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Good evening starshine

“Now, it seems, OONY is returning to its star-driven roots, opening its season last night at Carnegie Hall with superstars Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufmann in Cilea’s sentimental diva vehicle Adriana Lecouvreur. The have to be there quotient was boosted to the roof by the fact that this performance would be Gheorghiu’s only New York appearance of the season since she chose not to participate in the Met’s new production of Gounod’s Faust.”  Our Own JJ reflects on last evening’s Sternstunde in Capital New York.  (Photo: Stephanie Berger)

88 comments

  • Will says:

    Nerva wrote: “but he too went for effects over line or meaning.”

    Isn’t that something of a tradition with Adriana, milking it for whatever you can get out of it? The entire last act is patently lifted from the similar act of Traviata; the piece is a string of “effective” numbers.

    Don’t misunderstand: I actually enjoy Adriana and am frustrated that all productions get it wrong. Adriana is always sent out in costumes for the Comedie Francaise stage looking like a grande duchesse. That would be right for her rivals, but she was a reformer (thus her great friendship with Voltaire) who wore simple draped Greek gowns, no huge plumed headdresses, and walked on stage barefoot for her classical roles. Adriana should stand out on stage as an unpretentious, basically simple soul (J.J.’s comment on Angela’s approach to that line in act 2 is very appropriate here). She also demanded (and got) the removal of all the audience chairs on the sides of the stage where the young noblemen sat to show off, desiring an empty stage to create the proper atmosphere of focus on the play.

    • Cocky Kurwenal says:

      Will, I think there is a very big difference between milking something, which is entirely appropriate in a work like Adriana, and going for a ‘just because he can’ effect like it sounds like Kaufmann did at the end of the opera. He did the same thing in London, and it killed it, frankly- it suddenly became all about him and his technical prowess, rather than the emotional outcry it should be. I can’t think of a dramatic justification for a diminuendo there, and even if one were proffered, it would still be impossible to sit and listen to it without being distracted by the jolly clever and hard to do thing the tenor is achieving.

    • Camille says:

      ON THE DEATH OF ADRIENNE LECOUVREUR, A CELEBRATED ACTRESS

      by: Voltaire (François Marie Arouet, 1694-1778)

      ?WHAT sight of woe thus harrows up my soul!

      Must those love-darting eyes in anguish roll?

      Shall ghastly death such charms divine invade?

      You muses, graces, loves come to her aid.

      Oh! you my gods and hers assist the fair,

      Your image sure must well deserve your care.

      Alas! thou diest, I press thy corpse alone;

      Thou diest, the fatal news too soon is known.

      In such a loss, each tender feeling heart

      Is touched like mine, and takes in grief a part.

      I hear the arts on every side deplore

      Their loss, and cry, “Melpomene’s no more:”

      What exclamations will the future race

      Utter, at hearing of those arts’ disgrace?

      See cruel men a burying place refuse,

      To her whom Greece had worshipped as a muse;

      When living, they adored her power divine,

      To her they bowed like votaries at a shrine:

      Should she then, breathless, criminal be thought,

      And is it then to charm the world a fault?

      Seine’s [1] banks should now no more be deemed profane,

      Lecouvreur’s sacred ashes there remain:

      At this sad tomb, shrine sacred to thy shade,

      Our vows are still as at a temple paid.

      I don’t revere the famed St. Denis more,

      Thy graces, charms, and wit, I there adore:

      I loved them living, incense now I’ll burn,

      And pay due honors to thy sacred urn.

      Though error and ingratitude are bent,

      To brand with infamy thy monument.

      Shall Frenchmen never know what they require,

      But damn capriciously what they admire?

      Must laws with manners jar? Must every mind

      In France, be made by superstition blind?

      Wherefore should England be the only clime,

      Where to think freely is not deemed a crime?

      Oh! London, Athens’ rival, thou alone,

      Could tyrants, and could prejudice dethrone;

      In that blest region, general freedom reigns,

      Merit is honored, and reward obtains:

      Marlborough the greatest general of his age,

      Harmonious Dryden, Addison the sage,

      Immortal Newton, charming Oldfield there,

      The honors due to real genius share.

      The farce of life had there Lecouvreur closed

      With heroes, statesmen, kings she had reposed;

      Genius at London makes its owner great,

      Freedom and wealth have in that happy state,

      Procured the inhabitants immortal fame,

      They rival now the Greek and Roman name.

      Parnassian laurels wither in our fields,

      And France no more a crop of merit yields:

      Wherefore you gods do all our glories fade,

      Why is not honor due to genius paid?

      1. She was buried on a bank of the Seine.

      This English translation by William F. Fleming of ‘On the Death of Adrienne Lecouvreur, a Celebrated Actress’ is reprinted from The Works of Voltaire, Volume XXXVI. Trans. William F. Fleming. New York: E.R. DuMONT, 1901.
      ******************
      This is as good an excuse and time to post this wonderful adieu to Adrienne from her friend Voltaire, as will come my way. I hope others will enjoy it as much as do I.

  • rapt says:

    Tonight on All Things Considered, an arrangement for trumpet of “Poveri fiori” was used as postlude to a story! Is this the sort of thing that makes Congress want to cut NPR’s funding?

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    STOP THE PRESSES! THIS IS THE REAL THING. WHO EVEN KNEW IT EXISTED????

  • Donna Carlo says:

    Watch Dream Of Love (1928) Free Online
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    Release Date: 1928   Duration: 65 min
    Cast: Joan Crawford, Warner Oland, Oliver Marsh, Fred Niblo, Nils Asther, Harry Myers, Carmel Myers, Alphonse Martell, William H. Daniels, Cedric Gibbons, Aileen Pringle
    Dream of Love is a 1928 MGM silent film, directed by Fred Niblo, and starring Joan Crawford and Nils Asther. The film is based on the play Adrienne Lecouvreur by Eugène Scribe and Ernest Legouve. In the film, Asther plays Prince Maurice de Saxe and Crawford plays Adrienne Lecouvreur, a Gypsy performer, in a tale of lost love and revenge. Adrienne, a Gypsy girl performing in a traveling carnival, is unable to find true love for herself until she makes the acquaintance of Prince Maurice. They fall in love, but must part when, for diplomatic reasons, the prince is called upon to make love to the rich wife of an influential duke. Adrienne later becomes a popular stage actress and again meets the prince. Coincidentally, she’s appearing in a play which resembles the sad story of her earlier relationship with the prince. Maurice is struggling to win his throne from a usurping dictator. With Adrienne’s help, he dodges an assassination attempt and becomes king. 

  • Krunoslav says:

    Sutherland is a surprising citation as a memorable Adriana…