Cher Public

Sena Jurinac 1921-2011

Legendary soprano Sena Jurinac, one of the most beloved artists at the Vienna State Opera, died yesterday. She was 90. [via AP]  

  • Angelo Saccosta

    And the live performances of these glorious voices keep turning up to remind us of what they were and the pleasure they brought us.

  • benrenki

    ORF is broadcasting a tribute at 19.30 MEZ, 13.30 EST:

    http://oe1.orf.at/programm/289191

  • Clita del Toro

    A program, “In memoriam Sena Jurinac” will be broadcast today from Austria on “Stimmen Hören” at 1:30 EST.

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL

  • Often admonished

    not a great opera star but a great singer and explorer of the renaissance and baroque: RIP Montserrat Figueras

    • oedipe

  • The Vicar of John Wakefield

    From the TELEGRAPH’s Sena Jurinac obituary:

    “It was her appearances in Mozart at Glyndebourne in the 1950s, however, that propelled her to the top of the profession. It has been suggested that Vienna, where she sang regularly with Herbert von Karajan, saw her in a fresh light after her triumphs in East Sussex.”

    Quite right! Same proved true for Simoenau, Berganza and Soederstroem, all artistic nullities before paying their dues at Lewes. It was old Johnnie Pritchard--not the denominationally suspect foreigner Krips--that created the post-war Mozart style.

    • Bill

      My dear Vicar -- Jurinac was first in England
      in 1947 singing Dorabella and Cherubino when
      the Vienna Opera made its celebrated guest
      appearance showing the Londoners what ensemble opera was all about. Jurinac was in Glyndebourne I think only first in 1949 but only through 1956 -- of course she was beloved in Glyndebourne -- was there another comparable Mozart soprano coming out of England at the time ?

      Krips indeed did not create the post-war Nozart style -- he nourished and added to its development.
      Probably the first performances of this Viennese style were begun during the war in Sept 1943 under
      Karl Boehm with his celebrated Cosi production in
      Vienna with Seefried, Rohs, Noni, Dermota, Kunz, Schoeffler. Shortly later some of the same
      singers were in his Figaro (with Reining) -- after the war neither Boehm nor Karajan were allowed at
      first to conduct at the Vienna Opera but Krips was.

      We must remember that it was Boehm who brought
      Schwarzkopf, Seefried, Jurinac, Welitsch, Christa Ludwig and numerous others such as Hoengen to the Staatsoper after auditioning them -- and della Casa to Salzburg which led to Vienna immediately thereafter. Boehm apparently was not an easy man to work with for singers but looking at all his casts he had throughout his decades at the Staatsoper he had very few weakly cast performances in Vienna and Salzburg. Glyndebourne of course
      has always been celebrated for brilliantly rehearsed ensemble productions even when, sometimes, the casts available to them were not as illustrious as in
      Salzburg. And Glyndebourne was fortunate to
      have Jurinac during some of her best years when
      her voice was at its absolute freshest.

      • The Vicar of John Wakefield

        “…was there another comparable Mozart soprano coming out of England at the time ?”

        Of course: Una Hale.

        • Krunoslav

          Vicar, are you daft???

      • Regina delle fate

        Bill -- bigotry and ignorance are best mates, so none of this should surprise any of us. If indeed there was a single creator of the post-war Viennese Mozart style, it ultimately derived from the trailblazing Mozart style established by Fritz Busch at Glyndebourne in the 1930s and his influential recordings of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte which have rarely been out of the catalogue since then, and still repay repeated listnening. “Johnnie” Pritchard was Busch’s assistant, which is why he got to do the HMV-Glyndebourne recording of Idomeneo with Jurinac as Ilia, which must have been planned for Busch. Pritchard’s regime at Glyndebourne followed that of Vittorio Gui, whose style in Mozart was far more Italianate, something reflected in the casting of his Figaro recording with Jurinac’s Countess which has Italians as Figaro, Susanna and the Count (Risë Stevens was the Cherubino). In the 1950s and 1960s, Glyndebourne was a truly international company, in which British or British-based singers were the exception (Evans as Falstaff, Sutherland as Countess, Donna Anna and Elvira in Puritani) rather than the rule. Jurinac was clearly regarded as Glyndebourne’s biggest star during the years in which she sang both at the festival and on tour to Edinburgh (even singing rare performances as Leonora in La Forza del destino). After Jurinac’s departure in the mid-fifties, Elisabeth Söderström soon became Glyndebourne’s favourite soprano, and it wasn’t until the 1980s, after Pritchard’s regime, that a British singer Felicity Lott enjoyed similar status at the festival. Personally I’d swap ten Flotts for one Jurinac or Söderström. Who -- apart from the Vicar of Nervanelli -- gives a monkey’s fart about Una Hale? I’d be surprised if many Parterrians have ever heard of her. She is all-but-forgotten in the UK today. At least by anyone under 80 years old.

