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Avec la participation exceptionnelle de La Machine

La Cieca (not pictured) is always delighted when Met stars “cross over” into more popular genres of entertainment, as for example Stephanie Blythe and Nathan Gunn in Carousel. So imagine La Cieca’s glee (just imagine, I tell you!) when she found out that the star of the Met’s Ring production will make a cameo appearance in the popular Hunger Games film franchise.

176 comments

  • 1
    kashania says:

    FOR SALE:

    Hugely expensive piece of stage machinery, capable of the latest theatrical technology. (Army of stagehands pulling cables not included).

    • 1.1
      Quanto Painy Fakor says:

      and to think they retrofitted the building to withstand the weight of all of it. the Ziff family money would have been better spent in so many wonderful ways.

      • 1.1.1
        Benedetta Funghi-Trifolati says:

        Perhaps the retrofitting wasn’t paid for by an allocation of Ziff funds but rather monies from putting the Chagalls up as collateral on Met loans. Either way I think millions were basically squandered (that’s my polite wording).

  • 2
    Will says:

    The retro fitting with new stage-supporting steel beams may wind up paying dividends in the future. One never knows what new styles of scenery or amounts of load future production will entail. Understand, I do not weep for the probable/possible early retirement of the Machine.

  • 3
    m. croche says:

    Genius illustration.

  • 4
    panache says:

    I was not an enthused with the Lepage Ring when it was first unveiled, but I think the bashing has been overdone. Way overdone. All of a sudden my sympathies are with Peter Gelb! I’ve been attending the recent cycle (with the Dalayman cast, just came back from Siegfried) and, sitting in the side parterre, close to the stage, I have to say that I have never been as absorbed and engrossed from beginning to end as I’ve been with this current presentation, opera after opera. This, after innumerable past encounters with them. So something is working. Some stellar singing/acting: Siegel’s Mime especially, in both departments, also Konig’s Fafner/Hunding, Dalayman’s voluptuous Brunnhilde (blessedly in tune!) and Blythe’s formidable Fricka. O’Neill & Serafin’s Siegmund & Sieglinde created the most emotionally absorbing Act 1 of Walkure that I’ve ever experienced (despite Serafin’s tendency to go way sharp, in a pitch vacuum, on high notes. Meanwhile, I don’t think O’Neall was given his due.) Owen’s Alberich was beautifully sung, as always, but perhaps he’s too nice of a guy to create a really distinctive & disturbing character.

    It’s hard to quibble with Morris’ steadfast Siegfried, so committed does he seem to embrace this punishing role. Delevan’s Wotan has been disappointing, and that’s a really major gaping hole in light of the primacy of his role (I adored Terfel’s powerful & moving Wotan and miss him). But that takes me back to the production. It works compellingly, in spite of an uneven or inexplicable this or that. Why, I’m not sure. I think I’m happy to see the machine plus video create a quasi minimalist & abstract backdrop (well, minimalist & abstract in that it’s all created by a configuration of steel planks). The stolid “machine” really doesn’t dominate. It’s not about the machine, after all! Some stunning effects notwithstanding, though appreciated, It’s provided a creative & concise backdrop for the singers and the characters they represent to come to the fore and command our attention.

    The audiences for the productions I’ve attended have been wildly enthusiastic. Surprisingly so, given the backdrop. Anecdotal information I’ve gleaned from attendees has suggested that so many have been pleased, thrilled. The productions have been a hit! Sadly, the audiences have been small, especially for tonight’s Siegfried. This is where I ruminate on the power of the press and it’s potentially deleterious effects all around. The way a consensus is reached via a “snowball” of negative opinion. The Met has had a challenge selling tickets to the 2013 Ring, the Ring operas, which always commanded a premium. And that will determine the very fate of the Lepage production, unfortunately.

    IT SHOULD NOT BE SCRAPPED! That would be the final expression of “waste”, carried to an extreme. The money! Yeah, lots of money, BUT IT’S ALREADY BEEN SPENT. That money is a thing of the past, so let’s stop talking about it and move forward. The Met has a viable Ring on its hands, that’s pleasing audiences greatly. It’s time for a backlash on the negativity.

    And now, back to the subject matter of La Cieca’s post…I’m dying to know which Met singer will be gracing the silver screen. As for the Carousel crossovers, well, I’ll say that Kelli O’Hara showed them a thing or two, if they were paying attention. Blythe is a sublime Fricka, but is challenged lyrically, and neither sounded good or created a convincing character. Gunn did better, had his moments, but at no time did I see him not “acting” the part. O’Hara, meanwhile, just does it, becomes the character Julie Jordan, with an economy of means. Her “If I Loved You”, the most beautiful song written for the musical theater, was the most gorgeous & moving renditions I’ve ever heard. I loved the slower-than-usual tempo. She held me from beginning to end.

    (One last personal note on the NY Philharmonic Carousel…that “Dream Ballet”. How many lovers of male beauty swooned over this sequence, his exquisite dancing & presence, as I did?)

    • 4.1
      panache says:

      (Does anyone know who he is?)

    • 4.2
      armerjacquino says:

      I’m dying to know which Met singer will be gracing the silver screen.

      No singer, alas- la cieca was referring to the machine itself, and its resemblance to the structure in the Hunger Games poster.

      • 4.2.1
        panache says:

        Oh, you mean that “Victory” thing I thought was an ad? Oh, that’s too bad. Do you think la Cieca can be sued for misleading her faithful public? Or am I just too dense to get her clevernessness.

        I like her nonetheless. How could one not?

    • 4.3
      DonCarloFanatic says:

      I am sick of “quasi minimalist & abstract” productions that fail to make the most of the composer’s ideas and also fail to make the most of the Met’s huge stage. I count the machine among these. Of course Wagner’s music triumphed over the mostly useless machine. How could it not?

      People who read amateur and professional reviews are not stupid. People stay away from the Met because of high ticket prices, because of horrendous travel costs to visit, because of the global economic uncertainty, and for many more reasons, including that a production is a stinker or a particular singer shrieks like a banshee. To suggest that the empty seats at this year’s Met Ring Cycle are the fault of people who dared to criticize this production is wrong on more than one level.

      • 4.3.1
        Bianca Castafiore says:

        “fail to make the most of the Met’s huge stage.”

        That sounds like Bondy’s Tosca Act III — the whole huge stage is pretty much empty for that scene…

      • 4.3.2
        panache says:

        DonCarloFanatic (I adore it too), I don’t disagree with your general criticisms. I have also noticed the tendency of new Met productions to fall within this seemingly trendy stylistic, minimalist default. A discrete number of slender tree trunks seem to be a recurrent motif. I took it as a solution to what must be limited budgets these days, but I have to admit that trends have their own persuasive power and tend to infiltrate everything. I like the idea of minimalism, as in stripping bare everything that is non-essential, that distracts us from absorbing the power and the essence of the music & drama. Often the stage business of the Met’s “quasi-realist” productions did just that. I may have been the only defender of that much-reviled super-minimalist Trovatore that got scrapped very quickly, only to be replaced by the rudimentary and insipid thing we see today, that straddles both aesthetics, can’t decide what it is, and is horribly ugly to boot.

        My defense of Lepage’s Ring comes after much criticism of it. Yes, there’s going to be a gaping hole when the preponderance of directorial attention is paid to background technical effects at the expense of those who are singing, for god’s sake, who are creating the story before us. Those are the dynamics that enliven the Ring, of course. The constricted space within which they were able to operate, the anti-climactic comings & goings from stage right & stage left, and the apron that cut them off below the knees, were at odds with the general ambition. That’s how I felt the first go-round. Maybe I’ve absorbed the deficits and was open to receiving what I could, and maybe the parterre viewing helped, but this go-round the productions have commanded & riveted my attention from beginning to end. To cite one example…people can decry the singing in Act 1 of Walkure all they want (Cycle 2)…but it was the most moving rendition of that Act in the theater that this listener has ever experienced. No star-turns. Just real stuff, real people, and real chemistry.

        Agree with you about the general waste of the vast Met stage, in most everything they’ve put forth in recent years. I think Gelb’s courting of acclaimed “theater” directors has mostly yielded failure. My #1 problem with this general concept is this: If said theater genius has no particular appreciation for the opera’s music, and the music isn’t the starting point for his/her inspiration…well, they shouldn’t be hired. But even if said director is clued in to the music…seems they’re accustomed to small stages, and have no idea what to do with the vastness of the Met stage. So they cut it off, make it amenable to what they’re used to, those blessedly tiny Broadway theaters. It’s indeed blessed on Broadway. But it’s a “shonda” at the Met. I mean, have these directors even been there, ever?

        The main production I want to cite as example is Michael Grandage’s Don Giovanni. A vaunted man of the theater, no doubt. But this pathetic, ugly and rudimentary production left me scratching my head…was this some mean joke? Another opera that’s been redone & redone, devolving at each stage. If you don’t got something better, take me back to that most-unfashionable pariah Franco Zeffirrelli’s production. Bring back his Tosca too, while you’re at it.

