Cher Public

parterre for the course

No need to crowd, cher public: there’s plenty of room for everyone to discuss off-topic and general interest subjects.

  • Satisfied
  • Divo Alert: Rene Pape canceled his Fidelio tomorrow.

    • My friend Robert Gleadow stepped in. Anyone hear how he sounded?

  • manou

    Interesting (well -- for me as I am going next week):

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      My sister happened to be in Orange earlier this week and was allowed to watch some of the rehearsal -- said Alagna was sounding great.

    • Fidelia

      Interesting indeed. I think you’ll enjoy that evening in Orange! The rest of us are looking forward to the TV broadcast on the 5th.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Euryanthe at Bard -- Dress Rehearsal last night
    It will be interesting to read the reviews of this slightly better than mediocre effort to stage Weber’s problematic opera for modern audiences. The major problem is that Leon Botstein does nothing to help propel the music and leads a very pendantic reading of the score. Best diction and overall performance comes from the beautifully prepared chorus. Whlle stage director Kevin Newberry has found some thought provoking solutions (the pantomime of the confusing “love secret” of Emma and Udo, the symbolic serpentine ‘what a tangled web we weave…’ construction he mangles the flow of the musical numbers with idiotic comings and goings of the chorus and badly placed soloists for their arias and ensembles. Ellie Dehn sings her heart out as Euryanthe, but Wendy Bryn Harmer voice in very unattractive and her Eglantine is devoid of evil. Bass-baritone Ryan Kuster is more accomplished as the villain Lysiart. Tenor William Burden try valiantly to sing in German, but the result is very provincial at best. Veteran Peter Volpe (known to some as coif stupebat) looks and sounds fine as the King (who apparently can only afford one set of clothes for the entire evening). Botstein could not refrain from shouting insults and instructions to the musicians onstage and in the pit.

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      Sidebar: During the rehearsal there was a sudden noise from the audience left side of the auditorium and people were shocked to notice that one of the cameramen making a video of the rehearsal had fainted. People rushed to his aid and a colleague literally jumped over several box seats to man the abandoned camera on the fly. The paramedics arrived and during the intermission we were told that the man had survived. All this during a thunder and lightening storm worthy of grand opera, followed by a beautiful rainbow as the sun set.

    • bluecabochon

      “Coif stupebat”? What dies that mean? Aghast hairstyle?

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Born on this day in 1802 dramatist and novelist Alexandre Dumas pere

    Born on this day in 1803 composer Adolphe Adam

    Born on this day in 1864 poet and dramatist Frank Wedekind

    Born on this day in 1880 composer Ernest Bloch

    Born on this day in 1921 tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano

    Happy 92nd birthday bass Bernard Ladysz

    Happy 80th birthday baritone Neil Howlett

  • oedipe

    France musique will broadcast live from Montpellier, in about 30min. (at 2:00pm NY time), Rameau’s Castor et Pollux:

    The cast:

    Colin Ainsworth, ténor : Castor
    Florian Sempey, baryton : Pollux
    Emmanuelle de Negri, soprano : Télaïre
    Clémentine Margaine, mezzo soprano : Phébé
    Sabine Devieilhe, soprano : Cléone
    Christian Immler, baryton basse : Jupiter
    Virgile Ancely, baryton : Le Grand Prêtre
    Philippe Talbot, ténor : Un Athlèe, Mercure, un Spartiate!programmation=event$castor-et-pollux-jean-philippe-rameau/31

  • Cicciabella

    I enjoyed reading this account of a visit to Glyndebourne, plus reflections on opera in general, by a someone who is not yet a full convert, music journalist Paul Morely:

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Born on this day in 1654 composer Agostino Steffani

    Born on this day in 1853 playwright David Belasco

    Born on this day in 1883 composer and conductor Alfredo Casella

    Born on this day in 1894 soprano Yvonne Printemps

    Born on this day in 1895 soprano Maria Zamboni

    Born on this day in 1930 contralto Maureen Forrester

  • Another day, another opera company whitesplaining to people of color that their racist opera is not really racist.

