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“Die Frau,” nicht ohne chattin’

Where else would you be this evening at 7:25, cher public, but in La Casa della Cieca whilst Die Frau Ohne Schatten emanates from the Met? (Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Those of you who feel like following along with the music may download the vocal score or partitur from the invaluable IMSLP Petrucci Music Library.


  • 21
    Milady DeWinter says:

    I agree with the general rapture about last night’s FrOSch -- just the orchestral playing itself eclipsed the wonderful past performances at the Met with Leonie, Ludwig etal.
    I was not surprised at all the Georke turned in a superstar stuts read of the role, but I was a little surprise that the equally laudable Schwannelim did not get the same roar of applause as Goerke (deservedly) got at the curtain calls. I have not heard the Empress’s tricky, flourish-filled Act I music delivered so trippingly since, well, ever. And while Komlossi is not the finest voice, she certainly delivered every nuance and note of the demanding role of Die Arme (I was thinking to myself “Modl, Modl, prime Modl!” in this role which needs a voice to sound the depths but also circles the soprano register, a lot). Great night. Up past my bedtime, so Milady is grouchy, but happily dazed, at work today. The whole performance seemed to make this complex score come together in my head, for the first time since that wonderful DVD (and production) with Studer, Marton, etal.

    • 21.1
      Krunoslav says:

      MIlady. Did you listen at home? What Schwanewilms had to offer would have come across much better via radio. She was admirable in the house, but very restrained except in the melodrame-- vocally it was more like a Joan Carlyle-weight voice and did not have much impact in Rysanek, Voigt or Bjoner terms.

      Made me wonder what else she might do in that size house-- she sounded more like an Aithra than a Helena. Daphne, maybe?

      Having seen her onstage and in concert and on DVDs before, I was surprised how limited she was in terms of facial mobility; I think for her debut she might have taken a leaf from the playbook of ‘America’s Soprano’.

      • 21.1.1
        Cocky Kurwenal says:

        Precisely my impression of how Schwanewilms would go down in this role in this house, Krunoslav.

        I had the same thought re your last paragraph when watching her in the Salzburg DVD, so I’m not sure it was in honour of the Met.

          armerjacquino says:

          Yes, ungallant though it is to suggest, Mme Schwanewilms has an impressively unlined forehead for her age, and her face does seem less mobile now than it was five or ten years ago…

      • 21.1.2
        Clita del Toro says:

        Oh, please--imitate Reneigh’s fake, insincere, facial expressions--no way. Schwanewilms does not have to resort to such sickening yuckiness.

          Krunoslav says:

          Clita, you miss the point:

          • Clita del Toro says:


            • Gualtier M says:

              I actually think that the “facial immobility” was part of Schwanewilms interpretation of the Kaiserin -- that she was an otherwordly being who was sort of “above it all” and saw things from a distanced non-human vantage point. Kind of a Greta Garbo type -- a mysterious being removed from human concerns. Sphinx-like. Schwanewilms did become more facially mobile during the big spoken scene in Act III when the Empress becomes more human.

              The tradition at the Met for Kaiserin has been heavy jugendlich heldensoprans or lirisches hochdramatischs (made that one up): Rysanek, Voigt, Bjoner, Gessendorf, Johanna Meier, Ruth Falcon, Sue Patchell, Eva Marton et al. J. Meier and Gessendorf are closer to Schwanewilms in weight and color but still heavier. I was surprised how well it worked in the dress rehearsal but it is closer to Studer and Janowitz. It does make the two soprano women very contrasted.

    • 21.2
      Clita del Toro says:

      Milady, don’t you know --Met audiences want and prefer LOUD, not necessarily nuanced, subtle, beautiful performances. DUH! I knew there would be complaints about Schwanewilms’ voice not projecting, blah, blah, blah. They said the same for her Marschallin at LOC. BS.
      Dan Kessler on opera-l is bitching about Schwanewilms (deaf voice queens will always be around!).
      He writes, in part: “Still, there
      are other areas of her vocal arsenal that are not all that “glamorous”…some
      lower notes were just not “pretty” and I believe it was a mistake for the
      Met …in this revival …to restore some semi-spoken lines for the Empress
      which sounded truly wretched as utterd by Ms. Schwanewilms.” And: “Also, there are times when Ms. Schwanewilms’s voice does not proejct well, a
      fact I observed when I witnessed her Marschallin at the Chicago Lyric a few
      season’s ago.” So, what else in new?

      • 21.2.1
        Krunoslav says:

        Met audiences are what they are, and Kessler is a — no, let’s not go there. That doesn’t mean Strauss’s orchestration isn’t massive played by that orchestra in that house. Artistry is great but context matters. Anne Evans, for example, sounded at the Met like a Freia when she sang Leonore, and was outsung by Helen Donath whose focused-voice Marzelline carried in a way that Evans did not.

        At the time of the FRAU premier Maria Jeritza (per all descriptions) had a big glamorous, shining sound. If Strauss wanted the Empress to sound like Frieda Hempel or Selma Kurz he presumably could have written the part accordingly.

        I like Schwanewilms, but in the context of her surroundings something seemed lacking in a way it doesn’t n the Salzburg DVD- though it’s an interesting take on the part.

        Where, by the way, is Jill Grove, who would have seemed the obvious choice for the Amme?

          la vociaccia says:

          Kruno- As I understand, Jill Grove is covering these performances of Frau

          La Cieca says:

          At the time of the FRAU premier Maria Jeritza (per all descriptions) had a big glamorous, shining sound.

          Well, yes, but also at the time of the FRAU premier Jeritza was the most famous singer in Vienna and one of the three or four most famous opera singers in the world. Her presence in the cast would assure the utmost press and public attention for any new work, and surely that was part of the appeal of casting her. (She was also tall and beautiful, which couldn’t have hurt either.)

          Strauss wrote the Färberin for Lotte Lehmann, too, and there is little chance that such a voice (an Arabella/Manon/Elsa -- say, for example, Anja Harteros) would be cast in the part today.

      • 21.2.2
        RosinaLeckermaul says:

        I don’t understand the fuss about Schwanewilms not projecting. I was in the rear of the balcony and she came through loud and clear. The man behind me commented, “I didn’t think her voice would be that big.”

      • 21.2.3
        Camille says:

        Maybe that is because Sybil’s Barn is impossible to ‘really’ sing in, except for a few very exceptional singers, and the tendency is to scream.

        Or just give up and sing for yourself on the stage, which is what a lot of what I hear sounds to me. Why bother? It’s impossible so I’ll just do what I know and trust to the marvelous acoustic.

