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He, Avgust! Bringt mir unser Sänger her!

Avgust Amonov will make his Met debut in the title role of tomorrow evening’s performance of Verdi’s Otello, replacing Johan Botha, who is ill.


  • Harold says:

    Since Antonenko is singing the new production of Otello at the Met, it might not be in the Met’s best interest to have him jump in, unrehearsed, into the old production.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    I was watching the new commercial about neti pots and remembering the famous Dr. Grabscheid, who used to care for all the leading artists at the MET. He had two glass globules that he had the patient hold while he forced liquid into one nostril and out the other. I had an appointment there once, and in the waiting room was Tatiana Troyanos and several other well-known singers.

    His remedies worked miracles for many congested artists.

    • bluecabochon says:

      Dr. Eugen Grabscheid! QPF, I went to see him too, as I often had bronchitis as a teenager. My Dad was a teacher of music to singers and sent his students there and I also I saw Troyanos Philip Booth from the Met. In fact I had to wait quite a bit once when Ms. Troyanos showed up at the last minuten just before my appointment time.

      He had a huge apothecary’s jar of antibiotics in his cabinet and for years I never had to go to the pharmacy across the street until the very end of his practice. Do you remember how he would walk around like Dr. Phibes with that thing on his head, belly first? What a character…and the dogs! How did he get away with that, I wonder. I remember stepping over them as they slept on the floor in the waiting room.

      He had some contraption that I woud sit under, like a hair dryer in a salon, when I had swollen glands. I sure hope that whatever that thing was didn’t contribute to thyroid problems I had later on. I was too young to question what the hell that thing was. Thank God I never needed the neti pot, but he was THE doctor for singers and daughters of other Maestri, back in the day.

      He was famously Viennese and had a lovely collection of Bohemian glass, which he left to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A few pieces were still there that last time I looked, in front of the Petrie Court Cafe and Wine Bar, in European Decorative Arts.

    • Camille says:

      Ye gods! I’m glad that thing lies safely at the bottom of a pile of junk and safely unwrapped! What a terrible way to die.

      Grabschied Institute ain’t what it used to be, either.

  • Camille says:


    I heard the wonderful Tristan und Isolde from Salle Pleyel thanks to your notice, for which I am so grateful!!!!!

    Wonderful Nina!

    • oedipe says:

      You are welcome, Camille!

      Just back from Pleyel. Stemme was fabulous, in amazing vocal shape. Now, if you could find a Tristan of the same caliber, we would be in business for staging T&I! Poor Christian Franz was the first spoken (or shouted) Tristan I’ve ever encountered. Peter Rose was excellent too, I thought. And Mikko Franck conducted much better than when I heard him in Tosca.

      • Camille says:

        Oh you were there, I was hoping so!

        The conducting I liked quite a lot. The Franz ‘Mark and Bark’ got a little wearying at times but he did get his high pitches accurately. I was a very happy old lady and long may Nina carry on!! Only if there was a tad bit more colour and shading in the voice but overall, a wonderful sing. Also, very impressed with Connolly’s Brangaene. Lovely singing by she whom I last heard as Bellini’s Romeo! Peter Rose is alwYs reliable but I always prefer a slight more basso timbre as Marke.

        What an enthusiastic audience and what a wonderful transmission all the way over the pond. I could expire happily if such a T & I would come to Carnegie Hall!!

        Thank you so much once again as I so dearly love this work, even if not une vraie wagnerienne.

        Enfin! Assez!

      • Walter von Holzhaufen says:

        I heard Franz sing the two Ring Siegfrieds earlier this year, and even allowing for the great difficulty of the role, I found his singing very, very disappointing. How does he continue to get these important bookings? Is there no one else available?

        • kashania says:

          His Siegfried was very good several years ago (2005-06). And he actually *sang* the music (not much barking). But even back then, a wobble was clearly evident in the upper mid-register. I got the sense that the voice on its way down.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            kashy, isn’t about that time he sang those Siegfrieds at the Met? The year Brewer was fired and they had to bring in three sopranos to fill in those shoes (Watson, deVol and Theorin)? I saw one of the Siegfrieds with Theorin. Totally undistinguished effort, all I could say to people at the time was, “well, he got through it.”

          • kashania says:

            Bianca, the Met gig came a couple of years after when I saw him in the Toronto Ring (first in the one-offs in 2005 and then the complete cycles in 2006). Both Franz and Bullock (the Toronto Brünnhilde) were at the end of their prime. As an audience member, I had the sense that I was getting the last of the best they had to offer. I think the much smaller hall in Toronto probably helped as well. Bullock especially was never suited to sing a role like Elektra at the Met. Even in Toronto, she was at her very limit with the role (though I found her riveting).

  • annv says:

    Just back from Othello. Ammosov was unimpressive. He sounded a little flat at the low notes. Worst of all -- does not have much of stage presence. Big flaw for Othello.

  • I guess Antonenko was unavailable

    At least he can sing

    • MontyNostry says:

      I know Westbroek is a fine singer in many ways, and she is a sympathetic actress, but I do wish the voice itself were more interesting and bit less blowsy-sounding.

      • She has Top Problems now. Too many Chrysothemises? Yes I can hear issues with the voice, but her switch between Italian / German reps is VERY convincing and here the sound has almost a Tebaldi-like spinto warmthness, regardless of the question whether it is top drawer or not.

        • MontyNostry says:

          I’m afraid I find the voice lacks definition and I felt that when I saw the Tabarro in the theatre too. She is a game gal, and we should consider ourselves lucky to have someone who can sing this kind of role decently, but it would be nice to hear a voice that quickened the heart!

          • oedipe says:

            I am with you, Monty. I did not see Il Tabarro, but Westbroek’s Didon almost brought tears to my eyes: not of emotion, but of boredom.

          • Hugo Santos says:

            The last time I heard her (Sieglinde), her top notes didn’t open up as I was expecting them to. Nevertheless, hers is a quality instrument.

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            Agreed Oedipe, that Didon was very dull. Her scenes were particularly unimaginatively staged and blocked though, which aggravated the problem.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            I think Westbroek’s latest Sieglindes at the Met were quite good. I don’t find her voice so undistinguished as you do.

        • Cocky Kurwenal says:

          Too much work full stop, I think. I agree with your Tebaldi comparison in terms of the warmth in the middle especially and the characteristics of the voice, although it doesn’t have the same sheer individuality or level intrinsic beauty.

      • kashania says:

        I’m with you Monty. It’s an important voice, especially considering the scarcity of spinto voices these days, but it isn’t as interesting an instrument as one would like. Her Sieglinde was good but she never reached the level of special. The singing lacks personality.