Cher Public

Weia! Waga! Woge, du Web!

The Bayreuth Festival is trying something new and outreachy this season: an extra non-subscription performance of Das Rheingold on August 10, offered exclusively through online sales. The first come, first served tickets go on sale October 10 at 18.00 CET (which La Cieca thinks means noon here in NYC) and up to four places may be purchased. No ten-year waiting lists; you just have to be ready to click and have your credit card handy.

  • Camille

    CLITA!!!!! Carpe Diem!!

    This is your big chance to get to BAYREUTH on your Bucket List!

    Well, it may not be Parsifal, but it is a Start!

    XOXOXOXOXO!!!!
    Kamille

    • Clita del Toro

      Kamillita, Dahling, I would not go to Bayreuth for one opera. It would be too exasperating. If they included free airfare I might consider it. But still, I’d want MORE!
      Xox

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Halleluja!

    • Camille

      Oh god that was five and a half minutes of untrammeled idiotic bliss. I am sending to my husband, who adores such kitsch.

      Further, I was unaware of Ira and Kurt teaming up together.
      You are, like Die Soupe, Superior, QPFster!

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

        Glad you like it madame. It does not get much better than Die Soup[e] ist Zuperior, and she is marvelous in that moment. The entire film is a hoot. There is a wonderful recording of Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin called TRYOUT, in which they singing more music from this film along with excerpts from their other collaborations -- well worth hunting and having.

        • Camille

          How very interesting, Quanto. My husband will be sure to be interested in this pairing.

          You are a goldmine of goodies. Thank you kindly.

  • Nero Wolfe

    Assuming there really still is a 10 year or so waiting list, if I had been patiently waiting a very long time for a chance at Bayreuth tickets, I’d be pissed at this jumping ahead of the line.

  • manou

    Not about Rheingold but entertaining review of Walkyrie from Intermezzo:

    http://intermezzo.typepad.com/intermezzo/2012/09/die-walkure-royal-opera-house.html#more

    complete with comments to break the Vicar’s heart.

    • grimoaldo

      “the skills of the ROH makeup team have made a credible amazon of this Mrs Tiggywinkle”

      hahaha

      • Batty Masetto

        Just think, if that horrid Debbie Voigt weren’t taking up space at the Met we might have been able to enjoy a REAL Brünnhilde like they’ve got at Covent Garden.

        • Camille

          Transposed up a whole bloody step! And whyfore?

          Batty— have you ever become acquainted with a food author by the name of Nigel Slater? I have just bought his book entitled Ripe>/i>, a sequel to his other volume, Tender. It is one of the most exquisite and beautifully illustrated/photographed books imaginable. I hope you already know of them or have them.

          Big kiss from
          Camille

          • PushedUpMezzo

            Nigel Slater is rather wonderful, a bit like a culinary Alan Bennett. His “30 Minute Food” is a godsend. He writes regularly in the Guardian on food, but his best, very touching book is his memoir called “Toast” about growing up in Northern England with a stepmother who was previously his widowed father’s cleaner and how he managed to escape provincial hotel “boil-in-the-bag” kitchens. Along the way There’s a very sensitive dalliance with a gardener. It was slightly over-dramatised for the BBC with Helena Bonham Carter as the stepmother. All this and a Dusty Springfield soundtrack!

          • armerjacquino

            You can also map Slater’s life through his recipes: his earlier stuff is all ‘when I come home from the pub I like to have a sausage sandwich in front of the TV’ and then, clearly, a fella comes into his life and suddenly it’s more like ‘we’re enjoying summer salads in the garden’.

          • brooklynpunk

            I used to buy the UK edition of “Marie Claire” magazine, JUST to read Slater’s food articles in it..!!--LOL!!!

          • Camille

            Oh PUM et fellas, thanks a whole bunch! This book has gobsmacked by not only its tone and sensitivity but the beauty of its photography. And the fact that it is so creative with using fruit that is so easily overlooked or diadained

            Now that you have brought it to my attention, I do recall having heard of “Toast” somewhere—-the story of the poor little boy, usw.

