Cher Public

  • Camille: One last thing about Monastyrska– for me she bears a great resemblance to Ghena Dimitrova. Dimitrova’s Daughter is... 10:42 PM
  • mrsjohnclaggart: Lorenzo, I understand your point of view and it is politically astute. Any attempt (including one by a dithering old... 10:34 PM
  • la vociaccia: that is the remains of a very great voice And Domingo doesn’t sound shabby either ;) 9:00 PM
  • rompicolleone: Hasn’t JK been singing this song all over Europe for the last six months? 7:47 PM
  • manou: Tous dans le même panier? 7:38 PM
  • aulus agerius: PD sounds dreadful – his emission seems utterly undependable. Hey, he’s older than I am – what else would... 7:22 PM
  • Camille: Oh, and Vratogna–for what he lacks in vocal suavité he amply makes up in sleaziness as the most laudiably and justifiably... 7:12 PM
  • Niel Rishoi: I found Cruz-Romo hard-pressed and wiry. Never a fan of Bonisolli. The two stalwarts, Siepi and Bruscantini, sounded by far... 7:07 PM

Worth saying

Let’s get the new year started off right, cher public, with a tasteful, well-mannered discussion of off-topic and general interest subjects.


  • tornado12 says:

    It might have been posted here before, but is anyone else here waiting for a Candide with Simone Kermes?

    Notice how that high F sounds. No wonder she cancelled the Queen of the Night. But the “We are women” duet should be quite great with the right Mezzo.

  • Fidelia says:

    We returned home from Munich late yesterday evening, after a wonderful few days there. Here are a few late remarks on the Forza on the 5th, although Manou really covered all the essentials.

    First of all,I was a great pleasure indeed to meet Manou, Mr Manou, Feldmarshallin and his friend (Richard,too, I think?)during the interval. I didn’t know it was possible to learn so much in 15 minutes about the BSO, Margaret Price, the Marseille Opera, ROH … and from such charming people too. It was great fun. Thank you both for letting me “m’incruster” as French teenagers say -- and thank you, Feld, for the offer of a cup of tea in your garden one day. If either of you ever come to the Côte d’Azur, do let me know : the offer of tea (or something stronger)of course holds here too, although my garden is very much scruffier than Feldmarshallin’s, I’m sure.

    As everyone has already noted, this performance was very, very good. For me, the gauge of excellence is the physical reaction produced. In this case, after an unexciting snack and walk back to the hotel, we went to bed at about midnight … and I proceeded to experience the opera all over again until sometime around 4 AM. As I lay in bed, all the voices swept over me again, the music revived all the different emotions I had felt in the course of the evening : and as an earnest sort of opera-goer I tried to make sense of the Kusej production between the successive waves of pure emotion. I’m still stirred up 4 days later.

    Starting with the best first, the 3 principals were marvelous.

    Manou is right, there’s no comparison between being in the house and listening to a recording or livestream.
    The case in point is JK : I always have a split-second of surprise in the theater when he begins to sing, because you hear a real honest-to-goodness tenor without an excessively baritonal or guttural quality. His voice has a lovely bright sheen to it and flows like the most luscious honey. (Sorry for the cliché but I cannot find an apter comparison.) The slightly veiled tones you hear in the top notes on the live stream were not there on the 5th, he was in excellent form and to our ears seemed to have recovered fully from his cold. (The groupie in me requires that I mention here the very fetching T-shirt-cum-flat stomach. But the diet must stop now! He is on the verge of appearing somewhat shrimpy when singing with Anja who is bien en chair, particularly in that blue dress.)

    Anja Harteros’ voice fills up the hall and sounds warmer and richer than on the net,too. During our conversation, Feldmarshallin described it this way : With piani, she’s able to spin out her rich voice into the finest silken thread, and as it gets softer, finer and finer, you wait for it to snap -- but it never does. Such delicacy of expression is breathtaking.

    This is the 2nd time I’ve heard Tézier live (the first being that historial Paris Werther with JK in January 2010)and he has a remarkable voice as well, rich and strong : Makes me think of really good cognac.

