Cher Public

But screw your courage to the sticking-place

UPDATE: La Cieca has it on very good authority that the 2014-2015 Met season will include a revival of Verdi’s Macbeth featuring Anna Netrebko with Zeljko Lucic, Joseph Calleja and René Pape.

  • Will

    The MET fielded a couple of convincing baritones for its new Rigoletto production which should qualify them for Macbeth. I also remember a very good Macbeth at the late, lamented NYCO by Mark Delavan and a highly credible one by Richard Paul Fink — although both those performances were some years ago.

    • I think Delavan is for some reason a pretty variable singer. He blew me away in Parsifal in Chicago c. 2001 and was a very good Falstaff a few years before at Glimmerglass, but if memory serves, he’s not always done well at the Met.

  • Will

    The MET fielded a couple of convincing baritones for its new Rigoletto production which should qualify them for Macbeth. I also remember a very good Macbeth at the late, lamented NYCO by Mark Delavan and a highly credible one by Richard Paul Fink — although both those performances were some years ago.

    This revival sounds like a must-see.

  • Camille


    This year, Rigoletto -- next Macbeth?

    After that, g-d knows what.

    • MontyNostry

      I saw him as Rigoletto a few years ago: he huffed and puffed and certainly didn’t bring the house down. Unable to fill the lines, especially went they went deeper than his highly circumscribed comfort zone.

      • myworldisopera

        huffed and puffed? XD LoooL! Not true!

      • Camille

        Dima als Big Bad Wolf. Was ein konzept!

        Dreading the Rigoletto this season…oh well…it all will end soon enough.

        • myworldisopera

          You can keep Zeljko Lucic than … Last year’s Rigoletto was awful … only Diana Damrau and Stefan kocan saved it!

  • aulus agerius

    Seems like a waste of Calleja. He gets to announce the death of Duncan and sing his chickens aria and that’s about it, isn’t it?

    • Sempre liberal

      I’m sure Calleja doesn’t mind. He gets to have a relatively easy night, pick up a nice check, hang in NYC, get another MET credit, work with some great colleagues, get an HD, get a Saturday broadcast, fine tune his Verdi, and maybe get a guest gig somewhere in the ‘hood.

      Do tenors mind being cast as Macduff?

      • Corelli loved the role and he wanted to do it at the Met. Bing had to have a heart to heart with him and tell him that while he would love to have him in the role, he was too big a star to be put in the role at the Met stage; he did compromise and scheduled a couple of performances for him in the Tour.

        I think Tucker also liked doing the role. Not sure whether he did it at the Met Stage, but he certainly also did it on Tour.

        I think there is a story of a tour date, God knows where, Tucker was scheduled for Macduff but got sick and had to cancel. Bing (or his representative) gets in front of the curtain (cue audience reaction before a word was spoken). “Ladies and gentlemen, I have the sad news to inform you that Mr. Tucker is unable to perform the role of Macduff this evening; so we are forced to send in a replacement for y’all (cue audience booing and pre-planning a riot): Franco Corelli. I hope y’all are not too disapointed”

        If it didn’t happen like that, then it was another tenor and either Tucker or Corelli filled in.

        Macduff is actually a great role. Not too long, not too short, great aria (as beautiful as any or Alfredo’s and the Duke’s), great exposure. Along with Alfredo (though it could be said a lot more likeable), a great role for any lyric tenor who wants to branch into Verdi but does not want to invite comparisons with ghosts of Christmas past by doing the Duke.

        • Krunoslav

          The other Macduffs on that 1973 tour were William Lewis and Raymond Gibbs (this hard to imagine, though in Berlin I heard the sightly but way-overparted Breslik attempt it, with the duet w/Malcolm cut, presumably for his comfort) so I imagine that Corelli’s participation went down well with audiences in Memphis, Dallas and Minneapolis.

        • arepo

          I always thought that the announcement was made about tenor Barry Morrell being replaced by Franco Corelli and the audience went crazy.

  • alejandro

    Does Mattei sing Macbeth?

    • Camille

      I do wish he did and, indeed, wonder if he has or has any plans.

      He would be interesting vis-à-vis Netrebko — she would have someone to really throw herself against as a foil.

      maybe louannd knows.

      • laddie

        I believe that MacBeth was cancelled by Mattei himself well in advance of the production. Uninvolved Bystander can confirm this. UB also says that Mattei has indicated he doesn’t plan to go beyond his current repertoire (unless of course Peter Gelb can use his masculine wiles to convince him to do other roles) and rumors are flying about a Wolfram at the Met in the future.

        Lou Ann

        • Camille

          thanks, LouLou.

          Peter Gelb’s ‘masculine wiles’ has put me into a fit of laughter!!!!

    • Chanterelle

      Operabase indicates that Mattei sang Macbeth in Stockholm in spring of 2009, but Kungliga is a small house. He’s mostly bypassed Verdi, doing lots of Don Gs, some Russian, Britten, Janacek, and now inching into Wagner--Amfortas last winter, and Wolfram coming up in 6 months. (can’t wait to hear his Onegin)

      • Camille

        Thank you for the information.

        At least he has essayed the role, so that’s a good thing. The fact he has not continued with it indicates WHAT, I wonder?

        Yes, I too, can hardly wait to hear his Onegin. Much as I like Kwiecien, in general, he was underwhelming as a name protagonist this time around. Sometimes I am reminded a bit of Dwayne Croft who was also pushed by the Met for quite a while and then more or less found himself in more secondary parts, where he distinguishes himself. Although I really really liked his Pélleas, a real baryton martin sound, for once.

        • RosinaLeckermaul

          Speaking of ONEGIN, given Popsy’s recent illness and poor showing in VESPRE, is she really going to sing in the Met’s ONEGINs? Who is her cover?

          • messa di voce

            “Who is her cover?”


            • RosinaLeckermaul

              Of course! She would have been an improvement over Popsy. Did you hear her on the Sirius opening night broadcast? A bit dotty but every inch a diva.

            • messa di voce

              She’ll bring her own bed for the letter scene.

            • Camille

              Who is her cover, indeed.