        • Regina delle fate

          And Una Hale was an Australian, by the way, born in Adelaide, so yet another of the Vicar’s “Fucking Brits” who wasn’t.

          • Regina delle fate

            “Una Hale… was particularly noted for her portrayals of Ellen Orford in Britten’s Peter Grimes, Eva in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, The Marschallin in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, and Liu in Puccini’s Turandot. In 1956 she portrayed Naomi in the world première of Lennox Berkeley’s opera, Ruth. The production was mounted by the English Opera Group with Anna Pollak singing the title role and Peter Pears portraying Boaz.

            In 1962, Hale sang the title role in the Australian première of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. During that same season she also portrayed Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff. In 1963-64 she sang Ellen Orford and Tosca with the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company, and Tosca and The Marshallin in Romania with the Romanian National Opera.”

            So not really a Mozart soprano, either!

  • MontyNostry

    Great Jurinac quote from the obituary in The Guardian:
    ‘Of Schwarzkopf’s somewhat obtrusive technique, she remarked: “Dear Elisabeth – she gets one note from her elbow, another from the back of her neck.” She then jumped up to demonstrate. We fell about.’

  • MontyNostry

    “It was old Johnnie Pritchard …that created the post-war Mozart style.” My dear Vicar, a true Brit would never use ‘that’ as a relative pronoun for a person (as opposed to a thing). I fear you are a Yankee impostor, sir!

    • Camille

      It’s NERVA (“I am not now nor ever have been HERVA NELLI”) in her Anglo-Eulenspiegel guise, mon cher Monsieur Monty Nostry.

      Good day to you, my dear Sir.

    • Often admonished

      We figured that out months ago. Some sort of neocolonial revenge syndrome?

    • grimoaldo

      “all artistic nullities before paying their dues at Lewes.”

      Lewes is pronounced “Lewis”.

      • The Vicar of John Wakefield

        No attempt at a rhyme was made. I engage in charity work with colleagues from Alfriston Church and know how to pronounce “Lewes”.

        ……….

        Further variants along class and regional lines:

        “It was old Johnnie Pritchard what created the post-war Mozart style.”

        “It was old Johnnie Pritchard created the post-war Mozart style.”

        “It was old Johnnie Pritchard who created the post-war Mozart style.”

        One must say: the current chatelaine of Glyndebourne does not readily evoke “Home Counties”.

        • MontyNostry

          Sussex is not one of the Home Counties, however.

          • The Vicar of John Wakefield

            1908: The Home Counties Division of the Territorial Force comprised units recruiting in Middlesex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

            1948: The Home Counties Brigade was formed to administer the infantry regiments of the City and County of London, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex.

          • armerjacquino

            The Vicar isn’t just hateful, layzgennelmun. The Vicar googles in order to be hateful.

          • The Vicar of John Wakefield

            The Vicar is however not wrong in this instance; why shouldn’t he Google for quick confirmation?

            I fail to see your point as accomplishing anything other than revealing the snarky self-righteousness you ofttimes manage to conceal.

          • Regina delle fate

            Roflmao at the Vicar calling Armerj snarky and self-righteous. Pots and kettles, pots and kettles.

          • The Vicar of John Wakefield

            The person in question characterised me as “hateful”, I would point out.

            As for pots and kettles: a highly respectable local widow, Mrs. Markby, occupies herself with kitchen duties hereabouts. Not in my line I fear.

          • armerjacquino

            Oh no, I’ve offended someone who doesn’t exist!

            Just weird.

