 7th clip is wonderful and already an old favorite of mine.
        THANKS AGAIN FAKOR!

        • armerjacquino says:

          ‘I don’t know who as Chenier but I sure like him’

          It’s Del Monaco.

          • phoenix says:

            Thanks! I only heard him once, I believe in Berlioz’ Troyens (cantando in italiano) with Simionato & ol’ Nell from Alabama, I think it was, and I didn’t like him. It’s a boon to hear these clips of him with Tebaldi & Callas singing the great duet, where he is wonderful.

        • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

          Second Chenier clip is Corelli and Eileen Farrel

  • operaqueen says:

    It’s not apocryphal. I heard an hours worth of excerpts last night and it does echo the “spy” review pretty perfectly. Kaufmann and Westbroek superb; the rest variable.

    Looking forward to it Friday night, and Monday night, and …..

    • Monica Rivers says:

      That “apocryphal” clip is here.

      • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

        Judging from that bootlegged recording, I don’t call what Levine was doing “helping” Siegmund and Sieglinde, rather it reveals that Levine was on his own agenda. Kaufman knows every nuance of the text in his native language, but for the most part Levine was not accompanying or even breathing with him. Those painkillers must be clouding his reflexes. Talented as Westbroek is, to my ears nobody has matched Rysanek, who at least equaled or surpassed her predecessors.

        • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

          And from the photos of the dress rehearsal Kaufmann looks like a real wuss as Siegmund -- sort of like a cross between Dixie Carter and Annie Potts.

        • SilvestriWoman says:

          QPF, I agree, but Westbroek sounds like damn close. There’s an element of dementia that no other Sieglinde has possessed, other than Rysanek, in recorded memory.

          As to Kaufmann, it was surely wise of Westbroek not to copy Leonie’s patented orgasmic scream, but I would have! Holy freakin’ crap… Even if I didn’t know what he looked like, I’d be in a puddle. Gawd, how long does he hold “Walse”?

          Bryn sounds a little rough, but I believe his attention to words will carry him through. Though not the most beautiful Wotan I’ve heard, his London Abschied moves me more than Pape’s, thanks to Bryn’s internalization of the text. Like it or not, my take is that Bryn doesn’t sing anything unless he can commit at least 100% to the lyric.

          Personally, if I die after Act I of the HD performance, I think I will leave this earth in ecstasy.

      • Lucky Pierre says:

        thank you, monica.

  • Bosah says:

    Ah, that darn “unknowing public” again. Pesky thing, that.

    Is this the same source that said Voigt would need to prove herself in rehearsals in order to sing this role?

    • peter says:

      Bosah, I wish Voigt the best in this run. I’m not rooting for her downfall but you have to admit that even in her prime, Brunnhilde was not a role(s) that was going to suit her. Sieglinde, Elsa, Elisabeth but not the hoch dramatic stuff. Why now, at this point in her career?

      • Bosah says:

        Peter,

        I do admit that this is -- was always going to be a struggle -- and I don’t expect anywhere near perfection.

        However, there also appears to be a large divide between those that would post here, for example, and that “unknowing public” regarding Voigt. I find that interesting -- especially since, according to many here -- it was highly unlikely someone with a voice in such horrible shape would be allowed in Walkure.

        To answer you, I don’t know why. And yes, I admit it’s a stretch. I’m under no illusions about this role. But, I don’t pre-condemn. I don’t believe in gloating or “haha-ing” over difficulties, and I try not to use limited criteria to judge.

        • jrance says:

          The Met is not in a position financially these days to buy singers out like they used to. If a singer -- especially a “name: singer -- shows up ready to go on they will most likely be allowed to perform. In the case of Brewer, she was not musically prepared for the Brunnhildes and Schenk protested her and she was replaced.

          If Voigt knows the role thoroughly she will doubtless do the performances even if she doesn’t sound very good.

          • Bosah says:

            I understand that. I think that point was made in the long discussion of whether Voigt would or wouldn’t perform. But, still, at the time, many (some?) suggested either she would pull out or she wouldn’t be allowed to perform. The memo from a source posted here went so far as to suggest she needed to prove she could perform and they were already speaking to potential replacements, who were named in the discussion.

