Cher Public

  • manou: I did enjoy the broadcast – thanks again. Yes, Alagna seems to have conjured up a second wind (maybe it’s the new... 8:25 PM
  • grimoaldo: I am delighted that you and Camille picked up on my tip, manou! Hope you both enjoyed the broadcast! Yes, Alagna to-tal-ly... 8:14 PM
  • olliedawg: …that’ s “identity 221;, not “identify 221;. 8:09 PM
  • olliedawg: Camille, Zweig’s memoir does leave one with a genuine sense of the grievous loss of empire, family, friends, identify,... 8:08 PM
  • Camille: Another selection from Die Könegin, and this time with the extraordinary trilling of Selma Kurz. Oh that is Frau Kammersängerin... 7:58 PM
  • Camille: Ollie–thanks very much indeed for relating that bit regarding Richard Strauss from the horse’s mouth, so to speak,... 7:53 PM
  • Camille: Whatever Emilio Sagi’s “ungepotchke theit” as regisseur–he is still a member of a very distinguished... 7:04 PM
  • lorenzo.venezia: that should have been — *swoon* 6:49 PM

Fall forward

La Cieca (right) has started arranging her engagment book for the autumn season as best she can, what with this thing, that thing and the other. But she’s also interested (if only in passing) on what you, the cher public (left) plan to see here in New York City between now and the end of 2013. Utterly scientific polls follow the jump.

What are your must-sees for autumn 2013?



  • Porgy Amor says:

    I love that Autumn Sonata selection, Madam. A few people here know of my fondness for screen shots, especially captioned ones.

    I will disclose that I did not even have to think about this one: Falstaff all the way. And I will be seeing it close enough to Christmas that it will be like an early gift to me.

    • Sempre liberal says:

      I see that today is La casa della Cieca season opener chat. What is being broadcast this afternoon?

      • Sempre liberal says:

        I dropped in on La casa della Cieca, but no one was there. Must be outside on this glorious day!

  • Interestingly enough, my plans are to see Puritani with Larry Brownlee at the Met.

    • dr.malatempra says:

      Excellent choice. He was just here in Santa Fe in La Donna Del Lago, and was brilliant. First act, in which he has little to do…not so much. The part as a whole lies low for him, but with terrifying upper extensions. By the second act he hit his stride and was tremendous. He and Di Donato work marvelously well together. Fabulous singing all round….dreary production. Puritani sits a shade higher and suits him like a glove.

      • Flora del Rio Grande says:

        dr Mala: I heard Brownlee a couple of times this summer in Lago and was surprised by the lack of edge or ‘cut’ to the voice. It is soft and round from top to bottom, or so it seemed to my ear; when he had to sing forte, you could sense a slight muscular ‘push,’ but no change in intensity or the needed edge.
        The other L. tenor, Rene Barbera had exactly the right voice -- plenty of brio, cutting brilliant top notes and an endless supply of same. I thought his and di Donato’s were the two finest Rossini voices this summer, though Burden in Oscar surprised me with a very bright and forceful sound, including upper range, though of course he is not really a Rossini tenor. I guess you know that Vincent Cole was in SFE for a couple of weeks coaching apprentices; golly, wish he had coached Brownlee on how to get more brilliance into his tone. Did you hear him as I did? What did you think of Mike Fabiano’s voice? He’s still under 30, you know, so there are bound to be changes and refinements as he matures further, but from what I heard it seemed like one helluva instrument, and pretty well integrated top to bottom, and most of all, extremely resonant -- which gives him all that easy full volume. And, O wonder!, he can bring it down to a nice and well placed mez-forte, even piano gone. His recital was fine, a good demonstration of solid vocalism. One to watch!

        • Flora del Rio Grande says:

          (piano tone, not gone, I obviously meant on Fabiano!)

        • la vociaccia says:

          Flora- I was not at Santa Fe this summer but I agree wholeheartedly about Rene Barbera and Brownlee. For me, Barbera is an ideal bel canto voice. I liked brownlee a lot based on recording fragments, but when I finally heard him in recital I wasn’t bowled over.

          And thank you for mentioning Vinson Cole- a name not uttered often enough around these parts. Truly beautiful and distinctive voice and musician. My favorite for the Mozart (and Verdi) requiem

        • I am only going to say this, since Larry is a personal friend. Given how Rossini hated high notes from the chest, I would venture to say that what we hear in Larry’s singing is closer to what Rossini would have liked and expected in his performances. I am not dissing on Barbera, since I have never heard him, obviously the voices are different and tastes vary per person.

          That being said, the fact that someone prefers n edgier tone on a role shouldn’t be exposed as the ultimate authority in what constitutes Rossini singing. Personally, I prefer the round quality that Larry has in his voice. I find it easier on the ear plus there is a stronger sense of security on the high notes. You know he is not going to crack them.

