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Once Moravian, with feeling

New Yorkers hungry for an appearance by Karita Mattila (absent from the Met this season) will want to take a look at the Bayerische Staatsoper’s live webcast of Jenufa on Saturday afternoon. The diva is joined by Gabriele Schnaut and Stefan Margita for the Janacek tragedy, beginning at 1:00 PM EST.


  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Yes, Janaceck is a great motivation to recycle analogue television sets.

  • Hippolyte says:

    Possibly Mattila’s final run of the role?

    • spiderman says:

      No, her final run will be in Helsinki in January/February 2014, again in the production she debuted the role in and which she successfully brought to London, New York, Los Angeles …

  • Camille says:

    I’m watching, but will get the MUTE button ready for Gaby’s solos.

    The loudest Isolde EVER!

    • Batty Masetto says:

      And she was singing Traviata at the time! Nobody could tell the difference.

    • tannengrin says:

      You make it sound as if that is a bad thing? If you got it, flaunt it??

    • itrinkkeinwein says:

      Yes, Gaby nearly ruined it last night (Feb. 6). The voice is unwieldy — an alto now, really, with a frightening top extension. She should not have been cast.

      Both tenors were superb; the Steva is a new guy, and Margita you know. Karita was in glorious voice; hopefully all will go well again for her this weekend.

      But the reason to catch this is the conductor, Tomas Hanus (who has more than a few traits in common with James Levine). He’s exactly the kind of talent New York agents *should* be fostering, in place of pretty boys. Judge for yourself.

      • operaassport says:

        I’m curious what untalented pretty boys you think are conducting at the MET?

        • itrinkkeinwein says:

          I’m seeing the same thing happen with conductors as happened with violinists and pianists 10, 20 years ago.

          The whole business, not any one institution, finds traction (promotion, contracts) for young people who are physically attractive and overlooks artists with artistry (something to say).

          If there are scouts out there for American orchestras and opera companies, they don’t seem to connect with the big agencies. As a result, the agency rosters are “behind.”

          Think of James Levine. He got openings based on talent alone. That has gone. Careers are passing by without anyone noticing — at least in the U.S. And then grand “searches” go on for an MD slot based on rosters of no depth or currency.

          Separately, we are still, I think, suffering from the “overhang” of reputations built in the 1970s and 1980s when the recording industry, in its last hurrah, built up names like Maazel and Mehta well beyond their gifts relative to others.

          Institutions want a “name” always, instead of realizing that they themselves must make it happen.

          To cite two (unrelated) Los Angeles examples, the orchestra’s front-office manager found Salonen and seized him as an unknown, based solely on his own ability to assess the talent. Where does that happen nowadays? He was his own scout.

          More recently, the person in the same job grabbed Dudamel at a moment, albeit late, when doing so was still a risk. I cite this as an exception to prove the rule.

          • Camille says:

            Look at the advertisements in the Carnegie Hall and how they have changed over, say, the last ten years, as an example.

            I recall when Salonen first came to the L.A. Phil as I was living there at the time. Everyone said WTF is this? We found out. I similarly happened by chance to hear over the radio that first concert by The Dude. Very impressive. Still not quite sure who he is.

          • itrinkkeinwein says:

            Camille, you’re the nicest of all participants.

  • uwsinnyc says:

    I hadn’t realized it until this post- but yes, Mattila is completely missing next season at the MET.

    • Nerva Nelli says:

      I would happily have Mattila take over Marie and the Marschallin next season…

      • armerjacquino says:

        We’re getting her first Marie in the autumn, I think.

        • Bianca Castafiore says:

          For once, I agree with the cleaning lady, Mattila should take over Marie from the Void.

          • Camille says:

            Stop the presses: Bianca agrees with Nerva.

            If it were Christmas, I would say it’s a miracle!

            These days I would not want to hear her as Marie, what with that “Heiland!” to be screeched out in the last act, but a very interesting, sexy compelling Marschallin she’d make—not just a little Dresden porcelain figurine.

            Hildegard really pulled a rabbit out of her hat in those final performances as Marie, however. I’ll not forget her at her curtain calls—she looked easily fifteen or so years younger than her age at that time. Remarkable performance.

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            What would a scandalous old ruin like la Castafiore know about “cleaning”?

            Bianca was too old, her voice too much in shreds, even to understudy Jelena Ježi?ová as the Cleaning Lady at the 1926 MAKROPULOS premiere.

            Quelle dommage!

          • Camille says:

            Bianca sticks to her fach, NN, and that is lyric-coloratura.

            The Cleaning Lady is an Alt or a Mezzosopran. Or a Babushka fach.

      • messa di voce says:

        Marie yes, Marschallin definitely no.

        • Nerva Nelli says:

          Camille, when Bianca had needed cash (which is often enough since her Jungfrau shares turned worthless) she has essayed many a Moedlrole, most humiliatingly the Old Lady on the Levee on a bus-and-truck through Paraguay, where decades before she had sung leads.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Who woke up the Buzzard of Skopje? The jealous old hag… She’s still available for any funerals or pig calling contests…

            You are right, Nervosa, I know nothing about cleaning. I have Irma hire you to do mine.

          • Camille says:

            Paraguay? She must been singing for Elisabeth Nietsche, nichts?

            Come on now, I am getting confused by all these geographical migrations--———I thought Nerva was la regina di Cagliari and Bianca was the Toast of Milano??? Wohin?

            How about we meditate on Mercadante a bit, ladies, and the opera he wrote for you, Divæ, and remember: “Pretty is, as pretty does.”!!


          • luvtennis says:

            Having you two hear is such a treat? I love you back and forth.