        OK CarloFanatic, your main point I think had to do with what appeared to you as a vilification of the critics who dared criticize this Ring production. I have no problem with anyone chiming in; I’m intensely interested in people’s critical opinion (except Anthony Tommasini’s juvenile writings for the NYTimes). And applaud any compelling, “daring” criticism. I would never propose that people reading reviews are “stupid”, but I will put forth this: Opera lovers who are deeply involved will attend the Ring or not, regardless of the critics. But most of the general public, with no more than a scant interest, will absorb just the headlines, and the prevailing ethos that flows to the top, that is indeed promulgated by the press. The machine, the machine, oh dear…a big-time failure, a disaster, a flop. Certainly doesn’t warrant that extra premium the Ring tickets have always commanded. Those premiums must have slapped Gelb in the face, when confronted with paltry sales. The Met has now offered up the Ring operas to students, orchestra seats for $55 a pop. (Now that’s a good, redeeming move.)

        Audiences have been ecstatic, while the house has been empty. This is not due to global economic insecurity.

        • 4.3.2.1
          manou says:

          To discreet to comment.

          • manou says:

            TOO!!!

            (hoist with my own petard)

          • DonCarloFanatic says:

            But I thought the use of discrete was correct above. Why not so?

          • DonCarloFanatic says:

            You’re saying “discrete” should not be applied to “number” at all? That makes sense since in this use “number” is plural for a group of like objects and “discrete” means separate objects.

            But I think common usage today by anyone who even has heard of the word “discrete” is to mean that each tree stands relatively alone, and thus can be counted. The definition is expanding, or more likely, being twisted and destroyed--depending on your point of view.

          • manou says:

            You might well be right -- yesterday at the Don Carlo dress there were definitely discrete trees.

            “L’un ou l’autre se dit ou se disent”.

        • 4.3.2.2
          DonCarloFanatic says:

          Fairly stated, panache, and I don’t substantially disagree, except with the idea of moral responsibility for failure. The failure of this Ring belongs to the Met, not to the critics.

          But my first thought on reading your reply was that the Met isn’t doing me, part of its global audience, any favors by offering Ring tickets at a reduced rate to students. I’m not a student, and the thousands of dollars I’d have to spend to see the Ring in NYC would be seriously reduced if the ticket price didn’t include the usual forced donation that doubles the seat cost, AND if the Met spaced its cycles so they could been seen in less than a full week or more of NYC hotel rooms, or weekly train tickets up and back. I did consider attending this Ring, but the performances were dripped over so many days and weeks last year that I gave up. By this year, I had lost interest--and that can be put at the foot of the reviews, including my own experience attending the HDs of this Ring.

          In this instance I’m willing to admit that the HDs of this Ring probably reduced the potential in-house audience. The Ring is magical, but those awful close-ups took the sense of wonder away. Knowing that I likely would hear a lot of machine noise if I went to the house, and considering the incredible effort it would take just to get to the house, I bailed.

          I realize Gelb can’t afford to offer a bargain Ring to its usual adult audience, because then we’d all hang back and wait for the discount code for every future performance. But couldn’t the Met have considered offering an out-of-towner discount Ring? It could be done nearly last minute, offered by e-mail, and only apply to people not within regular daily commuting distance of NYC. I might have gone for that despite the negative reviews of the production, if only the performances were spaced closer together.

          So you see, I cite an objection to seeing this Ring that neither you nor I mentioned previously. And I do believe there are many other reasons we haven’t considered that can explain the lack of sellout audiences.

    • 4.4
      Camille says:

      I agree.
      In almost fifty years of familiarity with the song “If I loved you”, I don’t think I ever heard anyone sing it as perfectly as Ms. O’Hara. I was happily astonished by it and have awarded her my own personal Antoinette Perry Award.

      Brava, divatina!

  • 5
    panache says:

    Manou…there was no “reply” option attached to your latest entry (maybe that was intentional). So I’ll say here: Mr. Fairchild might have a clamoring & adoring public, but might go home and find himself preparing and eating a grilled-cheese sandwich all by his lonesome.

    Such is the true state of the performing artist.

    • 5.1
      armerjacquino says:

      Panache, the replies here work on a threading system. If a post has no ‘reply’ button, find the post to which it is itself a reply and reply to that. It sounds more complicated than it is!

      I think the lonesome grilled cheese sandwich option sounds unlikely for Fairchild, given that manou’s link was all about his relationship with his beautiful girlfriend- did you not read it?

      • 5.1.1
        panache says:

        Amerjacquino (and Manou), thanks for setting me straight on multiple counts here. I was in a wine-driven haze come 4:30am, and no, hadn’t actually “read” manou’s link, just went on blathering. I appreciate your informative answers to my questions, and the respect with which you and others members of the parterre community have taken them up.

  • 6
    La Valkyrietta says:

    I was at Siegfried last night and I enjoyed the evening immensely in spite of the machine, which is as noisy and distracting as ever. I even shouted bravo at the end of the first act. Delavan was better than in the second opera, and he did a wonderful twenty questions with Mime (as dear Anna would say) which was himself in wonderful voice, as was Siegfried. In spite of the ugly hole where the machine relegates much of the action, the act worked. I must say the orchestra was brilliant last night, much better than in Walküre, for whatever reason, and I even liked Luisi a lot. The rest of the opera was fine too, even the forest bird of the Gilda of a few nights ago. Perhaps the weaker sung role was Erda. By the last act Siegfried seemed a little tired, and it took a while for Dalayman to warm her voice, but they di a most effective scene. The mostly unpleasant part of the evening was that monstrous noisy machine, but fortunately it did not move too often, and it functioned well when it was just a projecting screen. I missed the old production, but cheers to the orchestra.

    • 6.1
      Bianca Castafiore says:

      I was there as well for the Siegfried, since I’m doing the Ring cycle, my first ever… After the letdown of Walküre (fortunately rescued by a passionate and exciting Dalayman), the orchestra was in very good form last night. I had forgotten how beautiful the music of Siegfried is… The audience loved it and gave it a big ovation.

      I agree with much of what you say, La Val. I did feel that Delavan and Arwady were much improved from last week. Delavan seemed to have gotten enough rest and sounded better overall — also his somewhat lightweight baritone was better suited to the aging Wanderer than Wotan in the first two operas. Siegel almost stole the show as Mime, with a strong, clear and supple tenor (he has sung Siegfried apparently), and a wonderfully comic characterization. I liked JH Morris better than last time I saw him in GD last season — he did not tire noticeably as last time and sang with gusto. It’s not an attractive voice though but maybe it’s too much to ask — both power and lyricism? Arwady sounded good, and so did König and Oropesa.

      Owens and Dalayman were a little less good than last week, Owens’ tone slightly drier and Dalayman showing much more strain (maybe not properly warmed up). She tends to swerve into forte high notes — the effect can be jarring or exciting depending on your point of view (she should be formidable as Elektra or the Dyer’s Wife). She’s always a committed and passionate performer though — I did like her awakening scene a lot. Unfort. neither she nor Morris had the final climactic notes — she barely touched on the high C and he ducked his final note.

      I love the projections! They are some of the strongest aspects of the design of this production.

      I don’t feel too strongly about the machine in Siegfried. It still creaks and makes noise, but so do the projectors (whirring), bracelets jangling, people coughing, the man next to you who decides to open a bag of cookies and eat them mid-performance, etc. What the machine does is unnerve me a lot — I often fear that someone is about to get hit by a plank or fall off atop it or from the edge.

      A funny detail — they have a stuntman traverse the top of the machine and then in front of it during Siegfried’s travel through the magic fire. But it’s a rather slender fellow, with no sleeves, so it’s very obvious it’s not JH Morris (who wears short sleeves…).

      BTW, do you remember that in the doc “Wagner’s Dream”, Voigt is overruled by Gelb about changing the staging after she stumbled and fell during her entrance in Die Walküre? Well, they changed that because last week Dalayman enters with Wotan from the top of the machine instead of trying to climb on top of it.

      • 6.1.1
        Bianca Castafiore says:

        Of course, now I have a dilemma, since the GD this thursday conflicts with the last Vixen at Juilliard — now which should I go to?

      • 6.1.2
        marshiemarkII says:

        Cara Bianchissssima, it is widely accepted Wagnerian wisdom that the Wanderer is the most difficult of the three Wotans. The third act has some nearly impossible demands, the entrance to the loudest orchestra, a lot of very dramatic singing, and then an incredibly high phrase towards the end of the Erda scene, when he sings over the “conjugal love” motif (same as Sein Mannesgemahl later in GD). Can’t remember the words at the moment. The Walkure Wotan is longer, but the Wanderer is much more demanding. If Vally and you both found Delavan better, maybe then he was just better? :-) I don’t know his voice at all, but lightweight would typically not do for the Wanderer. But then again, it depends on the definition of “lightweight”, since I found Terfel really lightweight compared to Morris, but some people were crazy for him, so as usual de gustibus….

        • 6.1.2.1
          Bianca Castafiore says:

          Hi marshieee,

          Delavan sounded much more solid last night, at least I heard more colors and better characterization.

          Terfel I saw in the house in Walküre twice last season and two seasons ago. He is much louder and a bigger sound than Delavan for sure.

