Cher Public

“You call that a trill?”

La Cieca invites the cher public to engage in lively but non-violent discourse on off-topic and general interest subjects.

  • Men Have The Greatest Delicacy of Perception In Opera

    @ Grimoaldo

    I don’t find antikitschychick’s posts boring, GCR.

    No, antikitschychick’s posts (the majority of which concern singers) as well as those of all the vocalism freaks are coma-inducing.

    If you do, rather than berate her for posting on a topic related to the subject of this blog, opera, which involves vocalism, why not just ignore her posts and do something else.

    It was never my intention to berate her and I honestly couldn’t care less about what she has to say. But I had to speak out after I saw her casual, sort of dismissive initial comment about Falstaff the other day.

    Why not just ignore her posts

    I always try… The issue for me is that I subscribe to all of the comments on Parterre using The Old Reader… (the best alternative to the now defunct Google Reader, BTW)

    If there were a way to block out all of the posts from the contingent of canary fanciers here I would do it immediately.

    Everybody does not have to bow to received wisdom and hail Falstaff as Verdi’s greatest masterpiece

    Example: when I was getting into Boris Godunov in my early 20’s I found it to be a huge slog. For whatever reason it took me a long time to fall in love with it. But I would have never said: “Never mind Mussorgsky’s greatest, I’m not even sure if it qualifies as one of his masterpieces”

    Serious opera lovers do not talk that way. One should simply admit that ‘it doesn’t speak to me at this time’ and then quietly persevere

    As a reminder here are some of her typical postings:

    1. I do think Monty hit the nail on the head when he said that Kiri’s tone has more of an “air whipped” or ‘whipped cream’ quality as I totally hear that too.

    2. I also find Renee’s tonal quality to be exceptionally beautiful and her overall sound is very well produced. Her mannerisms I think stem from her wanting (really badly) to sound like Leontyne. I mean its no secret she was a major influence on Renee (particularly her late-career mannerisms as we can all readily hear via recordings) as were her early forays into Jazz. I can’t really say I’m terribly bothered by them since I do like musical, nonlinear/straight singing though they don’t particularly thrill me either because they’re not always used effectively, imo.

    3. Ay niño, do NOT get me started Lol. To think I was initially very jaundiced toward her [Liudmyla Monastyrska]… and I can’t for the life of me recall why. All’s I know is I can’t wait to hear in more roles!! Her singing is fuera de liga as we say :-)

    4. I said LM would do well because she is a spinto like Ponselle seemingly was, though your comparison is sounds fair, except I don’t know what you mean when you say LM’s tone is “cloudy”. I hear some duskiness in the lower stretches of the voice, but I don’t hear cloudiness in the overall timbre as that would indicate the sound lacks core, when in fact it doesn’t.

    5. My overall impression is that she executes whatever role she sings well (save for some forced high notes) but she doesn’t emote enough with her singing. Hers is mostly nice, clean, even singing but a bit impassive for my taste, perhaps because she lacks musicality in some sense. So even though there is much to be admired in her singing, to borrow a description from Roland Barthes, she doesn’t have enough grain in the voice, for me at least

    6. OH SNAPS!! Just watched the Traviata and Forza excerpts on Youtube and she sounds amazing!! Loved the frantic, uninhibited pacing too. I was like….Yeah gurl!… Sang it!…. Dale!…. LOL.

    Now scroll to the middle of the page for a really tedious back and forth with Cocky Kurwenal:


    She even wished Celia Cruz a happy birthday:

    8. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CELIA CRUZ!!! May she rest in paz! “Soy una chica sincera; de donde crece la palma…y antes de morirme QUIERO (see Lumi at the Met :-P AND)…echar mis versos del almaaaaa” :-D
    (Pardonne moi for being way OT…although, divas are never off topic are they?

    Sorry, I have little patience for this kind of stuff.

    And then we have this comment about how she became a ‘true opera lover’.

    What really ultimately captured my attention and made me a true Opera lover was a PBS broadcast of Renee in a concert or gala performance of all Mozart rep around 2005 or 2006. I was sitting at home flipping through the tv and decided to put on PBS and happened to catch that performance and OMG that was IT. I simply could not take my eyes off the television because I couldn’t believe how beautifully and effortlessly she sang those arias.

    Ok, this is very odd…. No, dear, it’s the entire work by the composer that we value above all else.

    Again, this focus on particular singers and the notion that this or that vocal detail or timbre was the transformative difference in making one ‘a true opera lover’ I find extremely silly… Sure, I was a Jon Vickers nut in my teens but I would never say something like: “It was that disc of Romantic arias, listening to that was the defining experience that turned me into a true lover”…. NO. NO. NO.

    Does antikitschychick possess the true opera connoisseur ‘gene’? Given everything we’ve surveyed above I have my doubts about her (for lack of a better term)… ‘perceptual intelligence’ (ability to appreciate nuance, subtle gradations, the whole sonic architecture of operas, etc). And this is before we consider her infatuation with much standard (Italian) operatic fare… So at this stage I would say probably not.

    There is no law that says you are not allowed to enjoy I Masnadieri or Simon Boccanegra more than Falstaff.

    Go ahead and enjoy I Masnadieri and Simon Boccanegra all you want. (I’m a huge Boccanegra fan myself). But let’s be clear: It does indicate a serious deficiency in aesthetic judgment to favor those works over Falstaff.

    And then we have several anonymous comments by various Parterrians.

    1. Billy Budd “is such a not-so-great opera” because it tells instead of shows [….] The libretto is one thing (pretty much a mess) but I don’t think Britten’s music redeems it. There are some strong musical moments, but they’re isolated and (still in my opinion) not particularly related to the dramatic situation. The first half of the opera in particular I think is very weak musically, mostly noodling and bang-thump background for the declamation of the text.

    2. Don’t care if I ever hear Falstaff again though once in a while I’m in the mood for “Sul fil.” [….] While I totally admire Verdi’s genius of coming up with so much light and sparkly music (which doesn’t appear in his earlier operas), I just can’t hang on to flow of the music. I am missing the arias.

