Cher Public

Down for the count

“The battle of the sexes ended in an upset the other night in Le Nozze di Figaro. No, nobody rewrote the libretto of Mozart’s 1786 opera, about a countess and her maid joining forces to teach a randy count a lesson. But the casting of the Met’s revival was so lopsided that the golden-voiced men easily won sympathy over a gaggle of screechy sopranos.” [New York Post]

  • Nerva Nelli

    No mention of the ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY import, the debuting John Graham-Hall as Basilio???

    • Often admonished

      Once you’ve seen his interpretation all others will seem a cyphers. maybe.

      • Often admonished

        *as* cyphers.

        • Nerva Nelli

          Don’t forget that--thanks to Fiend and Billingsgate-- New York has experienced the brilliant work of Robin Leggate (*another* Met debutant in this key role) in 2007.

          • armerjacquino

            I thought you only objected when poor singers were imported? Leggate and Graham-Hall are both excellent in the role.

            But no, now you’re going to say that there are plenty of Americans who could have sung it, and then you’ll pop up satirising the EXACT SAME ATTITUDE in your Vicar guise, and so we will fill our days.

          • Nerva Nelli

            No complaints about Philip Langridge, who was an established Met artist and was indeed excellent as a Met Basilio. Leggate was not-- not here, at any rate, any more than Ryland Davies was an import-worthy Monastatos about the same time. Ann Murray’s Marcellina also made little positive impact in the Met auditorium, though it gets raves still in the UK press.

            I admire Davies on the Solti COSI, and I heard him sing an estimable Belmonte in my student days; Murray had some fine innings here as Sesto, Annio and more. I am sure Graham-Hall was a treat as Albert Herring back in the day.

            It is the notion that the icons of our casting directors’ (relative) youth deserve these nostalgic outings that is objectionable, when 4 times out of 5 the results are inadequate.

  • quoth the maven

    Right on the money. The men were good; the women were gruesome.

    • but who is Marcellina? my favorite character?

      • Camille

        Most revered maestro Wenarto!

        Marcellina was most ably sung by the mezzo-soprano Margaret Lattimore. As she was the best female voice, by a landslide, one wonders why she is not heard more often at the Met. I seem to recall she was in one of those Met young artist programs, and a while ago.

        Don’t let the rain get you down, and keep on singing!

        Fond regards from Camille

  • 98rsd

    At the dress rehearsal, Schaefer sang Voi che sapete gorgeously, but sounded like a 90 year old soprano trotted out at a gala who had retained her artistry. Erdmann at the Met is a total mystery to me. Is it cozy relationships with agents?

    • cuntessa

      erdmann……..rumor…..agent yes but more so the star baritone…..he gives her private hours on lieder, which never crosses over to her opera work, go figure.

  • Gualtier M

    I have a question for those who attended the Saturday November 3rd show -- did Gregory Keller tone down the tacky, vulgar antics of the three ladies? I can’t expect them to sing well but especially Kovalevska was classless as the Contessa.

    • quoth the maven

      No he did not. Schaefer was relatively subdued, but Erdmann was twittered around the stage like a hyperactive kewpie doll. Kovalevska was, if anything, even worse, coarse beyond belief--not an aristocrat but a Brighton Beach sexpot.

  • Fanny Nall

    Re Kovalevska on 11/7: Che disgrazia! This is a horn of a voice but a totally raw vocal production. Forget musical phrasing. She breathes in the middle of words while struggling through her difficult arias with no breath control, mugs and shimmies through parts of the libretto which express the Contessa’s deep sadness, clearly lacking any concept of decency, let alone nobility. Pulchritude trumps artistry in this casting offense? Can this be all that’s coming up through the ranks of “trained” musicians? Not believable, considering the fabulous performances of other cast members. Shame, shame! Hideous! Offensive to the MAX! Her earrings upstaged her….

    • Camille

      Tuned in to the Second Act last night, while driving home.

      In my entire opera-going and listening life—now spanning many decades—I have rarely, if (n)ever, heard anything, anywhere, as woefully and painfully inadequate as the Susanna in question’s “Venite, inginocchiatevi” last night, 7th November. Actually kind of shocking.

      Nerva can NOT protest that woman too much. Perhaps she once was adequate as Zaïde, in a production some time ago, and in another galaxy far, far away, but what she has become now—no way. As Susanna is a very long role and the focus of so much attention, it was deadly. Snapped off radio before the end of the act. Finley was quite good, I must say.

  • Joe Conda

    And then there’s the train wreck at the end of the Act II trio on 11/7… I guess it’s OK for singers to get up on the Met boards without knowing their role.