          I have to say… I don’t like Wotan for sure. I often tune him out during the performance…

        • 6.1.2.2
          marshiemarkII says:

          Wow, Delavan must be tiny then. Or Morris was immense…… what Walkures were those in 89 and 90!!!! never to be forgotten!!!!!

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            I wouldn’t say tiny, marshieeee, but I think he’d be more effective in a smaller house, no?

            I saw Morris’ Wotan in one of the last Siegfrieds of the Schenk run in 2009 or so… His tone is a much darker and thicker version than either Terfel or Delavan.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            OK, that’s interesting that you do agree that Morris is much darker and thicker than Terfel. I saw Morris last as Wotan in 1997 and he was simply magnificent. Then I saw him as Hans Sachs in Meistersingers in 2006 or 2007(?) and the voice was very worn. He’d been around the block too long by then……
            But I have also seen Wotancinnos, namely Siegmund Nimsgern at Bayreuth, talk about tiny!

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Since that Wotan, I’ve seen him in R&J (ok, Frére whatever his name is an old priest so it’s ok) but Scarpia (twice! with Urmana and the late Licitra)-- I was so pissed at his geriatric Scarpia who couldn’t even manage to kill a fly… Horrendous!

          • manou says:

            Frère Laurent.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            I have never heard a good word about his Scarpia, even when he was younger, and plenty of vituperatives. So I can hardly imagine how bad he must have been. It’s probably long past the time to hang it up, unfortunately. He was a fabulous Wotan though, and the perfect match for the greatest Behrens. Everything in its time.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            manouelita, mes excuses pour le mal accent!!!!!!

          • manou says:

            O cari accenti…

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Tanti accenti…

      • 6.1.3
        marshiemarkII says:

        Oh and how was the C in Ewig war ich (not that I am a high C queen now :-) )

        • 6.1.3.1
          Camille says:

          “Geschrei and GeTRY again!!!!”

          That’s how it usually sounds, anyway.

        • 6.1.3.2
          Bianca Castafiore says:

          It was barely touched, very brief… I was somewhat surprised because she was so loud in Walküre and I was expecting a big blast at the end… But no matter, it was a good performance and I love the music.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            I should say, it was barely touched but it didn’t get away from her for sure… not screamed at least.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Middle-centered voices like Dalayman and Polaski can have good impressive As (such as Felsen in Walkure) but get really thin higher to Bb, B and of course the fearsome C.
            But yes, the music trumps everything, what sublime music!!!!!!

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Maybe this is how it should be done:

          • Camille says:

            Thank you for putting that Svanholm-Farrell duo on, for I love it.
            What a voice.

      • 6.1.4
        marshiemarkII says:

        And to echo caro fenice, is there anything in this whole world more GLORIOUS than the third act of Siegfried?

        • 6.1.4.1
          Camille says:

          MarshieIItm,

          Sorry, but I did not get back to you about something the other day about Bach and “Dies eines….” I wholly ignorant of that noble work and really inly know his klavier works, sorry. When I lived in Nederlands I had intention to hear a Bach chorale at a local kerk every week. Every week, I awoke to the Nebel, turned over in bed, and went back to sleep. Ewig verdammt, I know.

          Signed,
          A repentant high C lover

          • Batty Masetto says:

            Marshie, I didn’t mean it as syllabic emphasis. I really don’t have time to go into it further now.

            Have fun!

        • 6.1.4.2
          marshiemarkII says:

          Actually carisssima CammiB, I also found that the St Matthews Blute Nur (my favorite Bach, if I had to choose one thing in life it would be that) is also in B minor, just like dies eines….. So fascinating.

          But I am really anxious to hear yours and Batty’s take on the Buhlerin bit. And I am really serious, why did Wagner fall so far short of his visionary greatness there. And gives Brunnhilde the bitchiest comment in the entire Ring, over the most glorious music, in a heroic key, and right before she is about to sing the greatest passage to transcendence???? It is really very puzzling to me (much as I looove the Buhlerin name tag :-))

          • Camille says:

            The sublime B minor I do know but not well enough to draw any comparisons.

            Yes, well, I think Wagner knew well from whom to copy. You would best speak to mio diletto marito about both, not I, as he knows far more than I, a fancier of italo-franco belcantismo.

            However, I would say this about die Brünnehilde: I do not find bitchy in the least her dialogue to Buhlerin-Gutrune (I always thought it the funniest word!). All she is doing is providing the necessary this overwrought situation now demands to clear the pathway to the necessary cleansing of all the preceding. trama. Gutrune was a part of the ploy and participated in helping to lure Siegfried, but even she was unaware of her half/brother Hagen’s real motivation, so she is both victim and victimizer. She does take Brünnehilde’s chiding gracefully enough, “war die Traute, ecc.” And just fades away into the background. I am never sure whether or not she dies in the ensuing catastrophe, or not. I would have to look at a thematic guide to see why he brings back the E flat major business and I am too lazy to look at the moment.

            Alla breve: Brünnehilde brings an instant quickened vision of clarity to poor little Gutrune, who always strikes me as the Barbie Doll of the Ring.

            Will you be hearing the Götterdämmerung, this goaround? Mio marito always fondly recalls your girl when he hears the Immolation Scene.

            Regards—

          • Camille says:

            That should read “the necessary CLARITY…” Sorry.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            CammiB!, I think you are overly kind and forgiving!
            You don’t think ” ***I*** was the one to whom he swore eternal love, you are nothing but a Buhlerin” is not bitchy?????? I think the ***I*** (bin Ich) is particularly jarring, it’s all about ME, right? I think he could have taken that straight out of Real Housewives :-)
            I mean a girl who is about to sing, with all the moral force of the universe, “erschaut eure ewige Schuld! Meine Klage hör’, du hehrster Gott!…” can go THAT low? and the music is of course the sublime “conjugal love” motif from Siegfried, which is a variation of the even more sublime “Liebe” from Siegmund-Sieglinde. Heavy stuff. Couldn’t she just forgive the poor wretch because she didn’t really know what she was doing? or is that too 21st C?

            Mille baci a tuo marito for remembering those sublime Immolations. Oh if one day we could have a tape of the night of the accident, she was in such sublime voice that night!

          • Camille says:

            Nope. She gets the wake-up call she deserves.

            Yes, he will always remember that night and the horrible fright.

            I must desist now.

            Fellow Buhlerin.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Cammyushka!!!!

            “poor little Gutrune, who always strikes me as the Barbie Doll of the Ring.”

            That’s what I always say, Wagner’s Gutrune is so different from Gudrun/Kriemhild of the legends, who wreaked so much havoc, revenge and bloodshed on her own brothers!!!!!

          • Camille says:

            Kriemhild’s Rache a great film! A real humdinger and an eye-opener.

            I even bought the tee shirt—i wonder where it is now??

          • marshiemarkII says:

            CammiB, we should be co-stars in a new movie called “The Two Buhlerinas”, maybe our beloved Clita can supply the script!

          • Camille says:

            Not possible at the moment since the inimitable Clita del Toro is currently in a Swiss clinic, getting a “little work” done. Vanitas.

            “Die Zwei Buhlerinnin”. The sequel to “Taxi zum Klo”!!!

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Even better in Spanish then: “Las Dos Buhlerinas” :-)

          • Batty Masetto says:

            Marshie, finally checking in here -- I’m pretty solidly with beloved Camille on this one. It’s not bitchery, she’s just laying it squarely on the line.

            Don’t forget the word after “Buhlerin” is “bandest” -- you bound (controlled) him as a paramour. No matter that she may have come to feel some real love for him, Gutrune got Siggy by craven manipulation and magic, not by his free choice and not by any merits of her own. And at the time, she had no second thoughts about doing it that way, either.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Scusi, ma non parlo tedesco, che e una Buhlerin???????

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Caro Batty, I of sourse see both of your points, and everything you say it is true. I just cannot reconcile myself though to the fact that Brunnhilde, right before the glorious Immolation, acts in a sort of prima donnaish way. It was ***I*** who was the true love. It seems to me selfish and egotistical. The music is the conjugal love, so it’s a memory of marital bliss. Perhaps it’s the element of pride (hubris) what bothers me. “Ours” was the true love, no need to say that, not necessary with what is coming, culminating with “ihn zu umschlingen, umschlossen von ihm, in mächtigster Minne vermählt ihm zu sein!” That’s when she really says it all, at the right moment. I cannot imagine Leonore in Fidelio saying something bitchy like that!
            If the music weren’t as sublime as it is, it would be the one line I would cut!
            In reality, when I want to impress people with how glorious the Behrens voice was, that is exactly the line I play first :-) :-) :-)

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Uggh, of Course. And I also meant to say:
            I see both your point and Camille’s…..

          • Batty Masetto says:

            Marshie, I think in a sense you’ve got the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLABle.

            It’s not “I, I, I,” -- it’s “you were only his paramour. I was his wife.” The focus is on what she had with Siegfried, and what she’s lost. (Plus, she certainly has no sympathy to spare for Gutrune, who has willingly played a key role that led to the whole catastrophe.)

            Bianca, “Buhlerin” is an old-fashioned word for “paramour, mistress” (or, another old-fashioned word, “leman”).

