Headshot of La Cieca

Cher Public

  • damekenneth: Speaking of understudies – and realizing it’s not so nice to wish any singer ill... 12:15 PM
  • Guestoria Unpopularenka: When is this picture from? 12:04 PM
  • Milady DeWinter: Well he certainly is a hunk no doubt about it. But perhaps more time in the vocal studio... 12:00 PM
  • Lady Abbado: Maybe this: http://jamesvalent i.com/wp-content/u ploads/2013/08/Wit h-the-Divas.-Ba... 11:55 AM
  • manou: A hand grenade is an inanimate object. 11:55 AM
  • Lady Abbado: Not sure if the link works, but kudos to him for making it so far with his shabby voice &... 11:53 AM
  • Poison Ivy: His understudy is singing the last performance so … I also notice he’s not singing... 11:47 AM
  • armerjacquino: Oropesa doesn’t have ‘vocal troubles’ though, does she? 11:39 AM
  • Jamie01: The good(?) news may be that on Saturday she gets a different Pinkerton, Adam Diegel.... 11:39 AM
  • Guestoria Unpopularenka: Oropesa? Thus she’s not asked back again. 11:38 AM

Rainbow party

Welcome, cher public, to the first night of our Ring-watching experience on PBS at 9 pm. La Cieca (not pictured) wishes you bon voyage as we begin with Das Rheingold.

110 comments

  • DonCarloFanatic says:

    I enjoyed it despite its faults.

  • Mme. Euterpova says:

    Voigt only thinks about herself, not Wagner, not Wagnerian style, not Wagnerian vocal history or tradition. Just herself, trying her damndest to make her career last as long as possible in spite of the fact that her voice is shot..

    • Bosah says:

      Well, luckily for her then, she’s succeeding.

      Next time you see her for one of your many chats, during which time you undoubtedly learned all of these personal things about her, tell her I said ‘hi.’

    • ianw2 says:

      Euterpova:

      Tell me, what is it like living in Ms Voigt’s brain all the time?

      In particular, in what parallel universe are you living where Voigt, regardless of her current vocal condition considered a generous and knowledgeable colleague, is so dismissive of Wagnerian style, vocal history or tradition (whatever that may be)?

      If you are so good at reading other people’s minds, tell me, what do I think of your comment? I’ll give you a hint: not great.

      • Bianca Castafiore says:

        Oh my god, this Australian whore is still haunting this site? Let me see, were you in the house for this Ring, carissima? Well, I was. I had to sit through 2 of the Walkueres with Debbie Void and her frog-croaking through the role. Atrocious doesn’t even begin to describe her “singing.” I was rewarded for my saintly patience when Skelton and Westbroek delivered tremendous performances (and Jonas in the first one).

        Can you guess what I think of your post too?

        • grimoaldo says:

          “this Australian whore”

          Dear, dear.
          Please come home La C your blog needs some moderation in every sense of the word.

        • ianw2 says:

          I’m not really a whore, more of a hobbyist.

          Not for the first time, you’ve misunderstood my post. I don’t think Voigt was a distinguished Brunnhilde. I do think anyone claiming to know her inner-most thoughts about her singing and Wagnerian knowledge is an idiot.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Since you are being reasonable, rather than your usual snarky self, I will apologize for calling you a puttana. I was reacting to your past abundant snark in attacking and mocking people for their preferences in singers.

            As for you papopera, you can suck my lemons.

          • grimoaldo says:

            “I’m not really a whore, more of a hobbyist.”

            Some time ago, I adopted the motto of poet Fiona Pitt-Kethley, “I’m not cheap, I’m free.”

        • Cocky Kurwenal says:

          Had to? Were you being held at knife point?

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            I see the snarky queens still haunt this site. I guess they never left.

