Cher Public

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Purity woman

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Olga Peretyatko was asked about how the secrets to her success. She answered, “Our world is really hard, and the winner is the one whose nerves are stronger…. Opening night at the Salzburg Festival? I was calm. In the Arena di Verona? I was calm.” And that’s the exact word I’d use to describe Peretyatko’s debut in I Puritani last night at the Metropolitan Opera: “calm.”

She entered looking like a vision, her lovely heart-shaped face framed in a flattering Victorian white gown, with white flowers and a veil. If she had any opening night debut nerves, she didn’t show it. She executed the tricky scales of “Son vergin vezzosa” with a sweet placidity, each note carefully in place. Her voice is attractive—bright without being shrill, fluttery without being bleaty. There’s a slight whiteness in her upper register but it’s a very pleasing sound. There’s a similar cleanness to her singing—a doll-like precision and gentle manner that loops past Callas, Sutherland, and Sills all the way back to Amelita Galli-Curci.

Her acting was well planned—at any moment, she looked like an 19th century lithograph. She gently laid her head on Arturo’s (Lawrence Brownlee) shoulder when she was in love. She sadly plucked flower petals when she was “mad”. When the going got tough, she fell to the floor, but modestly, never letting an inch of ankle show. Her wavy brown hair hair tumbled down her back, but the strands never got in her face. She even made a habit of tilting her face and eyes downward, like a very well-bred young lady of previous centuries would do.

However, as the evening wore on, her calmness and serenity became less endearing. Bel canto isn’t always about looking and sounding beautiful at all times. The aria/cabaletta structure is designed so that the music builds in momentum, and climaxes in exciting flourishes. The concertato that ended the first act is classic Bellini in that it starts with one voice, then builds with the chorus, and the melody rises and soars, and at that moment, the prima donna’s voice should ideally carry the ensemble, rising and soaring just a little more than everyone else’s voice.

Peretyatko was absolutely lovely in the more lyrical sections of the score (like “Qui la voce”) but she had a tendency to pull back the energy and the attack just when all eight cylinders should start roaring. In the act one concertato her voice got lost in the ensemble, and then she dropped out completely for several bars before returning to hit a carefully prepared high B-flat. It was only in the last act “Vieni fra queste braccia” where she, perhaps inspired by Brownlee’s brilliant vocal acrobatics, dialed up her excitement level. She’s a very lovely singer, with a lot of potential, but right now a little less than the sum of her parts.

Brownlee, on the other hand, marched onstage in a ridiculous multi-layered outfit (puffy shirt, vest, knee-length overcoat, gigantic shoulder pads, cape, huge hat, and thigh-high red pleather boots) and from the start showed a grim, gritty determination to soldier through the punishing part of Arturo. No, he didn’t bother much with acting, but Arturo doesn’t have to act anyway. His most “dramatic” moment involves his putting a veil on a woman not his fiancé.

The tenor’s leggiero voice has more ring and volume than it did in the past, and his technique is amazing. For those keeping track of these things: yes, he hit the C-sharp in “A te o cara,” yes he hit both D’s in “Vieni fra queste braccia” and he just made it to the F in “Credeasi, misera.” Finding a tenor willing to sing Arturo’s music, in the original keys, without cuts, is definitely the limiting factor in Puritani productions and I think Brownlee’s performance is as good as it gets today. Now will someone in the costume shop please take off a few of his layers so the man can sing without suffocating in velvet and pleather?

Michele Pertusi (Giorgio) was the real hero of this evening. He is the kind of bass that’s under-appreciated today. His soft, mellifluous bass takes him out of contention for the glamour parts—he doesn’t sing King Phillip or Boris. But his understanding of Bellini’s musical line, his attention to the text, his participation and coordination in the duets and ensembles, is unmatched. As for Mariusz Kwiecien’s cover Maksim Aniskin the less said the better. It’s not a bad voice, he just sounds like a guy who’d be comfortable singing, say, Tonio in a regional house. Elisabeth Bishop (Enrichetta) again proved that she’s among the best Met supporting mezzos.

