Cher Public

And the Pubies go to…

At long last, the most closely guarded secret of 2011 (besides, you know, everything about what’s going to happen to City Opera) is about to be revealed. Ladies and public, the Second Annual Parterre Cher Public Choice Awards!

Best New Production at the MetDon Carlo

Worst New Production at the Met
Le Comte Ory

Best Revival at the Met

Pelléas et Mélisande

Worst Revival at the Met


Best NYCO Production

A Quiet Place

Best “Off-Broadway” Opera Production

Norma (Caramoor)

Best Performance by a Diva

Joyce DiDonato (Ariadne auf Naxos)

Worst Performance by a Diva

Deborah Voigt (La fanciulla del West)

Best Performance by a Divo

Jonas Kaufmann (Die Walküre)

Worst Performance by a Divo

James Maddalena (Nixon in China)

Best Performance in a Non-Diva Role

Felicity Palmer (Pelléas et Mélisande)

Worst Performance in a Non-Diva Role

James Morris (Roméo et Juliette)

Maestro of the Year

Fabio Luisi

Einspringer of the Year

Fabio Luisi

Debut of the Year

Eva-Maria Westbroek (Die Walküre)

Photos: Ken Howard (Ring, Pelléas, Don Carlo), Carol Rosegg (A Quiet Place), Cory Weaver (DiDonato).

  • rofrano

    I look forward to the star studded awards ceremony at merkin hall!

    • Wait, they have been moved? I thought they were going to be at the baths, where we would also hear the full recording of Steber at The Continental baths so the Diva(o)s in the Worse category get to hear how it’s done.

  • ilpenedelmiocor

    Pretty funny — I didn’t vote in several categories because I figured (a) I had only heard several of these and seen none of them live, and (b) I would probably be bucking mainstream opinion in many cases, and I’m by now so sensitive to being non-PC (“parterre correct”) that I would have felt guilty voting on first impulse. But lo and behold, I seem to have been not far out of the mainstream after all, both in categories I voted for as well as in categories I skipped. For example, I was going to vote for Don Carlo, and then had second thoughts based on how many disliked Poplavskaya, how much I disliked Smirnova, the stupid burning corpses, the equally stupid (but very hot) muttering priest, and that I probably SHOULD be voting for La Traviata (which I didn’t see — did I???), etc. so I just….didn’t vote in this category. I did vote for P&M based purely on the broadcast, however.

    The only outcome that really surprises me is JDD in Ariadne, but again, I didn’t SEE her. However, based on the chat for the broadcast I never would predicted this. Also didn’t hate the production of Comte d’Ory, even though I found the opera itself totally inane (and the singing glorious).

    • Porgy Amor

      I heard nothing in COMTE D’ORY that made me want to hear the opera again, or made me wonder at its obscurity; but while I agree with you about the glorious singing (by the three leads), I thought Sher’s production was a dog. I strongly considered throwing my vote that way, but I ultimately voted for WALKUERE. Putting on a crude, witless, and hackneyed staging of a second- or third-tier bel canto comedy isn’t as big a sin as turning in a big fat zero when confronted with the philosophical, intellectual, psychological, and theatrical possibilities of WALKUERE, despite having obscene monetary resources and a (mostly) promising cast at one’s disposal.

      Honestly, I looked at the “Best New Production” list and thought “How can I pick one?” Then I looked at the “Worst New Production” list and thought “How can I pick *just* one”? BORIS narrowly edged CARLO for my “Best” vote. Those were the only two I didn’t hate, and they were far from ideal. Wadsworth’s hurried, hand-me-down BORIS had slightly less to bother me than CARLO did, even though it was sketchy and, in my opinion, occasionally wrongheaded (having both of the Tsar’s offspring emoting away at the deathbed, making it both soap-opera treacly and new-agey Take Your Daughter To Succession Day). Plus, regarding CARLO, I’m still out of sorts about losing Elisabetta and the starving peasants in Act I, from the Dexter production.

      • Often admonished

        These are good choices.

        I am so dissapointed in all of you!

  • Cocky Kurwenal

    Is James Maddalena really a divo? Isn’t he more of an American stalwart baritone who has enjoyed a lot of successful activity thanks in large part to canny repertoire choices?

    • …and who, doubtless, was cast more out of sentiment than everyone involved somehow not knowing his voice is mostly used up. He sounded terrible but I was glad to see him, I dunno. I register dissent! In this category and einspringer, actually. Alagna really knocked it out of the park, I thought.