            Yes, CK, I had to. The first Walkuere was a ticket given to me by a friend who couldn’t go. Besides, I love the Ring and unfort. the Met’s casting department is as smart and competent as George W. Bush’s intelligence services. So if we want to see the Ring, we have to put up with some old grandma croaking her way through it. Whenever we can, we go to the performances without her, with the “cover” who is a much better singer and still has most of her registers intact (Dalayman). The second one I lucked out, as I noted, Skelton and Westbroek gave tremendous performances that evening. Also, some of Lepage’s projections were wonderful. And finally, the Windows logo briefly projected on the machine was the joke of the decade at the Met that evening, priceless.

  • Barnabas says:

    I saw the HD live transmission of Siegfried and Gotterdammerung and rather enjoyed them, except for Voigt’s consistently flat singing in Siegfried. Maybe it’s the small screen at Colinwood, but this Rheingold made me furious.

    I’ll start with Terfel. I was never too keen on Morris, but am now. Terfel shouted his way through and his attempt at acting is to smirk arrogantly throughout. He annoyed me thoroughly.

    Richard Croft’s Loge was insipid and underpowered.

    Eric Owens was fantastic and should have been singing Wotan instead of Alberich.

    Blythe was better, not in the class of Owens, but at least she sounded like a Wagnerian singer.

    I kept wishing Chereau would have shown up to direct the actors. It seemed to me that all the money went on that set while the blocking and direction of the singers was an afterthought or non existent. Or maybe I should have had Dr. Hoffman clone Waltraud Meier in both male and female form and force her mime all the parts to a recording in the pit. As it is, we must wait for Gotterdammerung to see a real singing actress.

    And the silly props??? The Rheingold in Scene 1 and Scene 4 looked like something from a community theater or high school production. No. They would have done even better.

    I must admit some of the effects were quite effective. I liked the initial appearance of the Rheinmaidens and the descent to Niebelheim. Even the gay mushroom cloud that symbolized the rainbow bridge to Valhalla was nice. But there’s so much more to Wagner than that. All that money, all those missed opportunities. LePage should have been restricted to the set design and they should have brought in a real director.

    Early Levine I used to love. His Tannhauser on DVD is great. But then he fell into lethargy in his conducting of Wagner. He seemed much more chipper in this Rheingold, however. And the orchestra was fantastic, even in the aggressive, over the top miking of it. It always sounds better in the house.

    Back to Voigt. So sad. Such a great voice she used to have. I still root for her, and will make allowances, this being her first Ring. I remember her being better in Gotterdammerung, not as flat as in Siegfried. I shall see tomorrow in Walkure, the only one of the new production I have yet to see.

    But at this point, I must agree with some comment, made I think by Mostly Opera. The Met would have been far better off by borrowing the production from Valencia by Fura del Baus, than wasting money on this thing. Either do a good, thought-provoking Regie piece, or stick with the already-paid for Shenk version.

    Now I have vented and must seek out a certain smirking bass-baritone or Canadian director to bite in the neck for my nightly allowance.

  • La Valkyrietta says:

    In spite of my better judgement, I watched last night. I still hate this production and agree with the post that says it seemed it had no director or direction :) .

    I must say the whole thing is not as offensive on TV as it was on the house for several reasons. The close ups make you forget you are in front of the annoying monster machine. The close ups, mike ups?, allow you to hear singers that some might not have heard well in the house, like Croft. Sound engineering and the mikes have been successful in covering up and even sometimes eliminating machine noise. This is all good for the TV viewer, but it makes me hate the production even more as I like going to the house for live music. Why should the opera house audience be treated as just a crowd watching the making of a film? That does not seem like Wagner’s dream, rather the composer’s never imagined nightmare.

    • formerstandee says:

      For the older crowd who enjoy La Cieca’s Parterre Box as much as I do, try to imagine if the Brunhilde was going to be Birgit Nilsson, after a few beers, and entering the first stage rehearsal just seeing that machine for the first time and being told where to climb.

    • Belfagor says:

      Oh dear. I’d managed to avoid this production until last night, I managed 3 bursts of about 5-10 mins each. TCM was showing ‘Monkey Business’ which was much more my speed

      So, what was the cast of ‘Flash Gordon’ doing on the roof of IKEA? Horrible horrible costumes (from the party store?) -- stranded unfocused singers -- a very occasional engineering/visual coup. Unwatchable in my book.