          • The Vicar of John Wakefield

            Had I mentioned having been offended? I don’t think so.

            Don’t you have any shackles to polish or something?

          • MontyNostry

            I am grateful to the Vicar for his knowledge on the Home Counties issue. I was convinced the term only applied to counties literally bordering London. I first learned the term from the lamented TV show Come Dancing, which featured teams from Home Counties North and Home Counties South. Maybe Sussex was among the latter. And as someone who read Opera magazine in the late 70s and early 80s, I can appreciate where he is coming from satirically.

          • grimoaldo

            “as someone who read Opera magazine in the late 70s and early 80s, I can appreciate where he is coming from satirically.”

            I read Opera magazine back then too but it took me a long time to appreciate the Vicar’s satire, in fact it had to be spelt out for me that it was a parody of the late Harold Rosenthal’s style, editor of that publication from 1953 -- 86. Quite why anyone would want to devote so much time and energy to satirizing a deceased opera critic from a country other than their own who has been dead for twenty-five years continues to elude me, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

          • MontyNostry

            It’s his shtick. The joke might have worn rather thin by now, but at least it’s based in a knowledge of the genre and its particular mythology. And Harold Rosenthal could be surprisingly Little Englander-ish at times. I certainly used to notice it.

  • Bill

    Dagmar Hermann died in 1997.

    Laurence Dutoit first sang at the Staatsoper
    in 1960 so she was not really a member of the
    lengendary post-war ensemble. Her last performance there was in 1981 and she seems never to have sung a major role -- just Tebaldos, the Modisten, Frasquita and Flora -- things like that and smaller roles.

    Lotte Rysanek made her debut at the Staatsoper in 1955 as Butterfly with her last performance there as the Priestess in Aida in 1988. She sang a variety of major and smaller roles -- I remember the Dalibor (Jitka) she sang in with Leonie -(Milada) but the two sisters shared
    practically no roles except Agathe which Leonie only sang once at the Staatsoper back in 1950.

    • armerjacquino

      There’s a Lotte Rysanek Elvira on Opera Depot- Gwyneth Jones is the Anna so I suspect that CK will be able to tell you what Rysanek Minor was like.

  • Krunoslav

    I heard Lotte Rysanek in Vienna as the Fifth Maid opposite the great Leonie and and the great Christa; Mastilovic, Helm and Hopferweiser were also onstage.

    Lotte can also be herd on some operetta recordings, and on the Staatsoper’s live DALIBOR with Leonie and Speiss. She sounds like a lyric Leonie on a not great night.

    • Belfagor

      wasn’t she also on the Bohm Frosch when big sis sang Kaiserin, and was the whateveritis in Act 3 -- the voice of the fountain, huter der schweller (!) (can’t remember)

  • senafan

    Every time I see the “Boy and his Diva” rubric, I think of Jurinac. May I?
    I was 13 when the Furtwängler RAI Ring came out, and I knew nothing about Wagner or singers beyond the Milanov Tosca and the Callas Carmen my parents had given me. I just liked complete sets of stuff-- and I begged my father to get the Ring set for me. He obliged (it cost all of $30) and I went through it one act at a time over a period of months. Although Jurinac’s voice is actually the first one to be heard, it didn’t mean much to me yet when I started off with Rheingold. It wasn’t until I got to Götterdämmerung later on, after months of Mödl, Suthaus, Frantz, and Konetzni, that I heard her again.., and I still haven’t recovered. As I listened to that incredible “Loges Heer lodert feurig um den Fels”, a shiver went up my spine. Who was THAT? I looked at the front of the libretto where the cast was listed and saw that, whoever this unpronounceable person was, she sang three parts. For the rest of the opera, each time I turned a libretto page, I’d look first to see if she had anything coming up.
    Back then (1972) there were no live performance pirates yet, and most of her recordings were out of print in the US. I did manage to find her Ariadne with Leinsdorf at the Boston Public Library, and the Kleiber Rosenkavalier. That was about all you could get then, and nobody that I knew at that age had ever heard of her. A year or two later, the library showed the film of “Wozzeck” from Hamburg. Later I found that the foreign language section of the library also actually had the 1971 Austrian bio, which had photos on every other page. Jurinac was my private obsession for years (and still is). Although she is so much better known today in the US, still I feel proprietary about her-- but I think that is true for all who love her. She had a warmth and humanity that were so unique, as well as that voice that was like no other. On a couple of occasions I found myself in places where she had just been, or was about to be, and even got to hear her once (the SF Jenufa), but I wouldn’t have wanted to meet her-- what could I say that she wouldn’t have heard a million times before, and why should I be any different than thousands of other smitten fans? Still, I do wish I could have expressed how grateful I am to her for so many moments of transport, consolation and sheer delight. I’m a musician by profession, and I learned much from her by example. Even though I didn’t know her, I am so saddened to know she is gone. In my estimation, she is is one of the very greatest artists who have ever graced the stage.
    Thanks for letting my get on my soapbox for a moment.

