Is this the new Mari Lyn?
Please Dont let the programmers at PBS see this. They would give her a fundraising high profile special and promote her as a great opera singer.
Yeah and rerun it for the next 25 years. What a strident voice.
MOVE OVER (the memory of) Lucia Popp!!!
I have just learned who Mari Lyn is. My life will never be the same.
Be sure to listen to this Mari Lynn! My personal favorite. . .
OMG! That jazz section made me indescribably happy. You know we talk about people whose high notes have bite, but I’ve never heard an opera singer bite, snarl and snatch out notes quite like this woman. I also *love* the spoken prologue before her Una Voce Poco Fa. Oh sweet heaven my stomach is in pain from the laughter!
I think she is fabulous. Her bravery, her commitment to music (to the exclusion of everything else … our ears, good taste, fashion, cosmetics….).
Mari Lyn -- she will be remember long after the rest of us are dust. And she will probably still be alive to gloat, having apparently perfected the lost technique of living embalment.
This is genius. And it amply demonstrates two qualities missing from so many of today’s singers:
1)a distinctly personal take on a familiar classic
2) scrupulous musicality — notice how her eyes never leave the music stand? The woman takes the score seriously!!
Think of it as your Parsifal-Second-Act- Kundry’s-Kuss-moment! A necessary rite of passage in every O. Q. life.
I owe you an explanation about the other night’s perf of La Fille (Mal Gardee) du Regiment: I was fatigued from my labours in La Cieca’s vineyards pressing grapes, and having already once in my life viewed that Pelly production, I feared the second time would have taken my breath away, permanntly. It was extremely enervating and exhausting to me to watch all the enforced hilarity and I hated Marie’s wig, to boot. Please forgeef moi…!
Perhaps you will deign to meet me if I travel to DC in the next year? Perhaps you would accompany me to Monticello where I have plans of purchasing a Canterbury to contain clutter of musical ephemera, for I find myself awash in precious memento moriabilia.
Be of good cheer for you heard your main man; he will go on to other things, some of which will include both a better staging and a better partner.
No problem friend, It took all of our energy (and the prospect of hearing Larry sing Pour me rappocher to stay for the second act. I don’t blame you for not having the stamina to make it out to what was a dreary night at the theater. Though a delightful day in the city. Oh and we also gave ourselves a serious seat upgrade. But, you know, I think there was something instructive in seeing a truly bad performance at the Met. Especially in light of a brilliant (if weird) Lucia in D.C. One must be discerning when choosing Met productions, and all the signs pointed to disaster from the very beginning but for Larry’s presence. Lesson learned and yes I look forward ot the time and place when we can make our acquaintance.
Thank you, my dear sir, for understanding.
I look forward to viewing the National Gallery of Art.
Perhaps you would be interested in or kind enough to accompany me?
And Hell to the Yes, about your lesson learned regarding the Met! Discernment and a thorough investigation are more than ever now mandatory, prior to attending. Almost always, I now preview everything by listening to the Sirius transmission of the prima and then a subsequent performance. I’ve found on many occasions that the prima is just another Dress Rehearsal, for instance. It’s too bleeding expensive (to get a good seat) and I am too old to stand online for the Varis ticket manna.
You are wise to keep an eye and ear out for the DC opera, and I believe there are some operas in Virginia and the Carolinas, as well, just can’t recall all their names at the moment, that may be worthwhile. I think you just have to write this one off as a chance of supporting Mr. Brownlee and a worthy and noble effort for that alone and basta!
I hope your Mamma did not suffer too much, most of all!
Happy Holidays to my dear young Doctor OpNeo!
Best and kindest regards, your friend, Camille
Best Teneste la promessa you’ll ever see.
Don’t show this to Renee. She might get new inspiration for injection some oomph into “E tardi”.
Or, worse, just for some new injections.
But incorporating Violetta sitting on the letter is pure magic…better than a rabbit out of ahat.
Honestly, I don’t know how I managed to get through life before Wenarto.
Seconded. Whenever I get too cynical or depressed about the opera biz, I watch some wenarto videos and just cheer the fuck right up.
Funny, OpNeo, that I watched that video on the youtube site and LOOK what it also suggested I watch.
I saw that too and it errs on the side of creepy, “Tubby Time” is not something I envision having with hunky slabs of man.
The lingering shots of Valenti’s soapy torso lead one to believe this is Opera Advertising as done by Randy Blue.
I was hoping for much worse but I love how, in the second video, it looks like a clothes line was knocked down, scattering chiffon everywhere.
The tragic consequences of the explosion of an overextended ligne de linge.
Mot de jour!
Good chuckle on that one, Batty-Boo!
I am so distracted by those chiffons that I couldn’t concentrate on her singing, which has real merit. There has been many a more tragic Quuen in the night than this!
