Headshot of La Cieca

Cher Public

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin: This is exactly what they did. Keenlyside attempted to sing Act II, but conked... 4:01 AM
  • Buster: Thanks Camille, to you too! The (renovated) opera house in Liege is beautiful. Lots of elderly... 12:33 AM
  • Buster: httpv://www.youtub e.com/watch?v=VJSp 9mYT9GM 12:11 AM
  • zinka: The old standing line was a “life unto itself.” I just cannot figure out why,wearing a... 11:59 PM
  • peter: Kennlyside’s understudy sang the dress rehearsal. They probably just plugged in footage from it. 10:38 PM
  • Camille: Many happy returns to Maestro Tilson Thomas, whom I remember from the late sixties(!) onward, and... 10:32 PM
  • aulus agerius: Correction: Keenlyside in the first act and someone else after that. 10:08 PM
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Gentlemen prefer blinds

Which heaven-sent young artist is about to make a late Christmas present of his talents to an opera house that now (uselessly, no doubt) regrets not casting him in the first place?

168 comments

  • zinka says:

    Funny….I did notice last year in one chat,that Clita proved to be a total ABERRATION..something like the folks on that horrendous nasty Rec.musioc.opera..whereas 99% of the posters here are lovable..agree or disagree. I take all of this as a complimnt….but Clita..I do hope they put Brad Pitt in your stocking…

    Lovingly Adelaide Negri

  • zinka says:

    Geeee.I did not proof read and made a few typos..I think I got caught up in my loving response to Madama Vibratoless Zampieri’s sister that I made some errors….

    La Cieca and I once sat in my house and got hysterical at her Odabella…..

  • zinka says:

    Voigt is overrated.

    I did not hear the Giordani troyens..He might be bad..but I have heard him 15 times at the Met..the voice is brilliant…he sings with easy..fabulous top..

    Look, 26 funerals this week is more important…

    • Gualtier M says:

      Giordani is not getting any younger and he never really figured out the passaggio. Most of the time he could only produce half of his voice at a time. Either the middle was focused but he couldn’t get over the break to the top or the middle sounded like a goat with laryngitis but then out would come these blinding, Italian sunshine high notes. I also must mention that he went into noticeably heavier repertory in the last 7 or 8 years. That and age can take some of the sheen off of a voice -- especially one that was never really in technical balance -- great high notes aside.

      They should get Eve Queler to conducts these “Troyens” -- he only seems to have all the voice working for her. I will always treasure the Enzo, Maurizio, Raoul, Arnold and Edgar at Carnegie Hall with OONY. But when he sang Vasco de Gama for her a few years ago he was too “can belto” and rough in places.

      • zinka says:

        THIS is the kind of intelligent and non-meanie post that i love..One can learn from it..This is the essence of a forum..when people do not get crazy..but say intelligemt things..THANKS to Gualtier….You have a Caro Nome

      • kashania says:

        GM: I think that’s a very accurate assessment of Giordani. Even at this best (and I have a high opinion of some of his past work), his singing had its problems which would have made him problematic as Enee. Now, he is simply past his prime and should wind down his career (and quickly). As is usually the case at the Met, they have miscalculated his past due date.

      • Bianca Castafiore says:

        In re: last year’s Africaine, that was a filthy evening, wasn’t it? Giordani was not good, but not as bad as Taigi as the titulaire Selika. But in the end, I blame Meyerbeer, who concocted such a dinosaur of an opera.

        Unless we can resurrect the 1978 London perf. that Belfagor mentioned, with La Grazia herself delicately lowering herself onto delicately quilted cushions, dying to the fumes of a poisonous manzanillier tree, this beast of an opera cannot be recreated. (Audio recordings of that perf. shows La Bumbarina in very good form, the voice very flexible and high-lying. Was that a radio broadcast?)

        • Camille says:

          Blame Meyerbeer!! Yes, that’s the answer, instead of blaming Camille!

