Cher Public

La regina d’Inghilterra ho veduto cantar

“At Carnegie Hall last Thursday, a capacity crowd witnessed what might be the final official act of a monarch who has reigned for more than four decades.” [New York Observer]

  • phillyoperalover

    Wonderful review! It still amazes me that La Devia still sounds fresh after such a long career! Thank god she stuck with the roles that was for her voice type and did not try to go off to do roles that shouldn’t be done.

  • DeepSouthSenior

    Good for Ms. Devia! I wish I had been there. 66 is a good age to be productive. Trust me.

  • La Valkyrietta

    I wish I had been in the city to attend this, and hope there is a recording so as to hear it sometime. I do love the many evenings Eve Queler has brought us through the decades that I did attend, she is a treasure.

  • La marquise de Merteuil

    Should that others begin in the vocal estate that Devia is ending in.

    • semira mide

      Perfectly put!

  • messa di voce


    La Cieca, that’s beneath you. Great review otherwise.

    • JJ stands by “pitchiness” as a term for singing that is neither consistently flat nor consistently sharp, but just insistently out of tune.

      • uwsinnyc

        “JJ stands by “pitchiness” as a term for singing that is neither consistently flat nor consistently sharp, but just insistently out of tune.”

        Love it! I remember a review of Hildegard Behrens once that said she accomplishes the miraculous feat of singing north and south of the note at the same time.

    • phoenix

      messadivoce, when I was young we used to call it ‘singing around the pitch’.

      • Clita del Toro

        pitchy |?piCH?|
        adjective ( pitchier, pitchiest )
        of, like, or as dark as pitch.

        • Grane

          Just please don’t say “pitch-perfect.” Something can be pitch dark, or someone can have perfect pitch, but “pitch-perfect” makes me want to pitch a perfect fit.

          • armerjacquino

            ‘Pitch-perfect’ has been in use since the 70s, and was the title of a pretty successful film- I think you’re going to have to get used to that one, I’m afraid.

          • rapt

            I sort of don’t get this problem. “Pitch-perfect” follows the model of “letter-perfect” (which Merriam Webster says goes back at least to 1845).

  • Constantine A. Papas

    Pitchiness? Why not. Randy Jackson, former judge of American Idol, used all the time at nauseam. And JJ is the real thing, not a pretender.

  • Harold

    Great review. Accurate and fair. I feel vindicated about my previous posting where I said that Eve should retire. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who thinks so.

    I don’t like the word pitchiness either, but it has entered the vocabulary and everyone knows what it means, so what’s the problem?

    • messa di voce

      “Ness” implies the presence of that quality -- darkness, lightness, etc. So shouldn’t it be “apitchiness,” or just good old-fashioned “off-key?”

      OK, I’ll drop it.

      • manou

        Is this confirmation that the Loch Ness Monster is prsent?

        • manou


        • messa di voce


      • armerjacquino

        “Ness” implies the presence of that quality

        ‘Ness’ is doing the same job here. The quality implied is that of being pitchy.

        To talk about ‘bitchiness’ doesn’t presuppose the presence of a bitch, just that someone is being bitchy.

        Perfectly ok to dislike the term, but it’s not an inconsistent one in the way you suggest.

        And ‘off key’ and ‘out of tune’ for me are more categorical than ‘pitchy’. Pitchy suggests someone just slightly off from time to time: ‘off key’ is way more serious than that.

  • atomicwings

    You can download an audio of the entire performance here:

    • aulus agerius


    • Thank you kindly!!

    • Agnese di Cervia

      Thank you!

    • aulus agerius

      This audio capture of the Devereux performance is better than average. The files (nicely divided) are sizeable indicating a decent bit rate with relatively little compression loss. It’s fairly muddy and the orchestra overwhelms at times but most everything is there to hear and give pleasure. I’d be interested to know where in the hall the source was located. I have obtained somewhat better results from the top balcony, e.g. Mefistofele. Download recommended :-)

      • atomicwings

        The recording was made from a box seat on the left side of the house.

