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Moore, or less

La Cieca suggests the cher public kick off this week’s round of off-topic and general interest discussion with a little speculation as to which of Grace Moore‘s repertoire of operatic roles Miss Kathryn Grayson is enacting on this poster.

339 comments

  • Sanford says:

    I must be the only person who thought Devia sounded less than wonderful. And I like Costello’ voice. But so awkward.

    • Krunoslav says:

      You mean, less wonderful at 66 than Beverly at 41 or Montserrat at 33?

      • Sanford says:

        I thought her top was strong but I thought her bottom and middle were ragged.

        • Chanterelle says:

          Krunoslav is right: you can’t expect the same voice at 66 as at 40. Devia’s middle shows signs of age but she manages it incredibly well. Have you heard Te Kanawa or Gruberova recently?

  • Sanford says:

    I don’t want to hear them sing it either. I saw Kiri on Downton Abbey and it was pretty bad.

  • Camille says:

    She came, she sang, she schooled us all.

    Brava la Diva Devia, the last of the Mohicans, e tante, tante graze, Signora!!!!

    The voice is no longer the same it was even when she sang this role a few years ago but who cares? It was a master lesson in how to sing this music and for that I am so grateful.

    Just WHAT is the matter with Stephen Costello?????? He is so STIFF. He communicates nothing to me except generic tenor sounds. Nice voice but he gives me nothing at all.

    Cute little Sir Walter Raleigh was the only time my ears perked up otherwise. Glad to hear he will be in the Lindemann program as his voice still needs some work but he has the voice and a very good presence.

    • Camille says:

      I mean to say, comparing him to Michael Fabiano, well, there is no comparison, that’s all.

      I am beginnig to understand what la vociaccia is talking about with him now.

      • Balvi says:

        I received a report from a true bel canto lover about the Carnegie Roberto…He loved Devia, said she took him back to another time….Said she had a real triumph…..He was shocked how beautiful the Costello voice was..He said he ran out of steam at the end of his cabaletta, but said that the color and musicality were truly first rate…He reported that Mrs Costello was prancing about acting like the evening was all about her!!! She actually pushed my friend aside to take some photos in the aisle….They don’t call her the new Angela for nothing!!!!!
        My friend felt the rest of the cast was nothing special…He was full of praise for Maestra Queler….
        Wish I had been there…..

    • javier says:

      Devia was amazing tonight. I could see form her response to all the applause that she is very humble and modest. She looked very radiant in her emerald green gown and I like that she is starting to let the gray of her hair grow out. She looked very regal throughout the entire evening. I think she has had some work done because she looked a lot better than I have seen in recent pictures and videos.

      Devia’s singing was everything that I expected it to be. Until now I had only experienced Devia’s voice on recordings--the recordings capture her voice exactly as it is. Her breath control is awesome and she has good high notes, but there is too much roughness in the lower register.

      Elisabetta is an odd role because Beverly Sills is the standard for most people and she sings really brilliant high notes that most people can’t do. Devia’s Elisabetta is not as flashy as Sills’ because for most of the opera she goes for the lower climaxes, saving the top D for “Quel sangue versate”. A lot of the time I found that Devia was growling (probably inaudibly near the rear of the house) in the lower register and that didn’t suite her at all.

      For “Va la morte” Devia sang it very low and her voice got a bit drowned out by the orchestra, but at the same time it was exciting and one hell of a climax.

      Anyway, she sang with all of the vocal problems that I have been hearing in her recordings for years. But I am still glad that I saw her because despite some problems, she does sing very well for a woman in her mid 60s.

      Stephen Costello has an impressive voice, but he was so detached. Aside for the beautiful singing he just stood there like a log and at one point I noticed his left fist curled up into a girly fist and he just looked so uncomfortable. But I think I am being too hard on his because after all it was a concert performance. I will totally go and see him again despite this.

      I saw Ailyn Perez during the first intermission and I also think I saw the conductor JoAnn Falletta sitting in the front row (she looked like she was really enjoying herself!).

      • Krunoslav says:

        “Elisabetta is an odd role because Beverly Sills is the standard for most people and she sings really brilliant high notes that most people can’t do”

        Agreed that many New Yorkers especially expect to hear Sills, who totally rewrote much of of the role with her usual collaborator Roland Gagnon. So it; snot like Devia is leaving things out. Sills was adding them otr taking them up.

        May i suggest listening to Gencer or Caballe for a heavier voice singing to role more com’e scritto, as Devia did ( very cannily).

