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Her maestro’s voice

Our Own Poison Ivy interviews conductor Alain Altinoglu over at her own blog, Poison Ivy’s Wall of Text. (Photo © Fred Toulet.)


  • 1
    ML says:

    Ivy, “ottocento” means 19th Century.

    • 1.1
      ML says:

      … and it is great to learn more about Altinoglu, a great talent. Thank you.

    • 1.2
      ML says:

      Just to be clear, a day later, Otello and Werther ARE ottocento operas, so your sixth question makes no sense.

      Of course, if you don’t wish to accept or fix the error, that’s your business.

      • 1.2.1
        Poison Ivy says:

        I fixed it. But he knew instantly what I was talking about. I was trying to make the differentiation between Bellini/Rossini/Donizetti/early Verdi and late Verdi/Wagner/Berg/Strauss etc. And many musicians get annoyed at the word “bel canto.”

          ML says:

          That’s odd, because you could have been asking him about Mozart and Gluck, or even Handel, who also need conductors and are closer to the opposite “end.”

          • La Cieca says:

            You are just about a centimeter away from browbeating here. I tried humorously to dissuade you from continuing this pointless argument, and now I am telling you, drop it. We know that you know what “ottocento” means, Ivy knows that you know what “ottocento” means, so enjoy our admiration and shut up about it.

            • ML says:

              @ La Cieca,

              I am going to stop commenting and contributing because your moderation is no good, as shown here.

            • La Cieca says:

              @ ML

              You are not on moderation. If you want to take a break from commenting, feel free. Your account will be active if and when you decide to return.

            • ML says:

              @ La Cieca,

              When you tell someone to shut up, that is moderation — a needed function, except that in this case you mischaracterized fact-finding as a “pissing contest” and a “pointless argument.”

              Poison Ivy’s intent and behavior is the subject, not anyone’s command of Italian.

              As she has it, we are to believe that she asked an opera conductor whether he had “ever considered” conducting “Bellini/Rossini/Donizetti/early Verdi.” Okay, it’s her site. Let’s accept that.

              But poor behavior has continued in the last two days, and I for one don’t see the point of participating when the site tolerates, even protects, an aggressive contributor who resorts to dishonesty and word-twisting.

              Read the various exchanges of this month, involving several Parterrians (starting with F and O).

              I understand that she is reviewing and helping, and is a friend.

            • La Cieca says:

              Fine, I’ll put you out of your misery. You can sit on moderation for a week and then if you’ve cooled off and changed your mind about sniping at other commenters, you can return. Or, if not, not.

      • 1.2.2
        La Cieca says:

        As winner of the pissing contest, you will receive one liter of fresh piss.

  • 2
    bluecabochon says:

    Nice interview, Ivy, and great questions. :)

    • 2.1
      Poison Ivy says:

      Thanks Blue! I was actually kind of worried because this is the first time I’ve ever done something like this. I also didn’t want to ask the usual Opera News questions :)

  • 3
    alejandro says:

    Beautiful eyes! #shallow

  • 4
    Poison Ivy says:

    I thought it was interesting what he said about NY audiences.

    • 4.1
      Liz.S says:

      Lols -- Do you know Muti described NY audiences “they are bunch of peasants”? :D

  • 5
    Batty Masetto says:

    Yes, charming interview, Ivy. Good for you!

  • 6
    Liz.S says:

    Yay, Ivy! I liked your Qs, very nice interview, indeed!

    The only catch is… this guy’s music making wasn’t interesting at all compared to your potential as a music critic to my ears…

  • 7
    Donna Anna says:

    Brava, Ivy. Thoughtful questions, interesting responses.
    Wish the chat room were open tonight. MJ and Will are nattering on about repression. You should take over, Ivy.

  • 8
    Sempre liberal says:

    Many thanks, Ivy, for this excellent interview. Are you sure he’s not secretly Genevieve’s Castle Room? He’s going to champion Pelleas. He’s doing Falstaff in Vienna. If he mentioned Palestrina, I’d have put him on moderation in the rumpus room.

    • 8.1
      Poison Ivy says:

      Hahaha. If he was GCR the interview would have gone like this:

      Q: Tell me a little about your early musical education. How did you get into classical music? Did you play an instrument?

      GCR: You have hit upon one of the most puzzling kind of music lover, the ones that play an instrument and therefore feel connected to the score. I think that true appreciation of music, profound appreciation, comes not from playing “La donna e mobile” on a piano but from studying the rich scores of Pelleas or Palestrina in solitude. My most precious tender moments have all arisen as I have pored through the scores of Pelleas and listened to a recording, alone, and from that I realized that my taste was simply more profound and refined than simple opera enthusiasts. Someone who plays the piano and conducts might find joy in such mundane but popular operas such as La Traviata or La Boheme. But true, deep, music appreciation that approaches my level of sophistication can come only from listening to these scores alone, at my desk.

      • 8.1.1
        Rackon says:

        Lol, Ivy.

        I wish you’d asked him whose idea the glacial tempi were in first 2 acts!

        Seriously, I enjoyed this interview very much, now parlay this one into more reviews, you’re a natural.

      • 8.1.2
        bluecabochon says:

        Prepare to be cut and pasted into an Opera-L missive on 5, 4, 3, 2….1

    • 8.2
      Regina delle fate says:

      Well, I miss GCR and Betsy’s recipes from the Rumpus Room. FM is missing them both, too.

      • 8.2.1
        manou says:

        Solecism, gaffe, blunder and snafu! It is Batty and not Betsy who is the chef de cuisine at the Rumpus Room.

        Those chefs have very sharp knives, you know.

  • 9
    blanchette says:

    excellent interview- not fluffy at all- was there last night and could feel his deep understsanding and love of this opera. it was exciting. and your questions were well chosen. congratulations on getting this kind of access!

  • 10
    Hippolyte says:

    As Altinoglu is married to an opera singer--French mezzo Nora Gubisch, it might have been interesting to learn how that relationship has affected (or not) his opera conducting.

  • 11
    Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

    Thanks. Very nice interview!

  • 12
    Poison Ivy says:

    Guys, another interview with another artist is in the works! I don’t want to say too much about it but I’m pretty sure it will be awesome.

    • 12.1
      rapt says:

      You’re not the only one who anticipates awesomeness! I just read the Altinoglu interview, and I think you did a great job putting him at his ease and getting soem substantive responses out of him. Thanks!

    • 12.2
      Rory Williams says:

      Hooray! Can’t wait. (going off to speculate about WHO). Best, Rory

  • 13
    FragendeFrau82 says:

    Thanks so much, Ivy. Delightful interview, delightful man. I will be paying attention to what he does in the future! I was rather shocked last night by the people in the orchestra stalls who stood up and left almost before the curtain came down--and it did seem to be stuck! It’s not as if it was midnight! But wonderful standing ovation too and I hope all the artists could feel the love.