    • armerjacquino

      Thank YOU. That was lovely.

  • Regina delle fate

    Monty -- charitable, as always. I’m with Grimoaldo on this, I’m afraid. It’s a “joke” that wore thin about three months after I started visiting this site. And the fact that the Vicar often can’t tell the difference between a Brit and someone with a vaguely English-looking name who might have lived and worked a bit in the UK some time in the distant past, says it all, really. At least Susannah Glanville (see Vicar passim) hasn’t been resurrected of late. That’s progress, I suppose.

    • The Vicar of John Wakefield

      “the Vicar often can’t tell the difference between a Brit and someone with a vaguely English-looking name who might have lived and worked a bit in the UK some time in the distant past, says it all, really”

      The Vicar remembers--as you evidently don’t and have not noticed in any of the Vicar’s posts--the noble Rosenthal and Company concept of “Commonwealth artists”-- Vickers, Minton and Kenny, yes, but also the superb likes of John Shaw and Heather Begg-- being included within the sacred ranks of “Our Own”.

      Certainly when the subject turns to London-based/-trained casting directors--be they British or “Commonwealth” themselves--the tendency to import a Begg or Joseph Rouleau or Peter Coleman-Wright or Sarah Castle is as heartening to the Vicar as, say, these purely British examples of tip-top, unbetterable casting this season from Washington Opera:

      Don Alfonso William Shimell
      Albert Andrew Foster-Williams
      Cavaradossi Gwyn Hughes Jones

      Keep the Home Fires burning -- The Vicar

      • manou

        London calling…

        Here is The Times (of London, of course) on Gwyn Hughes Jones’s Cavaradossi currently at ENO:

        “The best thing about this revival, though, is her Cavaradossi. Gwyn Hughes Jones, following his ENO successes as Pinkerton and Rodolfo, is simply one of the best Cavaradossis London has heard in many years. His promise to save Angelotti rings out with true Italianiate slancio; his replies in interrogation are tense with terror; his E lucevan le stelle, exquisitely phrased, has the sob, the squillo, the half-voice — the entire package. And he makes the part very much his own.”

        Plus several others in the same vein -- so well done Washington Opera!

        • oedipe

          Interesting: a Welsh singer who sings Cavaradossi in English, in his very own, but true Italianate style…

          • manou

            To be fair, someone else said :

            “Gwyn Hughes Jones’ Cavaradossi may be something of a physical lump and his voice less than Italianate, but there’s a steely power to his singing throughout.”

            but there is also :

            “…This atmosphere is maintained with the appearance of Gwyn Hughes Jones’s Cavaradossi. Cavaradossi’s first aria on the opening night was delivered with power, pathos and colour, and Hughes Jones maintains a beautiful lyricism throughout the opera in what is an excellent, standout performance.”

          • ianw2

            But he’s… Commonwealth!

          • Regina delle fate

            We also have Dennis O’Neill -- Welsh despite his Irish moniker -- who was even more Italianate than Hughes-Jones in his prime. He was called the Welsh Pavarotti in Wales, although Bergonzi would be nearer the mark. Possibly a better singer than Enrico di Giuseppe or Franco Ferrara…..