      • Milady DeWinter says:

        javier, what, may I ask, is a “girlie” fist?
        And what are the vocal problems you’ve heard “for years” in Devia’s singing? Vocal problems is not something I readily associate with Devia at any time in her long career--
        Puzzled.

        • Regina delle fate says:

          I wondered that, Milady. I expect its a young person’s expression as I’ve never even heard of it. But it sounds a bit naughty or possibly abusive. As in making a girlie fist against her will…..

          I think there are far too many posters on here who want Costello to be secretly gay. :)

          • Milady DeWinter says:

            LOL Regina! I know sort a “girlie” punch or run, sexist as that may be, but not a fist (let’s not go there..)
            Well, this is one poster who harbors NO secret lust for Mr. Costello -- Ms. Ailyn is welcome to him!
            But I did not “get” xavier’s comments about Devia’s “vocal problems” a real “wtf” -- there’s one lady who wrote the book about not having any. Maybe a little light on the bottom, and not 30 any more, but she is a tower of bel canto virtue in my book. I’m so glad there are pirates of her, for there is much commerically available. There’s one live concert of arias which is to die, and includes a gorgeous “Depuis le jour” as an added delight to the flawless fioriture. And she possessed that very rare gift of sounding more beautiful as the tone ascended the scale. A classic and a class act.

        • javier says:

          it’s when you tuck your thumb into the fist.

    • DellaCasaFan says:

      Nice review. As usual, you bring both the performance and the spirit of the event to the rest of us who were not there. My heart is still bleeding that I had to cancel coming to the event. I hope Coloraturafan was there and will generously post a fragment or two.

    • Lady Abbado says:

      Just out of curiosity, and to stir the flames a little bit, is there an open rivalry between Devia and Gruberova or at least between their fans? They are the same age, they specialize in the same repertory, and they are both Europe-centred in their choice of venues. Too close in all respects not to notice one another…

      • armerjacquino says:

        I wondered this a while back and couldn’t find a single mention of one by the other. I think they probably sort of ignore each other.

      • Krunoslav says:

        WEll, the Barcelona public likes both of them, though there are more rabid Gruberistas in situ there. They have done at least one engagement with them alternating role- was it in BOLENA?

        Devia has done the Queen, Donna Anna and Ilia,but no Strauss to my knowledge-- so she doesn’t trespass on Gruberova’s best rep. The same can not be said of Gruberova in re Devia’s best rep! :)

        [Stands up to enjoy the fireworks display]

        • Poison Ivy says:

          Was Devia ever uber-popular in Vienna/Zurich/Tokyo/Munich though? I think of that as Gruberovas home base.

          • Krunoslav says:

            No, never-- Devia’s territory is basically Italy--but the Gruberista Party Zone DEFINITELY include Barcelona, where they also like-- in smaller, quieter measure-- Devia.

        • armerjacquino says:

          The big Devia/Gruberova crossover in Mozart was Konstanze, of which I believe Devia sang several runs at the Met. Did Gruberova drop it after the Solti recording?

      • Evenhanded says:

        Well.

        I love them both, and I think most people with good listening skills and knowledge of the repertoire they sing feel similarly. There is no need for a rivalry because they are both incredible in their own unique ways.

        While they overlap in some repertoire, as Krunoslav pointed out, Gruberova really had the Strauss all to herself, while Devia clearly dominated in Rossini. Devia sang an incredible array of Rossini heroines -- a fach that Gruberova didn’t really revel in, for whatever reason. They share Bellini and Donizetti heroines, though even here, I would argue that Devia is a touch better suited (and successful) in the Bellini roles while Gruberova has the edge in the heavier Donizetti roles.

        But, really, they are both amazing (and amazingly well-preserved). It is a shame that Devia is so terribly under-recorded. There should be an entire catalog of her recordings available for posterity. Thank goodness for the pirates. How laughable that we have a new, glossy recording contract for Stephen Costello (absolutely embarrassing last night), while Devia has been largely overlooked by the commercial labels for 40 years (I know there are a few titles, but still).

        Hopefully Gruberova and Devia still have a few more years of thrilling the public like Devia managed last night.

        • Regina delle fate says:

          Does Costello have a glossy new contract? He’s made one record for Warner. It will have to sell pretty spectacularly if there are to be any long-term plans.

