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“The finale of Sweeney Todd left the stage of Avery Fisher Hall littered with corpses, but the evening, for all its flaws, felt vibrantly alive. If only the Met could get similarly revved for its production of Wozzeck. On Thursday night, the opera, whose graphic violence quotient is small potatoes compared to the Sweeney Todd bloodbath, played to a listless half-empty house.” [New York Observer] (Photo: Chris Lee)

  • Camille

    Meatloaf, AGAIN?

  • Liz.S

    Wonderful and fair review to me. This is the reason why I have a huge trust in LaC!!!

  • pavel

    Nice detailed review. The Sweeney Todd sounds like fun. I wish I could have gone to either show.

    (It would have been nice to mention Sondheim, though.)

  • armerjacquino

    I love Audra McDonald, but I’d say the line JJ uses to describe her performance lies rather brilliantly *just* on the right side of the boundary between fair comment and heartless phrasemaking.

  • This is really neither here nor there, but I got a touch of dog-that-didn’t-bark frisson when I reached the end of J.J.’s article and realized that Stephen Sondheim’s name wasn’t mentioned once. Perhaps this practice is more common with reviews of musicals than I realize….

    • Let me be the first to recommend never writing an opera review and not mentioning the conductor.

      • Ha!

      • Camille

        Maury D—
        Please call or write home. All is forgiven. We miss you.

        How is San Francisco treating you?

        • Well, let’s just say in good and bad ways it ain’t New York. Missing the polar vortex probably makes up for missing Goerke’s FrOSch but…possibly not.

  • La Valkyrietta

    At Jeopardy yesterday, I was told, the final question about American composers was, who was a protégé of Oscar Hammerstein II? Nobody guessed the obvious answer, Sondheim. I don’t think Stephen cares, after all, he wrote the lyrics for ‘Rose’s Turn’.

    I will read the review later, right now I am in Heaven after seeing Jonas from the seventh row of the Orchestra, left, and he sang the second stanza of “Pourquoi me reveiller…” looking directly my way. He always makes me feel like Floria, bringing to mind in me the phrase, “ecco un artista!”

    • “Rose’s Turn” is like that place two hours from New York--a thing I’ll never understand. I find it incoherent and weird and embarrassing. But Gypsy is just not a musical I love.

    • skoc211

      I believe Sondheim was responsible for more than just the lyrics of “Rose’s Turn.” I recall him discussing in an interview that he constructed the whole thing with bits of Jule Styne’s score because whatever they had as a finale wasn’t working.

  • La Valkyrietta

    That place two hours from New York? I wonder which. As to not liking Gypsy, well, some gentlemen don’t like love. The world is for all.

  • blanchette

    Dear LaV- I was there last night too- I was a fan of JK before but with some reservations as far as the occasional vocal strain and a certain detached quality in performance, but oh my god Werther is the role he was born to play -exquisite vocally and far more nuanced acting ( the only tiny misgiving I had as far as characterization was a perhaps too overt display of his grief in public during the early acts. But that’s just a quibble.) And this is funny- I was in a Dress Circle box- not the greatest seat but at least close to the stage- and the very nice woman next to me said at the end of act one that Jonas had definitely been looking right at her- even though she was joking that is true evidence of his great artistry.

    • peter

      Jonas was much improved since opening night, at least on the broadcast. He wasn’t marking his high notes but rather singing full out and his soft high singing sounded connected to the rest of the voice, rather than that croon I heard on opening night. I was pleasantly surprised.

  • Camille

    Yes, his performance was cut from a different and far better cloth last night (as heard over Sirius by Les Camille), and he seemed inspired and on fire. This performance was so enjoyable that I didn’t worry about elision at all. Plus, he DID do me the great favor of making a conscious pianissimo on the word “paradis” at the opening (so marked in the score), which really got him extra gold stars in my book. Looking forward now to the HD broadcast this coming Saturday.

    I am very happy for La Valkyrietta, that he had such a marvelous night at the opera with Jonas, and am absolutely certain it was La Vally’s presence that inspired JK to new heights.

    • La Valkyrietta

      Camille, peter, blanchette,

      I thought Jonas was fabulous, I am still affected remembering his performance. I am glad I decided to get seats close by. I know some people have commented he is inaudible, but I could hear every note from my seat. He does remind me a bit of Karajan in that he does the pianos really soft. I remember I always had trouble with setting the volume in Karajan recordings because of that. Fortunately, Tuesday the house behaved and there were no distracting noises, I even forgot about the recording machines. Jonas does not have the luscious voice of Corelli, or the proper French style of Kraus or Gedda, all of whom I remember in Werther, but he has a wonderful technique and is a genius in interpretation. That monologue in the second act was incredible, Jonas surpassed Massenet, he was Goethe incarnate.

      Of course I could not say the same for Charlotte, unfortunately. As Poison Ivy, I was not thrilled by her. She has a voice. The frame is there, but she made me think, where is the picture? I remember Ludwig, Crespin, Troyanos. They were something.

      But Jonas! What a fantastic artist! It was a great evening at the opera!

  • operaassport

    Who sang Anthony in Sweeney?

  • Rory Williams

    Bryn Terfel (Sweeney Todd), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Lovett), Jeff Blumenkrantz (the Beadle), Christian Borle (Pirelli), Kyle Brenn (Tobias Ragg), Jay Armstrong Johnson (Anthony Hope), Erin Mackey (Johanna) and Philip Quast (Judge Turpin) (according to NY Times)

  • oedipe

    Jonas surpassed Massenet, he was Goethe incarnate.

    Too bad that reunion of superior German genius is dragged down by Massenet’s opera.

  • TT gave his review of Hampson’s Wozzeck:

    In TT-speak, this review is a surprisingly passive aggressive golf clap:

    “Mr. Hampson probably did a little more shouting and barking than he wanted to, ideally. But in the wrenching moments when the role calls for burnished, lyrical singing, he drew upon the innate richness of his voice and shaped phrases poignantly, even if his sound lacked a little heft this night.”

    He makes some cursory marks praising Hampson’s portrayal, but as I said, but of a golf clap from TT.