      • Regina delle fate

        Um, it’s still bigotry masquerading as artistic standards -- Vickers, Minton and Kenny had international careers of varying distinction and were certainly not reliant on help fro, Harold Rosenthal and Opera to further their careers. And who, apart from you, rates William Shimell today, as worth mentioning. He was once a very fine singer, and remains a decent actor, but your paranoid assumption seems to be that there is a world-British conspiracy exists to foist third-rate British artists on US companies -- hence your obsession with barely remembered names such as Begg, Shaw, Glanville, Hale. Andrew Foster-Williams is a fine singer, if possibly not tip-top, unbetterable casting as Albert (that would be Ludovic Tézier, but he was presumably busy). Few opera companies, even the most presitigious, seem to want to pay for tip-top unbetterable casting in roles such as Albert -- we had Audun Iverson, a not-bad young Norwegian opposite Villazon and Sophie Koch at Covent Garden recently and he’s singing Onyegin in English for ENO at present. Hughes-Jones has long been championed by Matthew Epstein, an American the last time I checked, and has appeared with most of the companies Epstein has associated with, so it would be hard to pin the blame for his casting on a Fucking Brit/Australian/Canadian (we’re all the same, really). I’ve never been much of a fan myself, but he got great reviews across the board for his recent ENO Cavaradossis. You and your snarkey alter ego are actually the American mirror-image of Rosenthal’s Little-Englandism. It’s you who needs to keep the home fires burning with your xenophobic paranoia, not the British contributors to parterre. We have to put up with plenty of third-rate Americans at ENO and Covent Garden, but we shrug our shoulders and move on. I don’t even bother to remember the names of the ones singing now, let alone the ones that sang here forty years ago.

        • grimoaldo

          “barely remembered names such as Begg”

          Regina I have very vivid memories indeed of Dame Heather Begg, who I saw many many times in my extreme youth, at Covent Garden. She was a comprimaria I suppose and the best one I ever saw. Begg made had a lovely voice and was a superb actress who had the ability to make ciphers of parts like Inez in Trovatore or Flora in Traviata real, warm, sympathetic women. I can still see her in my minds’ eye as Madame Larina, Mamma Lucia,Berta, Marthe. She was the most outstanding example I have ever seen of the fact that it is possible for a true stage artist to make vivid experiences for the audience from supporting roles in opera. She spent years with the Australian opera after her time with Covent Garden and there I think she played some larger roles. “Heather Begg was appointed OBE in 1978 and Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2000. This year the Government ruled that the honour could be reclassified, and Heather Begg’s was formally redesignated a dame on April 17.”
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/music-obituaries/5357543/Dame-Heather-Begg.html
          I know I shouldn’t let it bother me but I do find the Vicar’s digs at her upsetting, that her memory should be ridiculed in that way. Maybe it was absurd for American opera companies to import her for the sort of roles she did, I can only say that if I had been in those audiences I think I would have been glad and grateful to have seen and heard her Marcellina, for instance.
          Here is the Act One finale from a BBC production of the Mikado with Dame Heather as Katisha, the beautiful Valerie Masterson as Yum-Yum,Derek Hammond-Stroud as Ko-Ko and Ian Wallace as Pooh-Bah.Begg is marvelous.

          • brooklynpunk

            Grim:

            I thank you so very much for that great clip , from The BBC production..!

            I am always on the prowl for a well -done video of the Savoy Operas ( they are few and far between, it seems-- buried in a larger mass of amateur productions…) of the great Gilbert and Sullivan, and damn, would I love to see this, in its entirety..!

            THANKS AGAIN!

          • grimoaldo

            Glad you like it bp, thanks for saying so. The person who put this on youtube has only uploaded Act One so far but is planning to put the whole production up, keep an eye on
            http://www.youtube.com/user/DancairoOpera
            He found a video in a car boot sale of this and a BBC Yeomen of the Guard from around the same time also with Valerie Masterson and is working on converting them so they can be put on youtube, apparently the BBC did not keep films of the productions.
            I am really glad you like this bp it shows that out of negative things can come good, I posted that clip to show that Dame Heather Begg does not deserve to be referred to as a worthless third or forth rater and from that you have found something you love.

          • armerjacquino

            It’s enjoyable, but this piece always means the 20s ENO production to me- Bottone camping around with his kisscurl, and Felicity Palmer hilarious, flying-helmet and all.

