Cher Public

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.

  • doktorlehar

    As a mere lurker and occasional mild-mannered poster in this robust space, there may be no interest in my announcing that I’m relocating to Scandinavia imminently (where, I note, it is 30+ degrees warmer than here in the Midwest US) and I plan to attend various opera and symphony performances there. Mostly in Stockholm. The Royal Opera’s schedule is not too terribly exciting, I see. Andrea Chénier this month and next, with Cura announced for some performances, Stiffelio later, a Tannhäuser in April, and probably the big thing will be a new production of Don Giovanni with what looks like a good locally based cast. Drottningholm hasn’t yet announced their May schedule, but whatever it is, I’m there. I also intend some travel across the continent, possibly to my adopted zweite Heimat of Austria.

    I may send a teensy report or two to the weekly off-topic thread. Be warned.

    Until then, gott nytt år!

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Looking forward to hearing all about it, doktorlehar.

    • dottore malatesta

      Welcome to Scandinavia! Remember, that there are very cheap flights from Stockholm to Helsinki, Oslo, Copenhagen and Gothenburg -- all with reasonably good Operahögskolan houses. For example, you can see Jenufa with Karita Mattila in Helsinki in February, Le grand macabre in Copenhagen in March, La juive in Gothenburg in April-May (with Mireille Delunsch) and the Dutchman in Oslo in May.

      • dottore malatesta

        Well, it should read opera houses…

    • Baltsamic Vinaigrette

      I look forward to your reports, doktorlehar.

      Be sure to add the Concert House to your musical list:

      The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra regularly accompany some of the world’s leading soloists, so there must be a good chance of getting to hear the likes of Nina Stemme and Peter Mattei in concert.

      And do not overlook the easy connection to Copenhagen -- there’s plenty there for you, too.

    • Satisfied

      How wonderful to hear, doktorlehar!

      I just returned from Stockholm myself and had a wonderful time! The Royal Opera is a stunningly beautiful jewel box of an opera house. Though I did not love the production of “Salome” I saw on my trip, the opportunity to see Nina Stemme in such an intimate venue was an experience I will always treasure.

      You might consider, as I did, for an extended weekend, a four hour train ride to Copenhagen for a performance at the Danish Royal Opera House (Holten’s “Le Grand Macabre” will be performed in March) followed buy a five hour train to Berlin!

      In either event: enjoy your time and do please provide reports!

    • Chanterelle

      There’s quite a lot of good music in Norden. Folkoperan in Stockholm casts young singers who sometimes go on to bigger things (Michael Weinius, Kerstin Avemo). Folkoperan also has a summer season at Ulriksdal, just north of the city but still on the T-Bana. Malmö and Göthenburg can be worth traveling for. And don’t forget Helsinki and of course Savonlinnea--Finland is a very musical country.

      Oslo’s new opera house is worth the trip just to see the building--it’s the anchor of an urban renewal project! Even before their move they were in the international co-production circuit, though the company can be a little inconsistent. Bergen Festival program doesn’t appear till February but they’ve announced an ambitious-sounding world music-y project in celebration of the anniversary of the Norwegian constitution.

    • olliedawg

      doktorlehar: I just want to tell you how jealous I am — Stockholm is one of THE most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited. BTW, it’s not the cold, it’s the dark, or so the Swedes are fond of saying ;-) Safe travels, and enjoy!

  • doktorlehar

    Well thank you everyone for these generous suggestions! Many of them were in my peripheral vision, but for some reason I hadn’t stumbled across Konserthusets page, so thank you especially Balsamic V! Berwaldhallen also has a full program of concerts as the home of the Swedish Radio Symphony:

    This is a work trip, so I am bound by professional responsibilities that will limit my travel flexibility. Stockholm is the closest major music city, but I’m definitely looking into both Copenhagen and Helsinki/Savonlinna as potential destinations, and there’s a plan to be in London possibly in late April. Then Vienna, of course, if I can swing it.

    Stay tuned …

  • -Ed.

    Cocky re the Fleming recital, I just attended a lovely recital she gave in 2013 at a local college, I’m waiting to make sure it’s not a repeat. Heck, who am I kidding, I’ll probably attend even if it is. I’d love to hear her perform Marietta’s Lied in person, maybe I’ll get lucky.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Maybe you will -- she did it as the encore last time I saw her in recital, although probably because it fitted well with her general theme (songs by Schoenberg, Korngold, Mahler etc).

