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Queens logic

UPDATE: This afternoon’s Operavore program now available for streaming, after the jump.

Saturday afternoon at 12:30 on WQXR’s magazine show Operavore, our own JJ talks about Mathilde Marchesi and Antony Roth Costanzo discusses his Orlofsky role in the Met’s Fledermaus. Or, to put it another way, this is a show so gay only pugs can hear it.


  • 1
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    How nice. I think Jackie would be very pleased if you would mention one of her important teachers William Vennard. How did his method compare with that of Mme Marchesi?
    Good luck for the broadcast.
    I wonder what sort of gala her friends will be thowing for her 80th birthday next week.

  • 2
    diva2themax says:

    Anyone else watching the RIchard Tucker gala? Everyone looks really great & FINALLY Angela Meade got a proper makeup beat down. The dress is ok but the makeup is gorgeous. Lots of beautiful jewelry i’m loving it.

    • 2.1
      la vociaccia says:

      Fleming lovely; Costello painful.

    • 2.2
      antikitschychick says:

      Watched it!! I should’ve checked to see if the chat was open to discuss it with you all but it slipped my mind…

      Have some thoughts I should like to share but for now I shall say that, for the most part I only enjoyed the latter half of the concert…I was really flabbergasted at some of the atrocious and painfully bland singing in the beginning by several performers, including the winner, Isabel Leonard…last years gala was much more balanced in terms of the overall performance standard.

      Angela Meade sounded like a goddess and pretty much saved the show. Agree the makeup and hair were great and the dress was nice too…but omg the singing!!! Joyce sounded fab as well and of the ladies, she was the only one who looked genuinely sexy to me. I liked Renee’s second aria as well but that lakme duet…my god, poor Delibes must be rolling on his grave. More tomorrow…night night y’all :-).

      • 2.2.1
        FomalHaut says:

        I agree; Meade stole the show.

      • 2.2.2
        Rowna says:

        From the variety of opinions it seems like we all watched different broadcasts. Meade was the best -- Meade was the worst, etc. I agree with some written opinions but not all -- so here goes: First -- I found the choice of music strange -- with Ms Leonard singing 2 selections that seemed out of place in a gala! She was gorgeous in both dresses. And yes, this is the PERFECT forum to discuss makeup and dress. Fleming looked better than she has in the recent past, as her clothing for her role as the Met live interviewer for the HD bcasts, seemed to make he look like a sausage, and always with oversized cheap looking jewelry (I have no idea if they were real -- they all looked fake). I want that dress! I love Ms Meade and thought she was wonderful in the aria, although many of the high notes were shrill. Funny, the soft ones were floated, the loud ones were thrilling, it was those non -- floated jumps that got thin. IMHO she is one of the most exciting talents to watch today -- along with Ms Barton. Good dress. Graham -- good dress and costume. Ms. Blythe, not so good. Ms Donato’s dress was a winner, even though I thought the top of the bodice distracting. And she sang fine, with a great end to her aria. Ms. Perez wore a beautiful dress as well, and has great hair.
        I liked the program overall, and was sweet to see, even for a moment, Mr. P sing with Renee.
        Here goes a few negative but not nasty comments: I am a huge fan of Muzio and believe that unless you can outgorgeous her voice, don’t sing Ombra di nube for an event such as this. Trying to do a staged number was a good idea, only it didn’t go well for Ms Graham and the men. I thought the duet from Samson and Delilah was the low point -- they were the only ones using a music stand, which made it stand out right away. Ms Blythe, whose voice I adore, has had better days. Why not show ONE aria of Mr. Tucker singing instead of those blips from the Ed Sullivan Show? Maybe I will produce it next year :)

          Camille says:

          Hey Rowna!
          I was thinking of you when Blythe sang the S&D, as I recalled somethig about you having heard her sing that (or was it. Carmen?) in Pittsburgh a couple years back? And that she was good? Why the music stand, indeed! That said, portions of her singing—when she didn’t do the “Sophie Tucker voice”—was very good. Her appearance, however, has reached a nadir. When black doesn’t hide the fat anymore, it is way past time to do something. In her case, I am very sorry as she is very talented and has a nice face, and could do so much more with her career—like singing Dalila, e.g.—if she would shed some weight.

          Also agree anout Mme. Fleming’s jewellry choices. There is always a little something clunky or “off” going on.

          • Rowna says:

            Good memory, Camille! Yes, Blythe did Dalilah here in the Burgh, and I thought she was great. She was very large but moved about the stage gracefully. And her voice seduced even hetero-moi! Her looks are now distracting :( Ms Norman was a very large woman but dressed fantastically. I believe she had all her clothing made specifically for her. Is nice to know that you thought of me when Blythe sang! Have a great rest of the weekend, dear :)

          Cocky Kurwenal says:

          Fleming’s jewelry does not always suit her, but it is always real.

