Cher Public

Slavas of New York

Photo: Cory Weaver/Metropolitan Opera“Even when the opera performed is a masterpiece, a truly superb opera performance is exceedingly rare…. So it’s all the more remarkable that Alexander Borodin’s Prince Igor, an uneven, fragmentary work, should yield a performance that ranks with the highest peaks of Peter Gelb’s incumbency at the Met and for that matter would be the jewel of any opera company in any golden age. Opera audiences are resigned to slogging through dreck; this Igor makes the slog worthwhile.” [New York Observer]

  • operaassport

    As usual, JJ gets it 100% right. Is that old? Nope.

  • cosmodimontevergine

    What a fine piece of writing. It is heartening to read an opera review of this caliber. Bravo!

    • operaassport

      I look forward to receiving my orange hard copy!

  • alejandro

    I have no idea what Jacques Imbrailo sounds like, but he looks good enough to me. But then again, I go nuts for faces like that.

  • phoenix


  • Jack Jikes

    What a wonderful review! I thought the evening was a triumph. I even enjoyed
    rolling on Molly -- Igor’s drug dream conjuring the ethereal realm of Lucas Cranach’s Golden Age. This Igor is a rarity -- the realization of an opera into a great work of performing art. I intend to go to every performance.

  • grimoaldo

    I’m glad JJ enjoyed Prince Igor so much, in the chat we all did too, except for Kocán’s “hoarse” singing, pity that the dancing was as “lame” full length and in the house as the short clip the Met put on its website.
    But if it is really true that “a truly superb opera performance is exceedingly rare” I find that rather sad.”The Met… manages perhaps once per season to spark the kind of ecstatic, heart-pounding response the form has the potential to deliver”.
    Is once per season really good enough? out of all those performances?
    “Opera audiences are resigned to slogging through dreck” --
    I don’t remember it that way until quite recently, say the last five years or so.
    When I first started going to ENO and ROH, oh such a long time ago, mid to late seventies, almost everything was glorious, to me, bad or dull performances were the exception not the rule.
    It stayed like that more or less through the 90’s, I cannot speak as to live performances at the Met at that time although I certainly remember more than one superb broadcast a season.
    Things seem to have taken a very sharp, precipitous decline not only at the Met but also at ROH and other companies just in the last few years.
    It is sad but very nice that the Met has had an artistic success with this Prince Igor, I hope it will be a box office success too.
    Thank you, JJ, for the fine review.

    • Regina delle fate

      Grim -- all these things are relative. I’ve read some of the younger critics and bloggers on the new RO Don Giovanni referring to its “magnificent cast”, while some of the older ones have been more sniffy. I suppose it depends on what your expectations are. I’m going next week, so I’ll see if the singers come up to mine. On paper this Igor cast looks pretty fine, but I’ve only seen it once before in an international context -- the RO production with Leiferkus, Tomova, Zaremba and Burchuladze -- so it might not be quite as good as that line-up, but I’m pretty sure it will be better than the cast I saw at Opera North in the 1990s. Anyway, I can’t wait for the Live in HD cinecast. :)

  • The trio between Vladimir, Konchakovna and Igor is present in the Cherniakov version at the Met. How can it be said that the director “discarded the Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov interpolations”? The Trio is nowhere to be found in Anna Bulycheva’s 5th or 6th scenes. If I recall correctly, some Glazunov was left in at the opening of the (Cherniakov) Act I Polovtsi maiden song. And the retention of the Rimsky-Korsakov orchestrations points to another issue: Rimsky would frequently correct or elaborate upon Borodin’s source material -- change a bass line in one place, alter the harmony or voice-leading in another place, and so on.

    Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with performing the interpolations or using Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestrations, I just find that the Metropolitan Opera description of their edition -- which seems to be the basis for JJ’s account of it -- is inaccurate.

    (On a side note, I wonder whether the problem with “Prince Igor”‘s dramaturgy is the opposite of what JJ suggests: the problem may be not that it’s too static, too pageant-like, but that it’s not pageant-like enough -- that the attempt to make 19th-century historical melodrama out of medieval epic denatures what is truly enchanting about the source material. After “Einstein” and “Satyagraha”, after contemporary experience of non-European and pre-modern forms of theater, modern audiences perhaps a better appreciation of the virtues of non-melodramatic, even non-narrative theater. The ” pièce bien faite” is not the only way to structure an opera.)

