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More news from the future

Here La Cieca has scarcely returned home from a very pleasant concert performance of Pipe Dream (feeble show, attractive songs, fine cast) and what should she find in her inbox but an alert from the Playbill Club. You know, that online service that offers discounts on shows that aren’t selling so well. But this is the first time she has ever seen the Playbill Club offer… well, see for yourself after the jump.

Should you Playbill Club members (and you know who you are) be interested in enjoying the 25% off vocal stylings of Nadja Michael, here’s the link. In the meantime, what’s your take on this latest bit of Met marketing strategy?


  • Nerva Nelli says:

    They should be *paying* people to listen to this Thane and his Lady.

  • Batty Masetto says:

    By an unhappy coincidence, driving to the grocery store I tuned into Sirius just as the Divine Ms. M. was achieving the climax of her Sleepwalking Scene.

    I have to give her credit -- her high D-minus-thirty-three-and-a-third won points for local color. It’s the closest I have ever heard a human being come to the sound of a bagpipe.

    • Belfagor says:

      Well all of this talk on la Michael makes me wonder why companies have overlooked this lady -- has anyone come across her live? Cecile Perrin. I urge you to listen to these extracts from Macbeth -- they’re quite wonderful in my view.

      • Belfagor says:

        She was not my only discovery -- and this really belongs on the Massenet thread -- but remember what a surprise the exhumation of ‘Esclarmonde’ was? Well, there is another large grand opera by Massenet that has been slumbering unnoticed: ‘Ariane’ -- it’s a grand opera in 5 acts with obligatory ballet -- a format well past its sell by date by 1906 -- but never mind the bottles, its the wine that’s important. The music blazes -- and really changes the perception of Massenet’s last decade as a composer who wrote less and less notes -- it’s unbelievably vehement in places, and much more organic than the earlier grand operas Roi de Lahore, Herodiade, & Le Cid -- There’s a recording from its only outing in modern times -- 2008 at the St Etienne festival and you can get a rough in house recording from opera passion -- lots of stage noise but a goodish acoustic -- incidentally Cecile Perrin is Ariane, a monster role that is lyric, dramatic and most volatile -- this is how I came across her.

        I would strongly recommend it -- as it’s Massenet’s centenary year it seems a shame that this piece won’t get taken up. It’s long -- almost 3 hours and has huge soprano, dramatic mezzo/falcon (Phedre), and tenor role (Thesee) , and a prominent contralto part (Persephone). There’s a SIZZLING duet full of illicit passion in Act 3 -- and the last act really soars.

        • Krunoslav says:

          Joyce di Donato sings “Ô frêle corps… Chère Cyrpris” from ARIANE on her recent Grammy-winning CD:

          • Belfagor says:

            Yes, this is a beautiful aria, and it’s haunting modal theme -- with that slight nod to Faure is one of the recurring themes in the opera. There’s also a Massenet album with Rosamund Iliing and Bonynge which includes three more of Ariane’s arias, which is useful but a little bit generalized compared to this ravishing account. Not sure Di Donato would scale the whole role, as it is very soprano-y and in places, highly dramatic, with register plunges and highly melodramatic parlando.

        • iltenoredigrazia says:

          Now that we have rediscovered or reinvented the concept of a pastiche, I would suggest putting together a pastiche of Massenet’s operas. Get the highlights from the operas mentioned above plus Le Jongleur, La Navarraise, etc., tie them together with some sort of plot and voila, an evening of enchanting music without all the complaints about Massenet being too this or too that.

          I suppose the same could be done with Gounod. Or just take the Verismo operas as a group and make a pastiche with them.

          • oedipe says:

            Well, how about Wagner? (Duck)

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            This has already been done in the ballet world- Manon, a staple of the Royal Ballet rep, is pretty much just what you describe, and it works brilliantly. Sylvie Guillem in her day came up with pretty much the best performance of anything I’ve ever seen in this role.

          • manou says:

            Cocky -- indeed. A very clever montage of various Messenet operas (Le Cid, Chérubin, etc…but also “Ouvre tes Ye.


          • Sanford says:

            It’s been done with Offenbach. For the Bicentennial, Ireland gifted us with the incredibly funny CHristopher Columbus which is available in a sparkling recording from Opera Rara.

          • Belfagor says:

            Well I guess all this opera stuff sounds the same, so we could save time by compiling a Verdi evening, or a Donizetti one and fill out an evening with the highlights……mmm!

            Massenet is not a great composer, he was over-productive, and seemed to quite often wrote the first thing that came into his head, but he could be a very good one, and what is striking about his operas is their distinctive and individual auras (what Verdians refer to as ‘tinta’) -- so to combine a bit of ‘Navarraise’ with ‘Jongleur’ would, I think, not really gel. He really could transform himself from opera to opera.

            Mind you ‘Enchanted Island’ left me feeling very uncomfortable, as it seemed to me that premise was that all this old music sounds the same, so we should stitch it all together and no-one will notice, or care.

      • calaf47 says:

        I heard Ms Perrin last March 2011 at the Vienna Staatsoper in AIDA. She was magnificent.Her floated high C in “O Patria Mia” was amazing…but she had the power to dominate the ensembles. I had never heard her before…but she was thrilling.