    3. Wagner’s operas, like anyone else’s, should be entertaining — but we all hear with different ears — in my experience only sections of them succeed at being entertaining in a purely musical sense. There is nothing as dull as the sections of Ring that I DON’T care for. Now come on, all of us have our favorite moments — as well as the much dreaded long sections of marking time gritting our teeth waitin’ around. For me it is most of the 1st half of the Ring (including all of Rheingold and the first half of Walküre — only the Todesverkündigung to the end is what I wait around for). But I love the 2nd half (Siegfried, Götterdämmerung) — the only let-down for me is Act 3 of Gotterdammerung — I used to depart the theater after the 2nd act.

    4. Max Loppert is a distinguished critic who knows of what he writes.He has long championed Pénélope, Ariane et Barbe-Bleu and Padmavati — I’ve never seen the latter live, but my experiences of Pénélope and Ariane et Barbe-Bleu — admittedly limited — have always made me wonder why these pieces are so rarely done when Pelléas is so ubiquitous. He isn’t saying they are better pieces than Pelléas

    And on and on.

    This is when I throw my hands up in frustration and wonder: Do you people listen? Do you REALLY LISTEN to opera? :-( :-(

    Moving on to another topic:

    On page 158 of the book Opera, Sex and other Vital Matters by Paul Robinson I found this:

    ”In 1979 I actually wrote an essay entitled “The Opera Queen” and sent it to ‘The New Republic’ of which I was then a contributing editor and which had published a number of my essays and reviews. The piece was an attack on opera queens, whom I accused of not liking music. Fortunately, the magazine refused to run the essay, which, although it made some legitimate criticisms of opera queenery (I’ll return to them later), came dangerously close to an exercise in self-hatred”

    Oh, what a pity!!! I would have LOVED to read his original essay from 1979.

    Finally, several months ago the following comment appeared on one of the British messageboards:

    ”Women simply do not understand or feel the subtleties of music as much as men. If they did, they would compose music like men do. That is not a sexist remark. It is simply to reflect the truth that over the last 500 years, we have had very few women composers.”

    I would slightly modify the first part. Instead I would say that when it comes to operatic music women do not love it as profoundly as men do. Nor do they hear all of the subtleties / intricacies as much as men do. Some men are just uniquely gifted when it comes to delicacy of perception and operatic love.

    And the starting point is….

    Right here:

    • operaassport

      Man, dude, you have WAY to much time on your hands. Take a chill pill!

      • Meimei

        Holy crap, operaassport, you’re right! Way too much time on his hands and probably off his meds. It’s gone way beyond needing a chill pill.

    • O M G
      It’s a parody, right?

      HNY everybody!

  • Okay, I’m tired of you and your blathering. You’re going on permanent moderation.

    • Huzzah!

    • armerjacquino

      Thank you, la Cieca. As I was reading I was composing something furious in my head along the lines that while the aesthetic stuff was merely irritating, the misogyny was flat-out unacceptable.

      • Krunoslav

        La terra e liberata!

    • manou
    • It explains itself.

    • Flora del Rio Grande

      Thank you thank you La Cieca!

    • Rory Williams

      Hooray! Thanks, LaC

    • Uninvolved Bystander

      Simply, thank you.

      • laddie

        I with UB.

    • Yay!

    • CwbyLA

      Brava diva!

    • antikitschychick

      MY OH MY. :shock:

      What to say except thank you La Cieca and the rest of the posters who so kindly responded to GCR on my behalf.

    • stevey


  • Feldmarschallin

    Thank you La Cieca.

  • CBS is airing the Kennedy Centre Honors (how it pains me to omit the “u”) tonight at 9pm EST. Martina Arroyo is one of the honorees.

    • Benedetta Funghi-Trifolati

      I happened to just see on TV a commercial advertising tonight’s broadcast of the Kennedy Center Honors. The other honorees were all lavishly pictured and mentioned. There was nothing to indicate Martina Arroyo even existed, let alone was an Honoree. Sad.

      • Clita del Toro

        I occasionally read GCR, and don’t know what all the fuss is about. Why did people react so strongly to to him? No one is forced to read or react to those posts. The reactions, IMO, were worse than the posts.

        • Rackon

          The mean spiritedness and misogyny of this last post is repellent. Copying and pasting chat room comments, out of context, on Opera-L was also less than endearing.

          • Rackon

            Cara Clita, I did not mean your comment but was referring to GCR’s original post.

          • DonCarloFanatic

            Also creepy. Comments in the chat room are supposed to be ephemeral. (Okay, maybe the NSA is diligently copying them all down anyway—another example of government waste. Also creepy.)

        • grimoaldo

          Well Clita I did ignore most of GCR’s posts but as La Valkyrietta says above “Picking on another poster is just too cruel.” The attack on antikitschychick for posting on a subject he finds boring and for daring to say that “Falstaff” did not do much for her on an initial hearing was something I felt I needed to challenge.

          • antikitschychick

            Thank your for that Grimoaldo. I know this is literally yesterday’s news lol but I wasn’t aware that any of this had gone down until now and would just like to say that I would have never ever engaged with GCR had he not done so first. My comment about Falstaff was, as you say, merely a first impression that was never aimed to anger or offend anyone. Besides, while I will be the first one to admit that I don’t take half the stuff I write seriously I would never berate another poster in such a way because their opinion differs from mine on something.

            Furthermore, as hilariously flippant as his above post was (He finds my wishing Celia Cruz a happy birthday offensive??? Really??!!), his comments (especially the latter half) seemed totally out of line to me.

            • alejandro

              The Cuban in me was all like . . . wait he DISSED you for the Celia shout out? Ohnohedidn’t!

              (and as someone who fell in love with opera thanks to Terrence McNally’s Master Class, those Callas La Divina compilations, and YouTube videos of Natalie Dessay, I was APPALLED he had the nerve to say your entree into opera was not “correct.”)