    • (P.P.S.: this is why I so enjoyed Yuri Lyubimov’s new production of “Prince Igor” for the Bolshoi -- Lyubimov consciously moved the opera in the direction of the medieval Lay.)

      • (P.P.P.S.: Oh, and also this: the real political issue of “Prince Igor” isn’t “nationalism” is it? I would think it is “imperialism”. After bloody conflicts in Afghanistan and Chechnya, after the dissolution of the Soviet Empire, and in the context of continuing flashpoints in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, I can understand why Cherniakov wants to replace pseudo-ethnic Polovtsi with phantasms of the Russian imagination -- broadly put, “We have met the Other and s/he is us”.* But I wonder whether Circassians might not view this as dodging the central issue. I’ll look forward to seeing specifically how Cherniakov handles this matter.

        *The tie-in with the opening ceremony at the Sochi games is almost perfect in this regard. The Polovtsi dances are taken as a representation of “Russia” -- but, to judge by the murky soundtrack, which bent Borodin’s pitches in decidedly non-Petersburgian ways and which contained an admixture of other types of Russian regional musics, a Russia that incorporates a number of non-Slav ethnicities.)

        • Krunoslav

          “a Russia that incorporates a number of non-Slav ethnicities”

          Like the CD series GREAT RUSSIAN ARTISTS that included Lisitsian, Dolukhanova, Richter, Reizen, Gmyrya and many other non-Russians.

        • Camille

          Thanks for your considerations on this, Mister Crotchet. I remember QPF saying something a while back about inaccuracies in the MET’s program notes, so….

      • Quanto Painy Fakor
    • Belfagor

      M.Croche, do you have the Bulycheva edition -- is it possible to purchase it? I don’t read Cyrillic alas, so if it’s only available in Russia……

      The Vladimir/Konchakovna/Igor trio is great, because it is a rare moment of dramatic interaction -- also the main tune is a vintage Borodin one -- so was the melody in a sketch somewhere and never used? It’s more prominent in the old edition as it is the first subject in the Overture -- a great piece, but I didn’t miss it in the context of the whole opera, as it’s not really needed. There is a paragraph in the discredited Shostakovich memoir where an exchange DSCH had with his teacher Glazunov, in his cups, said an overture never existed, Glazunov wrote it ‘for’ Borodin…..

      I still missed the Polovtsian March, which sources say is authentic -- and it might have served as a good accompaniment to the war film in this production. And, much as I enjoyed the last act, I got the impression that that was all Borodin, I missed the uplifting climax of the love duet, but maybe that’s editorial? And obviously, Borodin never intended the final chorus to be followed, even so that was great theatre…….

      Also, if there’s no point in being ‘authentic’, whatever that means, if you are going to jettison the 2nd Polovtsian act (which seems to be mentioned in the scene list that justifies everyone putting the ‘big’ Polovtsian act after the Prologue), then in terms of musical balance, I wonder if the opera would be better with Galitsky and the destruction of Putivl first, followed by the Polovtsian act, just as in the old edition………I’m not sure the ordering of these scenes makes much difference, but maybe the narrative makes a bit more sense in the old version……..?

      Bottom line is I’m going to see it again, the last perf. and have been telling all my friends it’s a must see. Yes, Oksana Dyka is certainly no Anna Tomowa-Sintow, who set the house ablaze at ROH all those years ago, and the Khan was underwhelming (mind you I heard a Kirov concert performance where the Khan also went off the rails -- I forget who -- and I wonder if the scoring is too light and the singer can’t hear it, hence the intonation problems?? -- ) -- however, I can’t remember an opera experience where I’ve kept thinking and reliving it…..

      • Belfagor:

        You can purchase the new edition (piano-vocal score only -- a full orchestral version is still in preparation) online from a few different Russian places, such as here:

        If you’re nervous navigating a Russian site, get in touch with your local Slavic bookstore for help.
        The score contains an abbreviated English summary of Bulycheva’s critical apparatus.

