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there s a dance in the old dame yet

Karita Mattila (pictured) sings a little Verdi.


  • doktorlehar says:

    Elsehwere on YouTube, from this same concert, be sure to catch Mattila duetting with Luca Pisaroni in “Tonight” from West Side Story.

    Between this and the Kermes Bel Canto album, I might need a cocktail soon.

    • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

      That “Pace, pace” is much better if you just close your eyes.

      • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

      • steveac10 says:

        She certainly has a very unique sense of style. She’s like the mobster’s mistress all dressed up for a special night at the Russian Tea room -- and it’s been like that since the first time I saw her off stage in the mid-nineties. She must have a room dedicated earring storage, I could light my dining room with one of them.

        On the other hand, not a bad Pace at all.

        • MontyNostry says:

          Well, her rocks (if real, and I think they might be, though I couldn’t say which jeweller supplied them) are certainly more spectacular than the Chaumet jewellery that Joyce selected for the Last Night of the Proms. After all the hype, they were disappointingly discreet and girly -- not diva diamonds. And she left the earrings off for Rule, Britannia, for some reason.

      • messa di voce says:

        Uh, no.

  • kashania says:

    A little dance left indeed! Good aria choice. Most of it sits in the middle where she does some nice phrasing. And she has the orchestra to support her in the big final note.

  • MontyNostry says:

    She’s following latter-period Leontyne’s example with “Bace, ‘ace”. A bit rough, but certainly exciting and the voice has more low overtones than of yore, which I rather like.

    Love all that dark desperation in the immaculate, manicured environs of Grafenegg.

  • meowiaclawas says:

    Wow! The “maledizione!” before the final note were terrifying…in a good way. Impressive, brava, diva!

  • Sanford says:

    I swear, if you put a brown wig on her, she’d be a dead ringer for Norma Desmond.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Stop the presses! This is how she looked and sounded in 2001

  • Opera South says:

    Where have her eyes gone? Lots of tension in neck and jaw, that’s for sure.

  • Ilka Saro says:

    I never cared much for Mattila in Italian rep, but this sort of venue is perfect for her to take on this sort of piece.

    I am curious though. For an outdoor theater, the seating appears to be very limited. Is that the case? I haven’t heard of Grafenegg before, but I am no expert on outdoor concert venues in Europe.

    • MontyNostry says:

      Grafenegg is a Schloss with a modern concert hall attached, not far from Vienna. It’s not really an outdoor venue.
      If you want outdoor venues in Austria, it’s Bregenz or this. Spectacular kitsch of the highest class.

      • Ilka Saro says:

        Do my eyes deceive me? This clip appears to be at an outdoor venue.

        The pictures and video I have seen from Bregenz are as you say. Which is both vexing and delicious, like so much about big spectacles.

        • MontyNostry says:

          They clearly have both an indoor concert hall and little outdoor arena at Grafenegg. Don’t you have both at your Schloss, Ilka?

          • Ilka Saro says:

            Indeed, my schloss on the Lower East Side (so like the Tyrol) is well known for the very intimate and exclusive concerts on the fire escape. We are hoping to sign Ms Mattila for an evening of Gershwin.

      • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

        For clarification, the Grafenegg Music Festival was inaugurated seven years ago. It is the summer home of the Tonkünstlerorchester Niederösterreich (based in St. Pölten but often thought of as Vienna’s fourth symphony orchestra and gives regular subscription concerts at Vienna’s Musikverein), just as Salzburg has been the summer home for the Philharmoniker and Bregenz the summer home of the Symphoniker. It is situated in the heart of Austria’s wine country, about an hour to the west of Vienna.

        The three performance venues are situated on land owned by the Metternich family (one survivor still lives on the grounds) created in cooperation with the state of Niederösterreich (Lower Austria, the huge state which surrounds the city/state of Vienna). There is, indeed, a kitschy neo-Gothic Schloss (castle) but it is not used for performances (one can tour it for a few euros). In 2007, the architecturally-award-winning outdoor Wolkenturm (Cloud Tower) opened with a concert with Renée Fleming and the Tonkünstler. It seats approximately 1,700 people. The stage area is covered by the structure, but none of the seats are, so it is very much an “open air” venue.

        The following year, a brand new indoor auditorium opened, incorporating architecture from the existing buildings on the property. It seats about 1,400 and is used for smaller scale performances, chamber concerts, vocal recitals, and when the Wolkenturm concerts get either rained-out or it is too cold.

        There is also the 19th century Reitschule (riding school), which seats about 700 and is used for afternoon chamber concerts, pre-concert lectures, etc., although some main events are held there (I heard Ivo Pogorelich in recital there a few years ago).

        For the past few years, the summer festival opens with a summer night gala (from which the excerpts with Mattila and Pisaroni are taken), followed by a residency by the Tonkünstler and usually a youth orchestra. Starting in mid-August, the main festival kicks in, with different major symphony orchestras from around the world every night.

        I usually pick and choose what to attend over the course of several weeks, but this year, due to the second “Ring” at Bayreuth starting rather late, plus my first chance in several years to have a real vacation, I was limited to the closing weekend (last weekend). So within four days, I heard:

        Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Daniele Gatti – Mahler IX.