          Ah, c’mon, Bianchina, have a heart. It wasn’t as bad as all that. It was what it was. Elie Dehn was good. It’s not as though any of them had that many chances to run through the work or perform it in order to perfect it. Give it a pass, please. At least, we got to hear great bleeding chunks of it.

          And L’Africaine was first conceived for la Falcon, back in the late thirties, if something I read somewhere can be trusted, and then various other divæ down the turnpike were cast in it, including that firebrand of Les Vêpres Siciliennes, Sophie Cruvelli--before she became a Vicountess, that is—and so, by the time it finally showed up at l’Opéra, well, it had collapsed from old age, just as you and I have, dearie!!! Give it a break!

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Cammyushka! Darling!!!! Were you there as well, like all of NY’s opera high society, be-plumed and be-jeweled? Gualtier wore the Plotnik diamond, and I, my famous emerald!!!!!

            I can’t forgive Meyerbeer for not knowing whether Selika was Madagascan, Hindu or an African queen. That geographical confusion drove me insane. It’s a farrago of an opera, no doubt. None of the characters move me either. I did enjoy listening to the London performances though (the later ones, in 1981, Bonisolli partnering La Grazia — one can only imagine how those rehearsals went!!!!). I wish there was video evidence of Bumbry’s Selika.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            And most disappointing was La Taigi’s messy, clowdy and grey tone… except at the beginning of the berceuse, when her top showed some promise. But then it went all downhill from there.

          • Camille says:

            Mais oui, Bianchina. How could you forget me, wearing the Maharini’s Star of India ruby pendant upon my bosom?

            A regular Italian flag when we all lined up together in your box, non?

            As far as La Taigi, I was willing to give her a break. Thinking she hadn’t had an awful lot of rehearsal or experience as Sélica, I scurried off to hear her again and, well, sort of to my grand chagrin. She IS on the Met roster now, just as one of those extra sopranos, so she may *surprise* us yet!

            It is a little strange that Giordani’s voice should be giving out now — he will only be 50 next month, so think how well many others were doing at this age…quite well. It’s a shame, as at his best he is quite good and enjoyable.

            Ta-ta! Rossignol du Milano, make sure the Cap’n is happy this holiday.

            Love U,
            Cammilyuska

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            CammiBelle,

            I did not know you were such a cougar, snatching the world’s most eligible bachelor!!!!!

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/19/tim-tebow-camilla-belle-break-up_n_2332382.html

            Apropos Meyerbeer, I mispoke… ’cause I’m blaming poor Giacomo for dying before the opera was performed. The geographical confusion was exacerbated by others completing and naming the opera after his death. But I still think it’s his fault not making Selika’s origin more clearly.

            As I said, I don’t really like any of those characters, and the love triangle is so typical of European works at the time as well: European male hero -- exotic (often Arab/Muslim) temptress, who gets her comeuppance and death -- virtuous European woman, who ends up with the hero.

            Un buon natale a te, carina!!!!!!! Don’t eat too much dessert.

          • phoenix says:

            Happy Holidays to my beloved Bianca, for whom the concept of mixed race doesn’t always apply to operatic heroines:
            -> from Wikipedia MADAGASCAR entry:
            ‘The Malagasy [Madagascar] ethnic group forms over 90 percent of Madagascar’s population and is typically divided into eighteen ethnic sub-groups. Recent DNA research revealed that the genetic makeup of the average Malagasy person constitutes an approximately equal blend of Austronesian [Southeast Asia and Oceania] and East African genes, although the genetics of some communities show a predominance of Austronesian or African origins or some Arab, Indian or European ancestry. Austronesian origins are most predominant among the Merina of the central highlands, who form the largest Malagasy ethnic sub-group at approximately 26 percent of the population, while certain communities among the coastal peoples (collectively called côtiers) have relatively stronger African origins.’

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Huh? You lost me there, fenice.

