Headshot of La Cieca

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  • danpatter: I heard her live only once, a beautifully sung and very womanly Dalila opposite Jon Vickers at the... 1:26 AM
  • Guestoria Unpopularenka: I believe you mean Göteborg which is in Sweden. 1:21 AM
  • Baritenor: Every year I go down the Met Roster, and am SHOCKED by some of the names found as covers, many of... 1:20 AM
  • Guestoria Unpopularenka: Aleksandrina Milcheva is actually turning 80, her birth year listed is 1934. 12:40 AM
  • steveac10: That’s been the casting rule at the Met for decades – even pre-Ingpen. B-list... 11:08 PM
  • Guestoria Unpopularenka: GiordanI. 10:43 PM
  • Guestoria Unpopularenka: Giordano would be marvelous. 10:40 PM
  • messa di voce: Other singers available to jump in for Vargas, please. 10:08 PM
  • Grane: Well, no one can say she lacks joie de vivre like all the boring Americans. 9:44 PM
  • Krunoslav: You mean audiences have been enduring Papatanasiu’ s screeching while Mary Dunleavy sits... 9:27 PM

May I have the envelope please?

Our Own JJ (not pictured) is delighted and humbled—well, delighted anyway—to have been chosen as the namesake for a series of semi-apocryphal awards just announced by Musical America.

82 comments

  • ianw2 says:

    I am trying to talk myself into walking to the local arty cinema on a Saturday morning which is going to be as hot as balls to catch a delayed (very delayed) Met Tempest tomorrow.

    Whilst I really love the piece, I’m really struggling to convince myself to go through with it, so the dubious award didn’t help (plus side: air conditioned cinema! already paid! down side: can’t be arsed, test cricket).

    • Cocky Kurwenal says:

      How many times have you listened to the EMI recording? If you haven’t properly prepared you may as well stay home -- fundamental truth.

  • The Wistful Pelleastrian says:

    grimoaldo,

    “To please the English you must give them music they can tap their feet to” — Handel

    “Foot -tapping tunes, gorgeous melodies, amusement, is always high on the agenda”

    Maybe this is part of the problem… ?

    I prefer Debussy’s words:

    “There’s too much singing in opera. My characters endeavor to sing like real persons, and not in an arbitrary language built upon antiquated traditions. The blossoming of the voice into true singing should occur only when required. No developments merely for the sake of development”

    • grimoaldo says:

      Wistful, you quoted someone calling people (like me) who enjoy, or love, the music of Lully, Rameau, Marc Antoine Charpentier and Handel deviants, vagrants, disturbed and disturbing and compared us to a gang of hillbilly rapists in an old movie.
      This on an website dedicated to opera.
      I am not going to communicate with you any more, there is no longer any point in addressing questions or comments to me.

      • The Wistful Pelleastrian says:

        grimoaldo,

        Jeez, I didn’t even pick up on that section!!

        Honestly I’m so sorry about that… :-(

        Look at all my postings over the past year and half on parterre. Do I ever discuss sexual topics or gossip or private lives or anything else? No, I have no interest in any of that stuff.

        I copy and pasted without carefully reading that middle section.

        Again I am very sorry.

    • No Expert says:

      For Heaven’s sake, Handel is the master of them all. Just accept it and move on.

      • Clita del Toro says:

        No Expert, right. Everyone doesn’t have to like everything, no matter how great.
        I would never disparage Baroque opera just because I am not especially fond of it or because I don’t know it well. On the other hand, I don’t mind making fun of certain singers, great or not so great. ;+)

  • Camille says:

    La Cieca—
    Couldn’t the awards have a slightly longer name, like :

    The JaJo Awards

    Or

    The JamJor Awards
    For instance?

    The JameJord also works, no?

    I dunno, just trying to come up with something catchy.

  • manou says:

    La Cieca, could we please have detailed and precise instructions on the immensely complex subject of “Copying And Pasting“, a technique so arcane that it may lead to unforeseen disasters such as Doctoring Quotes To Remove Unhelpful Comments, Failing To Notice Scatological Comparisons, and even in the worst cases Temporary Blindness to Offensive Content?

    Even the most experienced Copasters (or Copouters as they are sometimes known in the industry) can also fall foul of the Unattributed Quote, a minor but disturbing error.

    • bluecabochon says:

    • Batty Masetto says:

      Meantime, inexperienced birders should beware of the Common Muddle-Headed Sapsucker, whose borrowed plumage may lead them to mistake it for the Thoughtful Intellectual, a much rarer species.

      Apart from its habit of adorning itself with other birds’ feathers (which it pokes into the most peculiar places among its own drab fluff), the Common Muddle-Headed Sapsucker has a further behavioral oddity: in a reversal of the behavior of the cowbird, which lays its eggs in others’ nests, it takes other birds’ eggs and plants them in its own. But since it has no clue about what’s inside them or how to incubate them, they usually rot, fouling the nest and indeed the entire neighborhood. Homeowners are well advised to encourage these birds to nest elsewhere.

      • Camille says:

        Batty— thou dost strike the fear of a wrathful deity in mine heart!!

        I shall be on the lookout for that dread bird and stand firmly and well-advised.

        Thank you and don’t forget my recipe, please!

        Love

        LaDonna Summer Traviata

        • Batty Masetto says:

          Camille my love, your old email address no longer works.

