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  • m. croche: Cenerentola doesn’t feel like a comedy to me because of its underlying melancholy. Though it... 2:19 PM
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  • Regina delle fate: Fair enough, Oedipe. No-one is saying you’re wrong. Chacun à son goût as they say. I... 2:13 PM
  • kashania: Cocky: I always assumed it was an E-flat at the end but you’re right that it’s a D.... 2:11 PM
  • luvtennis: Wow, postus interruptis! I was going to conclude that Gruberova’s basic timbre and technique... 1:55 PM
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  • Camille: Claro que si, Guessie querida!!! 1:40 PM
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Intermission feature

Has the week really gone by so quickly? Yes, it is Sunday, and so La Cieca (not pictured) invites the cher public (left to right) to enjoy an intermission feature brimming with off-topic and general interest conversations.

233 comments

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Happy 77th birthday mezzo-soprano Fiorenza Cossotto

    • Porgy Amor says:

    • reedroom says:

      phenomenal and demented in the classic vein. Thanks for the reminder.

      • reedroom says:

        I meant to comment about the Aida excerpt, but the Favorita’s great too.

      • Porgy Amor says:

        There are several of Cossotto’s video Amnerises circulating out there, but my two favorites are the ’66 Verona (Gencer and Bergonzi) and the ’73 Tokyo (Santunione and Bergonzi). Both prime time for her, and fearless as always.

        The Tokyo looks and sounds much the better of the two in technical terms, and is even a pretty good-looking production by the standards of the Tokyo Lirica Italiana broadcasts from the ’60s and ’70s (Pier Luigi Pizzi contributed the sets and costumes, some years before he took up directing).

        Others in the line are awfully ratty, however grand the singing may be (BOCCANEGRA with Cappuccilli, Ghiaurov, and Ricciarelli comes to mind).

        Anyway, because I feel you can never have too much Flo, here she is going at it with Carlo:

        • Gualtier M says:

          And here she is with Franco Corelli in Hamburg 1971 just for comparison’s sake:

    • Clita del Toro says:

      Great Amneris singing!!!! I am sorry that I never saw Cossotto on person. I wonder how I missed her??

  • Joe Conda says:

    And that picture of Mmmes. Crespin, Resnik et Tebaldi was taken a week and 46 years ago.

  • louannd says:

    Back from AZ Opera where we had a beautiful, well-crafted production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. Christine Brandes, singing Euridice, is a fine singing actress as is Katherine Goeldner in the role of Orfeo. This elegant, classic production by Lillian Groag, borrowed from Glimmerglass, was thoughtfully directed, though the rather campy, angelic/seductive, glitter-and-be-gay Amor, played by Rebecca Sjöwall, didn’t make much sense to me. (She looked fabulous!) Choreography and stage direction was handled by Keturah Stickann for the Arizona production, and the stage movement was astoundingly good. Joel Revzon seemed to know what he was doing with the music and the orchestra sounded secure and enlightened.

    Kudos to AZ for latching onto this pretty if somewhat short (no corps de ballet, and, consequently, missing ballets) staging. It’s so nice when regional gets it right.

    • derschatzgabber says:

      So happy to hear that Christine Brandes was good in Orfeo. She was a late addition to the cast of Semele in SF in 2000 (I can’t remember who withdrew at the last moment) as Iris. She has a beautiful voice and great stage presence. Iris is a small role, but she made a meal of it.

  • CruzSF says:

    Re: Petibon in the Paris Don Giovanni: I did think she was mighty impressive. I didn’t realize that she is often judged as too hammy. In this very intense production (very serious and violent, a horror show after most of the work’s usual comedy had been removed), I thought she fit right in. Her voice definitely left a mark on me. I’d thought she had a reputation for a small voice, but I never had any trouble hearing her. A few times she was able to start from a very focused, pinpoint piano and enlarge her voice until the sound seemed to fill the whole hall, traveling along the walls and around me, and ringing my ears as if my head were a bell. I was shocked because no one else has ever done that to me. I’d love to hear her again in something else, and if I have to travel to Paris to do so, so be it.

    As for her acting … well, she’s called on to do some pretty thankless things (pushing around her dead father in that wheelchair, for example), but she didn’t overplay them, in my opinion. I’d written here a couple of weeks ago that this was the best acted opera performance I’d ever seen (I think I’d said “most consistently well-acted” or something similar). I still have that feeling.

    • ianw2 says:

      Thanks!

      I hope I haven’t just maligned a non-existent Parterriani. But I’m sure she’s been one of those unfortunate sopranos who is a bit of a lightning rod in these parts. I’ve always been quite fond of her, but was surprised to see her heading the Donna Anna route for some reason (equally surprised with Gens, another one I like, heading to Elvira! Don’t know why this surprises me). I wish I’d heard her Lulu.

