Headshot of La Cieca

Cher Public

  • Bill: Feldmarschallin – Vienna used to have closed performances as well several in a season. Or once... 12:12 AM
  • mia apulia: Hell, the voice was certainly grand, the presence was grand, and the musicianship was grand. Why... 11:58 PM
  • Flora del Rio Grande: JohninSeattle: Thank you for that commentary; I interviewed S. J. at the time (early... 11:34 PM
  • Constantine A. Papas: Netrebko has arrived. Finally! Why now? Because TT and JJ are on the same page; both... 11:04 PM
  • overstimmelated: Not Billinghurst?? (Billing rhymes with “fulfilling& #8221;) … Did she leave her... 9:13 PM
  • DeepSouthSenior: In my limited experience, Polenzani is at his best among a gifted ensemble that’s... 8:20 PM
  • Benedetta Funghi-Trifolati: Ah! Marion Lippert! The torments she suffered. I saw all her Met roles (Senta,... 8:12 PM
  • peter: Hartig sang gorgeously last night. I haven’t heard such a beautiful lyric soprano voices in ages. 8:00 PM
  • la vociaccia: I’d say Polenzani is quite appropriately rated, actually. He has a very big career and he... 7:45 PM
  • MontyNostry: Ciccia, you make me seem so vulgar by comparison. 7:35 PM

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]

123 comments

  • grimoaldo says:

    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 says:

      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.