        Not the same. At least Netrebko, for all her faults, always gives the sensation of projecting outwardly and with the audience very much in mind, which is an attribute I forgive her much else for.

    • 21.3
      alejandro says:

      I felt very removed from her performance until Act 3 where the singing dazzled and her interpretation lit up . . . I suspect this had something to do with the narrative arc of the Kaiserin, so I am not surprised. But the night belonged to Barak and his Wife, IMO.

    • 21.4
      pasavant says:

      What does stuts mean?

  • 22
    OpinionatedNeophyte says:

    Did anyone record this sturmstunden?

  • 23
    OpinionatedNeophyte says:

    There is far too little Georke on YouTube

  • 24
    scifisci says:

    I was in the house last night and must preface my comments by saying that I was in the third row of the orchestra, so I cannot really comment on projection or balance. That being said, I found the entire performance to be quite overwhelming. Jurowski has that elusive way with the score where it doesn’t ever seem to drag…like barenboim’s T+I or gatti’s parsifal…and the orchestra played as well as I’ve ever heard them, with such brilliance and sweeping lyricism.
    As for the singers, Goerke has a big, secure, penetrating TRUE dramatic soprano top to bottom--something quite rare. Perhaps at times a bit too driven, but that is a minor quibble. Her intensity and abandon were breathtaking. Likewise, I felt that Schwanewilms is also a very special singer though in a different way. It seemed as though the audience did not really “get” her and indeed as someone remarked earlier in thread, the applause for her was noticeably not as enthusiastic as it was for the hometown girl. Yet she was the most mesmerizing singer onstage and surprisingly made her character the most sympathetic and three-dimensional IMO. The voice too, while idiosyncratic, is unique. The instrumental sound with flute-like purity yet substance on top, and the aristocratic, stylish way she sings are reminiscent of elisabeth grummer (did she ever sing the empress??). Not to mention her demented “mad scene”, for me one of the many highlights of the evening. Komlosi coped as well as can be expected with the nurse, better on the upper extremes than the bottom. Kerl had some beautiful moments and looked very well as the emperor. Reuter’s voice sounds a bit rough but his sympathetic acting more than compensated for it. The production is gorgeous in parts, evoking the mystery and otherworldliness of the non-earthly realm better than any other production i’ve seen, admittedly only on video. I was almost blinded by it though (I say that only half-kidding). Surprising for a non-HD revival, it did not seem slap-dash or underrehearsed--there was some genuine dramatic tension in there.

    • 24.1
      Clita del Toro says:

      Scifisci--love your review of Schwanewilms’ singing and voice--it agrees with Bill’s and moi! I have seen too many wonderful and gorgeous performances at the Met which the audiences didn’t “get” because they were not booming!

    • 24.2
      bluecabochon says:

      I had no problem hearing anyone, (orchestra row S) even over the orchestra; the hard-surfaced set with walls, ceiling and floor I’m sure had something to do with it by not absorbing much sound. It was a thrilling evening all around and the audience seemed excited and happy to be there -- saw many friends and colleagues and faces from the opera and theatre world.

      It was a pleasure to attend an evening where there was no worry about a singer making it through the evening -- all principals were in top form and gave committed performances. The only vocal criticism I have is that there is a worn quality to the Amme’s voice but it’s a killer role and she moved and acted well. I would have wished for more dramatically from Schwanewilms other than looking ethereal and waving arms like a bird; I was watching for a character arc from her and it was there, sort of, but I wanted a bit more. You have to care about the Empress but I found it difficult to as she just seemed so placid and inexpressive until her moment in Act III. Kerl was also very restrained acting-wise, but I suppose that it was all part of the Konzept. It was all a bit park & bark for me -- stand still, waft around a bit, don’t get close or even look at each other in the spirit realm vs. hardscrabble life, no privacy and too much crap around on the earthly level. The performances from Reuter & Goerke were much warmer and more detailed, which I think was the reason for the huge ovations they received. Goerke seemed overwhelmed by the response, but she earned it! I don’t see why the Emperor and Empress were directed to behave as if frozen -- their world is a real one on the same level as the earthly realm with the same passions, emotions and problem issues as Barak & Co.

      Sets and lights of the spirit world were striking, and the reflective surfaces of the spirit world were gorgeous and sometimes blinding. Epileptics beware -- the third act might be a problem with flashing lights! The costumes were puzzling and rather un-special and I found the confusion and industrial clutter of Barak’s world beyond ugly. You would want contrast between the two worlds and understanding why the Dyer’s Wife hates her life but I was worried for the cast, negotiating all of that extra scenery that was in the end quite distancing. I admit that my concerns are probably NOT shared by many, and I can be easily frustrated by sloppy entrances & exits and lighting cues and technical sloppiness in general. There was enough of that to keep me a little less than fully enraptured, but it was triumphant evening. The score is thrilling, magical and overwhelming and I have rarely heard the Met orchestra play better. Kudos to Jurowski and the musical staff.

      I did have the pleasure of seeing JJ in his working mode and meeting The Iron Tongue of Midnight but missed anyone else and was looking for you, Liz! Next time. :)

      I’m sure that filming this mirrored set would have been a technical nightmare, but it’s truly a shame that this will not be shown in HD.

      • 24.2.1
        mjmacmtenor says:

        With any luck, the Met will revive this is a year or two and do an HD/DVD then. The Nose is being revived this season and getting an HD broadcast. It was not scheduled for HD when the production premiered, but the opera was a “sleeper hit” of the season. In response, we now have an HD broadcast. Somewhat similarly, the Aida with Botha and Urmana was a dud (snooze fest), so they did a 2nd HD only a couple of years later with a better cast (Alagna, Lumi, etc.) to make up for it.
        Based on the responses, it seems that Die Frau and Norma are potential “sleeper hits” that should be revived soon for HD, assuming the right cast can be assembled. Die Frau certainly needs to retain its female leads (Goerke in a breakout star performance), and Norma should combine Radvanovsky and Barton. We can only hope (and start a letter writing campaign?).

          antikitschychick says:

          +1 :-D although Id prefer Angela rather than Sondra but I certainly wouldn’t be too upset with the combination you mention, which I agree is very likely.

  • 25
  • 26
    aulus agerius says:

    Does the messenger usually become a soprano at the end ….or was I hallucinating by that point?

    • 26.1
      alejandro says:

      It’s a different role . . . and it sounded like an alto to me … but it was a man . . . so countertenor? But it was a big LOUD countertenor.

  • 27
    aulus agerius says:

    Thank you, U!!!