When I first heard that Michele Mariotti (Mr. Peretyatko) was conducting, I thought it’d be like a 1980’s Ricky/Joan show, with the conductor indulging his wife’s every need by slowing down, speeding up, cutting off the orchestra so the wife’s high note could be heard a cappella, making internal cuts to all the “unimportant” parts of the score, and of course, transposing to whatever keys the Missus wanted to sing.

Mariotti instead led the orchestra with the seriousness and control you’d associate with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants. He kept the ensembles tight and disciplined, and maintained the energy and momentum in Bellini’s sometimes too melodious score that with a more indulgent conductor can sound almost droopy. (Civil War was never so beautiful—no gunfire, no body bags, just a woman fainting prettily in three consecutive acts.) In fact, Mariotti’s energy and momentum is sorely needed in many other Met bel canto revivals. Bring this guy back.

The Sandro Sequi “production” (or what’s left of it) debuted in 1976 and looks, well, exactly like the kind of thing you can imagine Queen Victoria calling her “beautiful Puritani.” It’s all pastel-colored painted backdrops, a quaintly picturesque castle, and costumes a mishmash of periods from centuries past. The chorus in the second act have the severe white collars and dull browns and blacks of the Puritans, but Elvira and her friends are dressed in the prettiest, frilliest, most pastel frocks. Princess Diana might have gotten her wedding dress inspiration from this Puritani production. As for the men, they’re dressed in, well, Pavarotti costumes: velvet, fancy patterns, multi-layered, huge shoulder pads, cape, you get the idea. It’s perfectly charming in its old-fashioned way. It’s, as Peretyatko would say, “calm.”

In fact, despite the fairly vigorous media campaign the Met’s marketing has been making for this Puritani, was too, well, calm and calculated to really create a “star is born” moment. This is in contrast to the let’s-forget-we’re-even-doing-this-shitty-revival La Sonnambula less than a month ago. That production was mounted with no fanfare, no advance publicity, but in the performance I attended the audience was stomping and screaming at the “unexpected” vocal fireworks of Diana Damrau and Javier Camarena. La Sonnambula shares with I puritani composer, a star-crossed lovers libretto, and a widely derided production. The difference was the performers, who, in their ardent and even frenetic way, created magic.

Photos: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera


  • DeepSouthSenior says:

    Kudos for another wonderful review, Ivy! I’ve run out of superlatives, so a simple “Thanks” will have to suffice for now.

    I missed the performance on Sirius last night (helping serve communion at church for Maundy Thursday service). The review and other comments are right in sync with the short video clips of Peretyatko in dress rehearsal at the Met website: Attractive, competent, professional, technically secure, but oh-so safe.

    Incidentally, the reviewer at HuffPo wrote, “Peretyatko is an appealing and attractive Elvira, rather stately and refined.” Talk about damning with faint praise.

    A couple of comments about other singers. First, Anna Netrebko as Elvira at the Met in January 2007 (available on DVD and Met Opera on Demand). Technical considerations aside -- she is, as we’ve come to expect as a bel canto heroine, good but not spectacular -- Netrebko dominates the stage with convincing purity (not typecasting!) and genuine passion (in character). Here is a star going all-out to make an impression, and it works beautifully, at least for me. Nothing “safe” here, but fine singing and acting with a go-for-it attitude. This is theatre, after all, and Anna never lets you forget it. (I can’t resist using that most un-Puritan phrase, “You go, girl!”)

    And then there’s Kristine Opolais, who’s been in the spotlight lately. Of course, this is not her repertoire, and I wouldn’t dare suggest she go there. I’m thinking rather of her fearlessness on stage and her growing reputation as a “complete package.” However you view her, “safe” is likely the last word you’ll use. If you want excitement, Opolais can usually supply it. I’ve come to value this quality more than letter- and pitch-perfect singing that fails to thrill. (Of course, there’s always a continuum and a line that must never be crossed, but that’s another topic.)

