The legendary soprano celebrates her 80th birthday today.
Why I love the lady:
Oh goody, toody gumdrops!!!!! Thank you so much for finding this, the “I can’t get no satisfaction” sequence. I loved it and did not know how to find it, although I saw it on Dutch television, I guess it is the same profeamme. I can’t imagine her doing it more than once.
There is just no one like her. A treasure of greatest magnitude.
I never saw this clip before -- what a hoot! Thank you Francois, whoever you are!
Pretoria, South Africa. I only saw Caballe once -- probably 2005 in Munchen in a Christmas type concert. “I vas dreammming of a waait Christmas”. She voice was respectable for a lady of her age. She couldn’t do volume but those long soft notes were still there -- just a little bit softer.
I haven’t seen this video posted yet -- one of the strangest pairings ever:
Christine Goeke sings SCUM! Yes, that’s what they call this in English. They must have watched the MET subtitles for Rigoletto.
Absolutely hilarious! The barely controlled scream at the end is just wonderful. Thanks for posting this singer.
She sounds nackered. I hope this isn’t normal for her -- everything I’d read about her had me looking forward to her Elektra, but it’s going to be torture if she’s like this.
She also isn’t the best actress in the world. Thought all those stock gestures had gone out with Milanov.
What does the SCUM mean? And to everyone who thought this was hilarious, flat or whatever, I guess my speakers weren’t working right. I thought she did a fine job. Have any of you tried singing this aria? Ridiculously difficult.
It’s ridiculously difficult so we shouldn’t bother about nasty driven hard tone and so much pressure that it drags every single note down?
It was ridiculously difficult when Jones, Janowitz, Behrens, Flagstad, Nilsson and Mattila sang it too, but they still did so in tune and without making it seem like such a trial.
I guess she’s calling Pizzarro ‘scum’ rather than something like ‘you monster’ or ‘devil’s spawn’.
I’ve heard many more abscheulich Abscheulichers than that! (I saw the sainted Waltraud Meier do a frankly mediocre Leonore in Valencia in 2006, for instance.) But what an impossible opera Fidelio is, for all kinds of reasons.
I have sung Abscheulicher in falsetto for more than 40 years and mine is as good as Leonie’s. I learned from the best.
Goeke is not hilarious. It’s unfait to her that this video from the dress rehearsal was used. The fact that they are calling it SCUM on Youtube is very funny.
Best of all was Anne Evans--artist enough not to bring anything so vulgar as *volume* to the aria.
Leo Goeke, QPF? ;-)
At times he was risable (as you probably knew).
The fist pump works really well for Monastyrska and we love her a lot.
You can hear the whole thing tonight at 7:30 edt at wrcjfm.org. I’ll be there.
Sorry, this was meant as a comment to the Goerke discussion.
QPF, why is in “unfair” for a theater company to use a dress rehearsal video for promotional purposes? The Met uses dress rehearsal video on their website. When else would they be filming? The still photographers are also taking their photos at the same time.
I don’t see any “old-timey” gestures, FM.
Disseminating videos made at dress rehearsals is often unfair / unflattering to the singers. In this case the say it is from the dress rehearsal, but the woman is is singing flat in many measures. Hopefully the performances will be better for her.
But most opera and theatre companies treat final dress as a performance though they will stop if they have to. That’s when patrons, families and friends are invited, and when they film (If they can afford to) and take promotional pictures. Performers know that they are giving a performance.
I wish her well, but didn’t think that this performance was the trainwreck that others did. It’s a fiendishly difficult aria.
She leaves Miss Voigt in the dust. You think she sings flat?
Thank heavens cacklepuss does not sing Fidelio!
Quanto, Fidelio is SACRED,
cacklepuss should stay far and away,
Zurueck vom Fidelio!
Can you imagine cacklepuss assaulting
Ihr sollt ja nicht zu klagen haben…..
When you once had an angel singing it?
“Can you imagine cacklepuss assaulting
Ihr sollt ja nicht zu klagen haben…..
When you once had an angel singing it?”
What a lovely tribute to Carol Yahr! (Or did you mean Ingrid Haubold?)
Cacklepuss said she will sing Turandot too.
