Headshot of La Cieca

Cher Public

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The girls of summer

The Met press department wisely isn’t waiting until the last minute to start announcing cast changes for autumn 2012: “Janai Brugger [pictured], a 2012 winner of both the Met’s National Council Auditions and the first place winner in the recent Operalia competition, will make her Met debut as Liù in Puccini’s Turandot on October 30 and will also sing the role on November 2, 5, and 9. Brugger replaces the previously announced Takesha Meshé Kizart, who is recovering from recent abdominal surgery. Guanqun Yu, the second-place winner of the Operalia competition, will make her Met debut as Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore on October 17 and will sing the role on October 20 and 25.” Apparently TBA is having abdominal surgery as well!

173 comments

  • quoth the maven says:

    Why does this whole discussion remind me of the Five Jews in Salome?

  • oedipe says:

    Allow me to interrupt the debate of the Five (and counting) Jews with a special announcement of great interest to Parterrians, who, I’m sure, would not want to miss this event under ANY circumstances:

    Graham Vick’s Birmingham Opera Company will be streaming live, on August 23 at 11am EST, Stockhausen’s epic opera Mittwoch aus Licht. (Thanks, Intermezzo, for the heads up!)

    http://tinyurl.com/8txr6ob

    • m. croche says:

      I can only wish Godspeed to the members of the poor string quartet that have to fly around in those helicopters while yelling out German numbers.

      • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

        I downloaded the stream of the Helicopter String Quarter. It must have been just awful for the pilots. As a whole edited mix it was a lot of hype over a lot of very well-played noise. I think all the sewcond violinist wanted to do was get home to feed her baby. (At least that’s what she kept babbling about.)

    • Loge says:

      In a moment of extremely clear thinking I actually thought of heading 2 hours west of Atlanta for this incredibly surprising offering in Birmingham. Fortunately the fog in my brain cleared.

    • oedipe says:

      Well, however this turns out, I like to watch. Like Peter Sellers.

  • stignanispawn says:

    Have I just been rereading “The Last Prima Donnas” too often, or should I be worrying that Juliana DiGiacomo is too young to be singing Norma?

  • kekszakallu says:

    I can never work out how to get replies/comments in the correct place, so … probably out of sequence …
    My only thought when champion hurdler Liu Xiang crashed out in the Olympic 110m metre heats was “Non piangere, Liu”

  • Feldmarschallin says:

    Well yesterday Netrebko gave an interview in der Süddeutsche Zeitung in which she talks about future roles (Manon Lescaut, Trovatore, Tatjana and Elsa) and also how she supports Putin and thinks he is the right man for Russia at the moment. Much negativity in the German press about her political views.

    • Feldmarschallin says:

      It would have been nice had Netrebko given support to Pussy Riot like other famous musicians have instead of supporting the dictatorship of Putin. She lives in Wien and has certainly nothing to fear in that regard and in this day and age where one has plenty of information of all what is happening unlike in the past before the internet age and age of television she certainly cannot say she is unaware of what is happening in Russia and its corrupt system.

    • Clita del Toro says:

      Well, I am glad I will never see Netrebko in person. She won’t have any of my money! Moscow has banned the Gay Pride Parade and other such public events for ONE HUNDRED YEARS (now, I don’t accuse Netrebko personally for that, but) and good for the German press.
      And they will now put the girls of Pussy Riot in jail for years. The Russians will never get their fucking act together.

      Also Madonna is being sued by some russian assholes for supporting gays.

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444443504577599130088424416.html

        • Signor Bruschino says:

          Now the grey lady would be smart about doing a Netrebko / Pussy Riot piece especially with her opening the season in NYC in just over a month… but if it doesn’t have to do with the potential artistic merits of the machine, I don’t think the Grey Lady will attempt it

      • poisonivy says:

        Not to defend Netrebko but Putin is EXTREMELY popular among prominent Russian singers and dancers. I follow them on twitter/facebook and many of them feature pictures of themselves posing proudly with Putin after receiving some sort of prize.

        • Clita del Toro says:

          Ivy, what are the artists’ reasons for supporting Putin? Why is he so popular with them?

          • poisonivy says:

            I don;t know, I just know that he’s definitely “popular” in the sense that all their FB’s and twitters show pictures of them receiving prizes from him. What I suspect it is is that since the Russian ballet/opera companies are funded by the state no one wants to be seen as a political dissident.

            Of course that sort of doesn’t explain Netrebko, because she lives in Vienna now and has Austrian citizenship. But I could also understand if she wanted to protect her friends and family in Russia.

