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Working “Tito”

“After an uneven start to the season, the Met brought its A game Friday to a superb revival of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito.” [New York Post]


  • 1

    I am really exited about this. I was not holding high hopes for this revival and I am glad to hear my fears were misplaced. Tito is one of my favorite operas. JJ does not mention whether the recits have been extensively cut, but I imagine there has been plenty of those (pity, really as they are wonderful)

    I can not wait until the 1st.

    • 1.1
      RosinaLeckermaul says:

      I am going tonight and really looking forward to it.
      Saw BALLO last night. Vocally excellent, but I am sorry to say that I found Luisi’s conducting speedy, efficient and heartless. Mixed feelings about the production.

    • 1.2
      Gualtier M says:

      Yes the recits are heavily cut -- the usual excuse is that they were done not by Mozart but by his assitant Sussmayr and ergo are total shit.

  • 2
    Orlando Furioso says:

    Those are D’s (above high C) in the first-act trio — unless Frittoli ducked the B’s as well, which I tend to doubt until confirmed. I can forgive a Vitellia rewriting those arpeggios, as they verge on the unreasonable in what is otherwise the alto-est part Mozart ever wrote. But I would tend to be happiest about the practice if we thereby gain some real alto sound for her big aria (which sits so low), and that doesn’t seem to be the case here. It’s a tough role to cast, always has been.

    • 2.1
      imelda says:

      There is only one high D in the trio.. there are repeated G’s. topped off by high B’s, but only one D in the last arpeggio.

      • 2.1.1

        The D is not that difficult because it’s supposed to be ‘touched’ in the context of the arpeggio. The Gs are much more difficult, as is the bottom G in “Non piu di fiori”, that’s the real devil note.

          imelda says:

          Madame CerquettiFarrell,

          I agree with you completly about those G’s in the trio. A pity they are so unforgiving? They make the concept of “touching” that D quite difficult. Am loving the description of the low G as the “devil” note.

      • 2.1.2
        WindyCityOperaman says:

        BTW, on the Colin Davis recording, Dame Janet leaves them out completely.

          MontyNostry says:

          For my money, Dame J could leave out most of the notes. Did she manage to capture the seductive side of Vitellia? I find that hard to imagine, though she was probably quite good at the nagging.

          • armerjacquino says:

            Baker’s Vitellia is, as you might predict, committed but stodgy. And no, seductive is not the word.

          • MontyNostry says:

            I always think it was a very odd part for her to take on in the first place -- it’s a question, as they say, of colour and tessitura.

          • I have heard the Davis recording that many years ago and I remember terrible pitch issues from both Baker and Minton.

          • MontyNostry says:

            At least Minton had a pretty voice, but I remember a rather excruciating finale to Rosenkavalier around 1980, with her and Yvonne Kenny struggling a bit in the final phrase.

          • Pitch that against her Solti 1969 Oktavian -- that was sheer perfection, easily the best on disc (she studied the role with Alfred Jaerger). But then mid-70s something went wrong.

          • Krunoslav says:

            ” her Solti 1969 Oktavian – that was sheer perfection, easily the best on disc”

            Um--and Sena Jurinac for Kleiber pere????

            Funny, I remember Minton as having been good in that Davis CLEMENZA, if lacking the flash in “Parto, parto” of a Berganza. Dame Janet’s acid-toned Vitellia does sound like a feisty harridan rather than a femme fatale.

          • Jurinac for pere indeed runs her very very close but there’s that extra freshness and comic timing in Minton’s performance.

          • armerjacquino says:

            Taste is a funny thing. Once again, CF, for people who so often agree, we hear the same thing two different ways. Minton is probably my least favourite studio Octavian…

          • Krunoslav says:

            Armer, what about the disastrous pre-Dame Gwyneth, *eine Katastrophe* for Bernstein? To me Minton is far preferable to her.

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            I’ll probably regret asking this but what is so disastrous about Dame Gwyneth’s Octavian for Bernstein? I’m the first to admit that I listen to her so much that I’m fairly de-sensitised to her idiosyncrasies. I realise she isn’t in the most stable voice on that recording -- the vibrato is too wide for many I suppose, and the top-heavy nature of her voice makes her less than ideal in various prolonged stretches. I absolutely get that it isn’t her best work, but it didn’t strike me as a disaster.