    As for Lawrence Brownlee and other bel canto tenors, however, I do prefer technical proficiency above all. The bel canto tenor is often a foil, a fop, or a fool. What a thankless job in many ways. Sometimes he seems to be there just to dazzle, so why not be content if he does that well? To sing all the notes brilliantly, clearly, and in tune is quite enough for me. I suppose that I like bel canto sopranos “hot,” and tenors “cool.”

    I have a ticket for the May 3rd Saturday matinee, as part of my first annual Met “pig-out” week. I hope by that fifth performance the entire cast will have settled into their roles, and that Ms. Peretyatko will “ramp it up” a bit.

    Schedule permitting, I also hope to see Lawrence Brownlee in “The Singer’s Studio” lecture on Thursday evening, May 1. Any suggestions for a good question to ask him?

    • Poison Ivy says:

      Olga P’s teacher is Mariella Devia and in the Opera Quiz she said something pretty interesting. She said Devia emphasizes extreme control over what she sings at all times and that some people love that accuracy, while others don’t. I think Olga’s in very good hands with Devia as her teacher and her husband and I predict a long vocal shelf life. Think the interpretation and maturity and maybe a less careful studied approach will come with time.

      • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

        The question was if Elvira was sane during Qui la voce and Olga thought they were asking if Devia was sane. She was perplexed for a moment and said she is sane in every moment of her life and always in control. That’s why some people love her and some people don’t. I took that as a comment on her character/personality, not her singing.

        • uwsinnyc says:

          wow i didn’t know her teacher was Devia. She (devia) is one of my absolute favorites. I don’t think I have ever heard her sing an off-color note.

      • DeepSouthSenior says:

        Now, that is interesting. Bodes well for the future. Learn to drive straight and true until it’s second nature, then you can venture out of the safety zone. She is only 33, after all. Wouldn’t it be lovely to see freedom and risk come with maturity over the next few years?

        This reminds me of something I read about Elina Garanca in a published interview. She said that in performance, she’s constantly thinking. She compared her mind to a computer. Again, some hearers like this, others call her an “ice princess.” Where EG is concerned, the control thing works just fine with me. Grown men have been known to turn to jelly at a mere flick of her wrist. I know a guy . . .

        • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

          Turning men into jelly is not a compliment to a lady’s charms :D

          • DeepSouthSenior says:

            Ha! Excellent point. Keyboard restraint requires tasteful silence at this point.

  • Poison Ivy says:

    TT review is up:

    In relative TT terms, this is a mild golf clap. Which is weird. I thought he’d absolutely love it.

    • steveac10 says:

      Unless you’re a once in a generatio artist, is it really possible to get more than a golf clap in a house the size of the Met these days? It’s not always about casting -- it’s about singers who could do it getting through today’s corporatized development system. If you’re not ready to hit the stage by 25, forget the YAD programs. On the other hand, if you have a Flagstad (or Sutherland)voice it ends up getting squelched by provincial voice teachers who insist the heaviest thing you should be singing before thirty is Scarlati arias from operas which have not been staged since Queen Victoria was still minor German royalty living in London waiting for the right childless cousin to die to make her queen.

      • operaassport says:

        Minor German royalty? You need to brush up on your history.

        • DonCarloFanatic says:

          They were very notably German until the 20th century, and the present queen didn’t help by marrying yet another German cousin even though her mom was a Scot. Lady Diana and “Kate” have considerably added to the British DNA of the royal line, and brought some very welcome height and good looks, too. If we must see this family’s photos all over, at least they are more attractive today than they have been in, oh, about 330 years.

          • Poison Ivy says:

            Well before the days of photographs royals just commissioned portraits that took out their flaws. For instance you never would know from portraits that Marie Antoinette had the Hapsburg jaw.

          • armerjacquino says:

            Yes and no. Although the royal House was German (and so were Victoria’s mother and husband) she and her father were both born in London, spoke English as a first language and identified as English.

