Cher Public

Swiss you were here

The Pierre Audi production of Guillaume Tell has opened at De Nederlandse Opera, and the staging (destined for the Met* circa 2018) has been pronounced a “triumphant success.” There’s a glimpse of the show after the jump.

* “Vermutlich das passende Konzept für die MET in New York, die diesen Rossini mitproduziert hat und die kulinarische Oper liebt.” — Opernnetz

  • bassoprofundo

    Attractive looking production.

    But at the Met in 2018? are they shipping it piece by piece or something?

    I suppose the only good thing about that is that by then Hampson will be filibustered out of singing these roles!

  • Buster

    According to Audi, the Met will do it in 2016. Osborn, who would love to sing Arnold at the Met, said it was 2018. He got great reviews, as did the chorus. There will also be new Tells soon in Antwerp (Michael Spyres would be great there!), Munich, and Covent Garden.

    • Feldmarschallin

      Marina Rebeka will be doing the Mathilde here and it is suppossed to be the Festspielpremiere 2014.

      • Buster

        Rebeka got great reviews too. I am hearing it on Sunday. Missed Osborn last time he sang it in Amsterdam (with Poplovskaya, Pertusi, and Paolo Olmi), so I am happy he has returned for a staged version.

      • itrinkkeinwein

        Great news (assuming you mean Munich)!

    • semira mide

      Spyres is singing Arnold this summer in Wildbad.

      Any mention of who might conduct the Met’s Tell?

      Not sure why Osborn would love to sing it at the Met. Tell is really tricky because it straddles the line between bel canto and “grand” so singers need all the support/musical direction they can get. Of course if Levine…. nevermind.

      There should be money for a world class conductor because it doesn’t look like they invested much in the costumes for the Audi production. Did they buy NYCO costumes before they went on auction?

      • HiCsAPlenty

        Let us then, state the obvious:

        Arnold is one of the most difficult roles to cast in the operatic repertoire!

        That said, if the production is to go up at the MET in 2016 it figures to have pretty short list of possibilities for the role:

        1. Juan Diego Florez (we’ll all see/hear how his “test runs” go in Peru and Pesaro this year.

        2. John Osborn (my first choice for the role… the voice has a clarion ease in the upper extension and I think his overall demeanor fits the temperament of this role well)

        3. Michael Spyres (did admirably well at Caramoor a few summers back… think the voice is better suited to the Nozzari roles…)

        4. Antonino Siragusa (I know he’s done it… I just can’t recall if it was a staged or concert version. That said, don’t know if the MET would venture this far out of the box for casting)

        5. Lawrence Brownlee (I think he could be really successful in this role, given the right conductor)

        Did I forget anyone? The conductor list may be even smaller!

        • Camille

          What about Brian Hymel?

          • HiCsAPlenty

            My dearest Camille,

            As always you are able to shine light into the darkest depths of the oeuvre! Hymel would be another wonderful choice and after his heroics in Troyen, I would hope he would be getting his due consideration!

            But dare I ask… has the well of possibilities run dry at 6?

          • Camille

            Hi C’s!

            It makes me glad to hear from you again.

            To take up an old refrain, and forgive me if I nag, but did you still want the copy of the ‘Mario Aria’ from my 1850’s score ( there is according to. Hris Mereitt, also a cabaletta, which, of course I do not have included ). If you shoot over an address to La Cieca, I would be only to happy to send you a good facsimile.

            Or if you want to meet @ the 72nd Street subway station, I will wear my funniest hat, dark glasses, with my master spy Raincoat from the sixties.

            Just let me know, dear boy, as it would make me happy to have a copy of something I love passed on to another who loves as I do and who is attempting this perilous, fraught career path.

            Viel Erfolg!
            Camille 007

          • Camille

            That’s Chris Merritt, so sorry sir!

            Bugger my fingers!

        • manou

          Well I saw Osborn as Arnold at the Proms (Pappano), and he was very very good:

          • semira mide

            Pappano would be on my short list for Tell conductors at the Met.

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            I did too Manou. I thought he was good, rather than very very good.

        • bassoprofundo

          Have you ever actually seen the opera? NONE of the voices on your list, except maybe, MAYBE Osborn, are suitable for singing Arnold, let alone at the Met.

