Cher Public

She’s Tyred

Elizabeth Bishop will sing Didon today at the Met, replacing an ailing Susan Graham. This cast change should not affect today’s chat, which presumably will be focused on the rebroadcast of The Tempest.

  • papopera

    le jeu de mots sur Didon le dinde n’est pas mal.

  • phoenix

    Does the Bishop do Cassandre?

    • manou

      ….said the actress to the bishop

      • phoenix

        …we can’t be too fussy … in a state of desperation, ya’ know?

  • Krunoslav

    Didon, to Anna:

    “Should we have stayed home and thought of here?”

  • LittleMasterMiles

    “… today’s chat, which presumably will be focused on the rebroadcast of The Tempest.” (To the extent that the chat is ever focused on whatever is being broadcast.)

    “Graham Bishop is renowned for his vision, and the courage to propose radical ideas, yet ground them in a mastery of the technical details of the financial system …… to the extent that he has even been referred to as a one-man think tank. [That is the mystery of Graham Bishop.]”

  • oedipe

    Dis donc, di(n)don!

    • manou

      Il y a du Feydeau là-dessous…

  • louannd

    OT: Joshua Hopkins is giving away two tickets to the Met’s opening night of Maria Stuarda, if you want to message him via his Facebook page, here is the link. It seems to be secure but you should be able to message him. It was just posted.

  • Amnerees

    Gee, the lack of comment here on this afternoon’s broadcast of Ades’s opera reminds me of this quote from the review of Abbate/Parker History of Opera:
    “The problem, they suggest, is not that worthy new operas are being overlooked. Rather, the operas themselves are unworthy: pale, derivative attempts to recapture a vanished past. The art form — which has had, they observe, ‘unusual longevity for a musical genre’ — will linger but is effectively dead, despite the zombielike proliferation of opera houses and performances.”
    I wonder when we’ll see another production of The Tempest?

    • ianw2

      In addition to, since its 2005 (?) premiere, the original London production, the ROH revival and the Santa Fe production? Of all new operas recently, its probably the only one that may have the staying power of Nixon and His Chinese Singers. Four productions- including 2 at ROH and 1 at the Met- for a new work is astonishingly rare in the first few years of an opera’s life.

      • Regina delle fate

        It’s also had a production in Frankfurt, but it’s an opera by fucking Brits, so it can’t possibly be any good.

    • 98rsd

      Soon, I hope. I think it’s tremendously successful as an opera. I’ve only seen it twice, but how you would describe as “pale, derivative” is beyond me.

    • I assume it has something to do with the fact that this afternoon’s broadcast was an archival broadcast, a repeat of a performance heard earlier this season (i.e. a couple months ago).

      I have also noticed that TV reruns excite less comment than their initial broadcasts. Do you suppose this could be a pattern?

      I’m now off to watch the Tivo-ed 49ers-Patriots game from two weeks ago. If there is not fresh comment on the game from today I can only conclude that it was a sad, pale imitation of better games played twenty years ago.

      (And no, I’m not going to watch the 49ers-Seahawks matchup. There’s only so much a person can bear.)

      • (er, “…fresh comment from today on that game…”)

        La Cieca, we can haz edit function?

    • phoenix

      Did anyone listen to anything else besides The Tempest? Michel Plasson conducting Samson et Dalila from Grand-Théâtre de Genève tempted me much more. One of opera’s most dysfunctional romances -> a phoenix favorite. Aleksandrs Antonenko & Malgorzata Walewska -- what a couple! Antonenko was a wonderful Samson, Walewska a distinctively downtown Dalila, which put her in phoenix territory. Walewska rules! I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I heard a Dalila who actually sang the final chorus at the end of Act III right up the collapse of the temple in full voice and drowned out most of the others. Here she is in a wavering camcorder 2008 recital performance of Dalila’s 2nd Act aria, but the voice is rock steady:

    • Sempre liberal

      My dearest Amnerees,

      I tuned in for a little while, but I agree with dear Croche that it’s hard to get too excited for an encore. But that’s not really why I didn’t listen. I admit that I am largely in the Abbate/Parker camp. I find it hard to gear myself up (for it takes a conscious effort) for new opera, whereas I happily study an unfamiliar (to me) opera by one of my favorites, e.g. for the past 2 weeks I’ve been living and breathing Maria Stuarda, which I have never seen. (That soon shall be remedied, praise the Lord!)

