Cher Public

  • Porgy Amor: RIP, director Nikolaus Lehnhoff. httpv://www.youtub jsthCnU 12:14 AM
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  • mjmacmtenor: How sad. I saw her at the beginning of her career. She sang Mamma Lucia in Caveleria with Opera Pacific (Orange County, CA).... 11:03 PM
  • armerjacquino: For a 15 year old in the house, it was one of the most thrilling things I’d ever heard. Still is. 11:01 PM
  • operablogger: I can only take Handel in small doses, so that clip of Ann Murray was perfect. She did a great job, too — I was out... 10:00 PM
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  • WindyCityOperaman: Here’s a little bit of it . . . httpvh://www.youtu wT_hsEN8 8:08 PM

Royal Hunt

I have been a devotee of Berlioz’s Les Troyens since I first discovered the Covent Garden recording conducted by Colin Davis. Performed by a very strong cast—and one magnificent participant in particular;,the incomparable Jon Vickers—this was for a long time unchallenged as not only the best but  the only complete recording. 

In 1983 we got a televised Met performance with Jessye Norman, Tatiana Troyanos and Placido Domingo, led by James Levine. Even if the sets and costumes were repurposed 1970’s kitsch the singing was outrageously good and still is.

A decade later Charles Dutoit and the Symphonique de Montreal through their hat in the ring with an excellent, if slightly uneven recording. Dutoit’s superbly transparent reading changed the way conductors played the score only for the better and Davis and Levine were all steeling their forces to have at it again.

Davis struck first in 2001, with his private label LSO Live with the London Symphony Orchestra and a concert performance that, I believe, was part of The Proms that year. Banished from Davis’s baton is the Verdian bombast of the 60’s for a much lighter francophile touch. We also got a magnificent new Éneé in Ben Heppner who was brought over to the Met for their new production in the Berlioz Bicentennial year led by Levine.

This matinee radio broadcast of February 22, 2003, the document of that new production, was first released as part of the Levine 40th Anniversary box set. Now the Met has finally decided to start selling these DVDs and CDs separately. This album is only $21.00 for four CDs, or rather, four hours of some of the greatest music you’ll ever hear in your entire life. That alone would be reason enough to recommend it. But this performance is special on a lot of levels and I will try to do them all justice as best I can.

From the beginning the commitment from the orchestra and chorus is almost unparalleled. The sensitivity from the Met Orchestra far surpasses any other of their competitors on the other sets. The clarity of the playing in all of Berlioz’s moments of contrapuntal contrasts, which can come off sounding completely amateurish in the wrong hands, is especially well handled.

The ballet music is very gala in this recording, as well. “The Royal Hunt and Storm” is almost a complete performance in itself with great balance from the offstage chorus. The three-part Pas d’esclaves Nubiennes that follows, also delightful, leads directly into one of the trickiest parts of the score with the little solo by Iopas, segueing into the quintet “O pudeur! …tout conspire” which grows into the longer, hushed, ensemble that preludes to the duet for Didon and Énée, “Nuit d’ivresse” and the finale of IV. Here one is constantly aware of how Levine supports Berlioz’s musical structures, tempi, and his inventive orchestrations.

The Met chorus, under the direction of Chorus Master Raymond Hughes, cover themselves with glory. No where is this more apparent than their Act I hymn, “Dieux protecteurs” which shows them at their mightiest both vocally and interpretively.

The cast could hardly be equaled then or now for that matter.  Deborah Voigt who made an exciting, but faceless, Cassandre on the Dutiot set actually knows what her words mean here and proves it. If some of her colleagues get more juice out of the French I still can’t fault her for trying. She’s especially good in the duet in Act I with Chorèbe, Dwayne Croft who is similarly inspired and gives as good as he gets. There’s a small part of me that wishes Ms. Voigt had done a bit more with her parlando phrases in the mass suicide at the end of Act II but it’s quibbling with vocalism this secure and pointed.

When it comes to a tenor who even attempts to sing Énée, many are called but few are chosen. His entrance in Act I is pure vocal hell it’s so ungainly written. I don’t know whom Berlioz had in mind to sing this role when he wrote it but his eventual genetic successor only seems to appear every couple of decades. Heppner makes the concession of losing that flicked at high B in his last act aria and chooses a lower alternative. I forgive him.

I wouldn’t mistake Mr. Heppner for a native French speaker either but he’s correct and he rings out with so many moments of real heroic strength to say nothing of some seriously poetic soft singing in the role that we should be grateful to have this document of his mature interpretation.

