Cher Public


The Salzburg Festival has long had the image of this place where for a little over a month, the very best singers are brought together with the very best conductors and the very best directors to create the very best productions the opera world has to offer. Tickets are notoriously expensive and hard to get. Expectations are thus always extremely high for any Salzburg Festival performance and production. A performance can’t simply be “nice.” It has to be out of this world. A production can’t simply be a solid repertory utility production. It has to be for the ages, such a great production that opera houses all over the world will clamor for that production. In recent years, the Willy Decker Traviata started at Salzburg Festival 2005 and traveled to New York and now is a Met staple. Last year’s big hit was the Herheim Meistersinger.   

The opening scene of Peter Stein’s staging of Verdi’s Don Carlo quickly makes it clear that this will not be a production for the ages. The Fountainbleu Forest consists of a bunch of freezing peasants (dressed vaguely like Russian serfs) huddling in a sterile white room with windows in the back. Elisabeth (Anja Harteros) enters every inch the queen, in furs and a sparkling royal gown. Carlo (Jonas Kaufmann) is in a black fur coat. They are both shivering and the snow starts to fall in this white room. Are they inside? Outside? I guess outside, because they’re all shivering and at the end of the scene Carlo is left alone with the falling snow.

By now I’m sure you can guess what kind of production this is: spare nonsensical minimalist sets, rather fancy “period” costuming, and completely static to non-existent personregie. This is basically the same kind of Don Carlo you could imagine Rudolf Bing mounting for the Met in the 1950’s. Only difference is the use of the five-act version (now standard). The singers seem to have been directed to simply stand and look miserable for five acts. Even the bro-mance between Posa (Thomas Hampson) and Carlo is G-rated, without even a hint of homoerotic longing. The only break from tradition is Eboli (Ekaterina Semenchuk) isn’t wearing an eyepatch.

Some things about the production make nonsense of the libretto. For instance, Don Carlo and Eboli have their nighttime accidental encounter except the stage is brightly lit with festive paper lanterns. The scene ends with Posa stage left, Eboli stage center, Carlo stage right, all singing straight to the audience. I hate to use the term park and bark but there’s really no other way to describe the direction. Other attempts to set a scene just come across as amateurish. The Auto-da-Fe scene has two tiny thrones perched on wooden unpainted bleachers. The infidels are led to two tiny wooden stakes recessed to the very back of the stage, hidden behind rows and rows of chorus members, so you can barely see what’s happening to them. And why the hell are some guys dressed in sombreros?

The production shows its sloppiness in other ways. When Posa is shot, we see Hampson reacting to being shot, but his shirt is completely white. Then he crouches downwards, squeezes the fake blood bag, and all of a sudden he’s blood-spattered. The whole production is just a muddled, boring mess.

Musical values are much higher. Kaufmann, Harteros and Semenchuk are all excellent. Casting for Carlo has gotten weird over the years. I saw Roberto Alagna and he was pretty fine, but then there’s been a string of miscast Infants. There was Ramon Vargas, who made a nice stab at the role that pushed his lovely lyric tenor to the limit. And Rolando Villazon, who flat out had no business singing this part. And … James Valenti? What a relief then to hear a Carlo with enough spinto heft to do the role justice. Kaufmann’s dark timbre suits the role of the brooding, tortured Infanta and his high notes as usual have that thrilling trumpet-like brilliance. With that being said, Kaufmann needed stronger direction than Stein gave him. You know how some people have Resting Bitchface? Kaufman kind of has Resting Glumface. Left to his own devices, he kind of just wandered up and down the stage looking glum for five acts.

Harteros’ voice has a soft-grained, feminine timbre but enough strength in the middle-to-lower register to resonate in this role. She has beautiful float on her high notes. Her voice isn’t really Italianate or very warm, but you can’t have everything. Her natural dignity and grace are also a plus. “Tu che la vanita” has some unexpectedly off-key singing in the beginning of the aria but one is still impressed by the voice’s sweep and scope. But she also needed stronger direction than she received here. Whereas Kaufmann left to his own devices just turns glum, Harteros decided to go for the overwrought angsty facial expressions and silent film acting. “Io vengo a domandar grazia alla Regina” has her making crazy bug eyes and waving her arms frantically like she was directing traffic. Later she resorts to rolling on the floor. And yet, even with these reservations, Harteros is probably the best the world has to offer right now in this rep.

Semenchuk is a vocally appealing, visually sexy Eboli. She injects some much-needed life and sparkle to the zombie-fest. Her “Veil Song” lacks the necessary agility but she sings a thrilling “O Don fatale” and she alone on the stage seems to have gotten the message that this is a performance, and not an embalmed museum piece, and that when you’re singing to someone, it’s normal to make eye contact instead of making a face straight at the audience. Her acting is organic, natural, and strangely Eboli thus becomes the most sympathetic character of the opera.

The problems are in the lower male voices. Hampson’s instrument has dried up, and there’s practically no body left to his hollow, aging baritone. His Posa isn’t even well-acted. There’s no sense of the slippery political machinator from Hampson: he’s as wooden and arch as ever. Matti Salminen is 68 years old and really showing his age. He still brings great dignity and gravitas to the role of Philip, but in terms of actual voice? There’s not much left and pitch strays. “Ella giamai m’amó” has him covering up for his vocal deficiencies by some artful whispering. But there’s no core to the voice. Plus, Philip is more than a dignified old monarch, which is all Salminen makes him. There should be more hardness, more ruthlessness to his characterization. Much more exciting is Eric Halfvarson as the Grand Inquisitor. Robert Lloyd makes a nice cameo as Charles V.

Antonio Pappano’s conducting is excellent, and the Wiener Philharmoniker live up to their own high reputation. Verdi’s score sounds grand, sweeping, terrifying. However, sometimes it sounds too grand, sweeping, and terrifying. Germanic, if you will. I’m not sure Verdi is supposed to sound like Mahler. For a supposedly state of the art video, the sound balance is very poor. The voices often sound tinny and distant, like this was a 1950’s broadcast off the airwaves, and then in another scene they’ll sound vibrant and practically bouncing out of the stereos.


  • turings

    Thanks for the review, Ivy! Sounds like a missed opportunity, but you never get everything together for Don Carlo.

    Just on the five act vs four act version, the most recent/current Italian productions at Vienna, La Scala, Paris and the two Berlin houses are all the four act version (which I actually prefer); the Met, Covent Garden and Munich do the five act one, so I think the jury is still out.

    • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

      For clarity’s sake, Wiener Staatsoper retains in its repertoire both the totally uncut five act French “Don Carlos” in the now-legendary Peter Konwitschny production, and the four-act Italian version in a recent (boring) production by Daniele Abbado.

      • turings

        The Abbado production is boring – a vague update that adds nothing in particular, a bare dark stage, and singers left to wander round and clutch at each other to indicate strong emotion. But I heard some great singing in it, so it’s a good memory for me.

        I know there’s a DVD of the Konwitschny production, but I haven’t watched it because I was put off by some of the descriptions and by not being that enamored of the singers – but if you and Porgy recommend it, maybe I should give it a go.

        • Porgy Amor

          I would not exactly recommend it, turings. I commented below that it is “fuller” (textually) than its only DVD rival sung in French, but it is a very bad performance as the singing goes. Vargas is the only principal I would cross the street to hear in the role at issue. He is lighter than ideal, but his voice and musicianship belong on one of the world’s best stages. Michael (Eboli) and Skovhus (Rodrigue), at the other extreme of this cast, are painful. Michael does have some flair on stage and gives a vivacious (blessedly mute) performance in the “Eboli’s Dream” segment with the ballet suite. Nothing redeems Skovhus. Miles and Tamar fall somewhere in between.

          Reasons to see it anyway: (1) You have a strong interest in this opera and are a completist or near-completist with regard to it. Check, for me. (2) You want to see a video performance in French that has every note Verdi wrote for this opera’s Paris premiere, including music he cut for time before opening night. Pappano does not fit that bill, as his Châtelet edition is a hybrid of Paris premiere and alternatives from the revisions, and it runs almost 40 minutes shorter. So, check, again for me. (3) You want to hear it played very well by the Viennese orchestra under De Billy. This is more of a consolation (with that cast) than a true inducement. The orchestra and De Billy are good, but they are equaled or bettered elsewhere. (4) You are a Konwitschny fan and have some curiosity about this production. I generally do not respond favorably to Konwitschny’s work, and I find this production smug and alienating, nowhere more so than when it goes for laughs (e.g., Eboli’s trying to gather up her clothes without being noticed by the blind Grand Inquisitor, and his cane is on her shawl, and she’s trying to get it out from under, and har har).

          So…I own it, I’ve returned to it a couple of times for one reason or the other, and it does have things you cannot get anywhere else. But I would recommend it only with those warnings. Marianne may give it a stronger endorsement.

          • nowhere more so than when it goes for laughs

            And you know it is “going for laughs” how?

            • Porgy Amor

              [blockquote]nowhere more so than when it goes for laughs

              And you know it is “going for laughs” how?[/blockquote]

              You do not feel humor in intended when Eboli’s sitcom-like predicament with her clothes is running parallel to the dialogue between Philip and the Grand Inquisitor? When Eboli neutralizes Rodrigue by pulling off his glasses, making him stumble around comically? When the monk points to himself and acknowledges the audience, putting his finger to his mouth in a “Shhh!” gesture, the first time Carlos mentions Charles V? I am leaving the ballet and all the business with the overcooked duck, the pepper making everyone sneeze, and Posa’s Pizza out of it for the moment, that being a “dream” that exists within a discrete tonal sphere.

              I would have thought your position would be that yes, the production does include elements of comedy and send-up, but it’s actually brilliant because Konwitschny looked for meanings in the text that are not the standard ones, and the comedy heightens the effect of the other parts that are tragic, et cetera.

          • turings

            Ah okay, so not really a recommendation then! Thanks so much for the explanation. I always like reading your reviews of performances – really clever and interesting :)

            I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Konwitschny production, so perhaps I will check it out anyway, because I do love Don Carlo(s). At least if I don’t like it, it sounds like I won’t have that awful feeling that a bad production is squelching an otherwise brilliant set of musical performances …

            Perhaps I also misunderstood the tone of voice in which Marianne said ‘legendary’ – my reading skills seem to have been a bit off one way or another this morning.

            • Porgy Amor

              Perhaps I also misunderstood the tone of voice in which Marianne said ‘legendary’ – my reading skills seem to have been a bit off one way or another this morning.

              I won’t speak for Marianne, but I believe you read that one correctly and that she does admire the staging.

            • Batty Masetto

              Like Marianne, I admire it too, Porgy, and I agree with exactly what you suggested above -- the mild comedy (some of which works, some not so much, but this is opera, after all) does make the tragedy more poignant to me. Especially the dream sequence, which to me is a trenchant reminder of how sadly absurd it is to think these unfortunate people could ever lead happy lives.

              I like very much the auto-da-fe set as a grand party with media coverage, and in light of today’s cowardly announcement about Klinghoffer, the handling of the “terrorists” is more topical than ever.

              Vargas sings well and acts gamely. Michael is not great, but not as objectionable as she would later become, and I don’t dislike Skovhus as much as you do. Tamar has an appealing dignity. Miles is just OK.

              On the whole I think it’s definitely worth seeing.

            • Porgy Amor

              Especially the dream sequence, which to me is a trenchant reminder of how sadly absurd it is to think these unfortunate people could ever lead happy lives.

              I do like the dream sequence, and Michael’s performance in same.

            • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

              Sorry for not getting back sooner to help clarify my earlier comments: I have been too busy being pissed off at Peter Gelb’s cancellation of the HD broadcast of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

              First, let me state right off that I am a huge fan of Peter Konwitschny and have seen more than a dozen of his productions in Wien, München, Graz, Bratislava, and Stuttgart. When a visiting Parterrian was here in February, I took him to Bratislava for the Konwitschny “Eugene Onegin” which had a major (positive) impact on him. It was my fourth trip just to see the production. I have disliked only one Konwitschny production, “Z mrtvého domu” at Wiener Staatsoper. Perhaps I’d get more out of it if I had a chance to see it again, but it was not revived, and tomorrow the once-promising Janacék Cycle takes a step backwards with the company premiere of “Príhody lisky Bystrousky” in a production by Otto Schenk (I saw production photos outside the opera house when I was at the ballet last night and it looks exactly like you’d expect it to).

              But I digress. I own the DVDs of the Konwitschny “Don Carlos” but have never watched them (I have very few operas on DVD and almost never watch them; I have the luxury of being able to just go to a theater!). I can be at Staatsoper in 12 minutes (I have it down to a science) and have attended “Don Carlos” several times. I suppose I have the DVDs as a souvenir, and perhaps they need to be viewed that way: this is a case where I think you would most likely loose a great deal by not experiencing it live.