          • HiCsAPlenty

            I’ve actually covered the role, so when I speak of this, I do so with INTIMATE familiarity.

          • bassoprofundo

            Your lack of understanding of it is probably why you only were a cover (allegedly).

          • HiCsAPlenty

            If believing that helps you sleep at night, I’m happy for you.

          • bassoprofundo

            It does! I’ll sleep wonderfully tonight, thanks.

          • manou

            bassoprofundo has the rare gift of absolute conviction, unencumbered by any consideration of elementary courtesy.

          • Basso, ease up on the personal comments.

          • bassoprofundo


          • HiCsAPlenty

            My deepest thanks to you both, dear Manou and La Cieca!

            I would love to know if either of you (and I’ll even include Basso in this if he would like to join the conversation) have other thoughts as to whom the MET could cast in this most difficult of roles? Camille was so kind as to mention Bryan Hymel, who should obviously be in consideration for the role. However, aside from those 6 gentlemen mentioned above (and I’ll just say that I am merely bringing them to the forefront of thought… I completely understand if you disagree with there ability to perform the role… hence, conversation) is there another tenor who could perform the role?

            I, as always, welcome all to consider the possibilities.

            Many thanks again to you both!!


        • Jack Jikes

          I heard Siragusa in ‘Sigismondo’ at Pesaro. The experience was thrilling --
          if he has the stamina, he’d make a great Arnold.

          • itrinkkeinwein

            Heard him too but felt his tonal production was uneven. (And “Sigismondo” is no lost masterpiece, obviously.)

        • itrinkkeinwein

          Eric Cutler.

        • itrinkkeinwein

          … don’t actually think Florez is right for this role; the Fach has shifted, versus early and middle Rossini.

      • itrinkkeinwein

        Why not Carignani?

    • Camille

      Buster— please report back to us with all the details. It makes me so unhappy to be missing this and Die FrohSch.

      Hoping the performances will be wonderful––

    • MontyNostry

      Nicola Alaimo is a very classy baritone. Elegant phrasing, trenchant Italian diction and a touch of Cappuccilli in the tone, though the voice is more ‘big Donizetti’ than ‘big Verdi’ at present

  • Will

    I’ve been waiting for Tell to arrive in NYC since seeing it in a handsome San Francisco production in 1992 (Vanness, Merrit, Noble). This production does look good. The opera itself is overwhelmingly great.

    • Belfagor

      The final chorus is one of the most overwhelming pieces of music -- Wagner must have had it in mind when writing the end of Rheingold.

      I think fashions in tenor singing are moving on -- judging by the quality candidates listed above it will soon be easier to cast Arnold, Aeneas and Robert le diable than Forza, Aida and Otello………….

      I saw it a couple of times at the ROH in the early 90’s -- but I forget who conducted. I think Jane Eaglen was a so so Mathilde, and then maybe Lella Cuberli. Awful production -- but the breadth of the piece was a real surprise to me.

      • Often admonished

        At the ROH the very good (but not exactly charismatic) conductor was Michel Plasson. Cuberli and Merrit did well, though Merrit was so excoriated by the London press that he missed some of the run and never returned AFAIK

        He wasn’t exactly missed.

        • Belfagor

          That’s it -- well, Plasson is a very good opera conductor.

          Obviously Pappano will conduct it at ROH, as he has said in interview it’s a pet piece of his. Maybe he’ll do it at the Met as well.

        • grimoaldo

          Merritt appeared in Henze’s Boulevard Solitude at ROH in 2001, that was unforgettable, and as Tichon
          in Kát’a Kabanová conducted by the great Mackerras in 2007.

      • Camille

        Jane Eaglen as Mathilde? I am mildly surprised to hear of that.

        The ending of Tell was an indelible experience, the first time I ever heard it. Riccardo Challly was the conductor and I was greatly impressed by his conducting of same. I wonder what he is up to these days?

        • luvtennis


          If I am not mistaken, it was one of her earliest successes. Note that Marton also scored an early triumph in the role for Muti back in ’72. What an unusualy role, we have had Carteri, Caballe, Marton, Cerquetti, Zylis Gara, Gencer, Eaglen, and of course all the recent performers.

          It is my favorite Rossini opera and still the greatest of all French grand operas -- I prefer it even to Don Carlos.