            • antikitschychick

              lol ay niño, sabes que despues de todo me da lastima pues se ve el castillo lo tiene mal a el :-P. Tu tranquilo que con el o sin el seguiremos guaracheando aqui! ;-).

          • Clita del Toro

            Grim, I guess I didn’t read that post. Challenging GCR only encourages her/it? I am glad you did. Unfortunately, It’s like with AC/DC on opera-l. You can’t win.
            Rackon, thanks.

          • No Expert

            The endlessness of GCR’s posts sometimes just made them hard to ignore.

    • Sempre liberal

      I suppose Center was so painful that you made the switch to Centre automatically.


      • Sempre, there’s only so much incorrect spelling that my brain can handle! LOL

        • manou

          Ah -- a kindred spirit. Mark Twain would not care for both of us: “I don’t give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way.”.

      • antikitschychick

        darn I missed this! Hopefully it will become available online soon (though thanks for posting this clip sempre). I’d really like to see the Martina Arroyo tribute above all, though I am a fan of all of the honorees, particularly Herbie Hancock and Tony Bennett as well.

        • The video tribute to Arroyo was very well done I thought. They wisely started the segment by playing her opening “Pace”. I’m sure that for the viewers unfamiliar with Arroyo, the sheer arresting beauty of that sound grabbed their attention.

          They played a number of bits of her performances as the soundtrack for the tribute (mostly Verdi but a also a gorgeous “Summertime”) and had a nice touch at the very end. As the video came to a close, they played the final bit of “Teco io sto” in a recording with Richard Tucker. And just as they started the clip, they showed a photo of Tucker and Arroyo in Ballo. This correct association of photo and soundtrack impressed me.

          For the live performance section, they did some highlights from Aida. Joseph Calleja sang around half of “Celeste Aida” (with a lovey morrendo on the final note). Sondra Radvanovsky sang around a third of “O patria mia” (not her best rendition but still good). The two of them were joined by some young protegees of Arroyo and a wholly inadequate military (children’s?) chorus for the rousing conclusion of Act II of Aida. Arroyo’s lovely face was awash in tears.

          All the performances throughout the evening were quite engaging IMO, including Rufus Wainright in very good voice paying tribute to Billy Joel. Throughout the night, we had glimpses of Jessye and Renee in the audience. Also caught the sight of Denyce Graves at one point.

          The part I enjoyed least was the cutesy performances for Shirley MacLaine. Dull dull dull.

          • antikitschychick

            thank you for that detailed review Kashania. Its wonderful that she (Arroyo) was so moved by her tribute. I’ll try and find some videos online and post them here (if available).

          • No Expert

            Even though you expected some kind of musical tribute to Martina Arroyo, it was actually kind of shocking to see that much opera on network TV. Plus a supreme court justice delivered the tribute speech. Wow! Was it just me or was there a bit of a race to the finish line between the chorus and the soloists?

  • Camille

    When it comes to killer-trillers, there are few things to beat the thrill of this cabaletta “Carlo vive!”, after the beautiful cantilena of “Tu del mio Carlo”, of course. Written for Jenny Lind, seconded by the Great Dame Joan, and recently “sung” by one Simone Kermes at the Berliner Aids Benefit, to great comic effect. Hey, I was just glad someone got it down off the shelf and breathed some life into it.

    Here also combined with one of my most favourite and beloved portraits, that of la Princesse de Broglie, as sublimely interpreted by M Ingres. Beautiful.

    • Krunoslav

      Lisette Oropesa sang Amalia in concert w/Russell Thomas earlier this fall at the Washington concert Opera. She did a great job throughout and her cabaletta was joyful.

      The queen at DG who decided that Kermes deserves widespread mainstream recordings should be sentenced to listening to her bad joke of a “Carlo vive” for one month solid.

      • FomalHaut

        The studio version is not so bad…she sings everything as written and adds some interesting embellishments.

        Gruberova has also sung it:

      • grimoaldo

        Yes indeedy that performance was the highlight of my opera year and the night I fell in love with Lisette! Thomas was a knockout vocally and the whole cast was superb. It was truly a stunning evening, of a quality that could only be equalled, not surpassed, anywhere.

      • Feldmarschallin

        I have heard Kermes live twice. Once she was very good in Aithra (sp?) and once not very good at all to be polite in Due Foscari. I have many of her barock cds which are good and find her voice more suited to those composers. Now I want to know how had the brilliant idea that she must sing these Mozart operas? Do we even need more recordings of these operas when we have Böhm, Karajan and Giulini and she is up against stiff competition from Schwarzkopf and Sutherland? I think I will pass on those but must say I heard him conduct here and he is a breath of fresh air. Still not enough for me to want to run out and buy yet another Mozart opera since I have between 15-20 complete recordings of all three Da Ponte operas in the shelf.

    • One only hopes that Verdi paid the Bellini estate a handsome fee for poaching both the melody and the structure of “Ah non giunge.”

    • pobrediablo

      Ghena also sang it but I can’t find that particular aria. Here’s another one with some beautiful pianissimi.

    • There was a musical Princesse de Broglie, namely Marie-Antoinette Aussenac de Broglie -- muse to the eccentric/slightly mad/visionary Russian composer Nikolay Obukhov and virtuoso of the croix-sonore (Obukhov’s crucifix-shaped theremin). The Princesse would don her sacred cowls and wave her hands around the golden cross while Russian expats, patiently awaiting the messianic resurrection of Tsar Nicholas II, would swoon in ecstasy to the ethereal sounds of Maestro Obukhov’s music.

      • The above comment is proof that if James McCourt did not exist, it would not be necessary to invent him.

        • grimoaldo

          I had to google James McCourt, him I can probably live without, but I have missed m. croche’s inimitable posts (and have just learned about a composer I never heard of before,Obukhov, too.)

      • manou

        There was a previous post from you

        halfway down the page -- complete with Obukhov clip.


        • Oops. I grow (ever more?) senile.