        • dallasuapace says:

          Dmitri Hvorostovsky was recently quoted in the Mexican press saying that he agrees that Pussy Riot needed to be punished.

          http://www.eluniversal.com/arte-y-entretenimiento/musica/120821/el-lirico-dmitri-hvorostovsky-esta-de-acuerdo-con-castigo-a-las-pussy-

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Well, there’s another singer I will not see! Not that I was ever a big fan. What can you expect from these people anyway.

          • armerjacquino says:

            Apparently a poll has said that 65% of Russians were in favour of imprisonment (29% were in favour of hard labour!)

          • Clita del Toro says:

            So, what else is new? Lovely people.

          • Liana says:

            I think you all forget one thing -- the religious element. In the eyes of many Russians the girls’ behaviour, as it took place IN CHURCH was blasphemous, and shows them to be spoiled young woment seeking attention much more than real dissidents. Plus, the Ukrainian Femen action of cutting down the cross commemorating NKWD victims as support (!) for Pussy Riot didn’t help matters. Actually I think that all this action was plain stupid and very handy for Putin, who can present himself as a defender of Russian national religion.Perhaps he’ll even end up pardoning Pussy Riot girls and being the good tsar. Ideal PR stuff for him. RE Netrebko and other artists -- I think the main reason of their support for Putin is rather obvious. They still feel Russian and want to be able to come back to Russia and perform there; criticizing Putin would make that difficult or impossible. Nothing as dramatic as “protecting family” I think, just conformity mixed with fondness for their own country. Not to mention another thing to remember -- Russia has never been a truely democratic country, and Putin certainly IS better than, for instance, Yeltsin was, in the eyes of most Russians -- he commands respect and doesn’t ridicule himself and the country.

          • Bosah says:

            Well, that’s a shame. It’s different from coming right out and saying Putin is good for Russia, though. He may believe that, but I’ve never seen him say it.

            I agree that it’s easy to ignore or dismiss the religious angle, which is apparently what is bothering Dmitri. I guess to him, free speech doesn’t extend to a church alter. Hmmm.

            I wonder if his opinions mirror most Russians -- they deserved to be punished for insulting the church but 2 years is too long.

            Of course, I don’t believe they’re really being punished for insulting *the church* but I guess it’s an acceptable excuse for Russians.

          • Liana says:

            Of course they are not really punished for offending the Orthodox church, but they made this interpretation very possible by the way they acted. As I said -- good for Putin, exactly the way to make him more popular in Russia.
            Re free speech: the conflict free speech vs protection of what’s called “religious feelings” (as well as, for instance, protection of the right to privacy) is a common one in Europe, at least in its central-eastern part. The freedom of speech is seen here in a much less absolute way than in the US. Which in turn means that some other “freedoms” are as important, one of them being the freedom of religion. In consequence, offending religious feelings (and that’s what Pussy Riot are convicted for, I guess), is seen as an attempt against religious freedom and punished. In Russia, all this freedom stuff is very expertly used by Putin to enhance his popularity, under the motto “freedom is not absolute”.

          • m. croche says:

            Hi there Liana,

            The mixture of religion and state power can be toxic, and the idea that the Pussy Riot ladies deserve a harsh(er) sentence because they interrupted church services rather than, say, an opera performance would, in my opinion, constitute a problematic government endorsement of religion. By way of comparison, when AIDS activists disrupted a Catholic service in 1989 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, those convicted received sentences of community service. Admittedly, the US now has “hate crimes” laws, which might apply to protests prompted by animosity towards a specific religion, but the idea that present-day Russia is a haven for the equal protection of minorities and majorities by “hate crime” statutes is ludicrous.

            Pussy Riot’s actions were perhaps “worse than a crime, they were a mistake.” This, I infer, is your position, and you may well be correct. But many feel that the conduct of the trial was not above-board and that the sentence imposed was disproportionate to the crime -- those who feel this way are not going to be persuaded by Russians who would justify the legal excesses by pointing to the wounded sensibilities of the politically-powerful, majority religious sect.

          • Liana says:

            Hi, m.croche :) . State endorsment of religion may be problematic for you, but in Russia, there has always been an alliance of throne and altar, and Putin simply goes on with it. Of course Russia doesnt protect minorities and the trial was problematic; but the “protection against hate” rethoric can be easily used to justify what in fact is another authoritary action of an authoritarian governement.
            And I should admit that I also think that Pussy Riot deserved a fine. Freedom of speech is one thing, breaking a mass by an anti-religion-anti- governemnt happening is something totally different. It might have been connected with the pro-Putin position of the Orthodox church, but I still don’t like it. This is were I can understand the position of most Russians -- religion is not just something represented by a “majority religious sect”, and the church (orthodox for Russia, catholic for us) is certainly not seen as a sect; rather as the very center of their (and ours), national identity. Probably even more for Russian, since this identity had to be rebuilt after the end of communism, and one of the foundations was religion. Now, if you look from the perspective of someone religious, or at leaast fond of, and respectful of religious symbols, you’ll see why for many Russians such a happening is simply outrageous and deserves to be punished.

