Cher Public

  • Cicciabella: Of course not! You’d have burn marks all over your arms. 8:34 AM
  • WindyCityOperaman: RIP actor, singer and eternal cutie Dean Jones httpvh://www.youtu qrrZAtP4 8:20 AM
  • armerjacquino: Azucena with sparing use of chest? You’ll have Zucker after you, not to mention our own Zinka. 7:23 AM
  • jrance: Oropesa has future engagements at The Met. She has a very busy career and a full calendar; offers from The Met don’t always... 7:04 AM
  • gustave of montreal: You think Pons could have vocalised Zerbinetta ? 6:42 AM
  • gustave of montreal: Très drôle, beurrrkkk, mais l’anglo n’est pas ma première langue. Alors je demande ce qui semble... 6:40 AM
  • manou: I have found that small children can be entertained during car journeys by listening to various operas – although I once... 6:39 AM
  • gustave of montreal: Poor Dima, so sad, so cruel 6:32 AM

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.


  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Camcorder Opera

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

      These should help:

    • Camille says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

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

          • MontyNostry says:

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

          • kashania says:

            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 says:

            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 says:

            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 says:

            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 says:

            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 says:

            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!).

        • kashania says:

          Just lovely, thank you.

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

        • Camille says:

          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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

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

          • Camille says:

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

          • Camille says:


            WENDY WHITE!!!!!!!!

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

      • marshiemarkII says:

        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 says:

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

        • Camille says:

          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 says:

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

    • kashania says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

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

      It’s easy for Debbie to say!

    • m. croche says:

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

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

      • Camille says:

        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 says:

    The divine Schubert promises a return to spring

  • Amnerees says:

    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.

    • m. croche says:

      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 says:

    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 …

    • m. croche says:

      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 says:

    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)

  • Amnerees says:

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