    • grimoaldo

      Oh, dear. This again. What needs to be explained to modern audiences is that Gilbert was not expressing any opinion about the real Japan, he couldn’t as he literally knew nothing about it. “The Mikado” was not criticised in his own lifetime as racist, but it was criticised by some for being disrespectful of the Japanese Imperial Family and the Emperor. Gilbert explained that he did not have any real Japanese emperor in mind, it was just a fantasy he made up. The very first words of the piece make it clear that it is an imaginary fantasy about the figures on Japanese vases and wall paintings, then fashionable as decoration in Victorian drawing rooms and literally the only thing Gilbert knew about Japan, come to life.
      “In 2014, after a production in Seattle, Washington, drew such criticism, the Gilbert biographer Andrew Crowther wrote: “the opera was not written with racist intent. It does not portray any of the characters as being “racially inferior” or indeed fundamentally any different from British people. The point of the opera is to reflect British culture through the lens of an invented “other”, a fantasy Japan that has only the most superficial resemblance to reality.” Crowther notes, as an example, that the starting point for the plot of The Mikado is “an invented ‘Japanese’ law against flirting, which makes sense only as a reference to the sexual prudishness of British culture”.However, he notes, production design and other features of traditionally staged productions of the opera, often “do look somewhat insensitive, not to say insulting. … It should, in theory, not be impossible to avoid such things in the future, with a little sensitivity.”He concluded, with respect to the exaggerated and caricatured elements often included in productions: “This is NOT what Gilbert and Sullivan is about. G&S is about silliness, and fun, and … mocking the powerful, and accepting the fundamental absurdity of life”.

      I absolutely agree it should not be staged with white actors putting on “yellowface” and caricaturing Japanese stereotypes, that is not what it is about.
      The work I found much more offensive, yes racist, when I saw the ENO production years ago was “Pacific Overtures”, that had an all-white cast in yellowface caricaturing Japanese stereotypes and it seemed to be some sort of historical pageant, kind of a history lesson or something trying to make points about actual real events, whereas “The Mikado” is just sheer zany invention with no intention of making any comment about the real Japan or real Japanese people, absolutely NOT racist though I do see how it can be misinterpreted that way.

      • phoenix

        m.croche, WQXR removed that page (awfully fast) so I didn’t have a chance to read it. Is The Mikado being banned? What’s it all coming to (and coming from)?

      • I don’t think the creators’ “intent”, so far as such a complex thing can be determined, is relevant in the present instance. It might make us think better of G&S as people, but it doesn’t affect the change in context from their time to ours.

        As for the contents of the argument: emphasizing the subtext over the text doesn’t make the very real issues with the surface text disappear. It just makes it seem as though you aren’t concerned with addressing many Asian-American reactions to this opera.

        It is not easy to tell an Asian-American or Japanese-American person “The Mikado is not really about you” when they see largely white casts dressing up as Japanese people, calling themselves childish names, drawing upon a reserve of Asian stereotypes, and behaving in an absurd fashion. These are people who, because of their ethnic background, have been on the receiving end of a wide variety of microagressions their entire life (with comments ranging from “What, you’re not good at math?”, “Where are you really from?”, “I think Asian women are sexy! So docile and feminine and exotic!” to racial epithets.)

        This is the experience of many Asian Americans, and this is why you shouldn’t presume that they will always give you the benefit of the doubt when you try to explain to them that something which looks racist to them isn’t really racist when viewed from just the right angle.

        • grimoaldo

          I think, as Crowther says, that the staging should be sensitively managed and make it clear that England, not Japan, is what is being made fun of.I would say a note should be put in the programme, even make an announcement over the PA before the overture and explain that there was a fad in Victorian England for Japanese decorations “on vase and jar, on screen and fan” as the very first words of the piece say and that is the only thing the creators knew about the real Japan, it is a fantasy about “what if the figures on those decorations came to life?” and no comment was intended then or now about the real Japan or real Japanese people.

      • armerjacquino

        in yellowface caricaturing Japanese stereotypes

        Um, it was a kabuki production. Bit of a difference.

        • Do you actually know what a kabuki production looks like? Check out the top photograph of Brian Wise’s article once more.

          Here’s what the director herself actually wrote: “And yes, the makeup is in the same over the top exaggerated hyper-real Kabuki-esque style that is not, nor intended to be a depiction of Japanese people, nor is it a yellowface caricature of Japanese people.”

          I fail to see how this odd defense (Kabuki -- hyper-real? Really?) is supposed to be a comfort to someone in the Asian-American or Japanese-American community. “Hey, guys, it’s all an over-the-top caricature using the Japanese national art form of Kabuki! Why can’t you people take a joke?”

          • grimoaldo

            aj was responding to what I said about “Pacific Overtures” I think m croche.

            • armerjacquino

              Yes, I was.

            • Oops! Not the first time I’ve made an ass out of myself, nor will it be the last. My apologies.