Oh Quanto, that she can have any day, Turandot. Just keep her away from sacred music like Bach, Beethoven, and Wagner, and everything will be OK.
I had seen Caballe in recital (in Louisville) and in concert (Cincinnati), but the first time I saw her in opera was a performance of IL PIRATA (with her husband, natch) at the Cincinnati Zoo Opera. She was magnificent, even though she sang the role on crutches. Really some of the most stunning singing I ever heard. She’d grab hold of a climactic note, her arms extended in front of her, and you could just settle back and bask in the glory. Thrilling.
I am firmly in the camp of Maria Callas but Montsy has done some amazing stuff too.
Here are some of my favorites from here oeuvre:
Her 1972 Roberto Devereux is also amazing:
To her credit, she tackled the most difficult roles ever written for human voice. Devereux above and Gemma di Vergy here:
In the end, that’s her true achievement, where she really surpassed Callas.
Thank you thenoctambulist for these clips. In fact, thank you to all of the parterreans who have posted all of this on this thread. I have spent all day listening whenever I could and am overwhelmed by the wealth of material that has been highlighted here documenting the astounding career of one of my favorite artists of all time. The very best to her. I was particularly sent by the Devereux finale. As luck would have it, I saw her one and only SF Elisabetta on Oct. 26, 1979 when she was stricken by phlebitis and sat through most of the show. She withdrew from the rest of the run. I have never ever heard, before or after, such difficult music sung with such a sense of ease and confidence through the course of a performance. Just amazing. Thank goodness that I had a chance to see her in a variety of roles in both in NY and SF.
The problem I have with Monsty is that like Sutherland, her voice is beautiful but monotonous. She does not act through voice, she does not speak or tell a story and in the end, the beautiful voice gets a bit too much like eating too much sugar.
That said, for sheer melodic beauty, nothing beats this:
Now, here’s a confession: I’ve never found Caballe’s voice that beautiful. She can certainly **sing** most beautifully, and when pressure isn’t on the voice it is lovely, but I nearly always found a guttural, steely quality in it when it went above mezzo forte. And the glottal stops were never pretty.
See, the noctambulist says’s it’s all too beautiful and unvaried, and Monty says it was marred by a guttural, steely quality and she had a penchant for ugly glottals.
I have always found Caballe on top form to be the absolute ideal for most of her rep -- the more dramatic Bellini and Donizetti roles, Verdi, and Puccini, precisely because I think she combined the technical perfection of early Sutherland with the expressive capabilities of Callas on her best days. I love the fact that her top could absolutely blaze, and that she knew just how to use a gesture like a glottal for maximum emotional impact.
My singing teacher has always said he finds her singing ‘wanky’ though.
Darling Monty -- I totally agree with you re the glottal stops. When I discuss “beautiful” voices with friends, colleagues, teachers, pros, we all come up with different names. For me, when you ask -- who has the “prettiest” voice of all time -- well, there are so many -- but usually Tebaldi comes first, then tied for 2nd would be Moffo, young Sutherland, de los Angeles, Cotrubas, and Caballe! (And since I don’t want to be skewered here I think that in the beginning of her career Fleming’s voice was ravishing but let’s just keep that between us, please )
For me, Price (L) is the most beautiful, when singing at her absolute best, but it took a while for me to get used to her voice, which has always seemed to me not to be **classically** beautiful. There is a sensuality and wildness in it, like a tiger purring! The definitely classical beautiful Price (M) is also one of the most beautiful voices I have heard in the flesh, but I have to say that Jessye Norman was the voice I found most immediately beautiful when I first heard it as a teenager.
Of course L Price has to be there too. There just isn’t enough room for beautiful voices in a short list. When she got to the upper register I always thought that this is what heaven would sound like. Aside from having a beautiful voice, it was thrilling as well. She also had the most amazing presence on stage -- royalty from birth.
But, as I say, Price’s voice somehow didn’t have precedents. If you hear, say, Ponselle or Milanov, who are sort of her predecessors, they have a kind of clean, sculptural quality that Price doesn’t. I think her voice must have been a bit of a shock when she first turned up on the scene.
As for male voices, it’s harder to say, since sheer beauty of sound somehow seems harder to pin down, but I do think Ramey had one of the most sheerly beautiful male voices -- but more beautiful live than on disc, where it could sound a little boxy. And, of course, the younger Ghiaurov.
Monty, in a similar manner, the first voice I fell in love with as a teenager was Jessye Norman. She is still my first love, and I often go back to listen to her Brahms and Schubert albums, her Strauss lieder, Ariadne, Leonore (Mrs. Florestan), Salome, Elsa, and Sieglinde.
Have to say I don’t listen to her a great deal any more, but she was stunning when she just got on with the singing and wasn’t doing the ‘high priestess of my art’ shtick (vocally, I mean -- not in interviews and so on).
Monty -- re L Price -- she was a force of nature with an instrument of rare power and glory. Re Ms. Norman -- there are so many things, we her adoring public can say. I think she was one of the greatest singers of all time, yet there is an element of detachment or something I can’t describe, that makes her not lovable. She had an unusual opera career, not making her reputation on either Wagner, Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, the Baroque Era, or the verismo style. She did a lot of French operas but the rep wasn’t standard fare. Some of my favorite you tube clips are of her -- singing Poulenc songs and also the Sanctus from Gounod’s mass. I am bad at these links but try this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HarvxxqPjjQ&list=FLtSsn3IictLhL_qvYpai0IQ
Kirsten Flagstad, Titta Ruffo, Jose Carreras (for about seventeen minutes early in his career, before he started to push), Joan Baez.
On the other hand, Monty -- and not to step on Montsy’s day -- this is classically beautiful to me.
luvtennis, that is quite beautiful.
Monty, I have to say, the first time I heard Price — from a tape that had her singing some spirituals — I could not understand how she was a superstar. All I heard then was that awful scooping, cloudy middle register and bizarre parlando voice… It was much later that I understood how gorgeous she could be. This is all to say that for sure sometimes her voice could be a mixed bag.
” For me, when you ask – who has the “prettiest” voice of all time…”
“All time” pushes me towards records of Rethberg, Norena and the young de los Angeles, but of those I’ve heard live, I’ll say Popp, Donath and Troyanos.
Caballe made some incredibly ravishing sounds but the bottom voice to me was always problematic and hardly ‘pretty’.
What of Milla Andrew and Patricia Payne?
Nerva -- how wonderful to see Donath’s name on your list -- I adored her -- but I don’t think she ever sang live in the USA. I loved Rethberg, but I wouldn’t put her name on the “pretty” list. Who is Norena? Shocked that I don’t know of her. I liked Popp a lot too, but I would place Dawn Upshaw and Barbara Bonney before her. And I think Troyanos was a great singer, but again, not on my pretty list.
I join Nerva and you in endorsing Donath, who sang in the US quite a bit (if not enough!)
I just heard her in Cologne as Britten’s Mrs. Grose and she still sounds terrific; she told me afterwards it’s almost certain that she will be appearing in New York next year, though not at the Met or NYCO. I can’t say more just yet.
She did-- beside some recitals, and orchestral gigs at the NYP. Chautauqua Symphony and Miami Phil--Marzelline, Susanna, Sophie (replacing Battle at Thielemann’s debut) and Countess Almaviva at the Met.
Plus Eva in Seattle, Sophie and Oscar at San Francisco, Elisabeth in Austin, Susanna in Costa Mesa, the Governess at L. A. and Miami, the Marschallin in Detroit and D.C., Pamina at the ROH LA Olympics season, Despina in Miami and at BAM. That’s what comes to mind now, I am sure there was more.
Another vote for Bonney here. And someone should mention Della Casa, right?
Wow, Kruno-- keep us updated in re Helen Donath in New York next season. I heard she was proposed to NYCO for their TURN OF THE SCREW this year with no results. (And their Grose was like a vocally insecure conservatory student.) The Man of Steel probably has no clue who she is.
Rowna--Norwegian Parisian-based Eide Norena had big successes in London and Chicago and some late career performances at the Met when nearing 50 — there’s a R & J broadcast with Charles Hackett that shows them both fine stylists with lovely voices, if occasionally in straits.
Some classic Norena cuts that I’ve seen here before:
“Care selve” from her last recording session, age 53- wait for the octave leap:
As for Troyanos, with apologies for Richter and Leppard in advance
The Vicar (among others) might be interested to know that Troyanos’s superb, and I’d have thought unmistakable, “When I am laid in earth” (with Leppard) is being palmed off on YouTube as a Ferrier recording!
Well, in the house, Pretty’s voice was very pretty:
And this is very lovely work by Yende, Florez and oedipe’s favorite girl, Deshayes.
The late Montserrat Figueras (Mrs. Jordi Savall)
Betsy -- thank you so much -- I had never heard of her -- wonderful voice and I can certainly see your point of view that it is a “pretty” voice. If you like hers, here is another name who sang a lot of that repertoire -- Bernarda Fink. And how did I forget to put Verrett, Elizabeth Grummer and Reri Grist? Maybe our hostess can start a nomination board for “pretty” voices in each category -- hint hint La!
I was thinking about Gruemmer. Undoubtedly an exceptionally beautiful voice, beautifully deployed (and far preferable to the other Elisabeth for all kinds of reasons), but I don’t especially **like** it.
And, yes, Norena certainly is beautiful too. I’d heard of her, and knew she was Norwegian, but had never listened to her. Unusual for such a ‘schlank gefuehrt’ voice to have such tenderness.
Special for you:
Interesting, but not sure I agree. I remember having to watch this Adriana from Tokyo (1976) and felt that all the acting came from the voice. In the big confrontation with la Bouillon (Cossotto) the drama is totally with the voice, in close up both ladies seem a bit impassive.
(can only find the complete opera in an acceptable transfer -- there are excerpts on youtube but very badly reproduced, with an insistent crackle)…
It’s really worth hearing this -- especially for the final act. She’s is in spectacular voice and shows herself to be a great verista.
I’ve always found her strangely touching onstage, she conjures the magic of the moment, and always struck me, when on form, as a really intelligent and committed singer…..
I agree with Belfy’s views on Montserrat as verista (have always preferred her in that rep to bel canto, where I always have a sneaking suspicion that she is vocally short-handing here and there) and on her ability to be touching. Maybe it’s her authenticity as a rather old-fashioned diva who can make you love her.
I have a very complicated relationship with dear Montsy. I never heard her live so my impressions are based entirely on studio and in-performance recordings. With that in mind, I have a few observations. She was capable of moments of time-stopping beauty and legendary performances, especially the Orange Norma (aided by a VERY voice-friendly acoustic -- she was often wonderful there for this reason). She had extraordinary breath control and the timbre was, at its best ravishing, with many colors and lovely overtones.
But here is the thing. I have never known a more inconsistent great singer than dear Montsy. Of course, most singers have their less good days and often become more inconsistent in their performances as the voice ages and suffers wear and tear. But Montsy was also inconsistent in another way. There are times when she seems to lose focus on her task so a sublime moment is followed up by something slovenly (a slurred or clumsy turn -- a very maddening trait that really ruins many other wise lovely performances of hers -- or dropped words) and she often manipulates the text of the score, particularly with regards to dynamics, in an unhelpful way. What makes this so maddening to me is that it might occur at any time regardless of whether she was in good form or not. Finally, I always felt that her bel canto suffered from a lack of a trill or a dependable facsimile and an inability to sing fiorature in full voice on a consistent basis. Sometimes she was extraordinary in bravura music, but often the florid music is sung too lightly to make full musical and dramatic effect. That said, the early Donizetti performances were often absolutely extraordinary, especially in roles like Lucrezia Borgia, Gemma di Vergy, and the earlier Roberto Devereuxs.
Later she paid a price for singing some heavy rep with a punishing high tessitura that was really not ideally suited to her instrument and where she might have a few good performances and followed by later less good ones before the role was dropped. The top grew harder from the forcing she did in those heavy roles and became very different in quality from the voice at p and pp. I think her voice began to show these effects in the mid-seventies although she managed ravishing soft legato in the upper middle for many years after her prime.
Still I have contributed a fair bit to her income and will treasure her for her best singing.
luvtennis, your very astute comments on her bel canto singing reflect just what I feel, but couldn’t express (probably because I haven’t listened to her enough over the years). I **did** see her a few times, though: as Norma in London (with Grace, on the occasion of the famous ‘conflicting editions’ issue); twice as Turandot in Paris (with the sorely underrated Giacomini and the scrumptious Leona Mitchell -- now **there’s** my idea of a gorgeous voice, even if she was not a great singer) in a weird-looking production where her costumes were based on Rohrschach blots. And around the same time, also in Paris, I saw her do a recital, which I remember being rather jolly.
Now Carnegie Hall is advertising Ligeti’s “La Grand Macabre” on a banner proudly blinking above La Cieca’s baffled image.
Le/la/les, it’s all French anyway! Why bother to check before putting out a highly visible ad for an important cultural institution? The difference exists only in French speakers’ heads!
La petite macabrette, perhaps?
oedipe, you would have loved a store I once saw in NYC, “Le Bon Maison.”
They are doing the Ligeti again in NY?????
The French-speakers among you will appreciate this little maladroitisme …
Well, they always say size doesn’t matter…
A question of en-verge-ure?
LOL, Monty! It’s not just the maladroitisme, but the great wisdom of the unintentional aphorism…
I’ve even seen a shop in NY called “Lé Maison”, or something like that. It was original, anyway.
But that was a mere shop, and the poor owners thought they were being cool. But Carnegie Hall?
This French joke made me weep with laughter the first time I saw it.
Une comtesse retrouve son amant d’il y a cinquante ans dans une élégante soirée mondaine :
- Oh, cher baron, mon vieux complice…
- Confidence pour confidence ma chère, mes vieilles couilles aussi !
From the shores of Lake Geneva -- je suis scandalisée !
You made me weep too!
manou, it wasn’t meant for your delicate eyes, particularly in uptight Switzerland (unless you are on the French side of the lake).
Cher oedipe, I hope those were tears of amusement.
Je suis à Lausanne (uptight side).
Well, I’m told that Lausanne is less guindé than Geneva. Is that so? They seem to have an interesting opera scene there too.
The one time I went for opera to Geneva I arrived mid-Saturday afternoon, went into a salon de thé, ordered some hot food off the menu and was told by the waitress: “Desolée, Monsieur, mais la cuisine est fermée.” I ended up having a crummy little salad that had been sitting in the window display. It was all very depressing and went on being depressing until I left the following morning.
Well Geneva nowadays is hardly Swiss at all -- as for booking for the opera, you are told that priority is given to the “citoyens de Genève”.
Lausanne is sleepier and more provincial.
I did visit Lausanne once, but over 30 years ago. I remember having nice goujons de perche in Ouchy.
Indeed Monty, I now laugh every time I remember the punchline. Can’t stop.
I think it’s a brilliant gag. The pun is clever as well as crude and I love the way the rather posh word ‘complice’ and the elegant setting are completely undermined.
Lausanne is pretty, prettier than Geneva, I find. But just as boring.
When in the environs of Lausanne, Manou, be careful lest you run into this character:
Batty! You have found one of my relatives…
Haha, Oedipe! And what was the name of the hotel in Twin Peaks which was La when it should have been Le? I suspect that deliberate, though. David Lynch being ironic.
Now, oedipe, get this… there’s a weekly ad that runs in the NY section of the NYT for a fancy purveyor of Italian foods, and every week, it says “Formaggi.” You’d think at some point they might catch it but they never do. And it’s specially embarrassing since they are a specialist in Italian goods.
In defense of Carnegie, “macabre” can be feminine as well as masculine…
Bianca, “la grand” is an eye sore. Period. Isn’t there ANYONE at Carnegie who can see that?
“Formaggi” is the plural of “formaggio”.
oedipe, of course you are right again!
manouesque, I must quit posting here since I now look like a total idiot… of course, the ad is correct and I’m glad I didn’t post the name of the company!!!! Since in French it’s “fro”, I assumed it’d be “fro” in Italian, but it isn’t.
I’m going back to my knitting…
Sorry to go off-topic……..but is anybody listening to WALKURE? Martina Serafin…….. my GOD!!! a voice !!!!!!!!!
