Cher Public

The chat with nine lives

Thanks for your feedback, cher public. La Cieca has implemented the new chat software with your suggestions at La Casa della Cieca, which will officially relaunch Thursday, January 17, at 7:25 PM for Le Comte Ory from the Met. And don’t forget Saturday, January 18 at 12;30 PM, the premiere of Operavore (featuring a certain little-known doyenne) followed by Maria Stuarda!

  • rysanekfreak

    If this is our thread for our weekly random musings, I would like to mention how much I enjoyed Woody Allen’s latest…”To Rome with Love.”

    He plays a director of regie opera. I won’t spoil things by mentioning the two funny regie productions he mentions.

    Fabio Armiliato plays an amateur tenor who can sing gloriously only in the shower, so Woody devises a regie “Pagliacci” for him. That’s just one subplot of the movie, and it’s not nearly as bad as the critics suggested.

    • DharmaBray

      Me too, it was a hoot and a complete delight, the Pagliacci scenes were a riot!

  • zinka

    My Zilionth Trovatore

    How many Trovatores have I seen/heard in my existence? Yet, I marvel every time at what Verdi accomplished, and last night at the Met was no exception. Here is my totally unbiased review:

    Angela Meade, sporting her new engagement ring, is an immensly talent young artist. The voice is bright and clear,and she has an uncanny ability to take high D flats pianissimo with great ease. At first hearing,I thought they were a bit “disconnected’ from the rest of the vocal line, but then I realized that they constitute a most unusual element in her singing (cf.Caballe). Her fioratura work is clean;she is involved onstage, and rightly so, the audience gave her several ovations. By the way, get ready for an interpolated high E flat at the end of the “In mia man” next season,unless (Lord forbid) they hire Muti!
    I believe Mme.Blythe was ill, because she avoided most top notes, and even had to sing the last “Sei vendicata,o madre’ an octave down. We know what a great instrument she possesses,and that was evident most of the evening, but we could see there were some physical problems. These singers are great troupers, and often sing through all kinds of physical problems.
    I loved Marco Berti as Calaf, and last night his Manrico would for me constitute the best (maybe only) true dramatic tenor voice around today. No,it ain’t a Tucker,Corelli, or Del Monaco quality of tone, but it is a brilliant voice, even from bottom to ringing middle and top, and he is capable of some lovely piano phrases. Some people call this “provincial” but maube they never heard of Galliano Masini, Bernardo de Muro, or some of the tenors who were not supposed to be Schipa or Valletti.
    Two new voices were surely quite impressive. Alexey Markov was a fine de Luna, producing some top notes almost like a dramatic tenor. It is a fine voice and an excellent addition to the baritone wing. Another new guy was the Greek basso Christophoros Stamboglis, with a large,round, and beautiful voice, and when I asked him about a future “Attila,” he said he just did it! He was really excellent,even in a role that is not too rewarding past scene one.
    Inez usually is sung by an inaudible soprano, but Edyta Kulczak made some very pleasant and resonant sounds that lead me to believe she might be more than a comprimario. I noted this several years ago with Michaela Martens, and there was once a girl named Von Stade who did Wowkle in Fanciulla.

    • MontyNostry


    • armerjacquino

      Stratas sang Inez at the Met too, I believe.

      Baffled by the praise for Berti. He was bloody awful when I saw him as Manrico with Papian, and he was bloody awful on the broadcast.

      • Clita del Toro

        Jacq, You should know by now that Zinka likes tenors with loud, squillo filled voices. How well they sing is another matter entirely.

        Hence, his love for Giordani.

        • zinka

          I love tenors like Beerti,Giordani,Masini,De Muro,CORELLI,DELMONACO…Thank Gof ro them..but I adore Piotr Beczala, Tito Schipa,….

          Northing wrong with CETRA SORIA tenors…..

          What about Petrella,Gavazzi,Mancini….you want only Emma Kikby and Kathleen Ferrier?

          Wjhat is wrong with BALLS?????????????????

          • Clita del Toro

            Berti and Gordani can’t lick the asses of Corelli, Del Monaco or Masini.
            How can you compare those two, second rate dodos to the greats.
            I am glad you like Beczala and Schipa.