  • 28
    Bill says:

    Scifisci -- I do not believe Gruemmer ever tackled
    the Kaiserin during her long career. She was
    discovered by von Karajan in 1941 (a year after he
    hired Seefried) for Aachen and sang such roles
    as Alice in Falstaff, and Octavian and seemed
    to limit her roles to those well within her fach --
    up to Elsa and Agathe (similar to what Isokoski has
    done) and hence had a rather long career with little vocal decline. Janowitz seems to have been the
    only Viennese lyric Mozart soprano who attempted
    the Kaiserin and only one performance under von
    Karajan. But Schwanewilms, with a similar voice,
    was really very good yesterday. One could put her in the lineage of Lemnitz, Janowitz, Gessendorf,
    Studer with their instrumental voices and perhaps Varady and that is indeed high praise. But unlike others who post on this blog -- I like this type of voice. I wonder if Margaret Price ever considered the role before her high notes began to become
    troublesome. In my opinion she sang too little Strauss (and should have skipped Norma and Verismo roles). By the way did Lemnitz ever sing die
    Kaiserin? Probably not. Interestingly
    Lemnitz, Teschemacher, Seefried and Gruemmer all came out of the opera house in Aachen and all excelled as Agathe and in Mozart. I have never
    been to that opera house I know there was destruction at the end of WW II -- was it restored as it was?

    • 28.1
      Camille says:

      Interesting that fact, Bill, about those four great sopranos all working out of Aachen, a house one hears not too much about these days.

      Also, thank you very much for your comments on FroSch last night and I would largely and generally be in accordance with them. I will not see/ hear it until another performance and I’m glad to wait as it seems there is a ways to go before this one will really gell. I think Schwanewilms needs to be seen as well as heard, as well.

    • 28.2
      scifisci says:

      It is a wonder that M. Price did not sing more of the strauss diva roles. Her voice and persona would suggest a good fit, but perhaps she just could not resist tackling the italian divas instead. Speaking of Prices, I think it’s a shame leontyne never did end up singing the kaiserin (preferably before the early 70s). Leonie was ubiquitous in the role I suppose, not that I would complain about that--the searing intensity of her voice even on recordings pretty much spoils the role for everyone else. I wonder if Mattila could have done it in the 90s?

  • 29
    OpinionatedNeophyte says:

    Listening to the end of Act 2. Goerke just made me throw a shoe into my book case, she better SANG!!! Also she’s giving me Jessye Norman teas.

    • 29.1
      Milady DeWinter says:

      Thank you all for you in-house reports.
      Yes, Clita and Kruno -- I see your point about the quality of the BIG BOOM voices that the Colosseum audiences hold so dear to their ears. Bill -- you invoked Grummer, and that’s what I was hearing in Schwanewilms. Not exactly Grummer perhaps, but “old school” German sopranos of the immediate post-WWII era. She’s certainly got “it”, even if “it” is not in the Rysanek/Bjoner mode, but more of the lighter but penetrating types like Lemnitz/Janowitz/Studer -- I like a lot. Strauss may have conceived the Empress along Jertizan lines, but damn, Schwanewilms got every little fioriture flourish that festoons the Empress’s opening music -and right on the button. (Let’s not also forget to praise the army of supporting roles, especially those ladies who represented Die Amme’s lures to the Dyer’s Wife -- tougher music than the fey trio in Ariadne, and they sounded like expert Fiakermilli’s all.
      There was some patchy singing from Komlosi who by nature doesn’t have the instrument of a Modl or a Grove -- but still, she indicated every nuance of the complex Amme.
      Kerl did really well, especially in the opening scenes as the shallow, hunting we will go Emperor. (Did anyone hear his interview earlier in the week with Ms. Juntwait? Weighing in on the psycho-sexual nature of the four main leads motivations, he commented that the Empress’s big problem was the unconsumated state of her “vaginity.” Margaret plotzed.
      Who’s Afraid of Vagina Woolf?
      Anyway, Herr Strauss showed a little more love towards his leading tenor than usual, but Barak’s music is so melodious and compelling -- Reuter was excellent, even if he started to run a smidge low on steam towards the hoime stretch -- but who wouldn’t? That’s some tough singing.
      BTW, Krunoslav/Clita -- I was listening on Sirius from home, in my easy chair, through the sound system -- never on the computer -- I only do that at work or as a backup when sunspots ruin the satellite reception. Damned solar system. Of course that means I don;t hear hear what is heard in the house -- that’s the curse of digital balance etal., but still, I was gooseflesh all evening. The sound of this orchestra is just astounding and (pace, dear European amis)possibly the best opera orchestra in the world? The Bayreuthians are to die for, but can they play Rossini and Shostakovitch and Puccini with equal precision, unity, and elan? (Yes, I did hear a couple of those brass flubs, but no big deal). Can’t wait to hear the next broadcast. Also, please excuse any typos.

      • 29.1.1
        Clita del Toro says:

        Milady, I wasn’t in house--just listened on Sirius.

      • 29.1.2
        marshiemarkII says:

        Do you think “vaginity” might have something to do with the grande voce di vagina??? :-) :-) :-)
        Oops, but good ol’ Ebe was not singing last night!

          Camille says:

          oh, MMIItm, you have such a dirty mind!!! Bad girl!!

          You know, I have to tell you a grande DANKE SEHR for posting your girl’s “Ist main Liebster dahin” yesterday, as I had meant to listen to it in the past and had, for about five seconds, and then thought, never mind another time. I listened to the whole thing and thought it absolutely excellent. Why did she want to sing die Frau? Because it is supposedly “DRAMATIC”? Her Kaiserin was really something and seemed to me to come fairly easily and fluently, as well. Maybe now sometime I will research that recording, notwithstanding the fact that Coca Cola, as you will have him, phones it in, LITERALLY!!!! I know I was deeply suspicious about his participation at the time of recording but thought, “Oh well, it must be numero 250 on his list of opera roles, so now he can check that one off, too.”

          Happy Friday and hope you do not spend too much on silks this weekend. My Achilles heel as well!!

          Frau Cowbells

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Mia carisssima CammiB, you know MMII is dirtiest of them all :-)

            I am glad you liked that little snippet, she is so young and fresh sounding, although for me the Kaiserin will always be la Leonie of 1978!!!! unforgettable. But what is sad is that there also was a marvelous Dream from Act II with Hildegard and it is now gone, gone. what a pity. All the same we should start a campaign to get that tape released officially by the Opera di Pargi, it is a fabulous cast, and the whole thing is even more than the sum of its parts, imagine Dame Gwyneth in great voice, the young and glorious Rene Kollo, and the sensational Mignon Dunn all conducted by the sublime Von Dohnanyi, it really is a dream cast as our caro Monty never tires of telling us, much to my delight :-)

            Those silks….. my total everlasting perdition…. ;-)

            • Camille says:

              Oh dear. With the Great Dame, too? The evil specialist sublime, Miss Dunn, and I was always so partial to Herr Kollo. And, von Dohnanyi!!!!!! You are right, that was as good as it gets and Schmach und SHANDE on that bad Opéra de Paris for withholding this treasure!!!!! Che vergogna.