              Struck by curiosity, I have been at work in the Met info pages and come up with the following names:

              Stefania Douhan (Kiev)
              Oksana Dyka (really doubt this one)
              Oxana Shilova (Tashkent)
              Tatiana Ryaguzova (Varon Oblast, Russia) what? where is that?
              Gulnara Shafigullina (Krymsk, Russia)

              Who are these ladies and is there any possibility one of the above may be a Tatiana cover, as by now, it is an imperative there will be one.

              However, after all is said and done, I really wouldn’t put it past L’Amara, and not discounting it.

              I also note Latonia Moore(!) with no specific role assignment, and wonder what she is on hold for?

            • MontyNostry

              No-one seems to consider the superb Latonia for anything but Aida, which says a lot about casting directors. The good news is that she is due to appear at Wigmore Hall next year. The not quite so good new is that it’s a crossover-y programme that will include excerpts from Porgy and Bess. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Is that really the best they can find for one of today’s major voices? (Still, I would rather hear her singing Summertime than Angel Blue, who is very lovely, and who has a sweet, if somehow underdeveloped voice, and whose singing I found less compelling and satisfying last night than Cocky did.)

            • Chanterelle

              Dearest C. Gumshoes — a pleasure!

              Mon chèr Oedipe — so I should not bother trying to see one of the two remaining AIDAs? Bastille distributions mostly make me sad but I am curious to see what M. Py has done to the Nile delta.

              Looking forward to the new ELEKTRA, as well as the final DIE SOLDATEN (new Bieito production) in Zurich this weekend.

            • oedipe

              so I should not bother trying to see one of the two remaining AIDAs?

              I can’t help you with this, I’m afraid. I will only be seeing it this coming Friday (with Dyka, unfortunately!). You might want to go and judge for yourself, though.

              Bastille distributions mostly make me sad

              Did you get a chance to see the recent Lucia revival, Chanterelle? I thought both distributions (Ciofi/Grigolo/Tézier and Yoncheva/Fabiano/Petean) were outstanding.

            • Camille

              Mr. Monty—After you mentioned Miss Moore, I ducked over to her website and Operabase to do a little gumshoe work and discovered she will be a Hamburger Madame Butterfly (which she has done before) this coming January and scheduled for some Ballos ‘in the future’…?

              I just don’t quite understand why she is not more on the radar with CG and the Met, with both of whom she has made successful debuts, and if not they, then maybe San Francisco, Paris, Berlin, or maybe Milan or Rome, if you follow my drift. The agent is Askonas Holt, if that tells you anything. Very frustrating.

            • MontyNostry

              Well, Askonas Holt is considered one of the best European agents for singers, so one hopes she is being well looked-after. I hate to say this, but I suspect one of the issues is that houses just want to cast her as Aida (she implied this in a promotional interview for, I think, San Diego that I watched on YouTube), and perhaps Ms Moore (quite rightly) would also like to sing other roles. As I’ve said here ad nauseam, her Liu and Aida at Covent Garden were two of the best pieces of singing I’ve heard in recent years and she also acted very well as Aida (Liu doesn’t have so much to do dramatically, especially in the Serban production). But the house seems to think Madam Poplavskaya is a singer more worthy of its support.

            • Clita del Toro

              No, it’s Roberta Peters

          • Chanterelle

            Struck by curiosity, I have been at work in the Met info pages and come up with the following names:

            Stefania Douhan (Kiev)
            Oksana Dyka (really doubt this one)
            Oxana Shilova (Tashkent)
            Tatiana Ryaguzova (Varon Oblast, Russia) what? where is that?
            Gulnara Shafigullina (Krymsk, Russia)

            Who are these ladies and is there any possibility one of the above may be a Tatiana cover, as by now, it is an imperative there will be one.


            Operabase and Google are our friends:

            Douhan -- little current info but she’s done mostly -etta roles
            Dyka — busy elsewhere
            Shilova — sings lighter roles
            Ryaguzova — just did Tatiana in Finland
            Shafigullina — her website lists her as covering Yaroslavna in Prince Igor
            (seems young and ambitious but not ready for Tatiana)

            (I have limited internet and can’t indulge in the YouTubes, but you can…)

            Of the 5 Ryaguzova seems most likely on paper.

            • Camille

              Hey, Chanterelle! Great minds think alike — as I have just come from the onnipotente Signor Google and he told me that, infatti,
              Ms. Ryaguzova has sung Tatyana. There is even a UTuber that may be imported to that effect —- oh I looked up and saw you have done just THAT!

              So, another cold case, CLOSED!

              I was going to put Dyka out of the running as she will be our Princess Jaroslavna, so I doubt she would have time to sub in another.

              There is another lady named Maria Gavrilova, made her debut as Butterfly about six seven years back. Know nothing of her…she is singing in The Naso, right now.

              Fun doing detective work with you so until the next time, I am
              yours truly,
              C. Gumshoes

            • Camille

              Oh, it was the other lady. Here is Tatiana als Tatiana, July 2012, says YTube


            • oedipe

              Dyka — busy elsewhere

              Pretty please Mr. Gelb, buy her out of the Paris Aida and KEEP her! We’ll settle for Latonia Moore, if push comes to shove…

            • Buster

              Chanterelle -- I just heard Gulnara Shafiguillina, and she is really good! She would make a wonderful Tatiana, no doubt.

    • nibelungen

      alejandro: no, Mattei stepped out of the Stockholm performances, at that time, a couple of years ago, way before the premiere, he recognised the role was not for him as he had thought it was.

  • aulus agerius

    I thought Alberto Gazale was a good Macbeth in Dallas a few years ago. That production also had Tatiana Serjan.

  • myworldisopera

    pleeeease, let it be Dmitri Hvorostovsky …

  • pobrediablo

    Lady Macbeth on horse tranquilizers.

  • semira mide

    Never mind the singers,Muti conducting,please.

    • antikitschychick

      AMEN! lol.

  • messa di voce

    I guess this replaces the Faust that all the leads decided they didn’t want to do?

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Most likely Domingo (not BS)

    • Camille

      OMG, you are right!

      • antikitschychick

        AY PLEASE NO! Domingo is a handsome man and looks good for his age but omg seriously, a near-octogenarian playing AN’s husband? Yuck!

        My question is, will she sing all the performances, or will she be sharing the role with someone? Lady M is a perhaps not as long or taxing as Anna Bolena but its still a hard sing.

