Cher Public

Balance of tiara

Gather around, cher public (pictured), to discuss off-topic and general interest subjects in this weeks’ Intermission Feature.

  • Baltsamic Vinaigrette

    Another Tuesday, another arts funding article in the Guardian…

    … only this one ties in with the Tories (i.e. the larger half of the ruling coalition, currently overseeing cuts to arts funding) and Wagner.


  • And another review on Superconductor of David Alden’s Ballo in Maschera which somehow reminded me of Bobby Ewing getting “shot” on Dallas.

    • marshiemarkII

      Caro Superconductor, the Big Act II Scena is Ecco l’orrido CAMPO.

    • Camille

      It’s “Saper vorreste“.
      Not Sapper voreste.

      Interesting, the bits about The Seventh Seal and Bergman.

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

        super vorreste!

        • Camille

          QPFster! A couple things:

          Last night I uncovered my score to L’Orfeo, shamefully hidden amongst some old clothes catalogues. Some time I spent musing upon my favorite part, La Messaggiera and the corollary which succeeds it, the brilliant “Ahi, caso acerbo” of the Pastorals. magine my bella sorpresa when I found you had posted the entire Harnoncourt version. So thanks a bunch as I have bookmarked it and now have GotIt!

          Also, in re R. Strauss, is it the case that the Boosey & Hawkes copyrights have now expired and that is why Scott is free to print the Straiss AND is it both the partitur and the vocal/piano edition. This is very exciting news, indeed!

          Thank you so much and for all you do all the time.

          • Camille


            Have to clean up.

        • I prefer that restaurant that offers the flavor of the woods, Sapor Foreste.

          • Camille

            Sapori d’Ischia is apparently now out of business?

            Does anyone know what became of their plans to re-locate from Woodside to Manhattan, somewhere in the Broadway theatre district? Seriously?
            ‘Tis a pity.

          • Batty Masetto

            I prefer these sappers, though they look less foresty than sandy…


          • Camille

            Batty boo-boo chile! Tales feom Boccaccio!

            Did you hear about the truffle hunting Piedmont Italian village that discovered the largest truffe on record—worth thousands-—and gave it to Obama as a re-election gift?!!!!!?!?!?

            What a turkey!

  • Baritenor

    I am currently involved with a production of Isouard’s Cendrillon, which is a pretty obscure French Opera. I can’t seem to find a performance history for it. Richard Bonynge did a concert of it, of which a recording was made, but that’s the only concrete performance of it I’ve found. My company wants to promote it as a US Premier if this is indeed the case. Does anyone know where such information can be found, or if anyone’s heard of a performance of this opera in the States?

  • Gualtier M

    I got into this morning’s dress rehearsal of “La Clemenza di Tito” which will open this coming Friday the 16th. It was definitely a rehearsal with some major problems and some fixing to do. Those things will be fixed and when they are this will be a distinguished revival.

    First of all, Barbara Frittoli was sick and did not sing (or didn’t sing until the final ensemble). She talked the recitatives and cover Olga Makarina sang the sung portions from stage left while Frittoli mimed onstage. Frittoli’s mime was extremely effective and diva-esque. Lots of sweeping arms and expressive hands -- major diva attitude. If she can sing it as fiercely as she can mime it she will be fabulous. Her speaking of the recits showed that her handling of the Italian text is imaginative and temperamental. Renata Scotto in the premiere of this production showed how effective native Italians can be in Mozart operas. In the last scene, Frittoli actually did sing a bit but I won’t judge her contribution there. Makarina has a light, high-placed Servilia voice -- much of the role dipped below her comfort zone. Her voice sounded inappropriately girlish -- but hey, she is covering the role and she did know the music.

    Elina Garanca, as I guessed is a superb Mozartean. The Met has cast her in Rossini roles and Carmen which require a bit more pepper and spice in the sound and delivery. It is a lighter, silvery sound than what I am used to. I kept hearing the darker, more heroic sounds of Tatiana Troyanos as Sesto. But the instrumental quality of Garanca’s singing and the cool polished marble timbre are perfect for Mozart. She looks handsome in male attire and acted well.

