Headshot of La Cieca

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  • Loge: She sang Aida in her early days. A CD exists of highlights. 12:42 PM
  • peter: He may have been a dud on stage but the times I heard him were from the Family Circle standing room... 12:34 PM
  • armerjacquino: vociaccia- certainly true when I saw him in TOSCA. He just strolled round the stage without... 12:16 PM
  • la vociaccia: He certainly had a marvelous voice which he trained extremely well, but was he ever... 12:10 PM
  • peter: Giacomini’s prime was fairly short but earlier on in his career, he had the most thrilling... 12:00 PM
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  • NPW-Paris: And the bust of Atatürk. 11:56 AM
  • NPW-Paris: I know it. But anyone seeing the photo must do a double-take. 11:55 AM
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Ancien regie

“When it was new, Merrill and O’Hearn’s work sparkled, reflecting the piquancy of Strauss’s score and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s witty, learned libretto. But like any production left out in the sun a few decades, it gradually faded into mere decoration. The sets were dusted and periodically repainted, but they nevertheless grew stale. Der Rosenkavalier, a bittersweet parable of a society on the verge of convulsive transformation, became merely a plush, pretty nostalgia trip.” [New York Times]

83 comments

  • kashania says:

    As for Fleming as the Marschallin. Yes, Strauss is a strength for her, and no doubt she’ll still be in good voice. But really? Hasn’t she had enough tries at the role at the Met. If she were a probing artist always finding new layers in her portrayal, then I could see a case being made.

    • Bill says:

      The Carsen production of “Die Frau ohne Schatten”
      in Vienna was quite interesting (lots of beds -- also a
      feature in any Rosenkavalier production) and well
      thought out. The two “Sezessionist or Jugendstil productions I have seen of
      Der Rosenkavalier respectively at the Frankfurt and later at the Budapest Opera Houses have not quite worked for me -- not musically -- but in the costumes particularly in the third act. The entrance of the Feldmarschallin in the third act in a huge hat in each case kind of stole away
      the glamour of the entrance in 18th century finery.
      That said, any production of Der Rosenkavalier with Elina Garanca in the title role (these days in my opinion our finest Octavian world wide) will be a treat
      despite any mannerisms Fleming may conjour up dramatically or vocally or however bland the Sophie.
      That said I shall miss the current production at the Met
      for the production, if not sparkling new, suited almost any guest artist who appeared over the 45 year span.
      Salzburg also has a new Rosenkavalier this upcoming summer (Welser-Moest having just recently taken over as conductor instead of Mehta with Stoyanova’s first ever Feldmarschallin) and it will be interesting
      to see what type of production it may be.

      A number of fine singers have made their stage farewells in their home theaters as the Marschallin including Claire Watson in Munich and Sena Jurinac in Vienna (but not Maria Reining -- she sang one final Don Carlo a week after her last Marschallin in Vienna) Schwarzkopf as well. To be sure, I am not Fleming’s greatest fan but it is a nice way for her to bow out at the Met -- as the Feldmarschallin which has been one of her signature
      roles these past 15 years.

      • kashania says:

        Bill: Is this Marschallin her Met farewell?

      • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

        Bill, did you happen to see Marco Arturo Marelli’s “Rosenkavalier” in Graz? It managed to be both visually gorgeous and intriguing (how is it that the stage floor -- seen by overhanging mirrors -- never stopped moving from right to left during the entire opera?) as well as quite moving, all taking a cue from “Die Zeit, die ist ein sonderbar Ding.” He also did a light and breezy “Arabella” (not what one usually thinks of with that opera), and a stunning “FroSch” there. I assume you know his Wiener Staatsoper “Capriccio” and “Die schweigsame Frau,” both of which I adore. Strauss seems to fit him best. When he did the (wretched) “Fanciulla” in October, he said that he’d never directed a verismo opera before. It looked like he’d never seen one before. I also hated his now-retired “Zauberflöte.” I haven’t seen the new one yet -- I hope it’s not another atrocity. How is it that Wien can have so many bad productions of “Zauberflöte?” I long for the old Robert Carsen production at Volksoper!