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Batty, again I am not sure if it is syllabic just emphasis. She says: Sein Mannesgemahl BIN ICH. Isn’t sein enough? not to mention Mannesgemahl. I remember Behrens used to cringe at the idea that you could be a Man-wife! [She was a very free spirit as you probably know]. But that I can totally understand, as it was a 19th C German view of a mythological (pre-historic) view of women. It is the Bin Ich that bothers me even more.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Oh Batty, and one more, the best translation of Buhlerin has to be in Spanish: “La Otra” :-)

          • CruzSF says:

            As usual, Batty, your elucidation of a text is interesting and much appreciated. Thank you.

      • 6.1.5
        Camille says:

        Bianca, ciao—

        Just to answer your question of what mio diletto marito thought of Die Walküre the other night: he felt it was okay. Valkyries were very good. Didn’t care at all for the Siegmund, the Sieglinde he liked at first but upon reflection said she lacked something in characterization of or identification with the role. He “gets” Dalayman; she has many merits, but is not thrilled by her. Delavan he heard in the SF Ring two plus years ago, and liked better there.

        He doesn’t go for the singers but the orchestra anyhow, and sitting in second row orchestra, concentrated on their sonorous thrall. He wishes Luisi would develop an arc and stop taking so much time with detail: forest for the trees kinda thing.
        He said the machine was not making much noise as the stagehands were doing a great deal of the work — he could really see as he was up so close.

        He kind of dreads the Götterdämmerung, as it comes after a long day and all, but will hopefully make it through to the end, which he loves. He was new to the Ring during the last one and saw it multiple times. The machine doesn’t do anying for him but he knows how to tune it out and concentrate on the music alone, so no big deal.

        Siegfried does not have a “High C” at the end of the opera. Just the C written between the middle C and the vaunted high C, so he didn’t duck anything. The top note for the soprano is just a couple beats, anyway.

        Hope your distinguished self is doing fine and dandy. I am tired of opera and am going back to Bach his summer.

        Salve, regina!
        Camille

        • 6.1.5.1
          Bianca Castafiore says:

          Cammillisima!!!! Grazie, mille grazie for all the great information you always provide us… So glad to hear your diletto marito is a recent convert to the Ring… I agree with so much of his impressions, although I liked Dalayman much more.

          I didn’t think Siegfried had a high C at the end as I tried to pay attention to yours and marshieee’s lesson in the previous post, but I thought what happened last night was that Morris stopped singing just as Dalayman let out that very brief C — I wasn’t sure if the lovers are supposed to sing the last note in unison but I guess not…

          Did you go to the Goerke concert Sunday? I was too tired to go, I had gone to hear Vladimir Feltsman Saturday night (not to mention the Ring this wee) and could not spare a moment to go. Are you or your marito going to the Vixen????? I would like to go to GD again just to say I did the Ring cycle but now I’m torn… I saw this GD twice last time, with Dalayman and two tenors…

          • Camille says:

            If you have already seen it twice, and haven’t bought a ticket yet, I would suggest going to the Vixen, that is if you like Janacek. It is one of his prettier scores.

            No, dear, I did not hear the Goerke concert but I am certain someone will pop up with some news.

            By “last ring” I meant the one with Hildegard, et al.!!! He has been a Ringnut for twenty-five years now. He likes Dalayman well enough but the constant trouble at the passaggio and the straining for the high notes he doesn’t care for. Besides, he goes for the orchestra.

            Read all the “Vixen” reviews and draw your own conclusions. The , you could always ask “Sistah” Nerva for her opinion…!

            Kisses, a thousand and one, to you, too—
            Camillyushka

            I havent heard anything about Vladimir Feltsman for ages now.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            I am very torn now because I do love Jenufa!!!!

            Feltsman was wonderful, he played Schubert, Haydn, Liszt and Scriabin. Wonderful recital….

          • Camille says:

            Oh dear, a recital with a lot of my loves.
            Now I can no longer remember when and how I formed my good opinion of him but somewhere or another I did and am glad you liked it so well. Very sorry I missed the annual Uchida recital and am supposing there will be precious few, if ever, another one of Pollini’s. Alas.

    • 6.2
      Bianca Castafiore says:

      And they have to stop lowering the curtain so soon at the end of Acts II and III, people just can’t stop from clapping too soon over the music.

      • 6.2.1
        marshiemarkII says:

        Oh why oh why, you are so RIGHT!!!!!
        The night I saw Parsifal, some bastards started to clap over the most sacred music ever written, and then some other idiots shushed them, so there was a jarring chorus of clapping and shushing while Wagner was still being played. Is it too much to ask to keep the curtain up a tad longer???? Don’t they know the kind of public they have, after all these years??????

        • 6.2.1.1
          Bianca Castafiore says:

          marshieee, it’s not so bad at the end of Act III but the music at the end of Act II is so soft that it gets swallowed up by the clapping…

        • 6.2.1.2
          marshiemarkII says:

          Yes I agree that in Act III you almost expect there to be an uproar, because of the music, but I also agree in Act II with what you say, and imagine in Parsifal!!!!!!! I was homicidal!!!!!

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            marshieee, luckily at the Parsifal I saw, the audience was (mostly) well behaved and almost waited to the end of the last note to applaud.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Uggggh, not on my night. One of the greatest nights I ever had at the Metropolitan Opera, EVER, and the most sublimely sacred music playing, and these idiots start to clap, :-( :-( :-( unbelievable!!!!!!!

          • La Valkyrietta says:

            Thanks for all the comments. It was an enjoyable evening. Are there any other operas with six harps?

            I saw at the store the Wagner La Cieca is giving as prize for guessing the 25 Brünhildes. It is $100 at the store. It has the Melchior Bodanski Siegfried. I was tempted. Leinsford conducts the Walküre.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            La Vally, I think I saw six harps in the pit in either GD or Parsifal?????? Definitely GD, maybe also Parsifal.

          • La Valkyrietta says:

            Bianca,

            Yes, I think DG also has six harps, but Parsifal maybe just two?

            I agree people should wait for the resonating of the last instruments to stop, and then wait a discrete few instants, complete silence, before starting to applaud, but in this I have lost hope.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Vally, that is exactly, precisely, how it should be. And since the Met management knows that sheeple follow instructions, then why don’t they hold the curtain until that moment? then we probably would get just what we need.

          • La Valkyrietta says:

            Yes, people are irrational. They can, after the music, applaud all they want. Maybe they want to become part of the orchestra and applaud while it is sounding, but it never works that way. I wonder if they realize they spoil it for others. In other operas it is even worse sometimes, when they applaud while the singing note has not yet ended.

        • 6.2.1.3
          damekenneth says:

          Agree with you both! I too wish the curtain were held longer during certain
          quiet ends of acts. The premature applause really can kill a mood.

  • 7
    LittleMasterMiles says:

    I’m interested to hear that the Machine is making a lot of noise, since compared to the first season of Rheingold and Walküre I thought they had managed to quiet it down last year, and I’ve heard very little noise on the broadcasts this season. All moving sets creak, of course (Act I of the Met Turandot!!!), and the Machine will as well. It’s certainly not as annoying as the candy wrappers, coughing, whispering, snoring, and cellphones one has to endure coming from the audience.

    I agree with Panache that Machine-hating has been elevated to a cause in itself. Would we really want to go without the Ring operas at the Met for a decade or so while it fundraises, plans, builds, and books a new production after precipitously scrapping the current production? The only serious problems I see with it (and they are serious) are that the personregie is usually unimaginative, the set often puts the action in the declavity behind the apron (i.e., Siegfried Act I), and the Machine itself is unreliable, meaning (apparently) that it imposes technical challenges to such an extent that the Met has to go dark two additional nights each week during the run (at least this week), presumably to allow for extra rehearsal time. These are real problems, but not so serious that they make the LePage Ring worse than no Ring at all, which would be the short-to-medium-term alternative.

    • 7.1
      bluecabochon says:

      The machine was quite noisy during the Götterdämmerung that I saw last week, and I saw a stagehand pop up during Siegfried’s Rhine Journey. I haven’t heard noise during the broadcasts, so I was surprised to hear so much clanking during the performance.

    • 7.2
      RosinaLeckermaul says:

      The machine isn’t the major problem with the RING production. The problem is that at least in the first outing before staff directors worked on it, the principals looked like they hadn’t been directed at all and were left to their own devices. Folks like Jay Hunter Morris and Eric Owens, true stage animals, triumphed because they created characters. Others just stood and sang on that shallow apron on which they are trapped for hours on end, if they’re not stuck in a hole behind the apron. The special effects seemed to have taken all LePage’s attention. Perhaps in the future they can bring in a director to work with the singers.

  • 8
    arepo says:

    An Aside:
    For weeks now I have no longer been able to frequent this website without a prompt saying a script is running. It takes forever to clear and get into the site. I am wondering whether I am damaging my computer to still come into this forum.
    Am I the only one this is happening to? If so, I wonder why.

    • 8.1
      manou says:

      I certainly have not had this problem, nor have I seen it reported by anyone else -- have you tried using a different browser (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera?).

    • 8.2
      Quanto Painy Fakor says:

      Be sure your Flash and Java components are the most current versions.