The supporting cast is completely gala as well. If Elena Zaremba, as Anna, sounds like Didon’s much older sister and sings with an overly fruity tone she makes up for it by being very strong in the ensembles as does Robert Llloyd as Narbal. I looked at the packaging to see who was the uncommonly, sweet voiced tenor Iopas and was surprised to see Matthew Polenzani that early in his career.

I’ve saved the controversial member of this cast for last. Initially the Didon was to have been Olga Borodina but she had to withdraw as she was in a state of expectation, as they say.  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson strictly speaking had no business taking on Berlioz’s doomed queen of Carthage at the Met, as the voice is a whole size too small for this part.  However, I think it would be a very rare person who appreciates this work and who wouldn’t be moved to the very of core of their being by her performance.

Yes, there’s a flutter on the very top when she’s really pushing for volume. But, I forgive her too. She’s fleet and fluid in her phrasing, a function of her immaculate musicianship.  She sings like an instrumentalist and her imbues every utterance with equal amounts of feeling and precision. Her French is sovereign. She’s not only correct, she’s regal. Ms. Hunt Lieberson is so connected to the text she is the text. Her depth of emotional focus is so preternatural in the last scenes that her performance takes on a messianic quality. I have no higher praise.

Maestro Levine leads an extraordinarily light, for him, and propulsive reading and you can hear him loving every minute of this score and this performance.  Digital mastering is excellent and it’s surprising how good the clarity and balance is between pit and stage with only a minimum of stage noise.  Nifty, cardboard accordion packaging with photos on every panel.  Seriously: 21 bucks ? I spend more than that at the gift shop at intermission.


  • Clita del Toro says:

    I must admit that just I don’t get LHL. I have listened to the Met Troyens several times and even bought her Bach Cantata CD to listen more carefully. I find her singing lovely and excellent, but when I read this sort of stuff (below), I am totally puzzled. The same “talking points” about her singing always appear in reviews, but I don’t get that at all. She may be all of those things and I don’t say she isn’t. And I have tried for ten years to hear what others hear, but nada!

    “She sings like an instrumentalist and her imbues every utterance with equal amounts of feeling and precision. Her French is sovereign. She’s not only correct, she’s regal. Ms. Hunt Lieberson is so connected to the text she is the text. Her depth of emotional focus is so preternatural in the last scenes that her performance takes on a messianic quality. I have no higher praise.”

    • Nerva Nelli says:

      I loved many things I heard LHL do, but she was not sovereign in this broadcast, moving as it is to hear it, and only Dwayne really sings notably well. Voigt = zzz here though tolerable in the house ( more than I expect next year), Heppner overburdened…

      • mrsjohnclaggart says:

        Hai ben raggione, Nerva. I saw the first night. Aside from LHL and the tenori piccoli, I thought the cast mediocre (Dewayne, Debbie) on down (Zaremba). Poor Hep really had to ‘manage’ his top and did so by producing a smallish, white tone, and cracked in the aria. But I did think LHL riveting, despite small problems here and there and what I heard as not always clear elocution.

        My best experiences of her was in Lieder, with my pal Steve Blier (we met at Yale when, at Cutler’s, we grabbed the Furt 1949 Fidelio on MRF at exactly the same second and struggled over it. I won. Never tussle with a woman avec embonpoint! I remember an all Brahms evening that was sublime. She had a superb identification with the musical line but understood that of course she needed to sing not peck, and her vocal shaping was spectacular. I also saw an all recent and new music concert with her and was stunned by her emotional power.

        In opera, I thought she was overwhelming in a role where I have killed in Sumatra, Phedre in Hippolyte et Aricie, the story of my life, with Bill Christie, three times. There, her declamation was almost Boue like in point and intensity and the sound of her voice, thrilling. And her Medee (Charpentier) had a cumulative force, a ferocity and intensity that did call to mind descriptions of Callas in her prime. I adore the DVDs of Theodora and El Nino where I think she is very moving. And there was her thrilling Sesto with a great performance from Drew Minter — still the best Giulio Cesare I’ve ever seen. But yes, elsewhere, the top was an issue, as sometimes was the size of her tone.

        Still, among the greatest recent singers, with as some more sentimental than I would put it, the flaws of a great soul in an all too human apparatus.

