Cher Public

It might as well be spring

“Tune into PBS on Friday, April 6 at 9:00 pm for a Live From Lincoln Center broadcast as America’s favorite soprano, Renée Fleming, performs at Lincoln Center’s Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse. She’ll be joined by Josh Groban and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra to perform Samuel Barber’s classic Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Broadway favorites, and songs from her 2010 indie rock album Dark Hope,” says a press release.

  • Clita del Toro

    OY VEY, the only “Dark Hope” attached to Reneigh is the place “where the sun don’t shine.”

  • MontyNostry

    Let’s hope she doesn’t attempt to apply too much carefully planned ‘expression’ to Knoxville. It is such a touching piece, but it needs to be handled pretty straight.

  • Donna Anna

    I have the seder excuse. I’m still not sold on Groban. His arrangements are direct descendants of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound.

    • SilvestriWoman

      Donna Anna, you insult Phil Spector. Groban’s arrangements are schmaltz; Spector’s are classic.

      Thing is, I think Groban would actually be great on Broadway, and did not embarrass himself in Crazy Stupid Love.

      • Henry Holland

        My favorite Spector production:

        All hail the Wrecking Crew!

      • Donna Anna

        Perish the thought that I would insult Spector, the Master. A performer always sounds unique in his production. Groban never sounds different, whether he’s singing ballads or Broadway. And speaking of that, a friend who works in theater says that Groban’s performance in a concert version of Chess years ago was very good. Maybe that is the direction for him.

        • SilvestriWoman

          Donna Anna, some years ago, a critic (NY Times?) said that Groban would be a gift to Broadway. I’d say, though, that Groban has a pretty sweet life. He probably makes more in one concert than he would in a month -- or year -- on Broadway, and with very little rehearsal time.

  • She came for a concert, I want my money back, she needs to retire.

    • Talk of the Town

      You could always try this approach.

      • Henry Holland

        Great find!

        From Mr. Bertaini’s letter to Verdi (re: Aida):

        It will fill the theatre a few more times and then gather dust in the archives


  • papopera

    I will listen for Knoxville, as for the rest pffffffftt

  • whatever

    rookie question: i don’t have a television … any chance this will be broadcast on radio, siriusxm, and/or streamed on the interwebs?

    • operadunce

      whatever--if you weren’t able to see the Live at Lincoln Center show and are still interested in catching it, try the pbs website. It will be available until next weekend.

      Don’t pay any attention to the Renaysayers on this site. They don’t get it. It’s a lot of fun and you can fast forward past anything you don’t like or watch things in a different order. Be sure to catch Letter from Sullivan Ballou at the beginning of the last half hour and the Dark Hope selections are just plain fun to watch. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  • SilvestriWoman

    What’s rather sad? About 10 or years ago, I heard Renee sing Knoxville at Ravinia, and it was absolutely exquisite. This was before she felt the need to add her own -- ahem -- interpretative embellishments. Something tells me that won’t be the case, especially after seeing this:

    I fear that she’s investing so much time in looking exquisite -- and she does! -- that she’s no time left to understand what she’s singing. Come on, she’s playing with her gown during the flute solo!

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Weird choice of stick with which to try to beat Renee- she’s on amazing form in this Casta Diva, which is one of the best I’ve ever heard from a soprano who hasn’t done the role, and better than a few who have.

  • Josh Groban admittedly doesn’t always make the best choices in rep or arrangements, but he was stellar in the London Chess concert with Idina Menzel. Given the right material, he’d be terrific on Broadway.

    • WindyCityOperaman

      Always looks like he’s in pain while he’s singing. I’m thinking deviated septum.

    • Clita del Toro

      I can’t even bring myself to watch this. I just had my breakfast.

  • Camille

    How utterly delightful and I thought I would miss it since I’ve left NYC.
    And won’t even have to take the 1/9 ans waste $4.50 plus billet on this one.

    Mille grazie for the heads up, doyenne.

  • Nerva Nelli

    “Si, la speranza che delude sempre…”

    • Camille

      “Percuotete quei vili!!!!”

      Jesus H Christ in a bunnysuit, Nerva, you didn’t think I was serious???

  • Sempre liberal

    I cannot believe all of you thought this delayed April Fools joke was real.

    Um… was a delayed April Fools joke, right?

    • Clita del Toro

      Sempre, when it comes to Reneigh, I would believe anything. If that’s what you refer to.

  • tannengrin

    Maybe they will do a glee-style mash-up of “Knoxville” and “You raise me up”. That seems to be all the vogue these days.

