Cher Public

  • Constantine A. Papas: Luc Bondy, the director of the recent new production of Tosca at the Met, died, at age 67. 3:36 PM
  • Porgy Amor: Opera is like sex – …when it’s bad, it’s awkward, laborious, and full of mistakes; it fails to be what... 3:35 PM
  • Podlesmania: … or you have something like this (that I have previously seen in Parterre, but lovely nevertheless!) httpv:// 3:08 PM
  • lorenzo.venezia: yes, of course. But I was only 16… 3:00 PM
  • antikitschychick: Thanks Ed! I did actually buy both our tickets since they weren’t expensive :-). I totally agree with you that... 2:16 PM
  • manou: Here is Jessica Pratt in the complete Puritani from Firenze: https://www.youtub epZAVZs 1:46 PM
  • -Ed.: So great, antikitschychick! Loved reading about your time at Tosca, which was the favorite opera of the grand lady who introduced me... 1:26 PM
  • dai: armer, I saw Coster in Wales several times in my earliest opera-going days back in the 1967-72 period, and recall her as a pretty... 1:24 PM

Queen for a day

As soon as you are finished celebrating the gay pride of yourself and/or others, cher public, feel free to comment here on matters off-topic and general.


  • PushedUpMezzo says:

    Browsing curiously on La Cieca’s widget I clicked through to the details for the new Poppea DVD with cerncic, Yoncheva and Tim Mead. Click on Tim Mead there and you will be thrilled to see that the excellent British counter tenor also features in these shockers

    Product Details
    Monteverdi: L’incoronazione di Poppea Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Max Emanuel Cencic, Ann Hallenberg, et al. (2013)
    Buy new: $30.98 $26.99

    Available for Pre-order
    Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping and 1 more promotion
    Product Details
    Handel: Admeto re di Tessiglia, Opera in three Acts [Blu-ray] Starring Matthias Rexroth, Romelia Lichtenstein, Mechthild Bach, et al. (2009)
    Buy new: $39.99 $30.93
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    Trade in this item for an Gift Card
    Product Details
    Handel -- Admeto (Special Edition with 2 DVDs plus 2 CDs) Starring Matthias Rexroth, Romelia Lichtenstein, Raimund Nolte, et al. (2007)
    Buy new: $39.99 $30.27
    32 new from $10.99 4 used from $24.45

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    Product Details
    Sarah’s Child [VHS] Starring Mary Parker Williams, Michael Robert Berger, Ruth Hale, et al. (1996)
    VHS Tape
    Buy new: $19.95 $2.85
    2 new from $2.85 2 used from $3.00

    Only 1 left in stock -- order soon.
    Product Details
    Sarah’s Child [VHS] Starring Mary Parker Williams, Michael Robert Berger, Ruth Hale, et al. (1995)
    VHS Tape
    Buy new: $59.99 $6.66
    5 used from $1.99

    Only 2 left in stock -- order soon.
    Product Details
    Casper / The Little Rascals / Harry and the Hendersons / Nanny McPhee Four Feature Films Starring Angela Lansbury, Ashley Olsen, Ben Stein and Bill Pullman (2012)
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  • phoenix says:

  • la vociaccia says:

    Here it is. This is Kaufmann before he re-tooled. Its from 1993

    • la vociaccia says:

      I would certainly qualify *this* as ‘piping.’ he had already been doing the Stanley technique for years in that Aura amorosa video

    • marshiemarkII says:

      Grazie mille Vochi, I’ll listen to them both carefully tonight and compare, but it sounds like you also could explain to us, ignorant mortals, the Stanley method?
      Clearly Behrens’ plunges into chest are not the same thing as Kaufmann throaty singing, but the place they are generated from may be the same? Can you explain?
      Now it suddenly became interesting for me to understand this phenomenon in more detail. I am sure between you and Cocky we will come out with a better understanding.

      • Cocky Kurwenal says:

        Things are beginning to become clear, MarshiemarkII. After a quick read up on the Stanley method, it seems it hinges on having a low, flat tongue. This is a sensible thing to aim for, and indeed Dame Gwyneth was talking about it quite a bit in her London masterclass at the end of May, where I met the lovely Manou all too briefly.

        What made me uncomfortable about what Dame Gwyneth was saying though was this idea that if the tongue isn’t low, flat and forward naturally, then the solution is simply to place it there. That probably seemed obvious to her because it isn’t something she ever struggled with -- she was gloriously relaxed and tension free around there and never had to think about what her tongue was up to (except perhaps on her high pianissimos -- I think the reason they didn’t tend to vibrate was tongue-related, but let’s not digress).