            Well, I am most happy to have found this wonderful writer. He helps me to cope with the loss of my fruit orchard and turn it to something, somehow, positive.

            Thank you, boys!

          • Camille

            P.S.—forgot to say that Nigel sure beats the hell out of Fanny Craddock and her assault on les oeufs!!! The way she beat those eggs was sadistic!

        • pasavant

          I had the misfortune of hear Ms. Bullock in Elektra at the Met several seasons ago. The voice is small, but unpleasant. She leaped around a lot on stage .

          • Camille

            So did I. The gross part was her swipe at kissing the poor Chrysothemis, for “dramatic effect”, totally unnecessary and gratuitous. Poor Deb!

          • PushedUpMezzo

            Perhaps she can do the operatic version of “Toast”, alternating with Lesley Garrett. The gardener role needs to be expanded to barihunk proportions.

        • Bianca Castafiore

          From recorded evidence online, Bullock is horrid, but at least she still has more than half her registers, which is more than can be said of the reigning Bruenn. at the Met.

          • Camille

            Um, Bianca, did you hear her Elektra? Pennydreadful.

          • phoenix

            My question is: why are they still booking Bullock all over the place -- the Met’s native-bred Brunnhilde virus has been pretty much isolated to North America (except for a few concerts here & there), but Bullock is being hyped around -- everything I have ever heard her do (in Washington, Toronto, SF and London) is substandard (and that is being polite about it). On top of that, almost everything I have ever read about Bullock’s performances alludes to her lousy technique OR tries to make excuses for such OR gives her a ‘free pass’ for being an ‘available dramatic soprano’??? Does Mme. Bullock make generous contributions or donations to these institutions that hire her?
            -- Forget about the bicentaries of Verdi and Wagner -- how much are these casting departments under the control of singer’s agents rather than just plain common sense and good taste? They should delay their ambitious projects until they can get a dramatic soprano of some current quality or forget about it altogether.
            -- Bullock isn’t the only fraud. Look around -- ah! in the Verdi camp there is still Violeta Urmana (opening Teatre Liceu as the Forza Leonora Tuesday), among others.

          • Camille

            phoenix—
            Who is her agent? A trip to operabase.com may be illuminating in that respect.

            Anyway, Jennifer Wilson doesn’t get the gigs. So who is HER agent? At least Mehta seems to be conducting Wilson some…..Magnum mysterium.

          • phoenix

            Operabase lists IMG Artists-London as worldwide agent for Jennifer Wilson. For Bullock’s agent(s) they list ‘Harrison Parrot’ (headquartered in London) for World bookings and ‘Patrick Togher’ for Australia. That info may not be up to date -- Operabase sometimes takes awhile to process changes in management, and sometimes such changes can be frequent. Ah, that good old Brit mafia! Blood is still thicker than water!
            -- I still put the crux of the situation on the musical institutions themselves signing the contracts. Obviously, people in the music business are just out for profit. But the agents & their legal mavens have thrown the balance off. Concerned with garnering positive mediahype for their clients = in tandem with current demand, artistic virtues of skill and quality exist only as media markers to be cultivated, manipulated & controlled. Innate talent & skill is considered somewhat maleable by & through these media markers -- not necessarily intrinsically existant within the individual artist.
            -- Audiences at larger venues (such as Met & Chicago Lyric) seem to attend out of habit & tradition. Read Bianca’s review of that matinee Trovatore yesterday at the Met -- no wonder the Met holds onto Mme. Redoubtable as Azucena -- she is a proven commodity = confident, skilled and experienced. But in [more than just] recent years she has been experiencing gradual diminishment of her vocal resources (thankfully mostly above the passagio -- her middle is still strong enough). Met audiences from earlier times (la Redoubtable made her Met debut as Azucena 8 October 1988) won’t find too many Azucenas with dead-sure pitch & firm (perhaps a bit too firm?) legato as they get from la Redoubtable (who, by the way, will again assume the role at the Met on the occasion of her Azucena Anniversary this coming 8 October 2012).
            -- But the genre of live opera functions best when audiences themselves achieve spontaneous discovery of new artists witnessed via live performance -- traditional roles in old masterpieces then become newly informed and rejuvenated. The consequences of employing (as a performing base for rep performances) singers from 20+ years back in their same old roles blocks this process. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with an occasional farewell appearance by great singers from previous generations -- Jimmy Levine used to refer to them as ‘historical artists’ in the 1970’s & 80’s -- until he was obliged to hold onto his own group of original singers as they both became relics. In 1971 at the Met I remember Jean Madeira in one last performance as Klytämnestra and Inge Borkh doing a final season as Fidelo & Die Färberin -- but they were one-shot deals, they didn’t try to stay too long at the fair.
            -- The great Temple of Opera at Lincoln Center is not revitalizing and regenerating itself anew with enough new singers from succeeding generations. However, this situation is not unique to the Met -- as ‘Worldwide’ agents spread their webs around the globe, the same legal entrapment situation exists everywhere.

