Cher Public

  • m. croche: Probably been close to 20 years since I’ve seen this documentary, but recommended for Akhnateniks. Seems to be rentable... 3:02 AM
  • Howling in Tune: I remember an interview with one of the Einstein tour’s cast members. She said that memorizing was very difficult... 2:34 AM
  • Howling in Tune: What, no nekkid pix of Anthony Roth Costanzo? 2:31 AM
  • swordsnsolvers: Pretty good performance. Too bad about the narrator/poet role, who seems to alternate between histrionic, overdone, and... 10:35 PM
  • grimoaldo: httpv://www.youtub e.com/watch?v=Nrkq mu1GYjM Stoyanov sings “In Braccio Alle Dovizie” from the above performance.... 9:05 PM
  • grimoaldo: This conversation about one of the things I love the most in this world, Verdi’s Sicilian Vespers, led me to a really... 8:34 PM
  • phoenix: http://tinyurl.com /hbdykjz 7:56 PM
  • Jack Jikes: I was young and dumb when I saw this – i didn’t like it. Boy, was I wrong. Wonderful – in a realm to its own. 5:57 PM

Décolletage

Feel free to bare more than just your shoulders, cher public, as you discuss this week’s off-topic and general interest subjects.

319 comments

  • 41
    LittleMasterMiles says:

    Best Trovatore DVD? I gather the contenders are the Armiliato/Met HD, the Rizzi/ROCG, and maybe the Levine/Met; but I’m open to other suggestions. This is part of a gift also to include tickets to the Met for it in January, but that doesn’t sway it for or against that DVD. I want (first) great singing, acting, and orchestral playing; (second) high-quality audio/video and good camera direction; and (third) a production that may be traditional or otherwise, but isn’t embarrassing or distracting when it shouldn’t be. Go!

    • 41.1
      armerjacquino says:

      In purely vocal terms, don’t forget the Vienna 1978 dvd under Karajan- Kabaivanska, Cossotto, Domingo, Cappuccilli, Van Dam.

      • 41.1.1
        MontyNostry says:

        I will never forget Opera magazine’s description of Kabaivanska as dramatically ‘mollusc-like’ in that performance. Which surprised me, since, since she was a bit of a Kunstdiva. Maybe she was peeved because the studio recording with Karajan went to Leontyne (somewhat past her best, it has to be admitted).

        • 41.1.1.1
          phoenix says:

          Monty & aj, for all it’s not worth (and I am not looking for an argument with either of you), I am a Kabaivanska fan but I found that live Trovatore with Karajan & Kabaivanska one of her least inspired performances. ‘mollusc-like’ is a very apt description of her rather dull, calculated and strangely cool performance. I suspect she was nervous -> her tone was tight -> she was deliberate, controlled, and well-rehearsed but with very little warmth or charm in her interpretation or tone (bordering on the -- Heavens Forbid- Voigtian!). Kabaivanksa was just passing the prime of her career at that time -- the next year she would sing her last performances at the Met and the Trovatore Leonora is a very taxing role to sing even for a singer in her absolute prime. I am sure you can come up with some utube clips from that performance that sound astounding and if that was the first performance I had ever seen with Kabaivanska I would probably have been bowled over too -- she is a great artist without a doubt (age cannot take that away from her) -- but I had seen her many, many times during the previous decade and in that Karajan Trovatore performance she seems uncomfortable with the demands of the role -- gone was her trademark spontaneity of delivery.

          • MontyNostry says:

            phoenix -- I can’t in any way match your knowledge of Kabaivanska. I only saw her live once, in recital with piano, in Paris. She’s the kind of singer I’ve grown to appreciate more as I’ve got older. The voice is hardly refulgent, but she is a great artist -- and, of course, she looked marvellous. In fact, I remember hearing a broadcast of that 1978 Trov and being disappointed with what she sounded like -- it didn’t help that I was addicted to Leontyne’s recording with Mehta at the time, which shows her at her most maturely opulent (and more than a bit self-indulgent too, of course!).

          • luvtennis says:

            Monty:

            How did you enjoy Dead of Night. I love that movie. What an opera it would make! It has wonderful spookiness and atmosphere.

          • MontyNostry says:

            Dead of Night is really very good, cut-glass vowels and all. It scared the shit out of me when I saw it as a kid, and it is still extremely atmospheric and definitely spooky. It would certainly make a damn sight scarier opera than Max’s feeble, overstuffed Lighthouse.