      Anyone unused to opera coming across this would turn straight off and never go near the art form again. And, you know what, you couldn’t blame them.

      • MontyNostry says:

        Flash Gordon? Guess it must be time to bring in the Bore Wurms.

      • Cocky Kurwenal says:

        ‘So, what was the cast of ‘Flash Gordon’ doing on the roof of IKEA?’

        The most amusing and accurate summary I have yet read of this Ring production, thank you Belfagor.

        • MontyNostry says:

          Cocky, Belfagor is one of the most eloquent and perspicacious critics you could ever hope to find.

  • papopera says:

    In spite of all the sarcasm and bitching about this production since its première, I really enjoyed what we saw on PBS last night. The machine is not all as bad as writers have led us to believe in here. The special effects, singing and acting were genial. Damn good opera entertainment. Looking forward to the sequels.

    • bluecabochon says:

      Papopera, are you off your meds? Your two previous posts in this thread were incredibly rude, and that’s the only “garbage” on this thread.

        • bluecabochon says:

          Not sure what you intend here, dear manou. Proof of what?

          These are the comments I am referring to by papopera:

          “what’s that screaming sow doing in here, we discuss opera not Broadway trash.”

          …in response to Shirey Bassey’s classic rendition of GOLDFINGER, apt as the photo at the top of this thread is from that film.

          …and…

          “you are taking a lot of space on our computers for your inept garbage woman !”

          …to Camille for her Rheingold beer commercial offerings from Youtube.

          This vitriol seems quite misplaced.

          • grimoaldo says:

            manou is offering more evidence that papopera is off his meds by referring you to another disgraceful and uncalled for rude comment of his to Camille.
            Please don’t let it bother you Camille.

          • manou says:

            this is the exchange I am referring to :

            Camille says:

            Is it possible his paruke?

            I cannot believe what they made those poor Rheinmaidens.

            Oh good, now Hans-Peter has his shit fit! Good for him.

            Camille says:

            Sorry, too distracted by this thing.

            What the Rheinmaidens DO!

            papopera says:

            It would be a perruque. It seems that he suffers from hypotrichosis. Hypotrichosis, like, is the opposite of you who, I’m told, has to shave your moustache once a week and even sport spider nests under your armpits.

        • bluecabochon says:

          I missed that one, yikes. How weird to post this kind of crap toward dear Camille.

  • Chanterelle says:

    Having seen the first three operas live and Gotterdammerung only in HD I thought I’d check out this broadcast. How dull this was — fresh from a week at Bayreuth I missed the clarity of sound as well as the energy of the conducting I’ve heard more recently (though I’m VERY grateful to have this late record of Levine conducting). The personenregie was minimal at best, as has been noted before, but the constant close-ups deprived us of the compensating grand scale of the machine (complaint after a reception: “the food was terrible, and so little of it”). Worst of all, I missed the rainbow bridge ending — because I fell asleep. That’s pretty damning.

    It’s only fair to note, though, that the HD broadcasts are the equivalent of a dress rehearsal, as the numerous tweaks took place after these early performances were filmed. This of course is particularly unfair to discerning viewers who are familiar with the Ring.

  • Dominatrix says:

    Very intersting to read all the comments — just goes to show each of us “hears” music in a different way. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole show, both the singing & orchestra --it’s great to have surtitles for the dialog & watching from home, I heard many wonderful special effects in the music that I never noticed before while listening in a theater. Can’t see what all the fuss was about with the production — it was mostly dark the first hour & I was expecting more visual effects. The singers were confined to a small space & couldn’t move around much & I think they could have achieved the same effect without that giant machinery — just using visual special effects. And in the documentary, what’s with the statement that Gelb wouldn’t change the entrance where Debbie had previously slipped? Is Debbie’s divadom slipping a bit? Compare that to Angela G. & Anna N. & their ridiculous demands & cancellations. Gelb couldn’t accommodate a singer who was worried about slipping & hurting herself?

