Cher Public

To tell the truth

Four of La Cieca’s favorite people, Diana Soviero, Ira Siff, Robert Lombardo and Ken Benson, assemble on November 9 at the impressively named “Metropolitan Opera Guild Learning Center” to trade their views on the subject of verismo opera. It’s a panel discussion sponsored by the Marcello Giordani Foundation, and there’s more information on tickets and times here.

  • Clita del Toro

    I wish that Giordani would spend more time on his “foundation” and less on the Met stage.

    • zinka

      Why do people dislike this great tenor?I guess we all hear diffently….

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Love the photo of Bob Lombardo as Maurizio. He’s quite good speaking about things like this.

  • Camille

    Which one of these characters is Ira Siff, then?

    • He’s Giulietta, non?

      • Camille

        How COULD I have forgotten this?

        After the ONLY MAGDA, there is only ONE VERA in VERITÀ!

        • Camille

          Vera is like popcorn, you just can’t stop.

          Vera, I miss you.

  • Amnerees

    Isn’t Olivero holding a hedgehog in her hand? Was this photo taken at Covent Garden?

    • Gualtier M

      Amnerees, “Adriana Lecouvreur” was not heard at Covent Garden for a century before Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufmann did their production there a few years ago. That photo is from the Teatro San Carlo di Napoli in 1959.

      • MontyNostry

        … and it will be interesting to see if that lavish Adriana is ever seen again at the ROH. How many box office divas of today sing the part? Maybe Ange has lined it up as her pension, to be trotted out every now and then in her vocally declining years.

        • manou

          Well -- here are some alternative casts:

          http://tinyurl.com/cq4d3ed

          and as it is a co-production with the Vienna Staatsoper, the Paris Opera, San Francisco Opera as well the Liceu, it seems there is a lot of mileage there yet

  • messa di voce

    Panel, please discuss:

    Should Marcello Giordani be singing verismo opera at the Met?

    • Better verismo than Enee!

    • la vociaccia

      yes. He should be singing the principe di persia, spoletta, and edmondo in Manon lescaut

      • Clita del Toro

        Vociaccia, Giordani should sing the Messenger in Aida-or the Priestess if he is in good voice.

        • He should be a high note pinch hitter. Just stand at the wings and supply “short” tenors with big high notes.

    • Clita del Toro

      NO!

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    • Clita del Toro

      Leonie is great here in Cav ! Love that girl.

      • rysanekfreak

        Yes…She’s great. Thanks for making it available to us.

    • veal seduttore

      I love Leonie as much as the next whatever, but she loved to sing at Vienna pitch -- just a smidge higher than A=440! Pls don’t yell at me -- it’s an observation rather than a criticism.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Nothing like some Schlag on your verismo!

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      Yes, I know that La Gioconda is not a “verismo” opera, but Italy needed this phase of transition to arrive at the verrists.

    • Clita del Toro

      QPF who wouldn’t love a 12-tone Suicidio! Love that Leonie! I miss her.

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

        I think this is different from the commercial release:

        • Quanto Painy Fakor

          Karaoke Verismo

  • Benedetta Funghi-Trifolati

    In this age of nondescript, generic, vanilla sounds and singers what a pleasure to gaze on 4 singers who had instantaneously recognizable and unique timbres/sounds/voices to say nothing of exciting, theatrical B-I-G personalities. And let us also not forget Mario Rossi, the really fine conductor of the famous Naples 1959 ADRIANA. He’s barely remembered today but was no slouch. He’s also very impressive on the Cerquetti/Christoff VESPRI (Torino 1955), among other recordings he left. We also should remember that Tebaldi was originally scheduled for the Naples ADRIANAs. I think she made it as far as the dress but then pulled out — a cold or a temporary “abbassamente della voce” — or something — it escapes me now. Wonderful Olivero was brought in as Tebaldi’s last-minute replacement and I believe had just had some sort of medical operation/procedure and was still stitched up!!!

  • zinka

    These four KNOW what the “old style” is all about…They should run the Met/////with La Cieca and maybe me.

    I fell for Diana in 1977…went bananas and thought Tebldi had been cloned…We are buddies for so long…GO to this event!!!!!!

  • Amnerees

    Gualtier M,
    Thanks for identifying the time and place of the photo. I knew it wasn’t at Covent Garden, but I figured: Where else would Olivero have been holding a hedgehog? Despite her authoritative and committed performances, I always thought there was something rather absurd about her. I only saw Olivero in performance toward the end of her career--four times to be exact, three times in America and once in Italy. I also attended a memorable dinner for her at the Met. She did not have much sense of humor, about herself certainly. This photo captures a moment when someone had said something really funny, but unlike Corelli and Simionato, she appears not to “get it.” It’s a great photo. The guy in the back appears to be dead.

    • Gualtier M

      Well I think that that Simionato (pictured right) looks like she is holding a maribou boa -- Olivero (l) is holding a much smaller maribou edged fan. The guy in the back is the late Ettore Bastianini (in crude old man makeup) who tragically died in his very early forties of throat cancer which he refused to have an operation on since it would permanent silence his golden baritone voice. So we lost him and his voice. Corelli knew of his illness and supported him at the end getting him jobs and giving him loans he knew would never be repaid when Bastianini could no longer support himself singing.

      Magda Olivero never struck me as ridiculous or without humor. She comes from an upper class educated family and conducts herself with a certain reserve and dignity. Magda is also not naturally gregarious and rather shy and her English is minimal. She was a close friend of Mario “Gigi” Rossi who died this past March 1st. Gigi met her at Spoleto when she made her U.S. debut there (as the old Countess in “Pique Dame”) and she visited him at his beauty salon “Gigi’s Beauty Chateau” in Brooklyn in the early 70’s. He had in his apartment a picture of her posing behind the counter in his beauty parlor after he had done her hair. He said he had wonderful times with her. In the photo she is smiling in a friendly way. I don’t know what happened to that photo. I was given a letter that Magda wrote Gigi some years ago (currently she has a secretary handle her correspondence).

  • Amnerees

    Very interesting. Too bad about your photo. I’d love to have seen it. I wonder if her visit to the salon was in preparation for the celebratory dinner at the Met at which I met her. If so, your friend Gigi did a great job. I remember she was wearing a blue sequined dress that must have cost a fortune. Upper class family indeed.