          • Krunoslav says:

            Well, maybe “catastrophe” should be reserved for the likes of her late career live MACBETHs, but I find that ROSENKAVALIER set pretty much unlistenable due to her vibrato and pitch issues.

          • I find that RK pretty much unlistenable on accout of Bernstein’s excesses and the terribly trebly remastering. Ugh. Almost everything is so WRONG there, very similar to his studio Falstaff.

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            Understandable, Krunoslav. I like the recording pretty much only for Dame Gwyneth’s contribution really -- the whole thing goes on a bit, I can’t get along with Ludwig’s colour as the Marschallin although I do find it a very impressive piece of singing, and I am allergic to Lucia Popp.

          • MontyNostry says:

            Cocky -- ‘allergic to Lucia Popp’??? Have you ever sought treatment for this sad malady? (OK, I know she tends to squeeze her legato a bit, and I don’t usually like brighter voices, but I have adored her since I was a teenager and bought Carmina Burana in the Fruehbeck de Burgos recording. And she introduced me to the Vier letzte Lieder.)

          • Famous Quickly says:

            “Almost everything is so WRONG there, very similar to his studio Falstaff.”

            What nonsense. Dame Quickly has never been better sung nor more perfectly acted.

            BTW, I could sing Alice Ford *tomorrow*- it’s a question of color and tessitura.

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            Never liked her at all Monty. Sometimes impressive (Klemperer Queen of the Night), always gets the job done, but I find her business-like and charmless, on the whole.

          • Oh, that. Well, yes I guess I’ll have to say that and duck once and for all, but I find Resnik’s Quickly pretty alien to the style, almost to make her contribution nightmarish to me (not to mention DFD’s Sir John)

          • I love Lucia Popp but I absolutely adore Lucia POOP!

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Very interesting how close birds of a feather we are Cocky, because I am also “allergic” to Popp. I recognize she is a good singer, but her overbright, thin and glassy sound I find literally allergy inducing. Her VLL, with the greatest Tennstedt are to me unsettlingly awful, gives me a headache. Why her when you can have Mathis, Donath, Moser, Nilssen, not to mention goddesses like Janowitz?

          • kashania says:

            I love Popp’s VLL. If I could have just two recordngs, I’d pick hers and Jessye’s, because between the two of them, they cover so much of the work’s interpretive possibilities.

          • Maury D says:

            Argh, Popp business-like and charmless? I realize it’s all subjective, but I just do not get this. Probably futile, but have you seen the Sophie w/ Kleiber or the Susanna w/…I think Solti? Flicka is the scene-stealer on the latter but Popp sings a deeply inhabited Susanna, the embodiment of charm.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            I thought that Leider was the greatest Susanna 8-) just kidding.
            Charming is Mirella Freni!!!!! plus glorious and sublime of course, or Edith Mathis, or Helen Donath, those girls had charm. Popp is cold and business-like just like Cocky says, and without the great voice, let alone technique of her compatriot Gruberova, whom I am liking more and more for her stunning Fiordiligi.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            And for the VLL, will there ever be something to top the most greatest and glorious von Karajan, with either one of the divines Janowitz or Tomowa-Sintow?, talk about Questa o Quella! how can there ever be anyone to compare to either of those two glories of Straussian singing?

          • manou says:

            Vox Popp Luci Vox Dei

          • The_Kid says:

            Speaking of great Octavians, let us not forget the great Rise Stevens:

          • The_Kid says:

            ….or the definitive Mrs. Quickly, who IMHO puts most others in shade: Cloe Elmo’s humorous Mrs. Quickly in three the “Falstaff” recordings conducted by Toscanini, Reiner and de Sabata.

          • armerjacquino says:

            The strange polarisations of taste again! I too find it bizarre that anyone could find Popp charmless, and since they’ve been mentioned I’d have to say I find Donath faceless and Mathis voiceless…

            While we’re naming Susannas, I think Cotrubas has to be in there, and Bonney too. Having never seen any of the above perform the role on stage, I’d have to say that the greatest Susanna I’ve ever seen live was *ducks from Nerva* Marie McLaughlin, who shared the stage with Allen, Vaness and Desderi under Haitink and that, my dears, was quite a night.

          • The_Kid says:

            My two cents as far as Susannah on disc is concerned…….. Bidu Sayao (small-voiced but charming in the Breisach) and Rita Streich (Rosbaud) belong IMHO to the top of the list, with Seefried, Gueden and Peters not far behind!

          • Maury D says:

            Honestly, Marshiemark, I wasn’t talking to you, because I couldn’t find any way to relate Susanna and Sophie to Hildegard Behrens so I figured you were in sleep mode. If she sang those roles at conservatory, I’m sure you’ll report at length how inadequate everyone else who has ever sung the roles was. Please, do regale us again with what a terrible singer Frida Leider was. Perhaps some snowy evening in front of the fire.

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            I think we did this a couple of years ago Maury, and I’m afraid nothing has changed. She’s just one of those where I can’t see the appeal, along with Scotto. There are plenty of singers I DO like, so it doesn’t particularly bother me. I’m quite keen on Mathis and Donath, as it happens!

          • Tamerlano says:

            Popp was my first Sophie, on the Bernstein set…I have never heard anyone else sing the music so beautifully. The voice floats and gleams and the line is absolutely perfect. I love the way the high notes are all part of the line and don’t stick out like so many Sophies do. It’s brutally exposed music and I imagine it must be a little frightening to sing. So many fine sopranos have tried Sophie, and often they just can’t make it work.

    • 2.2
      armerjacquino says:

      A tough role to cast except when Carol Vaness was singing, at which point it was a very, very easy one!

    • 2.3
      Orlando Furioso says:

      You’re exactly right, imelda. I appreciate the amendment.

  • 3
    Ilka Saro says:

    I will be seeing this on the first of December, and I am psyched! But wasn’t Sesto originally supposed to be Susan Graham?

    I haven’t heard Garanca in the house yet, and I am looking forward, but I was also interested in Graham’s perf. What happened?

    • 3.1
      Ilka Saro says:

      BTW, it’s also hard to forget Gosta Winbergh as Tito. I never saw him sing it, but I have a recording of a perf in Chicago that is kind of jaw dropping.

      • 3.1.1
        grimoaldo says:

        I did see Gösta Winbergh as Tito, Covent Garden way back in 82, with Elizabeth Connell as Vitellia. It was indeed unforgettable.
        Also saw Frittoli as Vitellia, Covent Garden 2002, she was very good if not quite as in total command of the role as Connell.
        In the cast at that performance was Anna Netrekbo as Servilia, I really loved her back then before she started doing all those entirely unsuitable for her bel canto roles.
        Filianoti I saw in San Francisco in Lucia di Lammermoor in 2008, I loved the intensity of his stage performance, waving his arms in the air, getting totally carried away, I thought he was great.

          Clita del Toro says:

          I saw Winbergh as Lohengrin in London in the late nineties. He was wonderful.

          • grimoaldo says:

            Yes indeed, one of the great great nights in any theatre for me, with Mattila, Sergei Leiferkus as Telramund,René Pape as Heinrich, Anthony Michaels-Moore as the Herald, and my beloved Dame
            Gwyneth in her ROH farewell as Ortrud, conducted by Gergiev.
            You could see why Queen Victoria seeing “Lohengrin” was practically a religious experience, that performance transported the audience to heaven.
            Winbergh was announced as Siegfried for later Ring performances, but, tragically, he died.
            A great loss.

          • Ilka Saro says:

            Now THAT’S a cast!

            I saw Mattila as Elsa here in NYC in 2006, but the rest of the cast was uneven. I love the Robert Wilson production, but it requires certain gifts of the performers. Along with her voice and musical artistry, Mattila had the body control and the natural presence to make the long slow motions and tableaux very effective. Alas, the other principals that season were not all equally up to the demands of the production, vocally or physically.

          • kashania says:

            Winbergh’s premature death at age 58 robbed the world of some fine Wagnerian singing. His voice was still in remarkable shape at that point and he had only started to sing Wagner regularly for the final few years. What I’ve heard of his Lohengrin and Parsifal is really impressive.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Ilka, were you there for KF Vogt’s debut? I was… Mattila was fabulous, but when Vogt opened his mouth, I almost fell out of my chair… It was almost like a boy soprano singing a heldentenor part, I was so shocked and yet he made it work. As you say, the rest of the cast was a mixed bag. I was expecting a powerhouse Ortrud, instead we got a whimper of a villainess (MJ Wray) who just couldn’t do justice to this part. I believe Pape was the King but even I couldn’t remember much about him.