          • operaassport says:

            Victoria was the daughter of the Duke of Kent who was decidedly English. This constant German thing is rather tiresome. Having German ancestry doesn’t make you a German national anymore than having Italian ancestry though your family has lived in the USA for 80 years makes you an Italian national.

          • operaassport says:

            Try again, the present queen’s husband is mostly Greek and Russian, not German.

            • dr.malatempra says:

              Actually, OAS that is incorrect. Phillip’s mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg, later Anglicized to Mountbatten due to anti-German sentiment in England during WWI. His Father, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark did not have, in fact, a drop of Greek blood. He was a descendant of the house of Sonderberg-Glocksberg, which is the Danish royal family. Phillip’s Grandfather was the second son of the ruling King of Denmark. When Greece was casting around for an occupant for their recently restored monarchy, Denmark obliged with a “spare heir”. Phillip is of Danish/German ethnicity.

            • papopera says:

              The House of Greece is German, Prince Philip’s name is Slesvig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg, a branch of the Oldenburgs. He doesnt have one drop of Greek blood.

        • papopera says:

          Queen Victoria inherited the throne of the protestant Stuarts through the House of Hanover. Some minor royalty ! As to her husband, dear dear Albert, his family the Wettins, were ruling kingdoms, principalities and duchies of Thuringia for more than 900 years.

          • Poison Ivy says:

            One irony is that prudish Victoria and Albert’s personal love of sex did so much damage to royalty in Europe. They had sex like rabbits with 9 children in 18 years. They were first cousins and Queen Victoria was a carrier for hemophilia, and spread the gene to her children and grandchildren. One of the poor victims of inbreeding was of course poor Prince Alexei, and his mother’s desperation to find him a cure for the “Royal Disease” was part of the reason for the Russian Revolution …

          • Krunoslav says:

            Plus Victoria--as Duchess of Kent-- inherited the throne from her paternal uncle, William IV ( who btw had served in NYC during the American revolution), so it’s not like she was some remote German cousin perched in a belfry waiting for the call.

            • papopera says:

              Dirty old William IV (duke of Clarence) lost all his 5 legitimate children, they were either stillborn or died after a few days.
              BUT, his mistress, the actress Dorothy Jordan, gave him 10 healthy bastards who survived with descendants, named the Fitzclarences. One of these has a famous descendant, David Cameron prime minister of the UK who is thus 5th cousin to Queen Elizabeth II. Wonder when Elizabeth meets her prime minister if she calls him “mon cousin.”

    • Rowna says:

      I also had some opinions about the performance -- interesting that TT and I both used the phrase “touchstone” . . coincidence or karma?

    • williams says:

      I had a case of mild golf clap back in the 70′s

  • Clita del Toro says:

    I heard only parts of Puritani last night: additionally, the clip from the Met and several you tubes of Peretyatko singing Elvira and other selections. She may be the “go to” Elvira (BFD, was Callas the “go to” Norma???? What a stupid expression!) but to my taste she is just okay: good technique, but just a nice, ordinary singer. The Puritani clips were from 2012. I didn’t hear any great improvement from those last night. The voice/timbre is mildly appealing.

    She IS very, very pretty. very pretty, very pretty………..a STAH!

    • Batty Masetto says:

      I’m a bit surprised to find myself somewhat in sympathy with Clita on this one. She sang well and skillfully (and I don’t minimize that achievement) but the timbre, at least heard over Met Live, reminded me of a young Patty Racette – including the tendency for the vibrato to spread just slightly every so often around G5. (Not consistently, mind you, but often enough to be noticeable.) You voice mavens -- isn’t that supposed to be the passaggio for her voice type?

      I’m not the type generally to focus on La Voce in these terms, but after all this opera is supposed to be the monument to La Voce, isn’t it? Anyway, for once I’ll get to judge the famous “whole package” in person this time, since I get to go to the matinee!