      I don’t think Petibon leaves France much, though that Lulu I think was somewhere in Germany…?

      • CruzSF says:

        I, too, was shocked by Gens’ casting as Elvira. But her singing completely fit the part in this staging. I don’t remember anyone in the production being “overparted.” Someone mentioned (forgive me, Paris-based commenter, but I don’t remember exactly which of you said this) that the Leporello really didn’t work because he was short and stout where Mattei is tall and lanky. The impersonation scene didn’t work for this reason. Except, their marked differences did a different cast light on Elvira’s obsession. In this production, she desperately wants to be loved. Yes, she wants revenge, but she wants to be loved. Obviously, she even forgives Don G multiple times in the hopes that he will return to her. In this view, it’s credible that she accepts Leporello’s blatant substitution for Don G because her desire for resolution overrides her senses. I didn’t have a problem with the singers’ differences after a few minutes. (My ideal would have been for Pisaroni to return as Leoporello, but I was very satisfied with the casting as it was.)

        BTW, when I say that Leporello (David Bizic) was short & stout, I must say that he is still probably taller than I.

        • ianw2 says:

          Elvira is one of those roles- I can’t think of any others in Mozart- that operasexuals seem to have Very Strong Opinions on.

          You’ve sufficiently inspired me to pop on Petibon’s Rosso CD.

          • CruzSF says:

            OMG. I forgot to mention that Gens was a fantastic actress. Even with all the getting in and out of elevators she had to do, and wandering around in the dark (poorly lit set), she conveyed obsession, vulnerability, anger, and fear. I remember her being very good at fear, which was useful in this staging.

          • A. Poggia Turra says:

            ian -- Gens has sung Elvira as early as 1998 (the Peter Brook Don Giovanni), which was filmed for DVD in 2002 (with harding conducting instead of Abbado).

            Gens was the Elvira in the two Liceu runs of the Bieitp Don Giovanni -- the first was the one filmed for DVD, and also the second (with a much better male cast -- Keenlyside and Ketelsen) which was shown on a local channel (can be found on YouTube).

            And this is from , but I think Gens was in the Glyndebourne “dung heap” Don Giovanni production that Graham Vick did, which would have been around 2004 or 2005 (correction welcome).

          • ianw2 says:

            Gens is in that Don G? Well colour me embarrassed.

            I love that Liceu Don G with Keenlyside. That Gens was Elvira in that production had just not fully registered.

          • spiderman says:

            It’s not Gens its Delunsch in the Peter Brook Giovanni!

          • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

            Sex on a bar-stool

          • A. Poggia Turra says:

            spiderman -- thanks for the catch, it was indeed Ms. Delunsch (who performs very often at Aix) who was in the 2002 DVD. I was thinking of the CD (on Virgin Classics).

            According to Amazon, the CD was issued in 2000 and is from a live recording, so I’m going to assume that the CD came out of the 1998 Aix performances (one other difference in casting is Remigio as Donna Anna instead of Deshorties on the DVD)

            http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mozart-Don-Giovanni-Wolfgang-Amadeus/dp/B00004TVUN/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top/280-1498521-5431954

      • A. Poggia Turra says:

        There were actually two Petibon Lulu DVDs recently released; the Olivier Py production from the Liceu and the Vera Nemirova production from Salzburg. The Salzburg was from August 2010; I’m not sure whether the Barcelona production preceded or followed the Salzburg.

        She did Pelleas with Yves Abel’s OFNY and and Le Roi Malgre Lui with Leon Botstein’s orchestra, both in 2005 (she also recorded a solo arias CD with Abel, but with a French orchestra).

        • ianw2 says:

          I think the one I’m thinking of is Salzburg, I hadn’t realised she’d also done it at the Liceu.

          I’ve never listened to Le Roi, but I need to get on it as I’ve recently been having a bit of a Chabrier moment.

          • Camille says:

            Ian of the Antipodes!
            There is going to be a BIG Chabrier moment this summer at Bard’s Summerscape fest, as Mo. Botstein and his forces will be giving Le Roi Malgré Lui in a staged version, starting in late July. Expect to hear more about it from the Parterriat!

            Even my husband, who went in my stead and reluctantly so, came back with a lot of praise for the music if, certainly, not the libretto, apparently one of opera’s most outlandish and incomprehensible. If he liked it, it has to be good for French music of that style and period is nothing he spends much time or thought with. I am so happy to now have the chance. Chabrier also wrote an opera named “Gwendoline”, which has a bit of a distinctive place in the annals as it was the first ever concert given by la princesse Edmond de Polignac, the great patroness of Belle Epoque to pre-Second World War times. Gwendoline, of which I’ve only heard bits of suffers from a terminal case of “wagnerisme”, but maybe I should try to listen to it again, when there is sufficient time

            Anyway, vive Chabrier! I hope we get a good performance that will help him being reconsidered.