        Can’t Erwin sing Macbeth? Or is that role too high for him? Hopefully they get someone good to sing Macbeth as the rest of the cast is pretty stellar.

        • pobrediablo

          She will share each PERFORMANCE with the Lady Macbeth par excellence frau Nadja Michael.

          • Camille

            you are joking?

            • pobrediablo

              Well, they will share Cav and Pag together,so why not split Lady in half lol

          • antikitschychick

            Oh dear. God help us.

            As for Macbeth…if ONLY William Levy were into Opera, without the soap part….SIGH.

          • Bianca Castafiore

            If only the Met’s casting dept. had any sense or taste, they’d get La Grandissima Matos for this part.

            • antikitschychick

              well, I’ll check out Matos since I’m not familiar with her but my vote, as everyone knows is for Lumi. That byotch sings the sh*t out of Lady M!!

              They should hire her to share the role with AN. They should have hired her for Tosca as well but instead we get Racette. *Pouts*

              Though tbh I’d rather see her in a new role, preferably a less villainous one.

              I SWEAR THOUGH, If Gelb and co do not hire her for something other than Aida soon they shall receive very angry emails from me! The practice of waiting a gazillion years to book the best singers needs to stop.

            • Bianca Castafiore

              Mon poussin,

              don’t knock Racette. I found her Tosca fantabulous! She’s an exciting actress, miles ahead of Sondra for example, and her Tosca was well delineated and realized, and the voice is less idiosyncratic than Radvanovsky’s for sure. And her acting is not demented like Mattila’s Tosca, who to me came across as a deeply disturbed and maniac.

            • antikitschychick

              Carissima Castafiore,

              Pardonne moi as it was not my intention to knock Racette. With the exceptions of Natalie Dessay and Anja Harteros, there isn’t a female opera singer on this planet I find remotely as compelling as Lumi so I wasn’t trying to single out Racette in any particular way, I was just lamenting that they didn’t hire her for a role that is in her her repertoire.

              Furthermore, my only exposure to Patty’s singing is a yt excerpt of Un Bel Di from Madame Butterfly, thus I am not qualified to make any sweeping assertions about her singing or artistry. Alls I can say is that what I saw/heard didn’t immediately captivate me.

              I did however watch some clips of her singing cabaret numbers and she was astonishingly good! She sounded completely authentic (better than pretty much every operas singer I’be hesrd who has attempted to do crossover) and belted out those lines like nobody’s business. That was as pleasant a surprise as any! :-D

            • antikitschychick

              eeeeck some nasty typos in my above post :-P

              that parenthetical statement should have read:
              better than pretty much every other opera singer I’be heard who has attempted to do crossover.

              Also, the last bit of my first paragraph should have said :
              I wasn’t trying to single out Racette in any particular way, I was just lamenting that they didn’t hire her (i.e. Lumi) for a role that is in her repertoire.

            • la vociaccia

              Anti-K, Monastyrska, who as you know I too love unconditionally, is busy busy busy in Houston right now doing her Aida, which she is then taking to La Scala followed soon after by Toscas in Frankfurt and Berlin and then Santuzza and more Aida and god knows what else while she’s home in Ukraine. Errbody wants a piece of that!
              She’ll be back at the Met in due time!!

              Re: Racette. Vocal glamour has never been what she deals in; what she’s got is breath and ballz for weeks. Un bel Di what you need to be looking for in her Butterfly; THIS is

            • la vociaccia

              Un Bel Di is not what you need to be looking for…

              No excuses as I’m on a computer.

            • Camille

              manou must be fast asleep else she would have already swooped in on this one, so I’ll pull night duty nurse:


              -- as in --

              Pardonnez à mon bavardage
              j’en suis à mon premier voyage

            • antikitschychick

              I knowssss la v :D and the reviews for the Aida have been great thus far! Woot woot! :D:D:D

              The thing is, the woman can only give so much Aida. She needs to get crack-a-lackin and expand her rep…and she should also sing some concerts and recitals n all the krunk stuff.

              I also find it odd that operabase only lists her performances til February of next year, which is only a few months away. Surely she must have other engagements beyond that…??

              Re: the Racette clip you posted: I liked it a lot more than the one I had previously seen and she is indeed a very formidable performer and one who I suspect is better experienced live than on video, even though the acting is good. The voice has a lot of propulsion and thrust, I guess its just my personal taste. I don’t tend to like brighter voices, and her voice, while large is also bright. I will try and check out an entire performance if its available and see.

              Camille: I was sure it was spelled with the z at the end but alas, google confused me. Thus, I blame Google for that one! But thanks for pointing that out.

        • didn’t stop Fred Astaire from being the lust interest of Audrey Hepburn.

          Also, didn’t stop Henry VIII from marrying about 1/3 of his wives post Anne; or Phillip II from marrying Elizabeth de Valois.

          Marriages between much older men and younger females were the norm for centuries until about 100 years ago when we went to love matches rather than arranged marriages.

          • antikitschychick

            I know, but still, it wouldnt be dramatically effective to pair her with Domingo for this particular Opera imo because it would reduce his character’s motivations to simply wanting to please her in any way he could.

            That’s not what the Opera is about. At least I dont think it is.

            • And yet, it is a valid interpretation: An older man reduced to a murderous plot at the behest of his much younger (and ambitious) wife out of fear that she will leave him for a younger man or worse.

              It is almost a plot taken directly from the 5 o’clock news.

            • antikitschychick

              It could very well be a valid interpretation if done right I agree, but as a concept I find it too kitschy for an opera based on a Shakespeare play. Plus, from what I gathered reading the play, Lady M is not the one with the murderous ambitions. She certainly eggs him on because she loves him and wants to support him (and of course she has ambitions of her own, but these are less clearly laid out, which is the interesting aspect of her character imo). She is ultimately the one who cannot deal with the repercussions of her actions. Moreover, I actually don’t think she goes mad because of the guilt, I think she just can’t cope with how Macbeth starts shunning her after that and how that is sort of the catalyst for the relationship falling apart. She has no children or family that we know of, so her whole “being” revolves around Macbeth and when she loses that its like she loses the will to live. In that sense she is no less the tragic victim than some of the other more ‘benign’ heroines.