            I’m aware that Malagasy people are (often but not always) of mixed race, but what does that have to do with Selika being African or Hindu? The title says she’s African but she and the priests sing praises to Brahma and Vishnu, so obviously Meyerbeer intended her homeland to be India. Madagascar (and sometimes Ceylon) is often speculated to be her country by some, but the Malagasy are not Hindu for sure.

          • phoenix says:

            Sorry Bianca -- from your last comment I realize you are referring to culture not race.
            - As far as I have read thus far, Vasco da Gama only stopped once in Madagascar (on the west coast of the island). Many of his activities involved the Hindu regions of India -- that may have been the source of the ‘Hindu’ element in the opera. But I haven’t found any sources confirming Madagascar had a Hindu rulership or notable population group at the time of Vasco da Gama -- but they did have a long tradition of Arab (from the 10th century) trading networks and their first alphabet came from Arabic.
            - I think L’africaine plot was sort of thrown together from the better known African exploits of Vasco da Gama, which did involve his claiming Mozambique (on the east African coastline closest to Madagascar -- but not the island of Madagascar itself) as a Portuguese colony. The more provincial island of Madagascar was still culturally rather terra incognita during Meyerbeer’s time and the opera was probably set there to make it appear to be more exotic.

            “The Portuguese mariner [Diogo] Diego Dias became the first European to set foot on Madagascar when his ship, bound for India, blew off course in 1500. In the ensuing two-hundred years, the English and French tried (and failed) to establish settlements on the island.” -- The History of Madagascar -- Wikipedia

            http://tinyurl.com/ctp2bpr

        • kashania says:

          Bianca: Here are Shirley, Grace and Jessye all in the same youtube video (though not singing together).

      • Clita del Toro says:

        Right, I remember a Pirata years ago (not from the Met) where Giordani sounded so horrible, I thought it was a joke. Most of his Met performances that I have heard on the radio were quite uneven, as Gualtier mentions above.

        • Camille says:

          I was an unfortunate witness to one of those Metropolitan Piratas. I could not WAIT to see the tenor hero dragged off to be executed. I think he was sick that day. Renata Flambé screaming at the limits of her voice…OY! Poor Vinnie never gets a break @ the metropolitana! Now I remember that Norma!!! Oy, oy, oy!!! Horror upon horror.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Funny you should mention Pirata… I was at the one perf. La Phlegmatica cancelled, and Olga Makarina, a fine singer, went on… But I don’t really recall much from that evening. I must have been too tired to care.

          • Camille says:

            It was, all in all, a most tiring affair.

            I’ve never forgotten the Peter G. Davis review in the New York magazine, “Renee’s Way”, or something like that. He got that one right.

            I miss you, Peter G. Davis, wherever you are.

  • Gualtier M says:

    Another point about Zinka -- Charlie wasn’t going to live opera from the late seventies to the mid-nineties. So many careers and singer primes he missed out on. Also some singers never did well at the Met -- two cases in point -- Chris Merritt and Nelly Miricioiu. I luckily saw Merritt in Chicago as Percy in “Bolena” with Joanie in ’85 and later as Argirio in “Tancredi” with Jackie. The voice was impressive -- dark imposing middle and easy narrower tops. Once he got to the Met in 1990 he sounded like a capon and was worse as a character tenor.

    Nelly Miricioiu was ignored by the Met for a decade then came in for some Mimis which didn’t lead to anything. When they finally brought her back for Elena in “Vespri” she had a certain old-time diva temperament but the voice was distinctly passé. Luckily I had heard her sing Imogene in “Il Pirata” with the Washington DC Concert Opera in the mid-nineties and she was quite fine. Dark, ductile voice with nice fast vibrato, good dynamic control and fine coloratura skills. Lots of personality. The Met missed out. As for Zampieri -- I suspect that recordings don’t tell the whole story. Some singers just don’t record well -- and Marcello Giordani is one of the prime examples. Recordings highlight weirdness and flaws in the texture of the voice -- Zampieri’s cold vibratoless timbre and Giordani’s raw, breathy middle. They also minimize vocal trumps that are evident in the house -- Zampieri’s uncanny control and dynamics and Giordani’s house-filling ball of light acuti.