      • 2.2.3
        bluecabochon says:

        I don’t know, I may be in culture fatigue but I couldn’t muster up much enthusiasm as I watched it online. PBS in its wisdom interrupted the Lakme duet with one of their commercials, which made me cranky.

        I guess I’ll focus on the visuals as I agree with both the pro and con vocal opinions listed here.

        Ms. Meade still needs some sartorial help and had on the wrong jewelry and hairstyle, as did Ms. Graham (hair) who was wearing Tamsen Z diamonds and platinum for her duet with Renee, Ms. DiDonato (hair) and Ms. Blythe, whose white-blond bouffant with dark roots did her no favors. I don’t know when the desire for wraps began, but if you are wearing a long-sleeved gown, you don’t need a wrap, especially if all you are going to do is clutch it to self rather than use it dramatically. If the dress isn’t “enough”, then fix that. It just looks fussy.

        For some ladies, it may be time to apply makeup to one’s bosom as well as one’s face. No one thinks of this, in the age of HD!? For centuries women have been doing this to great advantage, and it works wonders, in RL as well as onstage under lights.

        Clothes fit these performers better than usual. Say what you will about Ms. Blythe; her gowns fit perfectly and she keeps things simple with a black dress and colorful kimonos. She usually looks very good and her strong, pretty features and great smile go a long way.

        Ms. Leonard is lovely and was perfectly costumed. When you’re that beautiful, you don’t have to do much else than show up in a crisp dress in a nice color and material that fits properly, with a simple hairstyle and a sparkly jewel or two. Ms. Perez need some more oomph, good word that someone else used. Mr. Costello looked youthful with his open necked shirt and trimly cut velvet jacket, but Mr. Owens seemed to have too many layers, even if he is a big man. If I didn’t mention anyone else, it’s because they probably looked fine.

        Interesting that one Tucker son got hair and the other didn’t. Great to know that RT was a good dad to them.

        The backstage camera action was awkward and intrusive. Not everything needs to be on camera these days!

    • 2.3
      Evenhanded says:


      Too bad there isn’t a separate thread for discussion of the telecast of the Richard Tucker event. I enjoyed it overall -- what an inspired choice to close the concert with the Tell finale! Best: DiDonato (WOW!), Leonard, Fleming (in Refice), Owens, and Polenzani (such a fine singer). Meh: Costello (he shouts too much), Blythe/Grimsley (she sounded in very poor voice), and Perez (nothing interesting for her to do). Worst: Graham (awkward, squally, and off-pitch in Offenbach) and Meade (atrocious in early Verdi).

      Thank you to PBS and the Richard Tucker Foundation for making it all possible.

      • 2.3.1
        CwbyLA says:

        Meade was da bomb! She brought down the house.

      • 2.3.2
        FomalHaut says:

        Unaired Capuletti aria from DiDonato:

        Also, I really liked Meade! What did you dislike? I thought she brought fire, coloratura, and high notes aplomb!

      • 2.3.3
        Buster says:

        Susan Graham sounded fine again this afternoon, fortunatly, with the Ensemble intercontemporain, conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado. Lied der Waldtaube before intermission, and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, arranged for chamber orchestra by Eberhard Kloke after. Her timbre is still as beautiful as ever, and in this repertoire, with a superb orchestra like the EI, she cannot do anything wrong. A huge succes for her, but also for the world premiere of a highly original new work by Yves Chauris -- Un minimum de monde visible.

          MontyNostry says:

          I’ve never understood why Graham is so praised in French repertoire -- her voice just seems to be in the wrong place for it! It is all squashy and palatal, while French needs to be more forward, doesn’t it?

          • oedipe says:

            It depends. I think she is at her best in the 20th century rep. Though I liked her Iphigénie and Didon too. The Verbier French song recital is quite nice:


          • Camille says:

            Neither have, MN

            Plus which, she introduced the aria as “J’aime LA Militaire”.

            • oedipe says:

              Indeed. That Duchesse de Gerolstein aria was very bad. I really missed FLott!

            • Grane says:

              Is this a piece mezzos do when they’re getting ready to retire? I seem to remember Von Stade performing it at some gala or other.

            • MontyNostry says:

              Camille, maybe she likes a girl in uniform.

            • Camille says:

              Mädchen in Uniform? Hmmm; had not thought of that one, dear sir, nut perhaps you have nailed it.

              Whatever it was—there was about as much Gallic spirit as has a Chimichanga burrito made in Albuquerque. Some of the best Mexican food available, I might add.

            • MontyNostry says:

              Oh dear, gourmand though I am, the only Mexican food I have ever found tempting is guacamole. Everything else I have tried — some of it apparently quite authentic — has left me wishing I was eating something else completely.

            • Camille says:

              One has to eat la comida mexicana in situ. Tucson, Arizona and Albuquerque, New Mexico, for example. There is also the MexiCali version, with which I am familiar from childhood. It cannot be eaten in haute restaurants nor exported, and has to be made, preferably, by Mamacita en la cocina. Otherwise, it is likely just high-priced tripe.

