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Northern stars

Winners of the seventh annual F. Paul Driscoll Awards for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence, or, as they are colloquially known, the Opera News Awards, have been announced. Accepting the coveted “Effies” on Sunday, April 29 at The Plaza in New York City will be sopranos Karita Mattila and Anja Silja, baritones Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Peter Mattei, and director Peter Sellars. (Zany photo of Sellars by Alex Ross.)


  • 1
    armerjacquino says:

    Now that’s a production of FOLLIES I’d pay to see.

    • 1.1
      Maury D says:

      We need a “like” button.

      p.s. does this mean they’ll stop giving Mattei throwaway shit like &@#*$% Marcello in Boheme?

      • 1.1.1
        Krunoslav says:


        28 La Boh?me: Marcello [Amato, Pasquale]
        12 La Boh?me: Marcello [Bastianini, Ettore]
        10 La Boh?me: Marcello [Bonelli, Richard]
        32 La Boh?me: Marcello [Campanari, Giuseppe]
        6 La Boh?me: Marcello [Capecchi, Renato]
        7 La Boh?me: Marcello [Chernov, Vladimir]
        33 La Boh?me: Marcello [Croft, Dwayne]
        14 La Boh?me: Marcello [Danise, Giuseppe]
        36 La Boh?me: Marcello [De Luca, Giuseppe]
        17 La Boh?me: Marcello [Elvira, Pablo]
        10 La Boh?me: Marcello [Finley, Gerald]
        6 La Boh?me: Marcello [Gilfry, Rodney]
        20 La Boh?me: Marcello [Gilly, Dinh]
        71 La Boh?me: Marcello [Guarrera, Frank]
        1 La Boh?me: Marcello [Hampson, Thomas]
        5 La Boh?me: Marcello [Keenlyside, Simon]
        28 La Boh?me: Marcello [Kwiecien, Mariusz]
        4 La Boh?me: Marcello [MacNeil, Cornell]
        10 La Boh?me: Marcello [Manuguerra, Matteo]
        17 La Boh?me: Marcello [Mattei, Peter]
        10 La Boh?me: Marcello [Merrill, Robert]
        2 La Boh?me: Marcello [Oswald, Mark]
        6 La Boh?me: Marcello [Reardon, John]
        143 La Boh?me: Marcello [Scotti, Antonio]
        76 La Boh?me: Marcello [Sereni, Mario]
        1 La Boh?me: Marcello [Silveri, Paolo]
        1 La Boh?me: Marcello [Singher, Martial]
        30 La Boh?me: Marcello [Stilwell, Richard]
        10 La Boh?me: Marcello [Stracciari, Riccardo]
        6 La Boh?me: Marcello [Tagliabue, Carlo]
        7 La Boh?me: Marcello [T?zier, Ludovic]
        8 La Boh?me: Marcello [Tibbett, Lawrence]
        6 La Boh?me: Marcello [Uppman, Theodor]
        14 La Boh?me: Marcello [Valdengo, Giuseppe]
        13 La Boh?me: Marcello [Wixell, Ingvar]
        8 La Boh?me: Marcello [Zanasi, Mario]

          Regina delle fate says:

          I wish Covent Garden would cast such luminaries -- well maybe not Mark Oswald (whatever happened to him?) -- as Marcello. Peter Glossop, John Shaw and more recently Anthony Michaels-Moore have been the norm here. Mattei as Marcello? If only…..

          • Donna Anna says:

            Mark Oswald is on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music and has a very busy studio. I hear from singers in the area that he’s one of the best teachers around. I enjoyed his performances and was sorry when he ended his performing career.

          • Duvalin says:

            Best? Far from it. His students are the only ones in the business who believe that.

          • tatiana says:

            I can’t remember where I heard this, but I think it was some kind of health issue (allergies, perhaps?) that resulted in Oswald ending his stage career.

          armerjacquino says:

          Yeah, great singers have played Marcello. But I think Maury’s point- which as I understand it is that one would rather see Mattei as Onegin, or as the Count, or in a lead rather than supporting role- is still perfectly valid, no?

          • Krunoslav says:

            Well, yes, but Marcello is a major role and in truth Mattei has not exactly been relegated to walk-ons at the Met. I agree heartily that they should deploy Mattei WAY more often. But my old old old intermission acquaintance Maury makes it sound like he has been singing Montano and Bill Jackrabbit there, when in fact:

            10 Il Barbiere di Siviglia: Figaro [Mattei, Peter]
            17 La Boh?me: Marcello [Mattei, Peter]
            18 Don Giovanni: Don Giovanni [Mattei, Peter]
            7 From the House of the Dead: Shishkov [Mattei, Peter]
            15 Le Nozze di Figaro: Count Almaviva [Mattei, Peter]

          • Krunoslav says:

            Funny, the Archives leaves out Yeletsky (5) in PIKOVAYA DAMA.

          • Maury D says:

            Fair enough, Kruno, and I figured someone would take issue, but I do still think they make peculiar use of him. Part of this is my bias, because Barbiere was his biggest star moment and I find it tedious. Any season where Mattei sings that or Marcello and somebody else sings, let us say, Onegin, makes me shake my tiny fist at the sky or at the very least in the direction of Lincoln Center.

            I loved him in Totenhaus and (urgh) missed him in Nozze, but otherwise I feel like I haven’t had opportunities to hear him in what he’d really kill in.

            Also, you know, I’ve never, ever heard an opera queen ask another opera queen “Who’s your favorite Marcello?” Given that I read Opera-L for a few years and (Oh! vecchiaia maledetta!) for many, I am taking this as evidence in my case that Marcello is just not much of a role.

          • armerjacquino says:

            Maury- if it helps, he’s KILLING as Buddy in my head. Although of course Silja’s ‘Could I Leave You?’ is the real talking point of the evening in my head.

          • alex says:

            I’ve actually rarely heard anybody talk about their favorite *anything* from Boheme. Mattei is great, though and I would definitely go hear him sing aaaanything. Even this, which made me heave my bosoms.

          • tatiana says:

            For whatever it’s worth, Mattei is the best “Don Giovanni” in my experience (mostly Met-based, and over the past 30 years only). He’s the only one who’s persuaded me completely of the character’s magnetism. And he did perform an “Onegin” in concert form at Tanglewood a couple of seasons ago, absolutely beautifully--though the audience seemed to have eyes and ears only for Renee Fleming. Not ME, though! :-)

          • A. Poggia Turra says:

            Mattei in the Opera National de Paris production by Michael Haneke:

          • louannd says:


            and, yes, my bosoms heaved during this clip:

            ei batte così.

          • SilvestriWoman says:

            Love all this Mattei love! Truly beautiful voice and a true operatic rarity -one that can easily swing… The physicality of the Giovanni clip reminds me of when I saw him in a semi-staged Figaro at Ravinia some years back. Vividily sung, he was an incredibly youthful Almaviva. With his long legs, he bounded all over the set like a puppy. I second that the Met is foolish not to cast him as Onegin. How could Tatiana not fall in love?

            Still, I believe the greatest Mozart baritone of our -- or possibly any -- time is Sir Thomas Allen. He’s also pretty damn great in musical theater. Much as I love John Raitt, I think this is pretty damn definitive:

          • louannd says:

            @Silvestriwoman -- more love --

          • grimoaldo says:


            Agree with you about Thomas Allen. I did not guess a single winner right but I put him on my list and think he SHOULD be on it.
            So should Marilyn Horne, what are they thinking of?

          iltenoredigrazia says:

          There’s a slight difference. Most (all?) of those baritones sang Marcello while singing other major roles at the Met that season. Many of them stayed in NY for a great part of the season and alternated roles. I doubt any of them ever came to NY just to sing Marcello. Just a guess. I haven’t checked for accuracy.

          • Krunoslav says:

            Well, what you say is of course true of Amato and De Luca and Tibbett-- in those days people gave months to the Met and didn’t fly around — but not true of , say, Wixell, Finley, Kwiecien, Keenlyside and other non-“house singers” i the late 25 years.

            Outside of The House ( and in) the world has changed, Erika…

          • iltenoredigrazia says:

            And Merrill, Sereni, Uppman, Guarrera, MacNeil, Manuguerra, Wixell, Hampson, Stilwell, Croft, Reardon, Bastianini, Elvira, Oswald, Zanasi, etc., etc., etc. They all sang Marcello AND something else during the same season at the Met.

      • 1.1.2
        Alto says:

        I don’t believe Opera News does the casting.

    • 1.2
      Camille says:

      That is REALLY funny, armerjac.

  • 2
    Krunoslav says:

    Yes, Peter Sellers does a dynamite “Ballad of Lucy and Jessie”.

    The theme vocally seems to be “cool, Nordic sound”; was there a guest curator from the TIMES?

  • 3
    Regina delle fate says:

    Don’t a lot of these awards hinge on who might be available for the ceremony? Or does the sponsoring airline undertake to fly whoever wins from wherever?

  • 4
    Camille says:

    One may observe that Peter Sellars is a strict adherent of the Dictum of Our Dear Saint Fran of Lebowitz:

    “Never change your mind and never change your hairstyle.”

    Beati Loro.

  • 5
    Camille says:

    Maury D’-- did you not see Mr. Mattei as Don G.? I liked him very much in this role, ever so much more than I did Hvorostovsky in the same role, in which he was limp.

    • 5.1
      Maury D says:

      I’m afraid I didn’t! Don G. is something I’m not always in the mood for. Might be partly the Met’s production…even when I went to hear my beloved Roschmann I found myself nodding and actually didn’t stay for all of it.

  • 6
    ianw2 says:

    Well I think we all guessed Dima.

    Presumably the awarding of a ‘Drizzle’ (as I prefer) to Sellars means a certain Senior Editor isn’t on the panel.

  • 7
    suzyQ says:

    Tatiana, I was at the Tanglewood “Onegin” concert a few summers ago and agree that Mattei was FABULOUS!!

  • 8
    kashania says:

    Well, I didn’t guess a single one correctly, but I’m glad that I sort of predicted the Peter Sellars nod.

  • 9
    zinka says:

    I am angry for two reasons:

    1.I met Silja and she REFUSED to give me the Emilia Marty formula so I could live 356 years and be able to listen to at least 10% of my tapes.

    Secondly, in that Marcello List you omitted:

    Handelman, Charles

  • 10
    zinka says:

    You know how Zinka adored Zinka..BUT the new ballo with Marian Anderson has Zinka sounding on high notes like Vassilka Petrova…I know..I was there!!! They are so stupid to release that..I know it is historic because of Marian Anderson…but,like the LP exc,.released in 1955, this perf. does NOT represent Zinka’s greatness.
    Pardonnez-moi, Cieca…..Now anyone who respects me will not buy it from your store…..(Does anyone respect me?)