  • Avantialouie says:

    Sutherland may have been a fabulous vocal acrobat, but she never understood bel canto; she never understood phrasing or musical line, which are the HEART of bel canto. So she rode in tandem with a conductor who never understood bel canto either. Peretyatko need feel no shame that she does well but comes in well behind Callas and Caballe. Ivy, I may not disagree with you COMPLETELY, here, but I DO firmly agree with Queen Victoria about the production. This is one of the Met’s FINEST bel canto productions, and I wish they would do more productions like it rather than their awful Zimmermann crap. “Zimmermann crap” TYPIFIES the Gelb regieme.

    • operaassport says:

      Seriously? This Puritani production is one of the worst ever on the MET stage: dull as dishwater with no point of view. It cries out for an enterprising director to breathe some life into it.

    • messa di voce says:

      “This is one of the Met’s FINEST bel canto productions”

      You’ve got to be kidding. My high school production of “Brigadoon” was better than this.

      • Krunoslav says:

        I was so angry as a 15 year old drama student when I first saw this show that I booed loudly from my parents’ subscription seats- not the singers, but as soon as the curtain came down. Tired, dilapidated and brainless WHEN NEW…

        • operaassport says:

          This Puritani is the perfect production for people who think opera is about singers belting out tunes in front of painted backdrops. God forbid, an enterprising director or even conductor should get in the way of that.

  • Grane says:

    Off topic, but the Chatelaine of Glyndeborne is at it again. Via Slipped Disc.

    • Grane says:

      Apologies--Glyndebourne. Used the American spelling, I guess.

    • DeepSouthSenior says:

      She slips and nearly falls flat on her pretty little face at 1:06. Now, that would have been a hoot -- especially in that sprayed-on dress,

    • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

      I had no idea she was that rich.

    • Regina delle fate says:

      lol -- seeing as she pooh-poohed all the talk of her becoming the Chateleine of Glyndebourne before the knot was tied, it’s amusing that this has become one of her Parterre nicknames. But, Grane, don’t trust a word you read on Slipped Disc!

      • Grane says:

        They are my most trusted source for reading about musicians losing their instruments. ;)

    • antikitschychick says:

      she looks lovely and OMG that black n gold dress is fabulous!!

  • zinka says:

    I will be there Tues..but I KNOW I will hear absolutely NOTHING resembling this.

    • dr.malatempra says:

      Oh, for heaven’s sake. How can you possibly know before you go??? Yes, you may not, but you also may! This is what make so many of the “fogs of yesteryear” postings tiresome.

      • zinka says:

        Sorry you find my posts tiresome…..,Maybe you are tiresome yourself..People who have no respect for the past glories are pretty tiresome….I have a feeling,based on my knowledge of these may be “nice’ but not great..Let’s face it…I know what I am talking about and you are justr nasty

        • dr.malatempra says:

          To dismiss a singer’s performance before you hear it based on “I have a feeling” is simply stupid. Incidentally, I yield to no one in my admiration of Gedda. I sought out his live performances for years. Even including Fra Diavolo in San Francisco! Also, the first two operas I ever saw live were Farrell and Bjorling in Trovatore and Rysanek and Hotter in Dutchman. So, it would be easy for me to fall into the trap of “Nothing can ever equal or surpass..” The reality is that so often we don’t want something to equal or surpass. It would mess with our geriatric memories, mine included. Go with an open mind to hear Brownlee sing Puritani. You may have an unexpected thrill, or not. However, going in with the attitude of “he can’t be as good as” is shortchanging yourself.

          • damekenneth says:

            I agree with much of what you say, Dr. Malatempra. However, I feel it’s only fair to acknowledge that Charlie/Zinka has also shown himself quite open to discovering and promoting the virtues of a number of contemporary operatic talents. His values may be informed by history, but he seems quite capable of appreciating artists in the now.

        • Flora del Rio Grande says:

          C. Zinka: Be of good cheer. Your posts are both informative and authentic. You and I have been around for a very long time; I first heard opera in
          the mid-1940s; how about you? I heard it endlessly at the Old Met then
          the new “too big” Met, and I got to know a lot of singers and voice teachers and so on. But mainly I listened, and with increasing knowledge of what I was hearing. There is a lot more to talk about — but, my point today
          is ‘don’t let the bastards wear you down.’ If most of the people here had half your knowledge of singing and repertory, why PTB would be the
          Oxford of operadom. Unfortunately . . .
          Cheer up, Old Bean! We love you.

    • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

      Damn, right, you won’t. Larry doesn’t scream like this. And why did Joan even bother articulating any words. Better stick with vowels :D

      • Milady DeWinter says:

        Oh dear -- Gedda a screamer and Sutherland to the dumpster. Now I understand your rather humorous Parterrian moniker.

        • mia apulia says:

          o glorious screaming!

        • Flora del Rio Grande says:

          De Winter: All tenors should “scream” so well! Did you hear him in person? He did not scream. Let me recommend Gedda’s early recording of Spirito
          Gentil. His phrasing and breathing in that lone line approaching the famous high-C in that aria is rivaled by only one other tenor that I have heard: Caruso. It’s an old recording (50s) but caught Gedda in finest fresh young form, and even then he knew what he was doing. He was THE bel canto tenor of his day. Don’t mean to step on your toes here, but do try to hear that famous Gedda recording; worth the trouble.

    • Poison Ivy says:

      You’ll hear nothing resembling this either:

      • Clita del Toro says:

        We hope so! LOL

      • orlando says:

        I think that Charlie’s contribution to this is not really half bad. And it reinforces his (ongoing) argument that it’s good to have some background and perspective on what you’re listening to. He’s been listening for a long time and he’s collected materials that extend his perspective even more. He has even participated in performances. He’s not someone who, on the acquaintance of one recording and one live performance, delivers snark and sarcasm.
        He’s like one of his beloved old recordings: sometimes you have to listen through a lot, but there’s treasure there.

    • Clita del Toro says:

      Of course it won’t resemble this. Different singers??? Different time. And anyway, why should it?

      BTW, I was never the biggest Gedda fan. Kill me!

  • Milady DeWinter says:

    Very lovely Rowna -and thanks for sharing with us! What a touching, sentimental (in the good sense) song. Happy holidays to all.
    Also, re: Hapsburg “jaw”: never heard it referred to as the “jaw”, only the “lower lip”. The French hated Marie Antoinette, for so many things, but would often single out her “prideful, disdainful” mien, so cruelly sketched by David (that opportunist) on her way to the guillotine. I see a woman of fortitude who has suffered greatly and is going to her final freedom with great poise. But by royal “inbred” standards, Antoinette was a looker.

  • Milady DeWinter says:

    Thank you, Batty -- for the illustrated evidence of the you-know-what. You are correct: I never speak of it.
    But, that last image in your list. Alas, proves that it must be true.
    And Marie-Therese was such a lovely little girl.
    See what a reign of terror can do to one’s looks?

  • manou says:

    Completely OT and not even related to vestigial caudal appendages -- but I just saw the prima of Damrau’s Traviata at Covent Garden and have to report that

    1. She sang very impressively (and was rapturously received), but I was surprised to notice her very audible breath intakes, so loud they even rivalled those of Dmitri “Bellows” Hvorostovsky in the second act. I hope I may be allowed to say “elle n’a pas le phtisique du rôle”, but she was helped by Bob Crowley’s elegant costumes, if hampered by her hideous brownish wigs. Her acting was sometimes of the slap-the-back-of-your-hand-to-your-forehead variety, and in the last act did sometimes call to mind the well-known Gran Scena version.

    2. I am very sorry to say that there was applause at the entrance of the above mentioned Dima -- a very vulgar state of affairs not often encountered at the ROH. Of course, the very same audience had just lustily applauded before the cabaletta in Violetta’s big aria. Pshaw!

    3. I liked Francesco Demuro very much indeed -- nice idiomatic singing with all the notes in the right place.

    4. I hope the disagreements between Dan Ettinger and the orchestra can soon be resolved and that they can all settle down and play happily together.

    5. Butt Philip lovers may like to know that David will appear as Gastone in the Ailin Perez performances (we had to make do with Luis Gomes).