              For example, almost impossible to find in New York City and some of what passes for it is vomititious. Most Mexicans are now employed making pizzas, which they absolutely do not understand.

              If you like to eat fish, the Vera Cruz variations on pescado are often quite good.

            • Camille says:

              And most importantly of all: Guacamole, to be authentic, MUST be made with HASS avocados and with the juice of most of a fresh lemon squeezed in. No other avocado will do and do NOT accept substitutes. Add chilis and spices as one sees fit and salt. Basta.

            • MontyNostry says:

              No doubt about Hass avocadoes, but I am quite happy never to risk enchiladas, tacos, sopa, mole, refried beans etc again

            • phoenix says:

              La conquête du Mexique on the Z train:

            • Ilka Saro says:

              Yes, Camille, it must be Hass Avocados!!! Here in New York, many a misguided chef seems to think those big green ones will do just as well, but the texture is all wrong.

            • MontyNostry says:

              Or, if you like all those identikit baroque operas, Hasse avocados.

            • Ilka Saro says:

              I just dug around on wikipedia, only to see that Hasse is NOT the composer of an opera called “Montezuma”. Sigh. It would have been so appropriate. “Avocado” coming from an Aztec word, and all.

            • MontyNostry says:

              Is it really derived from the word for testicle?

            • MontyNostry says:

              “?huacatl is short for ?huacacuahuitl, which means “testicle tree” (?huacatl “testicle” + cuahuitl “tree”).”

            • Ilka Saro says:

              Don’t know. Wikipedia seemed to suggest that the word simply meant avocado. However, I am a great admirer of testicles, and a tree full of them might offer a pleasant way to beguile the siesta’s slow hours.

            • oedipe says:

              However, I am a great admirer of testicles

              Bon appétit!


            • -Ed. says:

              Uff! Looks bloody. And awful.
              The mom & pop Taqueria del Mar in Monterey makes superb fish tacos, so fresh and delicious. And yes, I did have to screw up my courage to put my lips around my first fish taco.

          Liz.S says:

          Ah, Buster, you were there @ the Concertgebouw! The concert is streamed on demand and I was looking forward to listening to it this evening :-) --

          • Buster says:

            Don’t miss it, Liz! Chauris probably needs the space of a large hall to come accross as it was meant. At the Concertgebouw you could hear everything, including the smallest sound or tick. Most exciting. Amazing orchestra and conductor.

            I agree on Waldtaube, Monty. Das Klagende Lied has the same effect on me, it feels like being small, and someone reads you a story.

            Graham did great in telling the story yesterday (Tove ist stumm!), but her voice is indeed a little light for it. They used the chamber orchestra version Schönberg made in the twenties for a Danish orchestra, which help a lot!

            • MontyNostry says:

              The Waldtaube was on the radio the other day -- the recording von Otter and Rattle. For all her intelligence as an interpreter, von Otter really doesn’t have the weight or substance of voice for that kind of music (at least in the full orchestral version). She sounded under strain throughout. And Rattle’s conducting was really quite flaccid -- even that terrifying climax didn’t hit the mark.

          MontyNostry says:

          I think the Lied der Waldtaube is a stunning piece. It has a ritualistic quality, yet also huge tension. The way it builds to its climax is riveting. I’d love to hear it sung by a really great voice, though. I know Jessye used to do it -- it needs that kind of grandeur.

      • 2.3.4
        Camille says:

        Polenzani showed his stuff. Very commendable performance if not very French. Bravo to him.

    • 2.4
      Maury D says:

      Whoa. I found Stephen Costello, when he first made a big splash, talented but a little half-formed-looking. He has turned out terrifically hot, and remains a very good singer. (I won’t pile on any superlatives until I’ve heard him in something that’s a better match for him than Percy.)

      • 2.4.1
        kashania says:

        I found lots of potential in the Percy but the role stretched him to his limits (perhaps a bit beyond his limits in “Vivi tu”). But I was quite impressed when I heard his Edgardo in person. Bright, ringing high notes. Even tone through the range. Lots of the requisite fire and passion and just the right tone for Donizetti. I was very pleased.

          armerjacquino says:

          ‘potential in the Percy’ *childish giggle*

          Is there anywhere I can find who sang what? I’ve been trying to piece it together but you’re all being a little cagey…

      • 2.4.2
        Krunoslav says:

        “He has turned out terrifically hot”


        Guys look like this on every South Philly street corner. Just not getting it, never have…

          bluecabochon says:


          Amazingly, people have different tastes here, NervaKruno.

          Costello has lost weight since Anna Bolena, in case your hatred prevented you from noticing.

          • Krunoslav says:

            What hatred?

            I don’t hate Costello as person or performer, and I am not among the many here who spit bile at extra pounds. What are you talking about?

            • bluecabochon says:

              Right, there was no bile whatsoever in your post.

              Okay, you don’t hate him.

            • Krunoslav says:

              How is it , bluecabochon, that you are so precisely able to “hear” bile and hatred” in a fairly generalized post?

