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Seria business

La Salustia was Giovanni Batista Pergolesi’s first opera, composed at the tender age of 21. In structure and storyline it’s a conventional baroque opera seria. The setting is ancient Rome (where else?), and the Roman emperor Alessandro is the unwitting subject of a bitter power struggle between the two women closest to him — his wife Salustia and his mother-in-law Giulia. Salustia’s father Marziano launches a plot to kill the evil Giulia, but Salustia saves her nemesis’s life, and all is forgiven in the end. There’s a side romance with two characters Albina and Claudio. Sound familiar?  

This opera is notable in that you can hear in Pergolesi’s music a paring down of the highly ornate, florid melodies that we associate with baroque opera seria. In this sense the music more resembles the “late” opera seria works like Idomeneo and La Clemenza di Tito. This is most obvious in Alessandro’s aria “Andro ramingo e solo,” sung in this video by countertenor Florin Cezar Ouatu. The melody is quiet, contemplative, and intimate, with no trumpet in sight, rather unlike what we’d expect in an aria sung by a “Roman leader.” Another departure from the more formalized opera seria A-B-A structure is the finale of Act Two, which is a quartet sung by the four major characters in which each expresses their own private feelings.

La Salustia did not receiveve its modern world premiere in 2008, and this video from the Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini of Jesi makes a boast as the “world premiere recording.” The positives of this video are that it takes place in a tiny, intimate theatre that is appropriate to baroque opera. The production is unintrusive—the characters are dressed in baroque garb, and a backdrop wall of balconied windows vaguely suggests ancient Rome. Otherwise is the stage is almost completely bare, except for an odd large chandelier on the floor. The lighting is fairly dark. The only quirky touch is that the back wall has “SALUSTIA” drawn in black pencil during the prelude. All of this suggests a vague “antiquity.”

The direction has some good moments but overall is rather shapeless and doesn’t give the rather lengthy but unfamiliar opera the kind of strong narrative it needs. Entrances, angry arias, dramatic arm gestures, appearances at the countless windows of the back unit set, and exits. Wash, rinse, repeat. There are some quirks—I have no idea why this is but a running theme in the production is characters disrobing themselves. It happens first to Claudio, then to Salustia, both of whom get their clothes ripped off for no discernible reason. Happens again to Albina in Act Three. But for a “world premiere recording” one would have hoped that the directors would have dramatized the opera’s plot more.

The major misstep is the casting of Serena Malfi in the title role. Salustia is supposed to be the opera’s moral center, a beacon of goodness and forgiveness. Malfi for some reason plays Salustia as a bitchy, sullen brat. Malfi’s voice is inherently unlikable—shrill and with little beauty.

Much more fun is her rival Giulia (Laura Polverelli) who seems to be relishing her turn as one of baroque opera’s best character types—the scheming, manipulative villainess. Her aria “Se tumida l’onda” has all the requisite aria di capo flights into the stratosphere, but more importantly, excellent musical acting. Polverelli seems to understand that this is a real drama, and should be played as such—she alone creates a flesh and blood character.

The other singers do little dramatically, although they all sound fine. Countertenor Vittorio Prato‘s voice has an overly fast vibrato and unrelenting brightness that I don’t really like, but vocally, he’s okay.

This release is more of a curiosity for the hard-core devotees of baroque opera than the general opera lover. Its main interest is listening to the evolution of opera from baroque to classical—Pergolesi’s music sounds like that elusive missing link.

35 comments

  • I’m confused. Has Vittorio Prato made a switch from Baritone to countertenor? Barihunks did a write up about his count in Nozze di Figaro, so reading about him as a countertenor kind of threw me for a loop. 

  • armerjacquino says:

    Yeah, I can see how an aria called ‘Andro ramingo e solo’ might ‘resemble’ IDOMENEO… How shameless they were back then.