    • ianw2 says:

      Hahaha yes. How dare they desecrate the auditorium before having spent several hours, nay, years, studying performance practise and Wagner’s correspondence (first taking the time to learn German). Quite frankly, I don’t know why anyone even botherered with Dr Atomic unless they’d spent several years working in a highly classified nuclear facility.

      Something about the phrase ‘unknowing public’ I find very irksome. I am reminded of the great saying about ‘stuck in traffic’- “you’re not amongst the unknowing public. you are the unknowing public.”

      • poisonivy says:

        Debbie Voigt’s publicist strikes again. The “unknowing public” for Die Walkuere is likely to be very “knowing,” and even my mom, who really doesn’t know anything about opera, heard Voigt once recently and said “Such a shrill ugly voice.” But if Bosah says that Voigt is in pristine voice, it must be so.

        • armerjacquino says:

          ‘Bosah says that Voigt is in pristine voice’

          No he didn’t, anywhere.

        • Bosah says:

          I didn’t say that and never have. Any reason you’d put words in my mouth?

        • ianw2 says:

          I freely admit that there have been Saturday nights recently where I have no memory of what has transpired and a mysterious pocketful of loose bills.

          But I’m also reasonably confident I’m not using that time to be Voigt’s publicist.

        • Bosah says:

          What I find odd is the knee-jerk attack against anyone saying… can we just wait before we attack Voigt (or others, too, actually)? Perhaps we can SEE the production? Or maybe instead of gloating nastiness, we can act with civility, even if we don’t like her work? Why the knee-jerk reaction over these ideas?

          Did Deborah Voigt run over your cat or something?

          (And I’m not speaking of the original post -- obviously, the “spy” saw the production and gave his/her views. My original response there only was about the poor unknowing public that might like Voigt -- eek.)

          • Sheldon says:

            Bosah--I don’t think it’s possible to convince the attackers here (of Deborah Voigt or anyone else) to change their ways. But I’m with you on DV’s upcoming Walkuere--I’ve had my doubts about it off and on over the past few years since it was announced, but I’d rather wait until I hear her in the house Friday to judge how she does.

          • Lucky Pierre says:

            the only thing more tired than voigt’s singing these days is boash constantly apologizing for her.

          • Bosah says:

            Oh, LP. Don’t diminish yourself. You’re constant attacks are a pretty tired thing all alone. But, then, at least I’m not surprised.

            Why is it more unacceptable for me to ask for civility than it is for you to attack?

          • Bosah says:

            *your*

          • Bosah says:

            LP -

            One final thing. I remember you suggesting / implying that Capriccio wasn’t selling. Any figures on sales now that the run is almost over?

          • Bosah says:

            I of course say this because it IS selling and has sold extremely well. Opening night was near sold out. HD is sold out. My performance was about 98% sold out and may have sold out by curtain. Interesting….

          • Lucky Pierre says:

            oh dear old bosta, not only are your ears clogged, but so is your brain. senility is coming down fast, isn’t it? i dare you to come up with my quote about capriccio’s ticket sales. i said i was not going to it, i made not comments about whether it’s selling out. your memory is as bad as your hearing.

            i’m glad you like to listen to 85-year olds croaking their way through wagner. the rest of us resent having to pay good money to hear a fraud. but to each his own.

          • Bosah says:

            Actually, you did, LP. But, that’s okay. No probs. I’ll take this as your admission that it has, in fact, sold well. Have a great day!

          • Lucky Pierre says:

            bosta, as i said, i dare you come up with that quote. but you won’t cause i never said that, but you are just too cowardly to admit you are wrong (as usual).

          • Lucky Pierre says:

            i said i was boycotting her capriccio. i said nothing about capriccio ticket sales.

        • figaroindy says:

          Here’s what I truly don’t get -- you’re explaining to me that your mother is somehow knowing, although you make clear that she knows nothing about opera…and then I’m supposed to just presume that “shrill, ugly” is solid critical thinking? I can say that I find much of certain operas as shrill and ugly, based on the vocal writing, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad, either. Just like your mom, there are other people in the “general public” who like Voigt’s voice. No one’s saying it’s pristine…it had issues when I heard it in “Fanciulla” last season at Lyric, but as in all cases, it’s subjective.

