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Ina moment now

La Cieca hears that soprano Pretty Yende, a standout Met debutante last season in Le Comte Ory, has signed with the company for for four roles over the next three years: Pamina and Lucia in 2014-2015, Adina in 2015-2016 and Rosina in 2016-2017.


  • 1
    Feldmarschallin says:

    Congratulations. Hopefully she will be singing at the BSO as well. Speaking of Adina I have Liebestrank here on Friday.

  • 2
    Harold says:


    • 2.1
      Indiana Loiterer III says:

      Why not??

      It’s good to see that Gelb is finally taking advantage of recent successes of up-and-coming singers, rather than waiting five years after everyone else.

      • 2.1.1
        Maury D says:

        Right, this is the hilarious part. Yende had a very successful debut, a whole run of an opera on no notice, and now everyone shouts “she’s not ready!” Latonia Moore (who I think is terrific, so this isn’t aimed at her at all) had one very good Aida and immediately, like later the same season, people were outraged she wasn’t booked for Ballo, Trovatore, Carmen, Grand Macabre…damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

          messa di voce says:

          No notice:

          A part she learned in a month, to boot. I would imaging that’s she’s already been working on Lucia for a while.

  • 3
    Harold says:

    Why not? Because while I agree she has a good voice, the color isn’t extraordinary. Her coloratura is good, but not unusually so. She sings out of tune much of the time. He interpretive insights are practically nil, and she has little personality. She’s good, but 3 contracts, 2 of which are major prima donna vehicles? She seems to me to be a work-in-progress, but not a star.

    • 3.1
      la vociaccia says:

      Shhhh, we’re not at the evisceration stage yet…that is scheduled for Parterre around May 2015. Right now we are still supposed to be in the middle of the “why isn’t she being re-hired stage,” which has now been sabotaged by this recent news.

      All joking aside, I think Pamina is the right choice for her, as well as Adina. She has a beautiful soubrette voice. Maybe it would be better to do more things like Susanna and Ilia, but who knows?

      • 3.1.1
        Cocky Kurwenal says:

        This is my impression of her, La vociaccia, which I disclose up front is based solely on audio clips. She strikes me as a singer with a very special timbre indeed, but it sounds like it’s destined very much for lyric repertoire. The coloratura always sounds a little bit of a stretch, through the speakers, at least -- I’d love to hear her Pamina, but also Susanna and Illia as you suggest.

          Maury D says:

          You know, Rossini isn’t my very favorite thing so grain of salt if you have the shaker in hand, but I’d say she pulled off the coloratura in Comte Ory as well as any other good non-specialist.

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            Be that as it may, my personal impression is that it doesn’t sound like the best repertoire for her, even if the audience experience of it is great.

    • 3.2
      Evenhanded says:


      I agree with Harold on most of what he said above. IMO, Yende still has a good way to go before she reaches the “star” status that might warrant these contracts at the Met. She is indeed “pretty” and her voice has some interesting colors, but in everything I’ve heard, she’s still missing a deal of polish: phrasing is rudimentary, pitch is VERY iffy, and her coloratura skill is average. I don’t believe her high notes are well produced, and agree that she is much more soubrette than lyric coloratura. Pamina and Ilia might be very nice. Lucia and Rosina -- no.

      Then again, Korliss Uecker (a fine singer of slightly less than “star” quality) had similar engagements at the Met for quite a few years if I recall, so I guess there is precedent.

      I wish Miss Yende all the best, and hope that she is working hard on finishing her technique.

    • 3.3
      FomalHaut says:

      She is a bit like a young Fleming is she not? I predict the high notes will disappear by the time she is 30; they seem pinched and thin. She is studying Lucia with Mdm. Devia in Italy, which coupled with her charisma, should be a breath of fresh air from the MET’s usual subpar Bel Canto casting.

      • 3.3.1
        semira mide says:

        Good news that she is studying with Devia. I don’t know anything about Devia’s teaching ability ( great singers are apparently not necessarily great teachers) but it bodes well, because Devia is certainly one of the best bel canto singers of our time. That she is still singing sublimely at her age ( or was last summer when I heard her) probably says that she has a rock-solid technique.

          MontyNostry says:

          Easily the best number in her Wigmore Hall recital was Verdi’s Stornello. I bet she had studied it like crazy with Devia! The English-language stuff (eg Bernstein) as pretty flat -- and presumably not Signora Devia’s thing at all.