I think what makes me sad here--whether we speak of La Trauner or La Lynn or La Foster-Jenkins--is that, especially in the “can-do” United States, we always say, “Do what you love!” Perhaps there’s a parallel optimism in Austria--our international readers can tell us. I am sure that all of these ladies loved or love to sing--but what if that something you love turns out to be awful? I have a sinking feeling that FFJ and ML had no idea they were awful, and that Trauner has long surrounded herself with friends who tell her she’s a wonderful singer.
Metapindar--at least in the case of Florence Foster-Jenkins, you have intuited more or less correctly. As per a dear, old friend of mine (now deceased), who was a professional singer, that was exactly the case. She still recalled to me, with hushed and thrilled tones, and nearly forty years later, the concerts at Carnegie Hall. She would never miss a one, such was her delight in the Divine Cluelessness of FFJ. I do seem to recall that FFJ’s ending was bitter, though, as she was finally brought to an awareness of what was actually going on. That is pitiable.
There is a scene from the movie “Nashville” in which a wise old man confronts a young hopeful singer, heartbroken after a terrible and demeaning experience with the sage counsel: “Girl, you can’t sing”. She still doesn’t listen.
“The Urge to Sing and How it Grows” is a book I’ve seen somewhere. Still waiting for its sequel: “The Urge to Sing and How it is Quelled”.
Please correct me if I’m wrong (and I know I can trust Parterriani to provide any needed corrections in matters musical), but I think FFJ only appeared at Carnegie Hall once, in what turned out to be her final public performance. Up until then, she had rented ballrooms at major New York hotels. Some writers have suggested that the move to Carnegie Hall drew the attention of music critics, as well as others who had not becomed accumstomed to FFJ’s unique artistry from her more intimate recitals. It may have been the responses of her new audience members that alerted FFJ to her actual skill level. I seem to recall that she did not live long after the famous Carnegie Hall recital. It’s sad to think of her being disillusioned at the end of her life.
I think metapindar has a good point about FFJ and the American “can do” spirit. If memory serves, the play “Souvenir” touched a bit on the same idea.
Several years ago, this website alerted me to the CD,”The Muse Surmounted, Florence Foster Jenkens and 11 of Her Rivals.” The last track features Cosme McMoon talking about his years as her accompanist. If you haven’t heard it, I recommend seeking it out.
oh, I am sure you are probably correct…I don’t remember all the venues she told me she saw FFJ in, just the Carnegie.
What I was wondering about the other day is this: ARE THERE ANY OLIVE MIDDLETONERS STILL AMONG THE LIVING???????? Is the LA PUMA Choral Society still alive? Are you still out there somewhere, in your rent-controlled UWS apartments? If so, please SPEAK!
I have, only once, spoken with one of her former choristers who had the good grace to explain to little moi who she was and what she was. Since then I’ve heard some of the recordings. It would truly be wonderful and lovely to hear more about la Gran Olive from first hand experience, as she was very endearing.
LA PUMA! ARISE, RECLAIM YOUR DIVA’S GOOD NAME!
I saw the Omnipotent Olive a number of times. S La Puma was then at a school at West End and, I think, 95th. I was then living at West End and 83rd so it was nice mind-clearing walk home.
Olive was about 130 then (ten years older than I am now). She was incredible and it was great fun to watch the musicians sneak into the orchestra…probably coming from their day jobs.
My fondest memory is of a Norma in which one of the chorus ladies walked on stage with glasses on and when Olive started “Cast Diva” she took the glass of and put them into her bra.
Olive was Olive. She a note or two but certainly knew the music and did a very dramatic “In Mia Man.”
I think it was during the intermission that Madame introduced a strange, overly made-up elderly lady (wearing a floor-length cape) as the great Carmela Ponselle. She made a short speech stating that this was the best Norma she had ever seen. Guess she didn’t go to sister Rosa’s performances.
This is just one of the fond memories of have of Olive and La Puma.
The last time I saw Olive was at that high school auditiorium on the upper West Side as Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani in 1968.
-- A few years later at Lincoln Center, I ran into Bella (remember her? she was the one who sold the tickets at the door -- always dressed in costume and full make-up because she also sang in the chorus).
Why, many thanks, Flora and phoenix, for your memories.
If it happened as far back as the mid-sixties, well I reckon it is only a few of you left out there, so your contributions are precious. The man I spoke with, once, fifteen years ago still had a faraway look and got dewy-eyed when remembering it all, with great fondness.
In my investigation I did come up with this video. Can anyone verify this is truly the La Puma Opera Company? There appears to be Olive, or I do not recognise her in anyone performing.
Methinks the Nedda in the LaPuma clip has some Gay Friends of the sort who give Gay Friends a bad name.
Thank you, Cuban Stallion, for the blog link which I pursued rather avidly. It brought a question to mind — has there ever been a significant dramatization of the self-delusional critic? Or do I repeat myself?
I have always understood that Cosme McMoon was really
Edwin MacArthur!!! Anyone know that story?