    Giuseppe Filianoti was struggling in the first half. I had heard he sang very well at the Tucker Gala on Sunday so I was surprised. The tone was thick and would become strained on upward intervals. In the recitatives his elegant Italian and expressive delivery were effective. But when he had to sing the tone would not gain focus as it ascended in pitch and it remained in the throat. He cracked on a high note in his first big aria. In Act II he successfully got the tone in focus and got some legato flow. It worked better but there were several stiff ungainly sounds in the upper range. He is not out of the woods yet and not the tenor I heard in “Lucia” years ago with Elizabeth Futral. He looks like a million bucks onstage and is a very intense and beautiful stage figure. He has natural distinction and presence. Hopefully it was early in the morning and his voice and body were just not warmed up.

    Kate Lindsey’s Annio was as fine as one would expect from her wonderful Cherubino. A lovely singer. Oren Gradus was a solid Publio.

    In the department of “Fucking Brits we Love” (Nerva Nelli and the Vicar can argue over this), Lucy Crowe had a very successful outing as Servilia. Her debut should be successful if she keeps it up this Friday. The tone is clear, round and warm with some body to it. Lovely legato and finished phrasing. She should be singing Susanna in the “Nozze” in place of the dreadful Mojca Erdmann. Her tone has a roundness and warmth that erased memories of the breathy, tiny-voiced wispy Heidi Grant Murphy who seems to be retired now.

    Fucking Brit maestro Harry Bicket was an excellent conductor taking over what was a Levine specialty.

    The Ponnelle production is still in great shape, handsome, intelligent and free of some of the late director’s self-indulgent excesses. They kept fiddling with the lighting, Garanca tripped on some stairs and a stagehand came out and moved a marble ruin a few inches to the right. I think with an audience and performance adrenaline this should be good. This showed great distinction in parts but hadn’t come together yet. Frittoli needs to recover from her indisposition and I am praying for Filianoti -- he is a singer I want to do well and recover his best form.

    • Camille

      Thank you so much for your careful report, Gualtiero. I will be adding my prayers to yours as I want him to do well.

      Let’s stage a palace coup and get Lucy Crowe in there as Susanna. Mojca might be up to the Barbarina.

      La Frittoli has always been so expressive in the way you described—
      See her Trovatore with povero Licitra).
      I hope she will recover for I like her a lot and am joping for her success

      All in all, one of three works I want to see this season. Here’s hoping for the best and praying for that darling man, Signor Filianoti.

    • Porgy Amor

      Crowe is a Brit I do love, unironically. No one could steal DIDO AND AENEAS from Sarah Connolly, but she came closer than any Belinda has a right to. Even when she didn’t have anything to sing, she was so expressive, so “in it.”

      • Regina delle fate

        She also did something similar as Poppea to Connolly’s Agrippina for ENO -- yet she’s hardly appeared at ENO since then. Strange.

    • Regina delle fate

      “The dreadful Mojca Erdman” seems to be getting some great reviews over here for her Zerlina in the new DG Don Giovanni. I suppose what works with a microphone shoved down your throat does not necessarily work at the Met. I’ve not heard the Don Giovanni yet, but a friend loaned me ME’s DG recital of Mozart & Friends and I found that a bit of a trial. Not much colour and bloom on the voice. She takes a good cover photo, though.

      • Nerva Nelli

        Lucy Crowe was terrific in the Chicago HERCULES- terrific. She is most welcome at the Met, as, it should go without saying, is Bicket, who succeeds with the orchestra where Pinnock (don’t get me started) Christie (a fucking Yank) fell flat on their faces.

        Mojca is pretty bad on that DG DG, in my view.

        But many reviewers the word overpraise whatever The New Flavo(u)r is to keep their comps rolling in. And some straight-boy reviewers may fancy Mojca’s pic the way some gay reviewers give free passes to voice-challenged hunks.

  • zinka

    Even in CONCERT, the sensational Leonie, born Nov.14, 1926, manages one of her famous GESCHEIS!!!One of the most unforgettable,if flawed at times, artists EVER!! How we miss her!!!!!!!!

    • zinka


      By the way, the stage crew never got overtime..because they did not have to clean the stage..She took care of it by rolling around in the dust!!!!!

    • messa di voce

      Even in concert, Leonie conveys all the complex emotions of a woman looking at the biggest schlong she’s ever seen in her life.