              She definitely wields power over him, but I don’t think she ever manages to make him love her. I mean, the way he callously dismissed her death at the end is so cruel and heart-breaking. Its interesting he doesn’t blame her, he blames the “vil corona” but at the same time he doesn’t give her any recognition for her actions.

              His monologues in the play suggest he sees everything as a conquest…at one point he makes some sort of reference to the rape of Lucrezia Borgia as if it were some sort of glorious undertaking. Truly nasty & disturbing stuff.

              So yeah the soap opera angle is a bit reductive, but I agree its not an invalid interpretation.

        • Clita del Toro

          Chick, you think that Domingo looks good for his age! LOL EEeuuuuw
          I am older than he, and I’d kill myself if I looked like him! Big, goofy and fat.
          As far as his singing Macbeth, another EEEEeuuuuw. I will not listen if that is the case. Between him and Trebs--it would be too much to take.
          I won’t even listen to the Nabucco on line with Plamingo.
          After Gobbi, Warren and Bruson in the role--totally yuch!

          • antikitschychick

            well, I certainly wouldn’t put in the DILF category but he cleans up nicely in a suit and tie, is tall and he’s got good energy. But as I said, pairing him with a woman who could be his daughter (and then some) is yucky. Most importantly, there is no need to bring the oedipal thing into EVERYTHING! lol.

    • I fear you’re totally right. And with that cast (Domingo, Netrebko, Pape and Calleja), they will sell every single ticket and be able to have an expensive gala dinner on the opening night of the production. At least Domingo’s singing is more interesting than Lucic, who has the voice but is dull dull dull.

      • Camille

        Right again, kashania. It would be box-office boffo!

        It would be interesting to see how Netrebko worked her deminine wiles on a much older consort; not so very hard to see how he would readily capitulate.

        Whereas, with someone as imposing and comparatively age co-eval, why it would be quite a struggle to put his eggs all in her basket, in a manner of speaking.

        Nun denn, with DIMA, it could be a prototypical Russian mobster thing gojng on. Quite interesting prospects.

        • Camille

          Sorry, that is feminine and not deminine in para 1

          In Para 2, I refer to Peter Mattei.

        • antikitschychick

          “It would be interesting to see how Netrebko worked her feminine (sic) wiles on a much older consort; not so very hard to see how he would readily capitulate.”

          The older man/younger woman scenario would indeed over-simplify things me thinks. Plus, I can’t see Domingo as the scheming, murderous type.

          The prospect of having Dima play Macbeth on the other hand does indeed sound interesting, even though I don’t think the role is a good fit vocally speaking.

  • grandtier

    Calleja seems to be going BACKWARDS at the Met. Ridiculous. Hopefully they will not even consider Domingo. We finally get Pape back, but as Banquo? Oh dear.

    • la vociaccia

      Why the handwringing????? Macduff is a good part and they’re definitely paying Calleja the same fee as they would have for FAUST, so how is that backwards?? “Finally” get Pape back? He’s only been gone one season!!!!!!!!

      • Camille

        Many a time, after a lengthy and awful can belto-ing sprechstimme fakeing-out by the protagonist couple, the Macduffo will step in and provide us all with a satisfying breath of fresh bel canto air, and steal it. Mr. Calleja is a lovely singer and not the most enthralling actor anyway, so the stand and sing thing would suit me just fine.

        I do like the paterno mano aria being referred to as the “chickens aria”. Quite novel, that.

        • MontyNostry

          Calleja certainly made an impression when he sang Macduff at Covent Garden in (I think) 2006. But then he did make sure to deliver his aria from the sweet spot at the front of the stage (stage left).

          By the way, I am being dim here, but why is his aria the ‘chickens aria’?

          • Camille

            No you are not Sir—I am as stumped by the reference as you are, as made in the first page of his thread by aulus agerius.

            I am so relieved and heartened to hear your experience of hearing Miss Deshorties was not a disappontment.

            • armerjacquino

              ‘What, all my pretty chickens and their dam in one fell swoop?’

              Macduff in MACBETH, on hearing of his wife and children’s deaths.

            • Camille

              Thanks, not-so-armer Jackie!!!!!
              Completely forgotten that, for shame and out damn spot!

            • MontyNostry

              Thank you, armer, I would only have recognised a more obvious Shakespeare reference.

            • Baltsamic Vinaigrette

              Ah. I was thinking along the lines of “Lead on, Macnugget!” but you’re absolutely right, aj.

            • Camille

              very, very funny, my dear BV. It took a minute to figure out, though, I’ll admit.

              Hope all is well and that you are going to Wexford. It is right about now, come to think of it, in October, that the Festival takes place?

              Happy cheers to you, always, Luv!

      • grandtier

        I don’t mean to demean MacDuff, but Calleja should be getting more exposure at the Met, in the roles we know he can sing well, as for example, Pinkerton. As for Pape, any season without him is one season too many.

        • armerjacquino

          In seven years at the Met, Calleja has sung Faust, Rodolfo, Macduff, the Duke of Mantua, Hoffmann and Edgardo. I agree that he’s a treasurable artist: I’m not sure that list suggests he’s underused.

          • grandtier

            Last year nothing, this year Rodolfo? That’s underused.

            • Camille

              He is not, then, singing a Pinkerton this coming season?

              For the life of me, I do not hear Brian Hymel in that role. Why?

            • armerjacquino

              He’s not singing Pinkerton because he’s singing Rodolfo! And I reiterate, ANYONE would rather play the latter than the former.

            • la vociaccia

              In what world does singing one of the most famous tenor leads in the history of the operatic canon in equal underused? Do we really have to break out the list of actually underused singers who, unlike Calleja, AREN’T singing lead roles at the Met?

          • MontyNostry

            … and it seems that Calleja is due to sing his first Cavaradossi at … Grange Park in the depths of the Hampshire countryside in 2017.

            • manou

              How did Wasfi Kani manage that?

            • MontyNostry

              Sponsorship, presumably? And it’s a good venue for him to try out a heavier-than-usual role for the first time.

          • Feldmarschallin

            Calleja is singing Butterfly, Rigoletto, Macduff, Hoffmann and Traviata this season at the BSO. Five roles. I like him very much and with Kaufmann they are my two favorites with Beczala not far behind.

            • armerjacquino

              Another possible reason for him not being at the Met much- he’s kind of busy!