              Oh mmii, you are not any old dirtygurl, but just a Grande Odalisque, something quite apart!

            • marshiemarkII says:

              Oh and I left out Walter Berry as Barak, can you ask fo’ mo’?!?!?!?!?!

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Oh CammiB, as you can see above Coca Cola has been retired, replaced by the far more appropriate Mai’N Li Bei Chuan :D

            • Camille says:

              Marshie!! I cannot sound out the very last word as I do not speak Mandarin. The rest, I sussed out. Can you give me a clue?

              And when was he reborn thus? Is this in preparation for his next role, Turandot’s Pop?

              Quizzically yours!

            • marshiemarkII says:

              Hint: try Spanish phonetics for Mein Lieber Schwan!

              I wish I could claim credit for such brilliance, but Bob Weiss, a common friend of MrsJC and myself, who passed on in the late 90s and I found out about it here from the Mrs herself, was the first one to come up with the “Chinese Menu Lohengrin”, back in 1984, during the sensational performances with the greatest Anna Tomowa Sintow and the fabulosu Ortrud of Eva Marton. His pronunciation was so horrid, making a kind of Choo-an sound (equivalent to Spanish “U”) that Bob said “he sounds like is ordering Sechuan food” :D and from there it springs forth.

              So MMII with a little imagination, on top of it, has come up with Mai’N Li Bei Chuan, capisce carisssisssima?

            • Camille says:

              Gotcha, mia Marschallina!

              What I used to do is always try to play Spanish or Italian, whichever, when he was singing in “Russian”. THAT was a lotta fun!!

              !!!Arriba, Arriba!!!!!

            • marshiemarkII says:

              In the rush I left out the “Lo”, in the original, it was Lo Main style Li Bei Chuan :D . Bob would say it sounds as if he is ordering from the Chinese Menu.
              Bob Weiss was an incredibly witty and knowledgeable opera queen, the likes of which are very few, if any, in existence. He would be a treasure of parterre if he were still alive. I had lost track of him in the 90s, but always harbored hopes one day I’d be walking past 72nd and Broadway and he’d pop out of nowhere, camp as ever, so it was with horrific sadness that I heard from the Mrs here, that he had succumbed to the evil ailment that afflicted so many of the beloved opera queens from the 1980s…..

          • MontyNostry says:

            Placi’s Kaiser (which I actually only listened to for the first time within the last 10 years) was the recording that really made me start to wonder whether he was ever as good as I thought he was. And I have to agree, Cami, that Hilde was far better suited, vocally at least, to the Kaiserin.

      • 29.1.3
        Camille says:

        hahahaha! I wish I had heard THAT interview instead of the other countless inane Junkwaitian attempts at such.

        Vaginity? Gotta love it.

        Yes, old school German sopranoism. It will be a bit of a tough sell in Sybil’s Barn. I did love her recitation in the Dritter Akt. Mad. Can’t wait to see THAT!


          Milady DeWinter says:

          Junkwaitian -- oh stop Camille! Sometimes though, my patience is tried….
          But, just as an add-on, after all that discussion of vaginity: yes indeed: the ruby-rich voiced Ms. Goerke deserved every bit of that huge ovation. And I do think that perhaps Mr. and Mrs. Barak are more sympathetic than Mr. and Mrs. Kiekkobad. I’ve heard that Goerke girl go from an imposing debutante Iphigenie (in the famous “Naked” Glimmerglass show -- which also launched the less vocally gifted, but bustier, Mr. Gunn)to these heights and she’s just a darling. And I really liked the somewhat lighter voiced Empress as a contrast to the darker-tinted Mrs. B.
          Goerke is also the very best Eboli I’ve heard since the days of Bumbry and Verrett.

      • 29.1.4
        MontyNostry says:

        What was Kerl talking about? I don’t think there’s any question of the Kaiserin still being a ‘vagin’. The Amme says of the Kaiser: “Er ist ein Jäger und ein Verliebter, sonst ist er nichts! Im ersten Dämmer schleicht er von ihr, wenn Sterne einfallen ist er wieder da!” So, when he’s not hunting, he’s shtupping the Kaiserin, isn’t he?

          marshiemarkII says:

          what on earth is shtupping caro Monty. In the good ol’ Murrikah I think it’s callled shagging :D

          marshiemarkII says:

          Caro Monty and Regina, you were mentioning Martina Serafin earlier on this thread, I just realized that I will be hearing her as the Feldmarschallin no less, at the Met on December 3rd, when I go to see Mario Chang’s Italian Singer so I’ll be happy to report on her current state of voice and otherwise.
          Mille grazie carisssimo for the Referenz ;-) , one always learning something new at parterre!

          • oedipe says:

            Serafin was Sieglinde in the Paris Ring last spring and she sounded great. I prefer her as Sieglinde than as Tosca.

            • Bianca Castafiore says:

              I just remembered that I did see Serafin in the house as Sieglinde. Yes, she is a tall and very beautiful woman, but I thought the instrument was much inferior to Westbroek’s in terms of richness and beauty.

              Just heard Serafin’s “Vissi d’arte” on YT and the tone does tend go a bit strident up high. On the other hand, this is a bit better done:

            • MontyNostry says:

              Westbroek’s tone is richer, but it lacks Serafin’s definition. I would find it quite hard to describe Westbroek’s voice, actually. It’s a good voice, but there’s nothing very distinctive about it. The edge in Serafin’s voice (which is, of course, not to everyone’s taste) makes it more exciting to my ear -- and perhaps more Italianate too.

            • marshiemarkII says:

              Oh I like this Tosca a lot, she sounds very glamorous actually, the voice very Italianate, with plenty of legato, and a nicely integrated voce di vagina, slightly covered chest.

            • marshiemarkII says:

              Wow I really liked her certa sono del perdono, fabulous support on the way up!

            • oedipe says:

              I too find Serafin’s voice more distinctive than Westbroek’s, whom I have always found somewhat dull.