  • zinka

    Dig those glottal attacks and the over-all WILDNESS of this sensational lady!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Regina delle fate

      Where is this from? The Met or San Francisco?

      • Quanto Painy Fakor


    • marshiemarkII

      Regina, this is from the Met 1985 when Leonie was convalescing from hepatitis, hence the off pitch singing, and generally not quite up to the Leonie standard. The San Francisco is from 1982, first role assumption, and immediately the greatest Ortrud ever!!!! it’s a sensational performance, and stevey was kind enough to post it here, in total (it was a full stereo broadcast) a while back, audio only as I believe it was never telecast (oh to have that!).

      • Vergin Vezzosa

        Oh Marshie II, what memories you have stirred from my opera quasi-childhood. Those gorgeous Montressor sets, the dignity of the staging, the angelic Lorengar, the strong P.Hoffman, and of course the mesmerizing and still vocally resplendent Leonie made those SF Lohengrins the standard by which I judge all Lohengrins. In 30 years, that standard had never been equalled for me.

      • marshiemarkII

        Fully agreed Beata Vergine, memories of my youth too. Like I have said a million times, you heard that once and you knew it could never be equaled. Of course she could have been fabulous at the Met, and telecast!!!! but we knew something was wrong, and she herself told me in Buenos Aires many years later about the hepatitis. Anyway, stevey put it up a while back here, and it was a dream come true, as I had worn the cassette tapes to dust from playing them so much in the 80s. I wonder if the San Fran opera would issue their own tapes, sans FM noise, in a deluxe packaging some day…..

  • Albiani

    CBS News interview of Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Met

    It’s productions like the LePage Ring that keep the Met alive and me a donating member. The Met is putting on 7 new productions this year, 16 repertory productions, 3 Ring cycles, and a holiday opera, of which most are the old standbys. But we have “The Tempest” (which I will see tomorrow) which is another LePage production, and other innovations among the new productions, to keep things from going stale. Gelb is certainly keeping the Met out there as one of the best opera companies in the world.

    I split my time between US and UK (I work in US and wife in UK) and so I go to productions here and those in Covent Garden, and I definitely find the Met fully competitive with European opera companies. As a member of the Met for 19 years, I have no complaints with either it or Gelb.

    I want to contrast my positive perception of Gelb and the Met with my negative perception of the Washington National Opera (WNO). I was a long-time season ticket-holding member of the WNO, but it steadily declined under Domingo until I could no longer stand to subsidise them. I think the bankruptcy was the best thing that happened to them and am looking for WNO to get some new life now, and perhaps dig their way out of being a 2nd/3rd rate opera company. I’ve gone to two productions this season as a non-member now--Anna Bolena and Don Giovanni, and felt one was ok and the second was good. But there, you had a case of an excellent performer (Domingo) who obviously couldn’t manage an opera company worth a darn, unlike (in my book), Gelb.

    I attend operas so I can clearly see with my own eyes how the audience is graying over time. If opera is to survive, we need more General Managers like Peter Gelb in our opera houses.

  • DharmaBray

    12 months to go and Opera Australia’s 2013 Ring is hitting a shaky patch. The advertised Siegfried (Gary Lehman) and Wotan (Juha Uusitalo) have been replaced by Stefan Vinke (of the sequoia acting school) and by accounts the very good Wotan of Terje Stensvold. OK, this happens. But news appeared on blogs and Twitter and on the OA Ring website, before us audience members (who have spent thousands on tickets) were notified (I am still waiting) combined with the continuing ticketing shamozzle (yes they were overrun with orders, but having to chase refunds when tickets offered were less value than ordered or in the case of a friend, after acknowledging an order for 2 seats, being told he had one) does not inspire confidence.

  • zinka

    To all you youngsters who never heard of the La Puma Opera Co….Oh..why can’t the Met be so much fun…..This is before they invented DEPENDS…so we had to hold it in..or else do a Zinka pppppp.

  • Signor Bruschino

    In Zachary Woolfe’s Ballo review in the observer he mentions that Martin Kusej is reportedly directing at the MET in upcoming seasons.. Anyone have any idea what he is directing? loved his Rusalka on video

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Born on this day in 1774 composer Gaspare Spontini

    Born on this day in 1900 composer Aaron Copland

    Born on this day in 1914 librettist Eric Crozier

    Born on this day in 1918 mezzo-soprano Jean Madeira

    Born on this day in 1919 soprano Lisa Otto
    (Does anyone know if she is still alive? If so, she is 93 today!)

