Cher Public

  • armerjacquino: Ha, brilliant, williams! Call off the search, we’ve found the joke. 7:37 AM
  • tiger1: I am sure you have – and I should not just have focused on this small lapse but also thanked you for a good review. Sorry. 6:49 AM
  • thenoctambulist: Well, I hear so much of maestro’s works that it hardly leaves me any time for anybody else. I can hardly make... 3:46 AM
  • mrsjohnclaggart: Thank you, Porgy, for being so kind. After I had posted I realized there was more than one poster here with a handle that... 1:55 AM
  • Cicciabella: Thanks, Ed. Everytime I see Callas on video it reinforces how much expression she put in the voice. You can see that she is... 1:43 AM
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  • Lohenfal: Anti, thanks for the detailed Tosca reviews. It seems that you were able to ignore all the debatable aspects of the production... 12:18 AM

Chat roulette

It’s the opening of the Met’s Saturday afternoon broadcast season, cher public, and the first opera in the series is Rigoletto. You know what that means: La Casa della Cieca is open for business staring at 12:30 pm!


  • louannd says:

  • Krunoslav says:


    “The Carsen production had its Met premiere on Friday night and immediately became a high point of Peter Gelb’s tenure as general manager. ”

    That’s what they called the Money Notice in the old days at Sardi’s.

    ” Overall, when it comes to theatrical flair, captivating costumes, stage antics and imagination, there are not many shows on Broadway to rival the Met’s new “Falstaff.””

    How many shows on B’way do we imagine the busy NYT chief critic gets to see?

    “Nannetta has fallen for the adoring, dashing Fenton, here the young Italian lyric tenor Paolo Fanale in a promising Met debut. In this staging Fenton is a waiter at the inn’s dining room, dressed smartly in a waiter’s tux with white gloves. He spots the young women he has fallen for having lunch across the room and melts, another sweet idea from Mr. Carsen. ”

    Bocca baciata non perde ventura…

    “If Mr. Levine can settle the performance into a more solid rhythmic groove, this “Falstaff” will enter the annals of opera history. ”

    Take THAT, Toscanini! Take THAT, Zeffirelli and Bernstein!

    • La Valkyrietta says:

      What about Alice’s kitchen? Something out of Betty Crocker. Next production Alice will be in a contest with Bobby Flay making pumpkin pies and will win.

      The remake of ‘Meet Me in Las Vegas’ a genius director might decide, will be in Tudor England,

    • kashania says:

      What’s funny is that Gelb had Des Mcanuff lined up for this Falstaff and from I hear, only reluctantly signed on to this co-production after scrapping the original plans. The end result is all that matters I suppose but it is interesting that Robert Carsen’s long overdue return to the Met has come about in such a tentative way. Gelb should’ve signed him up in his first year as GM.

    • grimoaldo says:

      “Falstaff” was very very good, judging from the broadcast, ideal roles for Maestri and Blythe, Lisette Oropesa is a Nanetta as good as any there ever was, Levine makes all the difference to musical standards at the Met.

      • La Valkyrietta says:

        I listened to the broadcast and enjoyed it, and Levine is wonderful too, but this time I had my reservations and in that I agreed with the Tommasini review, I had to run to the Toscanini and play the nonet again to remember how wonderful Falstaff really is. I’m sure I would hate the sets.

      • La Cieca says:

        Yes, it’s really sort of amazing and mystical how much better results you can get from the Met orchestra when you hog all their rehearsal time for two months.

        • La Valkyrietta says:


          I look forward to your review. My understanding is that modern life and practices and all that really do not allow what would be optimal rehearsal time, particularly with the singers, but I don’t know what is actually done, just the results. The ensembles could have been better last night.

  • rossifigaro says:

    had hoped on seeing the scala “traviata” live on arte today -- but it seems its being presented on a delay (couple of hours) basis. so guess i’ll listen to the “rigoletto” radio broadcast (and view the “traviata” later). wish i could see the current cast doing their vegas antics -- rather enjoyed seeing beczala with the chorus girls and his pole dancing (cannot imagine polenzani measuring up). who did it best? -- grigolo?

    • A. Poggia Turra says:

      The Arte delayed telecast starts at 20:15 CET. The audio is available live on Rai-3:

      (possibly also on other Euroradio streams)

      • redbear says:

        Arte lists the time as 20.45P CET, it will be on also and also on radio,, at 7PM CET

      • Camille says:

        grazie tanto!!

        I was late, but still heard the ballroom scene and last act.

        Damrau sounds FAR too healthy to be dying of tuberculosis!

        One Who Knows

        • Camille says:

          Haha! They are “buh”ing the Regista!

          Was this a Regie production? I have not seen any pictures yet.

          • Camille says:

            Un saldo gruppo di protestatori“!!!

            No matadors, no gypsies, and Alfredo was in scene all the while Violetta was singing.

            • Cicciabella says:

              Camille, the Scala public probably hated Beczala making ratatouille during the Germont-Alfredo duet, and Damrau’s curly blonde wig in the ball scene, among other things. I’m watching this now on TV. It’s set in the 1950s and both Tcherniakov’s direction and Gatti’s conducting are very intimate and rich in detail. Damrau is fascinating to watch, but all the singers have been directed well. Oops, she just took her Ornella Vanoni wig off!

            • Camille says:


              Oddio, no!

              I was thinking to go see it tomorrow in the cinema here in NYC but I was not so crazy about Damrau’s sound—about as healthy as it gets. I did love Beczala! Thank you for the information and I must really get over to RAI 3 more often! I completely forget that it is possible to listen to it now and get tired of the Sirius broadcasts. Such a treat for me!

            • Camille says:

              Oh, and it was arresting, how in a few simple phrases, the Annina distinguished herself. A great artist is still a great artist, no matter the role.

            • Cicciabella says:

              Just finished watching the delayed broadcast on ARTE. A very audible part of the audience actually booed Beczala (gasp!) and Gatti, as well as the production team. I thought Beczala sounded lovely, apart from some slight straining at the top. Zampieri was very impressive, moving sparingly but imbuing all her lines and gestures with meaning. Germont seems to be suit Lucic’s temperament and he was beautifully directed by Tcherniakov, as were all the singers. Tcherniakov is really great at personenregie: almost all the action he gives the singers fleshes out the characters. Damrau probably needs to be seen as well as heard. Her detailed portrayal shows a fierce, combatant Violetta, and she achieves unsentimental pathos in the final scene. The audience rewarded her Addio del passato with warm applause. She dies surrounded by bottles and pills, implying death from addiction rather than TB, so the lack of coughing and wilting made sense. I don’t know if you ought to go see it in HD or not, but I really enjoyed the introspective take on the work and Damrau, being a great singing actress, makes you forget that she is visually less than an ideal Traviata. Beczala wielding a rolling pin and chopping courgettes in the kitchen ties in well with the “illusion of domestic bliss gone sour” theme: don’t let that put you off.

            • moritz says:

              Camille, this clip might give you an idea of Tcherniakov’s concept. I found the whole production -- and particularly Damrau’s performance -- extremely moving. And yes, grande Mara! :-)

            • Camille says:

              They “buh”ed my beloved Beczala??? Infamia! From the bits I heard he sounded in great voice!

              This deserves an investigation. Now I am going to see/hear it in teatro!

              Grazie tanto for the little snippet! How do they put these things up so speedily? Miracolo.

            • grimoaldo says:

              I was surprised to find that I could watch most of Act Four on Arte after reading Cicciabella’s post. Damrau sang marvellously but did not look or sound ill. It was nice to hear the usual cuts restored, except for the final exclamations from the other characters as Violetta dies, all cut except for the Doctor’s “e spenta”, why do they do that, such a stupid tradition, it is not respectful to Verdi in my opinion.
              Zampieri was wonderful, others very good. Audience loved Damrau, sections of the audience loudly booed Beczala and Gatti, a storm of boos, whistles and shouted execrations greeted Tcherniakov and his production team, as the broadcast ended many patrons of La Scala continuing to boo loudly and shout their heads off in protest at the production.
              Evviva Mara!