            • Bianca Castafiore says:

              Here’s something else I’ve been hearing:

              Obviously we all respond differently to different voices, but I find her tone rather thin and a bit pushed up top, even acidic. But I also hear how similarly her voice is a bit covered like Westbroek’s. I guess I prefer Eva-Marie’s richer, darker and throbbing sound. But both were very compelling Sieglindes when I saw them at the Met. Westbroek also had the better partners as Siegmund (Kauffmann and Skelton) than Serafin (O’Neill).

            • MontyNostry says:

              This was one of the first recordings that turned me on to Serafin as a singer worth taking of. Some rough edges vocally, but stylish and moving. Her singing has ‘face’.

            • Bianca Castafiore says:


              Yes, Serafin’s “La mamma morta” is quite compelling. Maybe verismo is her forte????

          • MontyNostry says:

            Well, marshie, the Marschallin has **definitely** been shtupping.

  • 30
    • 30.1
      MontyNostry says:

      A question, Superconductor … I don’t quite see that the Nurse/Amme has a hidden agenda: she is loyal to the Kaiserin and set on ensuring that her mistress obtains a shadow. I suppose, though, that her agenda is hidden from Herr und Frau Barak.

  • 31
    Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

    The Rysanek Marathon continues! A triple dose of Leonie today: “Medea” (Wien – 1972; highlights) with Prevedi and Popp, a complete “Cavalleria” (München – 1978) with Domingo and Varnay, and highlights from Leonie’s studio “Cavalleria” (1953) auf Deutsch (ya gotta love the alternate high note she takes at the end of the duet with Alfio). Just go to:

    and check back for new additions (lots of Strauss, Wagner, and Verdi to come, but also Puccini, Janácek, and Mozart!). If you like the Web site, please share it! Vielen Dank!

    (MMII: I will upload that 1978 “Die Frau ohne Schatten” which you requested in the next days.)

    • 31.1
      Camille says:

      Uh-oh. That Leonie Medea was something I could not handle, not even me! I traded it in at Academy Records sometime in the nineties.

      Is Academy Records still there? I am afraid to go down there to look, as everything is gone that was.

      The Cavalleria, though, I look forward to! May g-d bless and keep you Jungferissima!!! On Sunday I go to see your old company at the David H. Coq Theatre! I will let you know if one of the ballerinas stumbles!!


      • 31.1.1
        Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

        I’m afraid I cannot help you with Academy Records: it is now 10 years since I was last in America. I looked at your ABT program. I can’t believe Julie Kent is still dancing! Perhaps she is on the Renée Fleming Diet for Body and Soul. I just hope they don’t butcher Mr. B’s sublime “T&V!” Do they now use the ugly Christian Lacroix costumes?

          Camille says:

          Yes, Julie Kent is a part of the reason I am going, although my husband strongly objects to the program and doesn’t want to see it, so I may be gifting my ticket to some little girl in the Josie Robertson Plaza.

          Mostly, I am going for the Sylphides and for Chopin, of which there is never enough for me. Last year’s visit from the Paris Opera Ballet still has me in a romantic daze, for I had never seen Giselle danced, or especially had the music played, as well as that. The other ballet companies, no matter how professional and capable, just never make the same poetry of it as the Parisiens. I will give you my take on the Theme and Variations, not that I know anything about it, you will excuse me, bitte, but Mr. B is always good to me!!!!!!!

          Bis später mit heissen kuessies—-!

          • Rackon says:

            Camille, I could not possibly resist ABT doing Mr B’s magnificent Theme and Variations, no matter what the costumes. It is wonderful…Sleeping Beauty, Russian classicism and American energy distilled by the master into 20 DIVINE minutes. Essential Balanchine.

            I am a NYCB fangurl thru ‘n thru but two of the best Giselles I ever saw were with ABT, Natalia Markhova and Anthony Dowell in one cast, Mischa and Gelsey the other. Prett damn special.

            • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

              Rackon, I’m sure you mean Natalia Makarova (not to be confused with Alicia Markova). I saw Misha’s ABT debut “Giselle” with her, but her everyday partner before Baryshnikov’s defection, Ivan Nagy, was no slouch! I also got to see all three occasions when Gelsey was partnered by Nureyev, including a complete “Raymonda” -- what a couple! ABT is (mostly) better at the traditional story ballets (not that NYCB has many in its repertoire), but I need regular doses of the 70-some extant ballets by Mr. B! And as much as I love “T&V,” I prefer it in the context of the complete “Tchaikovsky Suite No. 3” which, I believe, is only it the rep at NYCB.

            • Camille says:

              Thank you so much. I am greatly encouraged by your remarks as I do not believe I have seen the T&V before and am always happy to discover a new Mr B œuvre.

              I shall be wearing my best tutu with my ballet shoes!!!

            • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

              Cami, just so you have some historical context, “Theme and Variations” premiered in 1947, shortly after “The Four Temperaments” and Symphony in C” and before “Orpheus.” The music is the fourth movement of Tchaikovsky’s Orchestral Suite No. 3, and Balanchine eventually choreographed the entire suite in 1970. NYCB still gives the complete four-movement “Suite” and the separate “T&V” with different designs.

            • Rackon says:

              Oh god yes I meant Natalia not Markova aka Alice Marks, who was before my time.. I saw Ivan Nagy dance many times, what a handsome and noble artist. He had all the prince roles pre- Mischa.

              AFAIK, Tchaikovsky Suit #3 is only in rep at NYCB. But T&V was first a standalone for Alonso and Youskevitch @ABT. I love it it by itself, maybe even prefer it that way, as I’m not wild about the first sections of Suite #3. As much as I revere Mr B, some of his swoony dancers in long dresse with hair down don’t thrill me so much. ABT used to do a pretty good job of maintaing T&V -- it’s a bear to cast. I had a tape of a fab Live from Lincoln Center with Gelsey and Mischa but its unwatchable now, alas.

            • turings says:

              It’s on YouTube now, Rackon – a bit blurry, but kind of magnificent:

              I would love to see it live!

            • Camille says:

              Oh DANKE, Allerliebsten Jungfer! Just now saw this and am most humbly grateful to receive this information.

              I am breaking in my beautiful Nina Ricci ballerina slippers this evening and so looking forward to a beautiful afternoon. At least, at the ballet I do not suffer as I do at other musical events as I am burdened with any particular knowledge. I just know what I like and follow my instinct.

              You are the best DuennaJungfer in die Welt!

              You make me so happy!


          • grimoaldo says:

            I’m surprised Julie Kent is still dancing also, I am not a huge ballet fan but I have watched this a hundred times I guess:

            How in the world does Angel Corella spin around like that at the end, it’s like the moves ice skaters do only he hasn’t got skates on.
            That’s the kind of ballet I like, I don’t really like modern ones and if the music is too good (Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev) the dancing starts to seem like an annoying distraction to me, I’d rather just hear the music in a concert. This is perfect music to dance to in my opinion, although I wish they would do it in the original orchestrations and not in souped up Lanchberry re-arrangements.