      One of the best concerts I’ve ever been to ever was Fleming in recital with piano, doing Purcell, Previn, George Crumb, Berg and Schumann. She really doesn’t have to spend time learning this non-standard repertoire, but I love that she does, and I love that she’ll also mix it in with something incredibly famous and gratifying like Kerner Lieder.

  • zinka

    With all the music available to us, we still cannot “hear it all,” even in 10 lifetimes.
    My dear buddy Bob Fazio became close with the fabulous Giovanni Martinelli in the great tenor’s later years,but he still had the same “white’ quality..I never really appreciated..BUT when you see a series of clips like realize the man was a vocal GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Forget the English)

  • zinka

    La Cieca has been LYING all these years..He is really, in truth, Maria Remola…and I found this out when he accidently vocalized the other day in my apt.and hit a high X# that shattered my Milanov photo….

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Sunday’s Birthday Tributes (January 5)

    Born on this day in 1863 theatre and opera producer Konstantin Sergeyevich Stanislavsky

    Born on this day in 1892 tenor Gaston Micheletti

    Happy 66th birthday tenor Robert Schunk

    Happy 60th birthday soprano Katalin Farkas

    Today’s Birthday Tributes (January 6)

    Born on this day in 1838 composer Max Bruch

    Born on this day in 1894 bass André Pernet

    Born on this day in 1903 conductor Maurice Abravanel

    Born on this day in 1903 soprano Mafalda Favero

    Born on this day in 1907 baritone Francesco Valentino

    Born on this day in 1927 baritone David Ohanesian

    Happy 73rd birthday mezzo-soprano Shirley Love

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      Quanto LOVES Shirley Love (aways has).

  • grimoaldo

    “theatre and opera producer Konstantin Sergeyevich Stanislavsky”

    Who started his career by putting on operettas and appearing in them in his own theatre in his family’s home in Moscow, including playing Nanki-Poo in the Russian premiere of “The Mikado”, only two years after the first production in London,and also “Mam’zelle Nitouche” and “Lili” by none other than the wondrous composer and librettist we have been discussing, Hervé.

  • decotodd

    I was describing something as “Oprah-ish” on my Iphone and the auto-correct labelled it as “Opera Lush” —
    Surely a screen name just waiting to be adopted by someone!

  • Gualtier M

    BTW: for Netrebko watchers: Netrebko did not sing at this afternoon’s dress rehearsal of at the Met’s “L’Elisir D’Amore” -- she has called in sick for all the rehearsals as well. This left her erstwhile paramour Erwin Schrott to sing with her cover, Canadian soprano Andriana Churchman. Churchman is really lovely to look at and listen to with a floating silvery tone and a lower key feminine charm. Netrebko was kind of high powered diva with a big sometimes sluggish voice but Churchman didn’t overwhelm the role but fit nicely in the picture frame. Vargas played a more gentle country bumpkin Nemorino who could read but wasn’t Federico in “L’Arlesiana” or Werther or whatever emo romantic hero type Polenzani was playing. They are inching away from Sher’s awful “concept” and back to a more traditional characterization. Vargas is more an underdog nice guy type. He sang well -- the role fits his voice and he doesn’t have to press it. All the spinto roles have worn away some of the honey and velvet from the tone but he sang a gorgeous soft high note at the end of “Una Furtiva Lagrima”. Schrott was a lot of fun to watch and listen to and his improvisational parlando style of singing works well in this type of buffo role. Nicola Alaimo didn’t indulge in the violence boorishness that Sher imposed on Kwiecien and he has native Italian and a strong voice.

    • Krunoslav

      Thanks for the report.

      Her name really is Chuchman, not Churchman:

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      She has called in sick for every single rehearsal, including the dress rehearsal? Can we therefore assume she is out of the run?

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    The best of Rysanek fromthat historic day when they switched operas

    “Details of this recording are set out below. The opera scheduled for this broadcast was originally Der Fliegende Holländer, which could not proceed because of the illness of Sándor Kónya. Fortunately, this incredible Ariadne auf Naxos was broadcast in its place.

