Cher Public

Steely gaze

“Is that dear Mr. Plotkin I see?” queries a doyenne. While she’s making up her mind, you, the cher public, are encouraged to express yourselves on general interest and off-topic subjects.

  • Buster

    In Bayreuth last year I saw the Verstummte Stimmen exhibition. Strauss was one of those who was not pleased Lilli Lehmann sang there in 1896(!), comparing her Brünnhilde to an “alte Judenmutter.” Terrible.

    • mia apulia

      good to see that such comments, which betray a certain meanness of spirit, are not completely forgotten; worth remembering when one hears his “beautiful” music; one of my teachers, who got out of Germany in time, could hardly bear to talk of him….any wonder why?

  • manou

    Back from a stunning “Carmelites” at Covent Garden. Jonas Kaufmann and Opolais in the stalls (also Carsen, chatting with JK).

    • Cicciabella

      Is this the old Carsen Carmelites, manou, or a new production?

      • I believe it’s the well-travelled old Carsen production. I recall hearing that, after its run in Toronto, it was heading to London.

        • armerjacquino

          I’ve seen different versions of the end of the Carsen though- in some the nuns collapse one by one as the guillotine noise sounds, in others they do a strange kind of tai-chi as they sink down. Far more powerful the first way round, I think.

          • Cicciabella

            I saw it with the first ending. Devastating. Maybe manou can kindly give us a vocal report later on this week.

          • Edward George

            At the ROH they fell slowly and rolled into a cross, echoing the start of the opera where the habits are laid out on the stage in a similar formation.

            The end, as was seen in London:

            • Porgy Amor

              Muti conducted that performance, and he admired Carsen, per his book.

          • Interesting that there are different versions. I wonder if revival where the nuns collapse was supervised by Carsen himself. They way I’ve heard him describe it is that he wanted the sisters to be dancing to their deaths, and so the choreographed routine was conceived. It’s definitely not as visceral as a more realistic staging (and in Toronto, many people who loved the production still questioned the ending) but I think it’s very poetic.

            • Edward George

              Poetry is what sprang to my mind when reflecting on the production. In particular, watching the slow collapse of the nuns, reminded me of Wilfred Owen’s lines: “Some say God caught them even before they fell.”

      • manou

        Yes, it was the venerable Carsen production, quite stunning. I tried to listen to the broadcast on Radio 3 on Saturday, but couldn’t get interested in just listening to it, and what a difference an intelligent and thoughtful mise en scène can add to an opera.

        It is austere and beautiful at the same time, and the use of the crowd is effective and touching too, seeing as they are recruited from a large number of people who have been homeless, unemployed or incarcerated, and now participate in various community programmes. I was worried at the beginning that they might have been taken advantage of somehow, but they performed absolutely brilliantly -- the scene changes (and lighting) are genius.

        David Butt Philip starred as First Commissary…

        • laddie

          I AM Soeur Constance!

          Here is the entire opera:

  • tornado12

    This is pure heaven:

  • tornado12

    Interesting interview with Madame Rysanek about the 1966 Frosch at the Met and also about the New Met:

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Born on this day in 1931 soprano Yevgeniya Miroshnichenko

    Happy 82nd birthday soprano Mimi Coertse

    Happy 81st birthday director John Copley

    Happy 62nd birthday composer and conductor Oliver Knussen

  • kennedet

    So I pick up the NY Times this morning and I see an article about virtual orchestra for the Ring and all of the reactions, hype, etc. HELP!!! I hate when I see singers several feet in front of the orchestra. How do they get their cues!!?? Now we have virtual orchestra?? Yes, I’ve heard of it before and I know about money problems but why must the art form always suffer.

    Why do I read the newspaper every morning? No wonder everybody’s angry. I’m going back to bed.

    • I wouldn’t worry too much about this particular performance of the Ring. There was a whole treadlet devoted to this subject last week and it became quite clear that a) Charles Goldstein is in way, way, way over his head b) the “virtual orchestra” sounds quite lame. You can be worried about virtual orchestras when a research lab like MIT or a deep-pocketed company takes on this challenge, not some guy punching notes into off-the-shelf software.