              I was at the Premiere, and the auto-da-fé came as a total surprise. I was standing on the main staircase chatting with a friend when all of a sudden we heard those crashing chords coming from the auditorium, and before we knew it we were surrounded by police, demonstrators, and soon the king and queen of Spain and their attendants. Suddenly, we were part of the opera, and there is no way to adequately transfer that feeling to recorded media.

              I was also surprised at the description of Eboli’s actions in the Philippe/Grand Inquisiteur scene as being comic. In the house, it is electrifying. First, I love the concept of “Elle ne m’aime pas” (“Ella giammai m’amò”) delivered as a confession of a man to his mistress of the pain of his failed marriage. The sudden entrance of the Inquisiteur catches them off guard, and, adding to the stress of dealing with the Inquisiteur, Philippe and Eboli have to make sure their affair is not discovered, and the moment which apparently comes across as comic on the DVD is actually quite harrowing in the house. It also emphasizes the blindness of the Inquisiteur, not only as a disability, but a mental state in which he “sees” only what he wishes to see, or what is told to him.

              Konwitschny does, indeed, like to add a laugh here and there, such as the monk’s aside in which he lets us know that he is Carlos V. Another memorable example is in Konwitschny’s “Aida,” set in one small white room with one small red sofa and never more than six people onstage at once: when Radamès is called away to battle, Amneris presents him with a stuffed elephant toy. Or Gutrune presenting Siegfried with a Kugelhupf in the Stuttgart “Götterdämmerung.” In contrast, his solutions to staging the difficult endings of these operas – “Aida” and “Götterdämmerung” – profoundly affected me, to the point of tears with “Aida.”

              Finally, when I called the “Don Carlos” “legendary,” I mean that in an unequivocally positive way. It began with an audience so sharply divided that the Premiere was halted at several points by booing and yelling and over a short time has become a sure-fire sell-out cult classic. When departing after running Staatsoper for 19 years, Ioan Holender was asked of which productions he was most embarrassed (Alfred Kirchner’s “Der Freischütz” and David Pountney’s “Forza”) and most proud, to which he named “Don Carlos.”

              Oh, just come see it when it’s next on! Ya gotta be there!

            • Porgy Amor

              I was also surprised at the description of Eboli’s actions in the Philippe/Grand Inquisiteur scene as being comic. In the house, it is electrifying.

              First of all, thanks for your on-site report; very interesting.

              Second, I don’t think that comedy and suspense are mutually exclusive. It did not work at all for me (on the video version), but I thought this blend is what Konwitschny was trying to achieve here. There is real danger for Eboli, but she’s rushing around and pulling the exasperated faces, and every time she is on the verge of getting away, the Inquisitor does something else (unknowingly, it seems) that prevents her — standing on an article of her clothing, moving in the way of the door.

              It is similar to the way we laugh at Lucy Riccardo navigating a ledge, many stories high, in her Superman costume. Being at a great height on a narrow ledge is scary (even knowing that the actor is only a few inches or feet off the ground, I get the sweaty palms every time I watch that kind of scene), but it’s still funny that the birds are landing on her and she can’t get the window open and so on.

            • Buster

              I saw the Konwitschny Don Carlos too, in Hamburg, the house where it was designed for, and where it opened in 2001, with Ingo Metzmacher conducting. Loved it. Moments like the appearance of the Voix celeste, or Elisabeth being stripped of her red dress, and forced into a black one (the horror on Barbara Haveman’s face), or Eboli, making pants out of her dress with one simple gesture were incredibly strong. It is just as great as his Aida.

            • turings

              I have ordered the DVD anyway – sounds like one to see! I was actually in Vienna a couple of years ago when it was on and thought of going but couldn’t get tickets.

  • Lohengrin

    Did´nt you hear what happened between Stein and Kaufmann?

    • Feldmarschallin

      Yes I know the whole story and how she also got involved because she stood up for Kaufmann etc etc. He was moving into the new house at the time and they had just done performances of the opera here. There was no direction at all and Stein did nothing so he drove home and she told Stein they knew what they were doing. Stein complained to Pereira and was told not to upset his principles.

      • FragendeFrau82

        I missed this. I know JK made some dry comments about being directed that it means something different if you enter stage left or stage right…but please elaborate. When you say she stood up for Kaufmann, do you mean Harteros? Thanks.

        • Feldmarschallin

          Yes Harteros. They realized Stein had no ideas. Hours and hours went by and they weren’t even used and trivial things were being discussed that had nothing to do with them. He wanted to leave and she said she would inform him on what was going on. Stein got upset that he left and she said they had sung this opera already together many times and understand each other and what the other is doing.

          • FragendeFrau82

            Thanks so much--I didn’t know. Good of her to stay on!

            • Lohengrin

              Anja and Jonas seem to be really good colleagues and reliable friends.

          • Rackon

            Didn’t the DC rehearsals also overlap for a time with Trovatore performances in Munich?

            I read an interview with Stein last winter where he responded to criticism of the DC production by complaining that the principals (by which I took him to mean mainly Kaufmann) were too occupied elsewhere to show up for rehearsals so of course the acting suffered. Those gosh darn stars were too busy to receive his wisdom so what’s a poor director to do? I nearly spit my tea when I read that.

            • Feldmarschallin

              Well no not really. The Trovatore performances were at the end of June and the beginning of July. There were two Don Carlos performances at the end of July in München and the Salzburg Don Carlos opened early August. This was not a very detailed rehearsed production like Herheim’s Meistersinger or really any Herheim production. Did Stein also mention that he wanted to get JK fired? When she heard that she told them if that happenes they can also look for a new Elisabeth. Pereira is too smart to let his stars go and be left with that Stein production and who only knows would have sung.

            • armerjacquino

              Stein has directed some wonderful opera productions over the years. The key is having singers who can be bothered to rehearse.

            • turings

              If the singers really didn’t show up to or engage with the rehearsal process, then that seems quite a reasonable defense on the director’s part. Not sure why a ‘traditional’ production would require less work than something by Herheim – if anything, it’s more important that the acting be interesting and detailed, when that’s what your effects depend on.

            • Rackon

              I know Stein’s reputation and I don’t doubt he’s done some fine work.

              OTOH, I can understand why a busy and accomplished professional would become impatient standing around for hours and days at a time with nothing to do.

              No way Pereira would fire either of the dream team.

            • Porgy Amor

              He has, aj, but an artist’s work doesn’t always deepen as he ages; sometimes the flame burns lower. You get something that you recognize as “a Zeffirelli production,” “a Schenk production,” et cetera, in its broad outlines, but it faintly echoes the work on which the director built his reputation. The septuagenarian Stein may be one of these.