    This excerpt constitutes the last part of the opera as Ariadne meets Bacchus, originally mistaking him for her lost lover, Theseus. At the opera’s conclusion is a radio commercial with Joan Sutherland for Opera News (retained here for its historical value and bizarreness).

    Ariadne auf Naxos -- by Richard Strauss

    Ariadne -- Leonie Rysanek
    Bacchus -- Jess Thomas
    Zerbinetta -- Roberta Peters
    Najade -- Laurel Hurley
    Dryade -- Gladys Kriese
    Echo -- Jeanette Scovotti”

    • Camille

      Thank you very much, QPF, for I have long lusted after hearing an entire performance of this cast in Ariadne. You are a real Mensch.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    “Hosted by iconic television star Carol Burnett, and subtitled “The Future of Classical Music on America’s Riviera,” the two-hour program will air on classical and public radio stations nationwide, and internationally through the European Broadcast Union, beginning January 15.”

  • manou

    Random thoughts on the Kusej Forza:

    First statement of the bl**ding obvious: there is really no comparison between being in the house and watching the HD transmission, no matter how skilfully is it done -- swiftly followed by the second statement of the bl**ding obvious: this was by a long way the best possible cast available at this moment and they were all at their very best on the day, even Jonas who may have had a cold but sounded fine to my ears. Harteros was simply wonderful -- her sometimes lugubrious manner fitted the part to a T. I can see why some people may think she somehow seems uninvolved because there is a certain distance in her general demeanour, but this worked very well here as Leonora is in all kinds of trouble throughout. As remarked elsewhere, her trademark pianissimi were faultlessly done, and her top notes were soaring and resonated thrillingly (helped by the wonderful acoustics of the BSO). Tézier was outstanding throughout (I was too mesmerized to notice the mishap Feld refers to) and got a fantastic ovation. Kowaljow was admirable in both his roles. Kaufmann was also superb -- in this opera Alvaro and Leonora are like those Swiss wooden weather house people who pop in and out and never meet, and in fact Alvaro and Carlo have much more interaction (and here physical contact) than the central couple ever do -- at the end when Leonora is expiring Alvaro is as far away from her as possible which is not the only jarring note in this production.

    Ah -- the production. As far as I can make out, the Vargas/Calatrava ménage is part of a fundamental Christian sect (complete with bodyguards), the war is some freedom fighting insurrection somewhere not far from the Middle East, and a table (or rather an inevi-table) plays a central role, too.

    I can go along with the sect part of it, but the war angle makes nonsense of the Preziosilla character, who should be a sort of vivandière or camp follower, but is reduced here to a sort of vamp in tight shorts.

    The inevi-table (also known as a predic-table and certainly regret-table) adds very little to the proceedings. It mostly requires the cast to lie on it, crawl under it or die on it. Other features of the sets are more successful: the bombed out buildings -- marred by the inexplicable addition of acrobats holding taxing positions for inhumanly long periods of time, or simply anodyne and bluntly just ugly: the plastic wood-effect concertina doors. Leonora lives (and sings from) a hut made of white crosses (there is a frankly iffy moment at the end when Jonas leans on one of the larger ones in a Christ-like pose).

    I fully understand the argument about making us “think” instead of just listening in a contented stupor, and I am sure it applies here as well, but no matter how hard I was “thinking”, I really could not find a new angle to Forza that had escaped me in previous productions. Proof of my own failings, undoubtedly.

    The reception for all the principals was rapturous -- Fisch got roasted (very loud boos) but I was inclined to clemency vis-à-vis the conducting as I had enjoyed the music making so much.

    And now for the really important event in my Munich trip -- the interval! Fidelia, as I have said before, is a lady of great taste and discernment, and should be encouraged to post much more often as she is based in the South of France and visits many opera houses that are seldom heard from on Parterre. Feldmarschallin is the embodiment of his posts -- it was absolutely riveting to meet him and really good to note his enthusiasm for all things Munich/BSO/Harteros, etc.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Many thanks for this report Manou, I am glad you had such a splendid time.

    • grimoaldo

      Thank you for the lovely report manou, a pleasure to read.

    • Yes, but was it a petite table?

      • manou

        It was a detestable, redoubtable and irritable.