          • Camille

            Yes, and there is Freni in the all’italiana version as well.

            My, I do not understand how that Eaglen Mathilde has escaped my attention. Always had the intention of listening to Marton’s version, as I have understood she was then in prime voice. Pity how it all went to Wobbles City too soon.

            Yes, Guillaume Tell is the most fabulous of all works and akin to a HUGE Thanksgiving turkey that every composer carved off a piece therefrom, munched on, and then expelled something all his own as if he had all along originated it himself.

            Whatever the reason(s) put forth for Rossini’s subsequent retirement feom the scene and they are countless, I wonder if it may have just been that he knew that it would be impossible to top himself. He kept tacet for thirty-five+ years and that’s a lot of Tournedos Rossini. Just sayin’.

            Wonderful to hear you again, sir!

          • and here is another unexpected Mathilde:

          • Sheldon


        • Regina delle fate

          Eagles -- during her very brief slim-ish period -- did the revival, no? Surely it was Lella Cuberli first time round at the ROH. Osborn is the Arnold in the new RO staging, but surely the Met will go for Hymel. Osborn’s voice is quite thin and pinched for the part, ditto Florez, Siragusa and Brownlee, IMHO.

      • grimoaldo

        The conductor was Michel Plasson. The first cast had Cuberli as Mathilde, Chris Merritt as Arnold (booed by idiots in the amphi the night I was there, which I seem to recall was the first night although I am not sure), Ewa Podles as Hedwige and the utterly dull Gregory Yurisich, who ROH had in many great baritone roles in those days and was dull as ditchwater in every one, as soon as he appeared onstage and for the whole time he was participating, you sort of zoned out and thought about something else because his singing,”acting”, whatever, could not hold the attention for a microsecond.
        Yes it was a stupid production.
        The revival had Eaglen as Mathilde, gagggggg, what a thought, I did not see that one.

        • Camille

          Grimmy—would that not have been an ideal role for Junie? I have heard her recording of the aria—just wondering why she was not singing the Mathilde?
          Perhaps elsewhere she did.

          • grimoaldo

            AFAIK adorata June did not sing Mathilde onstage, though I stand to be corrected. She would indeed have been ideal for the part.

        • Regina delle fate

          Oooops sorry Grim -- didn’t see your post. I should’ve known you’d remember!

        • Nerva Nelli

          Gregory Yurisich-- he was a Bonynge “discovery”, no?

    • itrinkkeinwein

      Muti has said it ranks alongside “Moise et Pharaon” as Rossini’s finest work.

  • Nerva Nelli

    Speaking of “who will conduct”, I just noticed that the Met’s May CARMELITES revival has no listed conductor any more.

    Is Gelb planning a Spring surprise with Maestro Levine?

    • Nerva Nelli

      Oh, sorry , Louis Langree is listed in the text but not with the cast or production team.

  • pavel

    Can someone enlighten me as to what exactly is meant by “culinary opera” (in the quote from Opernnetz}?

    • grimoaldo

      By saying they love “culinary opera” at the Met, they are disdainfully saying that there the audiences enjoy pretty costumes and sets and high notes, approaching an evening at the opera as if they were enjoying a nice meal instead of as a serious aesthetic experience.

      • Regina delle fate

        Yes, so that suggests from a German critical perspective it was anything but a triumph, but would go down a treat at the Met. A bit condescending that and I wonder if this writer was aware of the fate of the Audi Attila at the Met…that doesn’t seem to have gone down a treat with anyone, but I’m prepared to be corrected as I didn’t see it, not even Live in HD (if there was one)

        • itrinkkeinwein

          The “Audi” Attila was ruined by the handbag lady and the inept Swiss architects, all hired for the wrong reasons.

          I think Audi, a talented mover of character, was nearly as embarrassed as Muti!

    • “Culinary” is a term coined by Brecht to refer to theater (and by extension any sort of art) whose purpose is solely to give transitory pleasure, that is, to entertain. An extreme example of culinary art would be a summer popcorn movie, though on the other hand the argument could be made that since an action flick clearly labels itself as a “thrill ride” or “mindless,” there is at least truth in advertising there.