            It’s like having Bette and Joan locked in an eternal battle of good versus evil. Except you are both wickedly delicious.

            What a great stage play it would make!!!

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            Well, I am sure Bianca is equally confused about all details of her “career”! Those all-Caccini recitals in Port Royal, Jamaica were disastrous…

            But let me reiterate, paraphrasing Anna Moffo:

            “I. Have. Never. Set. Foot. On. Sardgena!”

            In this respect only the Castafiore Relic is more like the Kalageropoulos Woman who claimed,
            “I never sang in the Italian provinces”.

            “What a great stage play it would make!!!”

            Luvtennis, NO sane producer would insure Bianca! Best have a look at Kirkwood’s “Diary of a Mad Playwright: Perilous Adventures on the Road with Mary Martin and Carol Channing.”

          • armerjacquino says:

            Nerva, all your Vicarish instincts will delight to the fact that I genuinely read that as ‘Diary of a mad Plowright’

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            Armer, you should definitely hit the shops looking for that Kirkwood book--perhaps the funniest backstage take on a doomed production I have ever read.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Please, luvtennis, do not put me in the same place as *that woman*!!!!

            She’s the most pathetic, jealous thing, poverina, how could she not be?

            Whereas I was world renowned as the Milanese Nightingale, she’s reviled as the Buzzard of Skopje. Whereas I have graced all the finest concert halls in Europe, she’s been howling and ululating at funerals at the finest villages in the Balkans. Whereas they have made a Hollywood movie about me, and named an asteroid and a plaza in Amsterdam for little petite moi, they have named … oh yes, NOTHING after her (there’s still hope, they might yet discover a new species of sea slug or tapeworm). Whereas there’s a Wikipedia entry for me, there’s … oh yes, NADA for Nervosa, who’s just a figment of her own feeble imagination.

            No wonder she feels jealous…

            AH JE RIS!!!!!!!!

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            Bianca (nee “Binaca”)--

            You should know to lay off the malt liquor at this time of night.

            Just so you have it straight, cara, what was named after you in Amsterdam was a PIZZA. Then it was thrown to some hungry Keeshonden as an act of malicious charity, rather like when you “sing” at the Casa di Reposa you’re mired in.

  • Is anyone surprised that Mattila is absent from the season? Wasn’t she the one who decided to lock horns with Gelb and called him a Nazi, or a version thereof?

    • messa di voce says:

      That was the blind item rumor that, in the absence of any corroborating evidence, has moved into the realm of iron-clad fact (along with “Gelb hates both opera and fat singers”).

  • uwsinnyc says:

    oh yes, she’d be a fabulous in either of those roles.

  • kashania says:

    Once in a while, I just have to stop and admire La Cieca’s gift at writing titles for her items. It takes a special genius…

  • Will says:

    The thought of Schnaut “singing” anything at this stage of the game, particularly with the high notes in act 2, is frightening. I would have thought of her, perhaps, as Grandma Buryja, if at all.

    • armerjacquino says:

      You never know- this opera brings out the best in people. Neither Ashley Putnam nor Eva Randova were singers for the ages but my god they burned the house down in the Lyubimov production at CG.

      • CarlottaBorromeo says:

        What?? Randova was one of the greatest artists of her time… But Putnam was only in that show because it took Benackova just two days to spot what a total fraud Lyubimov was… In case anyone hadn’t noticed he proved it comprehensively with his appalling Rheingold a couple of years later. A complete charlatan

        • Nerva Nelli says:

          Agreed. Eva Randova was a wonderful, world-class artist, certainly as the Kostelnicka, Marina, Jezibaba/Foreign Princess and as Ortrud (one of my favorite ones ever).

          • armerjacquino says:

            My mistake, I should have said ‘voices’ not ‘singers’. Randova was indeed an incredible artist, but the sound itself was nothing to write home about.

    • itrinkkeinwein says:

      She’s horrible, Will, and the old lady, Renate Behle, has largely the opposite problem!

      After we nearly wrote off Act 2 last night, Karita delivered beautifully in her prayer scene.

    • Archaeopteryx says:

      You are right. I still don’t get why always ugly and worn sounding ex-Hochdramatische are cast as Kostelnicka. I mean, Jenufa is like 20, so the Kostelnicka could easily be 40-50 and not 60-dead! I was delighted about Larmore in this part, finally somebody who SUNG it and not screamed it! Karita should consider singing the Kostelnicka imho….

  • stignanispawn says:

    Does anyone know if Dalayman was back in this evening’s Parsifal? I saw Michaela Martens, her cover, on Tuesday; who was a terrific Kundry.
    For my nickel, however, it was Rene Pape’s evening. Hard as I try, I do not understand what the fuss about Jonas Kaufmann is about — and sharing a stage with Pape must be like performing in a production of The Sound of Music where each of the little Von Trapp kids also has an adorable puppy — you just aren’t going to be noticed. Personally I would have preferred a shirtless Pape too — but then I hope for too much :)

    • FragendeFrau82 says:

      I think the last performance is tomorrow night, isn’t it?

      • decotodd says:

        Yes Friday is the last one. Haven’t heard whether Dalyman is still out.

        • Camille says:

          As of the current moment, Dalayman is still listed. No cast change notice for today. It is getting pretty late now, so….

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Netrebko complete Rosina

    • kashania says:

      It’s amazing how much Netrebko’s voice has changed. She hardly sounds like the same singer. (Her “Una voce poca fa” start at 39 minutes).

      • Bianca Castafiore says:

        What the hell did she do to her voice? How did she darken and thicken it so much that I can’t stand it? I want the old Netrebko back.