        Regine’s various shots at Didon are all cut deformed, though I saw her and Jon stun an audience that expected to be bored in LA (a better pirate than the SF one of the same season). The LP is too heavily cut for my sensibility. 1977 is too late for the creamy enormity of her voice to ride the music as it did earlier. (But for a great ‘adieu’ with recit one MUST have my aunt, Rita Gorr, an incredible piece of singing, with glorious tone and elocution in the great classical tradition).

        Jessye was amazing in that second run where she did both roles and that final act was astounding, wonderfully acted too. It was in the 30 month period where she was a great opera singer (Ariadne, the first Sieglindes, Jocasta — Nonn’ erubescite reges was immense and I fainted at her massive cries of “Oracula! Oracula!”. It matched ME, Martha Never Say Die Moedl in my insane recording.

        Janet did an early EMI recording in what was said to be French of the final scene (her death moans were good). Of the pirates the one entirely in English is probably Jon’s best account of the music.

        But the GREATEST (and one of the few even good) Enee arias is of course George Thill, and no one serious about this opera in sound should be without that, and the Adieu of Georgette Frazier-Marrot (my third cousin) and the somewhat harder to hear but rather amazing Felia Litvinne (1904).

        • Camille says:

          Your grande tante was Rita Gorr?? Well, THAT explains everything!

          Thank you for the tip about Felia Litvinne, always interesting to hear.

          Grazie, madonna.

        • luvtennis says:

          I got the chance to know la hunt during her Boston days. She thought of herself as a hard-working professional singer. And she felt lucky and grateful for that- it was pretty competitive in Boston among singers. But Pam Dellal, who competed against her for roles thought she was just a wonderful, lovable person. Speaks volumes for LHL as a PERSON. As a singer, I find her delightful, technically secure, versatile, and completely committed. But the hagiography is a bit much, and I wager that’s she would have thought so too!

        • Podlesmania says:

          My condoleances for the death of your dear aunt, Mme Gorr, near Valencia in Jan. 22.
          Maybe Mme Gorr included you in her will?

          • mrsjohnclaggart says:

            Why, thank you for your condolences, Podlesmania. Yes, Aunt Rita DID leave me all she had; mainly, her anti-psychotic medications, and her xxxxl dresses from a brief period when she blew up (they don’t quite fit me). “You need the pills more than I ever did, and I was truly NUTS,” she said on her death bed. I’ve been taking them by the fist full but Bert from Mary Poppins is still visiting me regularly late at night, asking me to dance to Chim Chim Cher-ee and we do — until last night when I feel through the floor. But Aunt Rita still lives, for her voice is soaring through the universe, reaching Alpha Centauri, specifically Proxima, right about now. She was truly amazing for a short but unforgettable time and some of the impact comes across on record — the Herodiade (Flaubert has never forgiven Massenet) highlights, which might be Regine’s very greatest record, is thrilling and so is Aunt Rita’s Ortrud from Bayreuth with the divine Gruemmer (my second cousin). And though the Amneris commercial is wonderful, she and Birgit were literally unbelievable live, and she was a GREAT Santuzza live, toward the end of her prime but she pulled it together.
            And her Mahler, despite the horrendous conducting of Georges Sebastian, is, magnificent and very moving.

    • MontyNostry says:

      Clita -- I want to get LHL, and do occasionally, but I tend to find her singing sounds a bit spaced-out. The voice is obviously very attractive and well produced, but it doesn’t stay with me.

      • Camille says:

        Just a suggestion that pops into mind: perhaps try her husband’s Pablo Neruda songs? Those helped me to understand her better. Also, there is some Bach aria singing that is outstanding.

        • MontyNostry says:

          Camille, I have the CD of the Neruda songs and I listened to them quite a lot, but they helped form my view of LHL. Of course, they were released shortly after she died, so they had a special sad resonance, but all I retain is an impression of mellow melancholy. Maybe I should give them another listen.

  • Simon says:

    Your alternative recommendations for Les Troyens recordings?

  • Maury D says:

    I had no idea LHL was controversial in this. Everyone I know who saw it regards it as a thing they will go on about having seen until someone socks them in the jaw. Sorry to throw down the ah-yes-but-in-the-house card, but it was a complete performance. And voice size simply wasn’t an issue, by the way (I was in Family Circle.)

    • Clita del Toro says:

      I don’t think LHL is controversial in that role or other roles. It’s just that there are always some who are not as enchanted with her singing as others.