  • 9
    arepo says:

    Manou:
    Never have had to drastically change my browser for any other sites and frankly don’t relish doing so.
    This time when I came in it didn’t happen, yet it happens more than it doesn’t lately.
    Maybe it will just go away but now that I know it isn’t a problem for everyone, I guess I will just handle this quirk of my computer.
    Thanks for your reply.

    • 9.1
      manou says:

      Nothing very drastic involved in using a different browser, I usually have two on the go most times and nothing has befallen me.

      But of course don’t do it if you feel uncomfortable about it!

      • 9.1.1
        Batty Masetto says:

        Arepo, you didn’t say what browser you’re using. Just from a scan on Google, it seems to be a problem that shows up mainly in Firefox and Internet Explorer.

        Here’s a support discussion for Firefox:

        http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/883786

        And here’s one for IE:

        http://support.microsoft.com/kb/175500

        I’ve never seen the issue with Safari or Firefox on a Mac.

        As Manou says, it’s no big deal to add and use a different browser. Many of us use multiple browsers depending on what seems to be working best in a given situation. Of course you don’t want to make yourself crazy, but it can be worthwhile to try out some new things sometimes :)

        Good luck!

  • 10
    Bianca Castafiore says:

    My apologies to Mr. JH Morris if I mis-characterized the last phrase in Siegfried last night. I have to say, I have spoken to some who find him wonderful in this role — and I wonder if they are just paying too much attention to Gelb and his publicity machine. JH Morris is a fine Siegfried but I find him lacking in both heroic power and lyricism/beauty of tone.

    In comparison, here’s what I think a Siegfried should sound a bit more like, a current one too:

    And from the past, how about the likes of Herr Jerusalem… or Kollo.

    • 10.1
      Bianca Castafiore says:

      More of Gould:

      • 10.1.1
        Bianca Castafiore says:

        And another Siegfried maybe the Met should consider (and I know he’s coming back for FroSch):

    • 10.2
      marshiemarkII says:

      Bianchisssima, I think I’ve said it before, but I thought Gould last year, might have been the best sung Siegfried I ever saw in Gotterdammerung. Too bad he is not the greatest actor, but what a voice!

      • 10.2.1
        Bianca Castafiore says:

        Yes, marshieeee, we were both there, with Dalayman and Gould, no? As I said, I saw two GDs with Dalayman and Morris and Gould.

        And here’s Kerl’s Siegfried:

        • 10.2.1.1
          Bianca Castafiore says:

          And for comparison, here’s J.H.:

          You make up your own mind…

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Siegel is just wonderful!

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            My goodness, I just can’t help feeling that the Mime is outsinging the Siegfried.

            That was my impression of Christian Franz’s debut at the Met — Brubaker’s Mime totally much better than Franz.

        • 10.2.1.2
          Bianca Castafiore says:

          OMG, I’m on a total heldentenor streak… More Kerl:

          The only time I heard this piece live was with Leech and Larmore!!!!!!

      • 10.2.2
        marshiemarkII says:

        Yes binanchisssima, we must have been the same night then. Too bad we didn’t meet. I was sitting in the second row of the Grand Tier, and had an extra ticket, that as fate would have it, was taken by our Wistful Pelleastrian, as he was known then, so I actually got to meet him. I was sitting with my old sistah from college days……. the longest opera queen friendship I have carried :-) and the WP was in the row behind us!

        • 10.2.2.1
          Bianca Castafiore says:

          marshiee, how chic of you to sit in the GT.

          Of course, that’s where I usually sit as well!!!!!

          Ah je ris… We shall get a drink sometime for sure.

        • 10.2.2.2
          marshiemarkII says:

          Would love to!

  • 11
    Bianca Castafiore says:

    BTW, last night, Eric Owens was seen in the audience in civilian clothes during the 2nd intermission. He’s too tall to be a dwarf!!!!! I was too shy to approach him.

    • 11.1
      Camille says:

      Too shy? A celebrated international diva laureate such as yourself?

      Why, milady, I am sure he’d have groveled at your feet, clutching to kiss the hem of your dress, in besotted ecstasy!!!

  • 12
    Camille says:

    Battissimo+MarschieMIItm, perhaps others would like to know so I hauled out the old score, und so:

    Brünnhilde: “Armselge, schweig! Sein Eheweib warst du nie: als BUHLERIN bandest du ihm. Sein Mannesgemahl bin ich, der ewige Eide er schwur, eh Siegfried je dich ersah!”

    Gutrune: “Verfluchter Hagen! Daß du das Gift mir rietest, das ihr den Gatten entrückt! Ach, Jammer! Wie jähnen weiß ich’s, Brünnhild war die Traute, die durch den Trank er vergaß!“.

    Oh, I see here that Gutrune goes over to Gunther’s body and remains there “zum Schlusse”.

    Jesus, child of Mary, I just heard a commercial for dog flea collars with The Ride of the Valkyries in the background!!! What would Der Meister sag? He’d be laughing all the way to he bank!

    Okay, Doktor Batty, take the wheel.

    • 12.1
      marshiemarkII says:

      CAmmiB, thanks for getting that out as perhaps others couldn’t really follow the details.
      The line I object to is, per above:
      “Sein Mannesgemahl bin ich, der ewige Eide er schwur, eh Siegfried je dich ersah!”

      My point is that an illuminated, ready to ascend, Brunnhilde should be above saying: “His true Man-wife I was! as he swore his love to ME before he ever laid his eyes on you” [you little bitch you, nothing but a Buhlerin, this is MMII ™ ]Capisce cara?

      The line IS bitchy, yet the music is SUBLIME, which makes me even more uncomfortable, the one single flaw Wagner has in my books :-)

      • 12.1.1
        marshiemarkII says:

        By the way CammiB, Behrens was almost embarrassed, as a German and, of course, as a Wagnerian, when trying to explain the concept of “Mannesgemahl”, which has almost no adequate translation in English. The closest to it would be (as she explained it to me), the man-owned wife. It is something so hard to imagine with our 21st C sensibility, but that is how it was………

        • 12.1.1.1
          Camille says:

          No it is not at all hard to imagine, in either 20th or 21st century as women’s rights, with some notable exceptions are not that much different today than they were in 1613, for many, or most women in the world. Those of us in the U.S. and certain western countries have some privilege, to be sure, but let me tell you, it’s still a man’s world! Ask any woman in management. Hildegard was an Aquarian, too, and well out of the norm, as a highly intelligent a d well educated women--studied to be a lawyer or completed her studies but did not go on with it? Her having a child out of wedlock in 1978 it was, I believe, was what initially made me notice her, as EVEN that late, it was a brave and self-determined act of courage, and I respected her for that. She was not the “Mannesgemahl” type for anyone at anytime, anyway, g-d rest her soul. An admirable woman.

          I have to go help the CSI agents solve a crime right now, so Servus, y’all!

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Beautiful CammiB!, yes she did complete her law studies (she never left something half-done), but then went straight to the Conservatory to finish her music studies, that she was doing concurrently (her brother was a professor there). One tiny error, her son was born in 1969, so he was the perfect age to play the boy in Wozzeck in the mid-70s in Dusseldorf.

          • Batty Masetto says:

            Marshie, I’m surprised your friend didn’t recognize that “Mannes-” doesn’t only indicate possession -- it can just be attributive, “characteristic of a man,” as in “Mannesalter,” which doesn’t mean “a man’s age,” but “the age of manhood.”

            We’ll never know exactly what Wagner meant with his “Mannesgemahl” coinage, but it’s not off the wall to understand it as “his spouse as he became a man.” We tend to forget it because he’s almost always sung by a heldentenor who is pushing 60 years and 300 pounds, but throughout “Siegfried” Siggy is referred to as a “boy.” It’s Brunni who makes a man of him, and I think that’s what she’s talking about here.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Batty!!!!! just as I would have expected of you, it’s a fascinating take on Mannesgemahl you have. So she would be “His Manhood’s wife” (and a recently acquired manhood at that :-)). I like it!
            My own interpretation, based on her explanation of course, was that those relationships were common and normal at the time. The relationship Hunding-Sieglinde is definitely a Mannesgemahl one, and I figured Brunnhilde, who first resists, once she gives in, she does it hook line and sinker, and willingly also enters into a Mannesgemahl relationship, because of her all abiding love. She is pretty wild about her change, asking even for the Vernichtung stuff :-) so it would not be surprising she assumes her duty in a Mannesgemahl mode. After all, she does stay behind to create the hearth for them on the rock, while he goes Zu-Neuen-Tatening, right? :-) With her intelligence, and bravery, she could have chosen to go accomplish Tatens of her own, along with him, but does stay to create the “homestead”.

            Now all of this is super interesting, and proves once again your point, made on Parsifal, that Wagner’s language is so rich and ambiguous that is open to many interpretations. No question. But still it doesn’t address my original complaint, which never was with Mannesgemahl to begin with, but rather with the way she addresses Gutrune, which to me still sounds like “in this place there is room for only one queen, and that is me, honey”.