              Patrice Chéreau was still doing great work in opera at the time of his death. Everything new he did was an event not only because of his famous name but because it was a very carefully considered, personal view of Tristan, House of the Dead, Elektra. I never thought the times had passed him by, and I also never felt he was pathetically trying to keep up with the younger provocateurs. Stein’s Pelléas et Mélisande some years ago was excellent, but the Boccanegra and Macbeth of more recent years were very disappointing, in my opinion, and no one seems to have loved his contribution to Don Carlo. I found it neither terrible nor in any way special. The best I would say is that it did not impede my enjoyment of the superb orchestra and a mostly good cast. The one member of the production team to emerge with any glory is the lighting designer (Joachim Barth, to give him his due).

              We will never know what would have ended up on the stage had Stein not left the Met Boris before its completion, but the physical elements were already completed to his specifications, and I suspect it would not have been much better than what Wadsworth had to pull together at the eleventh hour.

            • armerjacquino

              Point taken, Porgy- but I twitch a bit when I hear of singers saying ‘We’ve done this before, we know how to do it’. Utterly unserious approach to the job which leads to the kind of bland, globalised borefests people on parterre are rightly annoyed by. Harteros has form for this, of course: having to rehearse for as long as *two weeks* was enough to make her withdraw from one production.

            • Feldmarschallin

              No need to worry to much Armer since Bachler has her on a very short list of people who can show up right before the performance with no rehearsals at all if she wishes (Kaufmann and Gruberova are also on the list). You at the Garden can have Jaho or whatever her name is and she can rehearse for 8 weeks if you wish. Funny that I have never heard her in a bad performance and have about 80 of them live. Maybe Frittoli is also available for long rehearsals and can sing Elisabetta there the next time. :) or better yet Poptarts. She also isn’t very busy and loves to rehearse pity the voice just falls apart when she sings.

            • Rackon

              Turings, perhaps FM can elaborate, but my understanding was JK was present at rehearsals but begged off attending all of them when it emerged Stein had almost nothing for him to do. JK of all singers is normally prepared and eager to engage with a director -- he enjoys exploring the acting side of his characters. But it just wasn’t happening. Whatever the reason, Stein didn’t have much to say to either JK or AH. Watching the production I don’t see evidence of detailed direction of the other singers either. (And of course, singers are not paid for rehearsals.)

              Thank you FM for the timeline info.

            • grimoaldo

              “the kind of bland, globalised borefests people on parterre are rightly annoyed by”

              That would certainly not be my opinion of *anything* I ever saw or heard with the two of them together in it. I am very grateful to them for singing Verdi and Salzburg and Munich for sharing their *fabulous* performances with us, if others don’t like them very much, they don’t have to watch them for free.

            • Well, the really effective response to the singer who says “I’ve done this before” is to say “But this is a completely different Don Carlo from anything you’ve done before, a total restudying from the ground up.” And then, of course, to be ready to jump into a scene with your restudied ideas at your fingertips.

              My experience is that the absolute worst and most disastrous thing that can happen at a rehearsal is for the director to allow the singers to get bored. Better to send them home an hour early than to let them get bored.

            • spiderman

              Dear FM, why do you need to hit on another soprano just to protect your beloved Harteros. If Covent Garden thinks she should rehearse, let them. I think it’s also a good point if an opera house wants a performance with a cast which has rehearsed together enough as it is a good point to resign because you have a sick and elderly husband at home.
              She still has more than enough opera houses to proof her qualities. No need to bitch about her replacements.

            • armerjacquino

              There’s no need to be so aggressive, FM, and as spiderman says there’s no need to bitch about other singers. I’ve said on many occasions that I’d love to see Harteros in London- I’ve spent a lot of money trying. She is, by any lights, a major artist. I just think that if she were a bit more professional and serious about her art, she’d be a better one. Artists improve by challenging themselves and by collaborating, not by saying ‘Oh, I’ve done this, I know how it goes’

            • Lohengrin

              As everybody knows and is able to watch at the moment in ROH Kaufmann loves to create a figure. As DC in Salzburg he showed a logical and elaborated character, nothing was missing (look at the DVD!). What was most wrong in Steins direction were the chorus-scenes, especially the Autodafé. But this was neither Kaufmanns nore Harteros´fault.

            • Lohengrin

              “He’s very observant in rehearsals and doesn’t take things unless he’s convinced, so he’s constantly exploring ways through suggestion – and sometimes through irritation – to find what’s right.” Pappano about Kaufmann rehearseling Des Grieux………

            • Rackon

              You just beat me to it Lohengrin.

              The quote is from Jessica Duchen’s excellent interview with Pappano in today’s The Independent. Sir Antonio is full of praise for Kaufmann’s vocal technique, has a few things to say about conducting, opera and funding cuts etc.

            • turings

              I was just speaking generally, Rackon. I like Kaufmann in interviews (though I’m not a fan of his voice) and he does always seem very serious about the work.

              Interesting if Stein did try to get rid of him from the production – the power dynamics between star singers and directors (and singers and star directors) must be a nightmare for intendants.

  • Feldmarschallin

    Yes that review is more or less how I felt when I saw the production. Great singing by Kaufmann, Harteros and Semenshuk and way past their prime singing by Hampson and Salminen. Boring production yet great conductor. Too bad the cast wasn’t Kaufmann, Harteros, Semenshuk, Pape and Mattei directed by anyone else. Well maybe not Sher.

    • turings

      I know Peter Mattei sang Posa in the Hytner production when it opened in Norway, but has he sung it much since? I love his voice, but wonder would it work in this. If we’re fantasy casting, I’d like Tézier and Furlanetto – I heard Pape do it a couple of weeks ago and was not that impressed with his interpretation.

      Abdrazakov has Filippo in his repetoire now – here’s his Ella giammai m’amo from 2012:

      Voice sounds a bit light and the acting is a bit general yet, but I like it.

  • parpignol

    Kwiecien and Furlanetto were both aces alongside Kaufmann in Don Carlo at Covent Garden last spring. . .

  • Cicciabella

    Congratulations on a thorough and flowingly written review, Ivy. I must, however, disagree with you on Villazon. I heard Villazon singing Carlo in 2004 under Riccardo Chailly (Amsterdam, Willy Decker directing), and he had every business singing the role then. He not only had enough voice for the part (one or two moments of pushing aside), but was completely believable as a tortured character on the verge of snapping. This one-second-close-to-madness quality is lacking in both Alagna and Kaufmann’s interpretations, however marvellously they sing it. Vocally exciting, riveting and unforgettable: that’s how I remember Villazon in Don Carlo.