      • DellaCasaFan says:

        I think that Devia was more willing than Gruberova to take on some lesser known bel canto roles. Among Donizetti’s less-performed heroines, her Adelia, Parisina, Elisabetta (al castello di Kenilworth), and Elena were all marvels. She also excelled as Rossini’s Desdemona, Adelaide, Zelmira, and I’m glad to read in an earlier post that she’ll sing Sinaide again next year. I don’t think that Gruberova ever performed any of these roles.

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Born on this day in 1875 writer Thomas Mann

    Born on this day in 1895 soprano Grete Stückgold

    Born on this day in 1926 conductor Klaus Tennstedt

    Happy 84th birthday mezzo-soprano/soprano Gloria Lane

    Happy 75th birthdays tenor Giacomo Aragall Spanish and baritone Alberto Rinaldi

    Happy 72nd birthday countertenor Paul Esswood

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

    Did I ever REALLY think they would show up? Tomorrow’s Grand Rossini Gala at Salzburg initially had Baltsa, Caballé (with Martí in tow), d’Arcangelo, and Nucci on the bill before they all dropped out over the past few weeks. And now Berganza is out, too (Carreras and Raimondi are still listed as of this morning). That leaves a total of two women for a two-and-a-half-hour “gala” -- Bartoli and Kasarova. Well, it should be interesting to hear Camarena and Flórez on the same program (there must be some Rossini duets for tenors). I guess they won’t be doing that ensemble from “Il viaggo a Reims!”

    • WindyCityOperaman says:

      I would hope that those stars who dropped would have been appearing as MCs, speakers, presenters, et al, but did anyone expect Caballe or Carreras to sing? Marti retired years ago and I thought Carreras, Nucci and Raimondi had as well (unless you mean Caballe’s daughter-by the way what happened to her career?).

    • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

      While I could have done without a lot of it, the Rossini Gala (which lasted over three hours) had some brilliant moments, such as the entire audience leaping to its feet for Camarena, who then encored the finale of the “Cenerentola” aria (which he hasn’t done at the performance of the opera the previous night; I overheard some New Yorkers who heard him at the Met and they said he sang it better in Salzburg); Bartoli and Flórenz singing together for the first time; a “Barbiere” Act I finale with Kasarova as Rosina and Bartoli as Berta; Flórez and Camarena together, hands clinched, hitting a unison high C; but most moving of all, Carreras singing a cavatina from “Le pietra del paragione” which he hadn’t sung in 47 years -- he looks a bit frail, still handsome, and there is more voice there than you would imagine. It was a very emotional moment.

      By the way, it was confirmed that Caballé showed up for rehearsals and on the second day broke her arm, so she was all to give it a shot (and the Martí I referenced is her daughter, Montserrat, not her husband, Bernabe). Berganza remained on the printed program, but I didn’t get a reason why she dropped out. Raimondi (“La calunnia”) was a disaster, setting his own eratic tempi, and half of the orchestra trying to follow him and half trying to follow Adam Fischer.

      A surprise was the absence of Erwin Schrott, who sounded like god at the Stabat Mater eight hours earlier; apparently he came down with food poisoning and was sent home. That Stabat Mater was my favorite performance of the six I saw -- preceded by the Libera me, Verdi’s contribution to the requiem mass for Rossini with Maria Agresta, who is The Real Thing. Schrott, Brownlee, and Sonia Ganassi completed the quartet for the Rossini. Pappano and the Santa Cecilia chorus and orchestra blew away all the other orchestras, and the chorus actually got the only other standing ovation besides the ones awarded to Camarena and Carreras. DiDonato’s recital was great fun, and a nice break from Rossini with some Reynaldo Hahn, Vivaldi, Schubert, etc.

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Born on this day in 1897 conductor George Szell

    Born on this day in 1903 soprano Margaret Ritchie

    Born on this day in 1907 tenor Mario Filippeschi

    Born on this day in 1908 conductor, director and teacher Boris Goldovsky
    and soprano Margherita Carosio


    Happy 88th birthday set designer Gunther Schneider-Siemssen

    Happy 86th birthday composer Charles Strouse

    Born on this day in 1927 tenor Andrea Velis

    Happy 77th birthday conductor Neeme Jarvi

    Happy 51st birthday tenor Roberto Alagna

  • oedipe says:

    Happy 47th birthday Patrizia Ciofi:

  • zinka says:

    I still feel the greasepaint as Rise Stevens shook my hand..I was 16…God bless this wonderful lady, born June 11, 1913. My tears flow.