          • brooklynpunk

            Grim:

            I must admit that Dame Heather was only a name I had sometimes come across, before.. but very much enjoyed her Katasha in the clip you have supplied…

            And

            AJ..

            out of all of this , I was able to find a COMPLETE ENO youtube video, with the cast you have named.. and it is an incredible HOOT-- with Eric Idle , as Koko..!!-- this is so much better then when NYCO produced the Miller “Mikado” a number of years ago!

          • MontyNostry

            I think this Commonwealth artist does a rather good in the Mikado too

      • armerjacquino

        I’m not going to enter this argument again, so I will limit myself to a factual observation.

        If you google ‘Commonwealth singers’ or ‘commonwealth artists’ the only matches which remotely refer to opera are posts from here. It’s a phrase I’ve only ever heard on here.

        Anyone with a working knowledge of the relationship between the UK and, say, Australia will know that the idea of one country being interchangeable with the other is absurd and ignorant.

      • Regina delle fate

        Hughes-Jones alternated with US tenor, Frank Poretta, in Washington and got roughly comparable reviews, although neither was as enthusiastically received by the local critics as Patricia Racette’s Tosca and Alan Held’s Scarpia, which is presumably what you mean by “tip-top, unbetterable casting”.

        • ianw2

          Its a little known fact that Racette holds a Tanzanian passport. And Held? He’s from Nauru.

          • Regina delle fate

            Hehe!

  • Nerva Nelli

    The Vicar says he thanks you all, especially Regina who proved unable to tell that Vickers and Minton and Kenny were being praised here and demonstrated perfectly that the attitudes of Rosenthal are still alive, seems to think that conductor Franco Ferrara was a tenor (baritone Franck Ferrari? tenor Franco Farina? those pesky ultra-Calais names!). If the Vicar is really the only person who recalls William Shimell, why then has he been cast in major roles by the Met, Washington and San Fran of late? Does any major national company anywhere have to import an Albert, even if Tezier is not available? Is it only bigotry as opposed to standards when British/Commonwealth singers of the 2nd or 3rd rank are termed as such?

    No one on this side of the pond has mentioned a ‘conspiracy’ AFAIK; after decades of hearing the likes of Ashley Holland brought in for Enrico (!) at Lyric Opera of Chicago, we draw our own conclusions about what networks of friendships and loyalties can work.

    So good of Armer not to enter the fray- oh, wait he did in not doing so-- but as OPERA in the Rosenthal years is not online, little wonder you don’t find “Commonwealth artist/singer” in a Google search.

    Still time to book travel to NY for London-based Ann Murray in FILLE and Jonathan Lemalu’s Queegqueeg in San Diego!

    Ta!

    • ianw2

      Networks of friendships and loyalties being such a commonwealth affliction, of course.

    • Regina delle fate

      As I said before, we can all think of umpteen second and third-rate singers from America and elsewhere who have been cast at ENO, Glyndebourne and Covent Garden, but we don’t use them as an excuse to sneer habitually at American, French, German, Russian artists in general. That you feel the need to mention a singer like Una Hale in the context of a thread on Sena Jurinac says a lot more about you than it does about either Jurinac or Hale -- your Vicar persona is a perpetual feast of xenophobic negativity.

      • Regina delle fate

        And I did mean Franco Farina -- thanks!

      • I am happy to defend The Vicar.

        Xenophobia is not the issue here, and never has been. The issue is provincialism.

        The running joke—which some probably enjoy, and others obviously do not—is based upon the utterly and insufferably provincial BRITISH MUSICAL PRESS. The Vicar may be mimicking Opera, but he might just as easily choose to poke fun at Gramophone, the BBC Music magazine or the Penguin Guides, all of which are so ragingly provincial that they contain multiple laughs per page. That one pokes fun at the British musical press, without more, does not signify xenophobia

        And it is not just Americans that laugh at the British musical press. Germans and Austrians mock the British musical press, too, as do the French.

        If you follow the art and dance worlds, you already know that the British art press and the British dance press are derided with even more glee by watchers in the U.S., Germany and France. The issue, once again, is the sheer provincialism of those segments of the British press, not xenophobia.