          I actually have recordings of M.-A. de A-B, Princesse of the portamento, playing the croix sonore. There might be copyright restrictions against my posting them. Then again, there might not.

  • No, antikitschychick’s posts (the majority of which concern singers) as well as those of all the vocalism freaks are coma-inducing.

    Cieca carissima, can we still make this the Mot du jour? It is way too delicious, considering the source, to even consider anything else. Can we please, please, PLEASE?????

    • armerjacquino

      The definition of ‘canary fancying’ is ridiculously wide, too. The conversation between cocky and antik he objected to so strongly was about the physiology of vocal production.

      • operaassport

        I attended a Butterfly and a friend asked that question upon my return:
        Did she sing the high B ………

        That’s my definition of a canary fancier.

        • Which high B? The one at the climax of “Un bel di” is unavoidable. I think your friend probably meant the high D at the end of Butterfly’s entrance. If you’re going to make fun of canary fanciers, get your high notes straight, for pity’s sake! LOL

          • Feldmarschallin

            Not to be picky but it is a high D flat and it is optional.

            • I was wondering if it was a D-flat. I quickly checked a youtube recording which I guess must have been tuned a semi-tone sharp.

              Having consulted an online score (which I should have done to begin with), I see that the D-flat is written and the lower alternative is marked as an option.

            • pobrediablo

              I don’t know of any D-flat in Un bel di. There is an optional D flat (I don’t know if it’s in the score actually but some singers take it) at the end of Butterfly’s entrance in Quanto cielo, quanto mar.

            • Thanks, Cieca. That’s the very source I checked.

            • pobrediablo

              Again, this is not Un bel di, Cieca, but Quanto cielo, quanto mar, as I had said.

          • Flora del Rio Grande

            High B in Un bel di? Where?
            Surely you refer to the B-flat.
            But Cio Cio San must have a
            high C, yes?, for the final
            measure of the first act.
            The tenor may or may not
            join her.

            Didn’t anyone notice how Giordani
            did not sing his high B in Act III
            Tosca, last Saturday’s broadcast?
            I’ve seen no commentary on it and
            wonder why he would do that. He
            was not in great voice and he is
            certainly over the hill, but the top
            register is still the best part of
            his voice.

            • Surely you refer to the B-flat.

              Surely, I do indeed. It seems that I had the entire opera up a semitone when I wrote my original post. LOL

    • Operngasse

      I agree. However, the most interesting statement is: When I was getting into Boris Godunov in my early 20’s I found it to be a huge slog. For whatever reason it took me a long time to fall in love with it.”

      I can’t image that Boris personally appreciated being called a huge slog. However, I too have met a few in my life.

    • phoenix

      It is a pretty low punch to criticize someone else’s comments but it’s something many of us have to learn the hard way to stay away from. I don’t agree with most people’s comments on this site either but that doesn’t give me free license to bash their opinions.
      -- HOWEVER, that said, Genevieve is always interesting and I find it strange (but honest) for Lindo to request the Mot du jour from someone who has been banished. Plantation Politics?

      • Genevieve has not been banished, he has been put in permanent moderation and no one over here can say that they didn’t see that train come from 20 miles away.

        As a matter of fact, Genevieve was warned several times, not only by La Cieca herself, but by several other people that his behavior would get him into a world of trouble. One thing is being bitchy, which at one point we all get. Another one is being passionate and opinionated, which we all are. Another one completely is to walk in here, day in and day out proclaiming that the entire population of this place is nothing more than a bunch of peasants that could do no better than worship at his altar.

        I am sorry you feel that way, but we can go back 3-4 months to every single Intermission feature and someone told Genevieve that his behavior was less than neighborly; and he proceeded to ignore that warning week in and week out believing that he was above it all.

        Lastly, anyone who has developed a relationship with Genevieve can reach her through his blog. I am sure he will love to hear from them.

        and one more thing, no one is dancing on Genevieve’s grave. while we are less than surprised and many of us are relieved that we will not have to deal with his boorish behavior without at least some help from La Cieca, we are not dancing in his grave. And considering the source, that should have been the Mot du jour.

        • armerjacquino


          And I think anyone defending as ‘entertaining’ a poster who openly states that women are inferior to men is veering towards the contrarian.

  • armerjacquino

    Got some iTunes vouchers for Christmas and one of the things I bought was the Pappano WAR REQUIEM. I think Trebs and Bostridge make something really special and chilling of the Lacrymosa/Move Him section (at 4.40 here) which is one of my favourite pieces of 20th music.

    (By the way, the other things I bought were the Mosuc Donizetti Mad Scenes recital and the Bartoli/Jo/Antonini NORMA. I don’t even LIKE bel canto. I blame you lot)

    • You don’t like bel canto, you don’t like Wagner. What the…? :)

      • armerjacquino

        Yep. My opera tastes are quite narrow, I’m afraid.

        I’m stuck with Monteverdi, Purcell, Handel, Vivaldi, Hasse, Gluck, Salieri, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Weber, Gounod, Verdi, Boito, Cilea, Giordani, Leoncavallo, Mascagni, Massenet, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Puccini, Strauss J, Strauss R, Debussy, Berg, Britten, Janacek, Korngold, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Poulenc, Barber, Adams and Ades. What’s a boy to do? :-)

        • Rackon

          AmerJ, if you added Wagner, Cavalli, Berlioz, Hegge and Corigliano to your list…you’d have my list. ;-)

      • Bianca Castafiore

        kashy, he’s a canary-fancier, obviously…

    • Krunoslav

      Was I Tunes fresh out of SIR JOHN IN LOVE, HUGH THE DROVER and Parry’s JOB? :)

      • manou

        The demand for these is insatiable -- they always run out of stock.

      • armerjacquino

        Yep, I never stop banging on about Vaughan-Williams, me. Infamous for it.

        • armerjacquino

          Ooops, the smiley didn’t show up, for maybe HTML reasons. Consider that post smileyed, for avoidance of tonal doubt.

