Headshot of La Cieca

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“The Met’s Andrea Chénier: less exciting than it looks in this photo”

“With the Met admitting to disappointing ticket sales and girding up for what threatens to be a particularly brutal round of union negotiations this summer, it would be a pleasure to report that the company is doing a great job at presenting standard opera repertoire. The sad fact, though, is that the Met is not doing a great job or, in most cases, even a competent job at this core task, as the recent lackluster revivals of Andrea Chénier and La Bohème demonstrated.” [New York Observer]

Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

124 comments

  • phoenix says:

    - On Lucine: Not as good an actress as Racette but a MUCH better singer (even into her later years). My favorite Lucine performance was as Eva in Meistersinger -- crystalline, pure sound.
    - On Evstatieva: The most underrated of all. In live performance, she could modulate her volume from the softest mezza-voce to incredibly loud. She had style but (like Stojanova) she was more humble than grand about it.
    - Racette: I enjoyed her first Trovatore attempt a few year back and her second performance as Mme. Lidoine last season at the Met, wherein with effort she was able to sustain the line and almost kept the pitch. But her verismo was usually not for me -- her Giorgetta in Il Tabarro particularly annoyed me.
    - Waltraud Meier -- no comment.

    • armerjacquino says:

      -- Waltraud Meier — no comment.

      Probably for the best, since it was Johanna Meier who was being discussed!

      • PetertheModest says:

        You gotta admire Meier, whichever.

        • PetertheModest says:

          Johanna Meier as Isolde:

          Waltraud Meier as Isolde:

          • armerjacquino says:

            That Waltraud Meier Liebestod is one of the most extraordinary pieces of acting + music + direction I’ve ever seen. The random blood is so chilling. I watch it every couple of months, despite being a Wagnerphobe.

            • Porgy Amor says:

              That Waltraud Meier Isolde in its entirety is one of the greatest performances I have ever seen in opera. Of course, I have heard better-sung Isoldes, even from Waltraud Meier herself in earlier career (and Isolde was never her easiest sing), but I find it impossible to separate the components that make up the performance. It all seems a whole — everything she does with the voice, the face, and the body is a personal response to the music and the drama, and the Isolde she creates under Chéreau’s direction is all hers, a product of her command and understanding. It is, in short, inspired.

            • Camille says:

              You know, I have that DVD and have never watched it and maybe I damn well should!

              Funny, my first Isolde was Johanna, who shouted the first act and whispered the second and I don’t recall how she fared in the third.

              Waltraud Meier’s one night stand as Isolde at the Met was just something else. I just don’t know how to describe her brand of alchemy, for without the proper instrument, she was utterly bewitching. So glad I didn’t miss it as it was a unique experience.

            • AJ, PA, Camille

              +1 +2 +3

            • kashania says:

              Camille: I, too, have the Chereau Tristan DVD sitting at home (on my coffee table, to remind me!) and keep meaning to find the time to watch it.

            • scifisci says:

              Camille you were there too!! I was lucky enough to be there sitting in orchestra J thanks to the Met’s student ticket program. Her performance that night was indeed transcendental. I remember feeling that her liebestod was so overwhelming, yet paradoxically sung with such meagre resources and the first act was intensely vulnerable-- so unlike her earlier isoldes but very similar to what she achieves on the chereau dvd. I heartily recommend your watching it as it will definitely bring back many memories of that one-off isolde at the Met :-)

            • Camille says:

              Scifisci dear!

              I am so happy that you had this experience at such a young age but also close up as well. We had to fork over mucho dollares as I insisted on being in the orchestra, too, to be able to see her. What I recall the most was how she looked and acted during that first incantatory imprecation conjuring up the elements. Now, I had seen poor Eaglen do that same scene at least four or five times and I got a total zero, zed, zip out of it. It brought that portion of the score alive to me in a way it never had before, and for that I thank her.

              The second act had moments when I finally felt and saw how hallucinatorily otherworldly this groundbreaking score was with both she and Seiffert giving it their utmost. It was a unique experience in the Met, land of so much routine and good intentions.

              I miss your midnight capsule reviews, honey, and hope you are doing well where you are, practising a lot, and will one day be back in NYC.

              Affectionately,
              Camille

      • phoenix says:

        Sorry, but when I see ‘Meier’ on these comments I assume it is Waltraud and I proceed no further. Since it was Johanna being discussed, I should have paid closer attention since Johanna was one of my favorite singers in the late 60′s -- early 70′s. Did she ever sing in Great Britain?
        - On things British, did you see this yet?

        • phoenix says:

          Yee gads! I don’t know where I got the British out of this thing -- getting old -- I must have confused it with another performance. Sorry, jac.

          • Krunoslav says:

            Johanna Meier *did* sing in Britain: Isolde at both the WNO and the ENO, if memory serves.

          • PushedUpMezzo says:

            Maybe you confused it with that rather poor Paris Champs Elysees Favorite with Parterre Favorite Alice Coote.

            • phoenix says:

              La Favorite is a favorite opera for me -- I saw it in quite a few cities. I meant to post the Champs Élysées 2013 performance but I had just listened to the 2014 Théâtre du Capitole Favorite a few days ago and it was on my mind.

  • manou says:

    http://tinyurl.com/nct8ogc

    a line by line (approximate Italian spellings) review of the Met Bohème from David Salazar, the master of neologisms, and for his prolixity the Marcel Proust of opera critics.

  • Volte-Face says:

    Those who thought that the Met’s Cenerentola might be a bright spot in an otherwise drab season are in for a disappointment. Flórez is cancelling.

  • norma54 says:

    HORRIFYING NEWS! ‘Wish it was an April Fools joke …. but if it’s true, they should give the HD to Brownlee …. and find someone else for that night’s PURITANI.

  • tatiana says:

    Wow, that IS bad news. Any reason given? Is he ill? Does it have anything to do with the earthquake in Chile? They reported major effects in Peru.
    In any case, very sorry to hear about this.