            • grandtier

              We are happy for you. One run of 5 performances is all we get at the Met, after none last year. And yes, folks, that is a slim schedule, whatever you may say.

      • RosinaLeckermaul

        Bergonzi sang Macduff along with his big leads.

        • rysanekfreak

          Corelli sang Macduff with the Met on tour. With Milnes and Bumbry and Raimondi.

          I saw them in Dallas.

          • antikitschychick

            speaking of which, why doesn’t the Met do tours anymore?

            • My understanding is that it was a combination of factors. The per diem, housing and travel expenses for the orchestra and chorus grew larger and larger as each new contract was negotiated, probably because the last thing these artists wanted to do at the end of a long season was spend six weeks on the road. Meanwhile the cities to which the Met toured mostly had grown their own local companies, so the demand for opera in those places was somewhat diluted. A third reason was that increasing demand for a limited number of star singers meant the Met could no longer require artists to go on the tour as a condition for singing with the company in New York. So the tour casts grew less and less starry and therefore harder and harder to sell.

              The extra weeks of orchestra and chorus contracts were rolled over into recording sessions of complete operas and recital discs under James Levine, which had the additional benefit of feeding his vanity. (These discs mostly didn’t sell, especially not internationally. Not even Cheryl Studer’s Gilda.)

            • antikitschychick

              Ahh ok, makes sense. Especially the bit about the regional cities that the Met toured having established their own local companies. I know they also occasionally toured oversees, bur after the last debacle in Japan, I can see why that has come to a halt as well. Thank you for the thorough explanation dear Cieca :-D

              And thank GOD Domingo is not singing Macbeth. Whew! From what I’ve heard on yt, Zeljko Lucic has a very beautiful baritone voice.

            • Besides the Studer Gilda, what other recordings were made with that extra time, Cieca Carissima?

            • armerjacquino

              In fairness to the Levine/Studer RIGOLETTO, it has one of the finest supporting casts on record- Groves, Graves, D’Arcangelo, Croft, Murphy…

            • la vociaccia

              Lindoro, just venturing a guess, but probably the Traviata from 1991 with Studer, Pavarotti, Pons, plus Wendy White and Anthony Laciura, thus completing the the Met-roster casting. Also conducted by Levine

            • Porgy Amor

              The tour ended in 1986, and there were many sets made in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the period Cieca mentions, released on DG and Sony. Elisir (Battle/Pav), Idomeneo, the complete Ring, Der fliegende Holländer, Trovatore, Don Carlo, Aïda, and a beautifully sung and played but unbelievably glacial Parsifal with Domingo, Norman, Morris, and Moll come to mind.

    • oedipe

      I am curious: what roles do you think Calleja SHOULD be singing at the Met?

      • grandtier

        Just about anything Bergonzi sang, with the exception of Radames. This season’s Butterfly would be good for a start.

        • Batty Masetto

          But Bergonzi did sing Macduff at the Met. So why is that a comedown for Calleja?

        • armerjacquino

          This season’s BUTTERFLY runs in rep with BOHEME, in which Calleja is playing Rodolfo. Do you want the poor man singing every night?

          • grandtier

            We have heard his Rodolfo, we have not heard his Pinkerton. And I reiterate, one role per season is regrettable.

            • armerjacquino

              I think you’re a tough crowd! Given the choice, I reckon most singers would choose Rodolfo over Pinkerton, it’s just a better part. And he can’t do both.

              The other parts in his rep this season are strongly cast: Brownlee in PURITANI, Vargas in ELISIR, Polenzani in RIGOLETTO. I agree with you that Calleja is a wonderful singer, but given his smallish rep he’s never going to sing more than one or two roles in any given season- particularly in the US, since he is based in Europe.

            • Camille

              armer! I am surprised with you! This is parterre box, the toughest crowd in town. You know that!

        • Krunoslav

          From Bergonzi’s Met rep, I don’t think that Calleja should take on Pollione, Alvaro, Canio, Manrico, Chenier or Don José either, at least not in that house.

          • Evenhanded


            Thank you, Krunoslav. Comparing Calleja to Bergonzi is ridiculous. Their voices are of completely different amplitude. I enjoy Calleja most of the time, but his voice hasn’t either the visceral impact or the long-lined grace that Bergonzi commanded at the peak of his powers. IMO, Calleja is a lightish lyric tenor (full lyric AT MOST) and Bergonzi was most certainly a spinto. Therefore, their repertoires are bound to diverge quite significantly.

            • grandtier

              A belated reply, but Calleja could sing much of Bergonzi’s repertoire, including the Duke, Pinkerton and Gustavo. Calleja is young still, and the jury is still out on where he may go.

  • Will

    The Metropolitan Opera Company is 130 years old today —
    10/22/1883 — 10/22/2013

    • grimoaldo

      Yep, opened with an opera, “Faust”, which the most recent Met production and singers have apparently changed that opera from house favourite to a piece that no one in New York ever wants to see again.
      First night review :
      “After (Christine Nilsson) had sung (the jewel song) last night…. bouquets rained from the boxes and baskets of flowers were piled over the footlights till it seemed as if there was to be no end.”
      How times change, the Marguerite in the first run of the latest Met production would have taken that as an outbreak of hostility, it seems.

      • steveac10

        Faust had ceased to be a real audience favorite long before the current production (the 3rd in not much more than 20 years), so it’s not for lack of trying. It actually was not performed in the 80’s at all -- it was MIA for 13 years before the Harold Prince monstrosity in 1990 (which we dubbed the melted poop Faust -- because that’s what the set looked like).

      • Camille

        There is the most wonderful re-creation of that original Faust, as tribute I imagine, in the opening sequence of Martin Scorsese’s wonderful film version of Wharton’s The Age of Innocence. A beautiful evocation of the era for which I am most truly grateful and which I highly recommend viewing.

        • scifisci

          • Camille

            oh thank you so much, scifisci honey. Couldn’t find it in a rushed look and it such a beautiful re-creation that is should be seen and cherished by opera lovers.

            Haven’t seen you here very much for a long time and I hope you are keeping up your practicing and all goes well musically, at least.
            best & kindest wishes to you.

            ps — miss your late night off of the press just rushing back from the opera reviews, too.