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Born on this day in 1850 composer Tomás Bretón

    Born on this day in 1898 baritone Jules Bledsoe

    Born on this day in 1912 composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks

    Born on this day in 1918 soprano Mado Robin

    Born on this day in 1932 tenor Kolbjörn Höiseth

  • Fritz

    Maybe this is old news to some, but I just came across a site that lists predictions about Met future seasons. It may not be as accurate as Brad Wilber’s old site since it’s a Wiki page (which means anyone can add or subtract information), but for what it’s worth, here’s the link:

    • armerjacquino

      Already in la C’s links to the left, Fritz, but a useful reminder for those who may not have come across it.

  • My triller top 4 (because I don’t know a fifth):

    1. Joan Sutherland
    2. Beverly Sills
    3. Cecilia Bartoli
    4. Renee Fleming

    I would still love to here a good male trill. If someone has a link, please show me! :)

    • *would still love to HEAR…*

    • Maybe I would put Callas on the fifth place…

    • Not to sound predictable, but I would put Callas at no. 2 on your list.

      • Instead of Sills? But her trills are very bird like and flexible. Callas trills are very good but they don’t sound very unique like the four ladies on my list.

        • armerjacquino

          Damrau and Gruberova should both probably be there or thereabouts.

        • God, I feel like such a parterre cliche, posting about Callas AND trills! LOL

          What Callas had was the ability to control the speed of her trill and to trill anywhere in her wide-ranging voice.

      • marshiemarkII

        Ah youth wasted on the young Kashie, what is a Q to do?!?!?!?!!?!?? :lol:

        • I don’t think Cecilia belongs on that list. Her trill sounds really weird, more like an odd chudder than a real trill.

          Think Maria Callas should definitely be on that list, and if we’re on modern singers, Joyce di Donato and Elina Garanca are today’s best trillers.

          • Hmm that’s why I like them I think. Flemings trills can sound a bit strange too, but I like that.

            Watch @ 5:30. Those are some of my favorite trills. She holds them very long and they sound cute and wobbly and unique.

            Not sure about Gruberova. Damrau has good trills too, but same with Callas, they don’t sound very unique. Same thing with Olga Peretyatko.

            Julia Lezhneva has unique trills but Im not so sure about those.

            • manou
            • Actually, those trills at 5:30 are the reason I’m ambivalent about Bartoli’s trills. She used to do a regular trill and now has switched to aspirating really quickly between the two notes. It’s as if she’s singing very fast 16th notes, not really trilling. Of course, her remarkable speed makes them sound as fast as any trill.

          • Joyce has pretty good trills, but I can’t remember hearing Garanca trill.

        • marshiemarkII

          And Renee Fleming? the list is so wrong that it’s a good thing the great ones are not in it (excepting the Dame of course). It seems like a list designed by the record companies marketing dept in order to push a few oldand stale unsalable stuff to unsuspecting victims. I guess the fifth one should be Mojca Erdmann :lol:

          • No man, Fleming has pretty good trills IMO. They sound weird, but I guess I like weird trills.

            Except for Sutherland? So Sills doesn’t have good trills? I think they are almost as good as Sutherlands.

            Tell me what your top 5 would be ;)

            • armerjacquino

              GCR will be feeling totally vindicated round about now. He gets put on moderation for moaning on about canary fanciers, and a lengthy conversation about trills immediately ensues…

            • La Cieca started it!!!!

            • Clita del Toro

              Someone I know says that Sills’ trills are not trills but just some sort of pulsation, (or whatever you want to call it) on the note. I noticed that she sometimes does that, but not always.

            • Krunoslav

              Here’s we can placate GCN’s shade:

              How many Yniolds in PELLEAS also recorded the fantabulous Bell Song from LAKME?

              I’ll start with Leila ben Sedira and Mady Mesple…

            • armerjacquino

              Please God don’t let Graziella Sciutti be one of them.

          • No, I think Fleming has a pretty great trill.

      • Perhaps there should be two top-triller lists -- kunst-trillers and stimme-trillers. I just can’t see putting Callas as #2.

    • pobrediablo

      The longer the vocal cords, the more difficult the trill.

      • FomalHaut

        Interesting! So -- you are saying a trill in the middle of the voice is more difficult to successfully achieve than one at the top?

        • pobrediablo

          Without being an expert -- yes. It’s pure mechanics.

    • Here are some of the very best male trills on record:

      Pol Plançon, bass. Trills at 0:48 and 2:07.

      Hermann Jadlowker, tenor (who sang everything from Almaviva to Otello and Lohengrin). Trills at 1:58 and 4:08.

      John McCormack, tenor. Trill at 2:00.

      Leon Escalaïs, tenor. Crescendo while trilling at 2:29.

      Plançon again. Trills at 1:27 and 2:55.

      Jadlowker again. A trill on high A/Bb at 3:35.

      • grimoaldo

        Actually Russell Thomas in the concert Masnadieri already mentioned up the page, trilled in a duet with Oropesa, she trilled too in the same duet, I actually congratulated both of them after the performance and mentioned the trills.
        I don’t know or care enough about such things to know whether Thomas’s were “real” trills or not, they sounded good to me.

      • la vociaccia

        You devastate me Nick. No Joseph Schmidt?

        I’m also bereft of words at the lack of Olga Peretyatko on the list of living trillers! She is definitely the best

        • I mentioned her!!

          Her trills are very good yes!

      • Krunoslav

        OK, here’s an old favorite, Frances Alda in LORELEY:

        Start at 3:15.

      • Wow thank you very much Nick!! Appreciated!

    • Noel Dahling

      Well Spen, I found Fleming’s Bel Canto album somewhat irritating, but the trills were like liquid strands of silver. Delicious! There I go, canary-fancying again…

    • Feldmarschallin

      Well are we not all forgetting people like Melba, Patti, Sembrich, Eames, Nordica and Ponselle just to name a few.

