Cher Public

Canned laughter

One of the delights of doing these weekly breakdowns is sending them in and then waiting patiently to see what sort of illustration La Cieca uses with it.  Knowing how she loves a challenge, the topic for today’s chat listing is “GENITAL MUTILATION.”

11:00-2:00 LRT KLASIKA: LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR from Vienna.  What an appropriate way to start.  The text doesn’t say WHERE Lucia stabbed Arturo, but you can damn betcha some of them stabs was South of the Border.  Natalie Dessay, which earns an automatic 3 F.K.

12:00-3:15 SVERIGES P2 or DR P2 at 1:00-4:30: UN BALLO IN MASCHERA from Kungliga.  No data to rate.  If I were Renato, I’d certainly aim below the Bible Belt.

1:00-4:30 WFMT American Opera Network: DON CARLOS (note it’s the French version)  from Houston.  Put-up-or-shut-up time for Francophiles.  Even with no data to rate, this is the hot pick of the day.

1:00-4:00 CBC TWO: FALSTAFF from ROH.  2 F.K.  Excess avoirdupois is its own form of mutilation, n’est pas?  Maestri and Martinez make it more than listenable.

1:00-4:30 DEUTSCHLANDRADIO KULTUR: DAS RHEINGOLD from Berlin.  No data to rate, but Janowski is bound to do something right sometime.  Fricka doesn’t really become a ball-buster until WALKURE, but she’s taking aim in this one.

1:00-4:00 ESPACE MUSIQUE: LES PECHEURS DE PERLES from Denmark with Larry Brownlee.  2 F.K.  Keep fishin’ for them pearls, boys, but don’t squawk if you come up oysters.

1:00-4:15 DWOJKA POLSKIE: A VILLAGE ROMEO AND JULIET.  1 F.K. like who knows it well enough to snark around?  Mutilation by drowning but you have to wait until the end.

1:00-4:30 FRANE MUSIQUE: I PURITANI from Paris.  No data to rate, but Olga Peretyatko promises much.  The only mutilation is when Charles gets his head cut off.  “Doesn’t count,” you say?  All right, let’s see how long you can go without head.

1:00-4:00 NPR World of Opera: THE ENCHANTRESS.  2 F.K. due to unfamiliarity, but it really should be better known.  Fricka (see above) could take a lesson from this girl.

1:00-5:00 KBYU: ATTILA from San Francisco.  3 F.K.  Keep it clean, Odabella!

1:00-4:00 NRK KLASSIK, NRK P2: LE NOZZE DI FIGARO – Glyndebourne at The Proms.  3 F.K., depending on your Sally Matthews tolerance level.  All the mutilation is vocal.

1:00-5:00 RADIO 4 NETHERLANDS: DAS RHEINGOLD from Amsterdam.  No data to rate, but in a heads-on competition with Berlin (above), this one’s chances are slim.

1:00-4:00 BBC 3: THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS.  No data to rate.  I bet some smart-ass director could work an orgy into this and have a real winner.

1:00-5:00 RTP ANTENA 2: TANNHAUSER from Bayreuth.  4 F.K.  Nobody gets mutilated unless you count the staff at the end which starts sprouting leaves.  A similar thing happened to me once, but there’s a salve you can use.

1:00-5:00 WQED: LE NOZZE DI FIGARO from San Francisco, but is it the Prey/Popp or the Pisaroni/DeNiese?  2 F.K. for the former, 4 F.K. for the latter.

1:00-3:00 WRR: HANSEL AND GRETEL.  2 F.K. for von Otter and Bonney.  Being baked in an oven for “Way To Go Of The Week.”

1:30-5:30 BARTOK RADIO: SIEGFRIED from Budapest.  No data to rate, but the first two installments have not been promising.  Remember, dragons have genitals too.

2:00-5:30 CESKY ROZHLAS VLTAVA: Dvorak’s ARMIDA from Prague.  No data to rate, but oh wow, Ball-Buster Deluxe.

2:00-6:00 ESPACE 2: GIOVANNA D’ARCO.  2 F.K.  It’s official!  Maria Agresta is now the most-played soprano in history — with just one opera.  History is the one getting mutilated here.

2:00-6:00 KLARA: STRADELLA.  1 F.K.  If you haven’t heard it, this is worth catching up on.

2:00-6:00 LYRIC FM: TRISTAN UND ISOLDE from Dublin.  No data to rate.  I think these two should have gotten married.  Once the potion wore off, it would have been Blood-lust City.

2:00-5:00 RADIO SLOVENA TRETJI: ALCESTE.  3 F.K. Good, but not great.  No mutilation to speak of, but Admete does let his wife die to save him, which seems a bit churlish.

2:00-4:30 RADIO STEPHANSDOM: L’ELISIR D’AMORE.  3 F.K.  Bergonzi and Peters.  Uh huh.  Tell me about Adina and Nemorino, King of the Wussies.

2:00-6:00 RADIO TRE: DAVID ET JONATHAS.  2 F.K. for a really absorbing performance of a little-known work, but let’s deal with a father killing a son who leans a little to the left.  Odd that it wasn’t reported on Fox News.

2:30-6:30 RADIO OESTERREICH: MATILDA DI SHABRAN.  2 F.K. for unfamiliarity, but again it deserves a wider hearing with Peretyatko and Florez.

Remember, just two more weeks of Free-Form Chat before The Met Season starts again. Chat Room has been completely refurbished and that moldy spot in the corner has been treated.  Wit, Wisdom and Weltschmerz for everyone.

  • grimoaldo

    La C certainly met the illustration challenge brilliantly!

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Brilliantly symbolic illustration ! Definitely a motivation for another hearing of the Prince’s own “Grus an der Bruder” sung by the probably uncrimped Toby Spence

    • grimoaldo

      “Did Prince Albert really have a ‘Prince Albert’ piercing?”,5753,-19293,00.html

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

        A “dressing ring”? That’s a good one: “Not a piercing per se, but apparently he and other Victorian gentlemen wore a ‘dressing ring’, unpiercing, that pulled the male member to one side so as to present a more seemly silhouette in tight trousers. Hence today, the question in haberdasheries: ‘Does sir dress right or dress left’?”

        Apparently this contraption for wusses was fastened to the leg with a ribbon! Un nastro???? Sounds positively Mozartian. Here is the relevant link to “The Book of the Penis”

        • Quanto Painy Fakor

          I don’t think Nureyev or Corelli used “dressing rings”. People just used to say that Franco stuffed his pants with a dance belt.

          • ianw2

            Anyway, its not as if Nureyev needed the enhancement in that area.

  • phoenix

    12:47-12:52 Maricopa Jail Network-Sheriff Joe’s Saturday Afternoon in the Cages. Unrated (No F.K.’s at the moment) for the Phoenix premiere of Jewel Mayhew’s posthumous masterpiece, SOPHIE’S KROCH -- with m.crochetto (just returning from her European triumphs) in the title role.


    • louannd

      hardy har har. (This is the actual laugh of Sheriff Arpaio)

      • phoenix

        You know, louannd, the first time I read about him I thought about him I thought perhaps he was descended form the Arapaho (as a disambiguation of his last name would suggest) -- what do you think, lou?

        • louannd

          I think you may have something there, Fenice.

  • oedipe

    “I PURITANI from Paris. No data to rate, but Olga Peretyatko promises much.”

    This concert performance, which I saw last week, was much anticipated because I Puritani is not heard very often and because people were expecting a lot from Peretyatko.

    La bella Olga is genuine star material, she is very musical, has very good technique, projects well, has a real trill and looks great on stage, to boot. But she seemed to hold back, she failed to convey a lot of emotion and she skipped some of the money notes. Part of the responsibility lay with Pido’s conducting, which had the depth and subtlety of a military band leader. He was copiously booed, not only at the end of the concert, but also at the intermission. People just hated him. I still think Peretyatko could be a very good Elvira under the right circumstances.

    The positive surprise came from Dmitri Korchak, from whom I wasn’t expecting much after an underwhelming Nadir at the Opéra Comique, and who turned out to be a convincing, passionate Arturo, even though his high register was a little stretched.

    Worth a listen, at any rate.

    • calaf47

      According to Ms Peretyatko’s website, she will make her Met Opera debut in I PURITANI in 2014.

      • oedipe

        Great news!

  • operacat is playing the same Glyndebourne NOZZE as NRK KLASSIK (if one wants their commentary in English).
    The Franck STRADELLA is fun — and is available to watch in a wildly imaginative staging at

  • So, how was last night’s Aida? Did Monastyrska live up to the hype?

    • phoenix


      • operadent

        I thought she was splendid.

      • Well, that gives one hope, doesn’t it?

        • phoenix

          She was more than a ‘hope’ kash -- an actuality, at least for me -- finally after all these years the Met has come up with an Aida for Aida. What few mistakes she did make were compensated for by incredibly beautiful tone and technique.

    • la vociaccia

      Aida at the Met 11/23

      Maestro Luisi handled the music very well, making moments like the priestess’ dance in Act 1 thoroughly enjoyable (despite a mis-en-scene that was like watching paint dry), with emphasis on rubato in the improvisatory, middle-eastern colored triplet passages. The opening oboe solo in O Patria Mia was gorgeously executed.

      As it had been announced, Marco Berti was not well enough for tonight’s performance, and Carl Tanner, an American tenor assumed the role of Radames on short notice. There was a lot to be thankful for in his performance. An actual tenor voice, with an actual tenor top, and a perfectly agreeable, dark-blonde colored timbre. No ugly scoops or bleats- everything was attacked right on the money. He didn’t slam/bang into his upper middle and top, and was fully capable of expressing the music with lyricism. The top b flats in O Terra addio had a delectable bloom about them.

      The lower male voices were somewhat underwhelming. The Amonasro of Alberto Mastromarino came off best, with some exquisite diction and an earnest, ardent musical reading. Another Debutante, Miklos Sebastyen of Hungary, sang the King with a dignified, medium sized bass that could become woolly at the lower end. Stefan kocan’s Ramfis was not particularly memorable.

      By far the most dramatically involved performance came from Olga Borodina, in a totally committed, passionately sung and movingly expressive Amneris. Mme. Borodina, at 49, remains at the forefront of her fach, with her powerful, satiny middle and full, resonant lower register, the latter of which she delighted in peppering the Act II duet with. Age has taken some of the ease from her very top, with the b flats in the judgement scene still there, but a tiny bit spread. Still, she manages to navigate Verdi’s sadistically un-singable Act II opening with expressive depth, and her phrasing throughout the evening was uniformly musical. Character-wise, Borodina was very physical in her development of the character of Amneris. In Act 1 and 2 she walked with an impossibly haughty bearing, hardly allowing herself (or anyone) to think Aida posed any threat to her. As the evening wore on, her stance became less rigid, her gait loosened until she was literally dragging her feet through the Judgement scene, plastering herself to the columns of the Temple.

      The main attraction (apart from the descending wall with the soldiers on it ;) ) was the debut of Liudmyla Monastyrska, a Ukrainian soprano who has built up a considerable reputation in Europe for her interpretations of the big Verdi roles, particularly for her, according to Opera News, “unusually well-sung” account of Lady Macbeth at Covent Garden. It became evident early on why she has been touted as a big deal: her voice is clear, exquisitely placed, and unmistakably soprano. Her entire scale has the same pearly, shimmery quality, and at piano and mezza voce she was positively ravishing. She rarely indulges in ramping up her chest- she hardly needs it. At the bottom of her range her voice still rings out like a bell, and this created a compellingly vulnerable contrast to Borodina’s fierce, strong-willed Amneris. She appears to have no fear whatsoever of her top- she launches right into her acuti with a startling abandon that could rarely just *slightly* veer on sharp, but such was the thrill of her singing that this was trivial. Her O Cieli Azzurri was taken at a spine-tingling mezzo piano, and every “Numi, pieta” seemed to hang in the air like a silver mist. When she let loose, she did so completely relaxed, and literally just let her voice pour over the orchestra.

      Ovations were slightly less grand than I would have hoped, given the caliber of singing (of course the loudest applause went to the horses and moorish dancers-but I’ve come to expect as much).

      • phoenix

        la V has hit mark -- Thanks for putting it all into words!

  • Baltsamic Vinaigrette

    The Lyric FM Tristan and Isolde features Lars Cleveman, coming to the Met as Siegfried next Spring. But the real interest is in Miriam Murphy’s Isolde -- and not merely because she is a local talent. The ecstatic reviews came as something of a surprise but I certainly enjoyed the evening and Murphy was strong throughout. [Note: I am not sure which of the three perfs was recorded for this transmission, though she impressed every time, I believe]. Can’t tune in though -- we are out to see Così later.

    • MontyNostry

      Where has Miriam Murphy been for the last 5 years? I have only heard her in the concert hall (and, I think, as the Overseer in Elektra at the ROH in 2009 or so), but I thought she was magnificent. She made a bit of a splash when she won the Wagner Competition in Seattle 2006?) and did a much-praised Lady Macbeth at Opera Holland Park in 2005. (This is what The Stage said at the time: “Miriam Murphy’s terrifying Lady Macbeth fearlessly negotiates the demanding vocal lines, bringing to them an expressive range of colours and dynamics. Singing always off words, she delivers the second verse of the Brindisi angrily through gritted teeth. Her sleepwalking scene is a harrowing tour de force. Why have the major houses ignored her?”) She has done, I think, a Turandot in Bilbao, but she has generally been pretty much off the radar.

      • MontyNostry

        She also stood in for Urmana as Lady Macbeth in the ROH in 2006.

      • reedroom

        I was in the pit for the Seattle Opera Wagner competition in which Miriam Murphey won one of the prizes. The most impressive thing about her was that she was LOUD. Really, really LOUD. Aside from that, my memory is that the voice itself had an ugly edge to it and even when she attempted to sing gently, a rather narrow, bright quality. This was several years ago now, so I am glad to hear that she sounded so good on this broadcast. I’m not trying to be unkind, but at the time her singing was kind of scary--and most tellingly, the Seattle Opera never engaged her to sing after she won the competition.

  • all the casts are now up on for the operas with no data to rate…

  • Avantialouie

    La Cieca is MUCH more imaginative than I in selecting apt illustrations. I would merely have used a portrait of Calixto Bieito: he provided the can and I provided the laughter.

  • il commentatore

    I’m listening to the Houston Don Carlos. The ladies are impressive, and Jovanovich is pretty good. I won’t comment on the lower mens’ voices. The tragedy is Patrick Summers, whose conducting is painful wooden and, I guess you could say, “efficient.” Also, in the intermission he claimed that they were performing the 1867 score, but they aren’t. They’re performing the 1885 Modena version in French, but with a few ugly cuts and a few bits of the 1867 score added to no particular effect. Does Summers think this is all too complicated for the audience?

  • phoenix

    Camille, how was the Don Carlos? I didn’t hear the whole thing so I really can’t give an honest opinion, just a few impressionzzzz from here & there: some truly dramatic histronics from T. Wilson, who sounded (I suppose) appropriately matronly (like a midwestern Zinka) as the step-mother of Janovich (whom I found more sincere & natural). Don’t get me wrong, T. Wilson is a 1st rate singer and should be welcomed at any House -- it’s just a matter what I hear in her voice. I forgot who the Filipo was, but he sounded even more matronly (even his wobble had hairs growing out it) -- certainly old enough to be T. Wilson’s grandfather. What did you think? I didn’t even get a chance to hear Goerke, who probably was the best of the lot.

  • Bill

    Phoenix -- I listened to most of the Houston Don Carlos
    and all in all it was pretty wretched. I suppose
    indeed Goerke was the best of a very sad lot but
    I did not like her voice all that much either rather hard driven.

    • phoenix

      Thanks Bill for your keen obersvation -- the truth has set me free!

      • Camille

        Phoenix dear—
        Totally out of commission today and could not listen as I arose at 4:30 am to drive Monsieur Camille to the airport. Alas, upon my return I was unable to sleep until around noon—so I lost DC this pm.

        All was not lost, however,as Monsieur Camille, upon arriving back in the big apple, turned on WQXR and listened in between dozing. He said he gave the women a C+ (at best) and the men all were getting a D–(again, at best). Does that answer your question? Also, if you are still interested, he says hat ‘QXR usually archives the operas for a week. Now, I don’t know so do check to make sure. I will give it the old college try when I get up the guts and find my score.

        Bill, doubtlessly, got the measure of things, as he always does, and so well.

        Ich muss schlafen! Take care to stay on the right side of Sheriff Joe, for chrissakes!

        • Camille

          Sample of turkey wattles —

          It makes me sad to hear Ramey out of shape now, and I understand he has to go on working, but I conserve a lot of wonderful memories from 10 to 30 years ago, still.

        • phoenix

          Thanks Camille ~ ¡dulces sueños!

  • The_Kid

    Hi folks, happy thanksgiving, and may I trouble you for some advice? Would you give a good rating to the 1992 Rahbari Cavalleria Rusticana, with Evstatieva and Aragall (Decca)? Is it well-sung? Would you buy it?
    Thanks in advance for your help!

    • phoenix

      Kid, I never heard that recording -- actually, it was not so many years ago that I first began to like Cavalleria -- when I heard a performance of it from Lisbon broadcast on radio with Matos.
      -- But I loved Evstatieva when I saw her as Lisa in Pikovaja Dama, Elisabetta in Don Carlo and Maddalena in Andrea Chenier -- and also heard her on the radio as Aida in broadcast -- I was a fan. I felt she was underrated and should have gotten more exposure on the circuits. This was a a long time ago, however. I know she sang Cavalleria at the Met around those years this recording was made. Aragall: a refined stylist and a very good singer in his day.

    • armerjacquino

      It’s on Naxos, I think, rather than Decca.

    • The_Kid

      hi phoenix, thank you so much. i gave in to temptation and bought it (it was dirt-cheap, anyway), and i rather like it. not quite as good as the other two cavs i have (bruna-rasa, melandri, poli; mascagni, and guelfi, corelli, simionato; gavazenni), but aragall makes a nice and restrained turiddu, while both santuzza and mama lucia are vocally sound. all in all, a good recording.

  • Bianca Castafiore

    More of La Pendatchanska, the confrontation scene in Maria Stuarda from Toronto:

    • Thanks, Bianca! I had no idea this existed. I saw this production and Pendatchanksa and Farnocchia were fabulous. Can’t wait to listen to it.

  • Bianca Castafiore

    Carissima Cammillissima! How was your TG day? I hope you didn’t overdose on dessert as I did! Hope you had a great day with your loved ones!!!!

    • Camille

      I overdosed on gravy, Bianchissima dearest, and love for my Monsieur Camille, as he got away briefly from grind and NYC. Now I am exhausted from all the work but happy we had the time together as last year he was writing a paper and could not be disturbed.

      Did Cap’n Haddock show up, with fleurs in hand, and withOUT that funny little boy???

      Sorry not to have time to check out Alex Penda. I have heard a great deal about the Ermione of hers. Too bad as it was before my time here.

      Have you seen the Clemenza of Toto yet? Garam is worth the price of admission, alone! Many other fine contributions, as well. Intend to go to the HD.

      Thank you for your kindness to a tired old lady. C.

      • Camille

        Garanca, that is. Sorry again about her name!

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Alagna’s cover for Andrea Chenier

  • louannd

    The entire production of Vinci’s Artaserse with its five countertenors (Cencic, Jaroussky, among others) is now online in three parts:

    • oedipe

      Thanks Louannd. This is a delightful show (at least to those of us who don’t think baroque opera is stuffy and boring and needs updating along the lines of Enchanted Island).

      • louannd

        Now, WHO on earth would thank that M. oedipe? :)

        • louannd


      • louannd

        I also wanted to say that though I only have my own ears to rely on, it is delightful to hear music that is refreshingly simple (perhaps deceptively so) that highlights the underpinnings of the more sophisticated GFH and other more eminently renowned Barogue composers. Hopefully, that’s not too silly a thing to say.

        • louannd

          I need to wear my glasses when I do this.

    • guy pacifica

      Thank you for posting this — it’s completely marvelous.