            • scifisci

              Thank you camille! I miss the late night reports too as I am no longer in or near the city :-/
              Alas one realizes that life goes on without the opera…

            • Camille

              oh, sorry to hear you are not around, as I relied upon your opinion a great deal, hot off the press (I meant to say above).

              Yes, life does go on without opera and if one is not in a major opera metropolis, why, one would scarcely know it exists at all.

              Keep practicing and good luck in all musical endeavors. Corny wishes, I know, but truly felt.

          • Camille

            THIS, then, is most certainly NOT the Met. I had completely forgotten the decade that The Age of Innocence was placed in. Pre-dates it by at least five to ten years. Well, same set-up and opera as the opening night of the Met. The grotesque greasepaint (something that he caught and portrayed well), the singing in italiano instead of French, as happened so often those days.

            Now I am wondering whether the BAM Opera House was around yet in the seventies, or was possibly it the Astor Opera House, or that place at 14th Street or thereabouts? I can’t remember anything anymore. Yes, yes, one can google, but I wish that I could still remember half of what once I knew.

            • Porgy Amor

              This is the Academy of Music at 14th and Irving Place, the theater that indirectly led to the birth of the Met, as the newly rich families were unable to acquire boxes there. The social occasion of the Faust performance at the Academy is described by Wharton in her wonderfully elegant yet faintly acidic prose, some of which may be borrowed for Ms. Woodward’s voice-over (I have not seen the film in many years nor watched the clip yet).

            • Porgy Amor

              Having posted that, I am not sure why I wrote “indirectly.” It was about as direct as could be.

            • Well, the setting for the movie scene is the Academy of Music on 14th Street, but that theater was demolished in 1926, so the scenes were filmed at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.

            • Camille

              Why thanks, Porgy, I appreciate that bit of information. As I happen to have that book on my reading stand, I now recall, I could have searched it out; for shame.

              At Irving Place, then? I will have to search the exact locarion out sometime. It is rather pathetick to do that for 39th Street and Broadway though.

              I should get badk to Mrs. Wharton, that wise woman. I always enjoy the morbid Lily Bart grande finale, too. Such a precious lily was doomed to die in the rough and tumble cesspool of life, especially as it was in those days.

              Thank you for your kind help.

            • Porgy Amor

              Speaking of film adaptations of Wharton, here is one of my favorite uses of operatic music in a movie, beginning at 1:42. Terence Davies in all of his films is so musically sensitive and astute; I wish he would take a crack at directing an opera. There is nothing going on here beyond a stately pan through an empty house and deserted grounds, with the trio in our ears, but I find it hypnotic. I love the magically cinematic transition from the raindrops on the stream to the sun-dappled waters of the Mediterranean. Three minutes of total trust in music and images. Alas, no calm seas ahead for poor Lily.

              There is subtle continuity here, as this, in the film, is the same “silly opera” to which the awful Trenor takes Lily earlier in the movie — anachronistic, as it was not given in New York until almost 20 years after the story’s 1905-07 time period. But it is a good choice thematically (Wharton does not specify any particular opera for that date).

            • Camille

              Thank you once again, Porgy A., and this time for saving me from The Nose. Yes, very beautiful.

              I had not realised this film was online in its entirety, and at long last will be able to see the entire thing. As yet, only managed to see a great, bleeding chunk on television.

              The one thing wrong with this was the actress playing Lily Bart’s voice. It was just wrong for that time period and that strata of society, at least from what I understand.

            • Porgy Amor

              Eric Stoltz was an odd choice for Selden, too, although in the event he was not as jarringly contemporary as I had expected when it was announced. The casting of supporting roles, especially Linney and McGovern, was quite fine, and Gillian Anderson effectively embodied Lily’s fading glamour, as well as suggested in all manner of subtle expressive means the character’s mounting anxiety and desperation. An underrated film, in my opinion, from an uncompromising and overlooked director. Hope you enjoy!

            • Camille

              Yes, Gillian Anderson, the X-Files girl. Could not recall her name.

              Her look was fine, beautiful, but it was that flat, modern and uncadenced, uncultured manner of speech that spoiled it for me.

              Delighted to find this and I am most grateful and happy.

        • bluecabochon

          So lovely to see these film clips -- thank you, Scifisci and PorgyAmor. TAoI is a beautiful film that requires old-fashioned concentration and a helpful reading of the book beforehand. I enjoyed THoM as I am a Gillian Anderson fan, and both films are well cast, even though Eric Stoltz wasn’t my idea of Selden, either.

          I was wondering if THoM had ever been adapted as an opera and came across this:

          Does anyone know if anything came of it?

      • meowiaclawas

        Grimoaldo, thank you for the laugh! Seriously, Popsy certainly would have jumped over the pit and throttled people by the neck had they tossed a bouquet at her!

        On a related note, is it possible to get cheek reduction surgery? I really can’t look at those Dumbo-eared cheeks anymore…it’s like she’s going to flap them and fly off into the air or something….

      • Camille

        How sweet to remember.

        This is the song Christine Nilsson sang at the opening of the Met or at what other occasion?

        How good of you, kashania, pdp.

        • From what I recall from B. Nilsson’s introduction of the song (which sadly is not included in the posted youtube clip), C. Nilsson didn’t sing it at the Met opening but as part of her recitals. I’m assuming it was her signature encore.

          • rapt

            Reviewing the performance, Andrew Porter says it was “Christine Nilsson’s favorite encore.” Just to prolong the rapture, I’ll quote the rest of his review of Nilsson’s performance, in which he says she sang “with clear, bright freshness of sound, swift, glittering high arpeggios, power to set mountaintops resounding, and delicate, subtle art. At sixty-five, she remains matchless.” That description made me long for years to hear the performance, until the miracle of YouTube made it possible. Thanks for the post, kashania.

            • My pleasure. Her Isolde’s Narration and Curse wasn’t exactly flawless. One can even see Rise Stevens (sitting behind her) wince when she hits her second high B. But at the same time, it was ballsy to come out of retirement and sing such a difficult piece (in key!). But when sang “When I was Seventeen”, the years seemed to melt away and she genuinely came across as a young woman. A special memory.

            • Camille

              Thanks a lot rapt for the Porter review. Miss him.

              I’ll never forget when I opened the pages to read his review of Little Renata’s Lady Macbeth -- “Her attempts at acting were risible.”