      • 3.3.2
        Maury D says:

        I don’t understand this comparison. She’s like a young Fleming how? Fleming’s high notes are perfectly healthy after 25+ years of singing professionally and quite a lot, if that’s the point you’re making, so….?

        As to the Met’s usual subpar bel canto casting, they do underuse some great singers they have on roster like Barry Banks and Laurence Brownlee, but on the other hand they make frequent use of Florez and DiDonato among others. Bel Canto isn’t the great strength of the house but it’s not like some kind of drought.

          FomalHaut says:

          I was referring to the timbre and weight of the instrument. Fleming started off singing some standard Bel Canto rep because her instrument was flexible, but she has never considered herself a Bel Canto specialist. This is where I see Yende going. I have to sorely disagree with Fleming’s top notes; anything above high B is generally scooped into or a shriek.

          • la vociaccia says:

            anything above high B is generally scooped into or a shriek.

            Don’t want to get into a pissing match here, but that is really, really, really untrue.

            *not shrieked* high C at 4:43

            Scooping to a note does not suddenly make the note non-existent.

            I was going to pull up more examples but honestly, arguing about Fleming’s top is so utterly pointless; it is one of the only things even people who dislike Fleming can agree is remarkable. In the many, many times I’ve seen her live, even at her least great, the top was free and full and rang through the hall. In Streetcar at carnegie this past spring she sang dozens of B flats, Bs, and Cs, all perfectly spun.

            You are also mistaken about her early career. She did not sing “standard bel canto rep.” She started out singing the Countess in Figaro, Rosina in Ghost of Versailles, Rusalka, Desdemona, Pamina, even Ellen Orford in 1995. She sang Armida at Pesaro in 1996, but by then she was into her late thirties; Lucrezia Borgia at La Scala was after that. She has been singing Bel canto (successfully or not, that is debated often) as recently as 2011.

            • FomalHaut says:

              I think you misunderstood my use of ‘standard’; Fleming sang Amina, Straniera, and Borgia at the beginning of her career as well. Her acuti, from the performances I have seen live, were full-bodied screeches. They were not pleasant. Granted these were at the tail end of the past decade and not when she was in her prime. She is a Full Lyric, it is understandable that a voice of that size and one that spends the majority of the time in the middle has trouble tossing off High D’s and Eb’s.

              For me, the money was always in her middle and low notes, which were more impressive than her contemporaries. I am not knocking Fleming, I enjoy her work and find her an interesting interpreter, but even she herself admits the high notes have always been troublesome. Scooping is cheating and very sloppy.

            • la vociaccia says:

              “Difficulty tossing off Ds and E flats” is a far cry from what you were implying, and typically when discussing the top of a singer, I don’t think I ever consider that a difficult D or above is somehow a sign of a problematic top. Caballe almost never sang above d flat in public (or on record), save for a D here or there in Anna Bolena. Fleming has stated that she had to work for her top; she wasn’t ‘born’ with the notes in her throat, that a lot of voices with easy tops are. But her top (and when I say top I mean her *top,* not a bag of parlor tricks above D) has, in my experience, been the most reliable part of her voice, especially later on when she would give less in the middle.

              I stand by what I said. Scooping might make it easier, but it doesn’t disqualify the note from existence.

            • Camille says:

              Cara La vociaccia—

              That is, most emphatically, a B natural (si) in alt which Ms. Fleming sings, so beautifully, at the point you have mentioned above.

              If you do not believe me, believe the musical score.

              Yours most truly,

            • antikitschychick says:

              “Cara La vociaccia—

              That is, most emphatically, a B natural (si) in alt which Ms. Fleming sings, so beautifully, at the point you have mentioned above.”

              lol yeah I listened to the clip and I was like, gee that doesn’t sound like a C to me at all, but alas Camille beat me to it on that one :-P

          • antikitschychick says:

            I think I understand what you are getting at but you’re being a tad too general.

            Renee has admitted that her high C is not that great, or at least its not as great as Leontynes, but I think the shrillness that you speak of can be mostly attributed to her FORTE/full-voiced attempts at those top notes. When she sings them pianissimo or even mezzo-forte as in the clip above they sound good, but beyond that the quality diminishes somewhat imho. I’d also venture to say that, aside from her interpretative and stylistic capabilities, this was/is pretty much her ONLY limitation, vocally speaking of course.

