Cher Public

Charismatic movement

Friend of the Box Zachary Woolfe follows up his provocative NYT article on charisma with an invitation to discuss this elusive quality with his cher public, a group of which La Cieca is sure you parterriani represent a significant subset. Let yourselves be heard!

  • Buster

    I always find smiling and laughing very charismatic, don’t know why.To me, beaming singers are much more charismatic than the deadly serious, sour ones. Look at this amazing Eartha Kitt footage, she always smiles! I only saw her once, but what I mostly remember is that incredible smile on her face when she stepped on stage:

    • Is Eartha Kitt possibly the most charismatic (documented) performer of the 20th century? I often wonder. She WAS a wonder.

      Here’s perfection on virtually every point of reference

      • Buster

        Baroquey Eartha for you, of course… Love it!

  • RDaggle

    Opinionated Neophyte opined
    “I think when someone says Fleming’s charisma is manufactured what they *may* mean is that Fleming consistently seems like she’s not trying that hard”

    Hmm. I thought the criticism against Ms. Fleming -- at least on this site -- is kind of the opposite: That she is studious, suburban, hard-working, with almost no real flair or passion for her art. Y’know -- soccer mom Diva.

    I’m not sure I know what charisma is, but do think Ms. Fleming’s involvement seems to vary a great deal from role to role. She seemed personally very connected to Desdemona, Rosenkavalier and Manon to name a few.

    But I still have no idea why she bothered with Armida. She just didn’t seem invested.

    • Clita del Toro

      Au contraire, I think that Fleming at times,tries too hard. I watched a concert in which she sang the VLL. The smarmy smile, overdone, teary, pious expression on her face and her body language were just too, too much, more nauseating that moving. To me, her schtick looked insincere and manufactured. She appeared to be trying to act for the camera rather than just singing the f******songs and letting her voice do the work. For me it was a turn-off. She does not,imo, have a flair for those kind of things. I can’t imagine Crespin, Schawrzkopf, Söderström, Mattila, Della casa pulling that kind of sh**. I think if you have charisma, you don’t have to.

      To be clear, manufactured charisma = no charisma.

      • I do SO COMPLETELY AGREE with you!

        have you seen this ?

        or this…

        compared with this :

        I love the fact that Margiono is visibly touched by the music. The Schlafengehen video catches de Waart looking at her to see if she is able to go on, and she confirms with a small nod. With Isokoski it is different. Less ‘pesonal’ perhaps, but the sheer joy of singing is palpable. With Fleming all you get is admittedly gorgeous tone and insincerity. IMO.

        • Clita del Toro

          I don’t think that this is the Fleming concert I saw, where she really did a number. This one is Fleming in one of her tamer, but still yucky moments! LOL

        • MontyNostry

          When it comes to VLL charisma, roll over Charlotte, Soile and certainly Renaaay! Just look at the way Lucia uses her eyes

        • I can’t even watch Fleming all the way through. I find her tone anonymous!

          Margiono made the hairs on my arms stand up, which is a good thing. Gorgeous performance.

      • Actually watching Margiono again and the end of this clip makes me think. She is not pretty, or even graceful. But her humanity makes her at that very moment the most beautiful woman imaginable, if I make sense.

        • Buster

          Not a lot of Charlotte Margiono coming season, unfortunately. She will appear at the Cristina Deutekom 80th BIrtday Gala in October -- I hope for a re-enactment of the Cristina Don Giovanni “incident” , or for something Korngold -- “I wish you bliss” preferably. Then there is this amazing recital, and then nothing.

          Johannes Brahms
          An eine Äolsharfe op. 15 nr. 5 (Eduard Mörike)/
          Nachtigallen schwingen op. 6 nr. 6 (August Heinrich Hoffman von Fallersleben)/
          An die Nachtigall op. 46 nr. 4 (Ludwig Christoph Heinrich Hölty)/
          Vergebliches Ständchen op. 84 nr. 4 (Anton Wilhelm Florentin von Zuccalmaglio)

