Talk amongst yourselves, cher public. I’ll give you a topic: anything off-topic or general interest. Discuss!
Today is the anniversary of the birth of Enrique Granados (1867):
Quejas, o la maja y el ruisenor as sung by the incomparable Victoria de los Angeles.
Staged by the Metropolitan at least once, and for which the composer made his fatal trip across the Atlantic, why was it not ever given again? Not sufficient interest?
Only three quid for the Jette Parker lot. Little flimsy affair, too (not enough advertising?)
This in reply to Monty.
There was a bargain (£3) prog for the kids’ night on Sunday too. I suspect it was a matter of policy rather than advertising, though it always suprises me that the ROH attracts such upmarket advertisers, when most of the audience looks like it saves up all year for its tickets!
I just bought a couple of tickets online for Robert le Diable (which doesn’t seem to be setting the box office alight). The website is still awkward to navigate, though better than it was before (which isn’t saying a great deal …)
They were £10 for Troyens -- granted, they were special souvenir affaris and hence larger than usual, but it struck me as a cynical move to just up the takings.
I do like the ROH programmes a lot -- the academically rigorous essays included are really worth reading. But they do need to take a small step back and consider how much the things are truly worth -- £7 is really toppy.
Interesting interview with Miah Persson in this month’s BBC Music Magazine: she talks about how she’s moving from Susanna and Sophie to the Countess and the Marschallin- but most intriguingly she talks about her dream role.
‘An opera company rang me up and said they’d put on a production for me. No! Too early. I can understand people who’re surrounded by people telling them they must do it. But I’m not ready yet. It is my dream, though. I’m happy to say that.”
The role in question: Violetta.
Miah Persson was absolutely radiant as Sifare in the Salzburger Mitridate. But why must singers like Persson and before her Röschmann think they can just move up. Röschmann sang only very few Marschallins and then I believe put the role to rest again. Both do not have the physique du role. Both do best in roles like Pamina, Susanna etc. For the Marschallin I want someone regal like Harteros or Schwanewilms or Denoke who exude grand dame. Schwarzkopf was one of the few who pulled it off but the light coloratura fach was never really her home and she was by nature a lyric soprano with a regal elegance like della Casa. And one of my favorites also couldnt really pull off Marschallin and Contessa _ Lucia Popp. She was always the Sophie even when she sang the Marschallin. Perhaps being tall also helps
We used to call Tozzi “Signor Legato” but Siepi joins the club!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Why do we think that the OONY website has 1/6/13 as a “Save the Date” and that Alagna’s website mentions a Carnegie appearance that night?
Do I hear a new Terror-doomed French Poet in NYC’s future?
And might this be the Gerard?
Matos as Maddalena, or will Namesake Zinka be calling Angela inaudible yet again?
I don’t know if this is conjecture or you have some inside information, but if it’s true, this project sounds as nutty as a fruitcake for la saison des fêtes.
I don’t know if it has been mentioned, but Latonia Moore will be singing Aida in Sydney, replacing Norma Fantini.
And Norma Fantini will be replacing Frittoli in Salzburg at some concert. So the circle closes….
1. Wrestling to the death over Callas vs.Tebaldi
2. Facebook insulting
3. Kicking trains like Zinka Milanov (especially for some men
4. “Any note you can sing..I can sing higher”
5. Seeing who can go to the Met more than Lois Kirschenbaum.
6. Broad jump over some of those broads who come to the Met and rattle their bracelets. (and landing on their heads)
7. Racing to ladies’ room to avoid line at Intermission. (For men, racing to men’s room before Rheingold starts for same reason.)
8. Sneakkkkking into Met by walking backwards.
9. Guessing what new basso roles (molto profondo) Placido will sing in the year 2040.
10. Eating potato chips during Parsifal Grail Scenes without ushers catching you.
If you wish to be as insane as i, add some more.
Un abrazo Charlie
(celebrating Mario Del Monaco’s birthday)
THE ABOVE ARE OLYMPIC EVENTS FOR OPERA LOVERS
The proper response to no. 5 is:
Did anyone go to Central Park on Wednesday night to hear Danielle de Niese’s Met recitals appearance with Dimitri Pittas and John Del Carlo? Please share your impressions…
La Cieca’s young protege was there:
JJ: “Pittas bellowed sharp with a harsh vibrato, cracking high notes in numbers from “Faust” and “La Boheme”
[as, alas, for some seasons now.]
