Cher Public

Why, oh why?

“Alden Drops the Ballo: His Milquetoast Take on Verdi’s Classic Fizzles at the Met” [New York Observer]

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Here is Margit Saad as Coralie Baraqny. (Margit was the first wife of Jean-Pierre Ponnelle and mother of the conductor Pierre-Dominique Ponnelle) in the old biopic about Suppé !

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      Oops -- the first part of the biopic is here:

  • Angelo Saccosta

    Maybe the time has come for really radical approach to opera staging : junk the whole notion of opera as theater and admit that opera is music first, last, and always and that the stories are only skeletons on which to hang the music. Then go out and find some great “park and bark” singers like Pavarotti, Tucker, Nilsson, Milanov, Warren, MacNeil, Tebaldi, and just let them stand and sing. Costumes and minimal staging would be appropriate to the time period of the story. The audience can supply whatever dramatic meaning it wants, based on each person’s own life experiences.
    How’s that for radical regie ?

    • armerjacquino

      “junk the whole notion of opera as theater and admit that opera is music first, last, and always and that the stories are only skeletons on which to hang the music.

      I know someone you’d get on with.

    • oedipe

      Is park-and-bark singing supposed to be “appropriate to the time period of the story”?

    • Indiana Loiterer III

      Costumes and minimal staging would be appropriate to the time period of the story.

      But why bother with costumes and staging if opera is “music first, last, and always”? Why not just have concert performances in evening dress?

      • messa di voce

        Why not just stay at home and listen to “Pavarotti, Tucker, Nilsson, Milanov, Warren, MacNeil, Tebaldi” recordings?

        • Clita del Toro

          Messa, what a good idea!

          • messa di voce

            Isn’t that the inevitable conclusion one would draw from most discussions on Parterre?

        • armerjacquino

          That’s some recording of VIAGGIO A REIMS you’ve got there.

          • Nerva Nelli

            Here I was assuming the reference was to the Pavarotti/Tucker/Nilsson/Milanov/Warren/MacNeil/ Tebaldi KNOT GARDEN, magisterially helmed by Andre Kostelanetz.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Please tell us where the great park and bark singers like Pavarotti, Nilsson and Tebaldi are hiding -- I’ve a feeling we might somehow manage to get them work even without much uptake of your radical regie ideas, if only you’ll tell us where to look.

      • Isn’t it a shame that they are depriving the world of their golden voices because no one will let them just sing? Very selfish of them. I wonder how they’re making ends meet…

        • armerjacquino

          They’re plying their trade in provincial areas with smaller opera houses- places like Des Moines, Palm Beach, and Europe.

          • Someone should tell Peter Gelb. But never mind, he hates singers.

    • la vociaccia

      Sweetheart, what you just described is something known as a concert performance. They’re very comm

    • The_Kid

      I think it is rather rich to suggest that Nilsson, Tebaldi, MacNeil et al. parked-and-barked. Sure, they didn’t turn cartwheels all around the stage, or emit loud hooty noises as part of “acting”. That does not mean that they did a Melba onstage. Here, for instance, is Tebaldi in Butterfly’s hara-kiri scene: in which universe would you call that parking and barking? As for Nilsson, I don’t think she could have afforded to park-and-bark: don’t forget that she shared roles such as Isolde, Verdi’s Lady and Bruenhilde with Varnay, Borkh and Moedl, all of them actors par excellence.

      • Angelo Saccosta

        Girls, Please note the quotation marks around “bark and bark.” They were meant to co-opt that moronic expression and render it the idiocy it is. I know very well what Tebaldi did in Butterfly because I saw her do it in November 1958 at the old house, and I saw Nilsson in everything she did too and MacNeil and Warren and Luciano too over the last 60 years. When dramatic crunch time came, however, all of them just stood there and sang their hearts out, and that’s the way it “oughta” be !! I repeat : opera is a musical art form. Some of you may have been at Carnegie Hall for the OONY Adriana. Anyone who had dry eyes at the end of that performance when Jonas did that staggering diminuendo on the high B, drssed in formal attire, no less!! has a heart of stone. And yes, opera in concert done like that is better than any staged “konzept” performance.

        • armerjacquino

          Ballet’s a ‘musical art form’ too- would you prefer that the dancers just stand there while the orchestra plays the score?

        • oedipe

          Sounds like what you were expecting (and got) from this OONY Adriana was a Kaufmann recital, not an opera performance.

    • Batty Masetto

      Yeah, that Nilsson was sure some park-n-bark singer. Like the flying tackle she took after Chrysothemis in the Elektra” I saw her in in Munich. Or when she similarly launched herself in mid-high-C in Tosca and landed, still holding the note, without a waver. Or when she put on that famous miner’s helmet for Karajan’s Walküre because she was irritated nobody could see what she was doing in his dismal lighting.

      Yep, just park ol’ Birgit somewhere and let her make noises like on the recording, that would have made her really happy.

    • Batty Masetto

      I am not convinced that a quotation mark means what you think it means.

      Or for that matter, that opera does, either.

    • grimoaldo

      I thought this post was a joke, ironically saying “let’s go back to the Met of fifty years ago with screechy sopranos and gulpy bawling tenors standing stock still in silly costumes in front of cardboard sets” but I guess I was wrong.
      Pavarotti and Nilsson were fab, Warren sounds great on those old records,the rest of those named do not push my buttons at all.

    • kennedet

      That is radical!! The great achievement of opera is that it combines all of the performing arts. I agree that the music holds more prominence but I wouldn’t junk the the importance of what is supposed to make opera a complete artisitc experience. I think they should find stage directors that are musical,qualified and experienced instead of just movie directors with reputations. There must be opera stage directors who have done and can do a credible job of presenting a true depiction of the characters and respect the composer and librettist.They have the resources. Find Them!!!

      Unfortunately, sometimes too much emphasis is put on “putting butts in seats” in order to survive. Therefore you get insane updating,titillation and whatever is fashionable among popular culture today to explain the story. Well, opera is indestructable and will survive all of this insanity. It always has.

      • Angelo Saccosta

        Well said, Kennedet. If the stage directors knew music, they would not commit the atrocities they do. Ditto for general managers !
        And yes, opera will survive it all.

  • DonCarloFanatic

    We can still boo the “production”--the gown and jewelry choices.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    I wish we could go back. I just listened to a rare inhouse recording from Chicago 1964 -- Carmen with Bumbry, Corelli and Massard conducted by the wonderful Dervaux. Such fantastic energy, the likes of which one rarely encounters in performances today. The audience was in a frenzy of applause and shouting louder than the loudest measures in the score. I wish La Cieca could put it online for everyone here.