      Same goes for all great singers (Callas, Flagstad, Nilsson, VdlA Bjoerling, Warren ,Gobbi, Rysanek) I can name people who don’t especially like those singers.

    • armerjacquino says:

      I’ll give you one thing, Maury, you’re consistent.

      LHL was, onstage, the spiritual anchor of the piece, and perhaps more so on record she’s the reason it still feels like an event. Among the principals, she’s the only one who wholly belongs in the role she’s been cast in.

      Listening, we can savor (or if you weren’t there, I can taunt you most unsympathetically with) the memory of how she only amplified the tragedy in the singing of the great farewell with an instinctive physicality that found the midpoint between nobility and utter defeat.

      (from maury’s parterre review of this set a couple of years ago)

    • Nerva Nelli says:

      I herd two of them in this house and was impressed with her acting, phrasing and management of a not-large voice in dramatic music. Hearing the broadcast, though, in France (!), I was aware of the mismatch of instrument to the music. And though her cult denies it, she often had issues of pitch (check out any of the live Handel recordings with McGegan) and certainly range: above a certain point, it just didn’t “tell”-- for example she could not manage the top of Sesto in the NYCO CLEMENZA.

      A SUPERB artist-- the Serse in Boston and at NYCO was astounding — but not flawless and the Didon was a memorable assumption but IMO not for the ages UNLESS one witnessed it live…

      • Maury D says:

        You know, I’d love it if the word “cult” were thrown around a little less often on here.

        • Nerva Nelli says:

          Surely, Maury, in this particular case it’s appropriate, with all the comparisons of LHL to Callas by people who never heard Callas live and proclamations of Universal Genius and so forth? And of course her very tragic early demise coloring the rhetoric.

          Again, LH/LHL was an artist I treasured over many years and venues (Boston, Berkeley, NYC) but everyone has better and less good roles or assignments.

          • Maury D says:

            Sorry, I’m reacting only in part to you. I like several singers wherein liking for said singer is locally considered evidence of membership in a cult or a cabal. It gets old being told that your tastes are just some kind of group-think.

      • Camille says:

        I must second Nerva Nelli in re the top of LHL’s Sesto, which I also heard.
        It was evident, at least on the night I heard it, that she was struggling and was overparted in the aria, “Parto, ma tu ben mio”…I remember a distinct disappointment.

        That’s all.

  • oedipe says:

    I can’t express an opinion about Ms. Hunt Lieberson’s singing in Les Troyens, I have only heard a youtube clip.
    But, “her French is sovereign”? Says who? Says you? I caught less than 10 words on a 7 minute clip! And what does it mean “she is the text”? She sounds foreign to me.

  • peter says:

    I’m afraid I am one of those crazy LHL fanatics. I heard her on numerous occasions in the Bay Area earlier on in her career. One of the most memorable performances was her Nuits d’ete in a Philharmonia Baroque concert. I went to LA to hear her Serse and NY to hear her Sesto and Didon. It was a gorgeous instrument and there was something about her that I responded to on an almost primal level. I’ve been going to the opera since 1974 and few singers have ever moved me as much. It’s all personal taste and I know many others did not respond to her in a similar way. To each his own and I don’t begrudge anyone for not getting her but I do get annoyed when people trash her as some kind of early music choir singer. The Didon was a special performance for me since I never dreamed that she would ever appear on the Met stage in a role like that. Her voice was perhaps not as weighty as one would expect in the role of Didon but it was plenty big from where I was sitting and the only problem she had were the couple of high notes in a her opening “Chere Tyriennes” (sp.?). I don’t know if her French was authentic but it was beautiful. It was a total performance in terms of her identification with the character and her acting was very natural and organic. It was the last time I flew to NY specifically to see a performer.

  • danpatter says:

    I still like the old EMI highlights disc with Regine Crespin and Guy Chauvet. I’m afraid the only time I’ve seen TROYENS live was way back in 1974, but the cast was a good one: Vickers, Verrett, Ludwig, under Kubelik.

    • Nerva Nelli says:

      That was one of my earliest vocal purchases on LP, but it’s TERRIBLY conducted and the cuts are appalling.

      Too bad as Crespin and Chauevt have the right instruments. A better complete recording could have been made a few years before with them and, say, Massard (Chorebe) Berbie (Anna), Arrazau (Ascagne) and Vanzo (Iopas/Hylas) onboard.