      What Brecht I believe found more pernicious was theater that posed as serious art but was so luxurious that the spectator was seduced into experiencing the piece in a culinary way. For example, the music dramas of Wagner were not primarily intended to be “entertainments,” but because they featured such sensuously beautiful music, romantic stories and sumptuous visual presentations, any intellectual or deeply intuitive response to the works was muffled by the surface pleasure.

      The use of “culinary” to describe this sort of experience is very useful, I think, because most people can understand the difference between eating for subsistence or good health vs. eating for pleasure. So in effect Brecht was saying that a theater should not be a sort of artistic restaurant, tempting the public with high-calorie goodies whose only function is to taste delicious.

      • Camille

        Thank you for defining that so precisely, as this term was not quite entirely clear to me and I’ve heard it thrown about rather carelessly.

        I enjoy “buffet opera”.
        There is also “smorgasbord opera”, and some may even prefer “brunch opera”, or the even rarer still “aperitifs opera”.

        • Camille

          And come to think of it, if only Our Own Batty Masetto would act as ‘Chef de Cuisine’, why what a fine dining experience we would be afforded!

          • MontyNostry

            Ach, Brecht’s views on opera, they aren’t worth threepence.

          • grimoaldo

            Brecht was a good librettist for Kurt Weill. Those plays he wrote by himself are not “culinary” in the sense of being enjoyable, that’s for sure, they are a form of torture that anyone with any sense who has sat through an evening watching actors pretending to be members of rival communes in the 40’s Soviet Union pretending to enact a parable about a peasant girl rescuing an abandoned baby will thenceforth avoid like the plague.

          • Batty Masetto

            A. We’re not sure these days how many plays Brecht wrote “by himself” because we don’t know how much was contributed by Elisabeth Hauptmann et al.

            B. I can’t speak to “Caucasian Chalk Circle,” never having seen it performed, but anybody who’s seen the movie of Brecht’s own production of “Mother Courage” has witnessed a simply astonishing piece of theatrical artistry. Even “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui,” which I had always considered a real dog of a play, turned out to be an absolute wowzer when the Berliner Ensemble brought it on tour a few years ago.

          • grimoaldo

            You’re right Batty, I don’t really know what I am talking about with regard to Brecht’s “straight” plays, apologies for my flippant remark,I shouldn’t have said that, I suppose I will never recover from seeing “The Caucasian Chalk Circle”, the one time in my life I experienced boredom so excruciating that it felt like a physical pain.

          • Batty Masetto

            There’s also a common misconception, especially in English-speaking theatrical circles, that somehow Brecht meant the “alienation effect” to eliminate all identification and turn everybody into shallow caricatures. That often makes for really crappy theater, for sure.

            Instead what he wanted was an additional layer of interest and identification. During rehearsals the Berliner Ensemble actors would work through plays entirely in the Stanislavskian mode, identify thoroughly with their characters and create them from the inside, and then add a further level of understanding that would lead the viewer to consider the character’s actions within a larger context.

      • Yes, the sneering at the “culinary” is indeed Brechtian. It’s a useful word for signaling one’s own, Brechtian, point of view, but I think it’s a problematic idea to accept wholesale.

        First, the metaphor: I like restaurants. They can do things there that I can’t reproduce in my home, perhaps because they are cleverer, perhaps because they have better equipment or ingredients, perhaps because they have better man-power. Our lives are bound up with tastes, tastes of childhood, memorable tastes. Any immigrant will tell you that taste is an important part of who they are. Enjoying taste is a significant part of being human. Taste is an experience that is not so easy to explain in words, though, so for that reason it is often regarded by the literate as a lesser form of aesthetic experience.

        Music, for a long while, had a similar problem to taste. Kant ranked it lowest among the arts because of its lack of verisimilitude. Since music has no corresponding object in the natural world, it cannot be the basis for serious reflection or edification. The rescue mission came in the 19th century with Schopenhauer (and later Wagner), who argued that music was indeed mimetic, but not of the phenomenal world -- it’s force was drawn from the ideal “numinal” world otherwise not available to direct perception. This mystical two-step permitted music to be regarded once again as a serious art, indeed the highest of them all. Though I don’t think Brecht would be convinced -all of our symphony concerts, all of our quartet recitals, could likely be considered “culinary” under his definition.

        What both cases illustrate is the difficulty modern aestheticians have with beauty. Though beauty was praised by the ancients, its transience, its apparent lack of demand on others, its very abnormality, has caused it to be viewed with suspicion, particularly in the 20th century. Beauty blinds us to the ugliness of the world, they might say. The resources required to produce that gastronomic delight or visual spectacle are wasteful, creating art only available to the moneyed. Most damning, beauty has no ethics.

        And yet people love beauty and feel nurtured by it. So it is an aesthetic problem that cannot be waved away with a derogatory epithet such as culinary. Some philosophers nowadays have worked to reinvigorate beauty as an aesthetic concept -- one who comes to mind is Elaine Scarry and her “On Beauty and Being Just”. To coarsely restate her argument: when confronted with beauty, we are transported from our own parochial concerns, we are fully seized by the sublime otherness of the object. Such experiences make us more capable of empathy in the everyday world andconsequently make us more ethical. By an indirect route, that beautifully-composed, ridiculously delicious plate of food can indeed make us a better person.

        A lot of critical theories nowadays still have blind spots where beauty is concerned. But things which are beautiful in themselves mean too much to people to be shunned.

        • antikitschychick

          great post m.croche! A very satisfying read for the theoretically inclined ;-)

        • luvtennis

          M. Croche/La Cieca:

          Great posts.

          Frankly, I think the distinction intended by Brecht between culinary art and, er well, the other kind to be specious. For instance, does an artwork’s status depend on the intent of the artist or on the finished product or both? Movies like “Empire of the Sun” or “Vertigo” are certainly high calorie visual spectacles that are highly entertaining. Does that mean that they are “culinary” art. I don’t think so. By contrast, I can think of a number of art films that would certainly not be considered culinary (as attested to by the express intent of the filmmaker and the finished product) bad-tasting and poor nutrition.

          In the end, I think Brecht’s term tells us more about his biases than anything else.

          • luvtennis

            The last sentence of the first paragraph is totally garbled. The point is simple: serious intent and harsh flavor don’t guarantee high nutrition.

          • Well, the thing is, Brecht was relying on what is in fact a time-honored technique that has so often been employed by the Young Turk: “Your art is old-fashioned crap. Now, here’s my non-crap art, which is great because it reforms your crap art. Prices upon request.”

            And yet I think there is a very big kernel of truth in what he says. Theatergoing by the late 19th/early 20th century period had in large part evolved into a bourgeois pastime, and that meant that there was a bias in selection of texts, performance styles and design toward what might best please that audience and therefore tempt them to part with their hard-earned wages.

            Brecht had a sort of narrow political and personal interest in rebelling against this system, but I think that possibly by accident he hit on on something important aesthetically. That is, if a spectator becomes deeply emotionally involved in a performance, his ability to think critically gets muffled. If the play is philosophical or political, the spectator isn’t considering and pondering those ideas; rather, he’s weeping or smiling or sighing.

            It was Brecht’s idea that deliberately disengaging emotion would somehow re-engage critical thinking, sort of wake the spectator up from his dream world. In practice, that doesn’t mean that every show has to be done with folding chairs, naked light bulbs and singers who can’t carry a tune. But in a broader sense, say when considering a production of Guillaume Tell, it suggests that a modern director approaching a production is tasked with finding a balance between entertaining spectacle and the very important political content explicit in the text and implicit in the music.

        • For some reason this thought piece remains in the back of my mind whenever the topic of beauty and taste come up:

          ”In a gathering of today’s elite, it is perfectly acceptable to laugh that you barely passed Physics for Poets and Rocks for Jocks and have remained ignorant of science ever since, despite the obvious importance of scientific literacy to informed choices about personal health and public policy. But saying that you have never heard of James Joyce or that you tried listening to Mozart once but prefer Andrew Lloyd Webber is as shocking as blowing your nose on your sleeve or announcing that you employ children in your sweatshop, despite the obvious [un]importance of your tastes in leisure-time activity to just about anything”

    • Regina delle fate

      It’s an insult coming from a German, that’s for sure!

  • Gualtier M

    I think Hymel was scheduled for a Met debut as Arnold Melcthal but fate and necessity brought him to the Met earlier. BTW: his name has been on the lips of every opera fan young and old, effete knife carrying and otherwise for months now. I believe the Met has also scheduled him into some “Boheme” performances before 2016. Wouldn’t Luisi be the obvious choice of conductor? I just hope Poplavskaya is not the Mathilde at the Met.

    • ianw2

      Allow me then to get a jump on Parterre in 2016:

      Hymel has a terrible top and obviously lacks proper training for the role. He should still be doing Basilio in provincial houses. Why does the Met force these sub-par singers into such wonderful pieces when they’re so rarely performed? He must be related to one of Billinghurst’s friends somehow. Youtube video from forgotten 1943 cinematic classic. His diction is terrible, why won’t the Met hire French speaking singers for these amazing French roles? I find the stage business distracting, why doesn’t anyone talk about singing anymore? It is fundamental that true opera lovers don’t actually attend the opera, but remain in contemplative score study. Not as good as the Cantonese original. Opera in Australia is terrible. Not as good as our own Peter Pears. C’est le mot juste. I can’t believe they staged this opera without the greatest Mathilde today, Nadja Michael.

      • louannd


      • armerjacquino

        I basically love you.

      • Camille

        fundamentally true, cher ianw2.

      • itrinkkeinwein


  • Will

    I think one has to remember that the heroic tenor roles in French, Italian and German opera have different requirements. The MET (along with other opera houses) used Wagner tenors as Aeneas in its first production of Troyens which was wrong. German heldentenors require a lot of strength in the middle and lower middle but are not required to go very high. Italian dramatics need strength below but also strong high notes. The French guys require focused voices that can cut through the orchestration but not much in the way of darker tone in the mid and lower voice; they do have to be clear and brilliant on top and able to stay up there for a while. The brilliant French heroic roles die when cast with Wagnerians.

    I loved Bryan Hymel as Aeneas but was surprised at his strong, ringing top emerging out of a darker middle than I had expected.

  • bassoprofundo

  • All this talk of “Culinary Opera” brought to mind this tasty dish that has been aged to perfection:

  • Personally, in this opera I’d prefer a concert version over a staged one. No stage picture can compete with the variety, majesty and beauty of the music.

    As modern singers go, I’d opt for Tezier / Mattei; Hymel / Osborne and oh wow well what are we to do with Mathilde? Who will sculpt the unadorned, carrara phrases with the intelligence, honesty and limpid line they deserve?

    This is definitely NOT for Lezhneva’s voice, but at the tender age of 21 she gives a fair impression of what I’d like to hear in this aria. A beautiful spinning of the triplets, no bulges and no change of timbre. The ideal should be a clarinet here. There is breadth and elegance in abundance, even though it’s arguably easier to do that with a lighter voice.

      • luvtennis


        I don’t know how you felt about La Luba O., but I think she would have knocked it out of the park in her prime. The long line. The soft attack on the high notes. The turns would have been easy for her. The shine on her high notes!!!! Think of her Agathe which was wondrous! (A very similar role in my humble opinion).

        • luvtennis

          There was a time when Ciofi might have been effective in the role, even if she never had the middle voice solidity that some of the role requires.

      • luvtennis

        One thing is for sure -- a great Mathilde must have an absolutely even, settled line -- a juddery tone, however exciting, ruins the great aria for me.

    • Camille

      Well honey, I’ve heard a concert version and I want to see all that MET hydraulic equipment IN ACTION and in the Alps, tout court.

    • Camille

      She looks like Poppy2.

      I’ll have to give it a listen.

    • operalover9001

      Crocetto or Rowley as Mathilde would be fantastic!

    • Buster

      The dream Mathilde? Charlotte Margiono was to sing the role for Chailly, but she gave it back shortly before rehearsals. At the Cristina Deutekom 80th Birthday Gala she sang the act IV trio (in Italian), with two of her pupils, a bittersweet reminder of what we could have had. Pollet sang the Chailly concert in the end, and Camille was there!

      I’ll report on both the Tell and the Frosch, Camille -- very sorry to miss you too.

      On Chailly, whom you mentioned earlier, he will finally conduct the Concertgebouworkest again, for the first time since he left in 2004. Mendelssohn Lobgesang, and Henze’s Elogium musicum.

