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Square cut or pear shaped

At tonight’s Faust performance, two events of note: René Pape, upon his re-entrance after the Jewel Song, ad-libbed the spoken line “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” The performance, a broadcast, was the basso’s final one of this production.) After this moment of comedy, drama followed at the curtain calls.

When Roberto Alagna took his solo bowl, he was greeted by a single very loud boo, or La Cieca should say a single loud boo-er, who uttered the disapproving syllable several times. At first the tenor ignored his detractor, but then, on the second round of bows, the booing returned. Alagna made a “bring it on” gesture, then turned to the audience as if to ask “whose side are you on?” The ovation increased, again punctuated with booing, at which point Alagna turned upstage to the company, who joined in the applause. Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who presumably was struggling to find the English equivalent of the phrase “Rideau, rideau,” bear-hugged the pugnacious tenor, bringing the evening to a close.

La Cieca’s witness to this activity assures her that these two incidents were the only moments of drama in the show.

140 comments

  • Big Q says:

    I’m surprised at the free pass Pape largely is getting here. It may be a wretched production, and he may sing like a God. But he behaved like a pig.

    • Will says:

      Not from me he doesn’t — his behavior was unprofessional pure and simple.

    • operaassport says:

      Lighten up. What’s the big deal? You’re all acting like he failed to trill or he took a dump onstage.

      • manou says:

        “Ah qu’en termes galants ces choses là sont mises!”

      • Big Q says:

        That’s exactly what he did: dumped on the opera, the production, his colleagues, the company whose checks he cashes, etc. Shitty behavior.

        • rysanekfreak says:

          Let’s all climb into that Wayback Bus and return to the night Leo Slezak as Lohnegrin noticed that the Swan Boat left too early and asked the audience, “What time is the next swan?”

          How did we react that night? Outrage? Demands that he be disciplined? Wild guffaws? Some of us woke up?

  • Rusalka says:

    manou/15:

    P. Beczala -- Faust -- Liceu Barcelona 10/2011:

    Le grand triomphateur de la soirée est le polonais Piotr Beczala*, le plus beau Faust qu’il nous ait été donné d’entendre depuis Nicolaï Gedda, qu’il a dû beaucoup écouter. La technique est impeccable, la projection égale dans tous les registres, l’articulation du français est exemplaire et la puissance de sa voix lumineuse n’empêche pas les nuances. Il est surtout confondant de naturel et d’aisance. Qui plus est, son timbre se marie parfaitement avec celui des ses partenaires. Une prestation exceptionnelle..
    http://www.forumopera.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=3033&cntnt01origid=69&cntnt01detailtemplate=gabarit_detail_breves&cntnt01dateformat=%25d-%25m-%25Y&cntnt01lang=fr_FR&cntnt01returnid=69

    Dr. Faust was sung by Polish tenor Piotr Beczala, one the best singers around, who offered a magnificent performance. His tenor is wider than a few years ago and he is at his very best in these kinds of characters, which could be considered the ‘Alfredo Kraus repertoire’. He sang with gusto and elegance throughout the night, excellent at the top register that always clean, free, and with outstanding breath control.
    http://www.seenandheard-international.com/2011/10/16/faust_barcelona_schrott_stoyanova_beczala_jmirurzun_jensflaurson/

    • manou says:

      Thank you for taking the trouble to post these -- I know Beczala has had great reviews for the Alfredo as well. I was just taken aback by the virulence of the OB reviewer (who seemed in a dyspeptic mood that day judging by the rest of the piece, where he also manages to insult the audience).

      As it happens I have seen both his Alfredo and his Faust (and also his Romeo) and he does indeed have a remarkable voice -- I am less certain about his stage presence and charisma, but that could be my own failing, of course.

      • Edward George says:

        It’s a pity that time denies us the chance to see Giorgio Zancanaro as Beczala’s father: they’d have made quite a convincing family, looks-wise.

  • zinka says:

    I have informed my budy Joe Calleja that this is what he should say when I see him in Faust upcoming…..

    Salut, demeure..and then………………..

    • Big Q says:

      This is a hilarious idea for a Parterre contest. Call it “Bringing Down the House.” The challenge will be to bring some comic relief to your favorite serious opera.

      Perhaps Ira Siff would judge it. I will never forget Vera Galupe-Borszkh’s ecstatic cry after the love duet in Fanciulla: “Oh, Dick!”

  • Mrs Rance says:

    Why does he say Marthe SchwerTlein (with a T)?