            Its also important to note that because she has had such a long and successful career and has managed to keep the quality of her voice pretty much intact I think the timeline of her vocal stages gets kinda fuzzy and its easy to forget that she’s been revisiting a lot of roles for the past 7-10 yrs whilst past her prime…

            so yeah, to my ears she could float those top notes well but when she tried to sing them out full force, then the voice thinned out and she couldn’t produce the same effect that, say AN can. But I agree with la v that her middle and lower registers were always remarkable. In fact, she prob could have done some mezzo rep if she wanted to. Carmen for instance, is a role that, again vocally speaking, would have prob suited her well.

            OMG why didn’t she record the habanera for her guilty pleasures CD??!!

            • Maury D says:

              I don’t her this thinning out thing. Just to check my sanity I’m listening to the big scene in Act II of Rusalka, which as I always tiresomely blather, is her best role. (That or Desdemona.) Anyway, yeah the B at the climax of the Rusalka scena is, unless I’m being a jackass, unarguably full-bodied. Maybe she had to work at the top, but it paid off.

              (Habitual disclaimer. Not a fanboi. Don’t care for her more mannered singing. Her better roles, though, I’m terribly grateful to have heard.)

      • 3.3.3
        antikitschychick says:

        OMG YESSS Devia is FAB in the Bel Canto rep…I mean, the way she was able to sort of re-invent herself after her days as a Rossini & Mozart specialist is really something. I have mad respect for her.

  • 4
    Gualtier M says:

    Who says she is a “star”? She got rehired for a series of leading coloratura roles in season revivals. The “Lucia”, “Elisir”, “Barber” or “Magic Flute” aren’t scheduled to be replaced.

    As for the timbre it is gorgeous and reminiscent of Barbara Hendricks and Reri Grist (there is a timbral similarity -- not just because they are also of African background). The coloratura gets labored in long runs and cadenzas. As for her personality onstage -- she was charm personified as Comtesse Adele in “Ory” -- she had a wide-eyed innocence mixed with sexiness that was irresistable. I didn’t hear any notes that were wildly out of tune.

    Harold, drink your haterade alone.

    • 4.1
      messa di voce says:

      Agree with what you say, plus her not-large voice projects wonderfully in the Met, a not-inconsiderable factor.

    • 4.2
      armerjacquino says:

      Never heard Yende but I’m intrigued now. I can’t think of two timbres more dissimilar than covered, smoky Hendricks and bright, bell-like Grist. If she sounds like both that’s quite an achievement!

      • 4.2.1
        MontyNostry says:

        I don’t think Yende sounds anything like Hendricks -- it is a denser, much brighter sound: Hendricks, for all her charm (and she had more as a person than as a vocalist, actually) could be rather shallow and fluttery. And Hendricks never had that coloratura glitter. Actually, Gutierriez actually sounds far more like Hendricks.

  • 5
    Gualtier M says:

    BTW: who would you prefer? Nino Machaidze (who I think would be way better in lyric roles -- the high leggiero coloratura parts emphasize the metallic edge) or Danielle DeNiese (who is somewhat improved in her newer rep) both favorites on this site? A lot of what Harold said about Yende really could be aimed at Gelb fave Kathleen Kim. I loved Kim’s Mme. Mao but was seriously underwhelmed by her Zerbinetta. I never found out why the Met dropped the charming and talented Lyubov Petrova, who was superior to a lot of the singers she used to cover. Her Norina had better coloratura facility than Netrebko with only a fraction less physical and vocal glamor.

    I love Ekaterina Siurina and she has been mostly absent. The no longer a young singer Laura Claycomb I guess wasn’t considered Met material by the powers that be. Shame as she has a fine international career. Then there is Nicole Cabell who has a pretty timbre but can be rather faceless and low impact.

    • 5.1
      doktorlehar says:

      I’m entirely in agreement with you, especially concerning Petrova and Siurina, both of whom in my opinion have very fine voices and should be singing regularly at the Met. I caught Siurina as Susanna in the house and she held her own within a very talented cast (Keenlyside, Terfel, Harteros, Lindsey). And Yende’s tone did instantly indeed remind me of Hendricks, but with more spine to it.

    • 5.2
      FomalHaut says:

      There are lots of American Coloraturas the MET seems to disregard as well; I don’t know if this is a consequence of the ‘5-year contract’ planning or a conscious effort. Coburn, Gutierrez, Aleida, Pratt, etc. Oropresa is a lucky find. I heard her sing Lucia, and she was intelligent, moving, and ‘mad’.

