Cher Public

Something for everyone

La Cieca (pictured, obviously), hereby declares that, from historical documents to the dernier cri of regie, October’s new DVD releases are a potpourri of objets d’art.

Arabella features Emily Magee (Arabella), Genia Kühmeier (Zdenka), Tomasz Konieczny (Mandryka), Michael Schade (Matteo, Jägeroffizier). Franz Welser-Möst (direction). Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. Sven-Eric Bechtolf (stage direction). Recorded at the Wiener Staatsoper 9 May 2012.

Stefan Herheim, one of the worlds’ most sought after operatic directors, superimposes the modern over the traditional in this dramatic and thought provoking new version of Puccini’s La Boheme. Freedom, love, and even death all demand a price that must be paid and the opera opens with Mimì (Marita Sølberg) dying of cancer in a modern intensive care unit; the overture begins just after the ECG machine displays its unmistakable flat green line.”

I Due Foscari is the latest in C Major’s “Tutto Verdi” series, a complete edition of straightforward productions on video.

If you’ve always wondered what La Traviata would look and sound like performed in Sydney Harbor, now’s your chance to find out.

For a more serious take on the Verdi, there’s also a Konwitschny production from Graz.

A blast from the past is Die Tote Stadt in a classic 1983 performance of Götz Friedrich’s celebrated production, recorded live at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin. Heinrich Hollreiser conducts the orchestra and chorus, with performances by James King, Karan Armstrong, William Murray, Margit Neubauer and Donald Grobe.

And a blast from the present is Wozzeck directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov.

A more familiar name this side of the pond, David McVicar, directs Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg from the Glyndebourne Festival.

McVicar’s favorite soprano (oh, everyone’s, really!) Angela Gheorghiu stars in Tosca at the Royal Opera.

And finally, a video so tantalizing it doesn’t even have a trailer yet! In Mission, “Cecilia Bartoli returns with another spellbinding adventure exploring the music and mystery of the maverick priest Agostino Steffani…. This spectacular was filmed at the Chateau de Versailles and features many of its most exquisite rooms and design – including the famous Hall of Mirrors – as a backdrop to Cecilia’s fabulous performances, and stunning dresses.”

  • Dying to know (well, dying is an overstatement) who wrote the descriptions in quotation marks…

  • tannengrin

    if not a trailer, “Mission” does have a teaser of appropriately operatic (if Opera Australia, if I place the accent correctly) dimensions. This is hilarious.

    • FragendeFrau82

      Sounds north of England to me. Nice trailer. Spare no expense on Bartoli and I’m sure she’s well worth it. Actually I’d rather see a movie about the composer…

  • perfidia

    You have to give it to Cecilia. She is having the career she wants. There’s a diva…

    • Damn right -- love her or hate her (and I love her) she’s a good old fashioned diva!

      • oedipe

        She is wild and crazy and LOADS of fun, I love her too. If there were more singers like her, maybe opera would have wider appeal.

  • Camille

    would that be La Cieca in the foreground, or in the background, in this foot?

    Just curious.

    • Camille


    • Definitely in the foreground. La Cieca rarely (if ever) dresses in drag.

      • PushedUpMezzo

        It’s the divine Miss Lansbury jumping in for La Cieca with the angelic Michael York in “Black Flowers for the Bride” (later retitled “Something for Everyone”), which rapidly disappeared from screens about 1970(?). I only ever saw it in a photo feature in the late lamented Films and Filming magazine, where it looked ever so naughty.

        • Saw Something for Everyone at least 3 times -- Angela’s star was on the ascent and Michael York was still young and oddly pretty. Hugh Wheeler did the script and Harold Prince directed. To call it a black comedy would be understatement -- would love to see it again.

          • Gualtier M

            It had a limited (possibly bootleg) release on VHS (the late, lamented World of Video store on Greenwich St. had a copy and so did Kim’s in the East Village. World of Video is now a hardware store and the immense Kim’s collection ended up in Southern Italy…). Harold Prince wasn’t much of a movie director. Michael York plays a conniving bisexual opportunist footman who fucks anyone and everyone in the household to rise up in the world. Angela Lansbury is the widowed Countess. One wonders how it might have worked if Max Ophuls, George Cukor or Billy Wilder had directed it. The wonderful actors and witty script keep it from sinking.