    So there you are, in the theater, with these 3 very individual, remarkable voices and what do the singers do with them? Everything you could desire : The technical mastery of all three is impressive and is used not to impress in itself, but as a means to achieve the truest dramatic expression. I got goosebumps several times during the evening and it wasn’t just from the musical beauty or just from the characterization, but from the combination of the two. Oh! Tézier/Carlos’ cry of “Finalemente!” when his taunts finally provoke Alvaro to take up arms. It’s a sort of orgasmic cry of triumph and hate that had to be heard to be believed.

    And they all 3 had moments like that, individually and together. There was excellent chemistry all round : Kaufmann and Harteros were believable as young lovers, exchanging touches and looks without seeming at all stagey. Tézier and Kaufmann burned up the stage. I imagine that when poorly played the individual characters could be incredibly tedious; Leonora’s religiosity, Alvaro’s misery, and Carlo’s monomania have all the potential for a really deadly evening. This time, however, the characters had obviously been fully thought out and showed a complexity and development that palliated the improbabilities of the plot line. I think credit must be given to Kusej as well as to the singers for creating and developing the dramatic tension until by the end it was almost insupportable.

    I didn’t think Asher Fisch deserved all those boo’s, but it’s undeniable that his direction wasn’t at the level of his singers. The orchestra lacked buoyancy and sometimes flagged to the point of seeming flaccid, but such moments didn’t last long.

    The chorus was excellent. I’ll pass on the other singers since this is already far too long.

    Briefly :
    The production displeased me less than other viewers, but seemed to telegraph its message pretty obviously
    - those white curtains as the Veil of Illusion? Only the young lovers who distractingly wound themselves up in it could believe that life offered anything other than random catastrophe?
    - the uncomfor-table as sacrificial altar? Ambraham-Isaac/Calavera-Leonora-et-Carlos etc., all in an attempt to propitiate God/il destino which ends up striking indiscriminately anyway
    - destiny seen not only as a stray gunshot or the vengeance of Carlo but also as
    * accidents of birth(social & economic status, race)
    * catastrophes or acts of God (those ruins: earthquake? terrorism? all of the above?)
    * human nature (vendetta, politics, war…)
    * all this on a collective as well as individual level.
    Unsubtle, but the end result managed worked despite the fact that the director’s take jarred with the situation and libretto of certain scenes

    Last note : I found the staging, if that is the word I want, very good. The use of available space is not always so effective and harmonious.
    The stage was well used, movement was efficient and motivated, singers usually well placed except for “La vita è un inferno all’infelice” under that damned lamen-table.

    I promise next time around to be less prolix but this was a memorable performance and I am still too het up to be concise!

    • FragendeFrau82 says:

      Fantastic account, Fidelia--I relived it all again in your enthusiastic comments! And I found your thoughts on the production very insightful. What a shame there will be no DVD. Thank you!

      • Feldmarschallin says:

        Yes great review Fidelia and if I ever get to the South of France I will let you know and I am sure your garden is beautiful and even more so than mine since your climate is milder. Althought I am very proud of my dahlias and roses :)

    • Princess de Bouillon says:

      Hallo to you again. It was me David who you met in the interval (close to the Margaret Price portrait).
      I was in Forza again last night, quite amazing….

      Now you know that I have joined and who I am..

      It was an absolute joy meeting you..


      • Feldmarschallin says:

        Will anyone else besides the Princess de Bouillon be at the last Forza on Saturday? If so the Princess and Fürstin Werdenberg will be holding court upstairs in the Galerie :)

        • Princess de Bouillon says:

          The Princess de Bouillon would like to announce that she will be seated in the first row of the gallery ar Forza on Saturday eve.


        • ML says:

          We run the risk of too much of a good thing, no? Wednesday’s performance, our fourth, was a little de trop — and this is not GV’s greatest.

      • Fidelia says:

        Altesse, I’m so pleased to see that you have joined Parterre and that we can continue our new acquaintance on line. (Dressed. Or not! ;-)

    • Batty Masetto says:

      Fidelia, don’t you dare be less prolix next time. Between you and Manou this has been a hugely informative visit!