              I just have never understood the tizzy people get into here around a few carefully selected photos of Steve C.

              Did not see the “smoking hot” interview but have seen him often enough onstage and at performances to find him, even by current operatic standards, a decently nice-looking guy, no special heat or charisma.

              But some queens apparently found Ferruccio Tagliavini dreamy when he showed up in NYC, so you never know…

          • -Ed. says:

            He had lost weight! I noticed that right away. He was getting kinda sorta paunchy, after marrying that woman. Never a good sign..

          OpinionatedNeophyte says:

          Yes really, Costello was *smoking* hot in his interviews and his version of Nemorino’s drunking fumblings somehow communicated significant hip flexibility. If you’d cast him off plenty would eagerly step. Ailyn probably watches his co-workers like a hawk.

          • Spen says:

            Yes he is smoking hot. I never really care if a singer looks good, but he is making me a little wild.

            • Spen says:

              I love his thick neck lol, but I hate how he acts in the duet with the chick. I’ve never liked funny opera acting and I probably never will.

          Maury D says:

          I mean the first picture is rather unfair, as he’s dressed up like Burger King. Anyway, yeah, as seen on the broadcast I found him rather adorable in a highly goyishe way.

  • 3
    Grane says:

    What was the final ensemble?

    • 3.1
      antikitschychick says:

      It was an ensemble piece from Guillame Tell. I thought it was very good except Ailyn Perez was flat during her solo part.

    • 3.2
      Krunoslav says:

      The finale of GUILLAUME TELL, one of the greatest things in 19th century opera and-- let A. C. Douglas choke--the clear inspiration for the Entrance to Valhalla in DAS RHEINGOLD.

      Ambrosian Opera Chorus
      Chorus Master: John McCarthy
      Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
      Conducted by Lamberto Gardelli

      Mathilde, Montserrat Caballé
      Jemmy, Mady Mesplé
      Hedwige, Jocelyne Taillon
      Tell, Gabriel Bacquier
      Arnold, Nicolai Gedda

      • 3.2.1
        armerjacquino says:

        Wow, it MUST be good if you’re posting Taillon without further comment.

          Krunoslav says:

          Give it a listen! Could not find the women’s lovely Act V trio from this set online. Taillon in 1973 was quite a good Hedwige ( the ONLY ROH role ever of Ewa Podles, in 1990). Other than Genevieve, it’s Taillon’s only positive recorded legacy that I know of.

          Doesn’t change how I feel about her dreary Met mezzo work ordered up by Joan Ingpen when Berini, Cossotto, Dunn and others were about.

      • 3.2.2
        Agnese di Cervia says:

        Today Nicolai Gedda is 89 y.o. Salut!

      • 3.2.3
        Belfagor says:

        it has the greatest interrupted cadence in the history of music. It redefines grandeur. No wonder Rossini retired after it -- it storms the heavens!

          Camille says:

          How could he possibly top himself?

          And he munificently provided the goldmine from which the entirety of 19th century composerdom, including the above-mentioned Herr Riccardo, felt free to strip mine, rob, loot, and just plain filch.

          Vive la Liberté!

      • 3.2.4
        semira mide says:

        Totally agree, Krunoslav. I think you would have appreciated last summer’s Tell in Pesaro at ROF. The conducting was exceptional, and they included the divine trio you mentioned. I simply cannot fathom why this trio gets cut in some productions.
        Here is is with Podles, although not the cast you mentioned.

        The staging of the trio was the one thing the production got right. The staging of the ending was a “see what a clever director I am” conceit. The music is so divine it didn’t matter.

  • 4
    Grane says:

    Many thanks!

  • 5
    Spen says:

    Can I still watch the Richard Tucker Gala somewhere online?

  • 6
    MontyNostry says:

    Here it is. I’ve just been watching it.
    Sorry, but I still think Angela Meade doesn’t sound like much, despite her excellent technique.
    Ailyn P looks very cute in her green dress and I think Costello is singing better than he did a few years ago.

    • 6.1
      Krunoslav says:

      As a non-fan of Costello usually mystified by the praise around here, I have to agree-- I though he was better at the Tucker than 2-3 years ago. He;s also very good in MOBY DICK. Perez though has slipped back to pitchiness and seemed afraid to sing forte. Much more tonal and stage charm than the hubby has, but technically unfinished.

      • 6.1.1
        MontyNostry says:

        I first saw Perez back in 2006 -- at Operalia; she was showy and fearless and the sound was gorgeous. She should have won rather than Maija Kovalevska, but I think Kovalevska was favoured from on high … Perez has become more subtle and stylish since then, but last time I saw her (in a recital)she seemed to have lost a little lustre and pzazz — and she did sing flat here and there. That being said, she was apparently suffering from a serious cold. I am definitely still a fan, but I’m not sure I’ll go and see her forthcoming Manon at Covent Garden. I find the piece a long haul and I always have this feeling that it really needs a French stylist of the highest order.

          Krunoslav says:

          “Manon… I find the piece a long haul and I always have this feeling that it really needs a French stylist of the highest order.”

          “Je marche sur, like, tous les chemins?”

          manou says:

          Concidentally, I am just back from the Manon dress with the lovely Salmonella Yahoo (and I am planning to see both her and Perez in performance). This is because I love every note of the piece -- yes, Massenet is very manou-pulative and has ensnared me (freeing ianw2 and his ilk).

          Well I saw the original cast -- Ermonela, you are no Netrebko. Ermonela is not an enticing coquette and no matter how hard she tries, it gets more and more embarrassing. She dies pretty well though -- this is more her style. Replacing Grigoletto is the stolid Polenzani, who sings pretty well in very good French, but is also completely constricted trying to duplicate all the stage business devised for a more extrovert type. He is required to skip around the stage and generally frolic around, which he is not born to do. We are mercifully spared the sight of his manly chest in Saint Sulpice (or maybe Ermonela did not have the strength to pull his soutane open at the right time -- they make more intractable Velcro for priests these days).

          I am wondering whether Perez will make a better fist of it -- and of course this was only a rehearsal and maybe things will improve next week.

          • Princess de Bouillon says:

            Hallo there. Just off to another Forza. Enjoy your Sunday….

            • manou says:

              Hello back -- it was nice to meet you and to be able to put a face to the name.

              Enjoy the performance (again!)

          • oedipe says:

            This is because I love every note of the piece

            Judging by the difficulties they have in unloading the tickets for this run -even, apparently, after offering big discounts- it looks like you are decidedly in a minority in your neck of the woods in loving Manon. It’s either that or the cast; or both.

            • oedipe says:

              P.S. Though not much is left of the woods these days…

            • manou says:

              I am a manourity.

            • MontyNostry says:

              There’s always Theydon Bois.

            • armerjacquino says:

              Theydon Bois is lovely and I have posted many a Parterre comment from there: it’s where my sister lives.

            • Cocky Kurwenal says:

              I think if you’re going to revive a production pretty quickly after first presenting it, you probably need to do so with an exciting cast if you want it to sell, as long as Netrebko and Grigolo are fresh in peoples’ minds. I didn’t buy a ticket because I feel like I’ve just seen it, and I’ve had enough of Ermonela Jaho in recent seasons. I admire Polenzani but wouldn’t seek him out.

          Camille says:

          Ms. Perez was largely wasted in that scene, which went mostly to her husband.

          Too bad, as I would have actually enjoyed having heard her as, say, Mimi. Or something!

          • Grane says:

            According to the NY Times review of the concert, she sang Depuis le Jour. Guess that didn’t make the broadcast.
            (Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim??!!)

            • Camille says:

              What a shame. Why didn’t she sing that instead, as they allowed her husband singing an aria by himself.

              Guesaing the “cute-couple” angle had to be covered as they represent the unique example of such among the annals of the Tucker Awards.

            • Camille says:

              Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim is a very late and very obscure opera by Mercadante, little done.

            • Krunoslav says:

              Her “Depuis le jour” was really not ready prime time, it was the least good thing all evening, including the lame LAKME duet. It has been said she was ill. She neither looked nor sounded comfortable singing it, and avoided all full-out notes. Not a loss. In better form she would do better presumably,by Eleanor Steber she is not.

            • Camille says:

              Lame Lakmé. Like it! Gonna steal it from you, old boy.

              Too bad. She seems to have too many an off night.

            • Grane says:

              I thought Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim was a comprimario role in La Chatelaine de Glyndeborne.

    • 6.2
      Evenhanded says:


      I agree with Monty and Krunoslav: Costello did some of the best singing I have heard from him in the Tucker concert. He is certainly charming to watch, and he actually gets BETTER looking as the years go by. Still, the voice has a bleaty quality and he sings almost everything higher than G at mezzoforte or louder. Worst of all, everything he sings sounds the same. That said, he’s having a major career, so apparently others hear it differently than I do.

      As for Meade, I am clearly in the minority, but I hear a decidedly “B” quality voice (the tone is neither beautiful nor distinctive) wielded with a highly flawed technique. Yes, she can swallow the tone to produce lovely floated high notes -- but they are tucked away in the back of her throat rather than sung with full support and tonal intensity. This method is not uncommon, but after a while, it sounds like a party trick. Her coloratura is ungainly, because she is consistently singing roles written for a voice at least a size larger than hers (Norma, Lucrezia Contarini, Elena, et al.). There is very little focus to the tone -- especially as it moves from note to note -- and the three parts of her voice (low, middle, high) are becoming increasingly disconnected -- a sure sign of a flawed technique. She does precious little with the words (though last night, she seemed to be trying for a bit more edge and thrust than she usually does). She’s certainly not a bad singer, but it seems that she’s being pushed into the role of bel canto queen, and there is very little in her performances that can justify that point of view, IMHO.

      • 6.2.1
        la vociaccia says:

        I only caught the second hour, but I truly found Costello excruciating, especially after hearing his lovely speaking voice in the preceding interview, and then witnessing how his odd technique all but obliterates his natural sound and renders him incapable of anything that isn’t pushed and shoved and bleated. A great high C does not make up for a lyric tenor with no lyricism.

      • 6.2.2
        FomalHaut says:

        Isn’t this how singing soft notes is taught -- by ‘placing’ them in the soft palate? I’m pretty sure this is how Gencer, Callas, and Caballe all sang them. I also disagree with your assertion of a bland timbre; when I hear Meade, I know it is Meade. When I hear Perez, it could be a hundred other Lyric Sopranos. I thought the cabaletta (O patrizi tremate) showed her register transition and technique far superior, then say, DiDonato, who always bleats and loses support as she climbs to the top (particularly in the ascending scales of ‘Fra il padre’).

      • 6.2.3
        Camille says:


        Minority plus 1.

        Couldn’t have been better analyses than what you have done above. That said, someone or something lit a fire under her behind and she in ested some emotional weight and heft into the aria. Still looks awful, makeup or not, meeds help

    • 6.3
      grimoaldo says:

      Thanks for the link, I didn’t have any interest in watching the whole thing, but very much enjoyed Meade’s singing of the fabulous scene from I Due Foscari, congratulations to her for such a splendid performance, and for choosing that piece from that little-known masterpiece. I Due Foscari was done in LA in 2012 in a production that then went to several European theatres with Domingo and Popsy,I would not go to see Popsy in it or listen to her, if the Met had any sense they would put it on for Meade, a very good part for her both vocally and in terms of the drama, this character is not supposedly some young girl who has three different men in love with her or anything like that, but a married lady whose husband is framed for a crime he did not commit.
      Fantastic Angela, brava and thank you!

  • 7
    Grane says:

    It seems to me that Meade’s voice has more vibrato than actual tone--sometimes to the point that I can’t tell what note she’s on. But what she does with it is tremendous, and the floated high notes were wonderful.

  • 8
    • 8.1
      MontyNostry says:

      I saw it in the theatre -- and thought it was pretty clunky. The subject matter was fascinating, but Brenton tried to squeeze far too much into two hours.

  • 9
    laddie says:

    Richard Tucker: I thought Costello much improved and perhaps he needs more coaching re: lyricism but the voice is amazing IMHO. I think we have to remember about Costello that he wasn’t brought up with opera or classical music and happened upon his voice as a teenager, whereupon he was scooped up and away he went ending up at AVA. I think he has done quite well for himself.

    • 9.1
      Camille says:

      He sounded 100% improved over the poor showing he made in the Anna-Anna Show, a season ago. Finally, I could take him seriously. Don’t much like his style in French, however.

      The kid stays in the picture.

    • 9.2
      la vociaccia says:

      I don’t buy it, sorry. A lot of opera singers didn’t grow up with classical music; some didn’t grow up with running water.

      • 9.2.1
        Camille says:

        Some came running.

      • 9.2.2
        laddie says:

        A lot? Pray tell, especially the one without running water. Let’s compare.

        “Kühlende Labung gab mir der Quell”

          la vociaccia says:

          Well laddie, you can start with his wife. She wasn’t exactly born with a silver spoon and a subscription to opera news. There’s a south African soprano recently signed to Decca named Pumeza Matshikiza who grew up in a tin shack in a shantytown. Right now at WNO there is an extremely promising bass named Solomon Howard who grew up homeless.

          There are many others who grew up extremely poor and/or without exposure to classical music but to be honest I’m uninterested it comparing and contrasting because this is all irrelevant. I’m not going to judge someone’s vocal technique based on what they did as a teenager. But I will say this: growing up in a classical music (and specifically, vocal pedagogy) hub like Philadelphia places Costello at a much higher advantage than someone born in Rome, Georgia (like Jamie Barton, who also didn’t grow up with classical music, and is in my opinion much better trained as a vocalist than Costello)

    • 9.3
      la vociaccia says:

      I agree he has done well for himself. That doesn’t mean I think he sings well

  • 10
    olliedawg says:

    Re: Richard Tucker Gala.

    I watched with the hubby, a non-aficionado but a devoted music/voice lover, who pronounced the whole thing incredibly tedious with the exception of Costello and Didonato (maybe even Meade, although he’s not a Verdi fan--still thought she was pretty stupendous). His comment watching the “Lakme” Duet spells things out nicely: “Is this show going to be 2 hours of old broads singing uninteresting s**t?”

