Cher Public

Towards zero

Our Own JJ (not pictured) counts down his 10 favorite New York opera performances of 2013 in the New York Observer. Not that you need encouragement, cher public, but don’t be afraid of offering your own such lists in the comments section.

  • La Valkyrietta

    Renee does not look too elegant in Letterman and the opera clips are silly, but cute. Heavy on Puccini, but no Bellini or Wagner. She does not deserve to be called a “human toxic waste”. She is definitely no Mary Garden, but she is decent on Thaïs.

    I would have a problem to pick 10 favorite opera performances in New York in this 2013 as some would inevitably be less than favorite. It was either not a stellar year, or I missed the good ones. Anyway, I will remember FroSch and will include it in any 10 list for this year, including the campy nurse.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

  • La Valkyrietta

    Letterman once had a guy whistling the second aria of the Queen of the Night. I can’t find that clip. I don’t think it was this same guy. Many people seem to like to whistle that aria.

  • DonCarloFanatic

    To return to the topic of this thread, and pass over excesses of speech not properly weighed before posting (yes, we do need an edit button), here is my year in opera:

    My favorite in a very heavy year of opera for me (the Met, HDs, Caramoor, Washington National Opera, Seattle Ring, Santa Fe) was the Seattle Ring.
    1. Parsifal at the Met was impressive, but I don’t connect to the storyline in the slightest. Don Carlo was a sigh. I should have seen Francesca live that night instead.
    2. Don Carlos at Caramoor was interesting, but frankly the interesting part (aside from the man singing Posa, who was spectacular) was the series of lectures beforehand that illuminated the French text. And it was hellish weather.
    3. I saw some stars at the WNO, including a Norma with voices to space, but the scenery was more memorable, especially the Tristan set--fantastic. The Forza at WNO also starts with the suggestion that Daddy is a big deal in a corrupt political scene, BTW. Very effective staging and acting, but urban decay does not resonate happily with me.
    4. Santa Fe’s Donna del Lago was a shock--terrific voices and a lousy set, bad costume for Brownlee, and a plot that made no sense. Oscar was dreadful. The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein made me wonder why I was spending a fortune to see warmed over junk from my grandparents’ youth.
    5. The Seattle Ring was wonderful, just wonderful. I wasn’t crazy about the Siegfried’s voice but he had plenty of it, and I reveled in the festival atmosphere. The highlight of the additional events was the night of Wagner improv, at which one of the actors pointed out that Wagner is the only opera composer who has fans like the fans of the Grateful Dead who follow around the world to see the same songs again and again. She was right. I’m looking for my next Ring cycle now.

    6. As to HDs, I remember nothing of Maria Stuarda, the Rigoletto was so-so, the Parsifal was too dark to see half the stage, but Francesca da Rimini was a serious guilty pleasure. Loved it. This season, the Met’s Eugene Onegin was a snooze. Falstaff was fun, but I felt I was looking at a man soon to be a ghost. Nobody with a body like that lives very long. I miss John Candy.

    7. Streaming opera on the net offered my first Fanciulla, and with a fantastic cast, Herr Jonas and Mme. Nina. Decided I liked it. I saw the Disney opera this way; interesting, but not quite on target. Trovatore did not come together for me. Finally caught up with Anna Netrebko’s Decker Traviata and was so impressed I bought the DVD.

    I’m forgetting a lot. Just this week I’ve listened to Les Troyens twice (not impressed as a whole, but individual moments were spectacular). Opera has been the foreground and the background of my entire year.

    And Parterre has been my partner in crime. To all, joyous holidays.

  • olliedawg

    I’d like to give an honorable shout-out to Roberto Alagna for bringing much “joie de vivre” to Aida (was that last year?), this year’s Tosca (both Met productions), and even to an execrable Carmen I saw in Vienna back in May. In the latter, Elina Garanca was “off” by a wide margin, the production looked too gemutlich to be set in Spain, the chorus sounded tired, but Alagna stepped up to the plate when things got dull and gave it his all. He’s a pro, and usually makes my heart smile because he exudes joy in performance. I know he isn’t always great (by a long shot), and that his career is winding down, but at his best, he exemplifies why I keep going to the opera: those goosebump moments.

    • oedipe

      That’s cool, Olliedawg! But…

      I know…that his career is winding down

      That’s a scoop! And judging by his schedule in the next three years or so -which includes, among other things, six big new role assumptions-, he himself hasn’t yet found out about it either.

      BTW, which singer do you have in mind who, unlike Alagna, is always great in everything? Apart from Domingo, of course.

      • olliedawg

        Oedipe: yeah I should have written “I’ve read here on Parterre and in other places that his career..,” :-) I didn’t check his schedule, but it’s good to hear that he’s taking on new challenges!

        Always great all the time? Every Bjoerling recording I have or heard blows my socks off, but perhaps he, too, had off-nights

  • olliedawg

    Sorry for the additional post..left out another surprise for me in 2013 — discovering the Graham/Hymel “Les Troyens” thru YouTube (thank you, whichever generous soul posted the entire 4.5 hrs). While technically this particular production would fall into 2012, the Live in HD aired in January 2013, so….am I allowed to say I was blown away by Susan Graham, Karen Cargill (beautiful, rich tone), Dwayne Croft (nice to see him again), and Brian Hymel? They were all in the moment, giving great performances. And, that music…sheesh, I had no idea how magical Berlioz could be. Yeah, it weighs a ton, but it was my unexpected video guilty pleasure.

  • zinka

    What is TENOR Domingo doing in that list?????Fooooey!!!!

  • operaassport

    Frau, Parsifal, Maria Stuarda. All wonderful.

    I skipped the Seattle Ring aka The Ring for People Who Don’t Like to Think. I’ve seen it too many times. Too many trees and no point of view. And does anyone like that awful barn they sing in?

  • Krunoslav

    Joyce DiDonato in MARIA STUARDA (Met)

    Peter Mattei in PARSIFAL (Met)

    Jamie Barton in NORMA (Met)

    Joelle Harvey in MESSIAH ( NY Phil)

    Michael Fabiano in I LOMBARDI (OONY)

    Anthony Roth Costanzo in STABAT MATER (Glimmerglass)

    William Burden in SILENT NIGHT Op Philadelphia)

    Lisette Oropesa in I MASNADIERI (Washington Concert Opera)

    Amanda Forsythe in ALMIRA (Boston Early Music Festival)

    Pureum Jo, Jihee Kim and Thomas Meglioranza in MATSUKAZE (Spoleto USA)

    • Krunoslav

      OK, after yesterday at Carnegie I have ti add Peter Mattei in the SONGS OF A WAYFARER with Levine and the Met orch. He was just sensational.

      Anyone else there?

      • armerjacquino

        SONGS OF A WAYFARER, eh? Good Clean English, was it?

        Altogether now: *runs away, giggling*

        • Krunoslav

          Well, giggle all you want. If Feldie can go on about MACHT DES SCHICKALS and MASKENBALL I’ll write what I fucking please.

          Oh, and have a great holiday.

          • armerjacquino

            No, it was refreshing. Fine when it’s an actual Germans speaker posting, of course, but I do get amused by all the Farberins and komponists we get round here.

            Have a great time yourself!

            • Krunoslav

              Cheers. First I must endure THE BAT, but then I get to see Rylance and co in LA NUIT DES ROIS before moving on to DER LIEBESTRANK.