          This is just my opinion, people are welcomed to pref Barbera or Flores for whatever reasons and there is nothing wrong with preference, but lets get real, just because I prefer Racette’s stronger impersonation of Tosca, it does not mean that Gheorghiu and her diva antics in the role are less effective. I just respond better to Racette in the role.

          • Batty Masetto says:

            I’m wary of invoking what Rossini wanted, but I will say that I found Brownlee much more appealing vocally than Barbera in that DdL. Barbera unquestionably sang well and has a nice instrument, but the way he consistently “punched” his acuti became a minor aural irritation – to me, they broke the line in terms of both dynamics and legato.

            • louannd says:

              Not to mention how the lower notes in Barbera’s voice disappear; not so with Mr. Brownlee.

            • semira mide says:

              I don’t think it needs to be an “edge ” vs “soft” choice. Brownlee was wonderful in most parts of Armida, but he doesn’t have the “kick” that Bruce Ford had ( concert version, Amsterdam)
              It’s hard for a non-singer like me to immediately understand what is inherent vocal quality and what is technique. Brownlee is a very engaging singer who sings a lot of Rossini well in my opinion, but that doesn’t mean he is the best choice for all Rossini tenor roles.
              For example I think he would be great as the fisherman in Tell, but not Arnold. Of course that would be luxury casting which is more difficult today than in Rossini’s time.
              Ford was a truly amazing singer and I envy those that had a chance to hear him in person.

            • In most cases, I would agree with that, but Rossini was quite vocal in his hatred for the C from the chest that Gilbert Douprez interpolated in Tell. To the extend that when the famous tenor called on Rossini his response was “Yes, he can come on the condition he leaves his high C at the door.”

              Rossini new the change was coming, but he never stopped hating the effect.

          • la vociaccia says:

            Well, then let me first say that I am firmly in the camp of those who prefer a less edgy top in Rossini. I can’t stand the fixation on high notes needing to be squealy. I was actually not referring at all to Mr. Brownlee’s top notes -- not in the slightest. I wasn’t a fan of the live texture of his voice in general, and personally his interpretations did not interest me they way I had hoped. I still think he is a first class singer and I am planning on attending the Puritani, so I’ll have open ears and an open mind.

            The same goes for Barbera re: his top notes. I wasn’t even thinking about them. I thought his middle had a wonderfully fascinating timbre, it projected beautifully, and he seemed capable of utilizing an incredibly wide range of color, which, for me, makes for an ideal bel canto sound.

            Needless to say, I didn’t intend to say that I was some sort of authority. Chacun a son gout and all that.

      • RosinaLeckermaul says:

        I too am looking forward to Brownlee in PURITANI. I don’t agree with the detractors here. He was brilliant in LA DONNA DEL LAGO and his voice carried easily. I was less impressed with Barbera. His voice offered a nice contrast to Brownlee’s and he had solid technique; however, I didn’t think his voice was particularly interesting and that he was pushing.

  • la vociaccia says:

    Prince Igor, which is not listed, is something I’m looking forward to very much.

    Stumbled across this old video of Galina Gorchakova. Beautiful!

    • MontyNostry says:

      There was a semi-staged performance of Prince Igor at the Royal Albert Hall in 1995, with Mariinsky forces. Gorcheous Gorchakova was among them -- she and Gergiev were still friends in those days, presumably. What a voice she had. As I always say, a bit like Jessye meets Ghena.

      • MontyNostry says:

        … shame she can’t float the end, but you can’t have everything. (I remember Anna T-S did that float well at the ROH c1990 — with the help of one of her characteristic glottal attacks.)

      • Buster says:

        In 1998 Gorchakova and Gergiev were a total mess together in Manon Lescaut -- an underrehearsed, coarse, and provincial performance that even Rotterdam did not deserve. I refused to listen to her afterwards.

        • MontyNostry says:

          But she was fab as a very lush-voiced Tatiana at the ROH in about 1994 with Leiferkus as a virtually ideal Onegin. Naff production with green scaffolding boxes, if I remember rightly.

    • damekenneth says:

      Agree, also looking forward to Prince Igor here.

      • RosinaLeckermaul says:

        I’ve got my tickets to PRINCE IGOR and am looking forward to it. BTW I have been on the Met website and at the box office to buy tickets and it doesn’t look like anything is selling well.

      • damekenneth says:

        Performances of Onegin with Kwiecien/Netrebko are selling well from the looks of it

    • whatever says:

      I believe la Cieca is only polling Fall 2013; none of the 2014 productions is listed.