            There is nothing wrong with balls, I just don’t like ugly balls.

          • marshiemarkII

            In fact balls can be delicious Clitadoree :-)
            Loveya more than evah!

          • Clita del Toro

            Well, Marshanette, dear we all know that.

      • Marco Berti’s natural instrument has great potential. It is a big spinto voice that we need in the heroic Italian roles. But the timbre is not distinctive and his singing can be sloppy. He is also a very boring performer. So, mostly a waste of some great potential.

    • grimoaldo

      “I believe Mme.Blythe was ill”

      People keep saying that and they said it about the Sat broadcast also, but if she was ill, why didn’t they make an announcement or let the cover do the part instead?

      • zinka

        MANY singers do not like to make announcements (like Placido).Soviero NEVER would….and since the cover for Blythe is La Cieca..well..take your pick…

      • Cocky Kurwenal

        Exactly Grimoaldo -- I think she is just screwed, rather than ill.

    • oedipe

      Zinka should write for the NYT.

      • zinka

        That is the kindest thing..about the NYT..but they have Zachary Wolfe,who is cuter

        NYT… mean the Nazi Youth Troup?????

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Nah, you were right the first time -- they are a bit disconnected. She shouldn’t bother with them, they seem to cost her so much mental and technical effort that she can’t integrate them into a phrase.

  • Satisfied

    Anyone in Princeton tonight for Jonas?

    30 minutes until that beau…incredibly talented singer takes the stage :-)

    • Belfagor

      Well yes, I was there. He was rather marvelous: held the stage, charted the tale of the silly Miller’s daughter and her green inamorati with restraint, humour, much verbal pointing, a beautiful mezzo-voce, and in the odd moment when he could let rip, lovely projection and tone. Very occasionally his voice felt too large a fit, but that’s niggling.

      Sacrilege, I’m sure -- but twenty Schubert songs one after the other do get a little bland for my debased taste, but I was glad to hear him, and see him of course, in the flesh……….

      He did a beautiful lullaby as an encore -- couldn’t imagine him following that with Zandonai’s ‘Giulietta son io’…………

      • Liz.S

        It was just wonderful. I really loved his intelligent interpretation and dramatic rendition. It was such an interesting and exiting version of Müllerin. Quite a journey he took us!
        The encore was Der Jüngling an der Quelle, I think. After that eternal good night, it gave us a slight hope of awakening -- very fitting and nice way of closing the lovely lieder abend!

      • Satisfied

        I too thoroughly enjoyed Jonas this evening. Yes, a little Shubert-Lieder goes a long way. But to be front row for this amazing performer was a dream come true, and a bit of a surprise as I was totally unfamiliar with the theater. Very intimate. Perhaps why you felt the voice was too large a fit, Belfagor?

        Sorry to have missed the encore (curious what it was), but didn’t want to wait an hour for the next train into the city. In all, I spent roughly 3 1/2 hours of travel time for 70 minutes worth of music -- and it was totally worth it.

        • Satisfied

          Thanks for clearing up the encore q Liz!

        • Belfagor

          Doesn’t any theatre seem intimate from the front row?

          I was a little further back -- no the ‘large fit’ comment was that some of the inflections weren’t so nimble at times, but very fleeting. I was so impressed by his natural demeanor and his dramatic focus -- it was all very clear.

          I feel the MacArthur theatre needs a lick of paint and a reorganized auditorium -- it reminds me of a British cinema in the 1960’s…….

          Jonas sold out very quickly. Doofus Rainright comes there in 2 weeks -- tickets are substantially cheaper and have not sold out yet. Princeton is a serious place.

  • zinka

    I NEVER said Berti or ANY tenor today could touch a Corelli,Tucker,DelMonaco…but it is nice to be able to thrill to a brilliant top in a tenor..and only a few today have it. It is snobbish to put down CETRA SORIA singers..There is room for “flawed’ voices…ever hear of Olivero??????
    People today like “pretty” mostly…(oh..she sings tonight)….I never fear saying i prefer Lando Bartolini to Placido Domingo.

    • Nerva Nelli

      Berti has pushed his once decent instrument so hard that he can’t sing softly without going EXCRUCIATINGLY off pitch, as his “Ah si, ben mio” , and, worse the duettino before it (talk about inadequate singers recomposing!) made very plain.

      Give me a good Cetra tenor any day. This guy is bargain basement material in the Primo Zambruno/Ruggero Orofino tradition. There’s a big difference.

  • Clita del Toro

    It’s nice to have a brilliant top if you can sing decently and not sound like a dying crow.
    Now you are comparing certain “flawed” voices like Olivera’s to flawed voices like Berti’s. Does that make them equals? Diamonds and paste, dear.

    Callas had a flawed voice and so does Nada Michael. I guess that is as good a comparison as yours.

    Who is putting down Cetra-Soria singers?

  • louannd

    Underwhelming news from HGO for next year:

    They did manage to snag Monastyrska for their Aida. The Das Rheingold is the one from Valencia a few years back. Jamie Barton is singing Fricka and Iain Paterson is Wotan. Here is the Fledermaus cast:

    Eisenstein -- Liam Bonner
    Rosalinde -- Wendy Bryn Harmer
    Adele -- Laura Claycomb
    Prince Orlofsky -- Susan Graham
    Alfred -- Anthony Dean Griffey
    Frank -- Michael Sumuel
    Frosch -- Jason Graae

    and, wait for it, who is singing Carmen? Ana Maria Martinez.

    • DharmaBray

      Yes interesting they’re going with the Fura dels Baus Ring from Spain as originally it was mooted that HGO would be doing the new Opera Australia Ring being premiered in Melbourne this November, directed by Neil Armfield… wonder what happened there. No one seems to be saying a thing about this.

    • Nerva Nelli

      Ana Maria Martinez is an excellent singer and actress, with a plausible appearance for the role.

      Carmen is, you know, a part originally mainly taken by sopranos-- Emma Calve, anybody? What exactly do you see as the problem with this casting? Puzzled.

      • Yeah, I would consider Martinez an exciting prospect.

      • louannd

        I am not displeased at the prospect of Ana Maria Martinez singing Carmen, just surprised. I have only heard her sing Mimi (during which she was incredibly bored) and her Rosina (during which Nathan Gunn was incredibly bored). She sang both quite well and showed quite a diversity in repetoire. Her Carmen may or may not be exciting but I surely wish her a tremendous success.

        • Nerva Nelli

          I have heard Ana Maria Martinez excel as Mimi, Butterfly and Fiordiligi. I bet she’ll be really good as Carmen and hope to hear it some time soon.

          Many soprano Carmens have lived and died, and not only on recordings.

          Met Archives:

          1 Carmen: Carmen [Arnoldson, Sigrid]
          137 Carmen: Carmen [Calve Emma]
          15 Carmen: Carmen [de Lussan, Zelie]
          35 Carmen: Carmen [Djanel, Lily]
          13 Carmen: Carmen [Easton, Florence]
          65 Carmen: Carmen [Farrar, Geraldine]
          12 Carmen: Carmen [Fremstad, Olive]
          8 Carmen: Carmen [Gay, Maria]
          3 Carmen: Carmen [Hauk, Minnie]
          2 Carmen: Carmen [Heller, Mira]
          4 Carmen: Carmen [Lehmann, Lilli]
          1 Carmen: Carmen [Lewis, Brenda]
          15 Carmen: Carmen [Ponselle, Rosa]
          1 Carmen: Carmen [Rhodes, Jane]
          7 Carmen: Carmen [Seygard, Camille]
          1 Carmen: Carmen [Tavary, Marie]

    • Ana Maria Martinez is almost always quite fantastic and I think the voice in its present condition will carry very well even in the Card solo. She deserves a big success. Damn, I wish she’d sing both Carmen AND Micaela!!

      • oedipe


        Kaufmann should sing Carmen and Micaela, in addition to Don José. He can do it, he can sing anything to perfection!

        • Does anybody really care how he sings ? ;)

          • oedipe

            Absolutely! He has fabulous diminuendos. And singing IS part of the package, isn’t it.

    • oedipe

      Considering the fact that Carmen has basically become an opera with NO identity whatsoever (let’s face it, almost noone performs it today as an opéra comique), does it really matter who sings it? I mean, ANY fach, in ANY language, in ANY incarnation will do, as long as it pleases the local audience.

      • I honestly think the piece is still worthy of salvation. But in a small theatre, with dialogue and the complete score (no cuts in the factory chorus). Gardiner tried it but was hampered (I believe so) by the charmless Antonacci. Martinez is a fine stylist and a very good linguist. I hope she makes it work.

        • oedipe

          Antonacci holds plenty of charm for me in the Gardiner version, though not in the ROH version, where she is plays a VERY different character (she plays a bitch making love to herself, while Herr Kaufmann is making love to his flower).

          • I agree she is better than on the Pappano version but still IMO not a great deal of fun or allure.
            We need a new production / recording from Minkowski and his excellent Louvre musicians. The Suites album on Naive was astonishing. Now we need a Jose and Carmen. Yoncheva and Tezier will do nicely for the rest of cast.

          • Thiago Arancam maybe?

          • Better still, Georges Thill and Solange Michel.

          • manou

            Alagna and Stéphanie d’Oustrac.

          • armerjacquino

            Berti and Kermes.

          • Krunoslav

            How about Bryan Hymel and Ekaterina Semenchuk?

            (Armer, Kermes can play Frasquita to Kasarova’s Mercedes), and Berti can voice the wounded bull.

          • MontyNostry

            Kermes can take a leaf out of Zambello’s Carmen and play Lillas Pasta as a woman, preferably with all the dialogue cut.

          • Arancam is pretty hot and the voice is decent

            There. I have said it.

          • MontyNostry

            Whoops, Pastia.

          • la vociaccia

            CF, I saw Arancam as Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut with Opera Philadelphia. Yes he’s super handsome and brazilian, and “decent” is about as far as i’ll go about his voice. It didn’t really became “spinto” until act III, but when it did, he was fine.

          • oedipe

            Anyway, one who shouldn’t be singing Don José any time soon is Calleja, who, in his Paris recital last night sang La fleur in perfect bel canto style; problem is, this ISN’T a bel canto role -at least as far as I am concerned . Granted, he sang a great diminuendo on une chose à toi. But the rest of the aria was without interest.

            I found the concert disappointing overall. Short program, unwise choices. He sang a beautiful “Cielo e mar”, an excellent “La donna e mobile” and an OK “Lucevan le stelle”; but for the rest, does he really think he should be singing Don José, Turridu, Werther, Calaf, Le Cid? He didn’t sound right in these roles, whereas he is wonderful in Donizetti, early Verdi, early Puccini and the like.

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            Calleja recorded lots of those for his Lanza tribute so I suppose he feels they’re legitimate recital fare now. Unfortunately, in most cases he can’t sustain the phrases as far as one would like in that repertoire, and that’s in the studio.

  • Nerva Nelli

    marshiemarkII says:

    When you have to resort to made on the fly LIES it just shows how PATHETIQUE you are!, poor thing, getting desperate? or going mad? remember the sad fate of those two HUGELY FAT (fat is no good for neuronal synapses you know) singers Bianca Berini and Elizabeth Payer-Tucci, you know where they ended up, and at least they had some talent. E tu Brute?


    I think this poster qualifies as a poor excuse for a human being--on SO many levels.

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Born on this day in 1914 soprano Marianne Schech

    Happy 67th birthday soprano Katia Ricciarelli

    Happy 57th birthday tenor Christoph Prégardien

  • Archaeopteryx

    Has anybody a clue who will sing Norma at the Liceu in 2015? Gregory Kunde lists performanes “TBA” on his website from 19 January-22 February. It won’t be Gruberova, because she is singing La Straniera in Vienna at that time… Any ideas?

  • zinka

    Happy early birthday,Placido…See you on Monday so you can give me Madrid as my gift..I cannot afford much for you..but maybe a Boris score….

  • WindyCityOperaman

    (On January 19)
    Born on this day in 1909 bass-baritone Hans Hotter

    Happy 58th birthday conductor Simon Rattle

    Happy 56th birthday bartione Kurt Ollmann