        As I understand it, Glazunov appropriated some material from one Borodin’s sketches to “create” the Trio that he and Rimsky felt should have been in the opera. That melody of course, is known to all because of the overture, which has Glazunov’s fingerprints all over it.

        As to whether the overture is wholly Glazunov’s concoction: I am reminded of Balakirev’s First Symphony. Balakirev played large fragments of this piece for members of his circle from the 1860s onwards. Rimsky-Korsakov and others continually nagged him to write it all down. Plagued by self-doubt, and by nature somewhat indolent, Balakirev only produced a finished manuscript of the symphony in the late 1890s.

        The thing is, Balakirev played this symphony constantly for members of his circle in the 1860s and 1870s. Since he was their alpha-dog, this work exerted a tremendous influence on the developing Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, and Musorgsky (possibly Chaikovsky, too). Had Balakirev been run over by a troika in 1889, we would have had a case where an important, influential composition existed only in live performance (no record players or cassette recorders then) and for which only the memories of participants and a collection of manuscript sketches offer partial evidence.

        This is why I am unwilling to dismiss the Overture as a complete fabrication by Glazunov -- the m.o. dovetails nicely with the working methods of the St. Petersburg school during those years.

        So here’s the catch: if the overture is largely authentic (a really big, possibly unanswerable, “if”), then it might indeed signify that Borodin was thinking of using the “Trio” tune somewhere in the opera and just never decided quite where it would go. Or perhaps it was just the case that Glazunov felt that any tune heard in the overture should also be heard in the opera itself.

        • Belfagor

          Thank you -- M.Croche -- I’ll see if i can get help!

          Do you have it? Is the March included?

          Re Balakirev: I always thought (probably from reading it in Edward Garden’s biography) that the symphony had half a first movement written in the 1860’s, and the rest in the 1890’s -- there’s a big structural punctuation point where the time goes from 2/4 to 2/2, and I imagined that’s where he took it up. Also, the slow movement has that slightly over-ripe cloying Glazunov feel that doesn’t sound too 1860’s to me………but who knows!

          • I don’t have my own copy of Bulycheva’s edition, but I can tell you that the Polovetskii Marsh opens the Second Tableau in her edition.

            As for Balakirev’s Symphony, I think the “state of composition” was more complex than Edward Garden let on. There are clues in the memoirs of Rimsky and Yastrebtsev (and, I’m sure, elsewhere) to the early development of the symphony, including mentions of the plans for the second, third and fourth movements. Balakirev also improvised for the group on the themes he was working on. It was just that when it came to fixing the work on the page, Balakirev would become acutely hyper-critical, submitting each bar, each harmony to the criticism of his circle for their approval or suggestions. “Composition by committee” was actually something of an ideal in the 1860s.

            According to Yastrebtsev, it was the shock R-K felt when re-encountering Balakirev’s half-forgotten Symphony in the 1890s that inspired him to write down his memoirs -- to demonstrate for the world how important a musical force Balakirev and his music had been for young composers, even if the music hadn’t always been written down.

            • Belfagor

              Except that R-K behaved very badly at the premiere, was very condescending about that symphony. A shame, as it is way superior to anything R-K achieved in the symphony department! And one always wants to like Rimsky, as he wasn’t a rabid anti-semite like Balakirev and Mussorgsky, and was thoroughly admirable in the 1905 uprisings…….

            • The form of the first movement, in particular, is pretty unorthodox, and therefore it irritated Professor R-K.

              R-K’s first recollection of the symphony, though, came around 1893, when Yastrebtsev mentioned that he had seen/heard part of the score at Balakirev’s. R-K had not yet seen the final score, but remembered the work with some enchantment and was inspired to begin compiling those memoirs.

  • Krunoslav

    I basically liked the production very much, but am surprised that everyone agrees “100%” with Cieca about the singing, which just wasn’t that stellar.

    Maybe it’s a matter of famiiarity with the music and its demands? If this had been the equivalent people undersinging big Verdi or Wagner roles, we’d be hearing about it in big way. Kocan was the clearest example, but not one of them, with the possible exception of Petrenko, had the volume, polish and coloration--all three in tandem- of these great parts. Ildar showed the most artistry but needed much more voice; Dyka, if loud enough, was shrill and unyielding on top , with little dynamic variety ( go listen to Tomowa-Sintow or Milashkina). Anita got and gave her usual kicks, but was often hazy as to the pitch, especially on top. Semishkur needed more legato and can’t seem to float; he managed a detached unsupported falsetto at the end, but that’s not the same thing.