      I too liked your thoughts about the production. I can easily understand Manou’s reservations but it’s also very helpful to get a more positive overall view. For all its flaws, the production caught me up in a way Forza usually can’t do at all. And you’re so right that the dramatic coherence among the singers has to be laid to the director’s credit. As the unfortunate Salzburg Don Carlo and the Met Walküre showed, even good singing actors like AH and JK can’t hit the dramatic bull’s eye all by themselves, with no guidance or support from outside.

      • Jack Jikes says:

        Batty -- I completely agree. Your comment apropos of Salzburg and the Met
        puts the uneasy success of this production exactly in the right context.

      • nibelungen says:

        Dear Batty, nice to see you in this Euro-Munich thread, and you obviously saw the live-streem. We are on our way from Munich to home, at the airport, and I must say that the Kusej production grows on me. I came to Forza with no pre-determined ways of wanting it. From the libretto I learned about a father that curses his daughter and thereby extincts the whole family.
        Bavaria seems has a lot of conservative inhabitants I think. There was a demonstration against building a moschee in Stachus, a central place in Munich. It is very much discussed in Europe how other cultures go on with their ways of living even if they move to other cultural areas such as Germany or Sweden. The term honour killings or crimes of honour often meens that a daughter who choses to love a man not from the right culture she has to be severely punished, either by killing her or destroying her looks with acid. The father or other family members, brother or mothers are instrumental in the crime. And what Kusej tells me is that these customs have been present also in western cultures, and often with the church as judge.
        I love all the ways manou and you all have used the table in different meenings -- for me it was the altar were everything was slaughtered in the name of xxxx whatever church you belong to. So Alvaro throws the cross away just before he finally leaves the scene.
        The regie will come to nothing without good actors, and I want to say that I saw not a false gesture from anyone, so you were in the middle of the story all evening.
        (In contrast to the Warlikowski Brokeback Onegin, that had a revival with new actors, and was just not believable any more.)

        • Batty Masetto says:

          Hi Nibelungen, so nice to hear from you – yes, honor killing isn’t exactly alien to western culture, is it?

          Munich was my home for a time when I lived in Germany and I still do business with an outfit there. They just moved, but their address used to be on – Nibelungenstrasse. And yes, the Bavarians do have that reputation, don’t they (though of course not our Feldmarschallin). Odd that they would get so upset about a mosque at Stachus when as I remember there’s quite an ugly church just down the street near Sendlinger-Tor-Platz.

          That was quite a distinguished gathering at the BSO, sorry I couldn’t be there myself.

          • Feldmarschallin says:

            Batty the next time we have a gathering like that again you must come and you must get the Rumpus Room to cater it for us.

      • Fidelia says:

        Thanks, Batty. In fact, I agree with all Manou’s remarks, but in the final analysis found that the numerous weak points or questionable choices didn’t keep me from being drawn in to the story.

    • Princess de Bouillon says:

      Thank you for this concise study.. I shall read through it again before I set out to here Forza again on Saturday.

    • Rackon says:

      Thank you, Fidelia, for sharing your thoughts on Forza with us. I found your report utterly delightful and informative -- and not a syllable too long! It adds so much to the livecast experience to read your comments. Although it’s wonderful to be able to stream a Forza on the computer, mikes and digital compression don’t convey voices as they sound in house (I candid tell youus it was something of a shock to hear JK live the first time, albeit very pleasant one).

      Please do share any future opera encounters, if you feel inspired to do so. I look forward to them.

      • Fidelia says:

        Thank you, Rackon. I have mostly been a lurker on this site and have seldom posted anything because the Parterriani are so very well-informed and write so very well that I thought it would be sheer self-indulgence to post comments of little interest to anybody else. However, with Manou’s encouragement I have taken the plunge! The positive reaction of several of you has been reassuring.

  • nibelungen says:

    And hi to Feldmarschallin and Princess de Bouillon -- nice to have met you in real life, and thanks for guiding around that great opera house.

    • Feldmarschallin says:

      It was my pleasure and I think I can also speak of my very dear friend Madame La Princess whom I have known ever before Resi went into the cloister. Both of, Manou and Mr Manou and Fidelia must come again soon. Plus of course our dear doyenne, Marcello and Tornado. And what about some new people like Cocky and Jungfer? Maybe Festspiele?