    I have seen clips of the Zampieri Lady Macbeth video from Berlin and she has a lot going on. I would take that over Nadja Michael any day of the year.

    • marshiemarkII says:

      Gee Gualtier, talk about damning with faint praise, Zampieri’s Lady M is most certainly no Only Maria, and probably not as grandly Italian as the greatest Flo, but it is certainly much more idiomatic than Verrett (an acknowledged good one) and most others. Now Madamina NADA is probably the worst singer in the history of the world, so obviously ANYBODY is going to be better, no?

      • Clita del Toro says:

        “Faint praise” It’s like saying I’d take Maria Callas over Charlotte Church--well thanks a lot! LOL

        • marshiemarkII says:

          Exactly adorata Clitisssssima, that’s why we all love you so much!
          (No we don’t need to get a room :-) )

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Marshie: lol we love you too!!!

          • Camille says:

            MarshieMIItm—Clitters is my Godfather. You can’t have him!

            Happy Holidaze to my Most Bestest Beloved Clita del Toro aka Clitters Von Clittersdorf, to whom I owe so much for his great kindness and indulgences toward me, and upon whom my heart truly delights.

            Love and semper fidelis—

            Cammie mostest and leastest
            Xxxoooxxxoooxxxxoooooxxxxxxxxxooooôöòóœø?õ!!!!!!!!!

            Have a Christmas Cassis for me!

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Happy Holidaze to you!!! beloved CammiBelle! from la tua Marshiers von Marshiersdorf

          • Camille says:

            Marschallina!

            Keep up with all the good work with the young ones, for you know the greatest you-know-who is smiling down from Valhalla at you for what you are doing.

            Kindest and best wishes to you for this season and always. There are too few opera lovers such as you.

            Con tanto affetto—
            Camille

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Caaaaaaaammmmmmmmmmiiiiiiieeeeessst+===+=Have a great Christmas too.
            Christmas-Cassis+ Christmas-Cosmos=Christmas Heaven

            As Joan says, “You are too kind.”
            Ethel Whitehead says, “Take a load off you feet and have a bourbon.
            Myra Hudson says: “Come to my latest play, ‘Footsteps on the Floor’ and have a glass of champagne.
            Madeleine Walters West says, “Don’t work in a department store, but have a beer on me.”
            Lynn Markham says, Buy a new pump and keep away from beach bums, unless they look like Jeff Chandler or George Maharis.
            xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

      • Gualtier M says:

        Marshie honey -- my point is that Zinka was saying that Zampieri is a total camp and a joke and didn’t belong on a stage (this from hearing a few pirates). I am pointing out some interesting, courageous, impressive work from her and comparing it to a real joke and camp.

    • phoenix says:

      Miricioiu -- I remember seeing her as Massenet’s Manon (Washington DC) and Gounod’s Marguerite (Berlin) -- a number of years before I heard in bel canto roles.
      M. Zampieri -- a beautiful voice IMO -- I don’t like excessive vibrato anyways -- only saw Zampieri twice: Fanciulla (ROH London) and Forza Leonora (Zurich). She was great, I thought.

  • Gualtier M says:

    BTW: this is not Marcello Giordani’s first brush with Enée -- he sang the part with the BSO in 2008. This was four or five years ago and the reviews were mixed to negative. It seems there were cast changes when the show went to Tanglewood two months later -- including the presence of Anna Caterina Antonacci as Cassandre and Marcus Haddock replacing Giordani:

    http://berkshirereview.net/2008/07/07/troyens/

    http://berkshirereview.net/2008/05/16/berlioz_troyens/

    http://www.operatoday.com/content/2008/05/les_troyens_in_.php

    I think Ray Gouin kind of nails it when he says that Giordani lacks the virtues of French style but also isn’t giving us the virtues of an Italianate reading like Mario del Monaco did at La Scala.