Cher Public

The maestro trap

“Il maestro Fabio Luisi dirige correttamente e talora anche con qualche eleganza; ma sta così male sul podio! Ora si abbassa a destra, ora a sinistra, ora salta, ora dà inutili attacchi, ora si butta in basso a urtare il leggio con la fronte. Sembra un topo che stia scappando a un pipistrello.” [Corriere della sera]

  • manou
    • oedipe

      If you want to avoid boos at La Scala, give the audience only non-Italian operas.

      Incidentally, the first reviewer is particularly appreciative of Jaho’s capacity to appear innocent in Act1. She must be much better than Netrebko, then…

  • But of course he’s not good enough for the Italians. Nobody is. Let them have Gelmetti instead. Serves them right.

  • manou

    Se la pipistrella e questa

    scapperei anch’io.

    • MontyNostry

      Der Vampyr?

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      ed anche questa!

      Gruenfeld was a great friend of Lehar and also played privavtely for Puccini

    • Simon Blackmouth

      Mi piace questo pipistrello.

  • gal

    I attended the premiere, and I found that musically, Luisi was the only good thing in this performance.
    His conducting was vivid and nuanced.

    Obviously it’s very difficult to cast a Manon, especially today as there aren’t many sopranos who can sing the role and to add a problem la Scala had bad luck with the cancellations, anyway I wanted to have a good surprise with Jaho (it was the first time I had to hear her live and I read many good things about her Traviata and Angelica).

    Unfortunately she was terrible. I don’t find the voice attractive, but that point is a sujbective one.
    The main problem is that she was inaudible in the medium. Above the stuff, it was all screamed and/or out of pitch. The Saint-Sulpice was especially painful. The rest was boring at best, except when she felt she had to add vulgar vocal touches that would make Fleming look like a model of sobriety (her last “Manon” in Saint-“Supplice” was shouted in chest voice like a fishwife).
    She made several mistakes leading to little disconnections with the orchestra.

    Her acting was anything but subtle. She did what Pelly told her to do without understanding why.
    That led to a character who was so different from a scene to another that there was no coherence left.

    She obviously was afraid at the curtain call about the audience reaction and then couldn’t stop smiling, kneeling etc. when she realized the audience was kind to her. It was a bit too much as the audience was not giving her a triumph either.

    I think this was her first Manon, and she had to manage that at la Scala, which can be frightening, so I’ll be nice and put the level on this performance on the account of the stress.

    Polenzani was an honest des Grieux, but nothing more. No sparkle. But next to Jaho one could hear at least good singing. That was a sort of consolation.

    Braun has a congested sound which makes him inaudible as well. But there is at least a musical line in his singing.

    Lafont has still a sound, but a vulgar singing now.

    Mortagne and the three girls were maybe the most interesting singers on the stage.

    Pelly’s staging is not a great one, but still correct.

    A very very disappointing night for one can expect from La Scala.

    • oedipe


      I wasn’t there, but I have a feeling your review is more accurate than those of the critics.
      I don’t think the La Scala audience was kind (it rarely is), just ignorant of what Manon should sound like.

    • armerjacquino

      Interesting that Jaho’s acting should be so criticised- the CG ANGELICA was on telly last night and it reinforced what a wonderful, wonderful performance she gave. The acting, even in close-up, was riveting and true. I think in an earlier age it would have been a headline-grabbing, starmaking performance. Sorry to hear her Manon isn’t at that level.

    • idreno

      I was there last night. I think Gal’s review says all that there is to say of a dismal evening (barring Polenzani)

  • Camille

    Thought that Corriere della Sera was speaking of Daniel Oren, at first.

    Povero Luisi! Maybe someone is still peeved about his Roman defection last year?

  • oedipe

    Apropos of reviews:

    Here are some positively raving reviews of Jennifer Larmore in the Loy Macbeth in Geneva:

    • MontyNostry

      Sounds good in both languages! The production looks very handsome -- more spectacular than is Herr Loy’s wont too.

    • Loge

      Here is an interview with Jennie and some Christoph. It shows some glimpses of the production and singing.

    • Cuban_Stallion

      And others that are not so much so.

      «Macbeth» infuse dans un sang noir au Grand Théâtre
      Sylvie Bonier

      Lady Macbeth plus autoritaire que vénéneuse, Jennifer Larmore offre des aigus flamboyants malgré un vibrato parfois trop généreux…|0

      «Macbeth», un cauchemar éveillé
      Julian Sykes

      Le bourreau, Lady Macbeth, apparaît tour à tour en robe noire, en robe blanche. Jennifer Larmore en impose. On craignait que la mezzo américaine n’en fasse trop: c’est plutôt le contraire. Si elle excelle dans la scène du banquet, avec ces vocalises ciselées au scalpel, si elle possède (tout juste!) la tessiture escarpée du rôle, elle n’a pas vraiment le format ni les couleurs d’un mezzo verdien. Son chant – en ce soir de première, du moins – manque de terreur et d’aspérités. Elle n’est pas suffisamment dramatique. Son grand air d’entrée et la scène du somnambulisme séduisent malgré tout par une certaine ligne du chant.

      Lady Macbeth s’est perdue au royaume du belcanto
      Claudio Poloni

      Pour ce qui est de la distribution vocale, les choses sont nettement moins réjouissantes. Jennifer Larmore a peut-être toutes les notes de Lady Macbeth, mais elle n’est pas Lady Macbeth. Sa voix légère et claire ne lui permet pas de distiller la perfidie et la noirceur qui caractérisent le personnage, ni d’en dégager les accents impérieux. Certes, Macbeth est un opéra de transition, à la charnière entre belcanto et œuvres plus dramatiques, mais confier le rôle de la Lady à une belcantiste prive l’héroïne de son essence même, sans apporter en contrepartie de nouvelles couleurs ou de nouveaux éclairages au rôle. Malgré tout, l’interprète fait preuve d’une présence scénique électrisante, renforcée par ses robes magnifiques et son entrée glamour, descendant lentement les marches du grand escalier.

  • manou

    Here is another (very long and detailed) review

    notable because there are also photographs (click to enlarge). Jaho looks very much like a little girl wearing her Mum’s clothes if you compare the luscious Netrebko in the same costumes.

    I wanted to see whether she does rip off Polenzani’s soutane (and what falls out when she does…), but sadly there is no record of this potentially thrilling moment.

  • Potentially thrilling is not how I would describe it. More like potentially meh!