    • La Valkyrietta


      Thanks for your review. I believe all your statements and I am glad you bring out that strange ubiquitous simple table. Maybe it is a Platonic abstraction on the many tables in the original play.

      In the scene when Leonora appears with the father. “Se pondrá en medio de la escena una mesa con tapete de damasco, y sobre ella habrá una guitarra, vasos chinescos con flores y dos candelabros de plata con velas, únicas luces que alumbrarán la escena…”

      In the Hornachuelos inn. “Una mesa larga de pino, rodeade de asientos toscos; y alumbrado todo por un gran candilón…Encima de la mesa habrá una bota de vino, vasos y un frasco de aguardiente.”

      In the officers quarters in Veletri, Italy. “Una mesa con tapete verde, dos candeleros de bronce con velas de sebo, sillas.”

      In the Franciscan cell of Don Álvaro. “En una mesa una calavera.”

      I can imagine all those objects in the corresponding opera scenes. The sets you describe are too bare, and make too much emphasis of the crosses. Yes, they make one think what is it all about, but the thinking just distracts from a drama that is going on in the music and the libretto. I would have been tempted to close my eyes, except that I would want to see those singers who sang wonderfully. What can one do.

      It surely must have been nice to meet Feldmarschallin. When I saw the article below, I immediately imagined the apartment in Paris is his.

      • manou

        How perceptive of you -- Feld is Madame de Florian. The portrait does not do him justice though.

      • Feldmarschallin

        That picture truly could be of my drawing room. But my hair is darker than the lady in the picture.

    • oedipe

      I have a different theory about the undele-table: too large, too much trouble to move in-and-out; even without removing it, the change of sets between scenes took long enough. Besides, together with the on-and-off chairs, it provided the mid-century-modern-Danish-Italian-design touch that baby boomers can easily relate to. Though I confess I was a little side-tracked by paying too much attention to the chairs, trying to decide whether they were an actual Ico Parisi design or a mere rip-off…

      • manou

        The looooong scene changes were another irritation -- and the chairs were more Icky Pasticcio than Ico Parisi.

        • A. Poggia Turra

          The tables were Kusej’s metaphor for the characters being served up to Fate’s voracious appetite…..

          • A. Poggia Turra

            Oops -- forgot to add this: :)

    • Batty Masetto

      How great to have such a lively first-hand account.

      As to the offending item of furniture, I’m inclined to be more chari-table, though of course I only saw it in the HD and even there I agree it didn’t really work.

      Our first view of the table is as the focus of a stifling family patriarchy, and I’m guessing that Kusej intended it to resonate in that way throughout, even as it served as a tent or camp bed for Alvaro and so forth – in other words, it was a running metaphor for the toxic effect of patriarchy. That would also be in line with the identity of casting between Calatrava and Guardiano, which I’m certain was not merely a matter of production economies.

      It’s a technique that’s familiar of course in poor theater, where a plain chair, for example, can be repurposed as anything from a toilet to a pulpit to a crib. The difficulty is that the item itself was too immu-table; it needed to be understood as other things as well if the metaphor was really going to communicate. And in any case I’m not sure how well an approach like that could ever jibe with the lavish spectacle of the rest of the settings.

      (P.S. – The cheesy divider wall in the church spoke to me instantly, and I think it was absolutely intentional; I’ve seen its ilk in plenty of similar settings.)

      (P.P.S. – The Carsen Falstaff is an example of an ongoing table metaphor that works a lot better.)

      • Cocky Kurwenal

        The Tcherniakov Onegin has a huge table throughout too, and I think it is a successful production.

        • manou

          To be equi-table, the Tcherniakov Onegin table worked much better (expect for the duel scene).

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            It began to feel like a bit of a contrivance in the duel scene, I agree.

            • Batty Masetto

            • Batty Masetto

              P.S. -- Shootouts at the dinner table were a regular feature at the Rumpus Room. The bullet holes are coming in handy as candle holders for the Transmogrified Tabernacle.

      • manou

        I am certain that the double casting was not to do with parsimony, but surely the Padre Guardiano is a benevolent figure offering sanctuary and not oppression.

        • Batty Masetto

          I’m not sure they’re so incompatible. The current hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church would probably view themselves as offering sanctuary and not oppression too.