      • 31.1.2
        damekenneth says:


        Yes, Academy Records still is there, on W. 18 Street. In fact, that block, between 5th and 6th Ave., remains quite interesting. Academy also has a wonderful outpost on E 13 Street (I think) for jazz and blues vinyl. Incredible stuff there.

          Camille says:

          YEAY!!! Neither gone nor forgotten!! I got my Christmas wish.

          Yeah, I got the best Fats Waller album there once, it included Uncle Fats’ playing of his adaptation to the Intermezzo to Cavalleria Rusticana, among other delectable items. And he was the most absolutely wonderfully organist imaginable. Great talent, and gone too, too soon.

          There was also a hair salon with Frenchies down there that looked interesting….hmmmmm….traintrip for Camille.

          Mucho SPASIBO!!!!!

          • bluecabochon says:

            I picked up a DVD set of the English series THE HOUSE OF ELLIOTT at Academy that I treasure. Thank God they’re still there.

            When I was a student there was a used record store called Dayton’s down the street from The Strand bookstore where I bought many opera sets. Loved the big illustrated booklets that came a long with the records.

          marshiemarkII says:

          CammiB that neighborhood is indeed very interesting, and was your MMIItm’s second hood, for nearly twenty years, as the Bitter Beauties Gym was in the same exact block, but on 19th Street, so Ms Marshie trekked down there every night five days a week…….. and behaved very naughtily apres le gym :-)

      • 31.1.3
        kashania says:

        I can’t count the number of recordings I’ve acquired at Academy Records. For me, a visit there is de rigeur in any NYC trip. Glad to know it’s still standing.

    • 31.2
      marshiemarkII says:

      Mille grazie cara Jungfie, La Leonie will be forever and always my Kaiserin because of those sublime 1978s never to be forgotten……

  • 32
    La Valkyrietta says:

    Leonie is my Kaiserin too, but I loved to see this opera live again. Nothing like a live opera in the house. The current Kaiserin does her role quite effectively and affectingly. During the performance you see only the singers and hear the orchestra, and it is the real thing. I might go again. It is only later at home that you remember Christa, or Birgit, Walter ot Karl, or the always loved and remembered and unsurpassable Leonie, and it is then that you compare. But this current Frau is wonderful. Tommasini is not wrong in his praise.

    • 32.1
      Krunoslav says:

      1. “. Tommasini is not wrong in his praise.”

      2. “…Nurse (the mezzo-soprano Ildiko Komlosi in a vocally smoldering performance”



      • 32.1.1
        La Valkyrietta says:

        “Vocally smoldering performance” is what Tommasini’s phrase to characterize the Nurse on Thursday.

        Soperconductor says in his review,

        “The Nurse, a two-faced caregiver and sorceress whose magic powers mask her own hidden agenda, was played by Ildikó Komlósi. This singing actress was alternately compelling, hilarious and subtly inhuman in this most challenging of mezzo roles.”

        It will be interesting to read how JJ characterizes this performance, if he reviews this. In any case, among so much to admire and enjoy, the Nurse does not go unnoticed by any means. Could it be Tommasini thought of ashes as she lied in the boat? :)

          MontyNostry says:

          It always amazes me just how pedestrian and lacking in specificity and insight Tommasini’s reviews are. They are written in such a tick-box way.

          • damekenneth says:

            Indeed. Even more amazing is that they are, as you say, pedestrian and lacking in specificity, in spite of having quite a lot of space allotted to his reviews. One would think he could come up with more of… well, something. There’s an awkward quality to his writing too, especially with his odd personal statements inserted so frequently. Even when he’s writing about how opera is “sexy,” he comes off as nerdy in a not at all interesting or charming way.

            • MontyNostry says:


            • aulus agerius says:

              How he could highlight the ending of Act 1 without mentioning the Night Watchmen is beyond me! That whole section gives me chills and makes my heart ache. And to read at the same time the Met titles about the dead finding new life in the unborn was devastating. What an ending!

            • MontyNostry says:

              That Act 1 ending chokes me up every time. Especially that ‘wrong’ note in the Watchmen’s song (at the end of the downward scale of four notes),

            • La Valkyrietta says:

              There is so much in this Frau I hope Alex Ross dedicates a long New Yorker article to it.

              As I remember, Tommasini does not mention the Falcon, and I found myself on the subway singing in English, in high pitch, to his tune, “…that woman casts no shadow, that woman casts no shadow…” :)

            • Camille says:

              You were singing Frau on the subway?

              Reminds me of the time my husband came back on the train from Amsterdam with a bunch of conservatory students, after they had seen a production of FroSch. Each one of them, in turn, all attempted to screech out the minor ninth the Empress sings in the Awakening Scene. He arrived home just laughing hysterically at their various attempts. You had to be there, I guess.

            • Krunoslav says:

              The Act One finale also gets to me, always has.

              Last time I heard FRAU it was in Antwerp, in the company of my octogenarian parents and my older brother. The day before, we had been in a US military cemetery near Liege, visiting-- my parents doubtless for the last time, us for the first-- the grave of my uncle who died fighting the Wehrmacht in 1944. My brother, born nine years after, was named for him, as is my first cousin.

              Sitting there the next night listening to the Watchmen sing, “ihr seid die Brücke, überm Abgrund ausgespannt, auf der die Toten wiederum ins Leben gehn!”, we all totally lost it.

            • MontyNostry says:

              Kruno, though I saw that FroSch in Antwerp under less historically and emotionally charged circumstances, I also found it very moving -- and artistically of a very high standard indeed. As I mentioned the other day, in particular, I can’t understand why Tanja Ariane Baumgartner isn’t better known.

            • Krunoslav says:

              Indeed Monty- It was a beautiful, skillfully directed and designed show, and Baumgartner was superb. I was meant to hear her as Ortrud in Frankfurt but she was ill or “ill”. Fine singer and actress.

          Krunoslav says:

          “Nursie non mente_ -- she *lay* in the boat.

          The point is that Komlosi, while entertaining and expressive, sang with an often fading, inadequate tone , in frequently incomprehensible German.

          Not much smoldering, more like distant fires going out…

          • La Valkyrietta says:


            Sorry for typos and mistakes. I try to edit twice but sometimes I don’t with the iPad.