          • Amazing but only a month ago a friend of mine gave me a copy of “Something for Everyone” on DVD -- to get it he had gone to considerable effort and expense to get it transposed from tape onto DVD. It’s certainly an engaging black little piece- I loved it.

          • danpatter

            I saw Something for Everyone NINE times in one week. I was bonkers for the movie. Absolutely adored it! I do have a DVD release, but it’s certainly pirated.

            As for these operatic DVD releases, none of them really interest me much. Normally, I’m a sucker for ARABELLA, but this one is not going to be one I’m dying to see. Oh, well.

          • PushedUpMezzo

            Nothing odd about his prettiness! Must have helped his chances in the Cabaret auditions (though I heard they originally wanted a “Michael York type”).
            Angela’s still on the ascent, Gawd luv’er.
            Wonder if the team could have turned this into a Bavarian Little Night Music. Maybe somebody still can.
            Think there may be a trailer on Youtube.

    • My dear Camille, you do not know La Cieca well if you think she could ever be in the background.

      • Camille

        HAHA!!! I was just pulling your FOOT, old Gal!

        I wish Max Ophuls would have had a chance with this material, come to think of it!

        • WindyCityOperaman

          The entire movie is on You Tube.

          BTW, wasn’t Something for Everyone supposed to be an English-language refiguration of Pasolini’s far darker and alarmingly (for its time) sacreligious Teorema?

          • Camille

            Hey, thanks a lot, Windy!A

            Last night I went looking for this as it was so intriguing, but only found a trailer.

            Looks like a boatload of fun! As I am a recent convert to Lansbury, I look forward to viewing it.

            Michael York made a guest appearance on the series “Law and Order”, which is in repeats, in which he played a really nasty con man. In the (obligatory) confession scene at the end, he rhapsodized about his “beautiful youth”!!. Kind of hard to imagine from the TV show, but in this movie, well, I kinda get the idea now.

            so Thankya, WC!

          • PushedUpMezzo

            Thank you all for finding this little treasure. Only seen a bit so far, but already love it -- especially first scene with be-turbaned A L on sunlounger and two gorgeous hounds. The provincial production of Tristan und Isolde is also rather wonderful.
            Reminds me slightly of Visconti The Damned (lite).

  • louannd

    Continuing with “something for everyone” Warlikowski’s production of Lulu will be available online for three weeks from LaMonnaie beginning November 8th.

  • Henry Holland

    A blast from the past is Die Tote Stadt in a classic 1983 performance of Götz Friedrich’s celebrated production, recorded live at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin

    This could have been the definitive DTS, but James King, who has the right voice for Paul, doesn’t bother with the words at all, something I noticed the one time I heard him live (at the Met as Captain Vere). Plus, the very ending is so regie, in the bad way.

  • Dolciamente Pipo

    Goody gumdrops. I can’t wait! These La Monnaie broadcasts (along with Bayreuth, Glyndebourne, etc) are the most extraordinary boon of the internet age…for those of us who are curious about what’s going on in the big wide world but are regrettably budget-challenged.

  • Hi Henry, I’m sorry you didn’t like the ending of DTS but given the normally ambiguous ending anyway I thought it fitted very well. I’ve got several versions of DTS on DVD but this one is my favourite because the final scene vocally is incredible with James King giving a spinetingling performance. To each his own I guess- but I think this version- particularly because it is otherwise traditional is well worth seeing.

  • Entirely Off-topic but had a rather amusing experience today. I went to an opera website that claims to be written in the style of Andrew Porter. I added a comment suggesting that placing a certain tall handsome American tenor in the same class as Franco Corelli was perhaps at best “puffery”. Fairly the comments (and I must add none of the entries seemed to have comments????) were moderated. My comment did not appear and I received the following e-mail:
    Subject: Writing to XXX

    Please don’t. I intensely dislike arrogant nobodies.

    I didn’t know if I should be offended, be amused or simply go up and slap the “critic” the next time they appear at the NAC here in Ottawa in their Venetian mask.