        • 41.1.1.2
          • luvtennis says:

            Please note that I am not the person who posted this on youtube. Also, there source tape has some pitching issues -- i have heard some of the excerpts without the wow and pitch fluctuations -- but never so much of the performance in one easily accessible place. Play the first three excerpts and then compare them to the MET DVD (either of them actually) and you may be somewhat chagrined by the decline in the singing.

        • 41.1.1.3
          Belfagor says:

          I have a late live performance of Trovatore (1988/9?) from Torino with Kabaivanska, where she is really ablaze, even if she has to husband her resources somewhat. Mind you she may have felt she had to compete with the Azucena, Shirley Verrett in blazing form with a fabulous Witch of Endor maniacal cackle to cap her top Bb at the very end….can’t remember the tenor, they had probably eaten him by curtain fall……

          Saw Raina as Madama B when she must have been pushing 60 -- her Act 2 was absolutely engulfing, heartbreaking……

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Belfie, MMII (in diapers) saw Kabaivanska’s Butterfly for her very second LIVE operatic performance!!!! It is still indelibly etched in memory!!!!! The first live opera was Carmen with Resnick and Coca C. No memories whatsoever, only know I was there because Mother says so. I do remember a Carmen two years later or so, with Mignon Dunn, that was pretty unforgettable, as was the Otello with Vinay as Iago AND Otello, but that is another story………

    • 41.2
      marshiemarkII says:

      Well if by Levine/Met you mean the Marton, here is a singer I immensely admired for her Gioconda and Ortrud giving what must be the worst Leonora on record! no ifs and buts, she is simply horrid!!!!! and ruins an otherwise good (not great, it wasn’t his role) performance from the greatest Luciano. The sets are ugly and it is an altogether forgettable performance. Marton had had an unstoppable rise to the top at the Met, since her sensational Kaiserin in 1980 and then the spectacular Giocondas and Ortruds, but with this Trovatore the decline began, and by the premiere of the Zeffirelli Turandot in 1987 the decline was in full bloom. It was still an OK performance of the difficult Chinese princess, but not a shadow of the Boston 1983, or the great In questa regia from the centennial gala. From then on it was a steep downwards path, at least at the Met.

      I’d stay far and away from that Trovatore DVD.

      • 41.2.1
        MontyNostry says:

        Hate to say it, but even in that Centennial Gala, Eva’s top C was a bit to close to a C flat for comfort! But I remember that “Quel grido …” was spectacular (and that phrase is a measure of a Turandot for me). And her hair was very, very big.

      • 41.2.2
        marshiemarkII says:

        I just realized I didn’t explain why she is horrid in the Trovatore. She doesn’t have a clue as to what the word legato or portamento means, let alone sing with anything even approximating it. It is a hard and unwieldy tone without any flexibility, so the coloratura is not even approximate, there simply is none. The breath support is awful, no musical line. It really is the worst Leonora ever.

        Monty, yes she had really really BIG hair :-) very appropriate for the vile Reagan era :-)

        • 41.2.2.1
          Clita del Toro says:

          Marshie dear, I know just what you mean. I hate her Leonora.

        • 41.2.2.2
          luvtennis says:

          There was a time in the early 70s when she might offered an acceptable Leonora…. But the met performance is very poor.

          • kashania says:

            You mean this Marton, LuvT?

          • luvtennis says:

            Kashie:

            I was thinking more of the Mathilde she sang with Muti in ’72(?). But yeah, this is certainly closer to Verdi than the blowzy, pitchy sound she made in the ’80s.

            I will confess that I am not a Marton fan. I don’t like her way with Turandot. (Turandot is not a screaming monster. She is a beautiful, desirable woman whose emotional development has been stunted because of infatuation with her ancestor and her concomitant refusal to join in what Disney would term “the Circle of Life.” Typical fairy tale symbolism. When she is sung like Harridan then the opera loses whatever resonance that it has and becomes nothing more than a shriek fest.) Marton’s recorded Brunnhilde is atrocious. SHame on Haitink for tolerating her wooly, unfocussed wobbly singing. SHAME!!! He allow a somewhat interesting recording of the Ring be ruined by a completely inadequate performance.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            You will have no quarrel from me about how horrifying Marton’s Brunnhilde was, both in the recording and in the San Francisco Ring which she premiered, where she ruined the otherwise sublimely beautiful Lennhoff production. My God that second act of Gotterdammerung included the single most gorgeous, arresting images I ever saw of the greatest act in all of opera, but you would have had to wait until 1990 to hear it properly sung :-) :-) :-)

          • MontyNostry says:

            luvtennis — at the time (late 80s), who else was around to record Bruennhilde, apart from the blessed Hildegard, who was recording it for DG with Levine? Not that EMI and DG were averse to sharing a Wotan, of course!