        • operalover9001 says:

          I was at one of those Aidas too, and she was undoubtedly the best Aida I’ve seen live (granted, the only other one I’ve seen was Micaela Carosi). The thing is, she has an absolutely enormous/well-projected voice -- she was floating notes in the Act 2 final ensemble and just covering everyone else, including Smirnova as Amneris. The size of her voice meant that she could actually shape her music instead of just pushing. She also had great control of her voice, which I hope she’ll keep if she starts singing roles like Lady Macbeth.

          • MontyNostry says:

            “The size of her voice meant that she could actually shape her music instead of just pushing.” Could someone please relay those words to today’s three highest-profile ‘Verdi baritones’: Hvorostovsky, Hampson and Keenlyside.

      • Buster says:

        Cecile Perrin was Minkowski’s Senta fifteen years ago -- the Scottish version, in which her music lies higher than in the revised version. Wonderful singer, went back several times to hear her, Minkowski, and the Messiaen Academy.

  • Porgy Amor says:

    I’ve been spending too much time at the monitor, I think. I read “Pipe Dream” as “Pique Dame.”

    Somewhat related to this thread and the other one about a former/future mezzo: If you can find the below DVD for 25% off (or thereabouts), it’s worth a look. I found Tcherniakov’s production too fussy by half when I watched it, so I’m surprised at how well it’s settled with me since then. It doesn’t all work, but the best parts stay with you in a haunting way. And Urmana is very good! Her mild stage presence, which often has the effect of dulling interest, actually works for this version of the character.

  • CwbyLA says:

    Just saw this. Don’t know if it had been posted before. Labor walk-out delays, alters Renee Fleming’s Fresno concert

  • That ain’t nothin’. The Met is slashing the prices of tickets to *GASP* the Lepage Ring. The dirt on Superconductor, where I sit on watch, guarding the house….

    • FragendeFrau82 says:

      Wasn’t cycle 1 less expensive from the get-go? Interesting note (to me): my ticket for Walküre in cycle 3 has $140 = seat $110 = contribution printed on it. I that’s my little contribution to the Machine.

  • Will says:

    In truth, the MET began offering half price tickets on day of performance at the kiosk in Times Square quite a while ago. But marketing cut rate tickets this way is something new. If they make too much of a habit of it, they risk undercutting the MET Ticket Service and Box Office that sell at full price with, in the case of Ticket Service, a lot of fees if the public decides to wait for the prices to be cut just before an opera’s run starts.

    • RosinaLeckermaul says:

      The London opera companies have been doing this for a long time. The ROH often announces cut prices for the top price seats. Last season I saw MAGIC FLUTE from a prime orchestra seat for 75 pounds and got vouchers for free champagne as well. The ENO also often has cut price seats and is often on the half price line. So what the Met is doing is not particularly revolutionary. I don’t think the people who are able to pay full price will start waiting for bargain tickets. I’m just sorry to see that they have cut back on the number of inexpensive Family Circle seats in their new, more complicated pricing policy for next season.

  • MontyNostry says:

    I should cost NADA to see Nadja.

  • MontyNostry says:

    No trill, but very exciting.
    Did you see this bio of her, Belfy? She must be in her 40s.

    Cécile Perrin entre au Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, dans la classe de Madame Régine Crespin, en 1988. En 1991, elle obtient un Premier Prix de Chant à l’unanimité, puis, en 1992 un diplôme d’Art Lyrique à l’unanimité dans la classe de Bernard Broca. Elle intègre ensuite le Studio de L’Opéra de Lyon.

    Elle fait ses débuts sur scène en 1992 dans le rôle de Pamina de La Flûte Enchantée à l’Opéra de Lyon, avant de chanter La Princesse et La Chauve-Souris dans L’Enfant et les Sortilèges de Ravel à Bruxelles. Cécile Perrin obtient alors plusieurs prix à des concours internationaux tels que Marseille, Marmande et Toulouse.
    Elle est invitée par les Chorégies d’Orange pour être Anna dans Nabucco de Verdi, puis elle aborde le rôle de Dano dans Armida Abbandonata de Jomelli. Elle est ensuite Elvira dans Don Giovanni de Mozart à l’Opéra de Nice, la seconde Fille Fleur dans Parsifal de Wagner à l’Opéra de Montpellier, Hilda dans Sigurd de Reyer à l’Opéra de Marseille, avant de revenir à Orange pour incarner La Grande Prêtresse dans Aïda de Verdi.

    Cécile Perrin incarne le rôle de Senta dans Le Vaisseau Fantôme en tournée en Hollande sous la direction de Marc Minkowski avant d’interpréter à Radio-France La Mort de Cléopâtre de Berlioz, le rôle de Thanasto dans Brisëis de Chabrier à l’Opéra de Rennes, La Prison de Landowski, Shéhérazade de Ravel et la Messe Solennelle de Berlioz à l’Opéra des Flandres sous la direction de Marc Minkowski.