          • brooklynpunk says:

            I might have to think about hiking up to Bard, this Summer..in SPITE of that rather silly looking Gehrey-designed theater…which is real uncomfortable, and slightly unfunctional, as well (But , the Bard campus is BEAUTIFUL..!)

      • Nerva Nelli says:

        “I don’t think Petibon leaves France much”

        Thank Heaven for small favors-- though the piano accompanied PELLEAS in NYC with her and the stylish, nummy Kevin Greenlaw

        http://www.hayleymadden.name/blog-2/blog-5/files/page52_blog_entry15-hlm_4056bw.jpg

        was well worth hearing.

        La Petibon--mannerisms, orange henna and all-- did manage to creep across the frontier to Geneva to show herself an ideal Dorinda opposite JDD’s wonderful Ariodante; *malheuereusement*, she was cast as Ginevra, the prima donna.

      • stevey says:

        Here’s something for you guys…
        I must admit that I’m rather indifferent to Petibon, and I normally find Gluck monotonous and boring but… I quite like this:

        Patricia Petibon sings the final scene from Armide-

        • CruzSF says:

          Thanks, stevey. I very much enjoyed that clip.

        • Camille says:

          Merci, stevey, for putting on La Cinnabon, as I call her. I am becoming quite fond of her, in a way. I would have to speak with a period specialist in order to know if what she does vocally is always warranted or in proper style but I do enjoy her, sort of like a bit of pimento! Cute. I hope she doesn’t aspire to sing Isolde!

          Thanks, stevey!

    • oedipe says:

      I did indeed talk about David Bizic as Leporello, in a fairly extensive review of the Paris Don Giovanni, which I posted in last week’s Intermission Feature. My main criticism of Mr. Bizic was not that he is short (he isn’t; though just about anyone seems short next to Mattei, with the exception of Pisaroni and the VERY tall V.Gens); my main criticism of him was that he was almost inaudible and got covered by the orchestra.
      Here is the link to my review (scroll down the page; it’s a long post that also includes reviews of Nixon and La Muette):

      http://parterre.com/2012/04/15/intermission-feature-22/comment-page-1/#comments

      And BTW, it is NOT true that you can only hear Petibon in France: she is actually a bigger star in Vienna, Switzerland and Spain than in France. She -of course- cannot be heard/seen in America.

      • CruzSF says:

        oedipe, I apologize for forgetting it was you who wrote about the Paris Don G. Perhaps I was sitting too close to the stage, because I could hear Bizic without problem, although I do remember his voice not seeming as large as everyone else’s (except, well, the Don Ottavio — I’m giving the singer the benefit of the doubt by assuming Haneke wanted Ottavio to be a sap).

        • oedipe says:

          Don’t worry about it, Cruz.
          I actually like Saimir Pirgu and I find that his voice projects quite well, better than Bizic’s.

          • oedipe says:

            P.S. I suppose it was Pirgu you saw as Don Ottavio, didn’t you?

          • CruzSF says:

            Hi oedipe, I just saw your response. Bernard Richter was Ottavio in the performance I attended (March 25). I was sorry to have to miss Pirgu. He was Ferrando in the LA Opera Cosi I saw in October and I thought he was excellent.

          • oedipe says:

            I have never heard Richter at Bastille, only in smaller houses. But he got rave reviews for his Don Ottavio.
            Pirgu was very good.

          • CruzSF says:

            Vocally, I thought Richter was fine. And I’m sure he did what Haneke asked of him. I prefer Ottavio to be played as a more forceful man. I certainly don’t blame Richter for Haneke’s vision, though.

          • ianw2 says:

            Cruz, I don’t know if you’ve read it but a brilliant study of Mozart’s libretti came out in 2010 (I think) which made a very persuasive case that Don Ottavio should be more forceful than he’s usually played (as he represents the nobility).

            I’ve been trying to find it own Amazon so that I can give you more than ‘some random book’ but not surprisingly searching ‘Mozart opera book’ brings up about a million results. I’m sure it was a female author, it came out either late 09/2010 and was most likely reviewed in Opera Snooze. My copy is unfortunately sealed up in moving boxes otherwise I’d be far more helpful.

          • ianw2 says:

            This may be it. I was off by a few years.

            http://books.google.com.au/books/about/Mozart_s_operas.html?id=4rUHAQAAMAAJ&redir_esc=y

            (the synopsis makes it sound more basic than it is, if indeed this is the book I’m hazily remembering)

          • CruzSF says:

            ian, thank you SO MUCH for the book pointer. I love to read this kind of thing.

            Now I’m about to hear a different kind of work: Alexander’s Feast, my first live orotorio!