      • Cicciabella

        Thank you, Batty, for explaining what Kušej was trying to convey via, among other things, the permatable. I must agree with Manou that his direction was not really revelatory. However, he implements a number of good ideas. I thought the born-again Christian baptism scene worked, although they should have at least have given Ms Harteros wet-look effect hair after the dunking. (The switch with the body double was too obvious, at least on the webcast.) Alvaro’s aria was also effectively staged: when he cries out to Leonora to save him, it rings true, because she is the only pure thing in Kušej’s world of conflict and abuse. The Alvaro-Carlo duets sizzled with dramatic energy, although Kaufmann and Tézier must take at least half the credit for this. It’s a pity that Kušej does not manage to provide continuation and development of his ideas from one scene to the other. In the scenes with Curra/Preziosilla (they wear the same suit!) he strips away all the humour, unravelling the work’s dramatic-emotional tapestry, and resorts to clichés like the half-hearted end-of-days mass orgy.

        After seeing both his Macbeth and Forza I must conclude that Martin Kušej has not yet graduated to the status of “Regiegenie” (“Reggie Genny” in English?).

        During the intermission Ms Harteros commented on Leonora’s frequent praying in the libretto, saying that this could make the character seem monotonous. Of course, in a well-sung production this doesn’t happen because Verdi scores each of Leonora’s supplications magnificently, and Ms Harteros sang them beautifully. This cast certainly merits repeated listening. It did sadden me a little, however, that, apart from Tézier, Krasteva and Renato Girolami (Fra Meiltone), whose diction was crystal clear, the singers’ Italian was often intelligible. Surely the BSO can afford the best Italian coaches so that their star soprano does not sing “Se scoperta m’avissi!” instead of “Se scoperta m’avesse!” Last weekend, France Musique prefaced the broadcast of this Forza with non-native Italian speakers Julia Varady and Kurt Moll singing the second-act duet, conducted by Sinopoli. Their Italian was pure joy to listen to. Actually, this broadcast is still available on demand until the 3rd of February:

        • manou

          Ciccia -- just a few words of agreement:

          -- the body double at the full immersion baptism was even more obvious in the house.

          -- the mass orgy was indeed “half-hearted” and a limp affair, complete with sad Y-fronts and desultory frottage.

          -- and last but not least I completely concur with your remark about the diction. I speak fluent Italian and no German, and I am very familiar with the libretto, but there were times when the surtitles were more useful to me than trying to follow the original text.

    • Cicciabella

      Thanks, Manou, for keeping your promise and describing your first-hand experience. So glad you enjoyed the singing so much. For those who missed all the pain in Spain, it is still to be had, though not in the usual places. Search for cast members’ names spelled in Russian.

      • bythesea


        I have searched for cast members names spelled in Russian but no luck. Could it have disappeared again so soon?

        • Cicciabella

          Still there. This guy will help:

          • bythesea

            Many thanks Cicciabella. I found it after some digging around.

    • FragendeFrau82

      Thank you so much for your report! It brought back all the happy memories. I too was not able to come up with a justification for Alvaro being on the opposite side of the stage as Leonora expires--the music sounds as though they should be together. Nor could I understand why Parsifal was wandering around the stage as Kundry remains motionless on the bed and spills out all her emotions and tries all her wiles on him (Met) with no connection. Maybe it’s a JK thing.

    • Feldmarschallin

      Thank you Manou and if you could send me an email (ask our doyenne please) I would like to discuss something with you privately. I am hoping that you come back very soon with your most charming and elegant husband and also Fidelia must come again soon. Perhaps tea on the terrace during the Festpiele here with a homemade cake. I have Darjeeling First or Second Flush.

    • Regina delle fate

      Oh -- I was convinced Feldmarschallin was a real Princess! I’m utterly shocked to discover that “she” is a he! Anyway, he’s obviously a marvel. How wonderful to have met a Parterrian as iconic as yourself Manou!

      • Regina delle fate

        It must have been the homemade cakes that put me off the scent! :)

  • La Valkyrietta

    Maybe not reggie, just tampering with the score.

    • kennedet

      Excuse the interruption: wants to give away old opera records he inherited. They are in binders that hold a dozen or more and there might be a 1,000 in total.

      “Now back to our regular scheduled programming”

    • leftcoastlady

      Delightful Israeli flash mob. Wish I had been there.