…….a little Regine……and little Gwyneth.
and a bit of a wobble -- which she did not have
some years ago.
When I saw her as Tosca, I thought a bit of Kabaivanska too.
She looks a bit like Kabaivanska with a dash of Helga Dernesch thrown in :)
CBC is an hour behind so I’m just listening to her “Der Manner sippe” right now. You’re right!!
I missed Act I, but it seems Simon O’Neill took ill mid-act and was replaced by Andrew Sritheran, whom I heard a couple of times in concerts in London. How did he do?
He’s sounding pretty good (they’re just past ‘Du bist der Lenz’ right now). Nothing special but respectable.
I’m on Act II. Serafin is very exciting, if a bit dangerous. A bit like Scotto on steroids.
Bit of Leonie going on too!
The name “Andrew Sritheran” always makes me think of Hogwarts…
Just tuned in for the top of Act 2--Voigt’s Ho jo to hos were absolutely awful, clucking and screeching…
Juntwait seems to get dumber and dumber each week.
Actfive -- agree with you -- as Brunnhilde (Voigt)
started to sing in the 2nd act from an aural
point of view it sounded as if the witch in
Hansel und Gretel had wandered from the Forest
into Valhalla to sing Bruennhilde -- come to think of it, Voigt should take on the role of the witch in Hansell und Gretel as she could have alot of fun with it and it would not be the first time a ruined voice has tackled the role of the witch and pulled it off. But Bruennhilde ?
Oh dear, I wanted Voigt to be good, but she really does seem clapped out. When one thinks of what she used to be able to produce in terms of a sheer stream of sound …
So many tenors named O’Neill, there’s Dennis, now Simon, and also the American Stuart Neill…
And actors: Sam, Patricia, Rhino…
Also Heldentanor William Neill.
Rhino Neal -- hehehe! He was always a bit horny! ….Sorry
Too many of you guys are missing the “big picture” — if a singer only produced beautiful sounds it would be boring. All the great singers have a bit of “ugly” in the mix and it makes the pure, “slender” tone that much more thrilling.
Quite agree -- great singers don’t need to sound pretty all the time, and Leontyne never really sounded ‘pure’. Part of the pleasure if listening to her!
As Carmen, she sounds real dirty, which is what we like.
I dunno. I like earthy but queenly. I’m basically talking about Shirley Verrett here.
What struck me about the 2nd intermission interviews was how little personality Slytherin displayed and how much of it Delevan displayed.
Give Slytherin a break. I’m sure he is in a daze and the last thing he wanted was an interview and had no remarks prepared. Delevan reminds me of George London in places.
Indeed, Sritheran must have been a little overwhelmed. (Interesting that both Siegmunds were Kiwis.) I like Delavan’s sound, though it is not quite a first-class voice to my ear. I see what you mean about London, but that **was** what I call a great voice, even if he sometimes cawed a bit. Delavan always seems like Mr Personality in interviews.
No doubt, Sritheran had a right to be dazed after making his debut in such a exposed way. But the interview was a real dud. And having it followed up by Delevan didn’t help.
Pity that this one is not in synch, but it’s a much higher resolution video than I’ve seen of this
A complete video of a Behrens/Voigt/Rysanek Elektra? Wow!
And it is predictably SENSATIONAL of course, Kashie!
That’s the performance I saw from the stage of the magnificent Teatro Colon.
I must make time to watch it at some point.
It is a also a very beautiful production by the great Roberto Oswald!
Mille grazie Quanto!
If one lives long enough one sees fascinating word combinations one never thought possible. here is one I would have never dreamed in a million years:
great + Roberto Oswald.
warmke would you care to say more specifics, one line dismissals are so boring…….
I think Roberto was one of the more intelligent regiseurs of his time, some of his productions challenging and arresting as this Elektra, or the Gotterdammerung and Siegfried I saw at the Colon, and a not so interesting Tristan from Chicago, with Jon Vickers (in glorious form of course!!!!). Fascinating man in person.
What are your experiences with him?
Caballe says she will return and do German Lieder….Is she pazza??loca? nutty?
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