    At least we didn’t have Relyea or Tanovitsky, but there must be someone who can do a better Konchak than that somewhere- Orlin Anastassov? Iulian Konstatntinov?

    • la vociaccia

      Dimitri Belosselsky is an excellent bass, in my opinion anyway

      • Krunoslav

        Yes, I was trying to recall his name.

    • Krunoslav
    • Jack Jikes

      I can appreciate those quibbles but in the thrall of the production they didn’t make that much difference.

      • Krunoslav

        Well, I love the score, so to me having only one of five leads a fully worthy exponent of his/her part is not a ‘quibble’. Are we all suddenly unquestioning children of Walter Felsenstein? Imagine if this were your favorite Verdi or Wagner opera; would disappointing solo singing almost across the board still be a ‘quibble”?

        • Arianna a Nasso

          Who should the Met have hired for the leading roles? Not being snarky, genuinely curious on your thoughts.

          • la vociaccia

            I would have liked to have heard Dimitri Belosselsky and Vitalij Kowaljow in Igor or Konchak (they both could have been either).

            Monastyrska could be a good Yaroslavna, on her best behavior she floats her voice very nicely

            here she is in Russian

            I like Anita’s voice but a lot of the filigree in her cavatina was muddy and indecipherable. Semenchuk would probably be a great Kochakovna.

            I’m too picky about tenors in general to decide who would have been better, but hopefully Kruno can help me with that :)

            • la vociaccia

              Oh, and I’d like to clarify that these casting choices are only idle musings, should the production be revived in the near future. I fully acknowledge the absurdity of expecting a dream cast to materialize from five years in advance. (especially considering the fact that, as an example, Monastyrska was hardly known at all five years ago)

            • antikitschychick

              Excellent choices all of them :-D. I dont think they are idle musings though…yes the contracts were signed 5 years ago or however long ago but they are not written in stone! They can buy singers out and create new contracts if necessary…seems like common sense to me that if a better/more able singer appears on the scene they should take advantage of that rather than just passively let things play out…esp if ppl are clamoring to hear x singer over y singer and so forth.

            • Krunoslav

              Semenchuk was originally bruited for both this role and Olga in the ‘new’ ONEGIN, but instead we got the inaudible but camera-worthy Maddalena ( good enough as Olga for maybe a provincial theatre like Donetsk) and the inaccurate, blowsy Anita.

              I’d happily settle for Beczala as Vladimir! How about Alexei Dolgov , who sings it at the Bolshoi? Or l’il Pavol Breslik, for a lyric take on it? Or Brandon Jovanovich?

            • Cocky Kurwenal

              Nice idea antik, but doesn’t really have much regard to the economics of the situation, does it? Buying somebody out if they have become incapable of singing the thing and they refuse to withdraw is one thing, but you can’t run a business, even an artistic one, buying people out because somebody else more exciting has cropped up in the mean time -- that doesn’t strike me as common sense at all.

            • armerjacquino

              Spot on, CK. I was thinking during the discussion of Frittoli that if the Met bought out and replaced every singer that parterre deems unacceptable it would go bankrupt in about an hour.

            • antikitschychick

              Apologies for the late response Cocky: my idea is actually more pragmatic than idealistic when you take into account ticket sales, or more specifically, the low ticket sales during recent seasons, which I think has been at least partly due to singers taking on roles they can no longer sing, which means the reviews will be unfavorable and domino effect continues. I for one do think there is a direct correlation between these unexciting performances and low ticket sales. So here’s an idea: hows about they cast the singers who are HOT right now in roles that suit them? It really shouldn’t be the case that AN and a handful of others are the only singers that gets dibs on the best productions in roles that they personally choose.