    Moi? I was bored stiff by Leonard’s selections and delivery (lovely lady, seems sweet, perfectly nice sound/voice, but meh). Renee’s choice surprised me, and she delivered it with gusto and commitment. Call me dopey, but I, too, enjoyed Costello’s stage presence, joie de vivre, and great diction. Blythe wasn’t shown to great advantage (and I’m not a big fan of “S & D”), and Ailyn P struck me, not having seen her before, as out of her league. Alas, for this huge SuzyG fan, the night was a bit of a letdown. While she seemed to be having fun with the Grande Duchesse shtick. and played into her “good ol’ girl” reputation, I wanted her to stand and deliver something more..substantial? serious? swoon-worthy? And, maybe it’s because she and her BFF, Renee, don’t have to do a lot of rehearsing to sing the Lakme duet that they chose the easy path, but…even I had to roll my eyes along with the husband…

  • 11
    Camille says:

    This Fledermaus is made of beer belches and not Veuve Clicquot burps.

  • 12
    oedipe says:

    For X’s sake, why does a popular gala, with 100% American singers, choose a program composed of 50% (or more) French arias? (It’s not like French opera is all that popular, is it?) Are they considered easy to sing?

    To give just one example: Blythe’s French pronunciation and diction are excellent; but she is too loud and there isn’t much nuance to her singing, it lacks the musicality and charm that a good Dalila incarnation needs.

    I thought Costello’s Faust and Polenzani’ Hoffmann were OK, but nothing special. The less one says about the Lakmé duet, the better…

  • 13
    -Ed. says:

    lol Camille! True.
    Just now watched the Tucker and thought it was very nice. Hard for me to take mob recitals too seriously. Something was cut at the end of Fleming’s solo, did she perform a second piece? (La, are you the new video editor at PBS?) I noticed several of the performers used music stands. Meade blew me away, and she was obviously moved by the audience’s thunderous reaction to her solo. Costello is still my honey, he sounds great and gets better looking every year.

    • 13.1
      papopera says:

      Darling Costello needs a little coaching in French pronunciation ( sowleeoo demeure chaste……… ) but it doesn’t matter, its cute. I am quite available to coach him at night on the oreiller.

      • 13.1.1
        MontyNostry says:

        I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a non-Francophone tenor who could manage ‘fuyez’. It usually comes out as if it were written ‘fouillez’.

  • 14
    la vociaccia says:

    I’m glad everyone enjoyed looking at Costello and found his high notes appropriately loud.

    • 14.1
      Camille says:

      Oh come on, honey, it was SO much better than watching his live strangulation in The Anna-Anna Show!

      Buck up, darlin’, you can go hear Vargas at the Met now. He may be getting on but the man has style.

      Kisses from kamille

      • 14.1.1
        la vociaccia says:

        Thank you, Camille. I’m sorry for being such a grouch. I’m actually going on Monday and i’m very excited to hear Vargas and Miss Chuchman.

          Camille says:

          You are not a grouch at all but probably suffer from too much tenorial i formation, a rare disease.

  • 15
    Camille says:

    Unendurable ordeal of merest ordure“.

    The normally shy, self-effacing Monsieur Camille was moved to make this remark after partially enduring a portion of today’s Fledermaus.

    It further reminded him of his father’s senior center theatrical productions in Boca.
    It wouldn’t even play the Borscht Belt, where he went summers as a kid.

  • 16
    Camille says:

    After today, the word “BATSHIT” will forevermore have taken on a new meaning, for me, and perhaps, for many.

    • 16.1
      grimoaldo says:

      Yeah, I didn’t make it through to the end the first time so I listened on and off today -- it had an appalling fascination,like watching a slow-motion train wreck.
      Truly one of the most dreadful things ever, sad to hear yet another work I love being massacred, the abysmal delivery of the spoken dialogue would disgrace a high school production,maybe it could be said “well, they are singers, not actors, so it is to be expected” but they couldn’t sing their music either, except for Fabiano.

      • 16.1.1
        Quanto Painy Fakor says:

        The Fledermaus performance broadcast today was so far from what that masterpiece should sound like. The defects were obvious, but it’s difficult to know who to blame. I think itwas very badly coached from a musical point of view and the conductor was unable to realize any of the nuances of Viennese operetta. An important staging like this lowers the bar for future productions in terms of performance practice of Johann Strauss’ music. Really poor. No amount of glitz onstage can hide this defect. One of the experienced players in the MET orchestra should have taken the conductor to lunch to tell him how it really goes. Really dreary.

          Quanto Painy Fakor says:

          For a dose of style:

          oedipe says:

          One of the experienced players in the MET orchestra should have taken the conductor to lunch to tell him how it really goes.

          I agree the conductor bears a good deal of responsibility for this mess, but to assume he doesn’t know what it SHOULD sound like is preposterous, considering his background. Hey, he probably was weaned on Strauss’ music! And do you REALLY think he doesn’t know how a csardas goes? There were probably other factors at play, which were independent of his mastery of the style of Strauss’ music.

          • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

            The proof is in the pudding. It is indeed a new alltime low for musical standards of a new production at the MET and proove that artistry may be a thing of the past. Definitely not worth the price of admission.

            • armerjacquino says:

              The proof is in the pudding.

              BETE NOIRE ALERT!

              The phrase is ‘the proof OF the pudding is in the eating’. ‘The proof is in the pudding’, increasingly common though its usage might be, means absolutely nothing.