      • Feldmarschallin says:

        And how could I have forgotten FragendeFrau who has to meet Madame La Princess when she comes again.

        • Fidelia says:

          We are getting together quite a little party! I’ll bring the pastis.

          • manou says:

            The new App on my iPhone enables me to photograph the future reunion:


            Glad to see you here Fidelia -- more reports please from your future opera going.

            • Feldmarschallin says:

              Manou please ask La Cieca for my info since I would like to send you something and need your info. We need to talk about a few details as well. There are a few options :)

            • manou says:

              Feld -- I have asked twice but I think our Doyenne may only have your previous details and somewhere on the blog she had asked you to provide your email (to forward mine).

            • Feldmarschallin says:

              Manou I sent our doyenne another email allowing her to give you and Ihre Hoheit my information. :) Perhaps she is all snowed in since I believe they have had very cold weather and much snow. Not as springlike as here and was just doing a little gardenwork before.

        • FragendeFrau82 says:

          You are very kind to have included me in this glittering group! Alas, I fear it will be quite some time before I am able to see my beloved BSO again… I love it so much I literally prostrated myself before it! (well, actually I fell right in front of the entrance and cracked a rib on my last visit 28.12 ;-) ) Next time I shall approach in a more stately manner, rather than dashing with enthusiasm!

      • Cocky Kurwenal says:

        I do hope very much to visit the BSO in 2014, FeldM -- if it does come to pass I shall certainly let you know. Currently we are refurbishing our apartment however which is consuming all our energy (and lots of resources!), so it is very difficult to actually see past it and make plans. Naturally I hope that when I or we do come, it’ll be for a Harteros performance but we’ll just have to see how the stars align on that one. I guess the Festspiele sells out far in advance -- maybe it already has?

        • Feldmarschallin says:

          Tickets go on sale at the box office on the 25th of January but not sure if you order online or in the mail when the date for that is. Well there are three more Forzas at which I will be at (and presumably also Madame La Princesse). You might combine those with the Tosca. More Toscas with Kaufmann will also be coming and I would think those preferable over Alvarez. Next season she has two premieres with Ballo being the first and Arabella the Festspielpremiere. I might wait until March when the details of the new season will be official. But there is also a Ariadne coming either next or the season after that. Then of course the Tetralogie with Petrenko and Kaufmann. Many good things to choose from Cocky.

        • Feldmarschallin says:

          Cocky I might be able to get you two tickets for the Macht during the Festspiele but only tickets from 14-90€ go on sale then. If you want something in that range we can talk. If you want expensive parkett seats they do not go onsale at the box office on the 25th and I have no way to get those. Let me know.

          • Satisfied says:


            I noticed written orders are being processed beginning February 1. I was planning on sitting down this weekend and preparing my request. Is there a form, or will a letter suffice? Also, do you provide your credit card number with the letter, or do you provide your card after allocation of tickets.

            Thank you so much for your help! I’m really looking forward to being in Munich for the festival this summer!

            • Cocky Kurwenal says:

              Satisfied, I took a look online too, and it seems if you order tickets online it is treated the same as if you write or fax -- all are processed from 1 February.

              FeldM, it is very kind of you to offer. I shall give it some serious thought this weekend and see if I can schedule it. I’m vaguely thinking I might see if I can go for the Harteros song recital and the Macbeth the following evening (30/6, 1/7), much as I would love to see Forza or Tosca too. The Ballo next season would be extremely tempting.

            • Feldmarschallin says:

              I can do absolutely nothing for the Macbeth since they have decided to give only two tickets per performance and we are already short of tickets for our group. I can do something for the later performances or the Liederabend. Always give your credit card nr with the order Satisfied as it increases your chances. Especially for sought after performances.

          • antikitschychick says:

            OMG Anja is giving a recital this summer?? when?? I must be there. Like its not even a question I am so there lol. Feld, your assistance would be much appreciated in this matter! Please, please, please and thank you!! :-D .