            You see, from the Buddhist perspective, that was supposed to have so influenced Wagner, Brunnhilde is at that point initiated and ready to ascend. All that is left is to go through the purification, Purgatorium and then Nirvana, right? so someone that spiritually developed wouldn’t have been more apt to tell Gutrune something along the lines of “poor wretch, how mistaken you were about how you saw things, and how different they were in reality”? instead of “it was ME the real one, and you a nothing”. It is not very enlightened, it still smacks of pettiness and bitchery, that will need to be also purged perhaps in the flames, to get to the higher plane, no?.

          • La Valkyrietta says:

            MMII,

            Now I am guessing Juan Gabriel instead of Rafael.

      • 12.1.2
        Camille says:

        Ich denke, nein.

        Brunny ain’t no byotch and I think Mo. Mottl’s very carefully observed marking, albeit started at and referring to the previous phrase, is clearly meant as an act of ultimately and once and for all setting the facts straight, and then nobly, as did Norma, go to face her just desserts.

        The only time I have even remotely felt that the outsized and noble personage of Brünnhilde is “bitchy” is when she reveals to Hagen, in the trio at Act II’s end, Siegfried’s Achilles heel, in a manner of speaking. That is why she pays the ultimate penalty in the end, she betrayed her Man. And of course there is the need for a sublime selfless a t of sacrifice to mitigate all those goings on.

        That’s just my zwei pfennig and on the fly. And I am no Wagnerite, perfect or otherwise.

        Kamille Tee

        I think “Le Due Zocolaccie” has a lot more zing to it.

        • 12.1.2.1
          marshiemarkII says:

          What on earth is a Zocolaccie?

          • Camille says:

            Oh that.

            Well, it is a word I only know from the streets and think it probably could be spelled “zoccolacia” or “zoccolaccia” or ” zocolaccia”. It’s not a word you learn whilst studying La Commedia of Dante Alighieri.

            Um, it roughly translates out to “Puntang”, another colourful and descriptive word one is unlikely to learn whilst studying Racine or Proust.

            And they bothl mean ‘Bad Lady with Cheap and Tacky Clickity-Clack Sandals’.
            Arrabales. Where did you learn that word?

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Oh I love it CammiB!!!! I suspected as much but I honestly had never hoid it.

            Yes Arrabales of course!, meine mutter used to listen to Carklos Gardel Tangos! and then sing them as lullabys, some mutter no?

          • marshiemarkII says:

            ugggh Carlos!

          • Camille says:

            As bella scusa as it gets to play this beloved old number:

            http://youtube.com/#/watch?v=RmXCVOmOCPU&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DRmXCVOmOCPU

            httpv://youtube.com/#/watch?v=RmXCVOmOCPU&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DRmXCVOmOCPU

            Buenas noches, mmiitm!

          • marshiemarkII says:

            CammiB, what video did you try to put on this link? when I click on it, it goes to a supposed YouTube homepage, which has only generic videos since I do actually have a YT homepage.
            Son confusa, aiuto!

          • marshiemarkII says:

            since I do NOT have a YT homepage, uugh

          • Camille says:

            Carlos Gardel’s “El dia que me quieras”.
            i just love it. And it flubbed up, fooey!

            I’ll try again mañana. Buenas noches y sueños de oro!

          • Camille says:

            Let’s see if ARRABAL AMARGO shows up here instead:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EisMUedFtso&sns=em

            I think Sr. Gardel is Di-VOON!

          • La Valkyrietta says:

            Carlitos Gardel in a Wagner thread? Then let me add La Novia de América, at least in this clip there are swans.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            CammiB and Vally!!!! Mis luciernagas curiosas!!!!
            Is there anything more glorious than Carlos Gardel? And Vally I looooove Libertad Lamarque, talk about a grand diva!
            But tell what you think of this El Dia que me Quieras:

            It is really my favorite (his Spanish diction is also better than Gardel’s lunfardo :-))

          • I have to jump in because I have a personal story to tell. I am a huge Lamarque fan, always was. Back many years ago, she was on her last tour with a tango show and my dad gave my mom tickets as an anniversary present. I threw the biggest fit and told them they were not leaving the house without me, because I wanted to see her. They relented and to this day I cherish the memory of seeing her in concert.

            And while we are at it, since we are talking about Argentinian singers of renown, how about the argentinean queen of cross over? Ginamaria Hidalgo who sang Butterfly and ended one of the most recognized singers of her generation. I had the pleasure of meeting her once and seeing her in concert. Amazing lady.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            And Lindoro, much as I love Libertad, it is this girl who takes the price for me.
            And to my luciernagas CammiB, Vally and Manou:

          • marshiemarkII says:

            And the vieja pared del arrabal is covered with madreselvas:

          • marshiemarkII says:

            And here with La Libertad:

          • La Valkyrietta says:

            MMII,

            My knowledge of popular singers is deficient. If I were to guess who you posted singing the Gardel song I would venture on pressure, as in Jeopardy, to say Rafael, but perhaps the picture is not Rafael’s? Yes the singer posted has good diction, but Gardel, of course, is more idiomatic, has more soul. After all, these songs take us down to the level of the populace, “corrientes, tres cuatro ocho, segundo piso ascensor…”

            As to Libertad, she might not have a play to her name on Broadway, but she has one in heaven.

            Rocío Durcal! :)

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Oh Vally!!!! Corrientes tres cuatro ocho:

            Oh Rocio, the Empress of La Hispanidad :-)

            I am moving to Buenos Aires, seeya…..

            When I was there for Gotterdammerung, I actually spent endless hours on Corrientes, the boys uhmmmmm, better than Bitter Beauties any day, :-) :-) :-)

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Vally, no you guessed right the first time, it was the divine Raphael.
            But now look what I found. I saw a drag show on Corrientes, back in 1998, and this queen actually did this, and it was simply OVERWHELMING, the closest there is to have seen Rysanek as Sieglinde in 1976 :-) (it sounds so operatic, no?):

            Maybe when MMII finally has the courage to come out of the closet, she can make her debut at La Escuelita, as MMII de los Arrabales on Broadway! with this song.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Come to think of it Vally, I should have invited Leonie to see that drag show, but alas in 1998 she was no more….you know there was no one more faghaggy than Leonie!. When we were there in 1995, there was a specifically Schwul Party in Leonie’s honor, at a beautiful penthouse on a big high-rise. I swear, I never saw so many homosexuals in one room. Those queens were just so gay! I have a picture of Leonie and Hildegard surrounded by a bevy of dozens of Buenos Aires queens. I think it must have been the night of the premiere of Elektra, because everyone one is in gay tuxedos…….

    • 12.2
      Camille says:

      Oh, Very Important! Sehr wichtig!

      The phrase “Sein Eheweib, ecc. usw.”, is marked:
      [B]. Ohne Bitterleit. Bemitleidend!.
      From Felix Mottl’s notes on the Ring he assisted Wagner with in the capacity of “Bühnenassistent” in the 1876 Ring.

      I think that says it all.

      • 12.2.1
        marshiemarkII says:

        And that is exactly how Behrens sings it!!!!!
        Brava Carissssima CammiB, you got it. That solves it to a large degree for me then.

        • 12.2.1.1
          La Valkyrietta says:

          People keep saying Wagner is bad for you, starting with Nietzsche, who states Brünhilde had to learn the fourth book of the big Schopenhauer work so as to learn from the philosopher some notions to change her free love tune into something more decadent. Not that I will hang on every word of dear Friedrich. I saw last night on channel 782 that Carmen movie with La Hayworth, and it reminded me I certainly prefer the Ring to the Bizet opera, but Nietzsche heard it twenty times and praised it no end above Wagner’s, in his view, sick works. More recent authors say similar things. A bad man can’t compose good music. I even remember Poison Ivy feeling guilty about perhaps liking some of Parsifal.

          Please help me, someone. Is listening to Wagner as sinful as eating lots of foie gras d’oie? Should one skip divine foie at the Modern or Per Se? I know Dalayman is no Gwyneth, but just the same, when she heil dir lichts and the strings, the haps, the woodwinds, the trombones transport all that feeling there is no equal drama or dazzling daze in the musical world.

          Wagner is chocolate cake, foie gras, sin. If you fall under his spell, you are lost forever. Which composer would be the musical equivalent of a broccoli, lettuce and celery salad? How does one get musical salvation?

          I often feel Wagner was really good, and the world was, and is, bad, including the machine created to massacre Richard. The machine will end up trash, and the music will survive.

          • CruzSF says:

            La Val, did you read the essay on Wagner in the London Review of Books (from last week or 2 weeks ago)?

          • manou says:

            You certainly know about musical salivation…

          • m. croche says:

            From Robert Musil’s “Man Without Qualities”

            Ulrich knew that Clarisse refused her body to Walter for weeks at a time when he played Wagner. He played Wagner anyway, with a bad conscience; like a boyhood vice.

            So there you have it.

          • La Valkyrietta says:

            No salvation in these replies, except perhaps from manou, salivation can’t be bad, a man’s gotta eat.