            • Camille says:

              Well, thank you, mortiz. I watched the preview, I see that’s what it was.

              You’ve saved me twenty-five dollari americani
              ‘another lousy Traviata’.

            • grimoaldo says:

              And it was interesting to see that the La Scala orchestra wears ordinary business suits and ties, not evening wear / black tie, even for the gala season opener.

            • Camille says:

              And, with that final gesture of hers, Zampieri kind of ‘stole’ the ending from Damrau, who looked none that happy at having her breathing down her neck at times!!

              Thanks to all for pointing it out as I was most curious and had intentions of seeing it, but now I think I’ll do something more fun, like stirando i panni!

            • MontyNostry says:

              At least, it being Milan, those business suits will be immaculately cut!

            • pobrediablo says:

              Camille, what did Mara do at the end?

            • grimoaldo says:

              She shoos the other characters out the door and is left alone with Violetta’s body (hope you don’t mind me answering a question addressed to you Camille).

            • MontyNostry says:

              I’m not sure whether a trailer should show the entire show in five minutes, but the production looks rather gripping — and hardly radical. But that is the most leaden Brindisi I think I’ve ever heard!

            • pobrediablo says:

              Thanks, grimoaldo.

            • Camille says:

              Of course not, mio caro grimaldo!

              La Zampa is such an old stage tigress that she just can’t help it. Her acting in the scaligera La Fanciulaa del West was wonderful, particularly at end of Act I.

              Sorry, Damrau’s vocalization is in many parts very good but it is not to my conception of what I want to hear in this part. That was a great big glorious B flat on ‘O gioia’, but it sounded like it belonged to another opera, another character.

              And it’s too much Traviata as “La Vallée des Poupées”, another parterre Box archival idea which was great.

            • oedipe says:

              I think the audience booed Beczala because he went COMPLETELY flat in O Mio Rimorso, O Infamia and couldn’t recoup. At the end of the broadcast, Annette Gerlach (the Arte lady) said something to the effect that Beczala’s performance was surprising, considering that he has been singing the role for 17 years. (Disclaimer: Even though I am saying this about Beczala, I am not anti-Polish, not even anti-Beczala.)

              Damrau sang marvellously but did not look or sound ill.

              Indeed. And the staging of her death -very hyper till the end- didn’t help matters either. It was like: “You all say I am on the point of dying, so I will comply”. I found the ending baffling and somewhat disappointing because of this. The production was pretty tame, but had some interesting ideas -such as the use of lights to indicate the back-and-forth between actual and imagined sequences in the Flora party scene.

              I thought Lucic and Zampieri were very good. Gatti was OK.

              I wonder what they did with the food after the performance. Did the cast get to eat it, like the people who participate in cooking shows?

            • Camille says:

              Thanks for filling in the blanks, oedipe, as I did not hear the first part of Act II and the cabaletta. Kind of strange that he would muck up an old, practised warhorse such as that one.

              “Do they get to eat the food afterward?” Since it is Italy, probably so and it was probably good. Ratatouille, pfui!!

  • papopera says:

    When I remember my very first Met broadcast on a cheap plastic A.M. radio -- Welitsch singing Salomé -- it makes me feel very ancient indeed.

    • la vociaccia says:

      Not a bad thing to remember, though!

    • Camille says:

      Cher papy,

      You should be happy instead! How lucky you were to hear live what all the rest of us have only been able to listen to, after the fact.

      She was supposed to have been so wonderful in this part…was she, in your opinion?

  • grimoaldo says:

    What a terrific performance of Rigoletto it was just now. Loved it, loved it, loved it. It was one of those performances that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
    It is so refreshing, so wonderful, to hear the Met putting on good stuff again, I can hardly believe it, it seems like a miracle after the last four or five seasons, but I am very grateful, thanks to the Met for such a wonderful treat, and thanks as always to our hostess for the chat.

  • bluecabochon says:

    On his Facebook page, Beczala vows that this will be his last production at La Scala. Booing hurts.

    • Camille says:

      oh no. terrible.

      Maybe he will get over it. or maybe not.

      Well, maybe we will get him all the more.

      • Bianca Castafiore says:

        Really? One instance of booing and you are packing your bags? Methinks some opera singers need to develop a thicker skin. Or go out there and just gather the radishes.

        • Well, La Scala’s audience tends to be a little bitchy, and down right rude at times. Fleming never returned after the Borgi debacle, and even Italian artists like Bartoli have stayed clear. Do I blame him? No. Do I agree with you that he needs to grow a tougher skin? Yes.

          At the same time, he is very likely thinking “why bother with this shit when I can sing anywhere in the world, get a better fee and not have to deal with this?”

          These days, sad as it is, getting a contract at la Scala is not as big a deal as it used to be. If that was the case, I know a singer or 2 who would be better known here in the USA.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            “Well, La Scala’s audience tends to be a little bitchy, and down right rude at times.”

            My goodness, such a contrast from the Parterriat!!!!!

            • And that is why you see all the major starts posting and commenting here and referencing this site at every chance they het on FB, Twitter, Instagram etc, etc, etc’ right.

              As a matter if fact, you see them elbowing themselves to be reviewed here, right?

          • pobrediablo says:

            Unfortunately, La Scala has lost so much of it’s aura. It is no longer the leading theater in the world. It’s not even in the top 3.

        • Camille says:

          When you got the radishes tossed your way, Bianca cara, what did you do with them? Make a relish? Come now, it even happened to la Callas, so don’t tell me it didn’t happen with you!

          Do tell.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            Scusi, carina Cammillissima, *I* have never had radishes or any other vegetable thrown my way, only flowers and jewels!!!!!!

            • Camille says:

              And *I* should have known better than to ask!

              Mi dispiace e scusi tanto, Signora Egregia, l’adorata stella del pubblico milanese!!!

              Oh—Tell Irma I shall report in to help her polish the sterling bright and early tomorrow morn.

            • Krunoslav says:

              Yes, it is an easily disproved canard that the debutante Castafiore was barraged with rotten tomatoes and papayas in her native city.

              Neither of these would have been found in Europe before the Columbian Encounter!

            • Bianca Castafiore says:

              Krusty Krunoslob, Kreep of the Kretaceous,

              Who asked you? You’re still an ancient pathetic fossil in comparison, even more hideous than that sad witch Nervosa Gelosa.


    • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

      • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

        Vin caldo

        • grimoaldo says:

          Protestors outside La Scala at tax money being spent on giving rich people a night out, protestors inside La Scala screaming with fury because they hate the show they just saw, a little niggling doubt creeps into my mind, is this really a wise strategy for these opera houses to pursue?

  • pobrediablo says:

    Damrau looks like Meryl Streep.

  • DonCarloFanatic says:

    Pre-baby, Damrau was a dead ringer for Helen Hunt, an American actress who was on a dreadful TV sitcom for years with Paul Reiser, Mad About You. She’s now in movies.

    I am shocked that Milan of all cities could not find a better sleeve for Damrau’s blue gown. Hideously unbecoming.

    • Camille says:

      That dress looked very americana to me. Non m’è piaciuto!

      And no ladies were running around in the fifties with orange hair. That was even before Ronald McDonald was around.

  • pobrediablo says:

    • marshiemarkII says:

      Ich bin erwacht aus wissendem Schlaf wer scheucht den Schlummer mir?

      Stark ruft das Lied; kräftig reizt der Zauber……

      • Camille says:

        You are no Erda, Marshie. We all know you as Ladonna Traviata.

        Hey help out poor mirwyi with his question about a Cetta LP with a duet of Callas and Scotto--he thinks it’s Cherubini, so it must be Medea, nix?

        Buenas noches! Ich bin müde Tetrach!

      • marshiemarkII says:

        Well cara CammiB, La Marshie may be no Erda, but MMII certainly has the resume to apply for a position as Erda in the Castorf Production though :-P :-P :-P remember she interned at the International Stud for years…..

        You know, La Marshie’s first staged opera evah was Carmen with Regina Resnik and Coca di Cola, but I couldn’t remember a thing even if my life depended on it. Don’t know why it didn’t register for too long and I only know I went then because there is picture in my Moms bedroom with tiny Marshie in the presidential box. Pues, el ano siguente, it was Madame Butterfly with Raina Kabaivanska and to this very day I have most vivid memories of THAT event! Interesting verdad? what an impact she must have made.

        So my little Russian gurlfriend did good today, waking me up from my stupor with that gorgeous piece of music, the only thing I can tolerate….. oops better stoooop while I am ahead :P

        I am SHOCKED and DEVASTATED that my glorious Poitr would have been booed, that is MADNESS, INSANITY, time to start boycotting AItalian silks…. orrore non posso crederlo

        • Camille says:

          He sounded good in the last act. Maybe they were mad about the ratatouille he made during “Di Provenza il mar…” Mi dispiace TANTISSIMO!!!!

        • pobrediablo says:

          I’m not Russian and I’m not little. I imagine I’m taller than you :P

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Don’t be so literal again mi amor. I only meant little in the sense that every evidence available indicates that you are a Q in the making, but not quite large scale yet. So I feel like you are the little sistah to a big Q like this lady here :P Don’t worry, you will reach the big leagues in short order, you have much talent already, and then we will both be BIG Qs (capitals intended) :-P

            Pst, didn’t you tell me you were “ruso” just a few days ago? I like my boyfriends truthful always, you know, that way I can control la gelosia :P sono una Tosca molto gelosa

    • Camille says:

      That dress is just hideous. How could she do it? A bolt of fabric from House of Fabrics Sofia.

    • marshiemarkII says:

      Diabla Mia, la Raina is SUBLIME!!!!!! what glorious glorious glorious singing! divino!

      • marshiemarkII says:

        And we can play this in the honeymoon

      • pobrediablo says:

        Well, I’ve been known for my impeccable taste *tee hee*

        • marshiemarkII says:

          Well, I’ve been known for my impeccable taste

          But of course diabli, that’s why you are with La Buhlerina herself :P only the best!

          Seriously though, wasn’t that Vivi ingrato a top 10 for any desert island? And while looking for CammiB’s Medea I discovered that I have Semiramide, Guillaume Tell; and Armida, Barbiere and Turco in Italia (all with the only Maria) so not bad, eh?
          can we still be friends then?

  • Poison Ivy says:

    If you follow Beczala’s FB page he’s kind of an emotional, exuberant guy. A bit stereotypical tenor that way. I’m sure cooler heads will prevail in the morning.

    I’ve heard him many many times and I must say I’ve never heard him give a performance that was less than absolutely professional. Certainly not boo-worthy.

  • grimoaldo says:

    There was another interesting story on Lebrecht’s site:

    Apparently Damrau missed her entrance for the second party scene and the orchestra played for quite some time without any singing, did anyone see that on the live stream?

  • rommie says:

    Can we clock that Traviata-Alfredo shade:

    Bringing cupcakes to your dying lover whom you do not want to touch.

    That whole finale act was all Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant.

  • rommie says:

    Italian Twitter feed abuzz with the fact that she died on a chair and not on a bed

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    It probably was not Damrau’s fault. However, many famous artists have been notorious for not arriving at their position in the wings required position until the very last moment even if the stage management placed the “Signor X sul palcoscenico prego!” call at the right time. It will be interesting to see if they doctor the video for posterity. I can only imagine how horrified everyone in the TV crew must have been, not to mention everyone else who saw it live.

    • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

      This Otello was in plenty of time. (I love it when the person with the camera starts whistling along, at 1:14, which is considered very bad luck in the theater -- probably deadly onstage.