          • oedipe

            Urmana is getting a lot of plum assignments, not just the Forza Leonora (which she massacred last season in Paris, before going to massacre it at the Liceu). Next, she will sing Kundry at Deutsche Berlin, Lady Macbeth at Teatro Real, Tosca in Bilbao, Isolde at Deutsche Berlin, and La Gioconda in Paris. And it’s not like she is a big audience draw or anything: the Liceu Forza (with Urmana & Giordani) is NOT selling well. Why am I not surprised?

          • Bianca Castafiore

            Camillina, you are right, Bullock is pretty awful… but Voigt these days is even worse. In any event, we are talking about bad and worst. Sad situation at the Met these days, which is why I was confused at folks’ petty criticisms of Ms. Yu’s debut. She may not be the new Leontyne or Joan Sutherland, but considering the trash on parade at the Met these days. And yes, I caught bits of Bullock’s Elektra on the radio, and I thought, “Have never heard such raw singing ever in my life!!!” Atrocious.

            fenice, Zajick’s voice is not what it used to be, certainly the tone is a bit drier, less plush and velvety (although hers was never a very rich and velvety voice, tending more towards metal) than 20 years ago. I caught her Azucena for the first time in 1993. But she is still a force of nature and a significant artist. I thought her Azucena yesterday was well conceived, acted and delivered; she never went for the demented approach à la Cornetti, but she still had plenty of power. (Incidentally, in that 1993 run, Voigt in her fat phase sang Leonora — I wonder if there’s any audio of that.)

          • phoenix

            Bianca -- right you are -- as I wrote above, few singers nowdays can match Zajick for her skill as Azucena -- the Met has encouraged her ‘ownership’ of the role for the last 24 years. I regret that she didn’t have an opportunity to sing Ortrud at the Met -- her L.A. broadcast was excellent.
            -- Re: those 1993 Trovatores with Voigt & Zajick -- I believe there were only a few of them & none were broadcast. I saw Voigt’s debut in 1991 as Amelia in Ballo -- she sang well enough & was quite enthusiastically received. Voigt’s Trovatore Leonora you mention above was adequate but somewhat compromised idiomatically. I didn’t see Voigt in Italian opera again until she did the Forza Leonora in the 1995-96 season. I guess I’m a bit compulsive about Forza -- since it is my favorite Verdi opera -- but I found Voigt’s Leonora as horrendous as anything I ever heard her in.
            -- I don’t have any recordings of Voigt’s live performances in italian opera -- and I don’t really want any -- but I did enjoy and have recordings of her Salome (2006 Chicago), Frau ohne Schatten (2002 Met) and Elsa (1998 Met).
            -- Zajick’s Azucena from the 15 October 1988 telecast -- done a week after her debut:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMJGM5cHIxE&feature=player_detailpage

          • Enzo Bordello

            “The consequences of employing (as a performing base for rep performances) singers from 20+ years back in their same old roles blocks this process.”