        I want to quote back to you a statement you wrote earlier in this thread, just to give you an example of something startlingly and foolishly provincial:

        “If indeed there was a single creator of the post-war Viennese Mozart style, it ultimately derived from the trailblazing Mozart style established by Fritz Busch at Glyndebourne in the 1930s and his influential recordings of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Cosi …”

        You surely realize that no one outside the U.K. would make such a bizarre and boneheaded claim? I remain amazed that no one has yet taken you on over such a ridiculous assertion (even Thomas Beecham would be happy to correct you). The roots of both Glyndebourne and the post-war Mozart style in Vienna lie in the pre-war Mozart tradition of Central Europe, significantly evolving since the end of The Great War. The Vienna post-war Mozart tradition owes nothing to Glyndebourne.

      • Nerva Nelli

        Funny. I’ve seen some UK commentators complaining about “Russian and Latvian” artists of late.

        But- and I have said this before , more than once-- whatever complaints you may have about the occasional Stefano Algeri or Jane Dutton or , the number of such castings-- especially given the relative size of the UK vis-a-vis the US- is miniscule next to the frequency and saturation of non international-class UK/Commonwealth artists working in the US. That is merely a fact.

        The machinations of the Epstein artistic mespuche are the perfect example of the kind of network I mean-- and I can’t think of another American phenomenon like it; his beachhead at WNO seems to have given the UK years of Aldens ( which is good and bad in my view, they have both done some fine work along with the repetitive anomie-fests) and now the Malfitano wave has landed as well. They were all much beloved of Andrew Porter, who may have opened the UK doors to them (and Bad Hair Decade Sellars, also good and bad in turns) in his NEW YORKER years. Sorry!

        Nothing against Heather Begg, but we have and have had our own Heather Beggs and Francis Egertons and Eric Shillings, most of whom have never ever gotten *near* a UK stage.

        And the Philip Jolls and Anthony Raffells and Paul Charles Clarkes we’ve had regularly here, in minor and major theaters across the country, do not bear defending.

        • m. croche

          “Funny. I’ve seen some UK commentators complaining about “Russian and Latvian” artists of late.

          Is there, at long last, no end to Russo-Latvian perfidy??!?!?

          “Song of Riga”, apparently from the Soviet version of “Pan Am”.

          • MontyNostry

            The UK media certainly didn’t complain about Kristine Opolais’ Covent Garden Butterfly in the summer -- replacing US local heroine Patricia Racette.

        • Cocky Kurwenal

          Who has been complaining about Russian and Latvian artists, Nerva?

          Also, tell me about Philip Joll. I’ve been on stage with him, from which vantage point he seemed really impressive, but I’ve never heard him in the theatre and it wouldn’t be the first time somebody sounded great close up but utterly mediocre or worse in the auditorium, and vice versa.

        • grimoaldo

          Eric Shilling was also fab.
          Just sayin’.

    • Regina delle fate

      Or come to London to hear the sensational Anna Christy as Lucia or Tytania in productions by David and Christopher Alden -- all three once represented, I believe, by Matthew Epstein. Yes we all know about networks of friendships and loyalties over here, too.

  • manou

    To sum up, Your Honour, Nerva Nelli feels that too many unremarkable British/Commonwealth (thereafter referred to as Britcoms) singers are offered parts in the US because many of the casting directors and staff at many of the US companies are themselves from Britain or the Commonwealth. To satirize this state of affairs, he/she has created the Vicar of John Wakefield whose only raison d’être is to heap encomia on obscure (and long dead) Britcoms (in the style of the late Harold Rosenthal), and to denigrate singers of all other nationalities.

    This appears to irk some of the British contingent who sometimes rise to the bait (some more readily than others -- and myself at times guilty as charged), and attempt to supply examples demonstrating that this is not always the case. Accusations of xenophobia are bandied about on both sides.

    Neither party looks about to desist and convince the other party of the validity of their beliefs.

    Basta!!!!!! I submit we declare the case closed once and for all and ask the warring parties to desist from this increasingly tedious debate.

    • ianw2

      Oh, I’m not accusing anyone of xenophobia.

      But to paraphrase Grim, whilst there’s something admirable about the commitment and gusto in which its approached, I’m not alone in finding that the endless parody of a long-gone magazine editor has truly run its course.

    • CruzSF

      Thank you very much, indeed.

  • It’s time for those Waiting for Guffman clips again: