Cher Public

Smooth operatic

“…amid horse-drawn chariots and Alexei Ratmansky’s uncharacteristically ragged ballet, it was hard not to wonder: Based on those muscular male extras strutting in the victory parade, did the ancient Egyptians invent chest waxing?” [New York Post]

  • scifisci

    Caught the second performance of the run tonight. Mostly agree with the review. L.M. is the real thing…a voice totally up to the demands of the role. Big, focused, flexible, and not a hint of heaviness…very free. I do wish she wouldn’t rush through phrases so often, maybe it’s just nerves. I bet she’s a fierce abigail based on the way she can move the voice and fling sound out. Definitely the most satisfying Aida i’ve heard live, though gruber, cedolins, and urmana don’t make very tough competition. Olga was not in good voice tonight. Only the very bottom is preserved well and remains luxurious. Luisi led an unusually polished and refined performance. I know some people don’t like him and he isn’t as dynamic or individual in this opera as say Daniele Gatti, but you could do much much worse than Luisi for a regular ole revival of Aida. A very classy and excellent conductor, especially in strauss.

  • manou

    Poor Monastyrska…there is already a whiff of backlash in other threads. Now there is practically no time elapsing between building an idol and knocking it down. Could we not have a small honeymoon period at least? For what it is worth, I have seen Lyudmila in both Aida and Macbeth and found her thrilling -- her acting needs refining but the voice is remarkable.

    Those in search of Platonic ideals are going to spend their lives being endlessly disappointed.

    • MontyNostry

      Dear manou -- it’s not backlash on my part. I saw her debut as Aida at the ROH and, while appreciating that she is a well-endowed and well-schooled singer, and can undoubtedly deliver the basic goods, felt disappointed that there was nothing transcedent about her performance. As Lady M, one could admire that she has all the notes, but there was a lack of electricity in the singing.

      • manou

        I was not impugning your sincerity, Monty -- of course you are fully entitled to your opinion and you know I respect it. It just seemed to me that there was a head of steam building up to knock the poor woman down before she has her hour in the sun. Alas, poor Lyudmila…

        • MontyNostry

          It would be interesting to know how much better she really is than the often suprisingly good also-ran spintos of the 70s and 80s, many of whom were from Eastern Europe, which probably limited their careers to some degree.

          • MontyNostry

            Here’s an example. I know she’s miming, but the singing isn’t bad at all.

          • MontyNostry

            … and another:

          • phoenix

            ???????????????

          • oedipe

            Marina Krilovici singing Aida:

          • phoenix

            Monty & Œdipe: This Krilovici Act 2 Manon Lescaut aria studio recording is very fine -- but her Aida doesn’t sound so convincing vocally (IMO not opulent enought) -- I can’t figure out who or what’s with the Tosca (the middle clip), but I like her and it’s very sincerely sung. I am getting so old I can’t recognize voices the way I used to.
            -- I saw Krilovici when I was quite young -- and then later on as I was approaching my own middleage. She was an excellent singer with a pointed, fine grained, burnished sound (not unlike another favorite singer of mine, Raina Kabaivanska).

          • armerjacquino

            phoenix, it’s Galina Savova. If you click on the YouTube logo on any YT video here, it’ll take you to the site where you can read the description.

          • marshiemarkII

            And caro fenice you could not have possibly missed Madame Savova at the Met in the mid 80s she was a fixture, as she also was Mrs Patane. She sang everything!!!! usually second cast, though as the years went on, she became a stah. She was basically a poor man’s Eva Marton. I am sure you must have seen her countless times, as Gioconda (her specialty), Aida, Tosca, you know the spinto rep.

          • MontyNostry

            Also more than respectable as Aida

          • Nerva Nelli

            Galina Savova sang 28 Met performances from 1979 to 1984, of which 4 were Giocondas.

            Was she ever, um, *legally* Mrs. Patane?

          • marshiemarkII

            That’s a good question Nerva! maybe good’ol Giuseppe never made an honest woman of her. He obviously had at least two daughters from an honest wife, one who married an old college friend, who went to become a noted stage director at La Scala

          • Bianca Castafiore

            Monty, what a treasure Madame Molnar was in this recording! Such a bright, beautiful girlish tone, more attractive to me than Freni’s. Grazie.

          • Bianca Castafiore

            Montissimo, you are such a connoisseur of good singing. Here’s La Molnar singing Casta diva. Just gorgeous!

    • Bianca Castafiore

      manou, what backlash? Because three of us have heard the evidence and do not see the greatest thing since brioche? We though she was ok, nobody said she was terrible. No one likes a big, juicy Verdian voice as much as petite moi, but as I said, I don’t find her voice as rich or even as others do, it’s a bit bumpy and unruly. I know we are in the minority — the critics of the NYT (Ms. daFonseca, not AT) and AP both loved her as well as JJ.

      • Cocky Kurwenal

        For heaven’s sake Bianca, when I think of your outright refusal to admit YouTube evidence when we were discussing messy wayward Matos last year, and now you say you have ‘heard the evidence’?

        I think if there were ever a voice that needs to be heard in the theatre, it’s Monastyrska (although she isn’t the only one, of course). Friends of mine who were in Macbeth with her said she didn’t even sound very impressive in the rehearsal studio -- you need to hear it live and at some remove for it to take flight.

        I agree to an extent with Monty’s assessment -- there isn’t really a great deal of temprament and so she just misses that indefinable something that would make her truly for the ages (it must be sacro fuoco, I guess!) -- but vocally I really can’t see anything to complain about.

        • Bianca Castafiore

          Well, Cocky, I have heard ‘messy wayward’ Matos in the house 4 times and I can weigh that in against the one time you heard her on youtube, and guess what has more weight in my opinion?

          I never said Monastyrska was terrible, I said she’s not the greatest thing since brioche. And people of such refined taste and discernment such as Camille and Monty agree with me. What are you going to tell me now, that I should have your opinion because you say so?

          • Bianca Castafiore

            And about that ‘messy wayward’ evidence on YT you cite — Matos’ Abigaille excerpt — I was at the house when that happened, and I can tell you, she was fantastic. I was there and you weren’t.

          • armerjacquino

            What are you going to tell me now, that I should have your opinion because you say so?

            Don’t be childish. He doesn’t come anywhere close to any such suggestion. He also says he agrees with Monty, so for you to say ‘Monty agrees with me’ is a little odd and suggests you didn’t read the post properly.

          • Bianca Castafiore

            AJ, go suck some lemons.

          • armerjacquino

            Well, there’s no coming back from that. You’ve run rings round me.

          • Bianca Castafiore

            Actually, there’s four of us. Add Clita to the conspiracy.

          • Bianca Castafiore

            You should know a good squeeze of lemon make a nicely grilled amberjack delicious.

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            I’m pointing out a blatant double standard. How many times you heard Matos in the house isn’t relevant, and neither is whether she is any good or not. I know it’s confusing.

          • Bianca Castafiore

            What double standard, Cocky, and why must you and your sidekick amberjack irritate me so early in the morning?

            I have said, based on recorded evidence, that Monastyrska is a fine singer but not the greatest Aida since Leo. Price. Some of us — the Gang of Four — are reserving judgement until we hear her in the house. What part of this statement offends you? You expect me to accept your judgement — that she’s a fantastic singer — and override my own judgement and ears?

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            I don’t give a monkey’s whether you agree with me or disagree. I’m just pointing out that it isn’t on for you to claim you’ve ‘heard the evidence’ at this point when you wouldn’t allow people to hold opinions on Matos based on the same type of evidence during Fanciulla/Nabucco. It’s that simple.

          • marshiemarkII

            Another singer’s war, I LOVE it!
            Too bad I don’t have an opinion otherwise I’d jump right in :-)
            But I can’t get too excited about someone who is a great Aida, since I am STILL suffering from an allergy since the L Price days…..
            But if La C, Manou and CK are that excited by this new girl, it’s time to pay attention. Is she singing the Lady M in NYC anytime soon?
            Bianchisssima, girl, I love your feistiness :-)

          • manou

            Bianca makes a point:

            http://tinyurl.com/cffy396

          • Bianca Castafiore

            manou, he’s luck he didn’t end up with pasta on his head.

            Cocky, I never did not allow other people to make judgements on Matos. All I said was, people in the house have a better sense of the singer than those that weren’t.

            You wrote above: “vocally I really can’t see anything to complain about.” Really? Others do. I don’t necessarily love that tone and the sometimes unsteady line. That’s all I said. Did you need to jump all over me about that?

          • Bianca Castafiore

            lucky! not luck.

          • Bianca Castafiore

            And one last thing, aj, you need to go read the V.I.P. thread — that’s what I was referring to when I said Monty and Camille agree with me — before you start sticking your wet nose everywhere.

          • phoenix

            Oh yes! I remember Savova. I met Zeffirelli at an interval during her Aida. She was marvelous -- Zeffirelli was charming -- but he had a devious little twinkle in his blue eyes.

        • phoenix

          I’m not going to argue the issue -- nor do I intend to join into another ‘Circular Symposium’. All I can say is more about what I heard, thought and felt from last Friday’s broadcast:
          -- Liudmyla’s tone suffers from exquisite beauty -- and it probably holds her back from sounding ‘heavily dramatic’ enough for some. In fact, so ethereal, pure & crystalline is that tone it enables her to create a dynamically clear soundworld of emotional expression. Like a painter on a fresh, clean canvas she colored that canvas with the slightest anticipatory premonition of fear, anger, ecstacy, regret all through the performance as she told me the story of Aida’s dilemma -- as if it were happening for the 1st time -- until that fresh, clean canvas became a great masterpiece.

          • Clita del Toro

            I see.

          • phoenix

    • Regina delle fate

      Manou -- it’s a very healthy sounding instrument, but she’s not much of an actress -- more of a drawback as Lady M than as Aida, but had the misfortune to be followed at Covent Garden by Latonia Moore’s Aida, which was something very special indeed. Moore’s voice is not only more beautiful and individual, but she was a sparky presence despite and managed to waft around in those guazy frocks quite niftily for a lady of such imposing physique. That said, I’m looking forward to Lyudmilla’s Abigaille. I don’t think Latonia should touch that role. Monastyrska strikes me as cut from the same cloth as Dmitrova -- if memory serves me….

      • MontyNostry

        Regina, though I am rather fond of Ghena, I do think that Monastyrska tries a bit harder when it comes to phrasing and acting, only the voice does not have quite the same thrilling immediacy. I know Ghena is always thought of as a bit of a belter, but she could do very beautiful things at lower dynamics for at least some of her career.

        • Bianca Castafiore

          Monty, did you follow Ghena much? I didn’t but I was surprised to find that early on she took on very lyric roles such as the Trov Leonora and Amelia Boccanegra.

          • MontyNostry

            I think I saw Ghena six times times in total: twice as Lady M (Verona 1982 and Covent Garden 1984?) and as Gioconda (Barbican, 1983, I think), I think as Turandot at Covent Garden (maybe 1984 or so again) and Santuzza (when the voice was showing signs of wear,Covent Garden c 1990). I have a fondness for her, even though she could be expressively blank at times.

          • Bianca Castafiore

            Montissimo! Look what I found:

            The Inez sounds so much more girlish and feminine than La Ghena.

          • Bianca Castafiore

          • Monty: So jealous of you seeing Ghena in her prime and in such plum roles! He “Vienni d’afretta” is one of the most thrilling I’ve heard.

          • Bianca Castafiore

            kashy, I never heard Ghena live but my first intro to her was a tape of her Minnie from the Met. It didn’t really make much of an impression, because I was just so intrigued by the Puccini score — shades of Turandot to come? Later I found her recorded Abigaille, Gioconda and of course, that demented Lombardi from La Scala. Her voice just didn’t caress, as some critic wrote, and wasn’t as suited for Tosca or the Trov Leonora, but of course, in big juicy dramatic roles, she was just a hurricane! Surprisingly enough, I find her Amneris really boring and ineffective.

          • marshiemarkII

            Bianchisssssima, hurricane is the right word for la Ghena in her earlyish years. I saw the same Verona Macbeth as Monty in 1982, saw it once, left Verona, and was so haunted that I had to come back for one more, totally messing up the [amorous] other plans I had, she was that good!!! likewise the Abigaille at Carnegie Hall in 84, pure demented force of nature. But by 1987, when she took second cast to Marton’s Turandot, while the voice was still formidable, the top was so unwieldy and hard, and basically like hitting the proverbial glass ceiling, that I lost interest and never saw her again. But my God that Macbeth in 1982!!!!!! completely, totally unforgettable, like a megaphone in the middle of a rainstorm, amazing!

          • Bianca Castafiore

            marshiellina, you have to go get the DVD of her Lombardi from La Scala with Carreras. She’s insane in it, substituting Verdi’s wild coloratura for some endless ululating!

          • marshiemarkII

            On your recommendation, of course I’ll get it carissssssima! and by the way I agree wrt the Amneris, it should have been GREAT, but it just isn’t

    • Clita del Toro

      Manou, well, I was not at all disappointed with Lationia’s Aida. So, I guess we can find something close to our “Platonic ideals” for an Aida.
      I will listen closely to Monastyrska later this week and see what I think. I liked her big voice (at her debut), which was very exciting at times. I am, however, more interested in her interpretation--what she does with the character--than being thrilled by a gorgeous voice. We will see……

      • armerjacquino

        What do we know about Kristin Lewis? I’m seeing her Aida in a couple of months.

        • MontyNostry

          Find out here
          http://www.kristinlewis.de/en/multimedia.html

          Sounds a bit cloudy-toned, but looks good!

          • MontyNostry

            Touch of the Martina Arroyos in the timbre, perhaps?

          • armerjacquino

            Yes, I agree. Not as beautiful a sound as Arroyo but there is some similarity. Looking forward to her now!

        • kennedet

          I heard all kinds of problems!! The sound was much too covered which is already affecting the pitch!

          Why are they throwing these young singers to the “wolves”so early in their careers??!! I’m sure I’m dating myself (actually, I don’t care) but it takes years to produce an Aida and you were told to stay away from it until you were ready with all of the ingredients which require a large spinto, flexible and skilled in the use of color and also be able to interpret extreme intensity and sincerity in violent contrasts. Maybe we are in too much of a rush to find the next famous Aida. It will take much more than an attractive Afrcan-American soprano with a good voice. I think Latonia Moore has the “chops” and more experience and time would give her the confidence needed to be a great Aida.

          • Batty Masetto

            I can’t tell who’s supposed to have the tender young unfinished voice here, but Monastyrska debuted professionally as Tatyana in 1996, so she’s bound to be comfortably into her 30s, and Latonia Moore is 33. So both are roughly the same age as Price when she made her Vienna debut as Aida at the ripe old age of 31 and that breathtaking recording at 34.

          • Bianca Castafiore

            I think he’s talking about Kristin Lewis.

            Monas is 37 from a review posted.

          • kennedet

            You are correct Bianca. I was responding after hearing Ms. Lewis.

            Also, voices like Price and Pavarotti and Norman are always exceptions to the rule IMHO.

          • marshiemarkII

            And of course the Only Maria was 29 years of age your honor, when she sang those breathtaking Medeas in Florence and La Scala

          • kennedet

            Your honor!!????

          • marshiemarkII

            Kennedet, it’s an old inside joke among opera queens, based on the 65 year old Sarah Bernhardt playing Joan D’Arc, and going in front of the judge who ask her age, and she responds with the greatest aplomb, “I am fourteen years old your honor”. And the character doing this was a 65 year old legless Bernhardt (amputee), but such is the power of THEATER!!!!
            But yes, it would have been hard for you (or anybody really) to extrapolate to that, wouldn’t it? so apologies….

          • kennedet

            No apology needed. I found it amusing and we all know that laughter protects the heart.

  • ianw2

    To be fair, the Egyptians did tend to shave all over to prevent lice (even more important in one’s muscular slaves who would typically be around livestock and outdoors). But the point that victory parades probably didn’t look like a well funded Kristen Bjorn intro is well taken.

    Naturally, the level of epilation is the primary concern of any well thought-out Aida. That much is fundamental.

    • MontyNostry

      Didn’t they use pumice? Arrrgh. Never mind the bits of sand in their flour that ground down their teeth.

    • manou

      Thank you ian -- in my innocence I had to google Kristen Bjorn and now discover that glabrous can also be scabrous.

      (and parenthetically I loved Sydney and many thanks for the museum tip).

      • grimoaldo

        “glabrous can also be scabrous.”

        hahahahahahaha
        another phrase for the ages, right up there with “specify, ass, whatever”!

        manou -- such a treasure.

  • The Vicar of John Wakefield

    Where was Rutter?

    And why wasn’t Claire Ormshaw brought in as the Priestess??

  • Bianca Castafiore

    marshie, did you miss the Racette v. Gheorghiu Tosca war?????

    Now they are starting Penda vs. Michael, apparently in the other thread…

    • marshiemarkII

      Of course I didn’t miss it carisssssima Bianchissssima (love ya) love your spirit, reminds me of ME when I was young :-) (remember that one?)

      Anyway, again it seems MMII cannot get overly excited about non-Wagnerian singers these days, although right at the moment I am torn between Cosi and Meistersingers, gone are the portentous dramas for MMII for now :-). Maybe reason why I am LOVING the portentous dramas of parterre!

      P.S. Don’t know Penda at all, but cannot imagine who are the fans of that repulsive NADA Michael. I saw a couple of nights ago (on Classic Arts Showcase after midnight) a Schlussgesang from Salome from La Scala, and I *literally* could not believe my ears, who could have offered her a job in the first place!, and guess what, she got what sounded like a hearty OVATION, that’s right! at La Scala! Go figure…..
      The new star duo Nada Michael and LiLO!!!! Long live Western Civilization!

  • Bianca Castafiore

    Thanks to Monty for reminding us of this lady, a bit smoother and richer sound for Aida:

    • marshiemarkII

      What good taste carisssssima Bianchissssima, now Anna T-S was glorious in everything she did, but I loved her more in Mozart and Strauss of course. You know von Karajan described her as the most perfect voice he had ever heard. And who told me that but none other than Hildegard Behrens, who heard it from the greatest Maestro’s lips

      • MontyNostry

        And of course Hilde and Anna were mothers-in-law!

        • phoenix

          Ha-ha! Love it!

      • marshiemarkII

        Yes Monty, but Hildegard told me that story around the time of ATS’glorious Elsa for the Opening of the Met 1984, exactly ten years before the children met in Greece. Hildegard shared that story just out of her trademark generosity of spirit, for a colleague she was not even friendly with at the time! The story of course dates to Hildegard and von Karajan’s time together in Salzburg circa 77/78 since Hildegard never spoke to von Karajan again after 1980. The children got married in 1994!
        In any event, it is quite clear that Anna T-S was von Karajan’s favorite singer for a very long time!

        • MontyNostry

          … and she is a thoroughly nice woman too. Warm and big-hearted and lots of fun.

        • marshiemarkII

          You know the children met on Christos Lambrakis yacht in the Aegean, and later at his villa in a private island. As you may know, Christos was Maria Callas closest friend, so Maria herself had been to the yacht and villa multiple times, it is all such a small world. Then from there, they all came to NYC for New Years Eve, and of course the greatest Elektra premiere on Jan 6 1994, and got married shortly after (in April I think). Hildegard and Anna, now as family became very close, and even did a Duo Tour of Japan where they sang Norma (Mira o Norma, twice) Nozze Letter duett (twice) and Cat Duet, plus some single chestnuts, Immolation, Capriccio, etc. Imagine those grand-children genes!

          • MontyNostry

            Was La Matheopoulos on the boat too — with her tentacles out, no doubt?

          • marshiemarkII

            But of course Monty, how do you know?
            Those tentacles reach all the way to NYC :-) :-) :-)

        • grimoaldo

          “Hildegard never spoke to von Karajan again after 1980.”

          Why not? If you have told us this before marshie I missed it, could you give us the inside info?

          • marshiemarkII

            Yes grimo, I have told that story before, but for you anything :-)
            It’s the famous Elektra film contretemp. When von Karajan did the Salome EMI recording, and Salzburg production in 1977, he wanted to follow up with recording and new production of Elektra in 1978. Behrens adamantly refused telling him that she saw Salome and Elektra as having vastly different levels of difficulty, and thinking to herself that she would only do Elektra AFTER having sung Brunnhilde (something that wasn’t remotely on anybody’s plans at the time). Karajan finally relented and moved on, but became very jealous of Hildegard starting to work with the greatest Dr Karl (who truly adored her from the bottom of his heart), in particular as Fidelio and Ariadne. Hildegard also did Fidelio with Karajan in 1978, and then he offered her the Kundry for his upcoming new recording of Parsifal for DG. She was ecstatic! Then Dr Karl decides to make the film of Elektra and who he wants as his first choice but none other than Hildegard of course! Her reply was the same as to Karajan, and she added “I am honored beyond dreams, but not only I cannot do it now, but when I do, I will do it first with Karajan to whom I already gave my word!”. Dr Karl then turned to Rysanek, and there it is a magnificent portrayal of a great artist in this single performance. Nilsson became enraged when she found out that her dear friend Leonie was doing “MY ROLES”, but what poor Birgit didn’t know, was that Dr Karl had not ever even considered her for the project (that gave the big break to Marton at the Met, but that is a whole another story :-) )

            But the Salzburg intrigants were never done with their nefarious work, so somebody (who shall remain nameless) one day walks up to Karajan and tells him “did you hear your little Hildegard is doing Elektra for a film with Boehm” whereupon Karajan flew into a rage, and immediately sent a telegram to Behrens “consider yourself released from the contract to record Parsifal”. She said she was completely dumbfounded when she got that, until she finally figured it out what had happened. She told me she made no further attempt to reach out to him, as he had gone totally on rumor without ever checking with her first. Never spoke again, but when she was working on her contract for the first Elektra in Paris in 1987, she sent him a note “will finally do Elektra, plans to do it in 1987. You have the first dibs if you are still interested”. He answered back “terrible back, no longer can conduct Elektra, best of luck”, he died two years later. Und das ist alles
            Disclaimer: All stuff in “” is paraphrased to the best of my recollection of course….

          • grimoaldo

            Thank you marshie dear, very interesting.
            People often say “such and such a role is too heavy for so and so, why did she take it on, she should have had more sense”, but what this story shows is it is often the conductors or music directors who pile on the pressure for singers to take on parts they do not feel ready for, and there can be serious consequences for singers who are brave enough to say “no” to these powerful figures.

          • Bianca Castafiore

            From what I remember reading, Karajan pressured Bumbry to take on Donna Anna (!!!) after their Carmens together, and she said no, and he never worked with her again.

            Also, wasn’t Karajan the genius who thought Ricciarelli should sing (and made her do) Turandot and other heavy stuff?

          • MontyNostry

            If Grace had sung Donna Anna, Don Giovanni would have been dead meat in the first 5 minutes of the opera. She is fierce (and we love her). That being said, I think her ‘Non mi dir’ could have been a bit of a trial (but, then, it usually is …)

          • armerjacquino

            Ricciarelli never sang TURANDOT on stage, though, did she? I doubt a few studio sessions will have done too much lasting harm.

            There’s no doubt Karajan did push singers to take parts a size to big for them, though.

          • Bianca Castafiore

            At one point, Monty, La Grazia had some facility with coloratura as per her Eboli and Elvira — but of course that was fleeting, she wasn’t a bel cantista and didn’t pretend to be one (like Netrebko).

          • Bianca Castafiore

            GRRR… I was trying to post the link of the YT Ernani aria from Bumbry’s BBC 1972 doc, but of course, YT is embedding the whole playlist. Whatever…

          • Bianca Castafiore

            aj, you still up, you persnickety pest? A simple online search would have answered your own question before you finished typing it.

            And the answer of course is, La Castafiore is never wrong.

          • armerjacquino

            bianca, please stop it with the insults. I’m not interested in a fight and it’s very boring to keep getting playground insults every time my opinion doesn’t coincide with yours.

          • MontyNostry

            That BBC Ernani shows Grace on best soprano behaviour and she can indeed manage fluent, elegant coloratura, but I think ‘Non mi dir’ would have got a bit screechy. On the other hand, she could have been an exciting (if probably a bit wild) Donna Elvira.

          • I think Grace would have fared better as Donna Elvira. I think hear her outrage already!

          • Bianca Castafiore

            Monty, speaking of coloratura facility, are you aware that La Grazia also sang the Trov Leonora, not on stage but in the Met’s concerts in the parks series in NYC? Ira Siff mentioned in once in ON and said it was ‘creamy.’

      • peter

        I too preferred Anna T-S in the German rep., but I heard her in a live Traviata at the Met in 1987 which moved me to tears and I’m not even a big Traviata fan. I would never associate Anna T-S with Violetta but it all worked that night.

        • armerjacquino

          The only time I was due to see ATS she cancelled- an ARIADNE at the ROH. I wasn’t too devastated, however, as Janowitz went on instead.

          • MontyNostry

            Grubi as Zerbinetta, I believe.

          • armerjacquino

            You believe right!

        • marshiemarkII

          Talk about Questa o Quella!!!!!
          My main life’s dilemma about the VLL!

        • kennedet

          I have/had a mad love affair with Grace Bumbry as a Mezzo. I purposely never followed her after she switched to Soprano.I’m sure my stubborness has caused me to miss some great momnents after the switch but it was too difficult to hear this magnificent lush sound put in another fach. She will always be my favorite Mezzo.

    • armerjacquino

      Her live Munich AIDA also benefits from a fantastic, firebreathing Amneris courtesy of Fassbaender.

      • MontyNostry

        I am a Fassbaender fan (especially in Lieder), but wasn’t Amneris a bit big and high for her?

        • armerjacquino

          Yep. That’s what’s so exciting ;-)

          • Porgy Amor

            Fassbaender sounds on the verge of combustion at times, and the Judgment Scene must have drained her (Muti holds nothing back), but it is an exciting Amneris. The cast list makes it look as though the theater assembled a LOHENGRIN cast and then switched the script (Amonasro is…Nimsgern), but it compares very well with other live AIDA recordings in circulation, IMO. Tomowa-Sintow, a singer I don’t usually like, is stunning,

    • Thanks for bringing up ATS. First time I heard her was at the Met Centennial singing “Ernani involami”. But then, I never really came across her singing though the name was always on my radar. I really enjoyed listening to her Ariadne arias just now. Need to hear more of her. I think she’s Amelia on a Met DVD of Simon B that has been sitting on my shelf, unwatched, for ages.

      httpV://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=xBVT3jWsshE&feature=endscreen

      • armerjacquino

        Kash, it was that Met BOCCANEGRA which was posted earlier in the thread, if you want to give it an audition…

      • Oops, caps-lock was on:

        httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=xBVT3jWsshE&feature=endscreen

      • MontyNostry

        That ‘Ernani, involami’ is indeed splendid. I was a bit disappointed not long afterwards when I saw her live for the first time -- as Maddalena de Coigny opposite Domingo -- since the voice didn’t ssem to project as I had expected, but I saw lots of good stuff with her subsequently (Ariadne, Madeleine, Yaroslavna, Kaiserin, Marschallin …). Not so good as Tosca though — maybe verismo wasn’t her thing (though I know she was admired as Butterfly.)

  • MontyNostry

    Haha. Brigitte takes no prisoners!

    • Belfagor

      There’s a live Werther from Munich c.1978 with Domingo and Fassbaender absolutely BLAZES as Charlotte -- all caution thrown to the winds, just riveting!

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Another take on Egypt by a forgotten, but important composer and a good way for Borodina to make it through the judgement scene.


    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      This ancient Egyptian could probably help her too:

    • Someone (Golijov?) should write a bio-opera on Um Kulthum for Borodina -- working towards a public partnership with Mohammed Abdel Wahab while her Sapphic private life is in turmoil. Falk Struckmann could play singer/composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab. And get this: President Nasser could be played by Placido Domingo.

      • Bianca Castafiore

        croche, but of course La Kulthhum should be played by La Podles!

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

        and La Frittoli can be the vixen.

  • Review of the Monday night performance (thank you Met Rush Line) is up on Superconductor, written by that old opera hack Yours Truly.

    • marshiemarkII

      Honee superc, hate to do this but if I don’t CammiBelle will get to it sooner or later. It is RitornA VincitOr. And the note at the end of Celeste Aida is a high B not a C!

      • Camille

        B flat.

        Thank you for subbing for me, Madame Marschallina. Ich bin müde heute tag.

        Con tanto amore segreto—
        La donna traviata

  • phoenix

    -- ATS: I liked her Elsa and all of her live recorded performances isssued on CD’s except the Capriccio. Didn’t like her Amelia-Maria at the Met, but that is a very tricky role to bring off -- ATS was bit too presumptuous and matronly -- the role requires simplicity, restraint, and most of all: una bella voce (even below the passagio).
    -- Ghena: I loved her -- saw all of the roles she sang in NYC. Of all of them, she was probably the most sincere and unaffected artist that I was privileged to see at the Met. I met her once in the audience as we were trying to get out through the crush in the aisles into the lobby during an interval at the Met -- she was dressedup late 20th century fashionably oldfashioned -- like a very humble & proper version of Zinka (senza jewelry & furs -- remember how all the frail old ladies in their tiaras would cluster around the zaftig Zinka during the intervals at the Met & Carneige Hall? -- poor Zinka had so many double chins that from a distance I could tell whether she was wearing a mammonth string of pearls or what). Ghena was much more simple and pensive, despite her phenomenal voice & technique --> and she came off as rather placid onstage, even as Amneris (splendidly sung & statuesque as it was) she had absolutely no bravura in her aura. I got so upset one night in the last act of Gioconda when absolutely no one applauded after her Suicidio!
    -- Grace: I saw her many, many times -- she sang a very hectic schedule to exhaustion with varied results, rarely cancelling (unusual exception: a 1970 Don Carlo, wherein Grace gave up after the auto-da-fé and they snatched Nell Rankin out of the audience to sing a very good O Don Fatale). Grace was an equally notable Laura as she was a Gioconda (I saw her in both roles -- and those are the ones I enjoyed her most). She is still a 1st class singer, but I always wondered whether her long-lasting popularity had more to do the the political situation of the times she lived in as well as the fact that she started quite young & had the opportunity to work with so many of the great, legendary singers from the mid-20th century. No more comments other than Grace had (and is still having) a very successful career --> all the way through she did very well with what she had to work with.

    • messa di voce

      Grace’s career was marked by non-stop predictions of imminent burnout (“Venus at such a young age”), and look what happened.

      • phoenix

        Right -- but she once had an beautiful tone (1967 as Laura) but as you say, that beautiful tone suffered from chronic attacks of burnout. Again, it’s a credit to her intelligence and shrewdness that she was able to sing as long as she did -- and afterwards have a greater than the usual success as a private teacher.

  • grimoaldo

    San Francisco 1967, La Gioconda complete live performance, audio only (slightly annoying the way whoever uploaded this fades the sound down as soon as the audience starts to applaud so the final orchestral chords at the end of scenes are cut off), with Bumbry as Laura, Leyla Gencer as Gioconda and Maureen Forrester as Cieca. It is fantastic, Gencer is magnificent, how can it be that she never sang at the Met, what were they, crazy? And at Covent Garden only two performances of Donna Anna in the 60’s, very strange.
    The men are not quite on that level, Renato Cioni,Chester Ludgin,Ara Berberian?, fabulous conducting of Giuseppe Patane.

    • phoenix

      oh grim! I can’t get anything done this morning because of your posting above -- there was never a Gioconda like that! I think there were 4 (maybe only 3, I don’t remember for sure) performances that season, but I went to every one of them -- it was like they might as well have closed the town down. I never heard Gencer nor Bumbry in such beautiful voice again. Bumbry had a full, resonant, lucious, warm tone -- none of the grainy harshness I heard out of her in later years -- she was right on the mark, as you can hear, very relaxed, confident and convincing.
      -- Watching & listening to Gencer was like getting a complete masterclass in the art of fine legato singing & interpretation -- something I desperately needed then as well as now. Gencer did not have a big voice even in her prime (nowhere’s near as large as Bumbry’s) and that may have been one of the major reasons why Bing didn’t want her. Regardless, what Gencer had was what most of the others didn’t.
      -- The HACKENSACK, HOBOKEN, NEWARK circuit: The last time I saw Gencer (as Odabella in Newark) sady she seemed to be losing her voice as well as her health. Always trim, svelte and captivatingly graceful onstage, at Newark Gencer was rail thin and emaciated looking -- realistically one could justifiably interpret Odabella as starving to death during that war -- it has been recorded that the invading Huns burnt the crops & killed the livestock -- just as the invading central Asian hordes did in Ukraine & Russia and the invading United States Army did in their own Confederate States -- but I was used to seeing firmer, more filled-out Odabellas (Cruz-Romo & Zschau) and my heavens! compared to the even more zaftig Odabella they had in S.F (La Garcia), Gencer was like the proverbial mouse next to the elephant. Unfortunately she sounded like it.
      -- If you get a chance, listen to Renato Cioni (also not a very big voice) with a keener ear. Old-fashioned as his singing style may sound, he was very popular in his heyday in Italy -- as much so as Bergonzi. Cioni had a lighter, brighter sound than Bergonzi with more incisive articulation = evident because of Cioni’s higher placement and crystalline clear production. Listen to how he uses intonation alone to open up and close a vowel on a single note without resorting to crescendo-decrescendo.
      -- Many thanks again grim. This has been posted before and everytime it comes up in comment it finishes me off for the day.