  • Hippolyte says:

    I have a video of the 2008 modern premiere from Montpellier and that cast consists of three sopranos, two mezzos and a tenor so clearly this production includes some tranpositions, as Prato is indeed a baritone. Including the name of the conductor and stage director might be helpful.

    • armerjacquino says:

      Hippolyte: the names of the conductor (Corrado Rovaris) and stage director (Juliette Deschamps) are on the DVD packshot at the top of the thread.

  • Poison Ivy says:

    Sorry wrote this after my post-Parsifal blur. Some typos. Vittorio Prato is the baritone Marziano.

  • Nerva Nelli says:

    Given that Pergolesi only lived to age 26, 21 was not so tender!

    Pergolesi was indeed a major source for composers that followed him, and the real locus of his innovations is the phenomenal STABAT MATER of 1736. Glimmerglass is staging that this summer with Nadine Sierra and Anthony Roth Costanzo (who must be DEEPLY honored to be on Zinka’s little list alongside the greatest tenor since Umberto Borsò, Marco Berti)! Does anyone know the work of the conductor, Speranza Scappucci?

    But be warned, Ivy-- the STABAT MATER is ALL ABOUT religion! :)

  • Avantialouie says:

    I do not know this opera, or anything about it, other than what has been set forth here. I DO intend to buy it, based on the strength of this review. I am fascinated by the quartet that Ivy notes as the finale to Act II, in which each of the principals sets forth his/her individual feelings. The earliest example that I know of of what might be called an “ensemble of perplexity,” (like the quartet in “Rigoletto,” say, or the sextet in “Lucia,” or the trio in “Der Rosenkavalier,”) occurs in “Idomeneo,” which premiered in 1781. (None of the numbers that PASS for ensembles in Handel works that I know of would truly qualify. Does this quartet truly qualify as such? Or are the characters in this quartet truly singing TOGETHER? If this quartet qualifies, does anyone know of an even earlier example?

  • Iphigénie says:

    Metropolitan Opera 2013-2014 Season

    Giordano’s Andrea Chénier
    Mar 24, 28, 31, Apr 5, 8, 12m
    Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda
    Maddalena: Patricia Racette
    Andrea Chénier: Marcelo Álvarez
    Gérard: Željko Lucic

    R. Strauss’s Arabella
    Apr 3, 7, 11, 16, 19m, 24
    Conductor: Philippe Auguin
    Arabella: Malin Byström/Erin Wall
    Zdenka: Genia Kühmeier
    Matteo: Roberto Saccà
    Mandryka: Michael Volle
    Waldner: John Del Carlo

    Puccini’s La Bohème
    Jan 14, 18, 22, 25, 30, Mar 19, 22, 26, 29, Apr 2, 5m, 10, 14, 18
    Conductor: Stefano Ranzani
    Mimì: Maija Kovalevska/Anita Hartig/Barbara Frittoli
    Musetta: Irina Lungu/Jennifer Rowley/Susanna Phillips
    Rodolfo: Joseph Calleja/Vittorio Grigolo
    Marcello: Alexey Markov/Massimo Cavalletti
    Schaunard: Joshua Hopkins/Patrick Carfizzi
    Colline: Christian Van Horn/Nicolas Testé/Oren Gradus
    Benoit/Alcindoro: Donald Maxwell/Philip Cokorinos

    Rossini’s La Cenerentola
    Apr 21, 25, 28, May 2, 6, 10m
    Conductor: Fabio Luisi
    Angelina: Joyce DiDonato
    Don Ramiro: Juan Diego Flórez
    Dandini: Pietro Spagnoli
    Don Magnifico: Alessandro Corbelli
    Alidoro: Luca Pisaroni

    Mozart’s Così fan tutte
    Sep 24, 28, Oct 2, 5, Apr 23, 26m, 30, May 3, 8
    Conductor: James Levine
    Fiordiligi: Susanna Phillips/Guanqun Yu
    Dorabella: Isabel Leonard
    Despina: Danielle de Niese
    Ferrando: Matthew Polenzani
    Gugliemo: Rodion Pogossov
    Don Alfonso: Maurizio Muraro

    Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore
    Jan 9, 13, 17, 21, 25m, 29, Feb 1
    Conductor: Maurizio Benini
    Adina: Anna Netrebko
    Nemorino: Ramón Vargas
    Belcore: Nicola Alaimo
    Dulcamara: Erwin Schrott

    The Enchanted Island
    Feb 26, Mar 1, 5, 8m, 12, 15, 20
    Conductor: Patrick Summers
    Ariel: Danielle de Niese
    Miranda: Andriana Chuchman
    Sycorax: Susan Graham
    Prospero: David Daniels
    Ferdinand: Anthony Roth Costanzo
    Neptune: Plácido Domingo
    Caliban: Luca Pisaroni

    Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin
    Sep 23, 26, Oct 1, 5m, 9, 12, 16, 19, Nov 23, 29, Dec 2, 5, 12
    Conductor: Valery Gergiev/Alexander Vedernikov
    Tatiana: Anna Netrebko/Marina Poplavskaya
    Olga: Oksana Volkova/Elena Maximova
    Lenski: Piotr Beczala/Rolando Villazón
    Onegin: Mariusz Kwiecien/Peter Mattei
    Gremin: Alexei Tanovitsky/Stefan Kocán
    Production: Deborah Warner
    Set Designer: Tom Pye
    Costume Designer: Chloe Obolensky
    Lighting Designer: Jean Kalman
    Video Designers: Finn Ross, Ian William Galloway
    Choreographer: Kim Brandstrup

    Verdi’s Falstaff
    Dec 6, 9, 14m, 18, 21m, 27, 30, Jan 3, 6, 11
    Conductor: James Levine
    Nannetta: Lisette Oropesa
    Alice: Angela Meade
    Mrs. Quickly: Stephanie Blythe
    Meg Page: Jennifer Johnson Cano
    Fenton: Paolo Fanale
    Falstaff: Ambrogio Maestri/Nicola Alaimo
    Ford: Franco Vassallo
    Production: Robert Carsen
    Set Designer: Paul Steinberg
    Costume Designer: Brigitte Reiffenstuel
    Lighting Designers: Robert Carsen, Peter Van Praet

    J. Strauss’s Die Fledermaus
    Dec 31, Jan 4, 7, 11m, 15, 18m, Feb 3, 5, 8, 11, 13, 15m, 20, 22
    Conductor: Adam Fischer
    Rosalinde: Susanna Phillips
    Adele: Christine Schäfer/Jane Archibald
    Orlofsky: Anthony Roth Costanzo
    Eisenstein: Christopher Maltman
    Alfred: Michael Fabiano/Alexander Lewis
    Dr. Falke: Paulo Szot
    Frank: Teddy Tahu Rhodes
    Lyrics by: Jeremy Sams
    Dialogue by: Douglas Carter Beane
    Production: Jeremy Sams
    Set and Costume Designer: Robert Jones
    Lighting Designer: Jennifer Schriever
    Choreographer: Stephen Mear

    R. Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten
    Nov 7, 12, 16, 20, 23m, 26
    Conductor: Vladimir Jurowski
    The Empress: Anne Schwanewilms/Meagan Miller
    The Dyer’s Wife: Christine Goerke
    The Nurse: Ildikó Komlósi
    The Emperor: Torsten Kerl
    Barak: Johan Reuter

    Puccini’s Madama Butterfly
    Jan 16, 20, 24, 28, Feb 1m, 7, Apr 4, 9, 12, 15, 19, May 1, 5, 9
    Conductor: Philippe Auguin/Marco Armiliato/Fabio Luisi
    Cio-Cio-San: Amanda Echalaz/Kristine Opolais/Hui He
    Suzuki: Elizabeth DeShong/Maria Zifchak
    Pinkerton: Bryan Hymel/Adam Diegel/James Valenti/Gwyn Hughes Jones
    Sharpless: Scott Hendricks/Dwayne Croft