            • oedipe says:

              We agree on that. I am just reluctant to put most of the blame on the conductor and to doubt his familiarity with Johann Strauss.

            • manou says:

              The prof is in the building.

            • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

              Pudding alert -- You’re absolutely correct! I don’t care who the conductor is. If he or she is not making the music sound correctly they have failed to make good pudding.

            • MontyNostry says:

              And the waiters set a leg of mutton before Alice, who looked at it rather anxiously, as she had never had to carve a joint before.
              ‘You look a little shy: let me introduce you to that leg of mutton,’ said the Red Queen. ‘Alice—Mutton: Mutton—Alice.’ The leg of mutton got up in the dish and made a little bow to Alice; and Alice returned the bow, not knowing whether to be frightened or amused.

              ‘May I give you a slice?’ she said, taking up the knife and fork, and looking from one Queen to the other. ‘Certainly not,’ the Red Queen said, very decidedly: ‘it isn’t etiquette to cut anyone you’ve been introduced to. Remove the joint!’ And the waiters carried it off, and brought a large plum-pudding in its place.

              ‘I won’t be introduced to the pudding, please,’ Alice said, rather hastily, ‘or we shall get no dinner at all. May I give you some?’ But the Red Queen looked sulky, and growled ‘Pudding—Alice: Alice—Pudding. Remove the pudding!’ and the waiters took it away so quickly that Alice couldn’t return its bow.

              However, she didn’t see why the Red Queen should be the only one to give orders; so, as an experiment, she called out ‘Waiter! Bring back the pudding!’ and there it was again in a moment, like a conjuring trick. It was so large that she couldn’t help feeling a little shy with it, as she had been with the mutton; however, she conquered her shyness by a great effort, and cut a slice and handed it to the Red Queen.

              ‘What impertinence!’ said the Pudding. ‘I wonder how you’d like it, if I were to cut a slice out of you, you creature!’

              It spoke in a thick, suety sort of voice, and Alice hadn’t a word to say in reply: she could only sit and look at it and gasp.

              ‘Make a remark,’ said the Red Queen: ‘it’s ridiculous to leave all the conversation to the pudding!’

            • oedipe says:

              I can never tire of Alice…

            • kashania says:

              Monty: Thanks for that. It has been so many years since I read Alice, I hardly remember a thing.

          • grimoaldo says:

            The “unter donner und blitz” polka, used as a ballet in Act Two, was pitifully played, it is a traditional encore piece for the greatest orchestras, it should sound like thunder from the timpani all the way through --

            I know when there are dancers onstage it is different to a concert, maybe they have to slow it down for that reason, but there is no reason for it to be played with zero fizz or pizzazz or sense of the style, the conductor must take some of the responsibility for such a dismal performance.

            • Liz.S says:

              I kinda agree with you, grimo – Ivan of the Fisher brothers is much more interesting to me than his older brother.
              But as for waltz and polka, no orchestra can beat Wiener Philharmoniker. Wph members have waltz and polka in their DNA and, although I adore Jansons, I think he essentially doesn’t have to do much to make they sound like this…
              I don’t even know if Met orchestra can sound this good even under the baton of Carlos Kleiber’s ghost.

            • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

              Like this?

  • 17
    Clita del Toro says:

    Yes, the Fliegende Mausdreck was something else. Whodda thunk?

  • 18
    Spen says:

    I liked Angela Meade’s performance most. I don’t really like the sound of her voice, but she is very convincing.

  • 19
    zinka says:

    When Operavore played Regina Resnik’s charming “Chacun a son gout” before the Fledermaus broadcast, I did not know that this alone would be the only example of what good operetta is for the entire day,as I listened to the unbearable,interminable, Dostoyevskian performance, that made me so angry, I took my ticket and put it in the “donate to the Met” pile.
    I was almost as angry as when I paid 79.95 years ago for that supposedly wonderful porno of Kurt Baum and Herva Nelli, but thinking of it, at least they tried to be artistic.
    Only the “future Manrico” of Michael Fabiano, as he sang his ” all’armi” high C toward the end woke me up. Speaking of his voice, I hear what I call a “chiaro-oscuro” Franco, dark and bright. However, neither his singing and some cute lines from Danny Burstein could save this interminable drivel, and I truly agree with some of the critics that this is indeed a new LOW for the Met.
    I do not even want to waste time going into more detail, but whoever wrote the “dialogue” should find a Gedda/ Schwarzkopf recording and hang his stupid head!!! Basta..I am too mad……Charlie

    • 19.1
      grimoaldo says:

      For once I totally agree with zinka, in a way this Fledermaus is a camp “so bad it’s a monumental party piece epic” but really it makes me very, very angry, a desecration, an abominable travesty, of one of the greatest operetta classics.

  • 20
    johns33 says:

    Saw Fledermaus..sooo tedious. ..too much dialogue.
    Broadway via Las Vegas. A mess.