      • kennedet

        Fine. You certainly are more versed on the subject than I but when you see major performances of operas with the conductor in back of the singer,it bothers me…notwithstanding a “virtual orchestra”. Also, the singers must memorize all tempos and pauses from a machine, without any help from a real conductor.Good Luck with that. God forbid if there are any interruptions when the performance must be stopped. What would you do? Push a button?

  • Fidelia

    We went to Milan last weekend for Chéreau’s Elektra, which was every bit as good as it was said to be. Very fine singing and acting from everyone, and Salonen’s direction of the orchestra was fantastic, with very strong marking of the tempos that had me practically dancing during the times I was standing up (there was one bad seat in the box, which we took turns at not sitting in). The scene between Elektra and Clytemnestra (Herlitzius and Waltraud Meier) were particularly… electric.
    I haven’t watched the DVD of the Aix production yet, but I wonder if Petrenko might not have been a more fiery Orest. René Pape, whom I usually love, sang the role with great skill but with his usual inwardness and restraint — which meant in this case that he was totally overshadowed by Herlitzius, who burned up the stage.
    One of the friends who went with us, at La Scala for the first time, had tears in his eyes at the end of the production. It turned out to be worth the booking hassle after all.

    • Buster

      Thanks a lot for this report, Fidelia. Looking forward seeing Herliztius’ Elektra at the Semper Opera end of the month. And to Doris Soffel’s Amme:

  • “I did feel a bit sorry for Lai Wen-chun, who played Wotan’s wife, Fricka, and was required to spend most of the first half of the play consuming a huge plate of potato salad and chicken and swigging wine. After the five-show run, she probably won’t be able to face potato salad again for a long time.

    From a review of EX-THEATRE ASIA‘s new production of Wagner’s “Der Ring Des Nibelungen: A Revolution Unarmed”. This weekend, they will be performing Siegfried and Goetterdammerung. Images from the production are striking and can be found on their Facebook page or you might try poking about their website.

    A couple of trailers below:

  • antikitschychick

    Not sure if this has been posted but in case it hasnt, today is also Christine Goerke’s Bday (according to her FB page) :-D.

  • Well, off topic, but I attended two performances of Ashton’s Cinderella, and I got a picture with the gorgeous David Hallberg:

    • RosinaLeckermaul

      I saw Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes on the 10th. Lovely performance. Kent seems ageless.Salstein was the Jester.

  • aulus agerius

    What about The Tsar’s Bride presented by the Bolshoi at Avery Fischer Hall next month? It appears to be nearly sold out -- they don’t even the third tier at all!

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Born on this day in 1901 soprano Anna Báthy

    Born on this day in 1902 conductor Oliviero De Fabritiis

    Happy 85th birthday tenor Kurt Equiluz

    Happy 76th birthday bass Gwynne Howell

  • Batty Masetto
  • Baltsamic Vinaigrette

    I know this is all a bit “Chien Mord Homme”, but still, news of the latest French strike threat (with the full support of Jane Birkin) places Avignon en panne:

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

    I just received word that Berislav Klobu?ar died today at age 89 in a hospital in Wien.

  • Baltsamic Vinaigrette

    Where Angela leads, Angelina follows: Miss Jolie, cutrrently garnering much positive press on this side of the pond for her anti-rape work, is made an honorary Dame in the Queen’s birthday honours list. Veteran designer Zandra Rhodes becomes a Dame, Daniel Day-Lewis is knighted, and Dame Maggie Smith is awarded Companion of Honour.

    BBC Radio 3’s news reports that András Schiff becomes a knight, too. This is the only musical name mentioned in their bulletin. I have not seen the full list but, if the BBC report thus, then he might be the only star performer in music to receive a major honour this time out.

  • Buster
  • WindyCityOperaman

    Born on this day in 1894 tenor Heddle Nash

    Born on this day in 1900 baritone Roger Bourdin

    Born on this day in 1908 tenor Bernd Aldenhoff

    Born on this day in 1910 conductor Rudolf Kempe

    Born on this day in 1913 tenor Beno Blachut

    Born on this day in 1929 composer Cy Coleman