TT: “The exciting tenor Dimitri Pittas”
Glad to see some mention of this concert. I had the pleasure of staying in NYC last week on vacation and thought, what the heck, let’s go to this. I’ve obviously missed out on what might now seem to some, the “glory days” of full-length MET operas in the parks (and yes, I know some of the casts may not have been the most glorious, but still…). These recitals reflect the tougher economic times, very bare bones in fact. Still, there were 1000s in attendance (or at least it seemed so) and the most beautiful setting one could imagine. Loved the way everyone was picnicing -- it all felt very NY to me! Agree with most of JJ’s critique -- del Carlo was raspy all night, and really came to grief in the Bartolo aria. I wondered if it had something to do with the outdoor conditions -- he was struggling. Pittas had problems with the exposed high C (?) in the Faust aria, but did better in the Boheme. We heard him here in Toronto this past fall in Rigoletto and I felt the microphone didn’t do him any favours. It’s the kind of voice that really sounds better in a natural acoustic with orchestra. Still, the voice sounded a bit pushed at times with quite an intrusive vibrato…and he’s still a young singer. Funnily enough (given her status on these pages), de Niese came off best probably because her lighter voice worked best with the amplification. Not the greatest voice ever, but the technique seems solid, and she was quite enjoyable in the Don Pasquale and L’elisir excerpts. I wondered -- does anyone know if she’s sung either of these roles in opera houses? She seemed very comfortable with the music, and inside the roles, but I’ve not heard of her singing Norina or Adina before… Also, without her acting as host, the evening would have been a bit flat.
On another note, it was gratifying to see so many 20-30 somethings in the crowd. For once, as someone in their 40s, I didn’t feel like youngest in the audience! Most of them were very attentive and appreciative but I felt the MET missed out on a prime “audience engagement” opportunity by having no surtitles. I would hazard a guess that most in attendance didn’t know a lot of this music, and certainly in the extended scenes, wouldn’t have understood the context. There was a huge electronic screen behind the stage which was used pre-performance to advertize all sorts of MET-related materials -- why couldn’t they have projected titles there? The only thing I can think of is that it would have been too expensive to put together for just this venue given that the other concerts are held in different parks? Still, if the idea is to bring in a new audience, I definitely felt they could have done better. The other thing that came to mind is that just about everyone was checking their smart phones throughout (I’m not for this i.e. “tweet seats” at the opera, but in the park context it wasn’t so distracting) -- why not provide some kind of online translations people could look up on their phones???
I decided not to brave the crowds and waited until Friday night and the repeat in Brooklyn Bridge Park. We didn’t get the predicted rain and the evening was quite lovely. The park is right on the pier by the East River and you can see the Statue of Liberty and NY skyline. Boats were passing by (the noisy ones during intermission luckily).
De Niese to my ears has worked on her technique. The middle voice is breathy and lacks some depth. The upper middle is luscious and soaring with a Kathleen Battle glow to it. The top is now very easy but a little glaring and overbright but that is likely a miking issue. Previously, De Niese had this thin scratchy top and bumpy coloratura that was really rather unpleasant but now everything sounds much easier and more rounded. The agility is definitely there but her breath control was tested by longer runs and the tone could harden and the articulation get messy.
I actually really loved her Dowland songs and especially “Meine Lippen sie Kussen so Heiss”. I think in an earlier era when operetta was done regularly, De Niese would have gravitated towards operetta the way singers like Esther Rethy and Vera Schwarz went from decent opera careers to operetta superstardom. The very bright and easy top and her theatricality and the lack of an “important” operatic vocal timbre make her a natural in that repertory. The “Giuditta” aria was a replacement for “The heavens are reeling” (Agitata da due venti) number from Enchanted Island. I am really not a De Niese fan but I found a lot of her work here rather winning despite the less than first rate voice. She is definitely a serious singer -- the Mozart concert aria “Al desio di chi t’adora” was dispatched with serious musicianship.
To answer to Duca di Posa, De Niese sang a run of Adinas at Glyndebourne (following the example of another Mrs. Christie, Audrey Mildmay). She recently finished a run of Norinas in -- was it San Diego? De Niese was acting up a storm doing fairly detailed blocking with props in the “Pasquale” and “Elisir” duets. She is moving into the bel canto “ina” repertory. Her introductions were vivacious and seemed spontaneous. Her accent veered from California valley girl to a mix of Australian and British when she wanted to sound more elegant or sophisticated. She also used the word “chuffed” a British adjective for “pleased with yourself” or “proud” at one point. De Niese also changed evening gowns after intermission -- dark blue silk with a slit in first half, black and off the shoulder for the second. She has put on a little weight but it is all in the right places -- lots of curves.
There was a lot of cutting and changing of repertory -- Pittas was listed to sing “La Donna é Mobile” and “Salut Demeure” but dropped both of those in Brooklyn. I thought his “Dein ist mein ganzes Herz” was his best offering of the evening. His top goes very straight and is in a different vocal place than his rather dark and vibrant middle voice. The “Che Gelida Manina” had a nice middle register but was nothing to write home about. The Nemorino arias showed a certain lack of natural shine and liquid ease in the tone -- it sounded a little stiff and plain toned.
John Del Carlo is basically sputtering and barking through his buffo assignments. He needs to be downgraded to Alcindoro and bit parts like that. Blessedly they cut his “Un Dottor della mia Sorte” aria and replaced it with “Try to Remember” from “The Fantasticks” which was rather sweet and touching. This was his best effort of the night as well.
Everyone did better in the operetta and musical selections.
what? No love for Chabrier and Le Roi?
Janine Micheau, a favorite old time singer in Minka’s coloratura air.
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