  • peter says:

    Does anyone want to hear something absolutely gorgeous?

    • papopera says:

      Quite beautiful much better than Shirley Bassey.

    • MontyNostry says:

      Auger always looked so incredibly relaxed when she was singing. Exquisite artist.

    • This is, indeed, lovely.

      Auger is a singer I’m getting ‘re-acquainted’ with through her live work currently sipping through unofficially. Her studio work was always correct but more often than not blank and reserved (apart from her sensational Nictoris for Pinnock) but live shw could be really wonderful, and apparently a great recitalist.

      There’s also this :

      • grimoaldo says:

        “her sensational Nictoris for Pinnock”

        I saw her in a concert of Belshazzar at the Proms in 1990, conducted by Pinnock:

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/archive/search/1990s/1990/july-22/10407

        It was indeed sensational, glorious, and I have often remembered the look she shot at Anthony Rolfe-Johnson playing her reprobate son the King after one of her arias. It conveyed indignation, motherly disapproval and disappointment, despair, and hope that he would come to his senses and reform. Quite amazing to see that which created such a real moment of “acting” on a concert platform. I saw her a number of times live, she was always wonderful, sad that both she and Rolfe-Johnson were taken from us too soon.

        • The opening accompagnato for Nictoris is a masterpiece in itself. One of the great Handel roles and I guess something carried from the concerts into the studio. It is a wonderful recording all around.

      • Buster says:

        More Arleen Auger, both she and Edda Moser are in top shape here:

  • I just ordered the new Met Ring via Prestoclassical. On Blu-ray.

    Can anybody please tell me WHY I did this?

    • Just to set things straight : I’ve listened to all of the broadcasts, never saw anything just watched the trailer so I know nothing about the production per se. However a few thoughts just concerning the musical side of things :

      I wish Luisi had conducted all the cycle, or at least Rheingold instead of Levine.

      I thought Terfel and Voigt were not up to international standard in their respective roles, whatever their ‘star’ status might be. Voigt was much better in Gotterdammerung but she doesn’t even begin to scratch Stemme’s left foot regarding attention to text, mastery of style and general musicianship, and the voice is what it is, or what’s left of it.

      Bltyhe, apparently much lauded here, is utterly miscast in Wagner. She can’t carry the style or even hint at the complexity of her character. This is singing on the epidermis, a very good sight reading of the music.

      Owens sounded fantastic, Hunter Morris was acceptable and that makes him great in 2012, Croft OK but I’ve heard more interesting Loges, Westbroek and Kaufmann not the blast I thought they should have been.

      • Bianca Castafiore says:

        CF, I saw two perf. of Walkuere, one in the first year of the Ring (2010?), with Kaufmann and Westbroek. She was sick that first run, she had to cancel a performance or two. I think the HD was from that first year. Last season, she was in much better form, and that evening, we also had a great, fantastic performance by Skelton, the great revelation of the evening.

        Hunter Morris I saw once, in GD. He got noticeably tired and his tone deteriorated badly by the time he got to the scene with the three Rhinemaidens. A valiant effort but I don’t think he’s cut for this role. Gould was a better GD Siegfried in the other performance I attended, but he doesn’t look good on stage. Dalayman was the very able and moving Brunnhilde in those 2 GDs.

        • I heard Dalayman as the GD Brunni w Rattle from Aix and have her on audio with Elder. She is also the Brunni on a complete Ring from Stockholm, generally available unofficially on video on the net. She is a good performer and roughly around 2007-2009 was good in this music but the voice deteriorates as we speak.

          Gould I saw and heard here and there and I like him very very much. Skelton is yet an unknown singer to me so I have to catch up. I liked John Keyes 10-12 years ago, he had the appearance and was musically convincing (despite a tendency to go flat or be vague about the pitch) but is he any good now?

        • Camille says:

          Bianchissima Baby!!!!!!

          WHERE have you BEEN??
          On tour?

          It is so bizarre you suddenly reappear as, had there been an Intermission
          Feature I would have put out an APB on you! You have not appeared for months and have a lot of ‘splaining to do.