              Moreover, marketing is key these days and the importance of a singer’s marketability and “instant appeal” should not be underestimated. In other words, some artists gradually build up their profile and hone their craft through an extended period of time, whereas there are others that burst onto the scene and garner almost instant success, but yet the system that is in place hardly exploits the latter case which in many cases guarantees instant, tangible profitability. The Met and other large houses with large budgets and large amounts of tickets to be sold need to capitalize on the latter case, but they are being held back because they keep wanting to invest on singers potential when there is really very little certainty that it will actually become manifest. This is perhaps the biggest (non-sensical) disparity between Opera and other current art forms, being that, if Miley Cyrus is popular now, her management is going to exploit that popularity and schedule a world tour right now, not five years from now, because by then she might be a completely obscure artist. This is something that happens all the time in Opera as well and yet the system continues to function as if this weren’t the case. Thus, they need to cast the A-list singers in the A-list roles at the time when there is equivalency ratio between these two categories (i.e. when A list singers are able to sing A list roles), which will surely boost ticket sales slightly, if not exponentially. But if they keep using that antiquated system, by the time they cast currently A-list singers (especially sopranos) in certain roles, not only will all the buzz and excitement dissipate but so will the the artist’s ability to sing said roles. Happened with the Decker Traviata and Trebs, will happen with Damrau when she sings Manon, Natalie in Traviata, Hamlet (and so on), Alagna with Aida, Deborah Voigt with practically every major roles she’s been cast in as of late, etc, etc.

              I respect if you still disagree but I would ask that you at least consider what I’m saying.

            • grimoaldo

              “But if they keep using that antiquated system, by the time they cast currently A-list singers (especially sopranos) in certain roles, not only will all the buzz and excitement dissipate but so will the the artist’s ability to sing said roles.”

              Yes. You are right antik, the system they are using is not working, it is antiquated, it needs to change but I do not have much confidence that it will.

            • antikitschychick

              Thanks grim…Im hoping that when Placido Domingo retires, this system will retire right along with him :-D. Wishful thinking I know but a girl can hope…
              P.S. the above should read “by the time they cast current A-list singers…”

              pps apologies for the matter of fact tone to my post as there no facts really…just matters lol

        • Since when do we get to hear “fully worthy” singing in Verdi or Wagner? Should we shut down the opera houses until a new race of golden age singers appears fully grown emerging from the cleft in a rock face?

          • mercadante

            I still vote for Netrebko as Yaroslavna, her rich, darkish, lush liriodendron- spinto with its ability to handle the relatively high tessitura of the 4th Act aria and her sense of line when singing Russian music would make her near perfect, in my view. If not, Dinara Alieva would be lovely.

            Beczala as Vladimir.

            • mercadante

              Lirioco-spinto. Hate auto spell

            • antikitschychick

              lol darn and here I was like “liriodendron-spinto”….hmm, that sounds interesting, wonder what it means exactly :-P.

            • Camille

              Well, I certainly agree that Netrebko jas a lush dark rhododendron of a voice and would have been a heck of a lot better cast as Jaroslavna than as a late-in-the-game Tatyana, even if she did oull it out of a hat.

              She, or the LyudmilaMonstre, either one.

              I happened to remember that in Frances Alda’s autobio “Men, Women, and Tenors”, she talks a bit about her experience as the first-ever Jaroslavna at the MET, back in…whenever…1917 or so. I have no idea how to track down that book—Amazon to the rescue?—but it is a hoot!

            • antikitschychick

              lol now, now Camille, let’s not go around calling singers names like that…though come to think of it, she is kind of sinister looking so hey, teto :-P.

            • Grane

              I agree--I like “liriodendron-spinto,” and it suits Netrebko especially!

            • Camille

              LyudmilaMonstre, as in “Monstre Sacré(e)”, was actually my too-oblique reference.

              There IS something slightly monstrous about her, but that is a quality I highly prize, especially in these wimpy, watered-down days of everyone being a good Joe and a hard worker and sporting a big toothy grin.

            • Krunoslav

              mercadante, what have you heard Dinara Alieva sing? How does she sound live? Good style?

            • manou

              chicky: teto?


              which one did you mean?

            • antikitschychick

              manou: teto= abbreviation for To Each Their Own :-P.

              Camille: You are totally in the right about her and I bow to your sage assertions :-D.