      I am sure that it is important for composers to be able to write new opera and new classical music, but I do not feel motivated to listen to it. I am of the closed-minded belief that classical music is a near-dead language. True, even today, people can write beautiful works in Latin. But why?

      I do know that I am a minority: I am told that orchestral and opera musicians crave new works to keep them interested. I have always found this hard to believe, as I used to fancy being able to perform the works by the classical masters nightly as heaven. I have heard about 20 or 30 world or American premiers (mostly orchestral and chamber, not opera) over the past decade or so, and I don’t remember one of them.

      So, no — no comments from me on The Tempest. I admit that I listened for a few minutes, gave up, and took a (really good) nap. I hope it was fantastic and that those who wanted to listen to it loved it. And yes, I am a cranky old man in my early 40s. But I will be wide awake to see Troyens for the 2nd time this year (5th time ever) and Maria Stuarda next week.

  • Bianca Castafiore

    Bishop was also Graham’s substitute in the Iphigenie I saw last season or two… and one of the Norns in the GD. She’s a solid, competent but under-utilized singer at the Met. I wonder if she also has Cassandre in her rep.

    Looking forward to hearing your reports, parterriani.

  • eric

    Disappointed to arrive today and discover Susan Graham was ill. Elizabeth Bishop, however, was competent, and she improved as the afternoon continued.

    In many parts the performance seemed slack, even boring. The fourth act love duet -- which I usually love -- had no oomph to it. (Maybe I was just tired out from all the ballet scenes.) Singing was OK, not great. Must have been the conducting.

    Hymel was terrific, and got quite an ovation after his long aria in the final act.

    • jd

      Part 1 seemed to drag on. Voigt no comparison to Antonacci (with John Eliot Gardner which is available on YouTube). Part 2 much better. I liked the ballets even though they were somewhat long. Love duet very moving I thought. Hymel was indeed great. Bishop did a good job, but I missed Susan Graham. Insert slip in the program only mentioned Hymel for MG. I didn’t hear any announcement from the stage either?? Had to leave after Act IV due to snow in NJ. Same thing with snowstorm also in 2003. Boo Hoo.

      • eric

        I did have inserts in my program about both Hymel and Bishop.

        As to the long ballets, I found them overlong. In fact, at the end of the long ballet in Act 4 in front of Aeneas and Dido, I breathed a sigh of relief as the dancing stopped and the audience applauded. Then, incredibly, the dancing started up again. My husband, sitting next to me, said “Oh no!” and guffawed. People turned around to look.

        Too bad you had to miss Act 5. Hymel’s long aria was impressive.

        • eric

          P.S. Also, there were announcement posters for both replacements (Bishop and Hymel) on a stand inside the entrance, just beyond the ticket taker. We entered through the lower (concourse) entrance.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Not sure I want to watch the rest of this 1987 production, but it’s all on Youtube:

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      Yes, I should watch the rest. This is the Ken Russell production and it’s always nice to be in the hands of the conductor Eduoardo Mueller.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Camcorder Opera

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Although the audio and video in this production are a a little out of sync, during the overture here, you can tell from the expressions on the faces of the members of the orchestra that they really love their work in their beautiful and historic theater. But it’s such a nutsey Regie.

  • Camille

    I am tyred out, too.

    Bad mise en scène, bad ‘modern dance’ ballets, bad costuming which looked as if it were largely borrowed from Meredith Monk. Who is the genius that puts stout middle-aged women in all-white outfits? Consult with Edith Head for guidance.

    Very good Demoiselle Boulianne, Monsieur Appleby, and best of all, Monsieur Hymel, a shot of adrenaline and testosterone in this overly yin and wan spectacle.