    • Henry Holland says:

      Still one of the greatest times I’ve ever had at the opera, Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel in San Francisco with Gorchakova as Renata, Leifurkus as the hapless Ruprecht, Gergiev in the pit and a great David Freeman production. [link contains naked men with only loincloths]

      Renata has to sing a 10 minute scene right at the start and Gorchakova had no problem doing so. Better to burn out than to fade away was her career path, I guess.

      • grimoaldo says:

        Oh yes, I saw the same production, same principals at Covent Garden, that is one of my favourite operas ever and it was a fabulous performance of it. People say that singing Renata was what burned Gorchakova out, you can never say for sure, but maybe it was worth it.

  • laddie says:

    I’d like to qualify my vote for Onegin as the one with Peter Mattei singing the title role.

    • Porgy Amor says:

      I didn’t vote for Onegin, and I will do plan to check out the HD, but if I were going to attend one of the live performances, I would much rather see the Mattei/Poplavskaya team. And then there’s the Rolando (morbid?) curiosity factor.

      • Satisfied says:

        And then there’s just the Poplavskaya factor.

        I love Mattei and will be seeing both casts because of him. That said, Popsy, though a remarkable actress, leaves me totally cold.

        • Porgy Amor says:

          That is the main reason she does not leave me cold: the remarkable acting. I do think there is a real voice in there that can be quite beautiful, if not well managed, and she has been cast in roles that were wrong (Leonora and Donna Anna were messy).

          Popsy is not the most “lovable” figure, but she is always commanding of my attention, and often surprises me with how well she manages things that I have seen done by many singers, but never better. For example, the part of Don Carlo Act I when Elisabetta looks at the picture and realizes her new Spanish acquaintance is, in fact, Carlo. We tend to grade operatic acting charitably, but you never have to with her. It is not that broad, beat-to-beat “I’m surprised! [mouth hanging open] I’m delighted! [toothpaste grin]” stuff that is fine because it fills the time and gets us to the next note. It feels very much from the inside out, as if she is living and feeling the experience, and then it is all registering physically in a very authentic way, on her face and in her body. In one performance I saw, she even got in a little split-second miffed/amused grace note like “You were teasing me all this time? Ass!” The stair climb at the end of Faust was (for me) the one and only indelible image and lingering memory of a production so DOA that it defeated singers with the charisma of Kaufmann and Pape.

          As such, I would love to see her as Tatyana (note I said “see,” not “listen to on the radio”), although I will not get to. Anna Netrebko is good on stage in a different way. Less specific, more generalized, longer on personality and “commitment” than refinement and nuance.

          • oedipe says:


            I have just re-watched that scene from Don Carlo and it’s amazing how much Popsy conveys with just a few gestures and facial expressions.

            Harteros is a WAY better singer, but her acting in that same scene in the Salzburg production left me completely cold. Actually, at the risk of committing anathema, I found the acting in that Salzburg production quite tacky, overall; I didn’t find it engaging in the least.

            • Batty Masetto says:

              Oedipe, can’t remember whether you were in the Salzburg chat, but IIRC most everybody there thought the dreary direction left the actors flailing about on their own. Occasional good choices and a great deal that just didn’t add up at all.

            • oedipe says:

              I was merely comparing the acting in the Salzburg Don Carlo with the acting in the Met version, which I revisited yesterday, and I had forgotten how good it was.

            • Batty Masetto says:

              Yes -- but Oedipe, hon, all I’m saying is that a lot of people agreed with you about Salzburg. (But you can still be anathematized if you like. :) )

            • oedipe says:

              Oh, OK. Glad I have company!

  • operaassport says:

    Frau, Frau, and more Frau. I have tickets to every performance. Disappointed there will be no HD. Also, very interested to see Two Boys a few times.

    • LittleMasterMiles says:

      I wholly agree about Frau — when the production was new I went directly to the box office to buy tickets to remaining performances (there was a good student discount in those days).

      It seems a scandal that this isn’t getting an HD (assuming that also nixes the possibility of a future DVD release), since it will be who-knows-when-or-if it will be revived again.

  • Will says:

    Not to be a nag, but can we remember that the tenor’s first name is VinSON Cole, not Vincent. He’s a very good artist and deserves to be called by his rightful name.

  • FomalHaut says:

    I can’t decide between Norma with Radvanovsky or Meade!! However, I would have much preferred the Devereux to Norma…sigh. We can’t always get what we want though :(

    • if I was in NYC, I would go to both. My friend Rontano is wanting to drive to Toronto for Devereaux with her and i am awfully tempted

      • FomalHaut says:

        I want to know who got it into Radvanovsky’s head that she should tackle the Donizetti Queens. I wasn’t convinced by the pieces I heard from her Anna Bolena (Act I aria, Act I finale, and Mad Scene finale), and am even more intrigued as how she will handle (arguably) Donizetti’s most difficult heroine.

