Cher Public

Ribbed for your discomfort

“The Trojan Horse seemed like a great idea—that is, until it led to disaster. After a butt-numbing five hours, I thought the same thing about the Met’s revival of Les Troyens.”  [New York Post]

  • Feldmarschallin

    Even though it isnt Met and my initial posting got no comments for those few who might be interested here is a video of the new horrible concert version Rigoletto.

    • DonCarloFanatic

      Thanks. Every Rigoletto is horrible.

      • grimoaldo

        “Every Rigoletto is horrible.”


        • DonCarloFanatic

          The story. My father warned me against it when I was a young one. Said it was decadent, and outright called Rigoletto the duke’s procurer.

          • grimoaldo

            Yes, my mother told me that Rigoletto has wonderful music but a “mean” story and she was not going to see or listen to it again.
            The story is very dark and disturbing, horribly tragic and bitterly unfair, but I would not call it decadent. It depicts a decadent society in which the aristocratic absolute rulers could do whatever they liked, but this is not endorsed by the story, it is presented as a terrible fact of life.
            Some time ago an opera blogger, I forget which one, said Trovatore has a racist story, but that is not true either, it depicts racist attitudes, but does not endorse them any more than it does burning witches at the stake.

          • DonCarloFanatic

            Yes, and a key taunt in Forza is racist, but also very much “You’re not one of us, whoever you are.” Verdi does not condone that, either.

            Luisa Miller I think is his most progressive opera in that Luisa is not of the nobility. Perhaps not even gentility, but I don’t know enough about degrees in her society to say for sure. Petit bourgeois?

  • Camille

    kashania __

    A Happy Boxing Day to you, for all your goodness and kindnesses here on parterre.

    A special thank you for the link to the Oedipus Rex, as it is one of Monsieur Camille’s fun toys. He saw Jessye as Jocasta and he told me it was nothing short of JAWdropping! If ever he finished his grading, he will get a chance to look at it, for which I thank you,


    et M. Camille

    • Camille chere, you are welcome as ever. Sadly, there is no recorded evidence of Jessye’s Met Jocasta (which she sang in her debut season along with Cassandre and Didon). I recall Mrs JC waxing eloquent about the impact of that performance. The DVD to which I linked (with Ozawa, Landridge and Terfel) is from 10 years later in a lavish and fascinating production by Julie Taymour. Jessye is still pretty terrific in it though I imagine not as awesome as the earlier Met assumption.

      • Camille

        I shall try to get Monsieur Camille to give me an accounting of his memories and forward on to you. Oh well, if Mrs Claggart (a Happy Christmas to you, dearie!) endorsed it, you know it HAD to be good! M. Camille is STILL afraid of Jessye as a result — it was that AWE inspiring!

  • Camille

    OY! The temple finally fell on Jean de Leyden et sa mère, and not a moment too soon, either!

    Are there are survivors here of this opus from the 1977 presentation?

    I’d be interested to hear an account of the ‘live’ action.

    • Belfagor

      Alas, never heard it live, but I possessed the LPs at one point. Little Renata certainly peeled off the wallpaper with her roulades………!

      • MontyNostry

        I can still hear one pf Renata’s phrases from Berthe’s first aria in my head, 35 or so years on. It had a sort of arpeggiated phrase and wasn’t quite in tune, but it pinged around thrillingly.

    • actfive

      I was there for the ’79 revival with Horne, Shane, and (argh!) Guy Chauvet. As I recall the final scene was pretty tame & lame--a curtain with painted flames descended and everybody ducked.

      • grimoaldo

        How I would love to see or hear Le prophète with Alagna and Blythe.

        • Gualtier M

          Kaufmann and Ewa Podles. Beczala and Dolora Zajick (too late for both ladies now probably).