    • Hi Cicci thanks for that POV, I’m basing Villazon on the CG video where he sounds very over parted. But then again his prime was so short …

      • Regina delle fate

        Well, I saw both of these Villazon Don Carlos in the theatre -- in Amsterdam it was borderline -- only four acts of course and his first time in the role -- and only occasionally did he sound pressed, but the five-act RO Don Carlo was over the edge for him. He sounded at the end of his tether. and clearly knew he was overparted. There’s a story that he was so upset by his performance at one of his performances -- he cancelled a couple -- that he trashed his dressing-room, locked himself in and had to be persuaded by Furlanetto to come out and finish the performance. Obviously this isn’t from either of the horses’ mouths, but I’ve heard this from several “inside” sources. I’m sort of amazed that he’s singing Carlo again in Berlin next season.

        • Cicciabella

          Thank you, Regina, for weighing in, having experienced both assumptions in Amsterdam and London. An extra act and a few years seemed to have made all the difference. Having heard Villazon live recently, I too am concerned that he’s singing Don Carlo again. Of course I wish him well in the role: I absolutely abhor people gloating over vocal failure.

    • Lohengrin

      “This one-second-close-to-madness quality” of Villazon seems so unnatural and exaggerated to me, that I cannot believe it. Both, Alagna and Kaufmann are closer to a real person for me. (V and A I have only seen on video, K in Münchan and Salzburg live.)

      • Cicciabella

        Obviously, one can’t argue with the subjective experience of an interpretation. But Don Carlo IS an unhinged character. In an era when monarchy was ordained by God, absolute and unquestioned, he openly rebels against his father and emperor. It’s the very essence of exaggeration. Villazon made me believe that Carlo would do such a thing from the word go. But that’s my subjective experience.

        • I think the idea of Carlos being unhinged comes from our historical knowledge of the Infanta, who WAS mentally unstable and physically deformed, probably a result of all that royal inbreeding. However in Schiller’s play he’s sort of a romantic hero. Verdi’s opera is more Schiller than history as well. After all he has the Queen and Eboli both in love with him.

          • manou

            He may have been physically deformed, but he was still a man, and therefore an Infante.

            • :( Infante. I feel stupid.

            • oedipe

              He may have been physically deformed, but he was still a man

              Judith Butler (and others) would say that gender is a mere construct: we are not a gender, we “perform” a gender.

            • manou

              Does this mean Butler only “performs” wearing tails and white gloves whilst offering drinks?

            • oedipe

              Dunno, we don’t socialize together. Here she is “performing” publicly:

          • Cicciabella

            The historical Carlos was mentally unstable, physically weak and pitiable. It seems everybody disliked him except the queen, who was affectionate and protective towards him. I agree that Schiller and Verdi’s Carlo is another figure altogether, more manly and romantic, but he is still crazed, crazed with love, and he crosses the line when he openly defies his father and when he makes advances towards his mother-in-law. His grip on reality is so tenuous that he actually believes he can somehow conduct some kind of relationship with her without being executed for treason. It is this reckless quality that I admire in Villazon’s performance. (I’m aware that the very name “Villazon” provokes very strong reactions among opera lovers.)

            • I loved Villazon in his prime. And I loved him when he wasn’t in his prime. For instance there’s a Manon video with him and Dessay where both of them are teetering vocally but they’re dramatically compelling. That being said his voice was always essentially a sweet lyrical voice, and when he went for the spinto roles it tended to fray.

              I never got to hear him live in Don Carlo, I’m just basing my judgment on the Royal Opera House video, where he does sound overparted, and by that time, I’m not even sure whether the “crazed” look was him acting or him trying so hard to sing that he looked like he was going to pop a vein.

            • manou

              Ivy -- I saw Villazon live (twice) in the Hytner production. He was at the very edge of his vocal possibilities and it was very distancing, disconcerting and quite hard to watch.

              Is the Manon DVD the McVicar Liceu version? I particularly dislike the Saint Sulpice scene in that production when they are both rolling on the floor while he is supposed to resist her. And Dessay mangles the text, too.

            • Yes I’m talking about the Liceu production. Dessay and Villazon both have vocal problems but nevertheless I thought they were very compelling dramatically.

            • Porgy Amor

              I remember when unedited clips from that Manon run were surfacing in the summer of 2007, possibly made with someone’s phone. It was very alarming, and I was not surprised when he made the announcement shortly thereafter that he was taking time off. So, I think of that production as “when the cheering stopped”; he’s never really been the same. I’ve never seen the official release on Virgin. I’m sure they were able to patch together something that wouldn’t be so uncomfortable to hear (also the case on the Don Carlo with him and Poplavskaya, although he’s so obviously on the edge there that I can’t really enjoy his performance).

              For instance there’s a Manon video with him and Dessay where both of them are teetering vocally but they’re dramatically compelling.

            • Cicciabella

              Yes, Ivy and manou, Villazon’s Carlo on the ROH DVD is pushed and painful to listen to. I heard him in the role three to four years before. Maybe we tend to forget now, after his vocal crises and everything, that at that time Villazon was the most exciting tenor since Alagna, with a genuine, bright Italianate sound and an old-fashioned, plangent singhiozzo (hiccup) in the voice. I’ve noticed that many Northern Europeans dislike this way of singing and think it’s affected and over-the-top (I’m talking about the singing, not the acting), and prefer more “realistic” tenors. I still think there’s nothing more thrilling than an Italianate sound in Italian opera, rare as it is these days. So be it.

            • manou

              Here the original Saint Sulpice duet with Natalie forgetting her lines at around 6.08:


              and here is the doctored version (at around 7.07:


              Again -- if he is supposed to be aloof, what is he doing with his hands all over her?

          • grimoaldo

            DON CARLOS
            (tirant l’épée)
            Par le Dieu qui m’entend,
            Je serai ton sauveur, noble peuple flamand!

            Le fer devant le Roi! L’Infant est en délire!

            (His sword before the King!He’s lost his mind!)

          • DellaCasaFan

            Related to the issue of historical accuracy, I never understood or liked Eboli’s eyepatch in the opera. For sure, there is a painting of the real Eboli, Ana de Mendoza, with an eyepatch but she was neither a mistress to Philip II nor infatuated with Don Carlos. I don’t understand how this authenticity about the eyepatch fits into the Schiller/Verdi “Don Carlos.” I could be wrong, but wasn’t it only the John Dexter production that used it?