            I am not a FroSch expert. Even today after many hearings both live and in recordings I find it mystifying. Perhaps Hugo intended that. I liked the Nurse, but can’t tell if the way she sang was planned for effect or was done due to an inadequacy. I prefer the first, but am afraid of the second. Still, she commanded some scenes and was even frightening. Comparing her to Nurses of yesteryear, I of course prefer Leonie’s nurse, the always remembered Mignon Dunn.


            Funny story.

            Often when seized by an opera I want the singers and orchestra to materialize wherever I am, even the subway. Most times I contain ineffective outbursts since I have always been as shy as Gwinifred the Woebegone. In the sixties I met who is even now one of my closest friends by ‘singing’ in a gay bar “Mario, Mario, Mario!” Needless to say, I am embarrassed to tell this.

          • Liz.S says:

            Compared to Komlosi, Jane Henschel may not be that good of an stage actress, but I have to admit I was thinking I want my Jane instead!


  • 33
    Buster says:

    Happy this was such a succes, epecially for Schwanewilms. She knows the role inside out, and the way in which she builds it up to the temple scene was unforgettable. I also loved Goerke a lot. The Amsterdam Amme was sort of a drag too, unfortunately. Luckily, the great Doris Soffel has not retired the part yet, and will sing it in Leipzig later this season, with another American Dyer’s Wife: Jennifer Wilson.

    As far as recordings go, Boehm leaves me cold in this, whichever cast he has. Keilberth is a little rough around the edges, but much more exciting, and, in addition to the definitive Dyer’s Wife of Inge Borkh, you get Martha Mödl at her Mödlst.

    • 33.1
      MontyNostry says:

      It’s decades since I listened to that Keilberth version, but I remember Borkh being really exciting, if not ringing.
      I presume he is conducting these excerpts:

      Very good sound! I had no idea Bjoner was so good. Even Fi-Di is tolerable here (I usually find him tooth-gratingly over-sophisticated, though I like his basic vocal colour very much).

      • 33.1.1
        Belfagor says:

        I really had a fabulous time on Thursday and thought the production was really spell-bindingly beautiful in places: the last act, when the Emperor almost turns to stone was breathtakingly gorgeous. Yes, one can compare the voices to the monstres sacres of the past, but this was a very impressive, pretty even cast, and the conducting and playing were stellar -- i love it when Strauss is played like chamber music (he did say somewhere that Salome and Elektra should be played like Mendelssohn fairy music) and the wealth of colours was wonderful.

        It was the first time I’d heard the uncut score in the theatre -- interesting, most of it devolves onto the Nurse and some extended ensemble passages, a couple of which I did think hung fire a bit.

        And if I were being really critical, I did feel that in the last 2 scenes of Act 2 the production faltered a little -- the empress’s nightmare was a tad confusing with those wriggling creatures (and no Emperor), and the climax to the act, though emotionally very right, needed a visual or lighting correlative to the inundation in the orchestra. But this was made up for in Act 3 which held me breathless……

          MontyNostry says:

          Sounds fab, even ohne inundation. Did anyone see the La Scala Guth production that is due at Covent Garden next spring? One special effect they won’t have to bother with: turning the Kaiser into stone. Johan Botha will do that all on his own.

          • damekenneth says:

            “One special effect they won’t have to bother with: turning the Kaiser into stone. Johan Botha will do that all on his own.” He certainly turned me to stone when I saw his Otello in Wien last December. Stone cold, I’d say.

          • damekenneth says:

            I have to say, Monty, that I nearly always agree with your comments, but I did not find even Botha’s singing at all sensitive the night I saw him, nor did I find the vocal quality he was offering at all mitigated his -- what shall I call it? -- lumpishness. Perhaps I caught him on an off night? This was not helped by the very ugly production in Vienna and Isokoski struggling with most of Desdemona. She sounded rather like the late Cotrubas (whom I mostly loved), when the tone had developed a thin, flaccid quality.

            • MontyNostry says:

              I’ve only seen him as Calaf, which his vocal personality is wrong for (I think it’s wrong for Otello too), but it was quite an elegant performance, musically at least.

            • Porgy Amor says:

              I suppose I should listen to Botha in something I cannot see; it would be a good test. I really cannot stand watching him, and I don’t think it is all about his size. I even disliked his two contributions to the Ioan Holender sendoff gala (from Lohengrin and Frau ohne Schatten). This was a concert, so he had not responsibility to move or act, and I was still annoyed by his eyes popping hyperthyroidally once in a while in some rudimentary attempt at expression.

            • steveac10 says:

              I find his singing rather choppy and short breathed -- every phrase becomes 2 or 3. The pop eyes as a “dramatic device” bug, but what really gets me is the fricking mullet. He looks like a backup singer in Branson circa 1993. Call me shallow, but I just can’t with the hair.

            • MontyNostry says:

              Well, I hear mullets are still big back in Rustenburg.

            • spiderman says:

              I ca not let this stand here uncommented. I saw that run too and Isokoski was great. She sang with heartbreaking lyricism with a still youthful and beautiful voice and recieved a huge ovation at her curtain call. Italianate she was not, but she was definitely not struggling.

            • damekenneth says:

              Spiderman, I appreciate your comment in connection with what I wrote about Isokoski’s Desdemona, which made me think back more carefully to those performances and my response. I agree that some of what Isokoski did was lovely and I did not mention in my comment that the her Ave Maria and Willow Song really were special. That was the high point of the evening for me. But I did find the her singing in the rest of the role, in spite of a beautiful natural timbre, rather heavy going. She particularly, to my ears, had difficulty building a sense of line. Her voice is soft grained for some of Desdemona’s music but should have worked, I thought. I had looked very much forward to hearing her in that role because I do love her voice overall. And, except for her big final scene, I was disappointed. The word struggling perhaps conveyed too much a break of the voice. But she did struggle, in my opinion, at least with some of those more sweeping lines and the more heavily orchestrated sections. But, perhaps I was just tired and let down generally by the evening: production, Botha, ugly singing of Struckmann, etc.? Thanks again for you comment, which I was interested to read.

          ducadiposa says:

          Made the big trip from Toronto just for this production. My very first time hearing this opera -- I think I’ve only really heard a couple excerpts on recordings before. So, a real rarity to experience a score for the first time, live. It was overwhelming, from all angles. Goes without saying that the orchestra was incredible, so powerful and moving. I had heard great things about the production and it didn’t disappoint. I had never seen the fabled MET elevator stage thingy before and wasn’t expecting that first big scene change from the Emperor’s realm to Barak’s hut -- WOW! Schanewilms I only know from her Strauss CD and even there, I could tell hers isn’t a conventional sound. I like it a lot and it hearkens back to Janowitz as others mention -- that very instrumental, laser like sound which I find very appropriate for this repertoire. I did wonder (on the basis of the recording only) how her voice would project, but I had no issues at all hearing her. It is a very focused, bright sound that cuts through the heavy orchestration. All the voices sounded great from my seats on the side (box area) of the dress circle. Goerke was wonderful -- great big sound, even etc. I did find her vocal production a little homogeneous and unvaried but heck, this was really great singing -- so committed. The men were great too. As some have mentioned, Komlosi may have lacked some, especially lower down in her range, but I enjoyed her performance immensely. There were so many incredible moments -- the appearance of the Emperor encased in crystal being one of them. Very simple, very effective. I could go on, but this goes into my top ten (maybe top five?) live performances of over 25 years of opera going! A truly huge achievement that this theatre should be very proud of.