          • ianw2 says:

            It IS that book. The terrier instincts in me made me slash open some moving boxes and ferret around accordingly. Thank god when I packed and sealed all those boxes I was surprisingly organised.

  • Porgy Amor says:

    A few words on “stealing the show,” as I often see this. I’ll read a review in which the other principals of a LOHENGRIN are described, and the writer wraps up with “But it was Klaus Florian Vogt’s Lohengrin who stole the show.” Or I’ll be talking with someone who saw a lot of Mario del Monaco live OTELLOs when younger, and he’ll add “Night after night, he never failed to steal the show!”

    I had always thought that phrase implied a surprise, something working out not as foreseen. I *expect* Lohengrin and Otello (Carmen, Samson, Violetta, etc.) to dominate those operas. Now, if everyone walks out buzzing about the Telramund or the Cassio, or even the Iago, that’s show-theft.

    Eric Owens and Gerhard Siegel stole the relevant chapters of the Met’s new RING, by my ledger. The impression held when I listened to SIEGFRIED just on the radio yesterday afternoon.

    • kashania says:

      True!

      Mme XXXX dominated the stage in ERWATHUNG, fairly stealing the show!. LOL

      • Camille says:

        AND…”Madame XYZ was the ONLY person on stage in La Voix Humaine. One could not look at others for she was RIVETING!”!!!!!!!!!

        • Clita del Toro says:

          Cammie LOL In that case the sets stole the show??

          How about the Priestess in Aida stealing the show?

          • Camille says:

            Actually, the recent Sacerdotessa of one Mlle. Lori Guilbeau in the Met Aïda had me wishing she would switch with Urmana, Urmana would sing Amneris and Blythe would retirn to her ram’s head gocart, or at least to Ultica Land.

            A placido domingo to my beloved Clita darling Toro!!!!
            Kises and hugs
            Cammie

            PS--how are the Three Graces, Maria-Greta-Joan doing? Back from spring break yet?

            xxxooo

  • Rowna says:

    Today they are broadcasting Rigoletto “live” from the ROH at my really local theater -- 10 min from my house. Not sure if that is true, but will be live or live streamed. Grigolo will be the Duke, another Russian soprano whose name I don’t know is Gilda, and pardon my memory, but Rigoletto’s portrayer’s name escapes me. If there is anything worth reporting I will let you all know.

    • manou says:

      Rowna -- this will be live streamed as it was broadcast live in cinemas here (in the UK) on the 17th. Royal Opera performances can’t easily be broadcast live in the US because of the time difference.

      You might like to have a look at this :

      http://intermezzo.typepad.com/intermezzo/2012/04/rigoletto-royal-opera-house.html

      Cast is Dimitri Platanias as Rigoletto and Mrs Charles Castronovo (Ekaterina Siurina) as Gilda.

      • Rowna says:

        Thanks manou. The review certainly wasn’t kind to Mr. Grigolo, who I have already seen in another Rigoletto, which was filmed, starring Domingo in the title role. I think he is an exciting singer with just the right sound for this weight of Verdi tenor role. On these transmissions or films it is always hard to know what they sound like live, but then again, we can’t know what Caruso really sounded like, either. So I am happy to hear these electronically transmitted operas, as it is better than not to hear these singers at all. I don’t think Mr. Grigolo is on Pittsburgh’s opera radar. Thanks, too, for the info on the soprano -- I am never going to get all those Russian names straight.

  • Buster says:

    The Roméo et Juliette with Géraldine Chauvet, complete:

  • manou says:

    Cerquetti-Farrell -- did you see the Mariusz Trelinski Butterfly in Tel Aviv? It seems to be universally praised everywhere.

  • Camille says:

    Opera Quiz time. Is it:

    The three Norns, or

    Frasquita, Mércèdes, et Carmencita, ( “only a matter of color and tessitura”) ou

    Ping, Pang and Pong, or

    The Rhinemaidens, or

    Three Little Maids from School, or perhaps it is

    Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail

    In the picture above, and Why??

    Winner takes all!

  • Bluessweet says:

    For all you F****Brits and others planning a trip to ENO next season, here’s your Violetta. Corinne Winters is a recent AVA grad and as sweet a person as her predecessor at AVA, Joyce DiDonato. So you see, good voices do come from people attractive enough for Hollywood. Let those who are not do concert works.

    BTW, Ms. Winters solo here was good enough to take a George London Prize this year, where the top winners were George London Award winners Zachary Nelson, Suzanne Hendrix, Corinne Winters, Margaret Mezzacappa, Chloé Moore, Brandon Cedel. All were Philadelphia trained except Ms. Hendrix and of the Philly group all were AVA except Mr. Cedel, who is Curtis trained, as are Florez and Brownlee.