            At curtain call, Mattila as usual was super-gracious raising her hand towards the debutant Vogt, she always gives tremendous approbations to her colleagues.

    • 3.2
      sycorax says:

      If I remember correctly, Tito was one of the last opera to appear on Brad Wilber’s 2012-13 future list and it has always been Garanca scheduled…

      But Graham sang it the 2008 revival of the opera.

      • 3.2.1
        Ilka Saro says:

        I want to say “I am sure that if I bought tickets with Garanca in the cast, I would have known it.” But I think perhaps I am just not so on the ball! :D

  • 4
    scifisci says:

    Interesting, JJ felt that Filianoti’s acting was a deliberate choice. If indeed it was, I found it to be rather at odds with the rest of the production. His crazy-eyed acting almost suggested that Tito was going to have them all beheaded at the end just for fun, which might be a valid regie reading, but really felt awkward and out of place, and elicited laughter from the audience in what are supposed to be serious moments.

    • 4.1
      Porgy Amor says:

      Re: “Which might be a valid regie reading […]” And has been. Martin Kušej went that way in his Salzburg production that is on DVD. Tito is a bloodthirsty psychotic (sung and gesticulated by Michael Schade) whose subjects appear terrified of him, and his acts of clemency are shocking exceptions to the rule.

    • 4.2
      Jack Jikes says:

      The laughter was a reaction to Met-titles moments. i thought Filianoti was touching. Kate Lindsey had tonight’s big “Wow!” moment with an exquisitely held pianissimo.

    • 4.3
      RosinaLeckermaul says:

      Saw CLEMENZA last night. No eyeball rolling from Filianoti — someone may have told him to cut some of the melodramatics. He was always dignified, but clearly portraying a character and reacting convincingly to everything going on around him. Frittoli and Garanca were terrific. Filianoti took a while to warm up but was excellent in Act II. His recits were always expressive. Big ovations at the end for the three of them, but it was Garanca’s arias that excited everyone.

  • 5
    Gualtier M says:

    Frittoli was ill and could not sing at the dress rehearsal. Listening to the opening night webstream broadcast, I felt she was still under the weather and managing in Act I. Act II is lower and she was warmed up. As for Filianoti’s acting, I felt that his Tito was a man who was tortured by the responsibilities and moral imperatives of power. Hence the wild eyes. His magnanity was a way of palliating the stress and anguish it caused him. This is an active, dynamic dramatic choice rather than a passive “I am just so good and generous” static one. I wished his singing was not quite so “ingolato”. He also improved in Act II both in the dress rehearsal and at the prima. He also improved vocally on opening night in comparison with the dress rehearsal. I hope the improvement continues.

    Gosta Winbergh was excellent in Chicago in 1989 -- BTW: that was my first “Clemenza” ever. Troyanos and Vaness were Sesto and Vitellia. The younger lovers were an interesting pair: a very young Susan Graham was Annio -- in one of her first major assignments in a U.S. theater. Susan Foster was the rather graceless Servilia. Susan Foster later became a Wagnerian soprano and is married to Gary Lehman.

    • 5.1
      kashania says:

      Wow, Gualtier, that’s quite the cast for one’s first Clemenza or any Clemenza for that matter.

      • 5.1.1
        armerjacquino says:

        I was lucky with my first Clemenza too- Vaness, Burrows, Von Otter and Rodgers. It often seems to be cast from strength, though, especially with young up-and-coming singers (Garanca and Pisaroni as Annio and Publio in Salzburg, for example!).

        I’ve also seen Susannah Glanville as Vitellia… *runs away giggling*

          kashania says:

          Actually, I’m very happy with my first Clemenza too — from Opera Atelier (when I used to work there). It was a thrilling production and the five main principals were all excellent — Kesimir Spicer, Measha B. (in the best work I’ve seen her do — simply fabulous) and Michael Maniaci. And we had a couple of very talented young singers, Mireille Asselin as Servillia and Mireille Lebel as Annio.

          Nerva Nelli says:

          One is sure Mozart wrote with la Glanville’s voice in his mind’s aspiring ear!

          Santa Fe had Di Donato and Bayrakdarian as Annio and Servilia in 2002, with Richard Croft, the artist now known as Alex Penda and Kristine Jepson. Pretty classy.