    • Camille


      Please do us all a big favour and SLAP his masque off.

      Thank you!

      I hope your adjustment, post-Roma, is continuing on an even keel.

      • Dear Camille

        You know I think I’ll take your advise. LOL -- should cause a bit of excitement in Southam Hall.

        And thank you so much for asking. I still miss Roma and the wonderful opportunities it gave me but I have to keep in mind that I had 4 wonderful years. And Ottawa is in its own way a good place to be for many things -- sadly opera isn’t one of them.

  • Constantine A. Papas

    Do we really need another red-dressed Violetta? And a miked one?

    • louannd

      This costume designer should never work again.

      • ianw2

        It helped her stand out on what was essentially a platform floating on a dark harbour at night.

        Of course that doesn’t excuse the pretty tired production overall. I can’t wait to see how they squeeze fireworks into Carmen next year (I’m assuming Act IV? Place your bets!).

        • PushedUpMezzo

          It’ll be a full scale Mediterranean fiesta with Madonnas on carts, town bands and fire crackers (think Saints’ Days in Malta). The public will love it and you’ll hardly notice the music.
          The Traviata was pretty diabolical, especially the tired Jonathan Summers, the tired tenor and the tiresome Spanish drag queens. And as for the chandelier on a crane! Emma Matthews deserved better than this.

  • Satisfied

    Herheim??? Konwitschny??? AND Tcherniakov???

    My Christmas wishlist just got started!

  • Buster

    I love Donald Grobe on the Sonja Schöner Martha. He sounds more masculine than Peter Anders, and much more involved than Gedda. Only Wunderlich is a better Lyonel. Most of his career was in Germany, not? Wonder why.

  • phoenix

    Some of the ‘Tutto Verdi’ DVD series performances I do recollect from the original broadcasts -- and some I do not.
    -- If I remember correctly, the Due Foscari (advertised above) with Tatjana Serjan as Lucrezia & Renzetti conducting was good -- although he is in practically every recording I have of Foscari, Bruson owned the role of the old Doge for decades and well did he deserved it!
    -- I don’t remember the Oberto in this same ‘Tutto Verdi’ series (Parodi (Oberto), Pentcheva (Cuniza), Sartori (Riccardo), Sassu (Leonora), Allemandi conducting -- Parma -- circa 2003?). Does anybody recollect it?

  • Orlando Furioso

    The Meistersinger is not yet released (or advertised, as far as I can tell) in the US, right?

    Also of interest in Something for Everyone: the actress playing the crucial role of the daughter, Jane Carr. She had been one of the “Jean Brodie girls” shortly before, and then she rather dropped out of sight for American viewers until she turned up as the therapy group leader on the sitcom Dear John (“Were there any… sexual problems?”) for four seasons. And now she’s doing the sprightly-old-British-lady thing, on one of the Ellen DeGeneres JCP ads, and as a nanny on this week’s How I Met Your Mother. How time passes.

    • phoenix

      The Glyndebourne Meistersinger DVD from summer before last is scheduled for release in USA 30 October 2012.

      • Orlando Furioso

        So it is. Thanks! Interesting how an Amazon search for “meistersinger glyndebourne” gets 4 hits, none of them this. (And “meistersinger finley” hits only his aria CD.) And Opus Arte’s own website is down for remodeling. But there it is, way down on the Meistersinger search page. Now pre-ordered.

  • honorary virgin

    Let’s add this to the October DVD release mix: Arthaus has Ligeti’s “Le Grand Macabre” as performed (in English!) at the Grand Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona in a well-traveled staging by La Fura dels Baus (which clearly thought it needed an extra helping of weirdness; the stage is dominated by the figure of a huge, naked woman, whom we see choking on a snack in a preliminary film clip).

  • Marita Solberg as MIMI? For REAL? Huh. Well, well.

    Got the Meistersinger and wrote about it already roughly three weeks ago (I think). Got the LePage Ring and more on this anon. It kinda makes sense as an HD extravaganza, it actually looks good on HD TV but there’s no soul. The production is completely, utterly traditional. I wasn’t offended.