          • poisonivy says:

            What I’m saying is that Voigt’s vocal problems are audible even to someone who doens’t know squat about opera. I think it’s been discussed to death but the hollow, empty middle, the whistle top, the tendency to sing in chopped up phrases, those have been part of Voigt’s singing for some time now. And Bosah shows up like clockwork to defend her in every thread.

            Anyway I hope she can pull it together because I do have tickets.

          • Bosah says:

            Actually, to be honest, I haven’t defended her in every thread. There have been a bunch I’ve just avoided…. but maybe they all run together for some people, what with saying the same thing over and over and over.

    • parpignol says:

      after Fanciulla not particularly looking forward to Voigt on Friday, but still one wonders whether she will really compare so very unfavorably with other Met Brunnhildes of recent memory: Schnaut, Eaglen, Savova, Theorin. . .

  • Often admonished says:

    too many irrelevant clips -- one’s only response could be:

    • phoenix says:

      Coffee, anyone?

    • DonCarloFanatic says:

      Dunno. Seems like a lovely morning basket of goodies, especially the Chenier.

      • DonCarloFanatic says:

        Okay, all Chenier, and beautiful voices, but the slaughter of the French language got to me. How could anybody fault Sutherland for diction when at the same time Tucker was singing as if he had learned the part phonetically--from someone who did not know French?

  • Iphigénie says:

    OT -- New Met futures update. In 2013-14, there will be a revival of Andrea Chénier with Marcelo Alvarez, Elina Garanca will sing Octavian in Rosenkavalier and finally, there will be a revival of Mahagonny with James Levine conducting.

    • bassoprofundo says:

      Wow, Norma with Radvanovsky and Antonenko. I’d pay to see that.

    • A. Poggia Turra says:

      Iphigénie -- thanks so much for posting the news of the Mahagonny revival. I wonder if they will do a new production, or trot out the John Dexter/Jocelyn Herbert production one more time?

      And we can only hope for an HD!

  • phoenix says:

    OT. I clicked on that ad on the leftside of this page for a hotel in Bethlehem. It took me several extra searchclicks to figure out it wasn’t the Bethlehem that I knew in the West Bank but it’s someplace in PA way south of the Endless Mountains. What is there and why would anybody want to go?

    • Gualtier M says:

      Phoenix, no room at the inn. You will have to have your baby in the stables and use the manger for a crib. In Pennsylvania…

    • manou says:

      phoenix -- the ads are targeted according to the websites you frequent and the information you might have supplied to social networks (delete, delete), and so they are unique to you.

      So -- what have you been doing rooting around in the Holy Land or in Endless Mountains? The mind boggles…

      • phoenix says:

        Now I remember hearing about Bethlehem, PA from a late friend of mine from Pittsburgh (a place I have visited & do like). My friend said Bethlehem, PA was a rival city to Pittsburgh, PA in steel manufacturing production when he was a boy. Pittsburgh, BTW, has an acoustically extrasuperb operahouse, wherein I saw Anne Evans as Senta in Fliegende Hollander & Margaret Jane Wray as Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello.
        -- But that was a long, long time ago and I have quite forgotten about Bethlehem, PA or where it is.
        -- The only Bethlehem I ever visited is the one in the West Bank and since you asked Manou, here’s how it all transpired:
        Once many years ago i went to Cairo and decided to go on the trek the ancient Hebrews did according to Exodus in the Old Testament. So from Cairo I took a bus to the old trans-Jordan territory, which is a truly wonderful place to visit for many reasons. Much to see (although most it is separated by great distances, so you have to take taxis or tour buses if you prefer, in order to get around). There is ancient Jerash (the people living there now are kind & hospitable); modern Amman (ancient Philadelphia) has incredibly well preserved ruins right in the middle of the City and the people are friendly & outgoing. If they invite you to their homes for a visit, take them up on it. You will see some fantastically beatiful humble abodes built of golden Jerusalem marble, which was all over the place in those days. One house had floors all througout of polished golden marble, just throw rugs in the hallways & Turkisy style pillowcouches in the living areas. But you cannot miss a visit to Petra in old Nabatea. I spent several days there myself because it was like going home I felt so comfortable I didn’t want to leave. In those days you could hike in and out by yourself & explore at your invidiual leisure any of the castles, cave dwellings, ampitheaters, or whatever as much as you wanted whenever you wanted. The only problem was the Nabataens hadn’t changed much since the days of Jokanaan and some of them were rude & difficult to deal with (most of them I ran into must have been Herod’s/Herodias’ descendants).
        -- One of the places in Jordan I found out about was Mount Nebo, where Moses was said to have bid farewell to the Hebrews before they crossed the Jordan into the great land. The Jordanians told me it had a cool summer climate up there, which immediately got me enthused — it was in August I was there. According to the Jordanians, Herod had built a summer resort vacation palace near the foot of Mount Nebo & local tradition indicates it was there that the execution of Jokanaan took place, not in Jerusalem. So I went to the summer resort, but it was in pretty bad shape because it had been built of adobe (like the Temple of Phtah in Egypt) so there wasn’t much to see. But the top of Mount Nebo was unforgettably beautiful: fertile green grass with soft, damp, cool breezes caressing you from every direction. There is small shrine dedicated there as well as what looks to me like an abandoned monastery on the very crest of the mountain.
        -- So I took a bus from Amman & crossed over the Jordan to Jericho, another place well worth visiting if just for the mosaics and the deep archaelogical shafts. From Jericho I took a taxi to Jerusalem. When I was in Jerusalem I met this tall handsome Persian taxidriver with milkwhite skin & jetblack hair (I had mousybrown hair & somewhere in the middle complexion, so to me he was something astounding to look at). I asked him if he would take me to Nebi-Muse (about 7 miles from the Red Sea, the tomb of Moses according to Muslim tradition) and to Bethelehem. He said sure and he also offered to take me to Rachel’s tomb, a Hebrew shrine, so I gladly took him up on the offer. That is how I got to Bethlehem, which is another mountain town in a beautiful setting. The jewel in the crown there is the great Greek Basilica (built in 565 A.D. by Emporer Justinian I) which is supposedly built over the cave wherein according to Greek Orthodox (as well as Muslim) tradition Christ was born. The murals & frescoes now extant on the upper walls of the Basilica date from teh 12th century. That is the most wonderful building I’ve ever been in and it is worth the entire trip to get there.

        [img]http://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/000.jpg[/img]

        • schweigundtanze says:

          mrsjohnphoenix?

          In any event, Bethlehem is home to the nation’s oldest Bach festival. It is primarily choral and is now in its 104th year.

          • phoenix says:

            Well, now that you mention it, I did hear those Bach Festival broadcasts from Bethlehem on NPR radio awhile back, but I don’t remember them saying anything about Pennsylvania, just Bethlehem. So I assumed… well you know, of course, when I assume I really make an ass out of myself. I still think it was just another mediahype deception they were trying to get over on me, an unsuspecting listener, but still I can’t figure how Bach got to Bethlehem only 104 years ago?
            Where is that Claggart bitch when I need her?

        • manou says:

          Phoenix -- many many thanks for taking the trouble to write all this, which is fascinating to me on several levels because (a) I used to live in Egypt, and (b) we are forever trying to arrange a trip to Petra (only problem -- not too many good opera houses) and things keep falling through. Now of course one has the added worry that the Nabateans may decide to have a massive demonstration in their own Tahrir Square…

          (With apologies to serious and literal minded Parterrians who prefer to read material more suited to Walkyries)

          • phoenix says:

            Wasn’t it wonderful? Misr is everybody’s home. I visited al Qahira 3 or 4 different times & stayed in different districts. One night I made friends with a mosquekeeper in the old 19th century hill neighborhood close to the tomb of the Shah of Iran. We stayed up allnight talking & laughing in the empty mosque. Remember the old days, how you could go out & walk around anyplace anytime of the day or night & not worry about anything? We are truly lucky to be as old as we are.
            -- What is the problem nowadays getting in and out of Petra? I guess she isn’t the surrendering tart she used to be. A friend of mine had great difficulty too recently on a trip and finally he could only book a helicopter trip over the mountains & into the valley of Petra. This was not so 20 years ago. If you got a hotel room right on the outskirts, you could just walk (or hike) the 5 or 10 miles back & forth anytime at your leisure, no papers required, no tourguides or whatever.

          • MontyNostry says:

            Entrance to Petra now costs about $50 and it is all very well organised. It must generate a huge amount of money for Jordan, not a country with huge natural resources (apart from phosphates apparently), though its seems pretty prosperous.

          • phoenix says:

            How much is a weekly or monthly pass? That’s how long it’s worth it to stay there, at least for me.

        • CruzSF says:

          Thanks for sharing a little peek into a beautiful memory, lovingly captured.

          • phoenix says:

            Glad you enjoyed it. It is true, or rather it was true in those days. I don’t think I could do even half those things nowadays for one reason or another. But I still advise everybody who feels any cultural and/or physical and/or spiritual link to eastern Mediterranean culture to take your last dinar & hightail it to Petra, the truest of the true homelands.

      • phoenix says:

        Oh manou, I presently live north of the Endless Mountains & Bethlehem, PA is way south of the Endless Mountains:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endless_Mountains

        [img]http://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/0001-1.jpg[/img]

    • Bill says:

      Phoenix -- Lehigh Universiy for one and the former headquarters of Bethlehem Steel -- for most of the last Century the headquarters of the second largest Steel Corporation in the USA.

  • Maury D says:

    The unknowing public will accept her because she looks good and moves well.

    I’ll never understand the magic by which the Met box office always manages to admit 3,999 rubes and one expert to everything. It’s so mathematically unlikely!

  • Cuban_Stallion says:

    OT -- Jennifer Larmore singing Lady Macbeth in Geneva next season. Discuss.

    Magdalena Kozcena reprising Carmen in Salzburg Easter Fest 2012 despite the 2010 attempt in Caracas (both under hubby’s baton). Discuss.

    • phoenix says:

      Those girls might want to consider trading roles with each other. Kozcena could make an intersting Lady M. & ol’ Larmore could belt out that Carmen!

      • Cuban_Stallion says:

        Close your eyes and imagine: Kozcena floating a high D flat at the end of the sleepwalking scene? Draw an image based on the images that come to mind.

      • kashania says:

        I think Kozena’s voice is far too light for Lady M. Larmore has two things going for her as Lady M. She has a “buzzing” quality to her voice that will help carry her voice in the heavy passages. Also, being a mezzo, she’ll have more heft in the mid-voice while presumably still having the high notes (though I’d say she should opt of our the high D-flat).

        • Gualtier M says:

          Okay, I heard, or I should say tried to hear Jennifer Larmore sing the Santuzza-like role of Tigrana in “Edgar” at Carnegie Hall. The voice was painfully slender and hollow. She also sounded weirdly empty but was pretty galvanizing onstage as Gertrude in “Hamlet” at the Met. The voice seemed to have plenty of cut at the top though, helpful for Lady Macbeth. Larmore also has florid technique. However, I would say this smacks of late career desperation -- you need to sing something hard and flashy and uncastable to keep yourself working. It could work out brilliant -- especially if the hall isn’t large.

          As for Kozena, she sounds like a washed out lyric soprano with no high notes to me. Perfect for Melisande and recital work, problematic for anything else (her Cherubino at the Met supposedly was good if sopranoish). Also being a slim good-looking woman who can move well and has a decent sized mezzo voice or semi-mezzo voice doesn’t automatically spell success as Carmen. Many are called upon to sing the Gypsy, few really make the role their own. Larmore has done Carmen before and was one of the those good-looking mezzos who didn’t have the esprit du diable for the part.

          • phoenix says:

            Sounds like Larmore (whom I haven’t heard in many years — since she did that Charlotte at Theater an der Wien years ago) has an aging voice with diminished overtones. I don’t know what to discuss about that. Felicity Palmer, who is my age, sings on & on; they praise & praise her; but she sounds like the abominable snowwoman to me.
            -- Kozena is another thing entirely. Obviously she is a soprano & Rattle & Co. are not pulling the wool over our ears.

          • Cuban_Stallion says:

            Dear Gualtier M, please define your terms: “good-looking woman” and “who can move well.”

          • DurfortDM says:

            But she looked good doing it.

        • MontyNostry says:

          Larmore couldn’t be worse as Lady Macbeth than the egregious Nadja Michael. At least Larmore is a singer of professional finish.

        • Regina delle fate says:

          Kozena’s voice is far too light for Lady Macbeth’s Lady-in-waiting! Her ROH Cenerentola was a joke, she was outsung by the Tisbe.

        • luvtennis says:

          Kozena’s voice is a bit like cotton candy. A thing made using hot air, pointless twirling and a tiny bit of high-calorie sugar. The resulting fluff can be quite compelling amid the noise and bustle of the midway, but shrinks into yucky little chunks and crystals after only a few hours.

          Not that Kozena is an unattractive performer. It’s just that I see nothing about her to justify her current high-profile success.

          • MontyNostry says:

            What I really dislike about her singing is the way she does that bulgy ‘Early Music’ legato when she is singing composers like Massenet. Her performance of that sexy wicked aria from Cleopatre on her French recital was horrible.

          • Harry says:

            It is amazing what you can get cast in……..if your hubby is big and has a lot of clout. Just float along on the clouds of musical meringue being Mrs…. the pretty wife of….. the doors automatically open.
            Lady Macbeth for Kozena??!! A role that needs true dramatic heft with coloratura thrown in. April Fool’s Day is gone.

          • armerjacquino says:

            Harry, you’ve read the thread, right? Of course Kozena isn’t playing Lady M anywhere. So the casting clout or otherwise of her husband is pretty irrelevant.

          • Harry says:

            Amerjacquino: I am ‘in’ on the joke. Frankly I find Kozena is a non event.

      • Cocky Kurwenal says:

        Kozcena would be an excellent 1st apparition. Beyond that, I don’t see her in Verdi, let alone Lady Macbeth.

        • armerjacquino says:

          You mean you haven’t heard her as Eboli?

          • MontyNostry says:

            … and soon Ortrud.

          • phoenix says:

            I haven’t heard her as Ortrud but I am looking forward to it. But she couldn’t compare to our own overwhelmingly authoritarian Harryette in her recent performance as Ortrud (pictured below in the final curse)!
            [img]http://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/zz1abcd.jpg[/img]

          • armerjacquino says:

            Actually, having sneered, I have now listened to Kozena’s Veil Song on YouTube and it’s terrific. She obv couldn’t sing the whole part, but she does a great job on the one aria.

          • luvtennis says:

            Phoenix:

            No one COULD ever hear Kozena as Eboli or Ortrud. She would be drowned out by the coat rustling and air-conditioning hum.

            Actually, the mere thought of Kozena as Eboli in any theatre bigger than a bathroom is pretty mind-boggling.

    • spiderman says:

      and she (larmore) will sing kostelnicka next year in berlin!

      so, in about 2 years she sings: gertrud, valencienne, kostelnicka and lady macbeth… what a rep!

      • Cocky Kurwenal says:

        I’ve seen her as Countess Geschwitz within that time frame too.

        Never thought she had a Lady MacB or Kostelnichka in her, but will be very happy to be proved wrong.

        • spiderman says:

          if i am not mistaken, ALL of that except gertrud is under the direction of chritoph loy

        • A. Poggia Turra says:

          It’s a shame that no American company ever produced a Mathilde di Shabran -- her singing of Eduardo’s two arias on her “Rossini Amore” C was very good indeed.

          [img]http://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/511bNB1qTRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg[/img]

      • operacat says:

        she sings Charlotte with Filianoti’s Werther with the Concert Opera of Washington DC toward the end of May. Should know more after that about the state of her voice.

    • MontyNostry says:

      Kozena’s ‘Chanson bohemienne’ from Act 2 of Carmen, under Minkowski, was on the radio the other day. Bloody awful. Peaky little voice, no depth of tone, no sex appeal. She has been a clever girl to make such a good marriage. And people say JDD would be a bit light for Carmen!!!

    • phoenix says:

      [img]http://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/fracas.JPG[/img]

  • perfidia says:

    I used to love Voigt’s voice. That gleam. Now she just sounds old and worn out. She’ll get thorugh the role but she is making some ugly sounds which, for a voice that used to have such sheer beauty, is just sad. Of course with Wagner there is always that glorious music, and Kaufmann and Westbroek indeed sound terrific. All in all, it won’t be a bad way to spend Saturday.

  • Lucky Pierre says:

    here’s the utter filth that voigt can offer these days:

    maybe you whores need to clean your years in addition to other body parts.

    • Lucky Pierre says:

      *ears*

    • MontyNostry says:

      She’s trying hard, at least. And the top C is not as flat as Tebaldi’s. But the voice has always been all wrong for Italian repertoire and the careful pronunciation is indubitably Anglo-Sassone.

    • Joe Conda says:

      God, her Italian is so awful.

    • Regina delle fate says:

      This hatred inspired by Voigt is baffling. She was surprisingly effective -- if not the last word in Minnie-singing -- in the HD broadcast and Monty is right that the Italian rep doesn’t suit her as well as the German. But what has this poor woman done to merit the bile directed at her? I’ve never been much of a fan, but I’m beginning to feel she is undeservedly reviled.

      • armerjacquino says:

        It’s not just the bile directed at Voigt, it’s also the bile directed at anyone who dares to say anything in her defence. Weird.

        • Lucky Pierre says:

          hatred and bile? because we dare to complain that this woman should not be singing in a brand new ring? because we resent paying good money for this? what are you, bitches, deaf and naive?

          • armerjacquino says:

            Yeah, exactly that kind of thing. As I said, weird.

          • sterlingkay says:

            Who’s making you spend $$$ for this?? Since you have already made up your mind about VOIGT…why subject yourself to her?? There will be plenty of opportunities to see this Ring in the next couple of years without her. Wait for Dalayman….

          • Lucky Pierre says:

            have you even remotely entertained the idea that we might want to go because we love wagner, we want to see the new lepage ring, we want to see the other singers in it (kauffman, mostly)????? so, yes, we reserve the right to bitch and complain about a singer who wrecked her voice and should have been replaced. if gelb had any musical sense, it’d been done long ago — but he’s a fucking moron idiot asswipe. like many of you voigt apologists.

            i only saw fanciulla with voigt because i won the raffle in the fall. it was a total disaster. i’m going to the walkuere in a few weeks because i was given a ticket. not that it is any of your business, you deaf morons.

          • Lucky Pierre says:

            here’s someone who should have been cast as brunni:

          • messa di voce says:

            Sounds like she’s stretched to her max, singing in Zurich.

          • Lucky Pierre says:

            i gather it’s a small theater???

          • messa di voce says:

            Bartoli is the reigning prima donna. Nuff said.

          • manou says:

            Lucky lucky Pierre -- master of understatement, restraint, irony and elegant language.

            It’s all in the subtext, folks.

          • Lucky Pierre says:

            did anyone here hear her recent elektras in vienna?

          • Lucky Pierre says:

            manou, you forgot class!!!!

          • Lucky Pierre says:

            (snort!)

          • manou says:

            …and class!

            (not forgetting refinement)

          • DurfortDM says:

            @Lucky

            Zurich is an absolute heaven. So small (1110 capacity), so neat. One cannot describe the pleasure of hearing opera there and then horror returning to the atrocious monstrosity that is the Met. (To be fair, the acoustics in Zurich are a shade dry and those at the Mer excellent for the size but still).

            One of the things I heard in Zurich was Baird as Elektra. Also heard her at the Met as Isolde and Voigt 3 days later. I have to say that, in that context at least, I’d have to give Debbie the edge but it was rathe close and she’s sounded much worse on subsequent occasions so I don’t know.

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            ‘what are you, bitches, deaf and naive?’

            I think it was previously established that we were bitch whores, or something like that.

          • Lucky Pierre says:

            to amerj and regina,

            so far i have talked about voigt’s singing and acting — i have never attacked her personally, i have never said she’s ugly, unethical, dishonest, etc. my comments about voigt or renee are always about SINGING and ACTING. so where do you get hatred and bile? or maybe you brits are just so delicate — i should have known that from watching your parliamentary debates.