          I agree with La Cieca, that NYCO staging was quite dull, and LHL (dare I say it) had problems with the upper register and with pitch.

          • Camille says:

            She made a mess of “Parto, parto, ma tu ben mio”, or, as I have recently read on Superconductor—”Parto, tu bien miu” (must have been the Süssmayr version)—at the difficult conclusion. Clearly uncomfortably out of her element with the fairly high mid-range tessitura. Other than that, okay.

    • 5.2
      peter says:

      I heard a wonderful Sesto from Lorraine Hunt Lieberson at the New York City Opera around 12 years ago. Does anyone remember the rest of the cast as I don’t save old programs and NYCO’s performance archives are not online?

      • 5.2.1
        Nerva Nelli says:

        The rest of that 2000 NYCO cast, led by none other than Harry Bicket: Mark Thomsen (Tito), Marie Plette (Vitellia), Laura Tucker (Annio) , Tracy Dahl (Servilia), Jake Gardner (Publio).

          La Cieca says:

          Very fine musically as I recall, though dull as dirt theatrically thanks to Stephen Wadsworth’s patented “let’s have everyone just stand around in front of a wall for three hours” school of dramaturgy.

          Arianna a Nasso says:

          Didn’t Kurt Streit sing some performances of Tito as well? I believe this was planned to be a PBS telecast but was replaced by a more popular title with a less stellar cast after a previous telecast (Lizzie Borden?) tanked in the ratings.

  • 6
    JoetheThirdPlumber says:

    I am sorry but you are all wrong. Filianoti was not good on Friday. He didn’t really hit his high notes and at one point in his “Se all’impero”, he was just wabbling the same tone for 5 seconds.
    You want to see a really good Tito? Watch Michael Schade’s Tito.

  • 7
    Camille says:

    Miss Garamca’s singing was a thing of beauty, not just for the voice but also the manner in which she sang.

    Gösta Winburgh was a wonderful aounding Parsifal as transmitted from Chicago about ten years ago. Next thing I heard—he was gone. A real pity.

    Della Jones—a name that could possibly make only Our Vicar qvell—sings on some recording I’ve now forgotten, quite a good Vitellia and does not shirk nor skirt that notorious high D in alt (sung, indeed only once and only touched upon in passing, ’tis true) for which I applaud and say, Brava Diva!

    • 7.1
      Camille says:

      Miss GaraNca’s… Exc ad nauseam

    • 7.2
      Nerva Nelli says:

      Let’s not forget Maria Casula on the first stereo set under Kertesz (Krenn, Berganza, Fassbaender, Popp, plus a “wobble with a voice inside it” called Tugomir Franc, whom I once endured as Basilio in Vienna). Casula takes the D and so does Julia Varady.

      • 7.2.1
        Camille says:

        I have always loved seeing the name ‘Tugomir Franc’ and welcome it once more and TY to AJ. Now I recall Bartolo on that recording, too, and how she fudged the triplets in ‘Parto’.

        Vaness was truly formidable in the part. Perhaps as she started out as a mezzo and the recall of how to get those devil notes stayed with her? I am now sorry I didn’t bother to hear her in the late nineties. Frittoli just sounded sick and phlegmatic on opening night so I will give her time to recover before I listen again.

        Why could not have Lucy Crowe made her debuts as SUSANNA is the question I would like an answer to! Let that creatura Erdmann sing Servilia instead!
        Better Barbarina.

        Best La Muette de Portici.

          Camille says:

          Good g-d.
          Screw up one singer’s name after another. Next I shall be writing FLAMING instead of the proper surname.

          Back to the cranberries I go.

          Nerva Nelli says:

          In the Met CLEMENZA, I would think Erdmann’s talents predispose her to playing Berenice.

          marshiemarkII says:

          CammiBelle why on earth would you want S’altro che lacrime to be sung by anyone but the greatest soprano at any given period?!?!?!
          I think it may be one of the very greatest things that Mozart ever wrote. Now I know exactly NOTHING about Mlle Erdmann, but from everything I read here, she may be good for one and only one thing, and that is something she would have to share in common with Monica Lewinsky and Paula Broadwell :-) :-) :-)

          I want my Servilias to be like Mathis or Donath or Auger, or, you catch my drift no? Actually Kiri TeK is pretty glorious in the Philips recital, no? maybe the greatest?