            With the exception of Zajick, who exactly on the Met roster is singing roles they introduced there 20+ years back? And who exactly is Zajick’s current engagement keeping from being heard at the Met?

          • phoenix

            Enzo adorato! You have made my Sunday night -- hearing from you, I feel that I have truly ‘arrived’! In bocca al lupo!

          • Enzo Bordello

            Roberta Peters was as charming an Oscar in 1983 as she was in 1955. Leonie Rysanek was as incandescent a Sieglinde in 1988 as she was in 1965. Jon Vickers was as overwhelming a Canio in 1985 as he was in 1960. Dorothy Kirsten was as moving a Manon Lescaut in 1975 as she was in 1949. Who cares how long artists have sung a role with a company provided they still have something to offer? Enough with ageist bullshit--especially when it ignores the time-honored traditions of opera performance. Basta!

          • phoenix

            You have an objective, open approach -- along with a good memory, Enzo -- sensitive to the nuances (experience, skill & individuality) these singers brought to their roles.
            -- Except in the case of Jon Vickers, I don’t feel the same way, but that doesn’t matter. I appreciate the opportunity to read what you and the others enjoy, whether I agree with it or not is unimportant. I think it would be very boring if everyone felt as I do -- in fact I prefer a challenge to an agreement.

        • Quanto Painy Fakor

          I just love how Kiri adapts the rythm of FOLLOW in her rendition

          • I once found a cassette Kiri recorded at 17 after winning a competition Down Under. It was quite a treat because even then she was pretty wonderful. But she sure did keep the shmatte business going full blast.

          • Bosah

            That’s interesting, Sheldon. I know she sang on the radio “as a child,” although I’m not sure what that means. I’ve always wondered what she sounded like back then.

            It’s too bad that’s not on Youtube. :)

          • Bosah

            Huge apologies, Sanford! My reply was meant for you. I promise never to confuse you with Sheldon again. :)

          • Sheldon

            Bosah--I’m just happy to be remembered around here, even in error. ;)

        • Bosah

          Just sad. She’s supposed to be a great lady.

      • Camille

        Who is Mrs. Tiggywinkle? Is she related to the Teletubbies?

        • Batty Masetto

          Camille dear, here’s a piccy:

          http://tinyurl.com/484h4b4

          Haven’t heard of Nigel before. The book sounds lovely. But to tell the truth, the San Andreas Fault may not take it any too kindly if my cookbook shelves get any more overstuffed.

          • Camille

            Oh, she’s a Beatrix Potter character then? I should have known.

            Batty you MUST get this book -- it is so mouthwateringly beautiful and so lovingly and tenderly wrought. Especially if you like les fruits. i bought it coz I miss my fruit orchard in California. I might come out in a couple months, if no emergency occurs. Is the San Andreas that near Petaluma?

            Anyway, the book is published by Ten Speed Press in Berkeley and it is a great sumptuous treat.

            Love camille

          • Batty Masetto

            I’ll keep an eye out for it, Camille. Even more, I’ll keep an eye out for you!

            The San Andreas isn’t in fact so very close, at least in the sense that we’re not sitting right on top of it the way some towns are, especially in S. California. It runs out into the ocean through Tomales Bay, maybe 15 miles from here as the crow flies.

  • Buster

    Kirsten Blanck looks like a youthful Brünnhilde -- I wonder what she sounds like. The fabulous Antony McDonald Ring comes to a close:

    • Buster

      Blanck falls in the piercing and unpleasant category, unfortunately. No low register to speak off. Fabulous conducting by Ed Spanjaard, and McDonald & his team were great -- glad they have filmed the entire thing. A shame about the budget cuts that make it impossible for this opera company to continue as they did.