        Unfortunately, for people whose tongue isn’t naturally resting in this optimal position, telling them where to put it just addresses the symptom, not the cause, and could just create new, additional tension because they might grip or press in order to get it where/how they want it. The front of the tongue is likely to be in a sub-optimal position if there is tension in the root of the tongue, and that could be down to any number of reasons -- general neck tension, tension between the shoulder blades, funny things the singer does during the in breath, funny things the singer does when about to make the sound (these last 2 often motivated by a pre-conceived idea about how they want it to sound -- the in breath and its conversion into voice should all be one seamless process, but often gets split up by singers who think about things too much), and many other things. For absolutely ideal, tension-free singing, you really do need to examine any physical tension present wherever it might be, and try to release it, and then see what the knock-on effect is on everything else. Sometimes you need to release something in order even to understand what else there is that then needs to be addressed.

        Kaufmann definitely has tension in the root of his tongue, which could be due to other issues elsewhere, and any efforts to keep the front of the tongue low and flat without sorting out why it isn’t like that in the first place are just causing that throaty sound, the over-dark quality, the slightly suspect quick vibrato, the need for extreme vowel modification at the top, and the fact that it doesn’t carry as well as it should. That is my hypothesis, anyway.

        It should be added that taste features in this. Obviously huge numbers of people think Kaufmann is brilliant and love his sound. Therefore, for those people, there is nothing wrong with what he does. My own personal taste is for freedom and fullness, even a slightly chaotic sound, and the way to get that is to eliminate this tension. One man’s tension is another man’s control and there is a spectrum where tension and control cross over -- I prefer one end of the scale, Kaufmann’s fans prefer the other.

        Finally, a note on Behrens -- it may be that this Stanley method worked well for her because she didn’t have those underlying issues. I think later on in her career, or when she was tired, some neck tension did creep in (as it does to almost everybody) but in general she was beautifully free of it.

        • marshiemarkII says:

          Fantastic carisssssssimo Cocky!!!!!!. I hope May and others read this fabulous mini-master class for us parterrians. We are so lucky to have around!

        • May says:

          Thank you Cocky (and Marshie for alerting me!). This is all extremely interesting!
          It makes sense to me that for any technique to be 100% healthy, either in singing or in playing an intrument, there should be no tension anywhere. But like you wrote, “one man’s tension is another man’s control”, and indeed there is a fine line between the two. What I can say at least about the technique of playing an instrument (that’s what I do), is that the more relaxed everything is, the easier it is to produce a good sound. I can imagine much of this applies to singing. So therefore if Kaufmann indeed has neck tension, that’s not the best thing.

          I have been following him since 2009 and while I don’t understand the intricacies of vocal technique, to me it sounds like he gained a lot of artistic freedom definitely since those 1998 Cosi clips. I know a lot of poeple find his musicality artificial but I belong to those who find him thrilling (most of the time). Like I wrote on other threads, the most worrisome aspect of his current singing is that the voice doesn’t carry well over large orchestration and in a big hall. To my logic it is the number one indicator that something in the technique is not as free as it can be.

          But let us (or at least those who enjoy him) hope he really knows what he’s doing, and wish him TRUE longevity in his career.

    • antikitschychick says:

      when I first saw/heard this I was really taken aback…its not perfect pitch or technique-wise, but the sound is so pure and beautiful…I absolutely love pre-fuss Jonas even if it is was “unhealthy” singing….I mean he still sounds great and very robust now but the artificial darkening is a wee bit much sometimes for my taste…though I can understand the sacrifice as his career will prob last a long time now due to the switch in technique.

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Happy 4th of July Parterrians!

    Born on this day in 1899 baritone Roy Henderson

    Born on this day in 1911 conductor Francesco Molinari-Pradelli

    Happy 89th birthday soprano Libuse Domanínská

    Happy 86th birthday mezzo-soprano Patricia Kern

    Happy 77th birthday soprano Zdzislawa Donat

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Happy 86th birthday Gina Lollobrigida!

  • Camille says:

    Happy day to Beloved Clita del Toro:

    There is an interesting commentary explaining this film clip, a piece of wartime propaganda from 1943.

    If they ever film “The Kate Smith Story”, Ms. Blythe is ready!