        • well, given the fact that she has successfully tackled some of the most demanding bel canto roles for over a decade, why shouldn’t she?

          And also, judging a singer by 1. their first assumption of the role and 2. based on poor sound recordings hardly make any authoritative.

          • FomalHaut says:

            Excuse my ignorance, but what Bel Canto heroines has she sung? Lucrezia Borgia, Anna Bolena, Norma, Violetta, and Trovatore are the ones that come to my mind. I personally find her voice ill-suited in temperament and color for Bolena or Norma, and her voice lacking in the agility that is often required in these roles.

            • Add to that Elvira in Ernani, Helene in Vespri, Lina in Stifelio and Luisa Miller.

              Now, I understand if you do not respond to her voice, that is a matter of personal taste. To say that she lacks the agility given the recorded evidence, I am sorry but that is preposterous.

  • Henry Holland says:

    It’s 3000 miles away from La Cieca’s target area, but I’m looking forward to the LA Opera’s Einstein on the Beach in October. I can’t find any info about whether they’ll allow people to wander in and out during the performance, anyone know? I’m also looking forward to the Thais in May 2014.

    Sorry, ian2w.

    A couple friends of mine told me they’d like to go to an opera, to see why I spend so much of my money on it. I’m going to take them to the LAO Billy Budd in February. They’ll like the homoeroticism, it’s a familiar story and it’s a good cast with barihunk Liam Bonner as Billy:

    Conlon conducts and it’s a terrific Zambello production.

    San Diego is pretty meh, only Massenet’s Don Quixote might get me on the Coast Surfliner but Long Beach is doing The Death of Klinghoffer in March 2014, a must see since the LAO backed out of doing the production when it first appeared. San Francisco Opera’s season is grim and they’ve jumped on the “Hey! Let’s use our precious resources on a musical!” bandwagon with Show Boat. The Philharmonic finishes their staged Mozart/Duponte cycle with Cosi, I’ll pass.

    Not as many choices as those in the (212) have but still some interesting stuff to look forward to.

    • Henry Holland says:

      Woops, to clarify about the Adams: LAO was one of the *original* co-producers of Klinghoffer in the early 90′s and they backed out of doing it, they have nothing to do with the production in Long Beach.

    • oedipe says:

      I can’t find any info about whether they’ll allow people to wander in and out during the performance, anyone know?

      The answer is yes, they will. Season subscribers have apparently received an e-mail to that effect (as per a French subscriber; the French are well informed about the ins and outs of American opera houses).

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Silvia Sass is great fun in this Macbeth

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Take the tour:

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:


  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Peer Gynt

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Does it make sense? Madrid Makes sense

  • Buster says:

    Not surpised Fledermaus is not doing so well. Intermezzo had a post on ENO having problems filling the house for their Gay Rosalinda.

    Why on earth not another Strauss operetta for a change? Now we have superb editions/recordings of even the most obscure ones (Die Göttin der Vernunft, Der lustige Krieg, Das Spitzentuch der Königin, Prinz Methusalem, Jabuka, Der Carneval in Rom, Prinz Methusalem, Fürstin Ninetta) there is no excuse to neglect these works any longer.

  • Buster says:

    Good to see all the votes for Baden-Baden 1927 with Helen Donath -- wish I could go to that.

    • Camille says:

      Oh my goodness, Mme. Donath still at it? I will try to get to that one especially for *U*, mejn Buster, and get the programme sent to you. I shall certainly make a point of doing so, if all goes as I plan.

      Ik hou van je—


      • Buster says:

        Thanka a alot, Camille, that would be great! Donath gave a concert here in spring, at the Concertgebouw. Her voice was in astoundingly good shape, and the musicianship and personality as winning as ever. Easily the best concert of the season. She encored with the Otello Ave Maria! A superb Schubert Salve Regina was the highlight for me:

  • Camille says:

    Happy to see so many FrOSch Liebhabers!!

    Camille plans on seeing La Leggenda di Sakùntala, with the valiant Teatro Grattacielo, if possible, and an opera she never ever expected to hear, albeit in concert, R. Strauss’s Feuersnot, with good old Uncle Leon and the ASO @ Carnegie Hall. Can not WAIT to hear the Wozzeck with the Wieners, either; very exciting, that!

    Thanks a million , once more Cieca cara, for the fabulous New York Opera Calendar as it is an IMMENSE help in planning one’s musical life.

    • Camille says:

      Oh, and I would not miss Mefistofe in Carnegie Hall, with those acoustics and for the choral singing, even if the Devil himself tempted me otherwise. I don’t even care who the soloists are, just want to hear the opening and closing, actually!

  • traviata136 says:

    Die Frau Ohne Schatten and Sakuntula