            I saw Marton’s Elektra three times around that period (Salzburg, Vienna and London), but nothing remains in my memory, perhaps because I didn’t yet click with the piece at that point in my life.

          • kashania says:

            This will come across as painfully predictable on my part, but I think Jessye could have managed a good studio Brünnhilde in the late 80s. She would have brought vocal glamour, a command of Wagnerian line, and an inherent dignity to the part. She would have lacked vulnerability and certainly wouldn’t have been the ideal Brünnhilde. But I think it would have been interesting at least. Her Todesverkundigung could have been special. Of course, I have no idea if she had any interest in learning the part (she might have even been offered it and declined). She was definitely interested in recording a complete Isolde.

          • luvtennis says:

            Monty:

            Jeanine Altmeyer. Ms. Meier. Anne Evans. You -- with the proper coaching of course. Anyone but her.

          • MontyNostry says:

            Ach, liebe luvtennis, I am more of a spinto than a Hochdramatische.

          • kashania says:

            I adore Caballe in the right rep but I have to say that prospect of her Brünnhilde holds zero appeal for me.

          • MontyNostry says:

            Ms Meier is Waltraute on the Haitink Ring, isn’t she -- and maybe Fricka too (or is that Lipovsek, whom I always preferred)? I think the redoubtable Peter Alward would have been against casting Anne Evans on principle, simply because she was British.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            kassshissimo, have you not heard Montsi’s Immolation Scene, live with the NY Phil. and Mehta, I believe?????

            Let’s just say she sounded at the end that she was drowning in the music…

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Bianchissssima adorata, of course MMII was at Montsy’s Immolation with Mehta and it was exactly as you describe it :-)
            She had earlier butchered the VLL, and after that I was done with Montsy.

            Monty, the blessed Hildegard was asked by EMI to do the Sieglinde for that Ring, and some issue I cannot recall prevented that from happening. She was after all an EMI artist, but DGG got in the way I think! Marton might have taken a bite off from her though, after what was happening with the Met contracts though, so just as well……

          • marshiemarkII says:

            I am shocked shocked that luvt would consider Monty for Brunnhilde, fully knowing that MMII’s Starke Scheite is second only to you know who!!!! In late 80s, MMII, fresh from the gym, would have been a more than formidable competitor to any Brunnhilde around! A REAL Hochdramatische!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            :-) :-) :-)

          • luvtennis says:

            I meant Johanna Meier not Waltraud.

            And I certainly meant you as in your own delightful self, not Madame Caballe who I am certain was even less suited to the role than you are.

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            “..the blessed Hildegard was asked by EMI to do the Sieglinde for that Ring, and some issue I cannot recall prevented that from happening. ”

            Maybe a sudden onrush of common sense from all concerned? I have never heard a worse Sieglinde, ever. The part played to none of her strengths.

          • MontyNostry says:

            Well, Cheryl did in the end -- one of her better recordings, isn’t it? Even though her voice sat a little high for the role, perhaps.

        • 41.2.2.3
          Gualtier M says:

          FWIW: Placido Domingo in his bio “My First 40 Years” (Maybe actually his first 47…) says that he sang “Trovatore” with Eva Marton (probably c. 1975) and she was the best Leonora he had heard. He sang the part with Caballé and Leontyne Price among others. It was rumored that the two had an affair while Marton’s husband was conveniently away.

          • MontyNostry says:

            Domingo’s feet seem to be more clearly made of clay each time his name is mentioned these days! Marton was certainly a handsome woman, and certainly not to be messed with. Her husband was/is a surgeon, so well positioned to cut off errant tenors’ balls if necessary.

            Didn’t he have some kind of falling-out with Leontyne, which was why she was paired with Pavarotti rather than him at the Met Centennial Gala?

          • manou says:

            Never mind his feet -- what are his other bits made of?

          • kashania says:

            As her reward, Lee had Pavarotti singing directly in her ear in that Ballo duet.

          • luvtennis says:

            Placido was on the outs with Lee during this time. I think he resented the notion that she made his career. She only gave his big recording break after all….

          • MontyNostry says:

            luvtennis -- did she recommend him for the Trovatore on RCA?