    Mozart’s The Magic Flute
    Dec 16, 21, 24, 26m, 28, 30m, Jan 2, 4m
    Conductor: Jane Glover
    Pamina: Heidi Stober/Mary Dunleavy
    Queen of the Night: Albina Shagimuratova/Kathryn Lewek
    Tamino: Alek Shrader/Matthew Plenk
    Papageno: Nathan Gunn/John Moore
    Speaker: Shenyang/Julien Robbins
    Sarastro: Eric Owens

    Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    Oct 11, 15, 19m, 23, 26, 31
    Conductor: James Conlon
    Tytania: Kathleen Kim
    Helena: Erin Wall
    Hermia: Elizabeth DeShong
    Oberon: Iestyn Davies
    Lysander: Joseph Kaiser
    Demetrius: Michael Todd Simpson
    Bottom: Matthew Rose

    Bellini’s Norma
    Sep 30, 4, 7, Oct 10, 14, 18, 24, 28, Nov 1
    Conductor: Riccardo Frizza
    Norma: Sondra Radvanovsky/Angela Meade
    Adalgisa: Kate Aldrich/Jamie Barton
    Pollione: Aleksandrs Antonenko
    Oroveso: James Morris/Ievgen Orlov

    Chostakovitch’s The Nose
    Sep 28m, Oct 3, 8, 12m, 17, 22, 26m
    Conductor: Valery Gergiev/Pavel Smelkov
    Police Inspector: Andrey Popov
    The Nose: Alexander Lewis
    Kovalyov: Paulo Szot

    Borodin’s Prince Igor
    Feb 6, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24, Mar 1m, 4, 8
    Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda/Pavel Smelkov
    Yaroslavna: Oksana Dyka
    Konchakovna: Anita Rachvelishvili
    Vladimir Igorevich: Sergey Semishkur
    Prince Igor Svyatoslavich: Ildar Abdrazakov
    Prince Galitsky: Mikhail Petrenko
    Khan Konchak: Stefan Kocán
    Production: Dmitri Tcherniakov
    Set Designer: Dmitri Tcherniakov
    Costume Designer: TBA
    Lighting Designer: Gleb Filshtinsky
    Choreographer: TBA

    Bellini’s I Puritani
    Apr 17, 22, 26, 29, May 3m, 7, 10
    Conductor: Michele Mariotti
    Elvira: Olga Peretyatko/TBA
    Arturo: Lawrence Brownlee
    Riccardo: Mariusz Kwiecien
    Giorgio: Michele Pertusi

    Verdi’s Rigoletto
    Nov 11, 15, 18, 21, 27, 30, Dec 4, 7m
    Conductor: Pablo Heras-Casado
    Gilda: Aleksandra Kurzak
    Maddalena: Oksana Volkova
    Duke of Mantua: Matthew Polenzani
    Rigoletto: Dmitri Hvorostovsky
    Sparafucile: Stefan Kocán

    R. Strauss Der Rosenkavalier
    Nov 22, 25, 30m, Dec 3, 7, 10, 13
    Conductor: Edward Gardner
    Marschallin: Martina Serafin
    Octavian: Elina Garanca/Daniela Sindram/TBA
    Sophie: Mojca Erdmann/Erin Morley
    A Singer: Eric Cutler/Mario Chang
    Faninal: Hans-Joachim Ketelsen/Kyle Ketelsen
    Baron Ochs: Peter Rose

    Dvo?ák’s Rusalka
    Jan 23, 27, 31, Feb 4, 8m, 12, 15
    Conductor: Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Rusalka: Renée Fleming
    Foreign Princess: Emily Magee
    Ježibaba: Dolora Zajick
    Prince: Piotr Beczala
    Water Sprite: John Relyea