          • Krunoslav

            We don’t (often) and when we don’t, we usually remark on it.

          • grimoaldo

            “Since when do we get to hear “fully worthy” singing in Verdi or Wagner?”

            Well I did see Irene Theorin and Ian Storey in Tristan at Washington National Opera last year, they were certainly “fully worthy” in my opinion, maybe not all time greats, but very very good, of course that was partly by accident as Theorin was not originally planned.
            And then Washington Concert Opera with Lisette Oropesa and Russell Thomas ( I think he may have been a replacement too) in I Masnadieri, they were not merely “fully worthy”, they could not possibly have been surpassed by any “Golden Age” singer.

        • Jack Jikes

          I am many things -- a ‘vedevo Callasiano’ and most certainly a child of

    • Our Own JJ

      First of all, this is not the opinion of “Cieca,” but rather my opinion. Krunoslav, you of all people should know the importance of maintaining an online persona. I don’t think I called the singing “stellar.” Writing “debuting soprano Oksana Dyka’s unvarying brightness of timbre robbed Yaroslavna’s famous lament of vocal glamour” I do not think is anything like an unqualified rave.

      I thought Semishkur had an attractive quality to the voice (“honeyed”) and to my ears the top had a nice shimmer.

      This sentence I struggled over for a while: “In the title role, Ildar Abdrazakov hurled his dark bass-baritone into Igor’s soul-searching arias, the warm, lyrical tone suggesting the proud prince’s underlying vulnerability.” I was trying to hint that the voice was on the light side for the part, with “lyrical” and “vulnerability” as the key words. I didn’t say he “thundered” or any of the other verbs I often turn to to describe huge voices. In my opinion, a case can be made for a more intimate vocal approach to this role in the context of this particular production, which emphasizes Igor’s inner conflict; maybe I’m wrong, but that’s my take. (I also don’t think that a general-interest review is the place to speculate about the possible acoustic properties of the set, but I do have my doubts about how grateful the setup was to the voices, at least from where I was sitting.)

      I mentioned one aspect of Rachvelishvili’s singing I found impressive: call this one the glass half full. And the other two main singers for reasons of space I had to discuss only briefly, obviously indicating that Petrenko was a good deal superior to Kocán. Is calling a singer “hoarse” supposed to the kind of thing he is going to pullqupte?

      I honestly don’t think the readers of the Observer (or any other publication, for that matter) are all that interested in my reeling off lists of names of singers who should have sung instead, particularly singers who are dead or retired. That’s opera queen pissing contest stuff, which already has a very happy home here on

      • Krunoslav

        I was reacting mostly to Jack Jikes’ talk of vocal adequacy being a ‘quibble’.

        However, I think of Anita’s cup as being not half full, but overflowing 24/7.

        • messa di voce


      • Jack Jikes

        This assessment is is a prime example of why JJ is the greatest opera critic in the English-speaking world.

      • luvtennis

        I think this came thru in the Review, Mr. Jorden. I actually picked-up on the “hurled the voice” as being praise that had an underlay of the equivocal about it. The suggestion is that he gave everything he had to the part and made it work with his resources. I can see though how the implicit criticisms of some of the singing might bave been missed as nuance in the face of the overall “rave” tone of the review. I definitely got the part about Dyka’s issues, but that’s because I know the piece well enough to know that vocal glamour might be considered more than just a “nice-to have” in this role. Sort of like saying -- “Nilsson trumpet toned soprano made thrilling sounds in Donna Anna’s highlying dramatic outbursts but was less effective in conquering the bravura challenges of the ensembles and Non mi dir.”

      • mercadante

        I have to say that this insight into how a review, which has to be rather short considering the subject matter, was constructed was fascinating.

  • la vociaccia

    • Jack Jikes

      Typical filth.

    • opus

      noun + verb + adverb = MB review

      “Oksana Dyka moped sensitively”
      “Ildar suffered nobly”
      “Anita vamped sweetly”
      “Petrenko staggered lustily”
      “Sergei Semishkur gushed ardently”
      “Stefan strutted forcefully”

      You have to wonder if he has a list of words he just checks off as he writes next to his desk.

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

        At least he, unlike most contemporary broadcasters, doesn’t say things like: “more quickly” etc.