      • 5.2.1
        la vociaccia says:

        Pratt is Australian, and she seems to sing everywhere in Italy, all the time. The Met may not be on *her* radar, not the other way around.

          semira mide says:

          I believe Pratt lives in Italy where she seems to be highly appreciated. I agree, the Met may not be on her radar.

          FomalHaut says:

          You are right…I caught the brief appearance she made in America at the Caramoor Festival a couple of years back. She was awesome live.

      • 5.2.2
        Cocky Kurwenal says:

        Gutierrez isn’t really Met material IMO.

          FomalHaut says:

          Interesting. Why would you say that? I have heard her a few times live and the voice is absolutely ravishing; it is built like a column from top to bottom, which coupled with a distinctive timbre and charismatic stage presence, is the perfect cocktail for success. Far better than some of the train wrecks the MET has hired to sing the Lyric and Coloratura repertoire the past decade.

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            I don’t recognise her from your description -- columnar is the last adjective I’d have come up with to describe her voice. I think even people who rate her acknowledge that the top notes are more or less completely different from the rest of her voice.

            Aside from this disconnect between the top and the rest, which gets displayed a lot in her chosen repertoire, I find it a disappointingly small sound, inaccurate coloratura, frumpy stage presence, bad acting… I didn’t mind her as the fairy in Cendrillon, because it isn’t a particularly central role, but in the title role of Sonnambula she was way out of her depth, I thought.

    • 5.3
      la vociaccia says:

      Petrova was covering Dessay in Cesare and I had a category 5 tantrum when DDN was called in to do Cleopatra when Dessay cancelled that one performance. I dont think DDN was in better rep based on the webcast of Don Pasquale- she actually *was* out of tune and her highest notes were squally.

      • 5.3.1
        doktorlehar says:

        Clearly the marketing execs of the music world disagree with us, but I for one would much rather hear Petrova sing Handel over De Niese, whom one brilliant amazon reviewer described as having “a voice of stainless steel.”

    • 5.4
      Krunoslav says:

      I understand that this was Nino Machaidze’s teacher:

      • 5.4.1
        MontyNostry says:

        Haha, Krunoslav, I have watched that video before. She really was truly awful. Eurodisco no-no.

  • 6
    Tenorfach says:

    Come girls, she is not even 30 years old ……….. although she IS of the Milan “Prima Donna” school of singing a bit of time in the real world might do her the world of good.

    Good voice and huge upcoming potential and Gelb hedging his bets on an upcoming star ……. no news there.

    She sings “Comte Ory” opposite Colin Lee at La Scala next July and having heard them sing “Lucia” earlier this year, I look forward to hearing how she will have grown and matured.


  • 7
    Feldmarschallin says:

    I just listened to the Bel raggio and the high notes are a bit pressed and forced. She needs to sing things like Adina and the Battle roles. She is not a true coloratura like Damrau with an easy upper extension.

  • 8
    coloraturafan says:

    Who would I prefer? Well in the role of Lucia I would choose the well established and great Elena Mosuc. I heard that her MET debut was not so well received. But I don’t think having her sing Olympia from Hoffmann was the best choice for her introduction to New York audiences. I feel that Mosuc is more of a lyric soprano with clean agility and good top notes, versus a true coloratura soprano. Therefore, her Lucia is quite wonderful. I saw her Lucia in Dallas and was very impressed, I should say very very impressed.

    • 8.1
      Evenhanded says:


      Mosuc would be an EXCELLENT choice, coloraturafan -- agreed. Gualtier: I think a few well-chosen and balanced comments critical of Ms. Yende are not out of line. And I certainly don’t see anything in this thread that might be considered akin to drinking “hatorade”. Your comments about the rep/productions are helpful (and I see what you’re saying), but STILL. Lucia di Lammermoor is about the biggest, most glittering STAR role one can think of in the lyric coloratura repertoire, and should be cast with a well-established star -- preferably one who can offer vocalism that is polished to a high sheen.

      I don’t think anyone is saying that Ms. Yende shouldn’t be given opportunities to shine. And agreed that the possible alternatives you mentioned are hardly an inspiring bunch. Kathleen Kim has been overused at the Met, given her very modest voice and chirpy soubrette approach to the coloratura roles. She was thoroughly miscast as Madame Mao which really should have a dramatic coloratura (tough to find these days, admittedly). Machaidze seems to have lost her way and I find DeNiese an embarrassment (regardless of the repertoire). Guitierrez is not a Met caliber voice or performer.