    Mme. Bishop is to be applauded for her valorous assumption, no doubt at the last moment or very nearly so, of an iconic part which would take many, many years to grow into and achieve greatness. She grew in stature during the afternoon, and was clearly aided by Mo. Luisi, who gave a clear and nonfat reading of the score.

    I got there as Debbie died her “la douleur n’est rien” line, thanks to the malfeasance of MTA. Her costume looked as though it had escaped from The Lion King.

    I’ll be skipping the HD, however, as that scenaggiatura sucks!! Instead I shall go track down the best recording de la divine Régine, la sine qua non of Didons.

    Après Régine, c’est le déluge.

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      These should help:

      • Camille

        Love her, there is no one like her. Big kiss et grand merci!

        For years now I have been dilly-dallying around about tracking this record and now, I see, it is on YouTube.

        Régine! N’ayez pas peur, car vous êtes et serez toujours reine de nôtres coeurs! Sublime Didon! Inoubliable Cassandre! Immortelle artiste.

        • Quanto Painy Fakor

          Dyke, ya know.

          • Camille

            Ya know what? Non, I don’t know.

        • MontyNostry

          Reine de coeur (one minute in)

          • I had not ever heard this song before today. Regine is divine! Thank you.

          • MontyNostry

            It is quintessential Régine (and Poulenc), is it not?

          • Yes, sort of like this, n’est-ce pas?

            Looking at my CD shelf, I realise that I had heard “Reine de coeur” before as it’s on Regine’s legendary Nuits d’Ete/Scheherazade album.

          • MontyNostry

            Absolutely. I once heard Felicity Lott trying it and it seemed like sacrilege … And then, of course, there’s this, guaranteed to get my spine tingling:


        • papopera

          “reine DE NOS COEURS” dear

          • MontyNostry

            papopera, mon cher, the Poulenc song is called ‘La reine de coeur’ and is irrevocably linked in my mind’s ear with Crespin’s voice.

          • MontyNostry

            Oh, I see you were correcting dear Camille’s French. She is beyond reproach in all things.

          • Camille

            So sorry, pappy!!!

            Camille is reproachable in all things, M. Monty.
            Now she is old and forgetful, but I know I have all you boys to set me straight, at all times.

    • Camille

      Oh yes, Monsieur Cutler brought to mind Sacha Baron Cohen in Sweeney Todd.

      The guys next to me just loved him.
      He was kind of fun but my heart belongs to Hymel.

      • oedipe

        Monsieur Cutler sounded wobbly, with a sloppy legato. I apologize to all the Alagna haters, but this Blonde Cérès is in an entirely different league:

        • peter

          Not too many versions on Youtube to choose from but Kenneth Tarver’s is quite beautiful:

          • MontyNostry

            Why is Tarver still something of a well-kept secret?

          • Thanks for this. It’s from Colin Davis’s live Troyens. Has anyone heard it? It has Heppner pre-vocal crisis. Heppner was great in the last Met production but still a bit hesitant on some high notes. I imagine that he sings with more abandon in this recording. Petra Lang is Cassandre and Michelle de Young is Didon. Any thoughts?

          • marshiemarkII

            Yes Monty, why is Traver such a well kept secret, he was absolutely glorious last Saturday in the Messiah, beautiful voice, clean and articulate coloratura, beautiful phrasing and the voice projected very well in the acoustically challenged Avery Fisher! The only one in the same level as the sublime Layla Claire who sang a stunning Rejoice and even more beautiful Redeemer. It was a great performance all around, but the bitch from the New York Times gave him a nasty review, why???? he was really really wonderful! and yet that review had already predisposed me to not like him. That vile paper!!!!

          • armerjacquino

            Tarver’s Ottavio for Jacobs is very special, on a recording which is only otherwise notable for Pendatchanska’s Elvira.

            He’s also, as I said the other day, the best Fenton I’ve ever heard, with the possible exception of Araiza. You can hear him in the role on the ROH Falstaff with Terfel and Frittoli, although beware the very thin and wiry Nanetta of Desiree Rancatore.