    Bellini’s La Sonnambula
    Mar 14, 18, 21, 25, 29m, Apr 1
    Conductor: Marco Armiliato
    Amina: Diana Damrau
    Elvino: Javier Camarena/Taylor Stayton
    Rodolfo: Michele Pertusi

    Puccini’s Tosca
    Oct 29, Nov 2, 5, 9m, 13, 16m, Dec 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 28m
    Conductor: Riccardo Frizza/Marco Armiliato
    Tosca: Patricia Racette/TBA/Sondra Radvanovsky/Elisabete Matos
    Cavaradossi: Roberto Alagna/Marcello Giordani/Ricardo Tamura
    Scarpia: George Gagnidze
    Sacristan: John Del Carlo

    Muhly’s Two Boys
    Oct 21, 25, 30, Nov 2m, 6, 9
    Conductor: David Robertson
    Rebecca: Jennifer Zetlan
    Cynthia: Caitlin Lynch
    Anne Strawson: Alice Coote
    Fiona: Sandra Piques Eddy
    Anne’s Mum: Judith Forst
    Brian: Paul Appleby
    Jake: Christopher Bolduc
    Peter: Keith Miller
    Production: Bartlett Sher
    Set Designer: Michael Yeargan
    Costume Designer: Catherine Zuber
    Lighting Designer: Donald Holder
    Projections & Animation: 59 Productions
    Choreographer: TBA

    Massenet’s Werther
    Feb 18, 22m, 25, 28, Mar 3, 7, 11, 15m
    Conductor: Alain Altinoglu
    Sophie: Lisette Oropesa
    Charlotte: Elina Garanca
    Werther: Jonas Kaufmann
    Albert: David Bizic
    La Bailli: Jonathan Summers
    Production: Richard Eyre
    Set and Costume Designer: Rob Howell
    Lighting Designer: Peter Mumford
    Video Designer: Wendell Harrington
    Choreographer: Sara Erde

    Berg’s Wozzeck
    Mar 6, 10, 13, 17, 22m
    Conductor: James Levine
    Marie: Deborah Voigt
    Drum Major: Simon O’Neill
    Captain: Peter Hoare
    Wozzeck: Thomas Hampson
    Doctor: Clive Bayley

    • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

      Is this a major scoop, or did they have the press conference already to announce the season?

    • Bianca Castafiore says:

      Iphigenie, grazie for this scoop.

      YAAAAAY for the return of Matos, Kerl and Antonenko to the Met. Am I missing something? Wasn’t there a rumor that Sementchuk was also returning? I don’t see her listed above. Was she supposed to be in Prince Igor or Onegin?

      What a boring season in spite of some choice offerings. Really, do we need more Boheme, Elisir, Cosi, Magic Flute and that fluffy crap (Cenerentola, Enchanted Island, Sonnambula)? Yawn. Sondra as Norma and Tosca? Shudder… I guess someone at the Met really likes S. Phillips…

      • La Cieca says:

        My impression is that the Cosi was put together fairly recently to serve as a vehicle for Levine’s return to the podium. Furthermore, I have a suspicion that the Fledermaus was not originally intended for Phillips but rather for another somewhat more famous soprano whose contribution to the Met’s next season consists of a role in which she is very familiar indeed. (Not to put too fine a point on it, I think Fleming first agreed to sing Rosalinde at the Met and in Chicago next season and then backed out.)

      • m. croche says:

        I’d mark Cenerentola as only half-fluffy, and Sonnambula has little fluff in my book (though I recognize there are those that consider Sonnambula the epitome of fluff).
        Though enchanted island is not an unmitigated delight, it is neither “fluffy” nor “crappy”

  • stevey says:

    Wow. I never feel like I have the right to voice an overwhelmingly negative opinion when it comes to matters such as these… (instead, I feel that- if I have the problem- then it’s up to ME to figure out why I have that problem, and try and fix it by opening my little mind) but, in THIS case, I can’t remember when EVER I’ve been as thoroughly disappointed- if not disgusted- by the posting of a Met season as I am this one. I recall the recent posting of the next Lyric Opera season, and the almost unanimous vituperation it received for being so pedestrian… God, what is this????