              If only that word were used more often instead of all the apologising and posturing that goes on.

            • MontyNostry

              For a moment there I thought Andrew Porter was reviewing **Christine** rather than Birgit. Now, I know Porter is officially an old-timer (as he seems intent on reminding us on the rare occasions he still reviews -- bringing up the time he saw Welitsch, or whatever), but …

            • Monty: I did a double-take too. LOL

  • uwsinnyc

    Good god, please tell me the Domingo as Macbeth is a joke. I absolutely love him, but I think it’s time to retire.

    • bobsnsane

      Yo sinn
      QPF nailed it…(*sob*)
      think Charlie Rose (panel)…CBS This am 2…
      who do U think gets more attention?
      Sounds like a marketing strategy
      jokes aside
      It’s a fund-raising issue …

      • Camille


        where U been?

        • bobsnsane

          Whaddup homies ?

          hiya Cami…

          Doin’ lotsa reading,
          catchin’ up on films (Slumdog!) &
          I B watching college football on Saturday’s
          (swept away by the crimson tide etc) & NFL
          (S M Th)
          2 jockular, eh?

          I hope 2 catch a Frau or 2…but
          I cancelled Sirius &
          it’s MET-On-Demand 4 now
          which is serious fun…&
          I remain active with
          that Dark Side --
          yup, that dreaded
          TEA party Klan
          (pregnant pause…)
          I believe U &
          the crew here
          R all well 2…
          I stay tuned in.

          Kindest regards.

  • operaassport

    I assumed that Netrebko was Macbeth and Calleja was her bride :)

  • Camille

    What I would really like to know is whether or not that is Chanel’s “VAMP” on Nebtrebko’s nails in the marvelous photo above. They have come out with many similar ones since that ginormous hit color. Oh well.

    • uwsinnyc

      I hope this step into heavier vocal territory is not going to wreck her luscious voice.

      May be the dramatic opportunities enticed her to the role, but I’ve never been a big fan of hers in music with lots of little notes. If she does want to go for heavy Verdi, I would rather hear in something like the Forza Leonora which could really showcase the glamour of the voice and singing.

      My 2 cents.

      • antikitschychick

        well, she is singing the Trovatore Leonora next month and also Manon Lescaut next year with Muti. I think the Verismo rep is what suits her voice the most right now.

        But I agree the Forza Leonora would be a good role for her too. She said she wants to sing Elisabetta in Don Carlos but she feels she isn’t ready.

    • antikitschychick

      It IS a beautiful color…and it helps that she has beautiful hands too…I just got a mani & pedi yesterday :-D This is the color I got:

      My nails are shorter than in that pic though.

      • Camille

        Interesting to note.

      • DonCarloFanatic

        Since the topic is nails, I’d like to express my disappointment in Renee Fleming when she played Thais--without a visible manicure. Surely a high-class harlot would have had henna on her hands at least, but the middle-class, practical Renee had short, uncolored nails. Which small detail flung her right out of character, IMO. It’s the little stuff that does it.

        • Camille

          That is a very perceptive and excellent point.

          Tommy wore the dreadlocks, why couldn’t Renêe sport some henna?

        • antikitschychick

          Finally someone noticed that about her! I can’t for the life of me figure out why her nails are so short all the time…I don’t think she bites them and she’s not a pianist so aesthetically speaking I just don’t get why she wouldn’t let them grow or at least get a proper manicure. Nails are a great natural accessory!

          What you mentioned about Thais is indeed a very astute observation, but in that case I blame the costuming department. The devil IS in the details as they say and its their job to keep the devil in check.

  • Bianca Castafiore

    Does Gagnidze sing MacBeth?

    • Camille

      Bianca, I am fainting as I speak!
      Where have you been? You know your sister Nerva has been banished, don’t you?

      I hope you are well and I do so hope you are back.

      with love & kisses!

      • Bianca Castafiore

        Egregia Camillisssima!!!!!

        Well, I have just returned and posted here, but nobody but kashy seemed to have noticed…

        I guess I can still enter a room unnoticed! Who’dda thought!

        Please don’t bring up that woman… No sorella of mine for sure!

        I hope you are doing well. How’s marshieeeee?

        Baci a te!

        • Camille

          Thank goodness you are still all in one piece. I had begun to think that Captain had sold you into bianca slavery!

          Somehow or another I did not see that comment, and I am sorry.

          MarshieMarkII has also gone missing for awhile, until we put out an APB on her a week or so ago and it turned out she has been besieged, BESIEGED I tell you, with work, with the Foundation, with his interior design team, ad infinitum et nauseam. She is still all in one piece, too, and will return after things die down a bit and is able to.

          I am hoping all your jewels are in order, as we had had some qualms about them being pawned or lost or stolen or swiped. Please know you are loved and missed by


          What operas or functions have you got your eagle eye on in the next two months?

          • Bianca Castafiore

            Cammyushka! I hope to get to Norma next week, with Meade and Barton. Later, looking forward to Toscas with Racette and Matos. Of course, further down the line, Frau ohne Schatten! and Prince Igor and Chenier.

            (Sad to say, the Met’s season is not particularly inspiring this year.)

            What about you?????

            • Camille

              Look, take mon avis, chérie,

              Listen to the ListenLive link on the first one, if you can. There is ALSO another ListenLive link at the succeeding performance, so if you have got to get on your horse and charge there, well, all right.

              Yes, the Tosca Matos. I think it is ONE NIGHT ONLY, again! December 20th or something like that? I just noted it the other day.

              I am listening to a lot of FRAU, as I love it, and as it has been already ten years, and dio sa when another one will come by. I would like to hear the debut of Meagan Miller on the 16th, whom I remember very well from her win at the Met Auditions, umpteen years ago. There is a lot going on this month, dearie, the Beethoven Mass, the Peter Grimes with Robertson and Griffey, the White Light Festival with a bunch of stuff, and on and on and on. And right now and until the 10th of November. I have to hurry on that one. I also look forward to the new Falstaff, as I like Maestri very much and hope this new staging will make this work a bit more accessible.

              Most of all, Die Frau ohne Schatten, which I unaccountably love. Also, want to see the Mattei Eugene Onegin, and hopefully povera Poppy will not be “ILL”!!!!

              I have to get my beauty rest now. It takes about twenty hours a day these days, I hope you understand.