    • 7.3
      armerjacquino says:

      Camille- Jones is on the very good Hogwood recording with Heilman, Bartoli, Bonney and Montague.

  • 8
    Orlando Furioso says:

    I agree that the Hogwood recording (and I’m not at all a fan of his in general) works really well. Everyone in the cast has what it takes, and the whole thing plays as if they meant it. It is also, I think, the only recording to include all the recits uncut (and for better or worse, there they are in the text, so let’s have ’em). Della Jones is a smart piece of casting for Vitellia, as she has or can simulate both the alto depths and the easy high-soprano top as needed.

  • 9
    tiger1dk says:

    Julia Varady’s singing as Vitellia on the Gardiner (?) recording, her second recording of the part, is among the most glorious singing that I know, especially in the trio. I do not care so much about the D but I would hate for the phrases with the Gs and the Bs to be done in any other way than as written by WAM.

    • 9.1
      marshiemarkII says:

      Don’t know the Gardiner recording, but with Dr Karl the greatest Boehm (no one will EVER conduct Clemenza like HIM) Varady is sublimely beautiful. The greatest without any close competition!

      • 9.1.1

        My primary problem with Dr Boehm, dear MMII, apart from his lack of articulation, is that the music rarely DANCES (and in Clemenza, no, most of 18th century music, it SHOULD).

        Vitellia’s first aria, Deh se piacer mi vuoi, is a menuet, pure and simple (I mean the first part). This, of course, has relevant psychological repercussions. You would never guess it from the Bohm version

        IMO Gardiner completely nails it. His faster, more volatile tempo and light phrasing not only seems to me to serve the music better, and to present a musical portait of Vitellia’s outer (first part of the aria) and inner personalities (second part), it also allows Varady (who sings in both versions) the opportunity to shade her tone and lighten the voice. With Bohm she consistently sings full-voice, albeit very beautifully. With Gardiner she is encouraged to enjoin the instruments surrounding the vocal line, and does so magnificently.

        In my opinion she is, tout court, the best Vitellia ever recorded.


          Listening to both versions again, it is marvelous the way Gardiner lets Mozart’s silences ‘speak’, yet he doesn’t overdo it and stress every wonderful thing he has found in the score, the way Jacobs does. It is just there yet part of the general scheme.
          As for Varady, it is amazing that she is completely able to change her vocal thinking. With Bohm she phrases like a violinist would. With Gardiner she ‘thinks’ like a basset-horn, which is perhaps stylistically the right thing to do, as Mozart surrounds the score with poignant obbligati for the clarinet family, he was obsessed with the instrument (s).

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Carisssimo CF, I don’t know the Gardiner, like him a lot in Bach and a glorious C minor mass with Bonney, but don’t know the Clemenza, but I beg to differ, Dr Karl certainly dances, I love his rhythms, seem so organic and “right” but above all it is the MAJESTY he brings to the majestic moments, think the chorus after no piu de fiori, I search and search and can never find that heavenly majesty, Levine comes the closest in the Ponnelle. Others like Welser-Moest, or Harnoncourt are just so rushed. And indeed the strings with Dr Karl are heavenly. I thought of you when I was in the Cosi high last week. Those clarinet/basset accompaniments are sublime

          armerjacquino says:

          I’m just going to pop this here, and then creep away…

          (apols for not embedding- still don’t know how to do that with those pesky httpesses)

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Sorry Armer but talk about another singer I cannot stand is Madame Vaness!
            At least we have Gundula in common :-)

          • marshiemarkII says:

            And we do agree about MacLaughlin, I saw her as Marzelline to the greatest you know who Leonore, and she was pretty close to sublime, obviously in the finale, but also in the Terzett she blended so well. I adored her! never saw her as Susanna but I can imagine she was great! and of course no argument about Bonney, another one I adore for Mozart, etc. Her et incarnatus with Gardiner is a dream, but never heard her as Susanna either. To me Susanna will always be Freni, Paris Opera at the Met, and of course the greatest video with Dr Karl!!!!

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            An area where we do differ MMII -- I think Vaness is just unbeatable in Mozart, although I’ll always prefer Dame Kiri’s timbre.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Actually caro Cocky, I saw Vaness as Handel’s Alcina in 1983, at the NYCO, and she was pretty wonderful! though she had bad skin :-)
            but later I saw her as Fiordiligi at the Met and it was horrible, didn’t she have some sort of crisis in the late 80s? and of course the worst was a Tosca recording I heard at Tower Records once, and it was like the proverbial fingernails on the blackboard.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            And of course we agree about Dame Kiri!!!! adore her in Mozart, saw everything she did at the Met, but the Nozze video with the Dame and Mirella and the greatest Dr Karl, has to be one of the 10 greatest things ever, no?

  • 10
    armerjacquino says:

    Ok, I have now googled how to embed newer YT links so I can also share this with you:

    Sensational, no? Why she isn’t a huge star is beyond me.

    • 10.1
      armerjacquino says:

      PS: On the same recital she does ‘Der Holle Rache’.

      PPS: She is a mezzo.

      PPPS: I think we need to put her alongside ‘Alex Penda’ on the list of ‘insane divas parterre loves’.

      • 10.1.1
        Bianca Castafiore says:

        Well, her range is amazing, but her top can be glassy and brittle as in the Königin aria above.

          Bianca Castafiore says:

          Also a rather dark-hued Norma, but she’d be better than many singing this part these days… Grazie, amberjack.

          • Camille says:

            Bianchissima, my august diva!

            What are you having for dinner tomorrow? No fish, I hope!!!

            Have a wonderful day and don’t you worry ’bout that Cap’n Haddock—for he’ll come around—just you wait!

            Love you and thank you for all your intelligent and well-informed commentary for who knows a diva like a REAL DIVA, like U!

            Gobble, govble, gobble &
            Love from

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Cammillissima, excelsissima!!!!!

            Irma is preparing a small meal, we’ll have just partridge, eel and venison, and because some of our friends insist, turkey as well.

            Hope you are doing well and having a lovely time with your loved ones!

            You are so kind! I know nothing compared to you.

            Mille baci a te, carina!!!!! Grazie!!!!

          • marshiemarkII says:

            And Happy Thanksgiving to all MY GURLS!!!!!! you know who you are! and the ones that are not my gurls too! And many blessings to our august doyenne for the gift of parterre!

          • Ilka Saro says:

            Something one can be thankful for. Something to glance over while glazing the yams, so to speak.

    • 10.2
      Bianca Castafiore says:

      PS: She also sings some pop songs on YT, to be skipped…

    • 10.3
      damekenneth says:

      I agree with you about this. She has such a gorgeous timber. My only hesitation is in the way the voice tends to pop out of line in the opening section a bit. Just not enough legato. But I do love Ernman. I saw her sing Serse at Theater an der Wien last year. The voice was gorgeous, she was extremely musical, and I’ve never seen a woman play a man with such noble credibility. Completely butch but refined at the same time. She does tend to produce the voice with the accompaniment of a fair amount of facial mugging and shoulder lifting which, if I focused on it, could have driven me crazy. And that may have something to do with the way the voice occasionally pulls out of the musical line. But I loved her and was shocked when looking her up on Google later on to see what a truly stunning amazonian creature she was (is). Absolutely gorgeous. Have you checked the photo on her Wikipedia page?
      Thanks for the clip.

  • 11
    Nerva Nelli says:

    Armer, I heard McLaughlin as Susanna, Despina and Zerlina-- also Marzelline-- and liked her in all of them. The top eventually receded, but a very good artist.

    However, I heard Donath as Marzelline and Susanna and she (then over 50) sang gloriously. And she’s anything but faceless--try the TURN OF THE SCREW Governess and Zdenka and Gretel and Frau Fluth, for starters.

    I too fail to understand how anyone could find Lucia Popp charmless. There are things like RIGOLETTO that I don’t need to hear her sing, but she was a sublime recitalist and concert artist and wonderful the one time I heard her onstage, as Pamina.

    Dr. Karl and HvK as “the greatest”? The greatest self-promoters under the Third Reich, perhaps. I enjoy Boehm’s Mozart for what it is, but agree that it tends to the foursquare Romantic Mozart of several generations ago.

    • 11.1
      marshiemarkII says:

      Nerva, Cara, I miss the old feistiness, what happened to the old Nerva? you disappear for a while and come back so tame! Happy TG also!

      • 11.1.1
        Nerva Nelli says:

        Nerva chooses her battles (and donaths and popps)!

        I hope all enjoy Thanksgiving--especially la Castafiore, who must treasure memories of the originary event.