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I just don’t see it

Which soprano, whose lovely voice and charming stage presence should make her worth her weight in gold, is not being asked back to an opera company where she’s had great success? Is it because she’s developed a reputation for being difficult?

218 comments

  • williams says:

    Sonnambula: boffo! Leads electric. In house huge ovations.

  • Satisfied says:

    More PLEASE. Debating on whether to go Tuesday.

  • williams says:

    Damrau had a minor pitchy moment early and then settled into one of the more vocally riveting turns I’ve seen lately. She acted pretty well too. I’m sure I’ll be crucified here but this kid Camarena came from the clouds. Sweet ping and well placed. The joint was 2/3 full but you’d never know it from the curtain calls. Very satisfying evening.

    • skoc211 says:

      I was there and it was one of the more glorious nights of music I’ve been to in a while. The production is still a dud (and that’s being generous), but when you’re listening to singing like THAT I can get past it. All the leads were superb, as was the chorus. And I’m totally with you on Camarena. Where did he come from!? Damrau’s final sleepwalking scene was beautifully and sensitively sung. An absolute triumph all around.

      • semira mide says:

        I only listened from the Met’s stream, but I totally agree. The singing was just sublime. if I lived close by I would go to every performance. Too bad the production is awful and the conducting blah. But the singing is real bel canto!

        • peter says:

          I’m afraid I don’t understand all the excitement about Damrau’s Somnambula last night. I admire her her intelligence and commitment, but the voice sounds so gray and workmanlike to me. I’ve tried so hard to appreciate that sound but it’s just so ordinary.

          • RosinaLeckermaul says:

            Each to his own, but I thought Damrau sounded fabulous last night. And Camarena -- fabulous.

            • Clita del Toro says:

              I love Bellini and I LOVED Sonnambula last evening. Camarena was wonderful, a big surprise as was Damrau. Hers is not my favorite voice, but, wow, she nailed it. I am still upset by the stomping during Ah non giunge!

      • FomalHaut says:

        ‘Care compagne…Sovra il sen’

        ‘Ah! non credea mirarti’

        ‘Ah! non giunge’

        • tiger1dk says:

          Ms Damrau sings well -- but for some reason her singing does not move me. Not that it really matters (it is only one note) but didn’t the short Eflat at the end of the first verse sound somewhat strange?

        • uwsinnyc says:

          She sounds pretty exciting- although I also agree with those who find her voice a tad ‘workman-like’. Thanks for posting.

          This is from last night’s stream, right?

          • Lady Abbado says:

            I like her in roles that involve lots of coloratura, but when she gets into full lyrical territory, her limited ability to move (one emotionally) becomes apparent.

            Also, once you hear Callas performing La Sonnambula, everyone else sucks, by comparison…

            And the vocal acting is so great, you don’t even feel the need to see, as the job is done in one’s mind’s eye by the voice alone:

    • la vociaccia says:

      Happy Camerena had a success (Btw he will be turning 38 in two weeks, so happy early birthday!)

  • Buster says:

    Jessica Pratt is quite sensational in this, apparently. Her first time with a glass harmonica:

    • MontyNostry says:

      I tried to look up some stuff on Pratt’s website yesterday and none of the links seemed to be working. Is it just my browser or is there a problem with her site?

      • semira mide says:

        Jessica is pretty active on twitter and it’s fun to follow her performances. She will be in “Aureliano in Palmira in Pesaro “this August along with Spyres.

    • oedipe says:

      Some singers, for some reason (and I am sure it has something to do with their agents), have predominantly regional engagements. And I don’t mean that they are attached primarily to one opera house -like Camarena in Zurich, for instance- but that they sing in a number of houses, in several countries, but in only one region. That seems to be the case with Jessica Pratt, who performs a lot in Italy, Southern France and Spain and rarely elsewhere.

      Incidentally, Pratt will debut in Semiramide in Oct.2015 at the Marseille Opera.

      • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

        Some have several agents, each for a specific area. Like Italy only, for example.

        • MontyNostry says:

          It’s interesting that, in crisis-ridden Italy (where, reportedly, performers sometimes don’t even get paid for their work until a year later), a singer can both launch and sustain a substantial career, as Pratt has done. Maybe this has been a strategic approach on her part too: build a reputation in the land of bel canto before going for the international houses. Whatever the case, I’m glad things are working out for her.

          • oedipe says:

            Yes Monty, and that is true also of Kunde, who is experiencing a second youth and a substantial career in Italy. I am very happy for him too.

      • la vociaccia says:

        I’ve thought about this (and actually mentioned it here a while back), and I think Pratt genuinely enjoys the career she has, singing constantly in beautiful houses around southern Europe, where audiences enjoy her very much. Quite similar, in fact, to the career Michael Spyres had until a few years ago. I saw Pratt in CIRO IN BABILONIA two years ago, and at the time I thought her forte top notes were a tad wild, but everything else -piano singing, fiorature -- was really excellent, and in retrospect she was really something special.