            I have not picked up Musil in decades, but perhaps I should pick up again people very friendly to Wagner, like Mann and Shaw. Yes, CruzSF, I think I did, if it was that long essay using mostly Tristan as an illustration, but I think it was older, more like a month ago. Anyway, in the end, I think the author is really fascinated by Wagner in spite of all his protestations and qualms. He could not resist a good performance of Tristan, I’m willing to bet, just as much as I could not resist it, or a Charlotte Malakoff for dessert. :)

          • Camille says:

            Look at what it did to Baudelaire, La Vally—

            When I was in terrible and imminent danger of being overtaken by Riccardo Wagner as a young, impressionable vierge, I invoked the angiolo del belcanto to come and aid me, and hallelujah! Lo, I was SAVED!

            Never looked back. Take my Wagner in bite sizes now and all goes well.
            No heartburn.

          • CruzSF says:

            Oh, I just picked up that LRB issue over here, last week. One thing I got from the long essay was that Wagner was criticised — in terms of his music being “bad” for you — for going out of bounds, for crossing boundaries, and encouraging listeners to give in to their natures. That’s where the “decadence” lies. In any event, I think that’s yet another area in which Wagner was trailblazing or prescient.

            Given the desserts you favor (or that you name, at least): I think you are in touch with decadence, deliciously so.

          • oedipe says:

            Eating lots of sugary stuff is perfectly middle class. Nothing to do with decadence.

          • Camille says:

            You know, La Vally, on second thought, whom you really need Batty Masetro to weigh in on all this cuisine thing + Wagner. He’s your guy.

          • La Valkyrietta says:

            I think it was Rossini who first talked of the Wagner+cuisine conundrum, and in no flattering way to Richard.

          • ianw2 says:

            Another reason to love Rossini. The man who gave his name to Tournedos Rossini found the Wagner mix too rich.

            I kinda agree. After the second act of Tristan I’m already feeling the need to have some Scarlatti administered intravenously.

          • Vergin Vezzosa says:

            There are sections of Wagner works that remind me of the Southern U.S. concoction known as TurDucken -- a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey all cooked as one. Maybe someone could put the above into a swan to add more Wagnerian flavor.

          • Batty Masetto says:

            Oh good lord, not a turducken. A bloated conflation of a lot of inherently delicious ingredients with no meaningful relationship among them and definitely far less than the sum of its parts? No. (Well, maybe a few bits of “Tannhäuser.” But that’s it.)

            The more I listen to Wagner, the more I realize how densely interwoven everything is. Nicholas Spice is right about that in the article -- it has to be long in order to seem short. Those who think Wotan’s Narrative in “Walküre” or the Riddle Scene in “Siegfried” are just padding haven’t been listening closely enough.

            So maybe the closest culinary approximation would be the consommé simmered down from 400 doves that was supposedly served to one of the Kings of Morocco every morning.

            Served in a bowl the size of a garbage can.

          • Vergin Vezzosa says:

            Batty: Agree with your Walkure and (especially) Siegfried assessments. Big LOL about the dove consommé in the garbage can. For me, maybe a little more than some of Tannhauser.

          • kashania says:

            The more I listen to mature Wagner, the less I think he’s in need of an editor. With Wagner, everything’s a “slow burn”. Yes, he takes his time, but the cumulative effect is like nothing else in opera. To cut a bit here and snip a bit there would adversely affect the arc of each act.

            I used to think that Wotan’s monologue was too long and should be shorn of five minutes — no more. I was even once young and foolish enough to think that the Siegfried Idyll was too long!

          • La Valkyrietta says:

            I am confused with the Wagner menus, but I totally agree with kashania’s recipe. If I am going to indulge Wagner at all, I want it complete, no editing, not a note missing from Wotan’s monologue! Further, I have usually been unhappier with conductors accelerating the Wagner tempos than with those slowing them down. The endless music you want to keep going and never end. No hurry.

          • kashania says:

            La Val: I do like slow tempi (probably has to do with growing up with Levine’s Met telecasts/recordings) but most of all, I like it when the conductor makes the tempi work (whether slow, fast, or medium).

            I don’t like it when people criticise a conductor’s slow tempi just because they’re slow. That’s not reason enough to criticise, IMO. A conductor can speed up the tempi and the result is something very exciting while another conductor can take similar tempi and the whole thing feels routine and lifeless.

            During the Met’s Parsifal broadcast (which I heard on the radio, not in the the cinema), I was amazed at Gatti’s masterful pacing. His tempi were quite slow but there was always this sustained tension, perfectly exemplifying the “slow burn” I was talking about. The effect was overwhelming.

      • 12.2.2
        Camille says:

        Yes, that should be BitterKeit, not BitterLeit.
        Sorry about that and am glad I finally found this again to correct.
        These markings are all important, in my opinion.

        • 12.2.2.1
          marshiemarkII says:

          No worries CammiB, we got it that she was no bitter queen (oophs reminds me of my old gym Bitter Beauties) or Bitter Hater :-)
          and with lots of Mitleid still sounds to me Conquest or when queens collide :-)

          Oh and what on earth is a Zocolaccie !?!?!?!?

          • Camille says:

            Yes, a fiend of mine has proposed a salon de beauté in Los Angeles to be called “Bitter, Twisted, Blonde Bimbos”.

            It didn’t work out for him, possibly because you can never, ever truth-tell in Hollywood. Pity.

  • 13
    La Valkyrietta says:

    This thread is confusing. To Nietzsche I guess decadence was most nineteenth century European culture, particularly Wagner after Friedrich decided he had enough of his friend’s histrionics. To others Wagner is bad to your mental health, just as rich food is bad to your physical health. I should put Musil on my Kindle, as I remember it was very Walkürish, twin main characters. The LBR article also does not like the way Wagner enslaves the listener. And MMII and Camille throw light on Bruni.

    Act II of DG. That always brings to my mind Nilsson’s vengeance. Can one make a gay parallel to maybe accept the situation better? Have we ever wanted a former number to vanish? Poor Bruni lost her divinity for disobeying Vater. And she did it only for pity on the Walsung. Selfless fascination with witnessed love. God’s daughter becomes a mere woman. But she is awaken and loved by the most beautiful man, more beautiful than MMII’s gym beauties, more beautiful than Bob Paris, richer than Bill Gates, daring, fearless, forever devoted. Her first and only love. And she is betrayed. And finds she has no longer any divinity, no longer that fabulous human love, nothing. She can’t be jealous of Gutrune, that would be absurd. She can’t sing duets with her either, like Norma and Adalgisa. She is on a different plane than Gutrune. The feelings of Bruni can only be expressed by that huge orchestra, Wagner’s music, and Nilsson. Little moi can only have a little bubbly in the intermission, if the scene is well delivered by one and all. It is all left to Act III.

    Camille, I have a friend who is more dedicated to el canto and takes Wagner in very small bite sizes. Has every recording of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi, but has never seen a complete Ring. Yet, he drinks gallons and gallons more bourbon than I.

    Perhaps there is no salvation outside of Wagner either.

  • 14
    Bianca Castafiore says:

    Has anyone posted about GD last night?

    Maybe I was just too tired from finishing my first ever Ring cycle (in 8 days), I sort of checked out of it last night (if that’s possible with a 4.5 hour opera). The performance was solid overall but I was just too tired and maybe distracted. Nothing disastrous, everybody pretty solid, but that was it. The house had huge gaps in the audience, lots of empty seats. Machine much noisier than the previous operas, maybe because in GD it does change and move a lot. Dalayman has a loud top but an iffy high C, Morris sang with stamina but really not a beautiful voice, König a somewhat lightweight Hagen. Oh well, it’s done! Now I don’t have to do it again… Well, maybe again with a good conductor and cast …

    • 14.1
      Bianca Castafiore says:

      I was just wondering… for those that saw Salminen in the house as Hagen, was he really as terrifying, malevolent and just a huge column of black sound? That’s the impression I get from the video of the Met’s Schenk production of 1990(?). That’s what I always go back to, and that’s why I say König doesn’t really impress me in the same way. Maybe an unfair comparison, but I’ve seen König as the villain in all four operas in the cycle and I came away thinking, good, solid singer but sort of meh…

      Cargill did a good job of delivering Waltraute’s long narrative — at moments, it was so slow and soft, very entrancing.

      Costumes seem to have changed for Harmer’s Gutrune. The shiny boob is gone.

      Both Morris and Patterson have gained a lot of weight from last year when they did these roles…

      I’m curious about the new Siegfried in town so I might go next week to hear Cleveman — whom I have never heard of before.

      Btw, I saw Camille and her diletto marito last night!!!!! I saw the lady with the big hat and the rainbow bow on the front of the dress (that was interviewed in the Ring documentary), her husband was wearing a tuxedo with — get this — a cummerbund, bow tie and pocket square all in a bright neon light green!!!!!

      And who is that bald man with the tight black latex pants and long cape, looking like Count Dracula???????

      • 14.1.1
        Nerva Nelli says:

        Bianca Castafiore says:

        I was just wondering… for those that saw Salminen in the house as Hagen, was he really as terrifying, malevolent and just a huge column of black sound? That’s the impression I get from the video of the Met’s Schenk production of 1990(?). That’s what I always go back to, and that’s why I say König doesn’t really impress me in the same way. Maybe an unfair comparison, but I’ve seen König as the villain in all four operas in the cycle and I came away thinking, good, solid singer but sort of meh…”

        Bianchezza-

        In total agreement. Konig is “fine”, but Salminen (heard by me in 2004, opposite Bach legacy sharer Gabi Schnaut) was vocally far more opulent and interpretively on a different and more scary scale as Hagen.