            • Feldmarschallin says:

              She is giving two that I know of. Same program I assume at both or maybe not. Brahms and Schubert. I have been asking for years for Mondnacht and she said she will do the whole Eichendorf cycle but I guess not this time :(
              30.6 is the date here and I could get you a ticket for that. Salzburg is in August but will be more expensive. You get the seats where I sit in and they are 9€. I am going up one category and they are 16€. Still a bargain. Same prices for Kaufmann and Hampson as well. Kaufmann I will also go to but skip the sung out Hampson who is too prissy for my tastes.

            • antikitschychick says:

              Thanks for the prompt reply Feld and OMG Yes!!! Please do get me a ticket!! I can send you the $$$ through Paypal. Let me know I can get your email via la Cieca.

              Also, is she singing the 4 last songs anywhere?? I’d die if I heard her sing those live.

              I’d also love to go to Salzburg but Im not sure I’ll still be in Europe at the time of the festival…what are the dates for her performances then if you don’t mind me asking?

              I also signed up for 2 ticket to see AN in MAcbeth but I think its going to take a miracle to get those…guess I shall see come Feb. 1st.

            • Feldmarschallin says:

              You can give me the money when you come since the ticket is not that expensive. Let me know where you would like to sit. Remember tickets go on sale at the box office only in the price groups 5-8. VLL she is doing here as well and I have tickets already for all three performances: 6/7/8
              April and then in May she is doing Strauss orchestral Lieder and in Feb three performances of the Verdi Requiem. All these performances are in the Gasteig. Chamber music is 23.2. Go on the website for Münchner Phil and you can see what tickets are still available since we bought ours already in Sept and Oct. She is the artist in residence at the Philharmoniker this year therefore she is singing there quite often.

            • antikitschychick says:

              Hi Feld,

              OMG she is singing Gretchen am spinnrade and Im Abendrot :!: :shock: .I die.

              Would you be able to get the tickets now or in Feb? I’m guessing if I sign up through the Staastoper website I won’t have a good chance of getting tickets? I do think that I’d be able to get the 53 euro ones but I’d rather get them directly from you rather than sign and up and get nothing I suppose…or would you recommend that I do sign up?

              Anywho, I looked at the seating chart and I think the best would the ones 6 rows from the top, the row that has the neon teal colored seats, which I think are the 16 euro category you mentioned?..any of the seats located at the center (as in facing the stage, any of the seats in between 8-9) would be great. I’d like to get 2 tickets if possible.

              Thanks again for all your help!! :-D xoxo.

            • Feldmarschallin says:

              Will get you two tickets for 16€ for the 30.6.
              Will get them on the 25th and then I am leaving for two days after that so will let you know on the 27th when I get back.

            • antikitschychick says:

              Perfect, thank you!! I signed up to get tickets for the Forza on 7.25 as well (opted for the 16 euro seats in case she cancels lol)…fingers crossed!!

            • ML says:

              Antikit, you’ll need to give the box office more options if you want that July 25 Forza. Write “anywhere in categories 5, 6 or 7,” for example.

            • antikitschychick says:

              Hi ML,

              I did provide an alternate choice of seats…the cheaper ones that are like 14 euros plus standing seats. I’ll also ask Feld to see if he might be able to help me out for that. There are two other performances I could sign up for but then I run the risk of being charged for all of them…but at the same time I dont want to wait til February because all the tickets will surely have gone by then considering the cast.

              Thanks for the tip though :-) .

            • Feldmarschallin says:

              so you would like for the Forza on 25.7 two tickets? 16€ and if those are gone 64€? The 16 ones might be picked through already since my contigent is already used up and asking someone I know who will have a higher number to do this. I will see if there is anything decent left or would you prefer 16 even if they are really on the side?
              Standing room with bench ok as well? Those are 16 too. Normal standing room which will be picked through also is 14.

            • ML says:

              Feld is being a real sweetheart to help with these Opernfestspiele tix. We were just planning our own strategy this evening, and it is complex enough, with the 96-hour line and all.

              About Forza specifically, having just sat thru four of them (one too many), I would advise against standing, unless you’re young: it is 90 mins., a long break, then 120 mins.