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Born on this day in 1889 playwright, film-maker and activist Jean Cocteau

    Born on this day in 1916 soprano Gabriella Gatti

    Born on this day in 1924 bass Oskar Czerwenka

    Happy 79th birthday bass-baritone Tom Krause

    Born on this day in 1940 bass Donald Shanks

    Happy 70th birthday bass-baritone and teacher Angelo Gobbato

    Happy 61st birthday soprano Kristine Ciesinski

    Happy 52nd birthday soprano Isabelle Poulenard

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Born on this day in 1678 composer and librettist Nicola Francesco Haym

    Born on this day in 1907 (or 1910) soprano Dorothy Kirsten

    Born on this day in 1919 tenor Ernst Haefliger

    Born on this day in 1928 baritone Peter Glossop

    Happy 75th birthday soprano Deborah Cook

    • la vociaccia says:

      LOL “Born on this day some time between 1890 and 1924, Dorothy Kirsten”

      One of my very favorites.

  • zinka says:

    All of us have our “pet peeves’ in life, and i understand when I blast someone or something and am told, “Get over it.” For example, (and this is much more than a “peeve,”) any comment or action that relates to race prejudice drives me nuts.(Paula Deen,anyone??)
    In opera, I can be a real pain as you well know, but even though i will now get a lot of non-Placido hate mail, I must mention today’s “Due Foscari” broadcast, which had TENOR Placido as the lead, and despite the fact that the voice is still amazingly fine, he CHEATS!!!!
    Who else gets away with what he does??NO ONE!! Only Ramon Vinay (a baritone anyway) sang some lower roles at the end of his career, but he did not sound like Mario Del Monaco when they did Otello together;in fact, rack your brains and let us know who in all our opera listening has been able to do roles that Verdi wrote for a baritone.(Nucci,Bruson,Zanasi in Due Foscari.)
    Meli and Placido could not blend properly since there are not supposed tp be two tenors in the opera. Placido still sounded wonderful at his advanced age, but I still get angry that he is allowed to “get away’ with this..but he sells tickets.
    “Get over it, Charlie!!!” Sorry, it bothers me, and I wish he would do some wonderful Zarzuela concerts where his voice would ring out in material that could be transposed. The paradox is that he never sounds old, but the top is limited, but to me that does not afford him license to sing baritone, with Trovatore,Giovanna D’Arco, and Ernani(Met in two years)in his future.
    So,I let it all hang out and some of you will treat me like a meanie, but I just feel this way.
    Lovingly Charlie

  • zinka says:

    Tito Gobbi and Martha Moedl????? He shouted above the passaggio; she did not know where the next note was coming fom (and neither did we)
    BUT it never mattered because the two of them in their own way were absolute MAGIC!!!! I always declaimed that she could read the Dresden telephone directory and be captivating, while all Gobbi had to do was “enter’ and it was something you could not quite descibe in adequate words.
    Are there many like them? I think not…..although we know that there have been singers (Callas,Olivero, Treigle) who have captured our attention by virtue of more their “vocal personalities,” phrasing, attention to detail,etc. Can you add some names for us?
    Back to 1957, she started the “Hojotojo” and we were doubled over the standing room rail in hysterics..You never ever heard scooping like that…and yet, by the end of the opera, when she fell into Herman Uhde’s arms, you cried and cried at the amazing lady’s feeling for music, and the scooping was forgotten…and others can affect us with a “magical” approach to the stage…..Watch Gwyneth Jones, another “flawed soprano” just WALK away from John McIntyre in the Chereau Walkure.
    We do not have visual pictures of Lotte Lehmann in Arabella, but someone once told me she could just stand by the window at the end of act one and you were captivated forever!
    I hope this little essay brings some artists in your experience to mind and let us hear from you about them. Charlie (flawed)

    • Clita del Toro says:

      A miracle: Zinka, we agree on one thing:: Gobbi and Mödl are divine artists. Two of my all time favorites!!!!!!!!!!!! (exclamation marks courtesy of Zinka).

    • Clita del Toro says:

      Well for one, Lisa della Casa’s Arabella.

      • tornado12 says:

        What about Leonie Rysanek’s Kaiserin? Or more recently Barbara Hannigan’s Lulu?

        • tornado12 says:

          Yeah, and Mödl is simply a goddess. You should listen to her Penthesilea (by Othmar Schoeck (a fantastic Swiss composer)). All those low G’s are gorgeous and she is in fantastic voice. That was something. And Gobbi made a splendid and funny Falstaff (judging on the Karajan recordings).