          And leave Ian alone! He is now going through a transition in his new home—Sydney. He is one of the few truly witty and bery informed commenters here, so -- lascia perdere!

          Luv U 4 Evah & well come bäck!
          LOVE
          Camille

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Camillissima, dolcissima!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            How are you, carina?????? Yes, the Captain and I went on a long trip by ship around the world, it was wonderful, although he insists on bringing that little Belgian boy, you know our entourage keeps growing, not only Irma, Igor, Thomson and Thompson, now the Belgian boy goes with the Captain everywhere he goes, and he brings that little dog along… Well, of course, everywhere we went, people asked me to sing, specially that lovely aria from Faust, and there was so much acclaim and applause, they wouldn’t let us stop… Ah, just like in old Milano…

            I have not been around because it’s a vipers’ nest in here, but you know, it’s not worth rehashing all these old fights and enmities. As you know, I am all for love and friendship. Hope your summer is going well, did you go see Podles in Ciro this summer? Tootles a te!!!!!!

      • grimoaldo says:

        I too only heard the broadcast but the one I don’t get all the praise for is Owens. I distinctly remember that he cracked on all his high notes including the crucial “curse” passage. I am not remembering that wrong, am I?
        Richard Paul Fink was stunning as Alberich when I saw him in SF in 2007 I think with the magnificent Stefan Margita as Loge, Mark Delevan Wotan, sang very beautifully if not very “deep” interpretatively, Jennifer Larmore an excellent Fricka, much better cast than this Met one.

        • I’m not sure about the curse but I think he has what I consider a classic “Alberich” voice, this Schwarz bass-baritonisch silky timbre with easy top (Habich, Neidlinger, Nimsgern, Kelemen, Wlaschiha, Becht and now Oleg Bryjak carries the mantle). I love the role very very much and I ‘need’ this kind of silky voice in the role -- not the kind of booming sound provided for, by example, von Kannen. I liked Owens because I thought he had the style and the voice I associate with the role, and was convincing in his frustration and his despair.
          Johannes Martin Kranzle, a stupendous Beckmesser recently on the Glyndebourne Meistersinger, might become a great Alberich in his own right.

        • The Fricka ‘aria’ and exchange with Wotan in Walkure act 2 is one of my favourite passages in the Ring and IMO many emminent mezzos fail to project all that is happening there and content themself with being miserable, obssessive and indignant. Not enough. Even Ludwig and the estimable Veasy get lost on record, the former probably hampered by her two conductors. Blythe doesn’t even scratch the surface of what should be happening there, IMO. I thought Lipovsek on the Sawallisch video is close to perfection in everything she does, a great singer and a fantastic stage performer, there isn’t a single hand drop or turn of the head which is wasted.

          • Clita del Toro says:

            I prefer Ludwig and Schwarz to Blythe’s loud, uninteresting Fricka. She is in no way a singing actress, which is what is needed for Fricka IMO--and I am sorry to say--she looked like a big, ole green cabbage with a sourpuss face!

          • Barnabas says:

            I think the best Fricka for Walkure, on video at least, is Hanna Schwartz in the Boulez/Chereau cycle. Not only is her singing good, but her acting is tops. Another testament to Chereau’s directorial skills. In Scene 2 of Rheingold, Schwarz casts a dismissive glance at Loge. Fast and subtle, but priceless.

          • Schwarz is very good but the singing is not really subtle in her Walkure act 2 scene. Have you seen Lipovsek (the Munich Ring, not the La Scala / Muti)?

          • The_Kid says:

            Gentlemen and ladies, may I put in a word for the great Frickas (Frickae?) of yesteryears?

        • bluecabochon says:

          I thought this too -- he did crack, and I heard it again last night. I’m mystified by all of the intense Owens worship.

    • lorenzo.venezia says:

      an irresistible urge to throw your money away.

  • I uploaded the Sawallisch Walkure

    Part 1

    Fricka starts at about 1:06

    Part 2