            • antikitschychick says:

              Sorry for the delayed response dear Feld,

              Yes I’d also like to see the Forza on 7.25 but I signed up to get tickets on the BSO website so I’d like to wait til Feb to see if they will charge me for the tickets or not. Unless you think I have zero chances of getting the tickets that way…I mean idk.

              I shan’t risk getting high-priced tickets for that in case she cancels, even though I’d still get to see/hear Herr hotness.

              But for Anja’s recital yes please do get me tickets. I had originally told you to get me the 16 euro ones but I think I can afford the ones for 25 euros as well. However, I wouldnt want to inconvenience you, so whatever you can get me I shall be happy with.

              Hope you have a lovely weekend and many thanks for being kind enough to do this for me and all of us!!



            • Feldmarschallin says:

              OK two for 25 then. I am also taking those. And just checking the website of the BSO for which there are no cancellations, she is 7 for 7 for these Forzas so I wouldn’t expect any cancellations in the summer. This house and city with the climate seems to be very good for her voice and soul. You shall hear on the 27th or 28th with what I got.

    • Princess de Bouillon says:

      Glad you arrived home safely… Had an evenings rest yesterday but Broke Back Mountain again tonight and Forza tomorrpw.. So glad to have met you and that on two occasions. Fate that we were nearly sitting so closely in Forza.

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Born on this day in 1897 tenor Frederick Jagel

    Born on this day in 1903 conductor Jean Morel

    Born on this day in 1921 tenor David Poleri

    Born on this day in 1926 baritone Derek Hammond-Stroud

    Happy 79th birthday baritone Sherrill Milnes

    Happy 67th birthday bass-baritone James Morris

    Happy 63rd birthday tenor Rockwell Blake

  • antikitschychick says:

    question for Cocky, Armer, Monty and manou:

    Do yalls happen to know if the ROH will release a DVD of the Nabucco with Placido and Lumi? Im guessing nay since its been like a year since those performances took place…I ask because there is a website I have found that is selling copies and don’t want to keep waiting in vain.

  • OpinionatedNeophyte says:

    There is a Goddess! Work brings me to NYC during the week of the Puritani prima. Anyone else attending this poorly selling revival?

  • Agnese di Cervia says:

    Happy anniversary maravilloso Nicolai Gedda

  • Agnese di Cervia says:

  • zinka says:

    If ONLY all those great artists at the Tucker Gala could sing together at more shows.We often get clinkers, but this gala for the most part exhibited what American artists like these can do, and it was a glorious evening. My only negative comment deals with the Tucker Winner, Isabel Leonard, whose first selection (they show it out of correct order as i know) was a vibrato-filled song but she redeemed herself in the beautiful Vivaldi piece;however she does not come up to the level of the other opast winners.
    Angela Meade made me CRAZY as she poured out that Due Foscari aria just the way i like it…brilliant, chest voice, pianissimi, attacks,etc. LOVED IT the most!!!! The Costello/Perez team was a joy in the Elisir, with lots of fun acting. I never heard baritone Greer Grimsley before, and he is quite powerful, as was the superb Eric Owens in the Scarpia scene.
    Stephanie Blythe continues to be a “force of nature” in opera today..and yesterday! Susan Graham was a delight in her “Military Aria” with soldiers, and Fleming,singing the correct repertory (thank the Lord, no pop.) showed how gorgeous her voice remains.
    Polenzani and Costello in single arias (Hoffman and Faust respectively) were fine, and of course Joyce Di Donato continues to thrill us with her incredible artistry, command of the vocal line, and over-all true magnificence.
    It was Tucker’s 100th anniversary, and I would have wanted at least one aria complete by my favorite tenor. His sons spoke affectionately of his early life but only showed bits of the TV “Vesti la giubba,” which was not nearly enough for me on this occasion.
    You see, you can have a pronouncible name and still be great.(No offense intended to Poplavskaya or Monastyrska.)
    Long live the memory of the great Richard Tucker, who gave 1000% every night. I always quote Resnik’s quote that “he left his blood all over the stage when he left it.” Charlie

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Born on this day in 1893 bass Tancredi Pasero

    Born on this day in 1894 soprano Gertrud Bindernagel

    Happy 70th birthday condcutor John DeMain

    Happy 59th birthday countertenor Drew Minter