              A te, O Cara!

            • Camille

              I am sorry, Bianca, those two Normas are on Sirius, not Listen Live. There has been only one performance and it has since transpired.

              Sorry to mislead you.

            • Bianca Castafiore


              No worries, I did listen a bit to the Norma with La Radvanovsky, whom I unfortunately cannot appreciate. I find her voice rather fragile and tremulous, and the tonal quality not to my taste. On top of that, she’s a terrible actress — I can’t believe they are giving her more Toscas!

              Ah yes, Mattei is worth hauling oneself to the big barn, even if one must put up with poor Marina (talk about fragile!).

              You do not need any beauty rest, cherie, if you ask me, as we all know, your natural beauty shines forever!


            • Camille

              Bianca chérie—I usually share your opinion but on opening night, I swear, she got past some of her usual problems and many were greatly encourged. By the time I heard it last Friday it had lapsed badk to the status quo. She made a mighty effort, but she just cannot act this complex, overwrought character with good intentions, I am sorry to say. I wish it were that easy.

              Still, it was leagues apart from the other disasters I had witnessed. I am hoping that Barton just kills it this Thursday and someone will light a fire under Angela’s bumm!! If she stands there like a statue, as in the Beatrice……..please, no!

              I am praying dor a miracle. G-d only knows when next we will see a Norma and with whom!

              Very happy you are back safely from your travels !

            • Bianca Castafiore

              Schön Cammyuchen!

              I think Sondra is probably still the better Norma of all the recent ones at the Met, no? Perhaps better than some of the gargling prima donnas that we have had in the recent past. When I say fragile, I just can’t get past that sort of tremulous half-voice she has, although she does have a very loud and exciting top. I saw two of her Toscas maybe two years ago, and she did improve by the second performance, but still, Puccini is not for her (and she did get a big hand for ‘Vissi d’arte’).

              I agree with you about Barton and Meade. We shall see. It could be a delicious pairing. I cannot make it this Thursday, so I’m stuck with Morris as Oroveso next week.

              Thank you so much, my dear carissima Camilletta!!!!

            • Bianca Castafiore

              I should never type in a language I don’t speak,

              Schöne Cammille!!!!!

            • I think Sondra is probably still the better Norma of all the recent ones at the Met, no?

              Yes, and you don’t sweat much for a fat girl.

            • Bianca Castafiore

              Honey, these days one takes the emeralds, rubies and pearls one is gifted with… or one stays home… and let’s face it, the Met these days offers plenty of pebbles, n’est ce pas?

            • Bianca Castafiore


              Your assessment of the opening night Norma seems to match that of the NYT critic, Vivien Schweitzer, who found mostly positive things to say about Sondra. Myself, I have not heard her give a great performance, but then I missed her Ballos last year.

            • Camille

              jeeeeez, where was I,

              Bianca, your jewels are safe, then? Mine are all in the safety deposit box

              There is also the ABT Ballet going on from the October 30th Gala until the 10th of November, in case you are interested, in the Coq Theatre @ Lincoln Centre. First time in YEARS. Guess the Coq will now be dedicated solely to the Terpsichorean Muse…?

              The Peter Grimes is with Anthony Dean Griffey, whom I have always been very fond of, on the centennial (and St. Cecilia’s Day) of his birthday in Carnegie Hall with Mo. David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony with a load of Met singers to boot. Young and old. I note Liam Bonner on the list and hopefully he will show up in the same Speedos he wore in Le Roi Malgré Lui.

              Yes, Schweitzer said that and thank god TT was out busying himself somewhere else at the time. The first performance was cut from a different cloth, at least vocally and from what was heard over the radio. Last Friday was the same old, same old, only not quite as tremulous, quavery, and inexact in pitch. Yes, great big high notes and she never apologizes for them nor looks pleadingly at the audience, as if to be indulged for them. That I like. For the rest, it looked like a college production of an opera, in terms of her acting abilities. Maybe I will go to the Meade Norma, but frankly, I don’t expect that much and Monsieur Camille did hear her at Caramoor and said “good, but not great”, so all in all, what are you going to do?

              There are a bunch of other things but all for the moment as I have to get back to the trials and tribulations of Julia, Roman Vestal Virgin, from the Paris Opera.

              Love you a bushel and a peck and hoping you stay warm as the temperatures are beginning to fall. well, it’s Fall. and it’s my kind of weather!

              The Fallen Woman

            • Camille

              That’s BRITTEN’s centennial, perhaps needless to say but not made plain in my utterances above.

              Upon YOUR AuTHORI=TAY, I am going to go to hear the HD of Tosca, with Racette, and if I am not happy about her singing, I will demand my shekels back from you, Madame!!! I’ll take a chance on an HD, where I wouldn’t in house. She is a quite good actress and I am curious to see what she does with this weird staging. You, apparently, said she brought it to life in believable fashion, so I will take a chance! You could not PAY ME to go see/hear the Radvan as Tosca. Please. Stand and sing cardboard nice ladies is about the limit of her histrionic capacities. Nice lady. No actress.

    • antikitschychick

      welcome back Bianca :-D. Sigh…if only luvtennis would come back as well. I miss him!.

  • Todd

    Keenlyside is singing Macbeth at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin next month, and of course is already on the Covent Garden DVD; surely he’d fit into the star casting the Met has in mind.

    • antikitschychick

      he would and I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing him in the role again but she is already singing opposite him for her role debut this summer @ Bavarian State Opera (which I will hopefully get to see live! :-D). Plus, I think its good they are giving someone else a chance. Keenlyside is hot and sings the role well and all that good stuff, ma he is already featured in the Covent Garden DVD so this would be a little overkill, even if he’s never done the role at the Met.

    • Rackon

      I’d vote for that.

  • Constantine A. Papas

    What happened to Pitas with his big tear? He sang Macduff (including the HD) in the last production of Macbeth. He’s not on the Met’s roaster any longer?

    • manou

      Pittas sings all over Europe these days -- he gets good notices and so is rarely roasted.

    • Pitas also just finshed some Rodolfos in Toronto and is coming back in the winter for a run of Riccardo/Gustavo opposite the Amelia of Adrianne Pieczonka.

  • Cicciabella

    A Harlot’s Progress with Diana Damrau streaming now at