    NO Wagner? Really??

    Verdi represented by only Falstaff & Rigoletto… Really? Is there no place for the Verdi or ‘spinto’ soprano on this particular roster??

    The French repertoire represented by… Werther (which just had new productions in Chicago, Salzburg, and (I think it was new) Vienna) this year?

    Perhaps the ‘lightest’, most mainstream Donizetti that there is? Really????

    And, is it me, or is there a nauseatingly OVERWHELMING amount of ‘Size <4 singers' this year? By that I mean that singers who, whether they actually do or not, would certainly look GREAT on their CD covers or on the sides of buses, looking poutily into the camera with a false wind billowing into their (long) hair??:
    Bystrom, Kovalevska, Leonard, de Niese (times TWO), Netrebko, Chuchman, Wall (also times two), Poplavskaya, Oropesa, Kurzak, Dyka, Peretyakto, Garanca, Erdman, Opolais…. While the talent of (some of) these ladies is undeniably without question… still…

    Obviously this is not the Met where a Gerda Lammers ('the cleaning lady', or a Helen Traubel, or a Mechtilde Gessendorf could ever hope to find work.

    Sad.

    (And thank God for Christine Goerke…)

    I'm aware that such a response will probably provoke enmity (if anything) from my learned Parterre.com brethren here. That was just the visceral response I had upon reading the details of the upcoming season and- recognizing them for how strong AND strange they are coming from the likes of me… I thought that maybe they should be shared. :-)

    And my continued best wishes to all!!

    • operalover9001 says:

      I see where you’re coming from, although I think it’s a bit unfair to lump this with Chicago’s ultra-conservative season. There’s Prince Igor, the Muhly opera, Midsummer’s and The Nose among the (relative) rarities, plus Chenier, Arabella, FrOSch, Rusalka, and Werther, which aren’t done all that often in North America. Agree that all of the Bohemes, Toscas, Flutes, Butterflies, and Rigolettos are a bit much, although they seem to be cast with exciting singers (clearly NOT cast 5 years earlier). Probably also worth noting that revivals of Tannhauser, Parsifal, and Mahoganny were scrapped and replaced with Wozzeck, Boheme, and something else.

    • operalover9001 says:

      Should also comment that the “< size 4" isn't really a surprise -- besides, Netrebko and Wall are hardly size 4 at this point. In fact, I was rather pleased that some of the casting had clearly gone beyond "but she would look so pretty in that dress…" -- roles like Fiordiligi, Musetta, and Adalgisa can easily be cast with hot young things, but they seem to have gone beyond that!

    • La Cieca says:

      Really? Gerda Lammers whose career at the Met consisted of exactly six performances of Elektra, and who is currently busy being dead?

      The most recent Met Elektra was Susan Bullock, who is hardly a candidate for the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, even if she, unlike the divine Gerda, bothers to get her hair done before having her photograph taken.

      And do you really think Erin Wall is a size 4?

      There is no virtue in a singer’s being ugly. And, even if it were so, who exactly are all these ugly, obese singers dazzling the international operatic firmament who are being so unfairly overlooked by the Met?

      • stevey says:

        (sigh…)

        I never said anything about ‘ugly, obese’ singers.