      • la vociaccia

        Kirsten Flagstad manages some great trills in Rossini’s Inflammatus:

    • Your wish is my command:

    • Tubsinger

      I think Dame Kiri might belong on your list, perhaps at #5. I was always pretty happy with her trills, at least in Mozart. (She was never my cuppa as Violetta, except in the last act where I found she was reasonably effective in the theater.) As for the menfolk, I’m sorry I haven’t a link to offer, but I was impressed with Placido’s trill in the offertory in at least one of the Verdi Requiem recordings I have of his (perhaps Mehta’s, now available, finally, on Sony). When David Rendall was still a Mozart singer, I heard many perfect trills in person as he sang Ferrando. I can’t recall if they’re there on the Erato recording. [I know many can’t abide his fluttery production, but I always thought he sounded more than acceptable in Mozart.]

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Spen, I’m awfully late to the party here, but if you’re after a great trill from a male singer, check out Sherrill Milnes on the Giulini Don Carlo in the scene just prior to ‘Io vengo a domandar’ and also in ‘Per me giunto’. They’re the best I’ve ever heard from a man, except maybe from a couple of counter-tenors.

      I agree that Fleming has a brilliant, genuine trill. I also agree with Tubsinger that Dame Kiri’s trill was brilliant, and in fact remains so -- I heard her in recital the Sunday before Christmas and although there wasn’t much left to admire, she can still come up with a decent trill. Both are better at it than Bartoli anyway, IMO, who I’d rate alongisde Horne and DiDonato -- the 3 of them do something that resembles a trill, but I don’t think you can actually hear 2 distinct notes, and they make awfully heavy weather of it.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Last night Domingo used part of his vacation to make music with his kids in Mexico

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      Great experience for the kids and Doningo in fabulous voice too


  • Batty Masetto

    This week at the Rumpus Room!

    Genevieve’s Bathtub Best, $9.95
    A house-brand bubbly festively brewed for every New Year’s Eve. Proof of health insurance required.*

    *Dr. Bodo Bashdapetunian of the sparkling new Hiway 13 Ophthalmology Clinic has generously offered to treat anyone feeling after-effects.**

    **Grateful as she is for Dr. Bashdapetunian’s offer, Genevieve would appreciate it if anyone could provide further information about his alma mater, the East Lungfish Lutheran School of Ophthalmology and Animal Husbandry (e.g., its location; Dr. Bashdapetunian says it’s in France). They certainly issue a gorgeously decorated diploma.

    Montserrat Cabernet, $9.95
    Fruity, elegant and perfumed when at its best, though off-years have been rated flat and hollow. May or may not trill you.

    Clamberry juice cocktail, $6.95
    Freshly pressed cranberries and clams, for those who prefer a non-alcoholic tipple

    and with your cocktail, why not try:
    Raccoon gribenes, $5.95

    Soupe à la toilette Godwin, $7.95
    A generous portion served in your own personal toilet bowl (meticulously scrubbed of course)

    Coupe de gras, $9.95
    A great big bowlful of delicious grease. In a dismaying development that may or may not be related, Johan Botha has not been seen recently.

    Choucroute Rumpus Room, $24.95
    No pork products here! Bear, smoked woodchuck, crow, squirrel and a host of esoteric sausages (don’t ask) adorn this Alsatian-inspired holiday treat.

    Tavola calda Forza alla Kusej, $39.95
    Take your choice from a lavish buffet spread with french-fried armadillos, imported wombats, potted moose, braised turkey vultures, tenors, sopranos, and other hearty delicacies. The accoutrements may change but the table will never go away.

    Gopher croquettes, sauce Cougara Renée, $14.95
    Rumored to contain, inter alia, melted butter, prawn cocktail sauce, synthetic lumpy cottage cheese, rancid Velveeta, honey, mustard, Camembert, Mont d’Or, eye of newt, toe of frog, and further equally inscrutable ingredients. Only Marshie knows for sure, but as he has volunteered to be your waitron (no doubt wearing his most devastating waitress uniform) you can ask him.

    Canard tutti frutti, $18.95
    Duck braised with bananas, whortleberries, grapefruit, avocados, guavas, watermelon, jujubes and durian. Looks just the way it sounds.

    Totes MaGoats, $23.95
    A succulent selection from every part of the redolent ruminant, accompanied by a side of queer vernacular. To be served (and to avoid being served), you must pass the SAT (Sarcastic Attitude Test). Bring four No. 2 pencils and a photo ID of yourself in your fiercest drag.

    and for dessert, on New Year’s Eve only:

    Le Vacherin espagnol, $14.95
    Don’t be misled by the name; this holiday treat is as long-standing tradition in every American family. A deep shell of elaborate meringue scrollwork filled with whipped cream and delicately macerated fresh fruits, decorated on top with candied rose petals and violets, and at the center, a dense, sweet, succulent lump of wounded French amour-propre.

    Happy New Year from the Rumpus Room
    (Hiway 13 south, just past the Mini-Mart. Free meatballs and lap dances every Thursday.)

    • grimoaldo

      “Tavola calda Forza alla Kusej….The accoutrements may change but the table will never go away.”


    • Camille

      You are a genio creator.

      Cannot WAIT to see La Marshie-Madeleine’s waitress outfit!

    • Rackon

      Oh Batty, LOL -- this made my day! Thank you!

    • bluecabochon

      You have outdone yourself this week, Batty! Laughed out loud hard and long over this week’s menu. Happy New Year to you and M. Batty. :)

  • Buster

    This is a must have:

    Marc Albrecht stood out in the Gambler too, this afternoon. What an incredible score! At times it was just too much to listen to the orchestra, and trying to follow the singers, and the plot at the same time.

    By the fourth act, it all came together for me. Andrea Breth´s Casino scene was breathtaking. The excitement in the orchestra matched her carefully planned action on stage. Everyone, extras too, apparently got their strict instructions from Breth, causing an atmosphere that was so real, never saw anything like that before.