Actually, he was General Douglas MacArthur, Helen Hayes’ adopted son and the giver of those genius fellowships
Not apparently so. http://darkknightdramaturgy.wordpress.com/2008/12/23/the-mystery-of-cosme-mcmoon-mcmunn-and-edwin-mcarthur-the-lost-composers-of-florence-foster-jenkins/
Well, whipsnake ! That goes here.
*Nashville*--yes. Totally heartbreaking; the character is arguably as bad as FFJ, but in the country-n-western style, and she is told this by the man who loves her, and has just had it with her self-delusion. Her story culminates in a club appearance with men howling at her to strip, which, humiliated, she does.
It isn’t merely “can-do,” it is, tragically, have enough money and self-delusion to keep doing. But she is so genuinely coy in the Caro nome that it’s just this side of heart-breaking. And I do like her emergence from the ground in front of that water tower -- or whatever. It’s both natural and elegant, ja?
This DEMANDS a re-posting.
A classic in every possible way.
Thank you (?) for this. I especially love the pianist and his page-turner in the background.
Kashie, I was about to say the same thing!
The view of them sets exactly the right tone for
the entire ‘artistic’ effort!
FFJ has almost, but not quite, been eclipsed!
OT: Butterfly. Boy, are they giving it to Domingo on Opera-l for his conducting yesterday. Here is a sample:
1. “I agree with Ron--I think Domingo’s Butterfly yesterday was the worst performance of an opera I have ever heard in my life anywhere at any level of house. I felt sorry for Robert Dean Smith.”
2.”I do not know if I have ever heard a more tedious, boring, meandering rendition of an opera by a major, no make that any, opera house in my lifetime. The orchestra was uncharacteristically sloppy, the chorus sounded confused and the soloist struggled all day. It sounded to me as if no one had any idea what was going on. ”
3. “*May I add slovenly and insensitive? His Stiffelio was just as lousy. He’s
as bad a conductor as he is administrator. *”
4. “And yet he is penned in to conduct Otello. Shuddering in advance. Why, oh
why, would the Met wish a mediocre conductor on either audience or cast in
such an opera?
And it isn’t like that are not aware of his limitations, given how often he
conducts at the Met.
If anyone at the Met is truly reading, it is not too late to stop the
I heard the broadcast yesterday and yes, it was dullish. Dullish leads, dullish conducting, dullish performances. I didn’t hear anything particularly bad from the orchestra: the opinions you quote above scream ‘agenda’ to me.
I don’t think they have an agenda. One person, who I didn’t quote, is a fan of Domingo’s and had the same criticisms.
And I would say your “dullish” says it all. “Mendearing” is truly an apt description of the conducting yesterday.
If that’s not bad, what is? It was duller than dishwater!
‘dullish’ != ‘the worst performance of an opera I have ever heard in my life’
‘dullish’ != ‘it sounded to me as if no one had any idea what was going on’
What I heard was a competently played, competently sung BUTTERFLY. No real spark, but then that happens from time to time in any opera house. Any attempt to spin it as a disaster or a disgrace seems to me a huge overreaction.
I was not going to listen to the recording of that BUTTERFLY broadcast, but after seeing so many of those horrible insults about Maestro Domingo recently posted on Opera-L I listened to the first act. (No need to hear more and these remarks only refer to that portion of the opera.)
People commenting on Opera-L are making it sound like there were train wrecks on every page, but that is simply not true. It seems like those opinions were made by amateurs expecting to hear, or hearing a different performance in their mind than what was actually happening in the opera house. It was a beautiful first act with extreme sensitivity from the podium to every word being uttered from the stage and every breath being taken by the singers.
Strangely, the violins were not in unison in the first two measures. If the audio is correctly recorded the players who were behind should have been more alert. The comprimario singing the registrar went off a bit in the wedding scene, but things like that happen and it was promptly (no pun intended) corrected. Other than that, it was a beautiful act and the orchestra followed attentively. Butterfuly and Pinkerton sounded great and Joel Sorenson has really worked a lot on his voice and his Italian -- to the benefit of his fine sounding Goro.
One of the authentic Japanese melodies played by the orchestra was even provided with an unusual effect that was even more evocative of the source material.
While on the subject of ill considered performances. I ran across this version of Porgi Amor by the best things to happen to thrice named black sopranos since Takesha Mose Kizart
new nautical opéra comique:
That was very sweet.
Does anyone recall the link to a clip of an Aida excerpt which was sung in a livingroom with piano and a chorus of amateurs, leading to a train wreck ending?
Amateurs? Train wreck? That sounds like Nerva’s Aida!!!!!!!!!!
Ah, Je ris……
Bianca, of course, never had the technique for Verdi at all-- though her Countess Ceprano was the talk of Vercelli and Como for its tastelessnes in costuming and deportment.
But do let us return to discussing vocalists of professional rank!
If you mean this one, I use it as my alarm. That E-flat never fails to wake me up.
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