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            I don’t presume to answer for ArmerJ and REgina, but I think maybe it might be the calling everybody deaf morons and such like all the time? Possibly? With a little light cultural stereotyping thrown in for good measure now and again.

            It’s the kind of thing that would have got you Metastasioed, back in the day.

          • Bluessweet says:

            Manou, Bosah, Aj and a whole haost of others: I’m surprised at all of you. I can only think you did not get the memo. The world, with a little gold fence around it, was created just for Lucky P. How dare you cast aspersions on so deserving a character? If he says the Met’s casting is not good enough and that certain singers should be exiled to remote and unhealthy realms, I’m sure that this is the best thing that could happen for Lucky P. No one else really counts anyway. How could you imagine that the productions that he wishes to see can be done in any other way than the way he wants to see them?

            Of course the language he uses and the references he makes are all splendid, as befits his status.

          • Lucky Pierre says:

            well, cocky et al, don’t ever accuse me of hatred and bile towards singers. i may be rude and crass, but i have never called a singer a whore, which is what many folks here do to trebs and gheorghiu all the time. i have always restricted my comments about their singing (or lack of), not their personal lives.

            bluesweet, did you get my other memo? the one that says, lick my ass, bitch.

          • sterlingkay says:

            Lucky Pierre--

            So you tell us you resent paying good money for Voigt’s Brunnhilde and then you tell us you were given a ticket. Which is it, moron?

          • Lucky Pierre says:

            sterlingbitch, i said i resent paying good money to hear filth like voight’s minnie or renee’s armida. capisce, puta sucia?

          • La Cieca says:

            Moderation for you, Pierre. Cool down.

    • mia apulia says:

      thank you for posting this so I now can hear that it is even worse than I remember it being

  • phoenix says:

    [img]http://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/00010.JPG[/img]

  • fistfull says:

    when will the miking stop ?

  • Nerva Nelli says:

    She sounds like Rethberg in her prime compared to the godawful off-pitch caterwauling perpetrated by Lauren Flanigan tonight at NYCO. Can’t her rabid admirers hear that she is now rarely if ever on a defined pitch? HORRIBLE.. and NOT “in a fantastic sense”…

    Melody Moore on the other hand was excellent, an artist improving all the time.

  • Claudia4Ever says:

    that “covertly recorded content” from the DR has been uploaded on the Met’s website as “preview clips”…

    • schweigundtanze says:

      Not sure if this is what you’re talking about, but there are three videos available now:
      http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/broadcast/template.aspx?id=16210&prodpage

      • steveac10 says:

        The three vids lead me to believe Terfel and Voigt are acceptable, Kaufmann and Westbroek are fabulous, and either Eva is really, really tall or Jonas is a bit on the short side. But whatever their heights: two of the healthiest, most appropriate voices essaying those roles in a long time -- plus they’re both hot.

        • operaddict says:

          Eva is quite tall, while Jonas isn’t too tall. I suspect they are the same height…or close to it. They sound and look amazing in the above clip. These two will steal the show…hands down.

  • Hans Lick says:

    Fascinating account of your Middle Eastern trip, Phoenix, but I think you have got the various Herods mixed up. Herod the Great was the one who built Masada, Caesarea, the platform of Machpela and the (second) Second Temple. He died in 6 bce. It was his son the Tetrarch Herod Antipas (ruler of Galilee) and Antipas’s wife, Herod’s granddaughter Herodias, who are credited with Jokana’an’s execution.

  • phoenix says:

    [img]http://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/xyz1Herod.JPG[/img]

    • phoenix says:

      HansLick, some of the kings shared the name Herod. I knew that before I went over there. If I mistakenly referred to Herod the Great when discussing Herod Antipater, I guess I owe you an apology. It was a long writ and I simplified it by just writing ‘Herod’ but as you say, Herod the Great was the founder of the dynasty, he built the palaces you mention.
      -- I don’t know if Salome’s stepfather Herod Antipater built that summer resort at the foot of Mt. Nebo I found or not… I haven’t been able to find any references to it. I first heard about that place in Jordan from the locals around that area, so I am not sure if it has ever been verified as archaeologically authentic. Do you know anything about it? Or is it just myth?