    Elle est également invitée au Théâtre des Arts de Rouen pour interpréter le rôle titre de Thaïs avant d’être Vitellia dans La Clemenza di Tito au Grand Théâtre de Tours. En concert, elle interprète le rôle de Marguerite du Faust de Gounod à Anvers, avec l’Orchestre National des Flandres. A l’Opéra de Paris, elle est Anna dans Nabucco et la Première Dame dans Die Zauberflöte.

    Cécile Perrin est invitée à l’Opéra d’Avignon pour le rôle de Donna Anna dans Don Giovanni, rôle qu’elle interprète également au Festival de Lacoste, ainsi qu’à l’Opéra de Dijon pour incarner le rôle de Konstanze dans L’Enlèvement au Sérail, rôle qu’elle reprend à l’Opéra de Nancy. Elle interprète ensuite le rôle de Musette dans La Bohème à l’Opéra de Nancy, chante sa première Fiordiligi dans Cosi fan tutte au Festival de Saint-Céré, Musette dans La Bohème à l’Opéra de Toulon, la Comtesse dans Les Noces de Figaro à l’Opéra d’Avignon, à l’opéra de Toulon et au Grand Théâtre de Tours, Donna Anna à l’Esplanade de Saint-Étienne.

    En concert, elle chante le Requiem de Gouvy avec l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, le Requiem de Dvórak à Antibes et le Requiem de Mozart au Festival de Lacoste.

    • Belfagor says:

      Thank you -- she’s very busy -- as she should be on these showings!

      • Chanterelle says:

        Festival de Lacoste?? Some credits are best left off the vitae.

        With computer speed problems haven’t listened to the clip but I’ll take it on faith that’s she’s wonderful. So why is she singing in second tier houses or lower? Is she even under management--that’s not obvious from following links on operabase or from googling her name?

        • manou says:

          Lacoste is a little town in the Lubéron -- a crocodile free town.

        • oedipe says:


          I had a hard time deciding whether to focus more on the Festival de Lacoste, or the Festival de Saint-Céré, or the Esplanade de Saint-Étienne. Not to mention the Marmande international competition…
          The lady definitely needs a better manager/PR person!

          • Chanterelle says:

            Lacoste is indeed a lovely little town of old stones and herb-scented hills, complete with Marquis de Sade landmarks and scorpions that like to hide in your shoes overnight. At least Mme. Perrin chooses pleasant vacation venues for her appearances.

            Operabase lists a Dutch management company for her, but she’s not on their current roster.

            I guess when she graduated conservatory 20 yeas ago they weren’t stressing media and PR the way they do now. Tree falling in the forest…

    • Bianca Castafiore says:

      I have come across Mle. Perrin in one of those Ariane clips — was Podles in it? Not sure how else I found those clips. But isn’t Konstanze a coloratura role? So she’s a dramatic coloratura soprano? Can she sing Rossini & Bellini AND Wagner???????

  • Gualtier M says:

    BTW: glutton for punishment I took advantage of the $20 seats offered by the blessed St. Agnes of Varis and checked out George Gagnidze’s one Macbeth performance last night in place of Hampson. MUCH better thank you very much. Big juicy voice, rich resonant middle and amplitude without pushing and barking. Lots of legato line, tonal juice and a nice fruity resonant timbre. Just what the doctor ordered. Nada was carrying on rather excitingly (she was on) but the coloratura was as smeary and approximated as ever. The Sleepwalking Scene was again pitchless and capped by a really strident screamy but marginally less squawky D flat. The elderly lady seated next to me physically flinched at the D flat and put her hands over her ears. Told me that since the orchestra doesn’t double the voice in the “Una macchia” scene, Nada has no anchoring and couldn’t find the pitch. This woman gave her a year or two of career -- I didn’t have the heart to tell her Nada has been singing this way for 6 or 7 years and is scheduled far into the future.

  • scifisci says:

    It seems as though the MET’s ticket sales haven’t recovered since the recession first hit. I remember that Gelb’s first (or was it 2nd?) year produced quite a marked increase in ticket sales from Volpe’s last few years, which were particularly lackluster, it’s too bad that hasn’t continued.
    Also, what I find interesting is all this nonsense about the schenk ring being guaranteed box office gold. I had a friend see GD from the very last time the MET did the schenk ring for $25 through the weekend rush ticket program. And you wanna know where he sat? Orchestra Row J on the aisle.

    • Gualtier M says:

      The Varis weekday rush seats are purchased before the season starts -- I think after subscriptions but before the individual seat sales. The weekend rush was a later addition and she bought up a bunch of unsold tickets for weekend performances. So that was an anomaly. BTW: I went to all three cycles of the final Schenk Ring (due to the messy late substitutions for Brewer -- lots of role debuts). Anyway, it was packed and there were very few or no empty seats.

      • mandryka says:

        They gave away hundreds of orchestra seats to the matinee Schenk ring cycle that season. There was a raffle much like the one they had for weekend seats, announced on the website. I “won” two seats for each of the Ring mat perfs, for 25 per. Total “value” of the orchestra seats was over 500 each. 4000 worth of tix for 200. I know several others who won, and the list of winners published on the web site was several pages long. Well does the Met know the art of “Papering the house”. They do it most nights.