          • oedipe says:

            m.croche,

            I think what Liana is mainly reacting against (and I am sure she will correct me if I am wrong) is this attitude that it is scandalous for people like Netrebko and Hvorostovsky to hold the opinions they seemingly hold. She was trying to explain that one should avoid as much as possible making definitive judgements about people who come from a different culture; rather, one should stop and try to understand what kind of worldview they are coming from.

            Hey, before we feel righteous, let’s remember that 69% of Americans approve of the death penalty and consider it well administered! How is that for a controversial point of view?

          • Liana says:

            thanks, oedipe :)

          • rapt says:

            Thank you, Liana, for your insights. I appreciate the education you provide, and I admire the skill with which you provide it, stemming from an understanding of your audience’s culture as well as your own--and from your formidable eloquence!

          • armerjacquino says:

            I’m kind of in the middle, here. I’m not going to condemn Netrebko and Hvoro for supporting someone I would never support. At the same time, and despite Liana’s eloquent explanation, I’m still unhappy that people can be imprisoned for singing a song, no matter where they chose to sing it.

          • m. croche says:

            Hullo there, Liana and oedipe:

            Yes, it is probably the case that a secular Jew in America has a much different opinion on the advisability of mixing religion and state power than an Orthodox believer in Russia. I’m not convinced that, in this matter, differing opinions are of equal value.

            A legal system worthy of the name ought to be something more than the expression of the majority’s id. The vast majority of Americans find flag-burning vile, but they are also comfortable with it remaining a form of constitutionally-protected speech.

            To be clear: anybody who commits an act of civil disobedience expects to pay a price, even if they might hope not to pay one. Civil disobedience aims to reveal the viciousness of the political or legal regime it opposes. Disproportionate punishments demonstrate the injustice of a system and its supporters. Alas, Pussy Riot has only been too successful in this regard.

          • rapt says:

            Liana can speak for herself, but I don’t think she expresses approval of this egregious punishment either. I myself don’t like the idea of a fine, but I take her comment as less an apologia, a defense of the appropriateness of a fine, than an explanation of the widespread Russian sympathy for the (even worse) actual punishment--and of Putin’s cynical manipulation of such situations.

          • Liana says:

            Thanks rapt, you’re very kind. M.croche, just one thing. I think there are a few separate issues here. One is the obvious lack of democracy in Russia -- here we all agree. Another is the artists’ support for Putin; I think the reasons are as I stated before, plus a reluctance to criticize one’s own country in front of western journalists with their often, forgive the expressions, arrogant “we know better how your country should be” attitude. And remember -- we’re talking of a country without any democratic tradition, not one when democracy has been destroyed by a tyrant.
            Yet another issue is the penalty imposed on Pussy Riot and the problem of freedom of speech. Croche, you still see it from the american point of view, whereas the european approach to it is different. To take the example you gave -- in quite a few European countries, including France and Germany, flag burning, as well as other offences to national symbols, are forbidden and punished with fine or prison. Same goes for offending the Head of state. And in both those countries, old democracies as they are, an act similar to Pussy riot’s action could end up with a couple months (France) or even 3 years of prison (Germany). Same goes for Poland. In other words, the very FACT of punishing the girls is not anything unusual in Europe, not only in Russia and wouldnt be seen as going against the freedom of speech; only severity of the punishment is the problem. This seems to be the position of Dima, with which I completely agree. Two years of hard work is scandalous, but a fine would be perfectly ok.

  • kennedet says:

    Netrebko is infamous for making controversial statements. Don’t agents or managers counsel these artists behavior, when appropriate. She once said she loved to scream. Not very good advice for aspiring singers who admire her. Making disagreeable political statements can be very dangerous to a career. It’s an incredible talent but history has taught us that famous artists can be their own worst enemy.

  • zinka says:

    YU, HE, LEE…Gee,the Met is starting to have a roster that reminds of my favorite food!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    A totally amazing little boy!!!! If you wondererd where all the great singing went, much of it is here.


    Many women and future clowns have never sung with such beautify of tone

  • zinka says:

    I promised you some Tucker material…..