  • zinka

    I’d rather have Santorum sex with Kurt Baum……………………

  • ilpenedelmiocor

    Yeah, it’s unfortunately true — this is essentially the same dreck program they submitted us to in San Diego for a bazillion dollars. Except because we’re too ignorant to know any better, we got “Mi chiamano Mimi” and “Donde lieta usci,” plus Mimi’s and Musetta’s rather forgettable mutual introduction-to-the-Cafe-Momus-crowd arias from Leoncavallo’s Boheme (my apologies to anyone who loves this stuff) instead of the Barber and the Kander. Thus concluded the “world of the concert hall” portion of the program.

    The rest is crooned into a hand-held microphone.

    I don’t know why she wants to sing the Broadway stuff, she doesn’t know the words, needs a music stand with sheet music to refer to, and botches the lyrics repeatedly anyway.

    Well, at least now it’s clear that this program was not foisted upon her by local management (it was a gala benefit here), but was of her own choosing. I guess we were the dress rehearsal for PBS.

    And yes, it’s pretty much self-consciously all about the gowns. It was approvingly noted that we were a serious bunch because we applauded more for the music than for the gowns. Um, if you don’t want the audience to be distracted by the couture, there’s a pretty easy solution: don’t change outfits during intermission.

    In the end, everyone was so starved for actual singing that she got a standing ovation for the effing “O mio babbino caro” encore. That’s how desperate we were.

    In view of the fact that we could have had, I dunno, Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder instead, and that she’ll never ever perform in this town again, it was pretty much a tremendous waste of both vocal capital and audience bucks. Bleh.

  • brooklynpunk

    Is this in lieu of having to do the Stations of the Cross, or going to Good Friday Mass..??

    • whatever

      BP: no Mass on Good Friday … the tabernacle is laid bare.

      (Yes, there is a service … yes it includes communion … but bread and wine are not consecrated (requisite for a Mass) on Good Friday. That’s right, on Good Friday we get LEFTOVERS from the Last Supper!!!)

      • mrmyster

        Whatever, not quite: It is “the mass of the pre-sanctified host,” not
        exactly left-overs.

        • whatever

          so a “pre-owned” car isn’t a “used car”???

          “pre-sanctified” is just a polite way of saying “leftovers”!!!

          i understand (far too well, a product of 17 years of catholic education) that the priest makes a special second batch while he’s cooking on Thursday, but they’re still day-old …

  • johnkb

    My TV broadcasts always seems to be in mono — anyone know when I can get a stereo feed (radio?) for this concert?

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Chicago area viewers will have to wait until Easter Sunday afternoon for the Renee and Josh show, 2:00 on WTTW.

  • missconstrued

    My that was horrible…”In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel -- I tuned in at the end..and she attempted to……dance….to it….almost as bad, but not quite as bad has her insistence to sing “Summertime” at private soirees through the Met Opera while Volpe was still in charge…makes your skin crawl…

    • Bosah

      Let me guess. Not a Renee fan?

      Extremely diverse program, obviously designed to reach over manufactured opera/classical boundaries. Judging from the reactions on twitter (which are but a microcosm, I know), she succeeded. Many tweets saying they had never heard of Renee, but loved the concert.

      As much as it pains many here who like their little elite niche, opera singers must reach out for new audiences using all media available. Already, we rarely see opera anywhere on television and the public thinks Bocelli, Jenkins and Evancho are “opera singers.” I think it’s rather a good idea for a real opera singer to be seen and heard. If this is one way for that to happen, more power to her.

      I could have done with fewer rock songs, but other than that, I quite enjoyed the concert.

  • missconstrued

    If Renee sings Strauss, I am there, but she’ll never be able to do cross over like Farrell and the rendition of Summertime was embarrassing. Just because you can sing a song doesn’t mean you should. I am all for reaching out and challenging yourself as an artist, but geez…come on…Peter Gabriel? It is almost like Merman doing Disco, just embarrassing, maybe if Renee didn’t emote so feels false and looks it too. I would check the sales of that rock album……..

    • Bosah

      I agree with you that In Your Eyes was one of the weakest songs in the concert. I could have done with a couple fewer of the rock. And the singing wasn’t perfect in the Barber. But as a full concert, it was interesting and very enjoyable, to me anyway.

  • johnkb

    That was a truly expensive squandered opportunity. If they really cared about building audiences for “classical music” they would have thoughtfully presented the works in reverse order and ended, or rather, culminated with the Barber. Giving her family member all that screen time was silly.