      • danpatter says:

        I agree. There’s nothing like GOOD French singers singing French opera. EMI was awfully conservative about its singers. (Think of all the recordings they COULD have made with Callas that they didn’t. PIRATA, ANNA BOLENA, POLIUTO, VESTALE, MACBETH, etc.) With Crespin in their stable, EMI really should have done a complete TROYENS. The polyglot cast of the Davis recording, while mostly fine, are really French stylists.

        • danpatter says:

          I meant “NOT really French stylists.” Sorry.

          • armerjacquino says:

            As Ethan Mordden memorably said, Berit Lindholm enters to inform us that ‘les gretch ont disparu’.

          • MontyNostry says:

            … and to think that Crespin could have been on that Davis recording. Philips got the hump, apparently, because she had recorded the excerpts for EMI. On the other hand, I can remember what Lindholm sounded like (thick, iron-clad sound), which is more than I can when it comes to Veasey.

          • kashania says:

            I really need to listen to the first Davis recording again. I remember liking Jo Veasey’s performance but I don’t necessarily remember anything specific. Brendholm impressed me with the quality of her voice but that was it. The voice didn’t sound terribly responsive and she was interpretatively bland. That set really belongs to Davis and Vickers. Such a shame that Crespin wasn’t on the recording.

            I love the opera and I’m thrilled that it has become much less rare in the last 10-15 years. But I’m sorry that it was considered so rare during the days when we had singers like Crespin, Norman, Bumbry, Ludwig, Troyanos and Verrett to sing Cassandre and Didon.

  • semira mide says:

    All I knew of Les Troyens before I hear it that memorable Saturday at the Met were wonderful excerpts by Marilyn Horne(Cassandra) and the ballet music.
    I had NO idea who LHL was, and I was disappointed that Borodina would not be singing.

    That afternoon was one of the most memorable of my life -- not just my opera-going life, but more generally.

    The orchestra made Berlioz sound greater than his perhaps is.The chorus was an amazing protagonist. In my opinion, although all the the cast was terrific, LHL imbued Dido with all of the characteristics the role requires. She was simply exquisite. Too small a voice for the role? Perhaps.
    Sometimes the power of the experience overwhelms critical evaluation.

    Matinee audiences are dissed a lot on Parterre, but I cannot imagine a more engaged group of people than were present that afternoon. I don’t have the review handy, but Tommasini wrote something about this being a watershed after 9/11. I remember feeling “safe” like I have never felt before.
    I will always be grateful to James Levine for the experience. BTW the recording, though excellent is only a shadow of what was experienced in the house that day.

  • kashania says:

    I saw this production in-house and found LHL to be extraordinary. I agree about the criticisms however. The voice was a bit small for the part, and she can sing flat here and there, and there is that flutter when she pushes her voice. But the overall interpretation of the role was still extremely moving. And much of the emotional power of her performance came through when I heard the radio broadcast, so it wasn’t just an in-house thing for me.

    Didon has an odd recorded history in that there aren’t studio recordings of some of the greatest interpreters of the roles. My two favourites are Norman and Verrett and neither of them recorded the role commercially.

    Norman’s historic Met broadcast (singing Cassandre as well) is magnificent (including a 3-minute ovation after “Aieu, fiere cite”) but her Enee is Edward Sooter who is just terrible. There are a couple of youtube clips of her Didon from London but I don’t know if a complete recording exists.

    Verrett’s live recording from Rome features Gedda as Enee and Horne (!) as Cassandre. Gedda is much better than Sooter.

    I haven’t heard the Crespin highlights disc but I’ve heard that it’s not as good as one might have hoped. It’s a shame because, on paper, Crespin was born to sing the role.

    I don’t think Heppner gets enough credit for just how well he sings a near impossible role.

    • rapt says:

      Re the Crespin recording, I reluctantly must agree. I adore Crespin, but to my ear she’s much less imaginative, more monochromatic, in this recording than when she’s at her best. I find the recorded Janet Baker excerpts superior (to my own surprise).

      • Hippolyte says:

        I might mention there are a number of live Crespin recordings of Troyens worth hunting for. There are two of the ridiculously cut version from the 60s where she sang both Cassandre (the entire Prise de Troie is cut down to around a half an hour) and Didon, one is from the Teatro Colon with Chauvet, the other from San Francisco with Vickers, probably the only run where these two sang this music together.

        There is also a complete Troyens a Carthage with Crespin from the 1977 Cincinnati May Festival again with Chauvet and Levine conducting. I believe there might also be a recording of one of the Boston performances under Caldwell but that I have not heard.