  • Krunoslav

    Getting back to Silvia Tro Santafe:

    Some bad news from Palm Beach Opera:

    “Mezzo soprano Gaia Petrone will sing the role of Rosina in Palm Beach Opera’s production of The Barber of Seville February 21-23, 2014 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. She replaces Silvia Tro Santafe who is removing the role from her repertoire.”

    • armerjacquino

      What a strange reason. Can’t she remove it after two more performances? Or is it code for ‘can’t sing it any more’?

      • That is usually what it means.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Virtually her entire active repertoire seems to consist of Rossini and Donizetti, plus a little Mozart. If she can’t sing Rosina anymore you’ve got to wonder how she’s going to cope with the everything else in her diary.

      • Krunoslav

        Exactly. How can a coloratura mezzo not be able to sing Rosina?

      • Regina delle fate

        I’ve seen her in Handel -- Polinesso, I think, and it was not a pretty sound, but he’s not a pretty character.

  • Ilka Saro

    I don’t know much about posting links here, but here is an item available from the Met that will probably be discontinued soon:

    • Sheldon

      I already have mine! :)

  • Quanto Painy Fakor


    • I love her so much in this role! She adds a lot of drama to the words, recitatives, etc. And all those beautiful colours, pianissimi and coloratura. The part when Otello slips in her bedroom and kills her is really amazing. Very nice production. It´s a great opera and I like it more than Verdi´s Otello :)

      • semira mide

        I’m with you on it being a great opera. I also like it better than Verdi’s Otello ( although Verdi’s characterization of Iago is masterful)
        The plot is slightly different -- but thank god, Rossini was eventually allowed to have a non-happy ending which was dictated at the premiere.
        Some of the details of the production are irritating, but Bartoli shines and is really amazing.

      • Buster

        You can see this production in Antwerp next month, Spen, with Alberto Zedda, Gregory Kunde, and Carmen Romeu. Or, of course, in April in Paris, with Bartoli and Osborn.

        • oedipe

          Kunde sings lots of different things these days. Amazing, he is 60!

  • Buster

    Annette Dasch just witdrew from the Netherlands Opera Arabella, which would have been her role debut. Jacquelyn Wagner steps in!

    • armerjacquino

      ‘Due to the indisposition of Lucia Aliberti, the role of Violetta will tonight be sung by Ileana Cotrubas’…

    • Walther von Holzhaufen

      Buster, don’t miss Jacquelyn Wagner in this role! You’re in for a real treat.

      • Buster

        Thanks Walther, I won’t. We have not had a great Arabella here in ages. Dagmar Schellenberger was the last one, making her role debut (1996), and she was terrific:

        • Krunoslav

          Clemens Krauss protested the vocally passée former soprano assigned to cover the Kartenlegerin at the 1933 world première.

          (Ah, je ris!)

          • Feldmarschallin

            Yes but Krauss was trying everything in his power to insist on his wife singing the Marschallin in Salzburg in 1953. When the direction said no he then tried for Tiana Lemnitz but was told that Maria Reining was to sing and he could take that or leave it and not conduct. Of course his atrocious behavior towards Reining was very evident and during her monologue he turned around to started talking with his wife who was sitting behind him. During the whole act he was using his hankerchief to rush Reining and then at ‘silberne Rosn’ he took his hands and put it around his neck. Reining then stormed into her dressing room and refused to come out for her curtain call and yelled ‘Er kann ruhig seine Alte holen, ich singe keinen Ton mehr’. Baron Puthon, Nekola and Hilbert all had to calm down Reining. In München during his time here he was hated and in EVERY premiere his wife sang.

            • Krunoslav

              As with the other morally deficient married pair who dominated EMI in the 50s, I am sure Reining’s heroic anti-Nazi activities did not endear her to Krauss and Ursuleac-- plus which, even if slightly past her best after the war, she was a much finer singer than Ursuleac…

            • Regina delle fate

              FM -- thanks for this fascinating piece of info. I’ve got a Krauss recording of Your Opera and I think he conducts it quite wonderfully, at much faster tempi than have become customary, but I’ve never understood why Ursuleac is often referred to as “Strauss’s favourite soprano” in an era when Lehmann, Reining, and Cebotari were singing his music. Maybe what it means is that Krauss was Strauss’s favourite conductor of his music, and he had to accept Ursuleac as part of the package. The excerpts from the original performance of Capriccio suggest a matronly Countess with a less than glowing, silvery timbre. Haha @ “er kann ruhig seine Alte holen”. Class!