        This is why I prefer to lurk in the shadows…

        But, fine, when I was writing this, I was thinking of singers like Schuster, Herlitzius, Haveman, Isokoski, Merbeth, Stoyanova, Serjan, Agresta, Garcia, Tamar, DeYoung, Jennifer Wilson, Monastyrska, Krasteva, Piscitelli… these are all singers that would NOT be said to be pin-up models, or necessarily beautiful from a photogenic standpoint… but who I have been fascinated, fascinated, FASCINATED by through my experiences with them (alas, ONLY through pirated recordings and the internet) and who- I was hoping- would NOT be relegated to the status of the Lena Nordin’s, the Cynthia Makris’s, the Sylvie Valayre’s, the Nelly Miricioiu’s, the Edita Gruberova’s, the Szilvia Ralik’s, the Mariella Devia’s of my opera-obsessed little life- people who I liked much of what they had done, but never did get to hear them at all- and who I suppose I was HOPING that at some point in time or other might actually make it across the pond to be heard on this side of the world. And, I suppose, mistaken though it may be (I am a Canadian living in Costa Rica, mind you…), ‘The Met’ has to me always seemed to be the most venerated, hallowed institution- where an artist will truly be thought of as having ‘made it’…. (not to mention being the one place where I could convince myself would be worthy to fly up and catch a performance…). I would like to see one of the artists who I admire (from afar) grace these stages (if only because I know their performances will increase their personal ‘Q-score’, through being thoroughly dissected by the likes of the clever lot of you), gain a greater audience, and hopefully further their careers.

        And, YES, I am AWARE of all of the myriad of factors explaining why , or , or might be or not be gracing these hallowed New York Met stages… YOU’RE RIGHT! And I will heartily agree to that!

        I’m just saying that I was disappointed, is all.

        And there isn’t anything wrong with that, nor in me stating so.

        • La Cieca says:

          In that case, I will let you be disappointed by yourself. It might occur to you, though, that when you offer an opinion in a comments section, that is a tacit invitation to start a conversation. Not everybody is going to be interested in sitting quietly and being your private little audience.

          • stevey says:

            I had no intention of offering up for you and your readers a monologue or a diatribe. It’s how things are stated that I’m having a problem with…

            I have been coming to this site for WELL over a decade now and have only in the past few years taken it upon myself to bring myself to post and comment on things. THIS was BECAUSE I recognized that I was both a young layman and TOTAL neophyte, and that my opinions could (of course) could HARDLY be expected to warrant inclusion among the more learned and educated likes of yourself.

            Look at your last comments to me.

            “it may surprise you to hear that the United States is just now emerging from the worst recession since the 1930s…” (condescending)

            “these bread and butter operas you have such distaste for” (I said nothing of the sort…)

            “when times get better, maybe Anna Netrebko can sing Gemma di Vergy, affording you the opportunity to complain that she’s not ugly enough” (catty, presumptuous, and putting words in my mouth)

            “now, explain to us about how we’ve hurt your feeling…” (condescending)

            “to rant incoherently” (insulting)

            “without fear of disagreement” (presumptuous)

            I would welcome dialogue and discernment, such as what I noticed operalover9001 posted in return. But there shouldn’t there always, ALWAYS be some degree of respect??

            I have never posted anything dismissive, disregarding, or insulting in response to anything that ANYONE has ever posted here.

            As the creator and moderator of this site, I had hoped that you would grant the same to your readers, and contributors… or at least the respect that I (perhaps mistakenly) feel we are warranted.

          • Porgy Amor says:

            I am not taking a side in this skirmish, but stevey, I hope you won’t feel it is worth committing to an extreme position and staying away. I like to read what you have to offer. Your contributions to the thread on the ELEKTRA quiz a months ago, for example, were full of interesting information.

            Looking on the bright side: I must have had bad information about the FALSTAFF, because I originally had heard it was going to be an O’Brien production, and then (horrors) McAnuff. I’m pleased we’re getting the Carsen (horse and all?). Just in time, as his ONEGIN is being sunsetted. Relyea isn’t ideal for me, but the RUSALKA looks terrific otherwise (Magee as the Foreign Princess — Met debut?). It’s good to see Genia Kuehmeier back in one of her best roles; the little she’s done here was six years ago, and she can be very special. I’ll believe the return of Levine when it happens, but best to him.