    Born on this day in 1926 soprano Leonie Rysanek

    Happy 65th birthday baritone Jake Gardner

  • Bianca Castafiore

    For the person asking about the Tucker gala, here’s a review that mentions some of the numbers performed. Too bad the program pic that was posted before was impossible to read:

    I’m so curious about the duet with Borodina and Dima. I wish I had been there.

  • zinka

    HI all,

    I made a mistake in my reference to “individuality.”When I said, “See under Scotto,Tebaldi,etc,’ I meant that THEY are the ones who showed individuality compared to so many divas of today…LORD!!! They were SUPREME BEINGS to me..and others. My use of “see under” was meant as a direct CONTRAST..but I did sound rather strange.

    By the way,so many singers on old records seem to sound similar in a Alda,Farrar,Gluck..but LIVE they must have been as distinguishable as Milanov,Scotto,Callas.

    Love CH

    P.S.Just a note to mention that dear Marisa Galvany’s wonderful husband, Geiorge Kornbluth, passed away at 94 last week. We go back a long time…..and as much as she loved singing…she loved George as an inspiration…Rest in Peace..He was a wonderful man.

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Born on this day in 1874 soprano Selma Kurz

    Happy 77th birthday condcutor Gabriele Ferro

    Happy 70th birthday conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim

    • The_Kid

      Selma Kurz….yay! trills!

  • marshiemarkII

    The Cosi fan Tutte at Juilliard last night was a stunning success for everyone, but the ladies were simply outstanding. Emalie Savoy was just sensational, everything was working for her, a magnificent clarion top, incredible chest, flexibility, floated tops, gorgeous phrasing, and the stunning Per Pieta simply brought the house down. The fabulous Wallis Giunta was as expected also sensational, what a beautiful rich and homogeneous voice, and both girls just marvelous actresses and perfect with each other. A stunning pair!!!!. The Despina, Naomi O’Connell, was also a magnificent standout, a great voice, extremely well produced and rich, and a fantastic actress, the most organic actress with the music, a fabulous discovery as I had never heard of her, she is a Juilliard student, not related to the Lindemann, but what a discovery! Of the men, Evan Hughes was spectacular as the cynical Don Alfonso, a fabulous booming voice, and what a clever and sophisticated actor, a major talent that will certainly go very far. The production very beautiful though a tad cluttered in the big seduction scene, but with some arresting images of fickle and confused love.

    Any Mozart lover should run to see this gorgeous production, in a theater that must be the ideal size for this treasure of an opera. The more I listen to it the more I hear where Beethoven got the inspiration for the greatest Fidelio, and at the moment think that Cosi is definitely the greatest of the Da Ponte trio, certainly the most sublime music!!!!!

  • MontyNostry

    Seen on Twitter

    In Tune BBC Radio 3?@BBCInTune

    Superstar mezzo Cecilia Bartoli is on IT tomorrow – tweet
    any questions you’d like us to ask her.

    How about: Is that bald pate your own?

    • Camille

      NO, it’s a wig!!!

  • zinka

    La Cieca’s Italian diction coach!!!!!!

  • zinka

    Celebrating Lawrence Tibbett’s birthday(Nov.16, 1896) with what I deem as the greatest Met broadcast ever….Listen to the declamations…and what a cast (On my third birthday)…The man was a superman!!!!

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Born on this day in 1895 composer Paul Hindemith

    Born on this day in 1896 baritone Lawrence Tibbett

    Happy 82nd birthday soprano Maralin Niska

    Happy 58th birthday conductor Donald Runnicles

  • Follow the links to my review of last night’s opening night of La Clemenza di Tito at the Metropolitan Opera. For once, an opera about political assassination with a production that makes some kind of sense. On both Superconductor and The Classical Review.

    • Odd that you’d call the tessitura of Tito and Vitellia high-lying when I think it’s the exact opposite. Vitellia is almost a mezzo role except for the number of high notes she has to hit. But the overall tessitura is quite low which is why it is so difficult to cast. And I consider Tito to be in the same mold as Idomeneo in terms of tessitura.