    Fabulous Baboulenka from Renate Behle:

  • aeijtzsche

    Hi, I’m finally going to the Met for the first time to see Werther in February and I’m wondering where to sit. I’m looking to spend 200 bucks or so. Any thoughts?

    • pobrediablo

      I would say dress circle or balcony. The sound is better than in the orchestra and the view is quite good. The first rows of those I mean, not in the back.

    • Lohenfal

      The first two rows of the Grand Tier are excellent for both seeing and hearing. You might be able to get a seat in that area for about 250. Otherwise, try the first two rows of the Dress Circle: not as close to the stage but still very good, and probably close to 200.

  • -Ed.

    Is there such a thing as a Vivaldi soprano? I know there are Wagnerian sopranos, and Verdi sopranos, etc. Bartoli is the only one I listen to regularly and I think she’s great, but are there any others of note? I adore Vivaldi, somehow I connect with his music so effortlessly. Even when he makes me sad, he makes me feel better because I know he gets it.

    • marshiemarkII

      Try the same sublime aria with Montserrat Caballe, and then you will know heaven is. I saw Bartoli do that at Carnegie Hall, and it was execrable, totally bent out of shape, I didn’t recognize the music. Try la Montsy you will not regret it!!! :P

      • Krunoslav

        Caballe as a Vivaldi stylist-- well, we have to disagree yet again! She treats it on her own terms, which one can enjoy as pure sound of course.

        BTW that aria (which I adore, JDD and the also sui generis Podles also have sung it) is not by Vivaldi except in as much as he stole it for one of his pastiche works. It was written by Geminiano Giacomelli.

        • Krunoslav

        • marshiemarkII

          Kruno it’s one of my desert island performances, the phrasing is exquisite, I am talking the piano recital with Miguel Zannetti on the piano, on Forlane. I have it on special storage so it never gets damaged :lol:
          At the very least ou should acknowledge that there is no comparison between Caballe and that monstrosity that Bartoli delivers. I saw her at Carnegie Hall and the only good thing about it was that her assault on the music was not that offensive, because she was mostly inaudible :lol:

      • Noel Dahling

        Oh Marshisimma, but I’ve loved Bartoli’s recording of this piece since the tender age of 15. But Montsy is exquisite, si,si.

        • marshiemarkII

          Ciao Noel Carisssssimo, long time…… sorry to offend, I know where we overlap, but we will not go there today :lol: but that Carnegie Concert was not so hot really, maybe she was not up to par, it was in 1994 or 95 I think. Anyway I hope you are here to stay, so we can have some nice repartee. Happy New Year Carissssimo!

    • Krunoslav

      Margaret Marshall --one of the rare UK artists I like more than armer-- is superb in her 1970s recordings of Vivaldi sacred works.

      There are other early music sopranos like Roberta invernessi, Veronica Cangémi, Sandrine Piau and Karina Gauvin who have sung and recorded Vivaldi well — and a lot of mezzos, like Sonia Prina, JDD, Sara Mingardo, Vivica Genaux, Ann Hallenberg…

      • Hippolyte

        It’s Invernizzi actually, the divine Roberta:

        • Krunoslav

          Hey, you are entitled to love it, i remember that being gorgeous when she sang it San Fran- maybe 1986, also w/Zanneti? But she sings it as an “italian song” in the early 1900s fashion.

        • Krunoslav

          Invernessi is what the Scots call her. :)

      • armerjacquino

        Kruno, that’s a wee bit naughty. My whole point is and always has been that I don’t care where someone comes from. I don’t have any special prejudice in favour of UK singers and you know it.

        PS Margaret Marshall is boring ;-)

    • FomalHaut

      Vivica Genaux:

      Simone Kermes:

    • -Ed.

      Blagodaryu vas Krunoslav for the list of names, and to all for the generous response and suggestions. I must say, I found the Podles and Marshall selections immediately pleasing. The Caballe recording with Zanetti on piano was quite nice, it will likely grow on me. Montsy sounds a little bored with it, somehow. Like she just wanted to get her Vivaldi ticket punched.

    • Howling in Tune

      Sure there’s such a thing as a Vivaldi soprano.
      (They’re kinda like Handel sopranos.)

      Roberta Invernizzi, already cited, was the first one I was going to mention:

      Sandrine Piau:

      the lovely Carolyn Sampson:

      the controversial Simone “I want to show you my vocal cords” Kermes:

      the precocious Julia Lezhneva:

      the charming Elin Manahan Thomas:

      Emma Kirkby never really had the fire to do the operas, but she could (and possibly, at age 64, still can) do the sacred music very well:

      As has been mentioned there are now lots and lots of Vivaldi mezzos and altos. Here’s a favorite of mine, Romina Basso:

      And there’s the too-often maligned Mrs. Simon Rattle #3, who had a well-established career before she ever worked with the man:

      • armerjacquino

        Can’t find it on YT, but there is a spectacular, fire-breathing early 80s ‘In Furore’ by Gasdia which is more exciting than any I’ve heard since.

  • mercadante

    Good trillers on record, in no particular order:
    Selma Kurz
    Sigrid Onegin
    Rosa Raisa

    Among men:
    David Devries

  • Camille

    Yes, thank you, Selma Kurz had a magnificent trill, as well as Luisa “turkey” Tetrazzini. Her recording of the Mireille waltz song is the stuff of legends. Earlier today I looked for it but did not find it.

    Many thanks to Nick Scholl for providing such sterling examples of tenor-baryton-bass voices. I have not forgotten, either, that M Faure’s name is unaccented.