    • rapt says:

      I don’t know what made me do it--perhaps the contagion of Manou’s more antic moods--but I first read this as “David will appear as Gallstone”….

    • Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

      I’m still astounded as to how anyone can be named Butt.

      • manou says:

        Not to butt in, but David kicks butt and will not be the butt of so many jokes in the future.

        • DeepSouthSenior says:


          Just curious. Did you have a seat in the rear?

          We all should wish David well in his career. May he never make an ass of himself.

          What with my penchant for bad puns and all (without alcohol or stimulants), I’d better call it a night. Past my bedtime, anyway.

        • m. croche says:

          Let us not forget the Butt which gave us Fresh Keyboard Fruits

      • Regina delle fate says:

        lol -- he will drop the name if he makes it across the pond, as he undoubtedly will now that Rattray is Svengali to Fiend’s Trilby :)

        • MontyNostry says:

          As I said here a few weeks ago, he really sounded really good as the Apparition in the ROH FroSch. I will follow his career -- whatever his name or nationality is -- with interest.

    • grimoaldo says:

      ” I hope the disagreements between Dan Ettinger and the orchestra can soon be resolved and that they can all settle down and play happily together.”

      manou the matchless

    • Regina delle fate says:

      Hehe @ Butt Philip lovers. You ARE awful, Manou…..

  • Milady DeWinter says:

    Flora -- I think you may have mis-read my reaction to Guestroia’s comment on Gedda as “a screamer”. On the contrary, I was dismayed. I have been a fan of the exceptional Gedda for years. Comfortable and stylish in several languages, high Ds, Orphee in French, Don Jose, Romeo -- he could do the gamut, and a wonderful recitalist too!

  • pasavant says:

    Was at the Met yesterday for Arabella. What sublime music! Am thinking of going back this week for the final performance of Arabella , but know nothing about the second cast. Who is Erin Wall? Is she worth the trip to NYC? Thanks.

    • Anna Tema says:

      I heard her as a rather bland Violetta a few years ago, but her Donna Annas a few months back were excellent, as was her Capriccio Countess. She should be better suited to the role than Bystrom in any case…

    • KCB says:

      I adore the opera and was also thinking of returning to hear Erin Wall, who indeed received excellent notices for her Arabella at Santa Fe the summer before last.

      New York Times.

      Dallas News.

      <a href=””Theater Jones.

  • Feldmarschallin says:

    Her Donna Anna here was horrible but don’t know about Arabella.

  • Rowna says:

    Thank you everyone for the nice words you had about my clip with a trill. I specialize in Hebrew and Yiddish songs. I tried to “reply” to the comments but couldn’t so here it is. I found this little gem and it has a sweet history -- it was a Russian Song that was brought over to more western Europe but was made famous by Pola Negri! From the Russian it was translated into Yiddish, and I sort of stole and it and added my own take, and made this one of my signature pieces that I used to sing. So if you liked the other -- here is something I bet you never heard before :)

  • zinka says:

    I left after act one..what a bore..all of them..Best voice was David Crawford who had two lines..The rest you can keep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Leon Dupuis says:

    I agree Pertusi was the star! It was abundantly clear to me that he held the production together. More so than the conductor. I went to the productions on 4/22 and 4/29 and generally had similar experiences both times. I had issues with the conductor and orchestra. Sure there was control. But, no, there was not notable energy and momentum. I DID NOT hear this at the Met: Worse, the french horns sounded amateurish, which is striking given their prominence in the overture. I also thought the horns have been disappointing in Cosi, so maybe I’m just picking on them. ANyone else feel the same way?

    • Lohenfal says:

      Leon, as I mentioned on an earlier thread I was at the dress rehearsal on 4/14. The horns sounded tentative during the prelude and occasionally thereafter. The Met Orchestra hasn’t been on quite the same level since Levine’s health deteriorated. It’s still a very good opera orchestra but not the first-rate ensemble it once was. In any case, I listen to Bellini more for the voices than for the instruments. If Wagner had written Puritani, I would’ve been far less tolerant.