      Claycomb and Cabell both had very significant technical flaws, and the former must be retired by now, I would think. The latter -- like Yende -- would be wise to stick with lyric roles. I would say that Peretyatko would be a good choice for Lucia in addition to Mosuc. And yes, by all means, get Pratt over here. Anyway, I hope Ms. Yende continues to improve.

      • 8.1.1
        FomalHaut says:

        An interesting misconception about Lucia -- it is not really a lyric coloratura role; if anything, it is a dramatic soprano (with coloratura) or ‘spinto coloratura’. Weight is most definitely required in the middle of the voice, particularly during the ensembles and duets.

        Also, I must staunchly agree on Gutierrez, she is a fabulous performer, with a magnificently built voice from top to bottom, perfect for Bel Canto. Why the MET doesn’t engage is beyond me. My only qualm is the piccolo top that seems to be common in the AVA alums, and the somewhat bland stage presence. I would take Gutierrez, Coburn, and Peretyatko over Kim, Yende, and Mosuc (who sounds almost exactly like Rancatore to my ears).

          coloraturafan says:

          Well I agree about the role of Lucia, but as long as they use the traditional Melba cadenza at the end of the mad scene the singer needs some coloratura agility.

          To my ears Mosuc doesn’t sound anything like Rancatore, they are very different voices.

          Evenhanded says:


          Thank you for pointing out my “misconception” about Lucia, FomalHaut. Rather than citing all the usual, oft repeated (but nonetheless compelling) arguments about how singers in Donizetti’s day very likely sang with much less force, thrust, and chest voice than singers do in our own time, please allow me to simply quote from the New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Describing Fanny Tacchinardi-Persiani (the creator of Lucia in Italy, Paris, and London): “…she had a small and delicate voice that was sweet, polished, distinct by virtue of good placement, and had a compass of b-flat to f”’. Her technique was almost impeccable, with an extraordinary agility in embellishing. A LACK OF FULLNESS of tone and passion was compensated for by exceptional purity and near-instrumental virtuosity. [She had an] ethereal presence and fragile build.

          Does this description sound like a “dramatic soprano” or a “spinto coloratura” to you?

          • FomalHaut says:

            I was not aware Donizetti wrote Lucia di Lammermoor specifically for Tacchinardi-Persiani’s voice. I am going off what I see in the score. The voice, most notably in the middle, must be projected during the ensembles and duets. Even in the cavatina, Regnava nel silenzio, the tessitura is quite low for a light coloratura (fit for a mezzo), which shifts up a minor third and into a major key during the cabaletta (Quando rapito).

            • la vociaccia says:

              Regnava Nel silenzio actually has the same tessitura as “Tacea la notte Placida.” But don’t take my word for it; that’s what Callas said.

              You aren’t reading the score close enough. The low notes have very shallow (or, no) orchestration and soft dynamics. In the sextet, her loudest parts are in her top; the (few) low parts are at the beginning of her verse, which is only her and the bass. The same goes for Verrano a te (same tessitura as Regnava).

              If it were anything like a dramatic or spinto role, Lily Pons and Roberta Peters wouldn’t have lasted five years, let alone the 20+ years they the sang the roles (at the Met).

            • Archaeopteryx says:

              We should not forget that Lucia’s part, as it is performed today, is sung transposed in many places, i.e. lower than actually written! Regnava is in fact written in E flat minor (yes, you heard right) with the cabaletta in A flat major; the duet with Enrico was composed in A major instead of G major, and the whole mad scene is originally a full tone higher than sung today. Blame Ricordi for printing this for 150 years unaltered -- although I hear the critical edition is on its way. Some fearless sopranos sang the original keys -- most notably our dear Montse (there we have our lyric-dramatic-whatever-not-a-coloratura- soprano, although she handles pretty well) and Andrea Rost on the Mackerras recording with period instruments. It makes a big difference for the tessitura I think. But just sayin’.

          • FomalHaut says:

            I am not trying to come off as condescending. I am simply stating that if you read the vocal score of the role, one would come to the conclusion that it is meant for a dramatic coloratura (was that even a term in Donizetti’s time?) because of all the middle and low notes. Of course, one can take the route of disregarding them and transposing (a la Sutherland), or one can recognize that they were written with dramatic intention (a la Callas) and sing them. Regardless, everyone and the kitchen sink has sung Lucia and brings something interesting to the role.

            • La Cieca says:

              I sort of see where you are going with this but I think it’s the wrong direction. There was no such thing as “dramatic coloratura” in Donizetti’s time: there were rather individual voices with strengths and weaknesses. good notes and bad notes, and ordinarily a composer specifically tailored the vocal line to the leading singer.