  • marshiemarkII

    Carissssimo fenice, mille grazie ancora, I just got the Hamburg Carmelites, and I am loving every single singer. I can’t believe how good is Kathryn Harries as de Croissy, I remember her as a mousy lousy Gutrune when the Gotterdammerung was new in 1988, so I had no hopes for her and she is wobbly wonderful!!!!! :lol:
    And I am loving the Blanche de la Force some Romanian soprano I think. I am loving the phrasing all around, contrary to the La Scala that was pretty vile, other than Silja (oh how I love these wobblers :D) it was foul stuff, Muti also glorious of course, but that Gwynne Geyer, just what Oedipe was talking about, no sense of the eternal French line, no feeling for the prosody of the French language, so everything choppy and nasty, great top notes but SO WHAT I say. Also what was up with those Robert Wilson like movements during the Salve Regina, was that over the top or what?????
    Anyway, this Hamburg is so far superb on blu-ray, divine sound, it came yesterday but just opened it today, I will go to sleep in absolute heaven, next to my Colonial Crucifix CammiB!

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      • mercadante

        I thought Kaufmann would be an ideal Alvaro, the aria on his recent Verdi disc is so good, but in practice he seemed too throaty and bottled up in sound and his phrasing wasn’t broad enough, certainly not as much as his recording. On stage he seems to micro manage his phrasing too much, he is too “intellectual” in approach. He doesn’t seem to feel the flow of the music as he does in Wagner. He’s almost as fussy as Fleming, but in a different, more artistic, way; but still not ‘right’. Harteros had similar issues. I guess being idiomatic is important to me , I hadn’t quite thought about it before. I mean I like DFD in Verdi, so I’m open to different approaches… But this just seemed’wrong’.

        Production was OK, but after 20 minutes I pretty much knew what everyone was going to do. Once you get the Regie vocabulary, it becomes very predictable.

        • oedipe

          Once you get the Regie vocabulary, it becomes very predictable.

          Well, it doesn’t HAVE to be that way, you know. It’s all a function of the directors’ talent; and talent is not a dime a dozen, I’m afraid.

          • mercadante

            While it may not have to be that way, but it very frequently is. I can even predict, almost to the second, when someone is going to get on the floor, a move that seems to be the new hand to heart.

            • manou

              “when someone is going to get on the floor…” or on the table. Or under the table.

          • Batty Masetto

            Exactly, Oedipe. Good opera directors have always been in short supply, it’s just that conventional productions don’t get certain people’s knickers in a twist.

            That doesn’t mean that bad conventional productions are inherently any better. Dreary conventional productions were what turned me off to much of Verdi when I was a kid. (Richard Tucker hamming it up in pumpkin trunks, a big pompadour and elevator shoes is one of my most hilarious+appalling opera memories.) In my experience at least, they’re as capable of doing damage as any nonconventional approach.

            I don’t even know what a “regie” vocabulary would be. I do know that it wouldn’t be all that hard to come up with a vocabulary of bad directing of all kinds.

        • grimoaldo

          I don’t think there is a “correct” way to sing Verdi (or any other music) and no other vocal type or approach is valid. I am very grateful to Harteros and Kaufmann for singing so much Verdi and hope they will continue to do so. This has to have been the most widely-noted performance of Forza for 30 years or so, a great opera which fell into neglect because there wasn’t anybody who could sing it. Last performance at the Met -- Voigt and Licitra. Last performance at ROH (which I saw) -Urmana and Licitra, both performances unspeakably awful.
          And this performance was far from being just about the soprano and tenor,Tézier was terrific, he is an ideal Verdi baritone imo, let’s hope we see and hear him all over the place.

          • grimoaldo

            Also, surely the prime responsibility of people who run opera houses is to put on good shows for the people sitting there at live performances who have paid money for their tickets,the Bavarian State Opera like all other opera houses is there first and foremost for its local audience, Harteros and Kaufmann may not rival Tebaldi, Callas, Corelli, Bergonzi etc in everyone’s mind but those singers are not around any more, BSO is certainly doing a great job in finding singers to perform for its home audience and enthral, delight and move them, and it is very nice of the Munich opera to share it with us for free.

          • oedipe

            Tézier was terrific, he is an ideal Verdi baritone imo, let’s hope we see and hear him all over the place.

            But Grim, we DO see and hear him all over the place, just not in England or America. (In the last six seasons, he sang twice at the Met and once at the ROH, as per Operabase.)

            If I were witty and popular, I could elicit some laughs by imitating Mr. Jeremy Sams (and the BBC, it seems) by saying that he doesn’t sing at the Met and the ROH because he is a rude and filthy Frenchman. But I am not witty.

            • armerjacquino

              We don’t see Tezier all over the place in Verdi- he tends to stick to FORZA and DON CARLO. Could that be what grim meant, given that he specified Verdi?

              The BBC report you mention was entirely based on the research of a Japanese academic, but you oddly seem to have omitted to mention that.

            • MontyNostry

              The ROH did Tézier the honour of casting him in a small role in a concert performance of Linda di Chamonix, in which he provided the evening’s most impressive singing.

            • oedipe

              Oops, I apologize for failing to recognize an obvious truth: it is not an ethnic joke to state that the French are rude and filthy, it is a HARD FACT based on academic research reported by the always objective English language press. Sorry if I offended people by not seeing this from the very beginning.

            • armerjacquino

              Wow, again with the deliberate misrepresentation. Nobody is saying that Paris Syndrome is HARD FACT, just that it’s a bit dodgy of you to put the whole thing down to some kind of BBC bias.

              Here’s the wiki page:


              Notice that the Syndrome was first identified in NERVURE: were they acting out of anti-French bias?

              As for FLEDERMAUS, the whole point of that scene is that two Austrians are pretending to be French and each thinks the other is genuine. So they fall back on stereotype. The joke isn’t on France, it’s on their ignorance. I mean, surely, surely EVERYONE knows that.

              I don’t know why I’m bothering with facts: they don’t fit your narrative, so you’ll ignore or twist them, but to sum up:

              1: The BBC didn’t invent Paris Syndrome, it was just one of countless worldwide news organisations who reported it.

              2: The characters who resort to French stereotypes in FLEDERMAUS are there to be mocked for their ignorance.

  • FomalHaut

    Anyone catch the KCH for Martina Arroyo? Possibly have a video of it? I am dying to hear Radvanovsky’s O patria mia and the tribute to Arroyo.