          • armerjacquino

            Good GOD.

            Just found this in one of the Amazon reviews of the ROH Falstaff:

            “The young tenor(Tarver) on this set sings very, very well but I’m afraid he’s black. His race is just another element that contributes to the unreality of the performance.”

            That’s properly shocking.

          • Liz.S

            marshiemarkII, I also found NYT’s review on Tarver very unfair and didn’t understand why the review only focused on his little blemishes as if the “shakiness” was the only thing the audience gets from him. I became an instant fan of Tarver’s that evening!

            I’m sorry to say but it’s been a while since I gave up using NYT to decide whether I attend/ not attend (I rather come here for more reliable and honest opinions ;-) It’s kind of nice that NYT tends to be really sweet to big names or popular artists (they even rhetorically covers up their blemishes) -- that’s OK as long as they use the same measurement on others, but I don’t find it the case.
            (I attended last Friday -- yes, Claire was brilliant, Miles was superb, Mead was cute -- I was a happy customer :-)

          • marshiemarkII

            Greetings carisssima Liz. You know for many years now, my policy about the New York Times is essentially “Ein jedes wort ist falschheit”, there I never thought I’d borrow something from Nerva :-) but that is the absolutely best description about everything the Times writes. I read it only with the specific purpose of reversing what I see on the written page, if they say white I assume it must be black, and conversely what they call black must be lily white. That never fails, and allows me get the truth of sorts. Trouble is, however, that for a lot of people it does influence opinion, because of the fantasy that it is something other than Pravda at the height of the Soviet Union.

            Glad you loved the Messiah as much as I did. Layla Claire is a dream in everything she does so far, and this I thought that she might have been even more beautiful than my gold standard Janowitz!!! Miles I used to adore in the late 80s early 90s, some Mozart Cantata (name escapes me now) where he just rolls (pun intended), but he is getting on the years…. The countertenor I was a bit disappointed, but he is so young I don’t want to disparage him. So Tarver was a real highlight!!! The Every Valley was superb, and he went from strength to strength. I just read that he was in the Lindemann, and of course has sung at every major opera house in Europe so he is not a “secret”, rather we are a bit ignorant then if we have missed him, our loss, beautiful singer all around and so stylish, like a throwback to an earlier era. It was a really uplifting evening and I am so glad you loved it as much as I did (on a different night!).

        • Just lovely, thank you.

          (I didn’t realise that a band of Alagna haters existed on parterre).

          • oedipe

            YOU didn’t know it, but they do…

        • Camille

          I agree with that oedipe. Just last night I heard Cutler’s Ceres once more and liked it even less.

          This Kenneth Tarver’s version is excellent as well. Where was this guy for the current production? Too busy elsewhere?

    • marshiemarkII

      Shouldn’t it be the NE PLUS ULTRA instead carisssssima CammiBelle?
      (Pssst I am shocked, yes shocked that you missed La Prise de Troie! Malfeasance or not!)
      :-) :-) :-)

      • Camille

        Doesn’t rhyme, regina MMII[tm]

        Have you got your tiara and studs all polished for New Year’s Eve?
        Don’t be a Dame Dreary and stay @ home!!!

        Grosser Küss

        • messa di voce

          Does your presence at the Met indicate that justice has been rendered to WW?

          • Camille

            ?????? Are you speaking to me and if so, what is WW?

          • Camille


            WENDY WHITE!!!!!!!!

            Please forgive me, Wendy!! The ticket was given me and I did not buy anything at all! Pas un café!!! Giustizia!!

      • marshiemarkII

        You are so clever carisssssima, didn’t notice the rhyme :-)
        Yes Helas this year MMII is Dame Dreary indeed. Last year it was the Enchanted Island but this year is just MMII and the SO allein weh ganz allein.

        But I am really looking forward to Maria de Buenos Aires, in March at the Poisson Rouge, you should keep it in mind, the girl is sensational!!!!! another Juilliard girl! And since MMII has not even been considered here for Brunnhilde (though she IS a grand Hochdramatische) maybe now she can become Maria de Buenos Aires……

      • marshiemarkII

        And un gran BESO for you of course!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Camille

          Look who I fished out of the waters just to serenade and keep you company on New Year’s, since I am unable to.