        • 14.1.1.1
          The Vicar of John Wakefield says:

          Though Tomlinson came close, the definitive Hagen remains Clifford Grant’s in good, clean English for dear old Reggie.

      • 14.1.2
        Buster says:

        Even in concert, Salminen was incredibly imposing and menacing as Hunding. I heard him do the first act (1996) with the Concertgebouworchestra, and the entire hall feared for the life of Waltraud Meier. Both she and Siegried Jerusalem were on the top of their game, sensational performance.

        • 14.1.2.1
          Bianca Castafiore says:

          Well, grazie millefois, I always go to these excerpts and I am so chagrined I never caught him in the house. The call to the vassals and Hagen’s watch always make me imagine what it must have been live in the house. It’s just terrifying, monstrous and malevolent, I just imagine how that huge column of black sound must have shook the house.

          (That’s why I referred to König as Hagen lightweight.)

          Incidentally I did hear Tomlinson once, as Fafner in Siegfried in the old Schenk production, unfort. he’s miked the entire appearance (as was the Forest Bird). In the Lepage Siegfried, Fafner reverts to human form after being stabbed by Nothung, so König appears on stage in costume and his last phrases are not delivered through a microphone. I think Oropesa as the Forest Bird was also not miked but sang from the wings…

          • Krunoslav says:

            Bianca, I heard Salminen last month as Gurnemanz in Cologne (where he celebrated 40 years of active service there) and he was quite wonderful. So you may still get a chance.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Kruno, grazie, but I have to say, I missed the great man’s peak for sure. I have seen the Valencia Ring (by Fura als Baus) where he sings Hagen, and… well, he’s definitely not what he used to be, obviously, twenty years later. I’m glad to hear the good report on him though.

            I don’t know what year this was, but just imagine being in the house listening to these two giants going at each other:

  • 15
    La Valkyrietta says:

    Bianca,

    I was there last night and saw Count Dracula! I can’t believe I was in the same house as so many famous parterrians or parterriennes, but I would not have recognized anyone. In the first intermission I was busy trying to get a sandwich and then eating it; in the second intermission, since I did not guess La Cieca’s 25 Brünhildes, I got the 25 CD Wagner album at the Met store, so I was walking around with my little Met store shopping bag. I have a feeling I have not heard some of those performances. I know I have not heard Victoria’s Eva. Some nice listening ahead with head phones now that the opera season is almost over. Of course I adore Melchior and Flagstad and Leinsdorf, and I have little of them not in vinyl.

    I enjoyed the performance last night. In spite of the machine which is a true horror, it ruins the Norns scene, and that is enough reason to loath it. I had a marvelous view of the orchestra and it was a blessing to concentrate on it when the machine was doing its noisy thing. By the way, there are six harps and they are all played when the swimming sisters sing. Also later when Siegfried recovers his memory, and in parts of the immolation. I wonder what those six harpists do with all the free time, have cocktails? Luisi is no Levine. I yearn for that Walküre Maazel conducted once at the Met. The best conductor I have heard live do Wagner was Leinsdorf, unforgettable. But Luisi was not bad last night. I thought Dalayman was better than in her previous two operas, more in the last act than in the second, she did not hold me at the edge of my seat as Nilsson or Gwyneth did in that most operatic second act, but still, I would go see her again. The exchange with Waltraute worked. I liked the son of the Nibelung. Yes, Morris can have ugly turns of phrase, but sometimes he is quite right, as in the narration recalling the forest bird.

    Dear Bianca, will we be lucky enough to see in our lifetimes a machineless Ring at the Met? Will we hear the band sound as when Leinsdorf conducted? Still, last night was better than nothing, much, much better.

    • 15.1
      Bianca Castafiore says:

      La Val,

      As I said, I don’t know why exactly, but I was not *into it* much unfort. on Thursday. Certainly after the Siegfried on Monday, which I thought marvelous and I was totally entranced by it; GD was a bit of a letdown. Maybe it’s my familiarity with it (more so than with Siegfried), maybe it’s my own comparisons in my mind (not just with the video of the Schenk Ring from 1990 but also with my memories of the GD last season), maybe I was too tired and too distracted by the annoying young man sitting next to me (constantly yawning, clearing throat, and worse, shaking his legs — do people not realize they shake other people’s seats when they do that? he obviously did not want to be there, but was accompanying his father or sugar daddy), but I just did not get in the mood (and sitting through 4.5 hours of it — what does that say about me?). Maybe it was Luisi… I’m sorry I don’t have your experiences with Leinsdorf, Nilsson and Jones, my opera-going experience doesn’t go that far back.

      I also think most of the singers were better last season than this time.

      Dalayman, I like a lot, but the voice was a bit more raggedy for the GD compared from the Walküre and Siegfried. But she certainly has plenty of volume when needed and the Immolation Scene was very moving. She is always a very passionate and committed performer.

      Morris is just so uneven and the lyrical, beautiful moments are just rare for me. Last season, when I caught him in GD, he even delivered more of those moments (until almost the end, when it seemed he got tired and the tone just deteriorated) than on Thursday, when it was mostly unattractive. There’s even a certain ‘old man’ sound to it — Siegel as Mime delivered a much better produced, even and beautiful voice.

      I have learned to live with the Machine, although as (I think) blue said, it’s noisier in the GD due to the many more scene changes. The scene with the Norns, I used to be terrified by the swinging planks, now I know what to expect so I try to ignore it. I think the staging can be tweaked to work better, it’s not a total waste, but it certainly is flawed.

  • 16
    La Valkyrietta says:

    Bianca,

    Someone tried to excuse the machine by saying there are other noises and inconveniences in the house such as coughs, candy, etc. Well, the machine is a bother like those annoyances, but monstrous and permanent, it is a gigantic cough made part of the set! Horror!

    I am sorry about your seat neighbor the DG night. I know very well there are no necessarily good seats at the Met any longer, getting any seat is like playing Russian roulette these days. You never know ahead of time if you would go knowing what you actually encounter next to you. I remember a DG long ago when my seat neighbor was an Asian thin fellow who breathed in and then never moved or was heard of at all until the intermission. Marvelous. But at DG last year a lady, if the word can be used, would check her cell phone every minute for messages. She made no noise, but turning the device light on so often was horribly annoying. These days I have had occasion, for one reason or another, to complain to an usher, usually with good results. The quality of audiences has decayed in modern times, not just the quality of singers, in general. I remember what I considered daring in the sixties was to see a hot number in jeans, a bit torn, showing a glimpse of bare flesh on one of the buns, but the number, even if looking like rough trade, would behave like the most aristocratic of countesses during the performance. Today some ladies behave like char women or worse.

    I too enjoyed most the Siegfried, of the last three Ring operas, particularly the first act, I’m sure because of Mime, but all worked. I was not expecting anything outstanding in DG. I went defensively to DG, preparing myself psychologically not to let the machine ruin the evening for me and it was fine, Dalayman I even found better than I expected. The first and last act better than the second. The second can be electrifying when properly done, but not all clicked there last Thursday. I am not too analytic in things operatic as to point out the culprit. When all things work, nobody coughs.

    • 16.1
      Bianca Castafiore says:

      La Val,

      You know, I have seen very bad audience behavior over the years. Not just talking and whispering, coughing or bracelet jangling, or velcro or eating (at Boris Godunov last season, the Russian lady near me ripped open a bag of potato chips and proceeded to eat during the performance.)… Once, at one of my first Trovatores at the Met in the 90’s, I was sitting in the balcony, and all of a sudden there wafts down from the Family Circle a very strong smell of fried chicken…

      At a Lohengrin years later, when Vogt made his debut, I was sitting in a box in dress circle, surrounded by high school kids. Later I found out from their teacher that they were a school band on a school trip because they played the wedding march and the teacher wanted to show them the opera. Well, these kids were very well-dressed but the teacher did not instill on them any etiquette, for they kept whispering to each other, pulling out their phones to text, moving constantly and just being distracting.

      At NYCO, at a performance of Roberto Deverreux, an elderly man sitting behind held on tightly to his plastic bag (Tower Records, of course) with CDs and kept moving, so the first act was accompanied by the constant rustling of the plastic bag. At intermission, I asked him to put it down, for which another lady thanked me.

      There was one very well-dressed lady (but who nonetheless was acting very eccentrically) who takes the cake. At an Armida performance a few years ago, she moved mid-act to sit next to my friend and I, and all of a sudden, I could hear her fumbling with things in her bag and making some weird noises. Eventually my friend turned to her and whispered “Please stop doing that!” and she stopped. She disappeared at intermission, and I asked my friend, what was she doing. “She was filing her nails!!!!!!!”

      • 16.1.1
        Loge says:

        At an Otello in Atlanta several years ago a cell phone went off during the Ave Maria. Then the person answered the phone and explained to the caller that he was at the opera and he couldn’t talk. He was talking in a hoarse whisper and the caller obviously couldn’t hear him so he had to repeat himself many times.