          • MontyNostry says:

            … and where did I read that Pavarotti avoided the C at the end of the Ballo duet and moved his head behind Leontyne’s for the camera angle at that moment so that all people could see was her nailing it?(Sounds a bit of a contrived to me as a story -- how would he have known which camera angle would have been chosen for the final cut?) She gets by on diva power and some gorgeous soft singing on that occasion, but the voice does sound a bit gassy, the consonants are often fuzzy and the vowels are distorted when she forms her mouth into that kind of shovel shape, as she seems to have done with greater frequency in her later career. I still love her, of course!

          • kashania says:

            Here it is. You can see that he got the note and only ducked his head behind her hair as he released the note. Hiding behind his costar’s hair was a favourite tactic of his. You can see that opposite Riciarelli, the C gets away from him and he hides behind her hair.

            I though Lee sounded awful in that performance (some nice soft singing aside). The tone was just so thick in the middle and glassy on top. But I did admire that she sang all the note leading up to the C — notes that most singers avoid in preparation for the note.

          • MontyNostry says:

            Out of interest did Lee and Pav ever sing any complete operas together? I can only think ofthe first night of Aida in SF that Price (M) had to cancel, with Price (L) replacing her at Pav’s fee + $1

          • kashania says:

            Monty: Apparently the two LPs sang Trovatore in Vienna in 1977. There’s even a recording!

            http://www.operapassion.com/cdpaka77wit.html

          • kashania says:

            And check out the rest of that cast! Ludwig, Cappuccili, van Dam conducted by Karajan!

          • MontyNostry says:

            Impressive line-up! (Though I have to say I can’t imagine the soft-grained Ludwig as Azucena …)

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            Monty, I stood though that first Luciano SFO AIDA and Margaret was the evening’s Price-- lovely vocalism, just not her part at all in feeling or tone color. The best thing about he evening was Tocyzka anyway.

            I agree with MMII that Marton really laid an egg at SFO as the G-DANG Bruennhilde. However, I thought her considerably better in the SIEGFRIED, which had very fine work from Kollo at something near his best and the mature but still apt Thomas Stewart.

          • SF Guy says:

            Monty--Leontyne filled in for Margaret at the third performance, not the opening. Margaret was back by the time I saw it--beautiful singing, but physically more suggestive of Carol Burnett’s washerwoman character than an Ethiopian princess, not helped by the least convincing ethnic makeup since Katharine Hepburn in Dragon Seed. As Nerva says, just not her role, on any level.

          • Clita del Toro says:

            The Ballo duet with Leontyne and Pav is pretty dull (including the conducting) but I love the Ricciarelli clip. Katia is much more expressive and exciting that Lee is on these clips. I did see Pav and Ricciarelli sing this at the Met and loved the soprano in the role. Some didn’t.

          • luvtennis says:

            Yes, Monty. I think that it was originally intended for Franco who was always a tenor on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I think he and Lee were scheduled for at least a half dozen complete recordings…

            So the story is that Lee requested PD as the replacement. He then got the Tosca and Aida as well. Pretty good jumps tart for a young tenor as Lee’s presence was guaranteed to ensure that the recordings were heavily marketed.

            I have the Vienna performance is great. In truth the EMI recording is better th a it is given credit for. After all, how could Lee at 50 be expected to beat herself at 31 and 41???? That said the singing is very precise and more elegant than on the Mehta, but of course the voice in that recording is like heavy cream and the top was just in luxurious glory following the Covent Garden performances.

            The Viennese critics were more appreciative of Lee’s performance (15 years after her legendary performances with Corelli) terming her “a miracle.”

          • messa di voce says:

            The video of LP and LP is unforgettable because of the play of emotions on the face of ZM.

          • kashania says:

            Zinka’s facial expression are the highlight of every performance from that segment of the gala!

          • messa di voce says:

            She runs the gamut of emotions from utter boredom to complete disgust.

          • OpinionatedNeophyte says:

            Kashy, Zinka is *not here for any of it* during that whole gala. The shade of it all.

          • kashania says:

            She does smile when the singers turn around to acknowledge HER (and by default, the rest of the honoured guests).

          • MontyNostry says:

            Price (L) told a story about singing Trov with Karajan in 1977 (?) in, I think, Salzburg and wowing everybody at a rehearsal by singing up a storm. Karajan then took her aside and told her she had been showing off and needed to think about how she sang it with him back in the early 60s in Salzburg. Perhaps that is why she is comparatively restrained on the EMI recording (though she does throw a top C into the Miserere, which she doesn’t with Mehta).