          Please email me from your current address and I’ll send that recipe.

          • Camille says:

            I am sorry but had no idea as I had not been there awhile. Tomorrow I shall attend to the matter.

            Love, Camille

  • kashania says:

    17th century French opera is much different than the more typical Baroque opera (by Handel and Vivialdi) that people are used to. The works of Lully and Charpentier are closer to Monterverdi in feel. They are like sung plays, with heavy emphasis on the text and mostly continuous recitative. There are few excerpts that one can take away from these pieces but the overall experience can be absolutely mesmerising and dramatically more vital than operas by Handel (wonderful as the music may be). There is far less emphasis on vocal displays so a singer is not going to be able to show off in the same way as in an 18th century Italian opera. I would love to have seen Atys

  • uwsinnyc says:

    This is the first I’ve heard that Makropoulos was supposed to be Mattila’s farewell. She’s not that old at all and far too young to be retiring?

    On a tangential note of singers who might consider retiring, I saw Olga Borodina’s Amneris last night. Great and terrible performance at the same time.

    • m. croche says:

      Borodina’s Marfa last season sounded good to me -- and the reports from in-house were similarly positive. I look forward to the Akhrossimova of her twilight years (a fella can dream, can’t he?)

      Too bad that two of the most successful outings last year, Makropulos and Khovanshchina, didn’t receive HDs. Oh well, we’ll always have Dessay’s Traviata to treasure.

      • Maury D says:

        Truly, in Khovansch. she couldn’t have sounded better. Probably there are some roles she should let go. It happens to everyone. It doesn’t mean they should retire.

    • Camille says:

      Sad to say, as I have loved her singing, but it is time for Olga to look into Uleica, La Cieca, and la vecchia Madelon, roles which don’t go much above a G4. The lower portion of the voice still rich, opulent and viable. It pains me for I wished she could have gone on forever. Perhaps by the time of the HD she will steadily improve? Here’s hoping.

      • Clita del Toro says:

        E strano, I thought Borodina was fine last night. If she messed up a few highs--doesn’t bother me. Rather hear her than Kojack.

        • la vociaccia says:

          Clita, what was your impression of monastyrska? I thought she was fab in house last friday

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Vociaccia: Monastryska: The plusses: I think she has a big, gorgeous, free, voice and sings the role of Aida beautifully for the most part. It must be exciting to hear that in person.
            That said, I found her performance/interpretation a bit on the cold side, lacking in personality and individuality. I would go to see her if she were singing in Chicago.
            I much preferred Latonia’s Aida last year. I was very moved and excited by Latonia’s Aida--not so with Liudmyla’s.
            I am, however, looking forward to hearing Monastyrska in other roles. I am sure she will be around for a long time.

        • scifisci says:

          I was at the second performance and felt borodina was only a shadow of herself. It was one of the great voices out there, but now it is just so unsteady even in the middle. The bottom of course remains luxurious. I find the description of her performance as great and terrible at the same time to be very accurate. She still has everything else, so she knows how to put the role over convincingly, but the voice is not what it was.

        • Camille says:

          Just a few high notes but important ones to climactic phrases. Still, the quality and texture of the voice to me is so beautiful, no, it doesn’t matter. I remember when those high notes were dynamite, that’s the only problem.

          • uwsinnyc says:

            yes the quality of the voice is still very rich. The singing however has developed an almost “desperate” edge where she seems to be lunging for notes much of the time.

            Also agree with Monatryska- (I was at the third performance)- the voice and singing were both first rate and the voice soared just the way an Aida should without sounding too heavy. Dramatically though, she was a tad too inert. but it’s easier to have the voice and develop lacking acting skills than the other way around!

      • Bianca Castafiore says:

        When I heard Borodina as Amneris in 2005, I almost fell out of my chair when she opened her mouth and the most opulent, rich, luxurious tone poured out. But even back then, she shied away from the highest notes (B flats?) in the Judgement Scene — she barely touched them and got off quickly. I’ve always thought that Amneris and Eboli were problematic for her due to a short top. But I still love that deep, wine-colored instrument of hers. Maybe I just love deep female voices since I also love Podles, Sementchuk and Garanca.

    • kashania says:

      I think Mattila’s farewell (to the Met, not to opera) stems from some rumoured frisson with Gelb. It would be a shame if she didn’t come back to the stage where she’s had such wonderful triumphs. Her rep is changing due to her declining upper register but she still has much to offer as an artist. I’d kill to see her as Ortud or Kostelnicka.

  • messa di voce says:

    Borodina is actually a few years younger than Mattila. They’re both dealing with repertory crises, brought on by rapidly shrinking tops. I think Mattila’s situation is actually more difficult: can she continue a career with just the Janacek roles?

    • messa di voce says:

      Actually . . . actually . .. actually . . .

      Hate it when I do that.

      La Cieca, we’ve been good boys and girls. Maybe you could give us an edit function for Christmas?

    • kashania says:

      I think she could also do Ortrud, Sieglinde, Ariadne and Kundry.

    • uwsinnyc says:

      I wouldn’t call Mattila’s a “rapidly shrinking top”.
      May be the very top notes perhaps.

      What surprised me when I heard her in Makropoulos case was how much smaller the voice sounded. Has anyone else felt that too?