            • Bill

              Clemens Krauss was considered to be
              one of the finest conductors of his era
              (an era which sported many superlative conductors). Of the singers mentioned above, Ursuleac was the oldest being born in 1894 so would have been almost 60 in 1953 -- she apparently had the most radiant top notes -- even in the Capriccio premiere she would have been not so young. Lemnitz had probably the purist voice of the three and was born in 1897. Reining was somewhat younger having been born in 1903 and all 3 of them centereed their careers in Central Europe, Lemnitz more in Berlin, Reining more in Vienna (with the Konetznis -- also Strauss singers) and Cebotari in Vienna, Munich and for a time in Berlin).
              Reining was well known in Vienna as anti-Nazi, the others basically were sympathetic to the Nazi regime, but all 3 flourished artistically during that period. Cebotari achieved her fame in Dresden, then Vienna but was a lighter soprano (though with some forays into dramatic territory) and was still younger than the other three having been born in 1910 dying tragically at the age of 39 at the height of her career.
              It was a fascinating era for Straussian sopranos.

            • Feldmarschallin

              BTW I have been listening to a Butterfly with Jurinac for days now. I have one from 61 Wien but this one is from the Garden 1959 with Craig as the tenor. Did you hear Sena as Butterfly? Granted the end of the entrance is not her best moment but the rest is pure joy. Very moving and touching. It was only 11€ on MYTO.

            • Buster

              That 1953 Rosenkavalier is dull, especially the conducting. Lisa della Casa sounds very wrong as Octavian, and it is the least interesting Marschallin from Reining I know (the live one for Erich Kleiber being my favorite). Was not Krauss already ill at the time?

              My favorite Krauss/Strauss recordings are Metamorphosen and Salome.

            • Clita del Toro

              Buster, you are right about Della Casa’s Octavian. I was not her best role. I saw her sing the role with Schwarzkopf as the Marschallin.
              But, Della Casa’s Marschallin, and especially her Arabella, were divine.

            • Buster

              Apparently, Sophie was her favorite Rosenkavalier role, Clita.

              I agree with you on her Arabella and Marschallin, also love her Capriccio Countess better than any other.

            • Krauss’s 1953 Ring from Bayreuth (with Varnay/Hotter/Windgassen etc.) is one of the very best. Too bad he seems to have been such an a$$.

    • antikitschychick

      hurrah for Jacquelyn Wagner! From what I’ve hear of her so far she is terrific!

      Thanks for all the detailed Forza reviews errbody! I very much enjoyed reading all the first hand accounts :-).

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Tuesday’s Birthday Tributes (January 7)

    Born on this day in 1899 composer Francis Poulenc

    Born on this day in 1900 soprano Mary Lewis

    Born on this day in 1901 baritone John Brownlee

    Born on this day in 1912 conductor Günter Wand

    Born on this day in 1917 composer Ulysses Kay

    Born on this day in 1921 poet and librettist Chester Kallman

    Happy 91st birthday soprano Colette Lorand

    Happy 71st birthday conductor Richard Armstrong

    Wednesday’s Birthday Tributes (January 8)

    Born on this day in 1915 bass-baritone Karl Dönch

    Born on this day in 1923 bass Giorgio Tozzi

    Born on this day in 1924 composer Benjamin Lees

    Born on this day in 1926 soprano Evelyn Lear

    Happy 77th birthday composer Robert Moran

    Happy 76th birthday bass Yevgeny Nesterenko

    Happy 68th birthday opera director Elijah Moshinsky

    • WindyCityOperaman

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Born on this day in 1890 dramatist Karel Capek

    Born on this day in 1896 conductor Warwick Braithwaite

    Born on this day in 1899 composer Alexander Tcherepnin

    Born on this day in 1902 opera manager Rudolf Bing

    Born on this day in 1916 bass-baritone James Pease

    Happy 93rd birthday composer Seymour Barab (still living?)

    Born on this day in 1932 bass-baritone Wladimiro Ganzarolli

    Happy 58th birthday soprano/mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier