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Cher Public

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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!

205 comments

  • zinka says:

    http://traffic.libsyn.com/handelmania/Resnik.Fricka.mp3

    Gee.Thanks,Sir Rudy, for hiring 57th rate mezzos and never giving Regina a chance in one of her greatest roles…but at least Bayreuth approved!!!!!!

    • Nerva Nelli says:

      The WALKUERE Frickas Bing hired between the time Resnik became a mezzo (since in 1951, when he first did the RING, she was singing Sieglinde at the Met) and his retirement:

      Irene Dalis
      Mignon Dunn
      Christa Ludwig
      Jean Madeira
      Nell Rankin
      Blanche Thebom
      Josephine Veasey

      Which of these internationally ranked Wagnerians qualifies in your view as a “57th rate mezzo” in the context of singing Fricka at the time?

      (There was one 1965 performance by Gladys Kriese, surely as a cover--though she sang this part at the Deutsche Oper Berlin).

      • Bill says:

        Speaking of Mezzos, Agnes Baltsa at the age of 68 has just been completing a series of performances of L’Italiana in Algeri as Isabella in Vienna
        with reviews which were somewhat positive.
        She sang in the Premiere of this Ponelle production in 1987 and made her Staatsoper Debut (as Komponist) over 40 years ago. She is a Mezzo who pretty much stayed a Mezzo throughout her
        career. Feruccio Furlanetto was also in that 1987 production and refrained his well known
        Mustafa this past week with success.

        Edita Gruberova had heavenlike reviews for
        her concertized Anna Bolena in Vienna last week.
        She is 66 now.

        In my opinion, Domingo should be allowed to
        sing whatever he wishes to sing -- albeit
        Baritone roles even if the timbre is different
        from what we are accustomed. We do not have a plethora of superb Cavalier or Verdi baritones these days (though Nucci still has engagements in some leading roles and he will be 71 in April). Many many famous singers (particularly sopranos) have altered their roles and taken on lower parts
        with aplomb and success when the top notes have lost their bloom.

        Grace Bumbry (at 76) is returning to the Vienna Staatsoper after some two decades this month to essay the old Countess in Pique Dame (Shicoff is the Hermann).

        Garanca has cancelled (or postponed at least)
        her Didons (Les Troyens) in Berlin this March indicating she is not yet ready to perform the role. She is slated in future seasons do do Didon in Vienna as well.

      • The_Kid says:

        honest question, nerva (not being snarky):

        how would you compare irene dalis and mignon dunn with, say, christa ludwig, as fricka?

        • Clita del Toro says:

          I’d rather hear Jane Rhodes sing Fricka than Irene Dalis, Christa Ludwig or Mignon Dunn.

        • Nerva Nelli says:

          Kid, I don’t know what Clita’s problem with Ludwig as Fricka is, but Solti and Levine seemed to like her well enough! I have always enjoyed her in it.

          Never heard Dalis live. I understand why people didn’t like her in Italian and French roles, but in Wagner and Strauss she clearly had something to offer. Bayrueth used her as Kundry (even on a recording) and Ortrud ( in which she reportedly triumphed, and Zinka might note that these re roles which Resnik was wise never to attempt.

          I am sure that Resnik (a great artist in the right role, and *of course* she should have been offered Carmen earlier, but there the main problem-- as with Frances Bible never having come to the Met as Octavian-- was Rise Stevens’ clout) feels that *she* should have done the FRAU Amme at the met too, but her Covent Garden performance sounds less impressive than Dalis who is REALLY good, especially in the 1969 broadcast.
          I have never heard a souvenir of her Fricka, but given that she was accepted in Wagner roles (also Brangaene and Waltraute) in Berlin as well as Bayreuth, I doubt she woudl quaify as 57th rate as Fricka.

          I did hear Mignon Dunn as Fricka twice, in 1977 and 1984. She was excellent the first time and still very good the second time. This was a real “theatre voice”, quite huge ( Ortrud rocked the walls) and I don’t think it recorded well at all. I would not place Dunn in the same league as Ludwig for vocal beauty or nuance but she was a more than satisfying interpreter of Fricka.

      • zinka says:

        Of Course I am only really speaking of Rankin,Madeira, and dalis…but they at least gave the wonderful Barbro Ercsson a fricka..What I really mean (and KNOW) is that Regina was passed over in many many ways by Bing…He gave countless perf.to Dalis..and then he had those awful Carmens of Kerstin Meyer and Jane Rhodes.When Cernei bombed at Carmen..10 yrs.after Regina’s fabulous successes in the role..he then gave in..
        Regina’s tapes show her to be one of the greatest..but Bing denied her….and if you look at the annals, you see very little of regina in Aida,Trovatore,Ballo,Boris…Gioconda..one each pretty much.
        Meanwhile she was triumphing in other lands….

        Of COURSE Thebom,Ludwig,Veasey were magnificent..but my comments really relate to Bing’s total denial of Regina as a mezzo..He told her not to become a mezzo..and she proved him wrong…that he could not take..and he saw her only as a “character” mezzo….
        You gotta trust me on this..i know her 50 yrs..and i do think she deserved much more..but he used Dalis and Rankin a lot..and they were inadequate in Italian opera.

        My best CH

        P.S.Listen to the Cg Boris with Regina…Bing gave her ONE..and in a few seasons wanted to have as the innkeeper..which she calls the “chicken plucker.”

        • Nerva Nelli says:

          In WALKURE, Rankin (of whom I have read good reviews for her Ortrud except late in the game in New Orleans!) sang 3 Met Frickas and Madeira just 1, in what sounds like a “cover night” (see below). Surely Madeira was better suited to Erda.

          Metropolitan Opera House
          March 10, 1958

          DIE WALK?RE {382}

          Br?nnhilde…………..Margaret Harshaw
          Siegmund…………….Albert Da Costa
          Sieglinde……………Marianne Schech [Last performance]
          Wotan……………….Otto Edelmann
          Fricka………………Jean Madeira
          Hunding……………..William Wilderman

          Conductor……………Fritz Stiedry

          ……………

        • Nerva Nelli says:

          In WALKURE, Rankin (of whom I have read good reviews for her Ortrud except late in the game in New Orleans!) sang 3 Met Frickas and Madeira just 1, in what sounds like a “cover night” (see below). Surely Madeira was better suited to Erda.

          Metropolitan Opera House
          March 10, 1958

          DIE WALK?RE {382}

          Br?nnhilde…………..Margaret Harshaw
          Siegmund…………….Albert Da Costa
          Sieglinde……………Marianne Schech [Last performance]
          Wotan……………….Otto Edelmann
          Fricka………………Jean Madeira
          Hunding……………..William Wilderman

          Conductor……………Fritz Stiedry

          ……………

        • Nerva Nelli says:

          In WALKURE, Rankin (of whom I have read good reviews for her Ortrud except late in the game in New Orleans!) sang 3 Met Frickas and Madeira just 1, in what sounds like a “cover night” (see below). Surely Madeira was better suited to Erda.

          Metropolitan Opera House
          March 10, 1958

          DIE WALK?RE {382}

          Br?nnhilde…………..Margaret Harshaw
          Siegmund…………….Albert Da Costa
          Sieglinde……………Marianne Schech [Last performance]
          Wotan……………….Otto Edelmann
          Fricka………………Jean Madeira
          Hunding……………..William Wilderman

          Conductor……………Fritz Stiedry

          ……………

  • Bill says:

    Christa Ludwig was as fine a Fricka
    as any I have seen (first being Thebom).

  • zinka says:

    P.S. Domingo is the ONLY ONLY ONLY singer who sang baritone roles with a tenor voice..Vinay,really baritonal, did a few lower roles late…Bartolo,Inquisitor,Iago…but Verdi did not write for TWO TENORS..Placido’s voice is still quite fine..about up to A flat…BUT so what…He has no business in the wrong fach..but he sells tickets….so the “peasants’ do not care.
    I respect his career…especially his birthday..when both of us were born…Jan.21….but I never sang mezzo….

  • zinka says:

    In the words of Michele in The Saint of Bleeker Street, “I know that you all hate me,” but fearless as I still can be, here is my ENDLESS and FRUSTRATED diatribe against titles at the opera:

    1. We were kids..We did our homework..not to mention all the other centuries (if they had libretti in Gluck’s time).

    2. Stupid unsophisticated peasants laugh at “comedy’ in dramatic works, interrupting the music for us snobs.(e.g. Every time Mario says to Tosca, “Davanti alla Madonna,” I wait for the stupid laughter. It isn’t Elisir,dummies!

    3. If you are a TRUE opera lover, you MUST concentrate on every BREATH emitted from the artist, and not divert your attention. We do not come to a theatre to READ!

    4. Now they text during a show..I bet they download libretti so they can look into their laps and not have to strain to see the titles in front of them..or in most theatres, get a stiff neck looking above the stage.

    5. Remember, how we are spoiled in so many ways by modern technology.It makes us lazy and when we have something new, we cannot be without it.

    A good way to discourage people from looking at titles, is to make them all in Sanskrit. I know a Jewish girl named Rosetta Stone who could do this.

    OK…Now you can battimi,insultami (again) Charlie

  • zinka says:

    Only 83….She turns 103 in March..I bet she can still do it!!!!!!!
    The MIRACOLO of opera……

    • Archaeopteryx says:

      I’m sorry to rise that issue again, but I stumbled across that infamous Stephan von Cron article on Sutherland and Bonynge some time ago and am now somewhat confused what to make from it. Dear parterre users, please tell me your opinion about this article which I found a rather amusing read, but doubt its credibility a bit. I mean, some things might be matter of facts -- eg Bonynge’s “preferences” -- but, on the other hand, the whole character of von Cron seems to be somewhat obscure -- does anybody know more about him and could say anything about his reliability? What ever happened to him after this year? And, a question which interests me because it might concern my person, do you think it might be helpful for a yong conductor’s CV to attend a masterclass by Mr. Sutherland, or would that make professionals rise an eyebrow about one’s concept of morality (even if he is innocent concerning Mr B’s reputation)? It would be very helpful for me to get some claritiy in this obscure issue.

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Born on this day in 1918 mezzo-soprano Vera Borisenko

    Born on this day in 1928 soprano Pilar Lorengar

    Happy 79th birthday mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne

    Happy 76th birthday tenor Kenneth Woollam

    Happy 48th birthday soprano Yelina Prokina

  • marshiemarkII says:

    And predictably, the STUNNING Emalie Savoy gets a sensational review in the New York Times:

    “Opera buffs had chances to hear the remarkable Ms. Savoy last year in two collaborative productions between the Juilliard Opera Theater and the Met’s Young Artist program. In November she was a vulnerable and vocally lustrous Fiordiligi in an imaginative production of Mozart’s “Così Fan Tutte,” directed by Stephen Wadsworth and conducted by Alan Gilbert. And early last year she sang the demanding title role in Gluck’s seldom heard “Armide.” That Ms. Savoy has the right combination of vocal allure, majesty and passion for this role she showed again on Sunday in her account of Armide’s intense final scene.
    She also gave an exquisite performance of Poulenc’s “Banalités.” During some climatic moments of Mozart’s dramatic concert aria “Bella mia fiamma, addio!” Ms. Savoy’s full-voiced singing sounded hard-edged, though that may have resulted from the close surroundings and bright acoustics of the Morgan’s intimate Gilder Lehrman Hall.
    The recital ended with a sort of programmed encore, a delightfully sung account of the Gershwin standard “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.” ”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/arts/music/anthony-dean-griffey-and-emalie-savoy-at-morgan-library.html?_r=0

    • Nerva Nelli says:

      Hahaha!

      Just as predictably, MM II doesn’t notice the part about her sounding hard-edged, and more fundamentally doesn’t have the courage to identify the writer of the review as Tony Tomassini, of whose capacity to judge vocal performances many readers here will have their opinions.

      Doubtless MM II circulated xeroxes (remember them?) of Edward Rothstein’s (in)famous’ 1992 review of the Behrens ELEKTRA opening night:

      ” The singing was also almost always larger than life. Hildegard Behrens was in fine vocal shape as Elektra. Apart from a few slides into notes, she made this most demanding role seem almost easy: her pitch was sure; she easily rode the orchestra for all it was worth.”

      Thanks for a laugh to start our morning, Marshie!

      • Camille says:

        Nerva, talking about ‘xeroxes’ will put you into that same tempest in a teapot which your ‘Fotomat’ remark once did. Remember, you’re only thirty-nine.

        • Nerva Nelli says:

          Chere Camille--

          I was an observant child, and I watch THE TUDORS, MAD MEN and other historically based shows. :)

      • 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?

        • La Cieca says:

          Nerva and marshiemarkII, you need to step back and calm down. Both of you are on moderation (in the sense of “return to your corners”) until I can review the situation.

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Born on this day in 1860 dramatist Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

    Happy 56th birthday soprano Nancy Argenta

    Happy 55th birthday soprano Agnès Mellon

  • Nerva Nelli says:

    Meanwhile, someone was asking about opportunities t hear Monastyrska. HGO just announced their season, which combines the unmissable (Ana Maria Martinez’ first Carmen) with the unspeakable (Andrea Silvestrelli as Fafner).

    Note the vital imports:

    King [AIDA]: Robert Gleadow

    Alberich: Christopher Purves

    Houston Grand Opera: 2013-14 season

    * HGO debut
    + former HGO Studio Artist

    Giuseppe Verdi: Aida
    Oct 18, 20m, 26, 29. Nov 1, 3m, 9, 2013
    Aida: Liudmyla Monastyrska*
    Radamès: Riccardo Massi* / Issachah Savage*
    Amneris: Dolora Zajick
    Amonasro: Scott Hendricks+
    Ramfis: Ain Anger*
    King: Robert Gleadow
    Conductor: Antonino Fogliani
    Chorus Master: Richard Bado+
    Original Director: Jo Davies
    Director: José Maria Condemi
    Choreographer: Dominic Walsh*
    Set Designer: Zandra Rhodes
    Costume Designer: Zandra Rhodes
    Lighting Designer: Michael James Clark

    A co-production of Houston Grand Opera, English National Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Norwegian National Opera.

    Johann Strauss II: Die Fledermaus
    Oct 25, 27m, Nov 2, 8, 10m
    Eisenstein: Liam Bonner+
    Rosalinde: Wendy Bryn Harmer*
    Adele: Laura Claycomb
    Prince Orlofsky: Susan Graham
    Alfred: Anthony Dean Griffey
    Frank: Michael Sumuel+
    Frosch / Bell Boy / Waiter: Jason Graae
    Conductor: Thomas Rösner
    Chorus Master: Richard Bado+
    Director: Lindy Hume
    Set Designer: Richard Roberts*
    Costume Designer: Angus Strathie*
    Lighting Designer: Michael James Clark
    Associate Director / Choreographer: Daniel Pelzig

    An original production by Opera Australia, owned by Opéra de Montréal.

    Mieczyslaw Weinberg: The Passenger (North American premiere)
    Jan 18, 22, 25, 31; Feb 2m, 2014
    Lisa: Michelle Breedt*
    Walter: Joseph Kaiser
    Martha: Melody Moore
    Tadeusz: Morgan Smith*
    Katja: Kelly Kaduce*
    Conductor: Patrick Summers
    Chorus Master: Richard Bado+
    Director: David Pountney
    Set Designer: Johan Engels
    Costume Designer: Marie-Jeanne Lecca
    Lighting Designer: Fabrice Kebour

    A co-production of Bregenzer Festspiele; Wielki Teatr, Warsaw; English National Opera; and Teatro Real, Madrid.

    Giuseppe Verdi: Rigoletto
    Jan 24, 26m, 29; Feb 1, 7, 9m
    Rigoletto: Ryan McKinny+
    Duke of Mantua: Stephen Costello*
    Gilda: TBA
    Count Monterone: Robert Pomakov
    Sparafucile: Dmitry Belosselskiy*
    Conductor: Patrick Summers
    Chorus Master: Richard Bado+
    Set Designer: Michael Yeargan
    Costume Designer: Peter J. Hall
    A co-production of Houston Grand Opera and Dallas Opera

    Stephen Sondheim: A Little Night Music
    March 7, 9m, 13, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23m
    Desiree Armfeldt: Elizabeth Futral
    Fredrik Egerman: Chad Shelton+
    Count Carl-Magnus: Mark Diamond+
    Madame Armfeldt: Joyce Castle
    Petra: Alicia Gianni+
    Conductor: Eric Melear+
    Production: Isaac Mizrahi
    Revival Director: Matthew Ozawa
    Set Designer: Isaac Mizrahi
    Costume Designer: Isaac Mizrahi
    Lighting Designer: Brian Nason

    An original production of Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

    Ricky Ian Gordon: A Coffin in Egypt (World Premiere)
    March 14, 16m, 19, and 22m
    Myrtle Bledsoe: Frederica Von Stade
    Conductor: Timothy Myers
    Director: Leonard Foglia
    Set and Costume Designer: Riccardo Hernandez
    Lighting Designer: Brian Nason

    A co-production and co-commission of Houston Grand Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia

    Richard Wagner: Das Rheingold
    April 11, 13m, 17, 23, 26
    Wotan: Iain Paterson*
    Loge: Stefan Margita
    Alberich: Christopher Purves
    Mime: Rodell Rosel
    Fricka: Jamie Barton+
    Erda: Meredith Arwady
    Fasolt: Kristinn Sigmundsson
    Fafner: Andrea Silvestrelli
    Conductor: Patrick Summers
    Director: Carlus Padrissa/La Fura dels Baus
    Set Designer: Roland Olbeter
    Costume Designer: Chu Uroz
    Lighting Designer: Peter Van Praet
    Video Designer: Franc Aleu
    A co-production of Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Valencia and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

    Georges Bizet: Carmen (new production)
    April 25, 27m, 30; May 2, 4m, 8, 10
    Carmen: Ana María Martínez+
    Don José: Brandon Jovanovich
    Escamillo: Ryan McKinny+
    Conductor: Rory Macdonald
    Director: Rob Ashford*
    Chorus Master: Richard Bado+
    Children’s Chorus Director: Karen Reeves

    • MontyNostry says:

      Issachah Savage seems potentially thrilling

      • La Cieca says:

        I heard this singer in a competition last year. Fairly sizable middle voice, no evidence of a top (he sang “Nur eine Waffe taugt”). Mezzo-forte to forte dynamics, uninteresting phrasing, and he looks like he weighs easily more than 300 pounds.

        Of course he won the top prize in the competition: a tenor singing Wagner, however indifferently, always does.

        • marshiemarkII says:

          More than three hundred pounds!!!!! Now that is disgusting!

          • la vociaccia says:

            What was that thing you said Marshie, about using “innocent bystander” singers as a way to fling insults at people you are arguing with?

            With genuine love and admiration-xxoo

          • marshiemarkII says:

            You are right Carisssima, at least I wasn’t criticizing the singing, but still you are right. With much love back to you! and grazie, just because some decide to wallow in shit, I shouldn’t fall for it!

        • MontyNostry says:

          Sorry to hear he is not such a discovery.

        • bassoprofundo says:

          To be honest he doesn’t even sound that great in the video.

      • Cocky Kurwenal says:

        He just seems to tank it out as accurately as he can, with zero sense that he is performing what can come across as one of the most magical moments in all of opera.

        I quite like the timbre but it seems to have a softness to it as well -- I though there was something very vaguely Araiza-like in amongst it all -- he doesn’t strike me as a shoo in for Wagner. Then again, maybe he does in the hall.

  • antikitschychick says:

    That was me asking about about M2 Nerva; thank you for your response and the info about HGO :-D
    Alas I cannot travel to Houston, but hopefully there will be some videos and audio recordings of her performances…does HGO offer radio broadcasts??
    would be interesting to see her in a different production…hopefully the Met will schedule her in future seasons for other roles.

    • la vociaccia says:

      I read a review that said she’s down for a santuzza at the met. What I’m hoping for is that her Turandot ( her fortunate kyiv audience had already been treated to it) will get here soon.

      • antikitschychick says:

        nice! Yeah those Kiev audiences are damn lucky!!

        darn,that second-to last sentence should have read “would be interesting to see her in a different production OF AIDA” :-P