        There are also two complete Troyens from Covent Garden with Baker as Didon (both with Vickers and Colin Davis conducting), the more famous one from 1969 where she substituted for Veasey and sang in English while the rest sang in French. There is also a broadcast from 1972 where the entire production was sung in English, with Veasey singing Cassandre.

    • Nerva Nelli says:

      Horne is actually superb in that (again, cut) RAI set, as are Gedda and Massard; Verrett is on a slightly lower level vocally and interpretively, to my surprise -- and certainly as to French diction. Veriano Luchetti treats the tenorino parts like Mascagni, kind of interesting to hear but…

      • kashania says:

        Nerva: I must admit that I don’t remember much of Horne’s Cassandre. Whenever I’ve returned to that recording, it has been for Verrett. I’ll take another listen because of your recommendation.

        • peter says:

          There’s also a live recording with Ludwig, Dernesch and Chauvet which is not the best set out there but it comes with a bonus CD of excerpts of Josephine Veasey’s Cassandre. I’ve never really warmed up to her Dido but her Cassandre is thrilling.

    • Sempre liberal says:

      Love the Norman Cassandre/Didon recording.

      Has anyone heard Regina Resnik’s Didon? I once saw a recording of it at Academy CDs, didn’t buy it, and now regret it.

      Re. LHL — amazing performance in the house — luminous, although Michelle DeYoung (who sang a few of the Didos that run) sounded more sensuous. I’m dying to hear this CD -- thanks for the review.

      • Famous Quickly says:

        I could sing Narbal *tomorrow*; it’s a question of color and tessitura.

        The hillbilly drunk was my Cassandre. And Maestro Lawrence barely knew the score. I was (of course acclaimed), but oh, dear…

        • luvtennis says:

          I have that recording, DQ (tee hee) and you are very exciting. Not a patch on your siggy tho….

  • armerjacquino says:

    The only time I ever saw TROYENS was in the run of performances that opened the Bastille (that sounds very glamorous and *in*; in fact I was a 17 year old exchange student sat in the gods for PRISE DE TROIE).

    All I can remember about the performance or cast was that Bumbry was Cassandre, and she was ACE.

    • MontyNostry says:

      … and wasn’t Verrett Cassandre, except on the night when Grace did both Cassandre and Didon?

      • armerjacquino says:

        I don’t know if they alternated or what, but I definitely saw Bumbry.

        • Bianca Castafiore says:

          No, Monty, Bumbry was the Cassandre and Verrett, Didon.

          However, there was one performance in which Bumbry sang both roles, the last one. This was in Verrett’s autobiography. There was a strike, and the last perf. was re-scheduled — by then, Verrett was unavailable for the last date, so Bumbry sang both.

          My recollection from reviews at the time was that Bumbry was praised by the media but not Verrett — but Shirl laments in her book that the reviewers attended the premiere, and not subsequent perf., which she said were much better for her.

          • MontyNostry says:

            Sorry, Bianca, that was a typo. I knew Shirl sang Didon, not Cassandre. Obviously over-excitement at thought of a total of five hours or so of these two divas de luxe.

  • Will says:

    I was fortunate to see Lieberson from her earliest days As Lorraine Hunt in Boston in Peter Sears’ productions through to her work in Gatsby and Troyens, then very close to the end in the premiere of Neruda Songs with the Boston Symphony. I heard her in at least two other French roles — Beatrice and Carmen, both in Boston and I suspect the latter was her only go at the Bizet. At no time, and in no venue was she ever inaudible and I thought her French style very good indeed.

    I was at the Troyens matinee in the Balcony. The one moment that I remember as problematic was a high note in her first scene but the rest was really very fine. The singer I just couldn’t take was Zaremba — her performance for me was on a level of miscasting similar to Otraztsova as Adalgisa and largely for the same reasons.

    • Mirto_P says:

      Curiously, LHL did sing Carmen -- part of it, anyway -- on at least one other occasion, and at the Met. I saw her sing Act 4 with Jose Carreras in a weird sort of “3 Tenors” gala at the Met (very Volpe, if you know what I mean). It’s bad of me, but that’s the only portion of the evening I really remember. Either Domingo or Pavarotti sang an act of Andrea Chenier (if I were forced to guess, I’d say it was Act 2 with Domingo), and I can’t recall what the other (Pavarotti?) “act” was. Someone else here certainly remembers this? I think it may have been the spring following the Great Gatsby premiere.