        • rapt

          Huh? I’m afraid I have to ask what’s wrong with “more quickly.” I really don’t know!

          • armerjacquino

            Nothing. In fact, *not* using it would be incorrect in some cases. When the thing that is quick is a verb you need to use the adverb, which is quickly. So if you’re making a comparison, you add ‘more’ in there. The comparative ‘quicker’ is an adjective and would therefore be used to refer to a noun.

            ‘This person is quicker to anger than that person’

            ‘He angers more quickly than she does’

            • rapt

              Thanks, AJ!

              Meanwhile, it occurs to me that a good contest could be to fill in the following blank, to see who comes out on top:

              No one on Parterre angers more quickly than….

            • Krunoslav

              “No one on Parterre angers more quickly than…”

              … its late presiding deity:


      • I’m sure that was intentional on Bernheimer’s part. He is an appallingly jokey, highly mannered writer who all too often lets word play take precedence over sense. One wishes his editors would slap him around a bit more (from here to next Monday would be a good start), but one seldom gets what one wants.

      • MontyNostry

        Wot, no alliteration? And did he mention ‘platitudes’ somewhere?

    • Regina delle fate

      He hardly hated it! He gave it three stars and shrugs his shoulders about it.

    • Jack Jikes

      Over at Opera L, Cathy Bredier has resurrected a Bernheimer review -- c. 1997 --
      of Pfitzner’s ‘Palestrina’. He has poisoned many a well.

  • Camille

    Hey, leave Bernie alone, youse guys!
    He is an illustrious old fart now and entitled to his grouchiness. How many bad opera performances has he chalked up over the æons I have been reading him—fifty years, ah reckon. You talk unbearable—you should have read the crap and tripe he wrote anout Bubbles in the late sixties. Now THAT was appalling!

    • Regina delle fate

      lol Camille! Illustrious Old Farts Unite! :)

      • Camille

        I am having printed up the tee shirts, baseball caps and banners with that proud legend of “Illustrious Old Farts Unite”, as soon as I haul my ancient arse out of bed, RdF.

        And shall proudly wear my baseball cap to Carnegie Hall on the occasion of the greedily anticipated, by me, Wozzeck, even if it shall be conducted by Frankly Worst-than-Most, as per our gnädige Jungfie Marianne.

    • Jack Jikes

      Would that he would live out his life in an undersized tent smelling his own farts.

  • Signor Bruschino

    Excellent review (I love when the Jorden reviews aren’t limited to the short column space allotted in the post)… But it really was an evening that has stayed with me- I walked out liking it, but 5 days later, I’m going to set up tickets to see it again. We really need more Tchneriakov at the Met- Maybe Gelb will make a quick move with it being referred to as ranking among the ‘highest peaks Gelb’s incumbency’… Please goad Gelb as much as possible in print when it comes to getting such unique works of theatre

  • Polovtsi Jazzercise!

    “Reyhan” by Azeri master composer Fikret Amirov, lyrics by Telet Eyyubov, accompanied by the Soviet Azerbaijan Estrada (POP) Ansamble, sung by pop diva Flora Karimova in 1965, specially uploaded for the folks at Parterre.

    • Ooops, it’s Zeynab Khanlarova. My bad.

      • manou

        A perfectly understandable confusion.

        • I expect to get heaps of angry e-mails from both the Khanlarovites and the Karimovcy.

          By way of apology, here’s the Tabriz tenor Yaqub Zurufchu (aka Yahgoub Zoroofchi) singing a chestnut from Uzeir Hajibeyov’s Arsin mal Alan.

          • manou

            How can anyone not forgive you after listening to this chestnut -- nay a veritable marron glacé.

            • MontyNostry

              It’s rather a gorgeous number, isn’t it. Maybe Arsin mal Alan should get an outing somewhere like Wexford!

            • manou
            • MontyNostry

              I’d rather shlep to Baku than LA, I think, manou.

            • Hooray, converts!

              And double-hooray, because I just found an English subtitled version of oboe the films made of Arshin mal Alan. Get out your bottles of aragh and enjoy!

            • Aragh! “one of the films (Russian) of Arsin mal Alan”.