        • MontyNostry says:

          I loved Marelli’s FroSch too (in Antwerp), but then I tend to love FroSch. His Sonnambula in London was pretty grim, though.

          • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

            Having only seen the Met “Sonnambula” mounted for Sutherland in… when? 1963? -- I rather enjoyed Marelli’s Alpine nightmare, but maybe this has more to do with my love of “The Magic Mountain.” It’s also been at least a decade since I saw it. I’d certainly like to have another look at it if it ever returns. I am sure you know that Joe Volpe signed on to it, but then backed out and gave the Met the Mary Zimmerman production, about which I’ve heard nothing but unprintable curses.

            • grimoaldo says:

              The London production of Sonnambula Monty refers to was, umm, not helped by the fact that Amina was “sung” at its premiere by Elena Kelessidi, who actually could not sing it. At all.

            • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

              I got L’ubica Vargicova with Gregory Kunde in December 2001, and Milagros Poblador with Juan Diego Flórez (when Dessay cancelled at the last minute) in May 2002.

            • MontyNostry says:

              Just one of Elena Kelessidi’s triumphs during her short reign as the Royal Opera House’s diva of preference.

        • Bill says:

          Jungfer -- Unfortunately I did not see Marelli’s “Rosenkavalier” in Graz but read very
          good reports of it. I surely liked his “Capriccio”
          in Vienna and his elegant and ingenious “Schweigsame
          Frau” and his previous Volksoper Mozart operas which go way back and most of his other producions -- the staging always seems to be clever. Productions of “Zauberfloete” at the Volksoper have always been
          good and superior to the last several productions of that opera at the Staatsoper. Unlike some other opera productions at the Staatsoper which have lasted for decades they seem to have a new “Zauberflote” quite frequently each one worse than the last. (since the exquisite Chagall Met
          Zauberfloete, the two following productions at the Met -- the pasty cardboard Hockney and the latest
          overblown production were less worthy and “Zauberfloete” is an opera (like “Frau”) where one can do magical things with staging and scenery without offending the text or the music.

          Some very great singers have historically come out of Graz -and much of their current casting is at a high level.

          • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

            I think the absolute worst “Zauberflöte” I ever saw was David Pountney’s Seebühne production at Bregenz this summer. He even gave up on singers and had half the cast portrayed by giant puppets and body doubles. So much dialogue was cut that the story became incomprehensible. I took a friend, a native Vorarlberger, and asked him at the end if he had any idea of what he’d seen and the answer was No.

            My best friend lives in Graz, so we sometimes go to the opera when I am down there. Last season I saw the Herheim “Manon Lescaut” (interesting but flawed concept; miserable singers) and the Bieito “Mahagonny,” which almost made me homicidal. This season, the only thing that I will actively try to see is Peter Konwitschny’s “Jenufa.” I think the real glory days were in the early-mid 2000s when Philippe Jordan was GMD. And now we have him for the Symphoniker -- hurray!

      • Camille says:

        Happy new year Bill and many more trips to Budapest for you, Ich glaube!

    • antikitschychick says:

      I tend to agree with you on this kashania. My wish is that rather than performing her “staple” rep over and over again, she would concentrate on exploring roles (via recordings since she does has a recording contract with Decca) that she didn’t venture to sing on stage in a full-blown opera performance, such as Tosca, Butterfly, Norma (if still possible) and more obscure Russian rep. I think she’s done enough German rep already, and I’m sure she would attract reputable colleagues to make guest appearances on said projects. It would be a win win situation.

      I’d only be interested in seeing/hearing her do the Marschallin again if it were an interesting, non-traditional production with either JDD or Elina as Octavian and maybe Lisette Oropesa as Sophie…best of all would be Kathleen Battle making a surprise comeback. With Levine conducting lol.

  • Bill says:

    Kedves Camille -- Gleichfalls

    And yes, Budpest for certain in May/June when they
    are presenting Salome, Elektra, Rosenkavalier, Ariadne, a new production of Die Frau ohne Schatten and Arabella over
    a two week period to honor Richard Strauss’ 150th birthday.
    Strangely Vienna, Munich and Dresden are not doing the same -
    just a few individual performances. The Met is doing
    Arabella in 2014 but no other Strauss Operas from January 2014 through December 2014. Guess they shot their wad with Wagner and Verdi in 2013.