              Fanny Tacchinardi Persiani, who created the role of Lucia, apparently had a rather high-lying voice; described as “sweet” and “brilliant” by contemporary critics. It is true that there are many passages that lie in middle voice and sometimes the line dips quite low, but the orchestration in those sections is very light.

              Tacchinardi Persiani was also celebrated for her improvised cadenzas and ornaments, which might suggest that in writing the role for her Donizetti didn’t have to bother to write out all the frills: the soprano would take care of that in performance.

              Also, and I may be wrong about this, I think the manuscript of Lucia has the first scena a half-step higher than the standard keys used today and the Mad Scene in F — that would certainly move the tessitura of much of the music into high soprano’s comfort zone.

            • Archaeopteryx says:

              Sorry La Cieca, I only read your comment right now. You’re right about the transpositions, as I wrote some lines above…

      • 8.1.2
        Archaeopteryx says:

        Laura Claycomb isn’t retired at all. She just sang a very beefy Königin der Nacht at the Bregenz open air theatre this summer, conducted by her good friend Patrick Summers.

    • 8.2
      antikitschychick says:

      hola coloraturafan!! Its nice to hear from you again good sir :-D miss your videos xoxo.

  • 9
    Krunoslav says:

    Well, they have given Grigolo a six year contract no? And are presenting him in a solo concert the likes of which only Pavarotti and Kaufman have been given before at the Met.

    He is hardly a great singer or artist. But he does look good, and so does Yende (whose Adele I enjoyed a lot) and that seems to be the bottom line, no?

  • 10
    Gualtier M says:

    There are also other sopranos who got dumped in the “Queen of the Night” box like Erika Miklosa and Albina Shagimuratova who I would like to hear as Lucia. Olga Mykytenko is another potential coloratura star if her Elvira in “Puritani” debut goes well next year. Then there is the phenomenal Rachele Gilmore who added a high G to her Olympia at the Met debut. That can backfire if the original conductor didn’t sanction that note. (Levine was furious at Ruth Ann Swenson when she took the high E flat at the end of the septet when Levine was out of a “Hoffmann” and Franz Vote was subbing. Levine didn’t sanction that interpolation and expected Swenson to honor his intentions when he was out.) I am also very fond of Sarah Coburn (repug Senator Daddy does not figure in my estimation of her abilities). Also, despite all the good reaction to her alternate Lucia performances in the premiere season of the Zimmermann “Lucia”, Annick Massis has not been invited back. Jane Archibald (who I also really like) was invited back for a second cast Adele this year (should be way better than the too-old and never a saucy soubrette Christine Schaefer). Hopefully she will be a regular feature at the Met.

    • 10.1
      Gualtier M says:

      Oops, not Mykytenko but Peretyatko.

    • 10.2
      Feldmarschallin says:

      Jane Archibald is nothing special. I heard her Zerbinetta and was not at all overwhelmed and heard much better. Even Dessay was better than Archibald.

    • 10.3
      Evenhanded says:


      I love your list, Gualtier. And would be happy for the chance to hear ALL those you mentioned. I agree that Archibald should become a regular at the Met, though I haven’t heard her sing in a while, so I’m not sure how she has developed.

      Feldmarschallin, that was a semi-charming bit of sarcasm there: “Even Dessay was better” -- ummm… Dessay was one of the very greatest Zerbinettas, probably EVER. I am not a huge fan, but early on, she was sensational in the role, even approaching Gruberova level (though not quite getting there, IMO). It would be pretty tough to come up with much of a list of singers that surpassed Dessay in that role (it’s subjective, I realize, but seriously).

  • 11
    Harold says:

    Despite what Gualtier M say, I was hardly hating on Pretty Yende. I wish her well and hope that she will fulfill her potential. But she has not yet sung Pamina, nor Adina, nor Lucia. She seems unfinished to me and I don’t know why the Met is letting her try out leading, prima donna roles there before she is ready. There are other sopranos (Sonya Yoncheva & Albina Shagimuratova among them) who have already sung these roles to great success in major houses (Paris, La Scala) but Pretty Yende is being given a big push. And my question is “Why?”.

    • 11.1
      FomalHaut says:

      Well, without sounding crass, she is unique. She is South African, trained in Italy, and has a distinct voice. It doesn’t hurt that she is young, beautiful, and charismatic. This will sell tickets more than some random European Soprano.