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Clitisssssima, I just saw those Teco io sto clips and predictably I agree 150% with you!!!!!!!!!!
            How glorious was Riciarelli!!!! I had forgotten how thrilling she was in that Ballo which I also saw live! her style is just so impeccable, and the voice so gorgeous, it’s an amazing performance. The greatest Luciano doesn’t need any comments, he just IS!!!!!!! and of course the music is truly truly unequaled in the Italian repertoire really! the grandest Verdi ever probably along with Tu che la vanita……

          • Porgy Amor says:

            The only quote I can find in PD’s “My First 40 Years” about Marton and TROVATORE is this one:

            “In Frankfurt four nights later I sang the best TROVATORE of my life, and on March 3 [1979] I conducted TROVATORE in Vienna in a performance noteworthy for Eva Marton’s portrayal of Leonora. In my opinion, Eva has the best Verdi voice among singers of the new generation.”

            Elsewhere, he just says she gave a great performance as Gioconda in the infamous Bini/Patané Met performance from which he withdrew after Act One.

        • 41.2.2.4
          Nerva Nelli says:

          “It really is the worst Leonora ever.”

          Umm…

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Hv2rNX2t_Q

          Her “Nancy Sinatra’ Leonora

          • armerjacquino says:

            I’ve not heard Poplavskaya’s Leonora, but I refuse to believe anyone can be worse than Kermes.

      • 41.2.3
        kashania says:

        Marton really does ruin that Trovatore. It’s a very good performance otherwise. Even Milnes who was past his best at that point is very “on”. And it also has Zajick’s early Azucena which is more inspired than her later efforts.

        I like Marton’s 1987 Turandot. Yes, the tone had started to become increasingly thick, the vibrato more unwieldy, and the top increasingly flat (though IIRC, she nails the high C at the end “In questa reggia” nicely covering up Domingo’s spectacular crack) but I think she still brought a ton of voice and temperament to the performance.

        • 41.2.3.1
          marshiemarkII says:

          Even more than the cracks, the most obscene of Coca Cola’s contributions to that Turandot was the re-write of Nessun Dorma, with the Vincero, vinc-e-(pipsqueak)-rOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO….. not quite what Puccini had in mind I guess.

          I was at the prima of course :-), sitting directly behind Elizabeth Taylor, and at the end Marton very obsequiously made a greeting to Birgit Nilsson, who was also in the audience, very camp!!!!!

          • kashania says:

            Actually, like the fact that Domingo doesn’t hold the B (or B-flat) at the end of Nessun Dorma — it’s more musical. Now, I’m sure he did it out of necessity and there’s no denying that the note is a sour one. But, aside from those two failed high notes, I quite like his Calaf. He is in appealing voice aside from those notes and gives a dramatically engaging performance.

            (What fun about that prima! Taylor, Nilsson and Marton, oh my!)

          • Krunoslav says:

            That “rewrite” — just an upwards fleck at the B-- dates back at least to Richard Tauber, the first Calaf in Germany (Dresden):

      • 41.2.4
        Arianna a Nasso says:

        The order was reversed, Marshie. Turandot was spring 1987, Trovatore was fall 1988. She was 45 at the time of the latter, which is rather early for a dramatic voice to be in decline.

        • 41.2.4.1
          marshiemarkII says:

          Oh Lordy, Cara Ari, I thought the Trovatore was like in 1986 or thereabouts, but you are right it was in 1988, I just checked, MMII’s memory is really going apparently :-)

          That is a bit odd, as I thought I had given up on Eva after the Turandots, hence I would not have seen her in the Trovatore, but I know I was at the prima and came out disgusted. But I actually was also at the Salome when new in 1989, not the prima because the greatest Behrens was singing Tristan Act II at Avery Fisher with Barenboim, but a few performances later, and that night Marton took the final phrase ONE OCTAVE DOWN, that’s right, the climactic final Bs!!!! it was dreadful, but I loved the Lennhoff production, which was done by the greatest in 1990 revival :-)

        • 41.2.4.2
          Clita del Toro says:

          Cammiest, Tu che la vanita is one of my very favorite arias as well. xoxooxxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

      • 41.2.5
        Bianca Castafiore says:

        Is this the one, marshiissima?

        Just for your delight I’ve found it!!!!

    • 41.3
      la vociaccia says:

      Best trovatore DVD? RAI 1957 Gencer/Del Monaco/Barbieri/Bastianini/clabassi. Basta

  • 42

    Welcome to The Art of Shaving™! By which I mean we take a new razor strop to the Met’s heavily edited, sung-in-English “holiday” version of ‘The Barber of Seville.’ Review on Superconductor.

    • 42.1
      Clita del Toro says:

      And they will broadcast that horrible Barber again on 3 Jan. It was also broadcast yesterday. Basta, Roberti!

  • 43
    Clita del Toro says:

    Here is an complete Aida on youtube. I have not watched it yet.

    • 43.1
      armerjacquino says:

      I saw this on TV. Rutter is good (cue Vicar) if nothing special- but certainly preferable to some bigger-named Aidas. Joseph Wolverton does a good job given that the part is too heavy for his voice. The rest of the cast is nothing more than competent, with the exception of the Amneris who is a total mess with a deeply unpleasant voice.

      So I wouldn’t really recommend it, although the production is interesting- all seen through the eyes of a 19th Century woman who is exploring Egypt.

      • 43.1.1
        luvtennis says:

        Exploring an Egypt that never existed accept in the mind of the librettist? Does she spend the entire opera correcting the historical inaccuracies in the book? Jeepers. What on earth does anyone think can be gotten from Aida other than that it is a perfectly constructed, gloriously tuneful, marvelously orchestrated grand opera with love triangle and intrigue? (Like Tristan but less pretentious and more FUN! ;-) Put the damn elephants on. Figure out something entertaining to do the chorus and extras. Make the interactions between the principals compelling and you got all you need.

        • 43.1.1.1
          armerjacquino says:

          That’s a lot of anger to vent at a framing device in a production you haven’t seen.

          • luvtennis says:

            Anger?

            Come ON, dude. If you detected anger in that post, then your angermeter needs a tune-up.

            Jiminy, relax.

          • armerjacquino says:

            Fair enough. Let’s all it an ‘overreaction’ instead. The production in question is highly traditional and well-acted, despite some questionable singing. Dramatically it’s compelling in just the way you describe. So it seems a little previous to complain about the fact that an actress appears at the beginning and end to place the work in the context of the time it was written, and to remind us that we’re seeing Egypt through very 19thc eyes.

            So all things considered, I’m not sure *I’M* the one who needs to relax, really.

          • manou says:

            Well as it happens I saw this production “in the flesh”, so to speak, as I was invited by a friend who thought she was doing me a favour “as you love opera”. My snobbish self would never have even thought of going, but the great plus was that it was sung in Italian, which is rarely the case in those Gubbayathons. I must say that it worked quite well, even with the annoyance of the inescapable amplification. The cast of thousands was very well drilled and the singers perfectly adequate (I did not even mind the Amneris). I would have opted for Indra Thomas, but saw Rutter, who did a more than creditable job.

            There was a little Victorian lady who popped up from time to time with a sketchbook (and a couple of Nubian slaves), but it had little bearing on the production (Director: Stephen Medcalf -- design: Isabella Bywater)

            I should also say that I was born in Egypt, and the sad fact is -- there are no elephants in Egypt (well, maybe one sad and mangy one in a small cage in the Zoo).

          • phoenix says:

            Gloria a manou da egitto!

            http://tinyurl.com/c43mwga

        • 43.1.1.2
          luvtennis says:

          I was actually just joking about the production. And I am very relaxed this week. I beat the weather out of Ohio and made it back to hell. Er I mean Texas.

  • 44
    zinka says:

    Happy Birthday to the GREAT Piotr Beczala, a joy in the opera world….and a very POLISHED artist.

  • 45
    Bianca Castafiore says:

    Cammyushka! How wonderful this is! Just for you!

  • 46
    zinka says:

    She left us too soon…..Born Dec.29, 1918…Hits high N above Z.

    Mado Robin was really amazing!!!!

  • 47
    Camille says:

    Just now preparing to leave to attend today’s Les Troyens and checking the Met website for the cast, I have noticed that ELIZABETH BISHOP will be today’s Didon, at least on that latest newscast banner of theirs. I do hope so and shall report back this evening.

    • 47.1
      manou says:

      “In today’s performance of LES TROYENS, the role of Dido will be sung by Elizabeth Bishop, replacing Susan Graham who is ill.”

      From Twitter

    • 47.2
      bluecabochon says:

      I hope you weren’t late, Camille. The performance started at 11 AM!

    • 47.3
      Liz.S says:

      Bishop was a pleasant fallback Iphigenie when Graham fell ill, too, right? I love Graham but I like Bishop also. Hope she did well!

    • 47.4
      Camille says:

      Carthago delenda est.

      Camille must first return home and adminster copious amounts of vitamin C and aspirins to counter the effects of the sneezing, spewing, coughing denizens of the Saturday matinee at the Met, before registering any of her thoughts on today’s performance.

      Whatever happened to HANDKERCHIEFS? Did Iago steal them ALL?

      Crabby Camille

  • 48
    zinka says:

    GELB’S RESOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR

    (As wished for by yours truly.)

    1. Hire Magda Olivero..At 103, she could coach everyone.

    2. No nudity allowed on stage unless you look like Stefan Kocan or Anna Netrebko

    3. Electrify seats so if anyone coughs, they get it in the ass.

    4. Get rid of titles that make dumb people laugh in dramatic operas.(e.g. “Davanti alla Madonna could be changed to “I like Madonna.”

    5. Bring back “Cetra Soria singers,” who may have flaws, but do not require the audience members (like me) to use no-doze. (cf. Petrella, Mancini, Fillippeschi, Pirazzini.)

    6. Hire Virginia Zeani,Renata Scotto, Diana Soviero, and Ira Siff to take over as coaches.

    7. Do not allow groupie pains-in-the-ass fans to ask for more than one autograph per season.

    8. Serve cheap sandwiches and cakes instead of the high-priced stuff.

    9. Label the outside of the male restroom in the balcony level as “MEN” so that those ladies do not enter and catch anyone with…well,you know….

    10. DEMAND that the Met audiences read the Rasponi Book, The Record of Singing, the entire Grove Dictionary of Opera, and (optional), The “Queen’s Throat” before being able to purchase tickets.

    • 48.1
      Bianca Castafiore says:

      tzinka, the sandwiches and cakes are already cheap, it’s just that they jack up the prices…

    • 48.2
      armerjacquino says:

      I suspect that if point 3 were implemented, there would be a LOT of coughing.

  • 49
    ilpenedelmiocor says:

    OMG. In keeping with my screen name, I am in love with the super guard stage (far) right — my future ex-boyfriend — in the Maria Stuarda confrontation scene clip posted to the home page of metopera.org. Check him out starting at 2:40, especially 2:57 and 3:31. If you’re in New York: take binoculars.

  • 50
    LittleMasterMiles says:

    I appreciate the extensive comments on my inquiry about Trovatore DVDs. I’m afraid for my idiosyncratic purposes the Karajan is not an option (the recipient of this gift has expressed a dislike of TV-quality opera videos from yesteryear, and there is no arguing this point with this person). The Met production with Marton seems widely disliked, so I’ll simplify the question:

    Met HD w/ Armiliato or ROCG w/ RIzzi?

    • 50.1
      armerjacquino says:

      Or, to throw a spanner in the works, Bregenz/Carsen?

    • 50.2
      phoenix says:

      Miles, I have been seeing and listening to Trovatore for the last 48 years, but no performance of it ever struck me as definitive. It’s just the way it’s written, but that’s why I love it so much -- it’s never a total victory, but always a compromise. I saw so many great singers who didn’t make it through unscathed -- IMO it’s even more difficult than Forza or Aida.

      • 50.2.1
        LittleMasterMiles says:

        I’d probably say that about any performance of any opera, live or recorded (and audio or video). The last thing any performance should do is make future efforts superfluous.

        • 50.2.1.1
          phoenix says:

          So there is no solution except to continually collect them until you croak????

          • armerjacquino says:

            *looks at CD shelf* Guess so…

          • LittleMasterMiles says:

            On the contrary, the solution is to go to as much live opera as possible, be it the Met or your local company. RE: Woolfe’s review of the new Parker/Abbate “History of Opera,” opera won’t die because new works stop being added to the repertory, it will be dead when people prefer to listen to recordings of dead singers instead of actually Going To The Opera.

    • 50.3
      kashania says:

      LMM: Has this person seen Trovatore before? If they’re past the introductory phase (and doesn’t mind a different take on the piece), then the Carsen/Bregenz production that AJ suggests would at the least interesting. It’s also fairly well-sung (though I think the Met/Armiliato is better sung).

      • 50.3.1
        Porgy Amor says:

        If those are the choices, then the Met/Armiliato. It has more of the music, for one thing, and that Carsen is the least successful production of his I have seen. I can’t speak to how it played live, but on DVD, when you get done marveling at the set and the people arriving or departing by car or speedboat, it just lies there. It’s surprisingly square and superficial work from someone who at his best is neither of those things. Tamar’s Leonora is a compromise or approximation a minute. The lower-voiced singers are better, but nothing to get excited about.