      • It’s fairly muddy and the orchestra overwhelms at times

        That could be a description of any Queler performance.

  • Cicciabella

    OT: Strauss concert from the Semperoper on now for those who can get it (Goerke just launching into her Agamemnons:

  • Cicciabella

    Harteros just finished singing a perfectly phrased and spectacularly sung “Mein Elemer!” from Dresden. Why this singer insists on delivering not-wholly-satisfactory Verdi interpretations when she can be a Strauss singer that goes down in the annals is something I will never understand.

  • Lady Abbado

    La Cieca on Devia “As singing, it was always beautiful but rarely thrilling”.

    This made me think of summarizing my impression of Radvanovsky in Toronto: “As singing, it was always thrilling, but rarely beautiful”.

    • I hear it differently. Rad does not have a beautiful voice but she sings beautifully, IMO. And the thrill factor comes from the way she throws herself into some of the music and mostly from the sheer size of the voice.

  • decotodd

    Couldn’t the same have been said of Olivero, Mid 1970s Scotto or Albanese? Thrilling but not always beautiful? We need more thrilling performers like Radvanovsky than lovely but empty cookie cutters we too often get

    • scifisci

      I disagree. No matter how wiry and wobbly her voice was, Scotto’s sense of phrasing and line were always absolutely beautiful. That she had the ability and guts to dig into dramatic moments con forza made her singing thrilling in the way in which (I’m guessing) JJ found Devia’s lacking.

    • Krunoslav

      Also, the three Italians you name dug into the words in a way which still eludes Sondra, exciting as some of the vocalism is.

      • More than just “digging into the words.” All three of these singers, but Scotto especially, based their expression on the graceful shaping of a legato line, something Radvanovsky hardly ever does even by accident.

  • Lady Abbado

    Some questions about pitchiness:

    1. What is to blame for it: situational factors (fatigue) or more enduring variables (bad genes or sloppy technique or aging)? If the former, than one could say that a performance was pitchy but not that a performer in general is pitchy.

    2. Partly derived from (1): what are the dynamics of pitchiness over one’s career? Do older singers tend to become pitchier? Or less pitchy? Is pitchiness a symptom or a facet of one’s declining vocal powers?

    3. During a pitchy performance, is the performer aware that she/he is being pitchy? Is it the case that you aim to be on tune but you slip out of tune in spite of your aim; or is it more that you find out from the reviews of your performances the next day that you’ve been pitchy?

  • Milady DeWinter

    “As singing, it was always thrilling, but rarely beautiful”.
    --Geraldiner Farrar said almost the same thing about Callas in an interview in the mid 50s.

  • Milady DeWinter


  • Milady DeWinter



    A year later on 1 November 1956, on the same theme: “Mrs. G. [her friend who drove her to New York] and I had planned to go to the Saturday matinee to hear the new star Callas, but she was unable to make the effort. Callas has box office attraction and must be an arresting figure on stage. I have only several records to form a conclusion, not quite so proper as did I hear the living artiste. The voice is brilliant, but there is little beauty in it. The other prima donna, Tebaldi, has a lovely quality. Well, it all makes for interest.”

    In her letters Farrar’s operatic interests span the early days of the Twentieth Century through the Tebaldi/Callas era. The letters in the Stotler volume stop in 1958. But she lived another decade and I am sure she kept her interest in operatic happenings through that period, but I have not seen these letters or am aware of her opinions at that time. I was present at the closing of the old Metropolitan Opera House 6 April,1966, and at the beginning of the gala evening several legendary old-time singers took their seats on stage to tumultuous applause (I especially remember the huge hand given to Elisabeth Rethberg, for example, perhaps because she was so beloved and had kept out of the public eye for so long). I forget whether it was Rudolf Bing himself or another master of ceremonies who read two letters of regret that they could not grace the stage that night, Rosa Ponselle and Geraldine Farrar!