    • 33.2
      Camille says:

      I felt her recitation quite fine, and not mortally embarrassing as it was in the past. I will let you know what I hear on the twelfth, Buster. I think it is, overall, an excellent part for her and it will all get better as the performances continue.

  • 34
    aulus agerius says:

    I was sitting in orchestra row U Thursday night (thank you Agnes Varis!) in the left section just off the center aisle -- that’s just outside the overhang from the loge or whatever is above. I thought the sound was magnificent, the stage view perfect and I was swept away by the whole experience. Last night I returned home and downloaded the recording of the Sirius broadcast so kindly and efficiently provided by fellow parterrian U, after some massaging of a reluctant mediafire. I listened to maybe half an hour of Act 3 already and I was really surprised at the difference in sound. The electronic version is so much more ‘immediate’, more finely grained in both the orchestra and the voices. I was impressed by Goerke in the house, but then much more of the colors and beauty of her voice seemed to come through the microphones. This night in the theater made the previous night at Carnegie seem like child’s play.

    • 34.1
      Bianca Castafiore says:

      aa, yes, often what you hear in recordings is very different than in the house… but what I notice is that most voices seem better recorded than live… in recorded media, sometimes they come across much more vividly, with more nuances and colors. But in a way, this is a false impression of what you hear live.

    • 34.2
      marshiemarkII says:

      Also sometimes a singer sounds shrill and nasty on the air, with the close miking, and perfectly wonderful in the house!

      • 34.2.1
        Bianca Castafiore says:

        Yes, the opposite is true, but I find this to be less common… but maybe not.

        What you describe, carissimo marssssshieeeee, is very true specially of larger voices.

  • 35
    MontyNostry says:

    Has anyone else listened to Iva Pacetti as La moglie del tintore? I think it is the most beautiful voice I’ve heard in the role.

    • 35.1
      MontyNostry says:

      And how about this perennial Parterre favourite as a really superb Kaiserin? Magnificent singing.

      • 35.1.1
        scifisci says:

        My god both of these clips are so wonderful! I had no idea Pacetti sang the dyer’s wife…the sensuality and line she brings to it are a far cry from the wailing and wobbling that I always have associated with the role from listening to more recent recordings. And that intensity and frission from steber! She gives even leonie a run for her money. There are some more excerpts on yt of her singing the kaiserin w/piano at carnegie hall and they are wonderful too. I wonder what the story behind that is.

          Camille says:

          It was the first performance of La Donna senz’Ombra in Italy and Dr Strauss had a hand in all of it. I really should dig around to see if an entire performance.

          FroSch is still (or was in 1986 when I saw it at Scala) called by its Italian name, even if sung auf Deutsch as it was that night by Marton et al.

      • 35.1.2
        armerjacquino says:

        Even though I know how good she is, every time I hear Steber I’m surprised anew by how good she is.

          MontyNostry says:

          … and she’s good in a very scrupulous way. There’s no messing around with the line to ‘expressive’ ends.

          damekenneth says:

          I agree completely with you Armer. Steber was an amazing singer! A gleaming, clean sound, good sense of style, versatility, phenomenal technique. Her legato when she sings Mozart… Just such a wonder and I am surprised each time I hear her again. Somehow, I feel she stands as an underrated singer in the collective memory.

          • MontyNostry says:

            … and she is a singer to whom I had had very little exposure before becoming a Parterre habitué. She is somewhat off the radar of the UK vocal establishment -- except where her recording of Knoxville: Summer of 1915 is concerned.

            • Camille says:

              Well, not just UK, because before I ran into an RCA reissue of a collection of arias about a dozen to fifteen years ago she was not all that much represented here. After I began listening to her a lot I was astonished that such a fine, fine singer had been so effectively buried.
              Speaking of FroSch, her Kaiserin on an excerpts album is quite good. And I love her Minnie, even if a strain on her, sounds wonderful to me.
              A real treasure of an American singer.

    • 35.2
      Camille says:

      I am so glad you have remembered La Pacetti, Mr. Monty!

      A most wonderful assumption of the role. I wish that more of that performance were available--perhaps it is but I am unaware of it.

      • 35.2.1
        armerjacquino says:

        And she stood up to Toscanini, too!


          Camille says:

          Haha! Yes she did and that took gumption! No sheep has ever survived the fire of Arturo’s magic wand!

          • MontyNostry says:

            But when it comes to sheep and singers, my favourite story is that Del Monaco used to call dear Franco, with his distinctive vibrato, ‘Pecorelli’.

            • Camille says:

              ‘Pecorelli’ indeed! Del Monaco was probably also jealous that Pecorelli was taller than he. I just loved Franco. He could baa at me anytime at all, or LITHP as well!

              He and Gedda were my gods in youth, long ago.

          MontyNostry says:

          Something tells me you’ve read The Last Prima Donnas …

  • 36
    aulus agerius says:

    I’m really surprised no one mentions the Falcon. I’ve seen 2 other productions of DFOS in the past and I don’t think they had a representation of the Falcon -- other than its motive. At first I found the intense color to be almost hallucinogenic amongst all that mylar and the movements were kind of interesting. But ultimately it was a distraction for me and didn’t add anything. I liked the squirmy things in the Empress’s mad scene much better: really creepy and not at all anthropocentric, unlike the Falcon.

  • 37
    MontyNostry says:

    In slightly different Straussian mode … I just discovered on YouTube that Jacquelyn Wagner is singing Arabella in Minnesota this month (excerpt from ‘Das war sehr gut’ below). I saw her in a competition in Europe several years ago and really liked her. I think she is now based in Berlin (or certainly has been). She’s sounding good here, I think.

  • 38
    marshiemarkII says:

    For a fabulous Farberin, here is the first part of the Solti recording:

    alas no part II :-(