    • alejandro says:

      WOW. She sounds great. And she has the dramatic chops too.

  • willym says:

    Saw Camarena in Jommelli’s Issaco at last year’s Whitsun Festival in Salzburg -- he was brilliant. Met him at our hotel later -- he and his family were staying there -- and we had a chat. A very charming gentleman: he was saying what an interesting change and challenge it was to go from bel canto to baroque and how important the recitatives where. He then mentioned that he would be appearing at this year’s Festival as Don Ramiro in Cenerentola -- the programme was being released later that day. So glad he had such a success last evening and really looking forward to the Rossini in June.

  • A. Poggia Turra says:

    Camarena also did a fine Belmonte in the 2013 Salzburg Entfuhrung, which was staged in the Salzburg Airport’s “Hangar 7″ (Red Bull owner):

  • Poison Ivy says:

    Well, I went to the final Werther today, and did the stage door thing, and met the cast. I finally got to meet Alain in person. And Lisette was very gracious.

    But OH.MY.GOD.OH.MY.GOD.OH.MY.GOD. I finally got to meet Jonas!!!!!!! Let me repeat: OH.MY.GOD.

    http://poisonivywalloftext.blogspot.com/2014/03/final-werther-of-season.html

    • CwbyLA says:

      Great pictures Poison Ivy. I saw it on HD today. It was a great production. The opera has wonderful music and the singers were all excellent but somehow it is a very boring opera for me. Jonas Kaufmann is a GOD!

    • Fidelia says:

      Good for you, Ivy. When I saw Jonas as Werther at the Bastille in 2010, I did the same stage door thing for the 1st time in my life. I felt I just couldn’t leave without thanking him for such an extraordinary musical and theatrical experience. He was such a sweetie to each person who asked for an autograph. Since then, I’ve done it again a couple of times and he’s always been unfailingly cheerful and courteous. You’ll just have to live with that OMG feeling from now on, it doesn’t go away. I’ll see you at the stage door the next time around!

      • Poison Ivy says:

        Well to be honest I was afraid of meeting him. Because I admire him so much as an artist and if he had been curt, or rude, I think I would have been crushed. And I would have felt foolish, having clutched my program and the Werther DVD for him to sign. But he was soooo nice and charming. He was even chatting up Linda (although he kept calling her “Harriet.”) And the first two pictures were blurry so I asked for another one and he said “Harriet hold on” and took another picture with me. By which time I didn’t have much to say except “Oh.My.God.”

      • Regina delle fate says:

        Someone pass Oedipe the sick-bucket! :)

    • No Expert says:

      I love Lisette. She’s such a little scene stealer. I wonder if that is really why her colleagues are mad at her.

    • Regina delle fate says:

      lol Ivy -- what a great day for you! Congrats!

  • armerjacquino says:

    No amount of playing around with browsers, or logging in and out, will allow me to post on anything but the last page, so forgive me that these thoughts are in the wrong place.

    1) It seems to me to be naive that some people are saying ‘She was lovely to some fans, so that proves she’s a great colleague’. The two often don’t go together. I’ve seen performers who are sweetness itself at stage door and nightmares in the rehearsal room. Note that I’m talking generally here, not about Oropesa or anyone else, just questioning that particular line of logic in and of itself.

    2) croche is right about ‘blind item’: it has a specific meaning, which is ‘here is a story from which the names have been taken out’. La cieca has posted hundreds over the years, and even has a series of photos which denote a blind item is being posted. The phrase doesn’t mean ‘later found to be untrue’ or whatever contortions are being made around it.

    • Camille says:

      Armerjay, i have also been having the identical problem logging and posting so it is not just your problem, it is Anglo-American and across the board.

    • -Ed. says:

      This solved that same problem for me, maybe it will work for you:
      1. Login
      2. Navigate to the desired page
      3. Reload that page.

      If you’re unfamiliar with the Reload process, check the Help section in your particular browser. I’m using an iPad, and to reload I just click that circling arrow symbol up at the right end of the web address (URL) bar.

      After the page reloads, the “Login to reply” message should now read “Reply”

      Let me know if it helps.

      • armerjacquino says:

        Ed- thanks so much for this. It’s a trick that often works for me too, but didn’t on this occasion.

      • Camille says:

        -Editor.
        does this work for iPhone, 2? That’s where I have been encountering problems.

        Also, is there any reason a screen will suddenly seize up, blank out and collapse? Too many pages open? Sometimes it will happen over and over again.

        Thank you. Very much.

        • manou says:

          is there any reason a screen will suddenly seize up, blank out and collapse?

          Low blood sugar?

          • Camille says:

            lol!! I hadn’t perhaps considered the obvious.

            I’ll be sure to get it on a proper diet tout de suite!

        • -Ed. says:

          Yes, it should work on an iPhone 2. To reload the page just touch the circling arrow symbol on the right end of the URL address window.