          Edvard Grieg
          Lauf der Welt op. 48. nr. 3 (Johann Ludwig Uhland)/
          Die verschwiegene Nachtigall op. 48 nr. 4 (Karl Joseph Simrock nach Walther von der Vogelweide)/
          Zur Rosenzeit op. 48 nr. 5 (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)/
          Ein Traum op. 48 nr. 6 (Karl Joseph Simrock nach Walther von der Vogelweide)/
          Våren op. 33 (Aasmund Olavsson Vinje)/
          En svane op. 25 nr. 6 (Henrik Ibsen)

          Jean Sibelius
          Demanten på marssnön op. 36. nr. 6 (Josef Julius Wecksell)/
          Illalle op. 17 nr. 6 (Aukusti Valdemar Forsman)/
          Säv, säv, suso op. 36 nr. 4 (Gustaf Fröding)/
          Flickan kom från sin älsklings möte, op. 37 no. 5 (Johan Ludvig Runeberg)

          Erich Korngold
          Four Shakespeare songs op. 31/
          Desdemona’s song/
          Under the greenwood tree/
          Blow, blow thou winterwind/
          When birds do sing

          Roger Quilter
          A last year’s rose op. 14 nr. 34 (William Ernest Henley)

          Frank Bridge
          Mantle of blue (Padraic Colum)/
          Love went a-riding (Mary Colderidge)

          Edvard Grieg

          Michael Head
          A slumbersong of the Madonna (Alfred Noyes)

          Max Reger
          Mariä Wiegenlied op. 76 nr. 52 (Martin Boelitz)

          Richard Strauss
          Weihnachtsgefühl (Martin Greif)

  • phoenix

    This turned out to be an interesting thread. I don’t know where to put this comment because it is in reply to Evenhanded’s 18.2, all of OpiNeo’s comments on the article and Kurwenal’s, and, oh what the heck, everybody.
    — This may appear to be very convoluted, but it actually isn’t. That charisma exists we all universally appear to agree upon; it’s nature (i.e., what it appears to be) is something each individual can only recognize on their own.
    — I must put in my appreciation for Evenhanded’s mention of La gran Millo, who was very often the personification of Grandezza CAMP and even sometimes true charisma when her voice was able to do what she wanted it to do.
    — Is a charismatic performer an objective force as OpiNeo and Kurwenal seem to imply? Except for my weakness for music, any ‘form of total self-possession’ (and my imagined horror of the ensuing isolation) drives me away from it rather than into it. And in truth I never was interested in take charge, absolultely willful self-confident singers, but I tolerated them because many were & are skilled musicians worth putting up with.
    — However, unless I personally felt a LINK with that singer, I would walk out on the best of them if I felt they didn’t sing well, now matter what charisma they were SUPPOSED to have according to the hype of the day.
    — Although it is an active/passive communicaton my reactions can only reach the level of true charisma when I feel that have entered into a kinetic yet entirely super-conscious relationship with the performer (in reality, though, said relationship only exists in the aesthetics of my imagination). And that only happens, for me, when I feel that the perfomer has dropped their guard and communicated directly to me personally in a totally natural but very often subjective and vulernable manner. If this happens, I am rarely concerned with the technical details of their performence, thus I try (but often fail) to refrain from any objective comment or analysis of it.

    • oedipe


      It is easier for (gifted) performers to “drop their guard” when singing in an opera than, say, in a recital; because in embodying a character on stage, they can convey through this character intimate aspects of themselves that they would most likely be reluctant to disclose directly.

      But then, an unusual thing happens in such instances: through empathy, a complicity, a very intimate relationship is established between the performer and HIS/HER public (to the exclusion of those who have tuned off, for one reason or another). Singers often talk about this exhilarating relationship with their public.

  • armerjacquino

    A mate of mine was in the West End Chorus at the Sondheim Prom last year. I couldn’t take my eyes off her, even from the back of the Albert Hall.

    After the concert I told her husband this, adding that she must have some kind of special charisma for that to have been the case.

    ‘Naaah’ he said. ‘You were just looking at her because you know her’.

  • Nerva Nelli

    In the case of Pop Tart’s Verdian misadventures, I think Mr. Woolfe confused “charisma’ with “chutzpah”.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    You want charismatic:
    [img] Cieca Fox.jpg[/img]

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      The difference between them? The one on the right did not study with Max Rheinhart.

  • lorenzo.venezia

  • phoenix

    Although Woolfe doesn’t mention this performer, I am convinced he knew how to bring on the charisma!