    • 11.2
      Tenorfach says:

      Sorry but Pretty Yende sang two concert performances of “Luca” in Cape Town earlier this year.


      • 11.2.1
        tiger1dk says:

        I saw one of them and find her very good as Lucia -- although I think I agree that her voice (based, mind you, on only one hearing) would seem more suited to the lyric parts like Adina than the “true” coloratura as Lucia, rightly or wrongly, is considered.

          Tenorfach says:

          Agree -- a little early to sing “Lucia” but hopefully she will be patient and develop her voice proberly.

          Still great concert(s) in Cape Town with some very good singers and a complete legend on the podium.


      • 11.2.2
        Harold says:

        Thanks for the correction, Tenorfach. Still, is that that qualification is sing one of the most famous parts at the Met? Again, I am no bashing Pretty Yende. I am asking what qualifies her more than a lot of other sopranos in these particular roles. My guess is that a record company is involved and that it is a PR stunt because, IMO, neither her level of singing nor her still nascent resume qualifies her yet for those roles in that house.

          Tenorfach says:

          Oh completely agree that there is a huge PR machine behind her and there is most certainly someone in the background pulling a lot of strings.

          She is good yes, with loads of potential, but few singers are that special before they turn 30 to warrant such attention. So we shall see ………….. these things usually come to light at one point or another.

          Any by the way, I never took your posts as “bashing” her, I knew where you were coming from and agree.


  • 12
    Sanford says:

    I would like to add a vote for Erika Miklosa, who’s only role at the Met has been Queen of the Night. Her youtube clips are quite lovely and her coloratura is spot on.

    • 12.1
      PushedUpMezzo says:


      She could still offer a spine-tingling Gilda in an otherwise mediocre Rigoletto in Budapest 2 years ago. And I wasn’t in a forgiving mood that day having travelled from Vienna for a Fidelio which was cancelled and replaced by Rigoletto with no real explanation offered.

      • 12.1.1
        doktorlehar says:

        I heard Miklosa sing in a Haydn oratorio a few years back (Il ritorno di Tobia, a glorious and grossly under-appreciated piece) and she was superb from beginning to end. Accurate coloratura, great upper register and a distinctly spicy tone.

          Bill says:

          Miklosa was fantastic in Hunyadi Laszlo (of Erkel) in Budapest last season -- the role
          is a bit heavier than a simple coloratura
          role but requires great agility. She was
          also one of the best Fiakermilli’s (Arabella)
          I have ever seen -- Unfortunately, other in
          Budapest, she seems to be booked almost solely as the Queen of the Night abroad. But in that
          role she is extremely accurate and on pitch
          with attractive tone -- so no wonder.

    • 12.2
      Camille says:

      I have wondered why Ms. Miklosa has not been seen other than as Könegin der Nacht, at the Met, for I was rather impressed by her performance of same, and am always on the lookout for her, mah! Invano.

      Lillian Nordica made a very famous recording of that aria from Hunyadi Laszlo and it is a rather meaty bone to chew upon. Ms. Miklosa must have substantially more to her voice than just a couple or three or more Fa acuti!

      • 12.2.1
        Bill says:

        Miklosa has a voice of some size and power
        (at least in Budapest, an opera house
        with very fine acoustics). She is a
        Kammersaengerin there -- I was at an opera house
        party where the opera director announced that the honor was being bestowed upon her. Some were surprised as she sings regularly in Budapest but not that many performances each season. But I can attest to her
        ability -- she is quite commanding on the stage
        (hard to judge from her Queens of the Night as the role normally does not require much stage movement in most producions). She is very
        popular in Budapest -actually at the new production of Hunyadi Laszlo last year in Budapest she was only in the second cast. All four of the sopranos (there are two major soprano roles in Hunyadi Laszlo) were excellent and Erkel, like Verdi, did not make things easy for his sopranos. In all the soprano roles in the Erkel operas I have seen there is some coloratura at least, but one must be able to sing above the
        entire ensemble and chorus in the climaxes --
        the sorts of roles which a Scotto, had she sung them, might have been effective before she took on her heaviest roles. All of Erkel’s operas have Hungarian historical themes and large choruses. I have seen only 3 of them (Bank Ban more than 12 times) but the Cluj Hungarian Opera House has done at least 8 of Erkel’s operas -- he also wrote the Hungarian National Anthem which is one of the most beautiful national anthems I have encountered -- rising to a glorious climax and then quietly fading away -- very melancholic.