    • Milady DeWinter

      Ah yes, I was there: and Little Renata was just about to be crowned Queen Bee of the Met. Berthe’s music isn’t much, but she made the most of it, interpolating here and there, and her sound was indeed most scintillant. My friend who accompanied me, and who had theretofore been a devoted fan of the “music” in opera, mostly of Mozart and Wagner, converted on the spot and became a diva enthusiast and remains so to this day.
      The production seemed to be made of plywood furniture of the kind to be seen at the garden centers at Loewe’s and Home Depot. Nevertheless, the Coronation Scene managed to make quite an impact, and Mme. Horne sang the balls off of “O Pretres de Baal!”. The big conflagration/finale was decidedly tame, but I remember poofs of smoke and a quick curtain.

      Mr. McCracken did the best he could, but we knew we had witnessed a sort of cut-rate spectacle, and that only Mmes. Scotto and Horne were truly Meyerbeer-worthy in terms of vocal style and range. Still, it was truly wonderful to actually attend a major Meyerbeer revival.
      Would that Huguenots would come our way some day chez Met, but the crystal ball turned towards Lincoln Center remains dark.

      • Vergin Vezzosa

        Was there also. M. DeWinter’s description above nails it as I remember. They cut some of the Anabaptists’ lighter antics and some of the skating ballet. Overall, it was IMHO less effective than the SF L’Africaine with Domingo and Verrett which preceded it by about 5 years. I heard at the time that a contemplated new La Juive for Richard Tucker morphed into Prophete when he died.

  • Alto

    Since Meyerbeer keeps invading our Berlioz threads (for good reason), you won’t want to miss this interesting review of the Garden’s ROBERT:

    • grimoaldo

      Truly an excellent review by someone who understands and (gasp!) respects Meyerbeer, French grand opera and Robert le Diable.

      “Meyerbeer, a German Jew who thrived in Paris, was a first-rate musician with a genius for stagecraft and a self-prescribed mission to entertain by wowing an audience….If the composer’s French grand operas are to work today, their splendor must be recreated convincingly for modern audiences as a virtue, the way Chopin viewed it, and not something to be viewed condescendingly…This is a tall task requiring expenditures that opera houses may not want to lavish on works created primarily to entertain, although there is always the possibility of discovering more, as happened last year with “Les Huguenots” at La Monnaie in Brussels.”

    • Vergin Vezzosa

      Thanks Alto for the review and grimoaldo for your comments. I agree very much with both, although, with respect to the review, my individual acute allergy to La Popsy makes me feel less forgiving of her than some other people do.

  • I can’t find the original post that featured Rita Gorr’s “Adieu fiere cité” so whoever posted it, THANK YOU. She is simply wonderful. Another great Didon whose prime came before the Troyens craze.

    • The_Kid

      erm, guilty as charged. you’re most welcome :) i find gorr fantastic in most things, especially as the walkure fricka, ortrud, amneris, and kundry.

  • Benedetta Funghi-Trifolati

    Back in 1968 at the Met when Cossotto, then in full possession of her considerable powers, sang her one, burn-the-barn-down, stunning ‘O don fatale’, with Claudio Abbado in the pit, rather than rush off into the wings at the end to rescue Carlo, she collapsed in a crumpled heap to the stage floor, dead-center, and perfectly timed to be visible to the last possible second, as the great, golden curtains swooshed close. Huge, screaming ovation. Then, the curtains suddenly swooped open very rapidly, revealing Madame, still center stage, now standing in all her glory, arms raised towards heaven and a big, shit-eating grin on her faccia. REDOUBLED PANDEMONIUM, SCREAMING AND OVATIONS. Then there was the night in 1972, also after a barn-burning ‘O don fatale’ but, with Molinari-Pradelli in the pit, where the applause and screaming just wouldn’t stop. Molinari started the Prison Scene, but the audience would have none of it. They kept stomping and applauding until Molinari finally laid down his baton, the music stopped, the curtain lights came up and Cossotto came out for solo bows. More shit-eating grins on her faccia. Finally, after the public was satisfied, the Prison Scene started a second time.

  • semira mide

    Marilyn Horne was a stunning Cassandra.
    The quality of this excerpt is not as good as on the recording, but you get the idea.

  • Bianca Castafiore