Headshot of La Cieca

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Vil cutlet

“…Mary Queen of Scots calls Elizabeth I ‘vil bastarda’ — a lowborn bastard. The phrase was considered so inflammatory back in 1835 that the La Scala world premiere was shut down after a single performance. At the Met, though, the emotional temperature ran a little lower. True, Joyce DiDonato’s Mary spat out those fighting words in a tangy chest voice, but it was hard to believe she meant them.” [New York Post]

44 comments

  • Clita del Toro says:

    Wagner Concert on France Musique today:

    2:00PM
    SPECIAL PROGRAM: Le concert du soir
    par Producteurs en alternance
    En direct de la Salle Pleyel : Richard Wagner
    ? Le Vaisseau fantôme WWW 63(1843), Ouverture

    ? Lohengrin WWW 75 (1845, 1848)
    - Prélude de l’acte I
    - Prélude de l’acte II
    - Acte III, scène 1 : “Treulich geführt ziehet dahin”* **
    - Acte III, scène 2* **

    ? Tannhäuser WWW 70 (1845)
    - Ouverture
    - Venusberg

    ? Tristan et Isolde WWW 90 (1865), Prélude et mort d’Isolde***

    Annette Dasch, Soprano *
    Stephen Gould, Ténor **
    Violeta Urmana, Soprano ***
    Chœur de Radio France
    Robert Blank, Chef de chœur
    Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
    Marek Janowski, direction

    Concert donné dans le cadre de l’Union Européenne de Radio-Télévision (UER). (2 hrs., 32 min.)

    • Clita del Toro says:

      Dasch is better when you can see her. Urmana’s Liebestod was nothing to w rite home about. Should have listened to Il Pirata.

  • MontyNostry says:

    La Cieca’s having Stuarda fun on Twitter tonight ..

    La Cieca?@parterre

    RT @OperaTeen @JoyceDiDonato Tonight’s perf @MetOpera is dedicated to the amazing Tweeters who are out there in da house!

  • La Valkyrietta says:

    I had a good seat last night but Polenzani cancelled and his replacement was not ‘voice equivalent’. I heard the Met now prices the tickets according to cast. Should not the audience in all fairness have gotten a partial refund upon entering the house last night? If that is too complicated, well then, free Champagne, even if only the house Champagne, or at least free Merlot.

    I liked the production. Sets and costumes do suggest XVI century England, and Gelb did not get a ‘clever’ director that would have the chorus dancing ‘Forty Second Street’ at the end, thanks heavens. Joyce made the evening worth it. The South African girl did not do it for me at all, and Benini makes me miss Levine. Nice Rigoletto costumes from yesteryear on display at the Parterre and Dress Circle levels.

    • Leon Dupuis says:

      La Valkyrietta, I didn’t have ANY seat last night--family circle standing room! If anyone’s wondering, all the voices carry nicely. I think I might have to see how the opera plays up close. Sometimes it’s magical up there. Other times (like Friday night), my feet hurt and I get distracted by all the cell phones ringing. Shut them off people!!! Vibrate isn’t good enough. We can all hear your phones vibrate!

    • Nerva Nelli says:

      “If that is too complicated, well then, free Champagne, even if only the house Champagne, or at least free Merlot.”

      Maybe free Target Brand Box Riesling to all if Mojca Erdmann is allowed to appear?

      • Camille says:

        Three Buck UpChuck, as it is popularly known in SoCal, from Trader Joe’s?

        The Sauvignon Blanc is *almost* alcohol and equally palatable.

  • Leon Dupuis says:

    At the Met’s second performance of Maria Stuarda on Friday night, van den Heever’s voice seemed somewhat unsettled (maybe her timing was off) and a bit screechy at the top of her range. Her waddling movements were similarly strange. Good for her. She played an unattractive role perfectly imperfectly. (Somebody had previously wondered in a post on NYE what she is like in a graceful role. Me too!) DiDonato was vibrant and in control from her very first note. She was very good for most of her performance and, at times, exceptional. The rest of the audience cheered her tremendously. Since this was my first Maria Stuarda, I was as dumb about the opera as I could possibly be. I have no idea how Sutherland (God bless her soul) sang the role. At face value, both women performed their role brilliantly. This wasn’t (and arguably shouldn’t be) a cat fight. These are powerful and noble women. All hell cannot break loose, and it doesn’t. DiDonato establishes her Maria in the cavatina right at the beginning of Act II, scene I. Noble, serene, self-righteous, and in control. Not knowing when to applaud, we ended up applauding DiDonato’s “E chè! Non ami chè ad insolita gioia” somewhat later in the scene.

    The force of this confrontation scene comes at the “Ah! No!” just before “vil bastardo.” If you wait until “vil bastardo,” you’ve missed the climactic moment of their confrontation. With her “Ah! No!” we know exactly what Maria’s going to say next. The biggest regret is that the confrontation scene is so short.

    The weakest link in the production is the libretto--the love interest really is unnecessary and confuses the plot, and Donizetti does seem to make up for the libretto’s flaws enough with the score. A little more patriotic Verdi would go a long way with the chorus. A little of Puccini’s tenderness would also help. So, it’s a good, not great opera; but that really isn’t so bad, is it?

  • All-knowing Earth Goddess says:

    I, too, was at Stuarda on Friday evening. The tenor was B-level so I’ll go back to hear Polenzani in a future performance. I agree with the critic who wrote that Joyce would sing with a straight tone on pianissimi. That might be fine for baroque music but I don’t think it’s correct for Donizetti. I loved van den Heever and found myself not looking at the English titles because I was too busy concentrating on her movements.