          As Manon Lescaut says, “Pardonnez-moi”.

        • marshiemarkII

          And I dedicate this for YOU CammiBelle, the one and only!!!!

    • Thank you for you review, Camille chere. Last time around, Debbie’s delivery of that line was great, so perhaps you got the best part of her performance?

      Vive La Crespin!!

      • Camille

        Pas de cela!

        Just a few notes and my viewpoint, not any review.

        Your countrywoman Mlle. Boulianne is very talented and am looking forward to hearing her again in a larger part.

        I was very pleased for M. Hymel’s success. He deserved it!

        Chéri, I am trying to talk that grumpy old man I live with into going to Toronto but am not having much luck. I do so want to see that Bill Viola production bedore I croak! Nous verrons!


    • Clita del Toro

      Cammiestest wrote: I got there as Debbie died her “la douleur n’est rein…”

      It’s easy for Debbie to say!

      • manou

        Kidney trouble?

        • MontyNostry

          manou, don’t be so small(of the back)-minded!

          • manou

            Pettifogging -- c’est moi.

          • MontyNostry

            You’ve lost me there, manou. You are too clever!

          • manou

            Only the usual bit of self deprecation, Monty. Nothing very clever about it.

    • bad costuming which looked as if it were largely borrowed from Meredith Monk

      Hey now, don’t go picking on Miss Meredith…

      • Camille

        No, more like Eileen Fisher yoga outfits, on second thought.

        The purple part was nice, though, and Ascagne and Enee’s batik looking costumes.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    The divine Schubert promises a return to spring

  • Amnerees

    Most esteemed Sempre Liberal,
    I tried not to express an opinion about The Tempest here, because I’ve read so much about what a great opera it is (with a few harsh remarks about the text). I attended the first performance in London in 2004 (and paid $164 for a lousy seat in Covent Garden). I think my resentment over this outlay of money interfered with my enjoyment (?) of the work. I listened to a BBC broadcast of that performance later. Now that I’ve heard it again … well, I just don’t know. I’ve heard so many new operas over the years, including the Met’s dreary View from the Bridge and the drearier Great Gatsby, and I keep hoping for something appealing. I guess I’m in the Parker/Abbate camp too. On the other hand, I’m not sure I can bear another revival of a Handel opera.

    • At the very least, you’re sure to find Powder Her Face a touch livelier:

      There’s a great variety of opera being written nowadays by composers of different generations, different backgrounds and different temperaments. We’re lucky to live in an age where it’s comparatively easy to see or hear new work from distant places. The world of music in general, and the world of opera in particular, is extraordinarily vibrant right now.

      A baker’s half-dozen of snippets and gobbets.

      And really, it wouldn’t be hard to compile a list of 100 operas premiered in the last ten or fifteen years that would be worth seeing at least once. The problem is not that there is so little work being done nowadays, but that there is so little time to take it all in.

  • Amnerees

    Dear M. Croche: Well, I guess I asked for this. I know some of these pieces already and had tried to forget them. I think the problem is “not that there is so little work being done nowadays” but that so little of it is worth hearing (or seeing) once. I admire your open-mindedness, though. Carry on …

    • Heya, Amnerees. Thanks for your reply. I’ve caught rehearsals for a couple items from this (random) list, but haven’t seen fully staged performances of any of them. Just out of curiosity, which of these have you had the chance to see?

  • oedipe

    Allow me to add a few suggestions of highly accessible and attractive contemporary operas: almost ANY opera by the Belgian composer Philippe Boesmans (such as Reigen, Wintermärchen, Yvonne, Pricesse de Bourgogne, Julie); operas by the young French/Argentine composer Oscar Strasnoy (Cachafaz, Le Bal)

    • oedipe


  • Amnerees

    Hi m. croche: Powder Her Face and A House in Bali. I’d like to see La Vita Nova. It sounds strange and trashy.