            • Porgy Amor

              Bruna Baglioni does not have one in the video of the Visconti. Nor Agnes Baltsa for Karajan, Luciana D’Intino for Zeffirelli, Nadja Michael for Konwitschny, Ekaterina Gubanova for Decker, Dolora Zajick for Braunschweig, Sonia Ganassi or Anna Smirnova for Hytner. (Whew!)

              Waltraud Meier for Bondy only appears in a patch when the role is almost over. She gouges out her own eye during “O don fatal,” and then she has it when she appears in IV/2 to tell Carlo to flee.

              I am sure other productions besides the Dexter have had the Eboli in the eye patch, but it’s certainly not common enough to be considered the norm, judging from the video catalog and what I’ve seen live.

            • Porgy Amor

              Has the patch, not the eye. That would be Regie. “Flee! And take this to remember me by!”

              She gouges out her own eye during “O don fatal,” and then she has it when she appears in IV/2

            • messa di voce

              My memory is that Horne didn’t wear the patch when the production was new; the pacthiness was added when Troyanos took over the role in a later season.

            • marshiemarkII

              Dellita, I believe the patch is definitely historical, and while there is no real basis for her love for Don Carlos, she was definitely a lover of both the King and the King’s secretary, someone by the name of Silva (I think), and with Silva she was part of a plot against the King that merited her to be imprisoned in her ancestral home in Pastrana. She was the Duquesa de Pastrana until daddy bought her the Principality of Eboli in Italy, so she could acquire enough rank to be admitted to the Corte de Felipe II. She and her family were serious social climbers and gold-diggers. In the center of Pastrana there is the Plaza de la Hora (Square of the Hour) appellated such because she was allowed to show her face (with the patch! which was a fashion item by then) everyday at 6PM for one hour, inside a cage, so she could get some fresh air and so the popoli di Pastrana could remind her of her vile deeds, every day per sempiternum….. I loooooove the story!
              I AM la Principessa Ana Claudine de Mendoza, Duquesa de Pastrana :lol:

            • DellaCasaFan

              marshiemarkII says:
              “I AM la Principessa Ana Claudine de Mendoza, Duquesa de Pastrana”

              Dear La Principessa Ana Claudine de Mendoza, Duquesa de Pastrana, aka La Parterriana Marshie (and I view the title La Parterriana even more coveted than La Principessa :-)) What a story! I knew about the plot but not about the naughty affair with the King. The plot was with a certain Perez and Silva was your husband :-) And, as I read once (though the source could be wrong), his ancestor was indeed another Gomez de Silva, the same one whom Hugo/Verdi made blow the horn and drive the poor Ernani to suicide…

            • marshiemarkII

              Dellita I think we are sistahs already (WHERE IS CAMMIB!?!?!?!?!?!) :lol: I love history and I remember most of that story, but you are RIGHT!!!! it was Perez the secretary, maybe it was wishful thinking on my part, to make the relationship closer, because “Silva” happens to be in the real Ana Marshhilde Claudine de Pastrana’s family tree :lol: it is a royal Portuguese name, so very apt for a true Q like this Q over here :lol:

              You probably also know then that the real Principessa de Eboli is considered one of the first feminist icons, for what reason? I know not. So perhaps you can enlighten us a bit more, I think there is a great book by a Spanish academician relating the reasons, but have not read it, though I once had pretensions to buy it and put it on my reading list (never did of course).

              Psst, I hope you also know that Marshhilde adds “Claudine” liberally to all her icons, the real PdE was only Ana of course :lol:

            • DellaCasaFan

              Marshhilde-Claudine, I’m afraid I am not familiar with her feminist iconic status. Perhaps it has to do with her bold move to have an open romance as a widow, for which she was condemned to imprisonment…

              I also wonder about Camille and hope she’ll be back soon!

            • marshiemarkII

              OMG Dellita, I went to the wiki page to see if I’d find the book name/aauthor and what do I see but that Ana de Mendoza was also a SILVA by BIRTH! as her mother was a Silva, so maybe marshhilde herself is actually related to her after all :lol: no wonder I love her so much!

              You know the Silvas are originally from Portugal, but then wetbacked their way across the river into Extremadura in Spain, from where a large proportion of the Conquistadors that went to South America were from, so it all makes sense, so her father was from the Poderosos Mendoza de Castilla but her madre was an Extremeña, like marshhilde’s ancestors…..

            • Lohenfal

              Liebster MMII,

              So you may be a relative of Eboli??? OMG!!! Now I’ll never be able to hear Don Carlos again without thinking about this.

              Your contribution to Strauss-Tag did not go unnoticed. The Behrens postings were most welcome, especially the Elektra scene, which she performed in the most moving way imaginable. I haven’t listened to the Dresden concert yet, but I’ll listen to Goerke with your comments in mind. I recorded about 10 hours of Strauss programming over German radio, including the Thielemann, so I’ll get to it in due time.

              Those pictures of where you’ll be in France looked inviting. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your séjour, however brief. :-D

            • marshiemarkII

              Yes carissssimo lohenfal, can you believe it?!?!?! I don’t know why I had never noticed before that her mother was Catalina de Silva, I guess because her complete name is Ana de Mendoza y la Cerda, but when she was born she was baptized as Juana de Silva (which means the father didn’t quite recognize her right away). Now her husband was definitely a Portuguese nobleman, of the original Silvas.

              Glad you enjoyed the gorgeous Recognition Scene, tomorrow we will honor her at the Metropolitan Club, with a fundraising dinner for the HBF, where Mario Chang will be the main attraction! that’s why I have been so busy and not so regular here. Then I leave on Saturday and hope to surely enjoy what appears to be a glorious place in Villarceaux (mille grazie oedipe!), here I was thinking it was Morris County New Jersey :lol: but I promise I will be more regular upon my return!.

              And yes Thielemann is the absolute most glorious heir to all of the greatest from the past!!!! Furtwaengler, Boehm and Karajan, all rolled into one, he is GOD!!!!

              Oh and our British Qs should not miss the Don Giovanni opening in Glyndebourne on the 18th!!!! with the sublime Layla Claire! and I know caro Cocky is on vacances in Greece but manoucita?!?!?!?!? would loooooove to hear a report!

            • manou

              marshie -- the Glyndebourne Don Giovanni has already opened and here are the reviews:







              and The Times says : As for the Don’s other conquests, Serena Farnocchia’s torchlight soprano makes for a relentlessly blazing Donna Elvira, though her decibels don’t reach as far as Layla Claire’s subtly penetrating and varied tones. She’s a very acceptable Donna Anna.

              Not sure yet whether we shall make it to a performance as we already have a heavy opera schedule (not to mention the fishing schedule…). Four operas this week alone…

              Enjoy la vie de château -- it seems that you were definitely born to it…

            • DellaCasaFan

              Congratulations, Marshhilde de Silva! I did some espresso genealogy search for you this morning, and do you know that the great Diego Velasquez could also be one of your ancestors?! “The father of Diego Rodrigues da Silva y Velázquez was João Rodrigues da Silva, of the illustrious house of Silvas of Portugal, Porto, second son who spent his fortune and without Hespanha (I guess, Portugese $$ in those days) and had settled in Seville, where he married Jeronyma Velasquez.” (Google translation courtesy :-))

              On your (likely) famed Eboli side (“Don Carlos” will never be the same!), you can go way back to her illustrious Silva line here:

            • marshiemarkII

              Wow those are fabulous reviews of Layla Claire manoucita!!!! many thanks for compiling them for me, and hope you do go and regale us with your insights! come on, fishing over opera?!?!?!?!?!

              Dellita, fabulous family tree Ms Mendoza had, no? in fact I had also forgotten that she is the great grand daughter of the Gran Cardenal Mendoza, who refereed the big Castillian civil war that ended with Isabel La Catolica as victor. The august Cardinal was on the wrong side, at first siding with Juana la Beltraneja, but then he switched sides and it was a change that also changed history, as that consolidated young Isabel as Reina de Castilla, to be followed by her marriage to Fernando, then the unification of Spain, and then well 1492…….

              Isabel la Catolica was so thankful and close to the Gran Cardenal Mendoza that she would call his children (who would be Ana de Mendoza’s grand parents) “mis bellos pecaditos” (“my tiny little sins”, because he as a Cardinal, well, couldn’t really have children now, could he?) :lol:
              So Ana de Mendoza was herself a descendant of SIN just like Marshhilde the Verderberin :lol:

            • marshiemarkII

              Marshhilde the Verderberin und Frevlerin of course :lol:

  • For those who were there … how was the reception to this production/performance? I guess I’m glad to have Kaufmann/Harteros/Semenchuk preserved on video but knowing how hard/expensive tickets for Salzburg performances are, I would have been very disappointed.

    • Feldmarschallin

      The reception for the the three mentioned was excellent. I had just heard two Carlos’ at the BSO with Kaufmann and Harteros and there she got the most applause. In Salzburg it was the same but not as noticeable. There was also great applause for Pappano and booing for Stein.

      • Lohengrin

        Feldmarschallin, what is you feeling by comparing the Don Carlo productions in BSO and Salzburg. I for myself love BSO much more.

        • Feldmarschallin

          Well I am not a fan of the BSO either but it is way better than Salzburg. Konwitschny Wien is perhaps the best one available now. But as Ivy has said already the Stein could have been Met 1950 as well.

    • grimoaldo

      I wasn’t there but watched the webcast. I would be surprised if many people left with a feeling of disappointment as the music making in Act Five was sheer heaven. Heaven. As close as we will get in this life.

      • FragendeFrau82

        Grim, that is what I heard from people who were there…

  • ernestlow

    Search out the Karajan Salzburg production in 1986 captured on Sony DVD, the singing there is preferable -- Carreras, Cappuccilli,Furlanetto, Salminen, Baltsa (a hair raising Eboli) and Izzo d’Amico …

    • I also like the 1996 French version with Alagna, Mattila, Meier, Hampson, and van Dam. Eboli isn’t quite the role for Meier but she makes it work with her usual sense of drama. Hampson is in much fresher vocal estate. Alagna, Mattila, and van Dam all excellent, and it’s the only video sung in French.

      • One would think that vocally (if not stylistically), Eboli should still nicely in Meier’s voice but it didn’t for me. Still, a very fine performance overall. Alagna at his absolutely peak.

      • Porgy Amor

        it’s the only video sung in French

        I hope I’m not bringing up bad memories by reminding you of De Billy/Konwitschny, but I have to do it. That’s a much fuller French Don Carlos. Very badly sung, though.

      • Clita del Toro

        I too really like that French version (adore van Dam). The Salzburg production is truly awful. The first scene was truly depressing.

      • Donna Anna

        Agreed, Ivy. This production was my first time hearing DC in French and it’s breathtaking, vocally and dramatically.
        And like you, I loved Villazon in his very short prime. I heard him live in Boheme in 2006 and even then, the strain was audible. He’s a compelling actor, especially when it comes to overwrought heroes.

        • grimoaldo

          That production was shared with Covent Garden with the same cast only Martine Dupuy instead of Meier. I saw it live and remember it like yeaterday.It was great, great, great.

    • Not my favourite Don Carlo. Dramatically, it’s very stodgy. Carreras is past his best and the soprano is just OK.

      • Porgy Amor

        OK = “overparted kid”?

  • Porgy Amor

    I liked this rather more than Ivy did. In fact, if someone were to ask me now for a recommendation for a DVD of Don Carlo in Italian, I would go with this one, and I have all the other major contenders. For starters, it just offers so much music. It’s half an hour longer than the Met 1983, which itself was pretty generous, and the edition Pappano settled on is a good one. All I miss is the prelude to Act III, but we all know that’s gorgeous, we’ve heard it a lot and we can get it anywhere. The costume exchange (done sans ensuing ballet) does make more sense of the subsequent mistaken-identity business in the garden. I liked hearing (besides the long version of the Fontainebleau act we used to get in the Met’s Dexter production) Rodrigo’s account of his Flanders trip in his first meeting with Carlo, and the “Lacrimosa” set piece over Posa’s body, and Filippo’s extended exchange with the rebellious crowd (no Eboli running on in disguise), and the quiet, strange ending following the Queen’s exclamation…but, elsewhere, when there are options from which to choose, consistently Verdi’s latest-and-greatest music (such as the Posa/Filippo duet and the quartet in Act IV).

    Where I do agree with the review is in the identified highlights, the vocal performances of Harteros, Semenchuk, and Kaufmann (some sharpness from both women notwithstanding); the altogether stunning playing of the VPO under Pappano, who has matured into one of the great conductors of this score. There is first-rate choral work to match. I also want to speak up for the video direction, which really lets us see all of that huge stage. However one feels about how Stein is or isn’t filling the space, we’re always well oriented, not just bouncing from close-up to medium shot and back. I had no issues with the sound.