    So lots of Schlagobers tonight for you Camille and during 2014

    • pobrediablo says:

      Strauss operas are not a sure box-office hit, I suppose.

    • Byrnham Woode says:

      The MET featured both ROSENKAVALIER and DIE FRAU in fall revivals in 2013. Both will be given taped radio broadcasts within the next couple of months. Then comes ARABELLA. A new ELEKTRA (from the late Chereau’s recent European staging) is due in a couple of years. I’d expect revivals of ARIADNE and SALOME before long, too.

      Neither Verdi or Wagner are to be heard at the MET the rest of this season, except for a few remaining FALSTAFF’S is January. They did indeed “blow their wad” on both gentlemen last season.

      • mountmccabe says:

        Then there are six Verdi operas expected to be on the schedule for 2014/15. And a Meistersinger.

        I find it strange that seasons are expected to have the same balance. There is no way to please everybody as we all have different needs.

  • steveac10 says:

    The reactionary contingent is out in force today and ripping Woolfe several new orifices this afternoon on the Times website over this article. He appears to be taking the heat for JJ, they’re blaming him for the quote, not to mention rhapsodising every piece of glitter and fru-fru that has appeared on the Met stage i the last 50 years. They’re willing to accept Shakespeare set in 2013, but not their opera. Apparently in addition to great singing, the only other crucial aspects of an opera production are crinolines, velvet, crystal and gold leaf.

    • olliedawg says:

      steveac10: I often wonder about those kinds of comments. Yes, I saw 2 great performances of Der R with those sets/costumes (Troyanos/G Jones live; Graham/Fleming TV) — wonderful, incredible, amazing, fabulous, awe-inspiring — but…really. Strauss’ music and Hofmannstahl’s words will live on and on and on. Great singers will come and go. We will treasure the great moments and hold them to our hearts…but not so close that we can’t let a bit of air come through. Opera can intrigue a new generation without pandering, at least that’s my opinion for what it’s worth, and while there will be stinker productions (what is up with the Bondy Tosca?) and stinker singers (I can’t even name all the tired performances I saw back in the late-80′s/early-90′s when I had a Met subscription), a gem or two or three will emerge from the dross. Maybe it’s my silly little New Year’s cloud of joy (probably, no doubt), but I can’t help but feel hopeful about those kinds of changes at the opera.

  • damekenneth says:

    Thank you, Krunoslav, for the clarification. I remembered it was rolandi’s debut role and season but obviously was off a couple of days. Did she sing much at the Met?

    I agree that balsa still was in good shape. More than anything, I remember Shirley Love’s mugging, and hearing those beautiful duets and the trio for the first time. I was just 16!

    I am a big fan of your comments, Krunoslav. Thanks for your correction.

    Dame K

    • Krunoslav says:

      Thanks Dame K

      I was 18 when I first saw it, with Tatiana, Gwyneth and Reri!

      Rolandi did just those two Sophies in December 1979, came back for 5 Olympias in January 1983, four turns as Sravisnky’s Nightingale in Feb/Mar 1984, then Dec 1984/Jan 1985 saw her as Zerbinetta-- well acted, with real eelingbut the extreme top was beginiing to go-- however the really alarming news from that revival was that Maria Ewing had become a screamfest.

      So Rolandi only did 17 Met performances. Remember she was still active at NYCO ( I remember a superb Gilda and a very good showing as Cleopatra in the icky version Beverly continued to present; and Rolandi did a lot of other roles as well, the warm artist to Baby June’s ice queen-- but imagine having them both on the roster at once. The Met had Sutherland, Devia, Battle, Welting etc so didn’t need Rolandi that often.

      She began to appear also at San Franicisco- Lucia (once again the E flats beginning to go), plus SUPERB renderings of Susanna and Despina-- she is certainly among my very finest Despinas, along with Bonney, Mc Laughlin and Lilian Watson ( never saw Donath live).