        I am not wild about any of the DVDs. The Karajan is the standout of a weak lot, in my opinion. The Del Monaco et al is better heard than watched, although even there, you have to live with Previtali’s humdrum conducting. I wish Sony (or someone) would release the Muti broadcast, which is musically strong and a very full meal textually. I like everyone’s performance on the audio release, and Urmana’s Azucena may be the best thing she has done.

    • 50.4
      kashania says:

      One more observation, if you’re sticking to a traditional production… While Marton is terribly miscast as Leonora, the rest of the cast is good and better than the more recent Met production. I much prefer the younger Zajick over the older, and Pavarotti over Alvarez. Milnes is past his prime but still preferable to Hvorostovsky. I would also pick Levine over Armiliato (though the latter has a good sense of the music as well). The only thing that is preferable about the latter version is the McVicar production which, while not extraordinary, has more vitality than the tired old Met production, with its typical lack of direction.

      • 50.4.1
        marshiemarkII says:

        But a Trovatore without a Leonora????????
        It’s like an Elektra without an Elektra :-)
        I’d forget the DVD and get the Only Maria Scala 1953, in great restored sound on Myto for $8.32 and be over with. Will never want to listen to any other recording again e basta :-)

    • 50.5
      LittleMasterMiles says:

      I think Bregenz production is just a little to weird for what will, in a sense, be a “reference” DVD for a videophile.

      No one has yet commented on the ROCG DVD. Is there any reason to prefer it to the Met HD (and is Dima really so bad in this role?)?

      • 50.5.1
        MontyNostry says:

        That Bregenz ‘oil refinery’ production is very spectacular (and clever) and must have worked well in the flesh, but on DVD it is a bit cramped and the line-up is a bit uneven. Lucic is the stand-out, if I remember rightly.

        • 50.5.1.1
          LittleMasterMiles says:

          It sounds like something I’d like to see, but not right for this.

          Hearing no one voting for ROCG, I think I’ll go with the Met HD.

          • armerjacquino says:

            Whatever one might think of Radvan, I think she’d be viewed as preferable to Villaroel. Same for Older Zajick v Naef. I reckon you’ve made the right choice.

  • 51
    zinka says:

    GREATNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 52
    Nerva Nelli says:

    On TDF E-KTS discounts:

    OPERA ORCHESTRA OF NEW YORK presents ANDREA CHENIER
    AVERY FISHER HALL, 65th Street and Broadway, NYC
    Ticket Price: $21.00 [plus $4 handling fee]
    with Roberto Alagna

    http://www.johnsbrickovenpizza.com/menu.php

    Large pie with mushroom and onions: $22.50

    • 52.1
      phoenix says:

      Thanks Nerva, as much as I admire Alagna’s verismo I am not quite ready for a one-man Andrea Chenier. Is OONY so broke (or cheap?) they can’t come up with an advertisable Maddalena? I think I’ll settle for the pizza instead.

      • 52.1.1
        Camille says:

        Me too, but make sure it has the mozzarella on it.

        Muy buenos nuevos años to you, too, phoenixcito!!

        best wishes always from
        me

        • 52.1.1.1
          phoenix says:

          Likewise best wishes to you, Camille -- I’ll try to get on the chat tonight!
          -- As far as OONY’s Chenier goes, we will have to keep our purses closed until further notice!!!

  • 53
    zinka says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL YOU WONDERFUL PEOPLE WHO MAKE OUR LIVES SO TREASURABLE…….LOVE TO YOU ALL!!!!~

  • 54
    Krunoslav says:

    Hey, Susan Graham is again either ill or “ill”, in the manner of so many stars with upcoming HD appearances, and so Elizabeth Bishop (a very solid singer) gets another chance to sing Didon tonight. Best to them both.

    If only ‘Another TROYENS Cast Member’ would follow suit!

  • 55
    zinka says:

    Mafalda Favero..Jan.6, 1903……The same kind of singer as a Mizio, Carteri,Zeani,Soviero…This is what depth of emotion is all about!!!!!!!!

  • 56
    zinka says:

    httpv://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5017161067996178070

    Eat your hearts out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 57
    zinka says:

    Sorry friends..The “Eat yourts out” did not work..well,Nobody’s poifekt. Will try once more…