        Philharmonia Orchestra/Esa Pekka Salonen – Prokofiev op. 63/Beethoven III.

        Münchner Philharmoniker/Semyon Bychkov – Ravel/Poulec/Franck

        Tonkünstler/Andrés Orozco Estrada – Verdi Requiem

        all outside at the Wolkenturm (the weather was gorgeous!), plus two late afternoon (16:30) chamber concerts in the Reitschule, one of Saint Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals” and one of string quartets by Donizetti and Verdi, and Puccini’s “Crisantemi.” I skipped the Sunday morning (11:00) concert in the Auditorium of chamber music by Beethoven and Schubert.

        It is not a venue for opera, although a few days before I arrived, the Wiener Philharmoniker gave Act I of “Die Walküre” with Eva-Maria Westbroek, Peter Seiffert, and Matti Salminen under Lorin Maazel. I believe they gave a concert “Fidelio” a few years ago.

        The castle grounds are magnificent, and you can roam around as you like, with a glass of local grüne Veltliner in hand, or spend the day lounging on the great lawn (canvas lounge chairs provided) which separates the Auditorium from the Wolkenturm. There is an expensive, excellent restaurant (international cuisine), plus moderately-priced local food, and a “Vionotegg” which serves the local wines. There is modestly-priced bus service to and from Vienna, departing from Musikverein.

        I love going to this festival as it is sort of the anti-Salzburg for me: you often get the same artists and orchestras that have played there but for a fraction of the price, and it is far, far more relaxed.

        This is my first post since departing for Bregenz in late July, which was followed by 11 days in Bayreuth, then vacation, then Grafenegg.

        And to reply to two of Miles many questions about Bayreuth (on another board), there is one gay bar there, and as for supertitles, I can only quote Brünnhilde when Waltraute asks her to give back the ring: “Bist du von Sinnen?” (“Are you crazy?). This will never, ever happen! There is even a giant curl over the orchestra pit which prevents one from seeing the conductor and orchestra and from ambient light escaping (and which adds to the magnificent acoustics). 100% of one’s attention is focused on the stage.

  • moi says:

    While watching Serena playing tennis last weekend, I thought.. I’d like to see some new faces. But then I realized, that in opera I held on to Freni ’till the
    bitter(-- certainly not--) end and Mattila keeps on giving me exitement. Because she’s never playing it safe. So, since almost 30 years I’ll stick to her.
    And the few new ones that thrill me are Garanca and Ciofi ( the latter needs to be experienced live— right now having a huge succes in Paris as Lucia).
    Filianoti also gets my vote, vive la difference.

    And let me repost that tango by Karita in Teatro Colon.

  • perfidia says:

    I don’t think I would like to hear her in the rest of this part. There are some really high and exposed moments (that first aria!), but this is really good, especially when you think of that Manon Lescaut she did at the Met. It got better as it went on, and she had the right attitude for the aria.

  • Constantine A. Papas says:

    No problem, as long as she stays away from Puccini for good.

  • moi says:

    Still, somehow she could have been a good Minnie….
    since some Others got to do it lately too…

    • armerjacquino says:

      Laggiu nel Soledad would have been a trial. Even now, if we’re talking exposed high Cs, I’d rather hear Voigt than Mattila.

      Mattila has always had a spectacular B and Bb but she’s never really had a C.

      • danpatter says:

        That’s easily adjusted. Tebaldi didn’t sing a high C in her FANCIULLA performances, I think. I would welcome her Minnie, did she deign to sing it.

    • kashania says:

      I’d rather have Mattila skip the high C (or sing a lower option) and have her as Minnie instead of Voigt’s. Neither is a natural in Italian rep but Mattila is by far the more interesting artist. I’d love to hear her “Dre assi e un baio”.

  • Kernita Makilla says:

    Salome’s dream of 7 height challenged fellows : A Finnish dream to end all.

  • Camille says:

    53 is not the new 35.

    I’m sorry, but she looks and sounds seriously menopausal. And that makes me sad for Mattila has long been a favourite performer of mine, but it’s just not the same. And that’s just time passing, for which there is no remedy.

  • antikitschychick says:

    Awesome rendition of Pace, Pace, camp and all! And The caricature couldn’t be more spot on, as she is such a stage animal (no pun intended) :-P

    Some other great renditions I’ve come across on yt…

    (the last note is a tad flat but the rest is pretty sublime)

    (Her Verdian line is PER.FE.CTION.)

    (I LOVE her. She sings with such a beautiful rich sound and a clean line. I wish I could’ve seen her live in her prime. *Sniffle.)

    I really like this performance because its one of the few I’ve seen of her that has genuine emotion. She’s like hyper focused and concentrated and so I was able to get into it. The vocal execution is pretty flawless I admit.

    (not a perfect performance as it could’ve used more pianissimo singing and better control of her body movement/language but she sings with a lot of pathos and the general sound is just beautiful:-D. Also, she should wear her hair like that more often. It looks very nice and age appropriate.)