      • Gualtier M

        I agree with you, Maury -- Maddalena owned the role despite his tired voice. Also, there was worse work up there on the Met stage. The “Rigoletto” casts had a bunch of underperforming divos and divas -- Meoni as Rigoletto, Meli as the Duke. And then there is Salvatore Licitra who I once thought would reclaim the glory of the Italian spinto tenor for the 21st century. His Cavaradossi seriously sounded like late Poggi. William Shimell’s “Rex Harrison” sprechstimme Don Alfonso only escaped filth by stage savvy and smarts.

        Also I think Angela Gheorghiu deserved an award for canceling her Met career -- Best Diva Self-Destruction with only Angie nominated.

        • I think she won the Pubie for “Most expected cancellation” last year so I guess it is fitting if we call for a proclamation vote on the “Starke Scheite” category.

      • Cocky Kurwenal

        I dissent too, but mostly because he just doesn’t seem eligible.

        I was also surprised by Don Carlo’s win -- there was endless moaning at the time about lego bricks and shouty priests and the like.

        Also, how predictable about Armida and Fanciulla.

      • Sempre liberal

        I didn’t go to see Nixon in China, and so I will assume Maddalena made a profound visual impression. But, on the radio, it was the most painful performance of the year. I started hunting for needles to stick in my eardrums, and then I realized I would still be able to hear, because I wouldn’t have destroyed my incus, malleus, and stapes with just an eardrum piercing. Then I thought of how I might remove those bones. Finally, it dawned on me that I could turn the radio off.

        I recognize the historical importance of his participation in the production, but perhaps he could have been given an award before the performance and given a really good seat to watch the production.

  • Nerva Nelli

    Well, Tony T. will enjoy seeing the picture of QUIET PLACE; he can blow up the image of Joshua Hopkins as Junior and imagine comforting him as he so memorably wished to comfort Paul Lewis onstage.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Join the Virtual Choir with the well-tempered composer

    The flying pianist:

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

    • ilpenedelmiocor

      Did anyone hear this vocal treasure (at 2:30)?
      Stumbled across this by accident this past week….

      • ilpenedelmiocor

        And who is Wazo?

        • Baritenor

          You know, I feel like I SHOULD say something about how they’re obviously young singers, or about they may not even be classically-minded, and how this is a tv program and not a serious opera endeavor…but I just can’t. I mean…that was just not very good.

          • ilpenedelmiocor

            Ah, but then you cannot have listened all the way through to the end, to learn that the mezzo is none other than…..Katherine Jenkins (in case you didn’t recognize her).

      • SF Guy

        My favorite classical vignette from this season’s Dancing/Stars is the complete-in-3-minutes Swan Lake, which at least has real stars:

        • ilpenedelmiocor

          <3 Jose Manuel.

          But what have they got him wearing, a band uniform? This hardly shows off the man's assets….

          And LOL, they'll even cheer for a promenade en attitude followed by an arabesque releve' (not to mention a lift of any variety) on this show, pretty cool.

          • ilpenedelmiocor

            More appropriate attire:

  • OpinionatedNeophyte

    I can only assume that the fact that the Decker Traviata has been long available on DVD explains why it did not win. All I can say is that seeing it live is significantly different than seeing it on DVD. Decker was *robbed*.

    • Looks like it’s time for our quarterly instance of agreeing on something :)

      • OpinionatedNeophyte

        Watch it, the rapture can still happen you know. :)

        • The Rapture has been rescheduled to coincide with your third quarter agreement.

    • atalaya

      I agree. Voted for Trav and thought it was an easy choice.

      Don Carlo had a lot of complaining here about the production when it came out. Surprised it won.

      I’m looking forward to seeing the Dessay Traviata next season and probably going to use that as the opera to take the never-been-to-an-opera before people. Some people loved Poplovskaya but she didn’t do it for me.

  • Melot’s Younger Brother

    Next year, we should have a category or two for productions that played outside of New York. Some of the best I saw and heard this season took place across the US. There also have opera in Europe, I hear.

    • You are correct: next year’s Pubies will include “out of town” productions.

      • Melot’s Younger Brother

        Is it too late for a write-in? If not, “Worst Out-of Town Performance” should go to Ben Heppner for his Los Angeles Lohengrin. Sad but true. Simply the worst singing I’ve heard in nearly 40 years of opera-going.

      • **thumbs up**