  • 13
    MontyNostry says:

    Pretty sang a recital at Wigmore Hall in London earlier this year. Parts of the voice were really spot-on (especially around the top of the stave), but the musical personality seemed unformed (as did her stage presence, though she is, indeed, very pretty and has natural charisma) and I have never seen a supposedly world-class soprano look more dangerous when singing acuti. Her throat swelled up into a kind of cartoon goitre and her face grew congested. It was really quite worrying. My personal judgement is out on her.

  • 14
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Ms Yende had better keep working with the great Devia and get her pretty voice out of her throat.

    • 14.1
      Loge says:

      Oh God! Boky sang a lot on the Met tour. Even at 11 years old I knew that I was hearing a dreadful Lucia. Off pitch and shrill. And acted like a bad operetta coquette. She also did a horrible Sophie (and got booed even in Atlanta). I believe she also did Queen of the Night and Gilda but I’d have to check. Remember in those days Atlanta got only 7 opera performances a year during one week in May.

  • 15
    OpinionatedNeophyte says:

    Yende and Brownlee L’Elisir…would the Met dare?

    • 15.1
      meowiaclawas says:

      Why not? Sounds like a wonderful evening of beautiful singing with two young and charismatic singers.

      • 15.1.1
        Harold says:

        Young??? Lawrence Brownlee was born in 1972, the same year as Rolando Villazon. Anna Netrebko was born in 1971 (41), Juan Diego Florez in 1973 (40), Joseph Calleja in 1978 (35), Ildar Abdrazakov in 1976 (36).

        At what age do we stop referring to people as “young” singers?

          oedipe says:

          You forgot to put on your list the eternally “up and coming” Beczala.

          • la vociaccia says:

            In one of the filmed specials on the Lepage ring, someone refers to JHMorris as “a young, well, young by Wagner standards tenor”

          antikitschychick says:

          well, for me it has a lot to do with the state of the voice rather than physical appearance. Lawrence B. might not be “young” by conventional/ societal standards but the voice still sounds fresh and virile does it not? For me that can signify youth just as much as a six-pack and a full set of grayless hair :-D

      • 15.1.2
        Sempre liberal says:

        Agree -- would be a great evening.

    • 15.2
      antikitschychick says:

      They damn well should! I mean, when was the last time they cast a singer for the role of Adina in a major production who was *vocally* suited for the part??

      I like Pretty. What I heard in the above clip sounds pleasant to me….and she can SANG those high notes :-D Yes, she still has a bit of developing to do but hers is a pleasant, opulent and flexible voice/sound which is ideal for Rossini…idk about the acting as I didn’t witness the Ory performances but then again I’m kinda over this role being a sort of vehicle for the somewhat older & more sluggish voiced-divas to show off their ‘comedic chops.’ I want to hear an Adina who can sing the role with virtuosity and pizzaz… me thinks this is the gurl for the job. :-D.

      Now, if only Cieca would get word of a certain spinto soprano’s future Met rep I’ll like, die of flailing & fangurling :-P.

    • 15.3
      havfruen says:

      Yende and Brownlee in Armida at the Rossini Opera Festival in 2014?? Anyone?

      • 15.3.1
        FomalHaut says:

        I don’t think she would even consider singing Armida so young, LOL. I would most definitely pay to see a Rosina or Adina, or even a Beatrice di Tenda.

    • 15.4
      Loge says:

      Mr. Brownlee thoroughly enjoyed singing Comte d’Ory with her in Vienna.

    • 15.5
      laddie says:

      They did sing together in Europe. Larry posted profusely how wonderful it was for him to sing with a young, African soprano. I believe it was Ory they sang probably in Vienna where they seem to adore him.

  • 16
    Camille says:

    Pretty is pretty, e basta!

    Give the girl a chance, for crying out loud.
    Take a look at the score of Le Comte Ory sometime and realise what this intelligent young lady was able to get into her brains and voice in a month or so.

    Of course, there is always Erdmann or that Kovalevska creature, if one prefers….

  • 17
    MarioCav says:

    I for one am very glad they signed for some future performances. I thoroughly enjoyed her in the Comte Ory at the Met. She was very charismatic on stage, and I thought her voice was lovely and unique.
    Had the Met not signed her when they did, she would have certainly been signed by other opera companies as well. For once, the Met did something right and secured her while they could.
    Yes, she is young and sort of a work in progress,
    but I think she will develop into a major artist.
    She has a type of “star quality” not seen in too many sopranos these days.
    Just my opinion…..