    • ianw2 says:

      Yes, I for one am sick of the endless Shostakovich and Borodin on the LOC’s stages, not to mention their endless young American composer commissions.

      Pretty much dream cast for Midsummer’s, and I will always defend Cenerentola with knives if needs be.

      • stevey says:

        Withering sarcasm and disdain is not called for here, ianw2. I was merely expressing an opinion.

        Dissent is always welcome… but there are ways of expressing it.

        • La Cieca says:

          People who “merely express an opinion” should be prepared for other people to have other opinions. Your comment was hyperbolic, so it’s not unreasonable that people who don’t agree with what you say to be hyperbolic in return.

          It’s La Cieca’s job to enforce decorum around here, so stop playing the fussbudget.

        • ianw2 says:

          I call upon my learned friend and honorable gentleman to withdraw his ill-considered remarks which I consider a stain upon my person, and upon my integrity as a gentleman. Verily, I am steadfast in my resolve that to compare the two seasons is the work of an ass, and not just any ass, but an ass bred of a fool and a rake.

          And now, sir, I retire to my fainting couch and await your apologies forsooth.

    • La Cieca says:

      The current Met season features Aida, Il trovatore, Otello, Don Carlo, La traviata, plus new productions of Rigoletto and Un ballo in maschera, about 75 performances amounting to a third of the season’s 200. That is quite a lot of just one composer, appropriate for an anniversary year, but obviously needing to be balanced out in the next couple of seasons after that.

      The 13-14 season originally included revivals of Tannhauser and Parsifal that were canceled because of the illness of James Levine. This follows a season featuring the Ring and a new Parsifal.

      Werther is a favorite role of one of the Met’s biggest stars, Jonas Kaufmann, and it also has a part for another important Met artist, Elina Garanca. The opera has not been done at the Met since 10 seasons ago.

      As for your desire to hear obscure Donizetti and to avoid such banalities as Boheme et. al., it may surprise you to hear that the United States is just now emerging from the worst recession since the 1930s, ticket sales are severely down in every city in the country, and many companies have either greatly cut back on their seasons or closed down entirely. These bread and butter operas you have such distaste for sell tickets that keep the company open so that, when times get better, maybe Anna Netrebko can sing Gemma di Vergy, affording you the opportunity to complain that she’s not ugly enough.

      Now, explain to us about how we’ve hurt your feeling, since, after all, it’s your God-given right to rant incoherently about anything you like without fear of disagreement.

      • ianw2 says:

        And as much I find Muhly’s music uninteresting, let’s all pause to give silent thanks that the Met is airing an American work, and a work that isn’t a New American Verismo adaptation of a famous book and/or movie that gets Gunn shirtless at that.

      • stevey says:

        You are presumptuous in assigning to me what I feel is my ‘God given right’. And have no right to do so.

        Never mind. Your condescending comments (‘now explain to us about how we’ve hurt your feeling’) are catty in the extreme.

        You won’t hear from me again.

  • DonCarloFanatic says:

    Oh, dear.

    Anyway, happy to see Chenier on the list. I’ve never seen it, but the music has become very dear to me.

    Today I am struggling with whether to get a ticket to see Racette at the WNO in Manon Lescaut, sung in Italian. Don’t know why, but I’ve thought I always heard it in French before? Which is more commonly done?

  • Bianca Castafiore says:

    Hi stevey,

    I’ve enjoyed our shared adoration of Pendatchanska thread so I’d hate to see you leave the parterriat. You should know that La Ciechissima gets grumpy sometimes because we as a group tend to kvetch a lot. There’s lots of people here (and Nervosa) who also have strong opinions and get all worked up for nothing. You should learn to grow a thicker skin and just let it go… La Cieca doesn’t like that I hate Gleb and… well, it’s a complicated relationship obviously since I go to the Met but I endlessly complain about its management. I get into scrapes and arguments too sometimes but in the end, we just forget and forgive. Anyhooo, hope you will not make yourself scarce and do drop by for a visit.