          For the seize issue, you can check to see how many windows are open by touching that double-square symbol on the bottom right of the menu bar, located at the bottom of the touch screen. If there are too many windows open, close them all except one by touching the little X on each window. It’s also a very good idea to turn your phone completely off every once in a while and not just let it go to sleep. Turning it off then back on sometimes works wonders on these mobile gizmos.

          • Camille says:

            okay, GOTCHA!!! Thank you and mucho spasibo!! I have learned all these things but I get too many pages going and forget. I had better not from now on!

            Also, as my phone will be two years old in May, I had better remember to turn it off more often. Good suggestion. Maybe I will buy a JuicePak thingeybobber, too. That should help.

            Gee, it feels good to be an old lady who can handle these minimal requirements that an average 8 year old can do without even thinking about it!!

    • kennedet says:

      Totally agreed, (regarding #1) Armer. A neurotic singer can totally destroy a production, if allowed. Especially if their ego is completely out of control. There are singers who feel they deserve to be in the company of those with
      more prestige and fame. Therefore, they are unfairly critical of everything that they experience at a rehearsal. There is no alternative but to dismiss them for the good of the performance. It’s not difficult to fake polite acceptance of compliments from an admiring public.

  • Camille says:

    I’d love it if Lisette could take over the current Lisa in this production of Sonnambula. It would be right up her alley.

    Is this any kind of a real issue at all, or is La Cieca just trying to give us hungry piranhas some fresh fish food here?????

    I mean to say, Michael Fabiano is not going to be back in the upcoming season as well and there has been a bit of a contretemps about it, but, basically, they are BOTH BUSY elsewhere with top flight leading role engagements, so where is the harm? The Met has set both of them up in their respective careers and given them chances with which they have done well, so now perhaps the Mother Hen MET is saying to her little chickadees “Now, kiddies, go out and see what worms you can rustle up on your own in the Big Bright Broad World, and then we will let you come back and star in your favorite role…”??????

    Maybe not. Maybe she has become persona non grata for a variety of well occluded reasons, but I really wonder about all this and the appropriateness of hatcheting a fairly young and pretty talented person’s nascent career. She could be Eve Harrington, for all I concern myself is what they deliver to me when they stand and sing. The rest is simply not my affair.

    • SilvestriWoman says:

      Now, I don’t know anything about Oropesa beyond her artistry, which I’ve much enjoyed.

      In the context of this thread, I’d say that I’ve only heard tremendous things about Fabiano, not just as an artist but as a person. That he’s become a personal friend of our dear Maestro Wenarto -- not just of the Facebook variety, but dining at Wenarto’s home -- tells me all I need to know. I couldn’t imagine the young tenor having a single pretentious bone in his body.

      • la vociaccia says:

        Sure you can imagine it. All famous opera singers have at least one pretentious bone in their body. You don’t get to the upper echelons without knowing how much you kick ass, and letting people know it from time to time.

    • grimoaldo says:

      Here’s Lisette’s schedule for next season again -
      http://lisetteoropesa.com/schedule/
      No Sophies, no Nanettas, no soubrette supporting parts, only great big leading roles, Konstanze, Susanna, Pamina, Marie in Fille, Gilda.
      She doesn’t want to do cute little soubrette parts any more, only leads,she is going back to the Met when they are having her as Gilda, that’s why someone at the Met thinks she is being “difficult”, it does not say “neurotic bitch”.

      • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

        Where does it say about Rigoletto?

      • antikitschychick says:

        yeah I think you may be right grim…just to be clear (and this is not directly aimed at you or anyone) I do enjoy her singing and I do hope its not the case that she wont be asked back to the Met. I posted that video cuz it was a good interview and because it showed that she has some spunk/attitude…which can be a good or a bad thing depending on the context…in any case I wish her all the best in her future endeavors and I do hope we get to hear her as Gilda in 2016.

        • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

          The exciting Gilda in that season will the Olga Peretyatko in November 2015.

          • antikitschychick says:

            can’t really say Im that familiar with her tbh…I’ll try and look her up on yt in order to inform myself…are there any vids you’d recommend off the top of your head?

            • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

              What?? lol

              This is obviously not a role for her but still she does this aria quite well. She’s singing in I Puritani at the Met next month.

            • antikitschychick says:

              oh, wait I have heard her! For some reason I was confusing her with Anna Prohaska. My mistake :-P . Yeah Olga is pretty good.

            • PetertheModest says:

              They look a bit similar, but Anna Prohaska is thinner.

  • grimoaldo says:

    On page 3 of these comments, jrance said “Oropesa is back at the Met in 2016 as Gilda” and also said when Ivy asked her (? or him) if s/he knew what LO had been offered at the Met this season “as a matter of fact I do know”. I think that is, as they say in Britain, a “close friend” of LO who actually does know what s/he is talking about.