    • Camille

      What a beautiful timbre of voice this young lady has. Only problem was a lack of clarity and consonants with the enunciation of the text. So nice to hear a young voice unencumbered by excessive vibrato due to a faulty registration, as one hears so often these days. Brava and encore, mademoiselle.

      • Encore…

        at 21. Such beautifully cultivated line.

      • One more. Yes yes I know, there are problems. The can’t (or won’t ever) bloom on top and sometimes the support fails, but she was 19 here and I’ve heard much more famous Manons in worse form.
        I’m talking about the musical and dramatic instincts. Of sincerity and honesty, and I’m glad such things still exist.

        • *she

        • Camille

          Why, C/Fster, she is very good and, for her age here, exceptional.

          I do wonder how long she will be able to maintain that rather aristocratic, subdued and genuine manner and means of expression…in this slimy world. Such an even voice, so easily and well produced! And I do not hear any lack of bloom on top—I wonder what you meant? So very glad you posted this to make me aware of this young artist. So many are so disappointing on one level or another that I lose heart. Hearing Garanca’s Sesto a while ago gave me cause for believing, so one never knows, really.

          Thanks, dear.

    • Camille

      I just cannot thank you enough for posting the Julia Lezhneva videos. After acquainting myself further by listening to the other Rossini arias, I have concluded this: she is just wonderful. A beautiful and pure type of voice coupled with an unusual thpe of musical integrity and intelligence which one hears only once in a while…now I recall your having posted her videos a while back, but I thought to myself. “Why bother, one more disappointment”. Now I have someone new and young to look forward to hearing and watching develop for a long time. A gift! Thanks so much!! And thank g-d Minko is smart enough to “get” her and promote her as well. Shalom, sweetheart

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

  • As for Tell conductors -- the world has missed an opportunity when Abbado did not conduct this in the 80s, regardless of cast trouble. Now I guess the work is too long for him, and anyway he is past Rossini.

    Muti is a great Tell conductor but his official live recording is wrong in all kinds of ways, language being one of them. Pappano has done well in concert, but there are heinous cuts in his recording and the Mathilde is unacceptable. Maybe Minkowski or Antonini?

    • semira mide

      I couldn’t agree more that not having had Abbado conduct Tell is a big loss. Abbado’s understanding of Rossini is unsurpassed. Not sure about the work being too long for him, but it’s true that his heart is in “his” youth orchestra. It would be wonderful if he could train young conductors as well.

      I think the Muti Tell DVD from La Scala is terrific. Listening to it one forgets how long the opera is. From the opening it is clear that he has a command of the arc or sweep of this enormous work.

      I really can’t see the problem with it being sung in Italian, although people who are attached to the French version would of course feel otherwise. Muti always makes the words mean something.

      • jd

        I too love the Muti Tell recording. i have listened to it over and over, finding new delights each time. Not so thrilled with Chris Merritt falsettos, but Cheryl Studer did a good job. Other women good too. Muti is unsurpassed in his grasp of the rhymthmic propulsion and melodic arc.

    • itrinkkeinwein

      I wonder if Muti could be lured back to the Met for “Tell”? It’s far enough into the future; he has never done the French and now surely would love to (as counterpart to “Moise”); and Rome probably couldn’t put the elements together. This might be the vehicle!

      • Camille

        Be still, my heart. The stuff dreams are made from.

      • I wonder if Muti’s health problem would prevent him to committing to such a project. But it’s a wonderful thought.

  • Camille

    The West Eastern Divan Orchestra broadcast from Carnegie Hall LIVE is just now commencing. The Beethoven Second Symphony followed by his Ninth Symphony.

    Over WQXR and Shalom and happy Sunday to all.

    • Camille

      Conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

  • Buster

    The chorus was great -- best opera chorus in the world. John Osborn is a miracle. I also loved, loved Marina Rebeka, an uncommonly youthful sounding Mathilde, who nevertheless had no problems making herself heard over the orchestra, and the masses op people on stage. She was also the only convincing actress. Not much happens on stage, people climb on, or in, structures looking like houses, a boat, and rocks. The evil ones act sort of kinky, rather ridiculously so most of the time. The shooting of the apple was crap, Jemmy tilting her head, and the apple fell, that was it. The finale looks stunning, though. Paolo Carignani conducted it all very well, I thought.