    Also, that Count Lerma (who doubles as the Herald) is a wow. Benjamin Bernheim. I understand he sings Tamino and other lead roles. He’s very assertive and phrases beautifully, making a lot of music that can and does often pass without notice.

    Hampson and especially Salminen would not have been my first choices in these roles, and I like the suggestion upthread of Mattei and Pape, respectively. But they didn’t kill it for me, and I found things to like in Hampson’s performance, despite the vocal wear and the occasional resort to shouting and blustering. He has more of a feeling for this idealistic figure than he did that sweaty, twitching Giorgio Germont on the Decker Traviata, which I thought was almost a complete write-off.

    Halfvarson is now on all three of Pappano’s DVDs.

  • Another thing that bugged me about this opera: Elisabeth’s costumes. If you’re going to go “period” then at least bother to do some research. Philip II was very austere and demanded that his court dress in austere blacks.

    Here’s a portrait of Elisabeth:

    She would not have been wearing this low-cut lacy black number:

    • Feldmarschallin

      Well Salzburg in the summer and especially last summer was very hot. I remember thinking of poor Harteros and Kaufmann who were in furs in the first act. The low cut will be cooler than the high cut number in the picture.

      • You mean this purple atrocity?

        Anyway the low square cut is more appropriate for Anna Bolena/Tudor England than Don Carlo/Inquisition Spain. Which kind of confirms my impression that not much thought, research or planning went into this production.

        • Clita del Toro

          LOL Harteros looks like a bag lady from the 40’s.

        • Feldmarschallin

          That outfit was ghastly. Have never seen her in such an ugly costume.

  • Fidelia

    Thanks for the good (as usual) review, Ivy. I gave the DVD slightly higher marks than you, simply for the fine musical qualities. I actually enjoyed the grand, sweeping, terrifying stuff, but your remarks are spot on.

    I also learned something, having never ever heard about Resting Bitchface and its JK Glumface variation. Wonderful, and so true!!

    Have not yet heard Don Carlos in its Original-French-for-God’s-sake! and will seek out the version you mention. I’m sure Alagna must be great.

  • Feldmarschallin

    That hair and dress look horrible on Borodina.

  • Constantine A. Papas


    Excellent review: to the point, analytical, objective. Talking about low voices in DC, I have an old LP recording-I still use my turntable- with Gobbi and Christoff. Phenomenal. Stella is Elisabeth, with Nicolai and Filippeschi in the other leads. BTW, on a personal basis, I feel vindicated. You referred to the 2005 Salzburg production of La Traviata as an example of a performance for the ages. I described it, 7 years ago when I first saw the DVD- as La Traviata of the 21st century and beyond. I was crucified on this blog, by quite a few, as an ignoramus fascinated by Netrebko, a singer with a short neck, and good enough to sing in Detroit. It’s amazing how perceptions change with the
    passage of time!

    • Porgy Amor

      I hate it just as much as I always did, Constantine, if you want the balm of consistency. Not that I’d call you an ignoramus for liking it, even less so for liking Netrebko, whom I’ve liked in several other things. But this Don Carlo is a better Don Carlo (by the measures that matter most to me) than that is a Traviata.

  • Constantine A. Papas

    The fact that, nine years after it was first produced, we’re still talking or arguing, one way or another, about Decker’s Salzburg La Traviata is an indication of its impact whether we agree or not. It’s a performance for the ages, as Poison Ivy put it.

  • Feldmarschallin

    Here the big duet with a German soprano and a Bulgarian tenor:

    • Feldmarschallin

      Sorry Austrian soprano.

  • Fidelia
  • La Valkyrietta

    Poison Ivy,

    Thanks for the review. One question, is that you in the photo with JK? If so, I think I might have met you as I believe I recognize you, but I’m not completely sure. Anyway, if the person I recall was you, then our meeting happened many years ago at the Met, during the Wilson Lohengrin. JK was not singing, of course, but Elsa was Karita Mattila. I was in Orchestra front, forgot what row, but one of the first ten ones, on the left side but not too much to the side. There were a couple of seats empty and you came from somewhere, I don’t know if Orchestra rear or Standing room. You sat to my left. At the end of the act you made some favorable remarks about the stage movements. Was that you? If so, small world :).

    • Hi Valky, it could not have been me because I never saw the Wilson Lohengin :( But yes, that is me with JK :)

      • La Valkyrietta

        Poison Ivy,

        Okay it wasn’t you, but you do have then a near double :). I saw the Wilson twice, in 98 and in 2006, and it was in the second one I thought you were there. They were both with Mattila, the first with Hepner, the second with Vogt, and both with Pape as King Henry. I did not like the production, but it was not disgusting so as to not look at it if in the house. Now, had the tenor been JK, I would have seen it many more times. Very nice photo of you two :).

  • antikitschychick

    what a lovely DVD cover photo of Herr Jonas and Anja!! Thank you for the review as well Ivy…I largely agree with you about the performance and I echo your sentiments about the production. I still found the performance very compelling, with the exception of the two you mention, Hampson and Matti Salminen. Hampson I thought sang well but I just don’t find him very compelling vocally in Verdi. He lacks gravitas and legato imho though he is still a very formidable singer and actor. I admire him more for his intelligence and philanthropic efforts :-P.

    The tidbits that Feldm provided about the issues w/ the director were interesting. I don’t think Jonas has problems with long rehearsal periods as he is a regular at the Met and and ROH and so forth so what he says about the director seems credible (and a shame then!). Its nice JK and Anja look out for each other. They make a lovely stage pair.

  • Porgy Amor

    This may be of interest: I had assumed that Sony just slapped onto DVDs whatever was broadcast from the Summer Festival, minus the intervals where “scene change” is on the screen over shots of the audience, but that does not seem to be the case. I was looking at the YouTube upload tonight and I noticed that some of the reaction shots are different. I have seen the DVD several times now in part or in whole, so I am pretty confident I am right — for example, on the DVD, the camera is on Kaufmann chuckling in a coming-unhinged way when Posa suggests that Carlo give him the papers. On YT, there is also a part of the cabaletta of the Posa/Filippo duet where Salminen runs into trouble coordinating with Pappano, or runs out of air, or something, and seems to scramble to get through a line; that is not on the DVD. It seems it has been polished up a bit for the permanent document, with some reediting and probably splices from different performances. Not surprising at all, and probably standard practice, but I thought worth sharing.

    • Lohengrin

      Read in the booklez: “from 11-19. August”: this means from dress to at least two performances.
      There is also more focus on Don Carlo/Kaufmann than in the tv-transmission, which is on youtube.