Cher Public

And the 2013 Pubies go to…

One startling upset catches the eye among the many winners (if that is the word) of the 2013 Parterre Box Awards.

The surprise is “Worst New Production at the Met,” a dubious honor won by David Alden‘s production of Un ballo in maschera. Honestly, La Cieca doesn’t get it, but she hopes that at least some of the 336 of you who votes that way will explain your opinion in the comments section.

Continuing with the rest of the awards in their traditional order:

Best New Production at the Met: Parsifal, with 513 votes, a clear majority of 61% of total votes cast.

Best Revival at the Met: Dialogues des Carmélites

Worst Revival at the Met: Der Ring des Nibelungen

Best Production at NYCO: Powder Her Face

Best Other New York Opera Production: I Lombardi (OONY)

Best Performance in a Diva Role: Joyce DiDonato in Maria Stuarda

Worst Performance in a Diva Role: Deborah Voigt in Der Ring des Nibelungen

Best Performance in a Divo Role: Jonas Kaufmann in Parsifal (over 70% of votes cast)

Worst Performance in a Divo Role: Marcello Giordani in Les Troyens

Best Performance in a Non-Diva Role: Peter Mattei in Parsifal

Most Significant Cancellation: Marcello Giordani in Les Troyens

Einspringer of the Year: Bryan Hymel in Les Troyens (over 75% of votes cast)

Maestro of the Year: Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Debut of the Year: Bryan Hymel in Les Troyens

  • Batty Masetto

    What’s so odd about the indignation expressed at the Alden production here and elsewhere is that the show obivously had been thought about very carefully. Among many other aspects, you don’t get complex characterizations out of – well, singers who usually don’t act a whole lot – without having thought out the relationships in great detail.

    All of which suggests to me that the commenters can’t have thought about the work very carefully themselves.

    • scifisci

      I agree Batty. The Alden Ballo, even if it’s not perfect, engages you and clearly engaged the performers. This did not just happen by itself but was clearly the result of the dedication and work of the direction.

      Sadly, there is still a large contingent of operagoers of all ages who seem to check their brains with their coats. Luckily for them there seems to be an endless stream of bartlett sher snooze-fests on offer at the Met. (seriously how was elisir NOT voted worst new production?? It was just a revival with a tophat!)

      • DonCarloFanatic

        Elisir was terrible. I wanted to like it because Polenzani has a beautiful voice and he actually looks good with black wig and mascara, and of course I adore Netrebko. I have to admit she impressed me by jumping off that table so insouciantly. Very few opera stars of her age could do that. But that’s not enough to excuse her dreadful peasant costume and the ridiculous hat, the awful violence from the soldiers, and more. A complete waste of Marius, too. Badly thought out, humorless, lousy production.

        • Bianca Castafiore

          My list of negatives about the Elisir include: boring! boring! boring! A silly little fluffy confection filling up that gigantic stage with gigantic carnivalesque scenery… (and chosen for opening night? Really?????)

          Netrebko’s overly thick, dark and mushy tone — what language was she singing in? She was actually chomping down on the roast chicken at the scene where she sits at the banquet table, that was sort of funny.

          Polenzani, Kwiecien and Maestri were all very good though.

          • DonCarloFanatic

            Yes, as others have mentioned, it’s time for Anna to move away from the young girls’ parts and into the heavier rep her voice is now ripe enough for.

          • luvtennis

            That’s because calories consumed while on stage don’t count. Sheesh, don’t you understand science.

            Also Anna apparently loves to eat chicken. I will never forget a quote she made about something or other, where she mentioned stated “we was eating fried chicken and french fries.”

        • luvtennis

          That age? Damn, she is only 42. And in today’s terms, for someone who has taken care of herself as she clearly has, that’s still VERY young. I wager she is better shape and looks younger than most 30 year olds from several decades ago.

        • alejandro

          I had no real problems with Elisir … yeah, some of the Risorgimento stuff was wrong. As well as Nemorino’s angsty proglogue. But really, I’ve seen such horrific, not fun productions at the Met (Armida!)that those missteps didn’t bother me. Was it revelatory? No. But I had a great time at the opera that night. Polenzani and Netrebko’s last act arias took my breath away.

          • Batty Masetto

            And I loved it in the HD when she jumped his bones in the wheat field. Funny and sweet.

  • Gualtier M

    This season’s disasters were not quite as bad as last year’s. The popping cork statues in “Goetterdaemmerung”, the hideous nukular “Faust”, etc. I found the “Elisir” really sucked the life out of the opera -- the production was heavy and ponderous and the direction wrong-headed. But it looked pretty and period. The David Alden “Ballo” had excellent personenregie and histrionically challenged singers like Radvanovsky and M. Alvarez did very well indeed. However -- the “it was all Gustavo’s dream” trope? Remember the Ponnelle “Dutchman” over 35 years ago? Just silly recycled regie theater ideas piled one on another. The set opening up to telephone poles in a desolate valley at the climax of the great love duet? With Amelia and Gustavo miles apart and looking at the audience? Everything that Alden did was “look at me, I’m directing” -- the audiences was always having alienation effects shoved in their face.

    I actually liked the sets -- but for another opera. Like “Le Grand Macabre”, “Juliette ou la Clé des Songes” or “Pique Dame” or something else.

    • Batty Masetto

      So Gualtier, I’m sure you would have screamed if the production had been in powdered wigs and palaces and a rackety old hut for Ulrica, right? Because that’s been done to death.

      What kind of new approach would you find valid and interesting?

      (By the way, I don’t know if the “dream” approach in fact ever has been applied to Ballo. But even if it has, wouldn’t the real question be whether Alden was able to make that new and reveal some new facet of the work? As you can see from the other comments, plenty of us think that he did.)

  • I don’t think Dialogues would have won Best Revival so easily had Clemenza di Tito been included as an option. In fact, that is probably the biggest omission from La Cieca’s list. Based on the PBS broadcast and the comments I read here, Tito was a real winner (though I had some issues with Filianoti and Frittoli) and it’s odd that it wasn’t nominated.

  • J’adore La Zampieri. She is NEVER boring or rotouine.

  • zinka

    Pour moi, the jaded one, this season I was pleased to welcome into my mind some new sopranos, heard for the very first time. I love to hear a new voice without ever having heard it live, and i will not go to Youtube untile AFTER I hear the soprano. I so much loved Monastyrska,He, Giannatasio, Amber Wagner, and especially Opolais.
    I realize the Aidas and Leonoras are less likely to use the bottom of the voice, but I have to accept the fact that Olive Middleton is dead (I think.).
    Next season looks VERY promising, with the exception of having Racette as Maddalena, especially after the great Maddalenas I saw, but in general it looks good.
    I do wish Gelb would take back Latonia Moore and Juliana Di Giacomo, and that would add to the fine soprano roster which is lucky to have such as Netrebko, Meade, Radvanovsky, Damrau,Oropesa, and others of top caliber.
    My best Charlie

  • antikitschychick

    Cutest.Interview.Ever. (on an HD broadcast :-P) It totally deserves a pubie…
    Can we get a category next year for best backstage interview Cieca??

    • ducadiposa

      Totally agree. Most of these HD interviews come off as stilted, with the same old questions and the interviewer reading off a prompter. But for the most part, Fleming was completely natural here, and obviously impressed and moved by what Dessay had just done onstage. And Dessay herself gave real, specific insight into what it took to sing and perform this role. This ended up my favourite HD of the season, in large part to her Cleopatra (and let’s not bring out the knives here, but just enjoy it for what it was!).