        • grimoaldo

          1987 -some of the cast members
          Reciter / Shogun / Emperor -- Richard Angas
          Fisherman / Shogun’s Physician / Madam / Story-Teller -- Terry Jenkins
          Shogun’s Mother / Second Noble / Fencing Master -- Simon Masterton-Smith (sang a song about tea dressed up like a Japanese woman, I remember)

          and so on, not a single actual Japanese person and they were seemingly trying to make some serious points about the real Japan and history, which I found very offensive back then, grotesque even.

  • According to Twitter, today’s Bayreuth performance of Tannhäuser has been interrupted due to technical problems and still hasn’t resumed.

  • Buster

    The new cpo recording of Gasparone is so authentic, it even omits Dunkelrote Rosen, which was from an other operetta, but added later on by Millocker himself. It is like hearing a new work -- much more balanced, spirited, and amusing. Fabulous to finally hear the work as written -- hopefully many other neglected Millocker operettas follow soon! And I have a new favorite singer: Miriam Portmann.

    • Buster

      Dr. Alexander Dick dug up more original Millöcker scores, apparently, Feldprediger, Arme Jonathan (a great live recording of the original exists, unfortunately in poor sound, conducted by Leopold Hager), Verwunschene Schloss (a radio performance exists). So hopefully this is indeed the first of a long series. Marius Burkert is the excellent conductor. All previous recordings followed the dreadful 1931 Steffan/Knepler version (Rothenberger, Barabas, Jurinac, Schlemm) -- these no longer have any use whatsoever.

    • Buster

      Miriam Portmann is much better than all the previous Carlotta’s, she really sings “mit heiterer Laune” as it says in the score. Rothenberger is too stiff, Jurinac too tragical, Barabas too lusty, and Schlemm overdoes it in general.

  • PushedUpMezzo

    Danielle de Niese is right now introducing Till Eulenspiegel at the Proms on BBC TV. Somebody seems to have done a Professor Higgins on her speaking voice, which now veers towards a rather pleasant rural Irish with a touch of Somerset.

    • PetertheModest

      Her make-up is way too heavy.

    • MontyNostry

      “Till is, like, a really wacky guy. I can’t see him being a hit on the lawns at Glyndebourne, dontcha know.”

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Born on this day in 1856 playwright George Bernard Shaw

    Born on this day in 1894 writer Aldous Huxley

    Born on this day in 1903 conductor Donald Voorhees

    • Buster

      Also celebrating today is Anne Schwanewilms. Happy birthday!

      • Clita del Toro

        I went to Anna’s FB page and wished her happy birthday. Love her. I know that she is not everyone’s cup of tea.

      • Clita del Toro

        Oops Anne, not Anna.

  • Feldmarschallin

    According to the Bayern 4 Carlo Bergonzi has died at age 90. I heard him only once in a Liederabend and he was a great artist.

  • Feldmarschallin

    Oedipe you might be interested to know that Tezier is doing Ernani at the BSO in 17/18. I haven’t heard yet who is the Ernani and Elvira but will make inquiries. Yesterday before the performance someone came out to make an announcement and that was that the three male leads all were under the weather but will sing. Tezier had some difficulties in the beginning but got better. Kaufmann was in grand form and she was even better than in the first run in Dec/Jan. She has dropped the Boccanegra Amelia from her rep now and therefore will not be singing in the Scala this fall. Apparently that is why the two Berlin performances were also cancelled at Easter.

  • Buster

    There is good news from Bayreuth too:

    “Auch die Abendkleider von der Grande-Dame der Volksmusik, Caroline Reiber, und Sopranistin Eva Lind wurden besonders beim Publikum gewürdigt”

    Maybe she can sing Eva in the new Barry Kosky Meistersinger?

  • DellaCasaFan

    I hope there will be some other Parterrians watching L’Orfeo webcast from the Bayerische Staatsoper today. Can’t wait for Gerhaher and Bonitatibus. I don’t think I ever heard Anna Virovlansky, today’s Euridice.

  • Feldmarschallin

    She was a great Waldvogel in the Siegfried and also sings things like Adele, Despina. You will enjoy her.

    • DellaCasaFan

      I indeed enjoyed her and also everyone else. I adore Gerhaher and his was the most soulful Orfeo I’ve heard. I saw later that this webcast had been announced on a new general topic thread and posted my reaction there as well. Superb production.

  • brooklynpunk

    I just got a message , while watching the live stream of “L’Orfeo” from Munich , that “due to occasional technical difficulties , the stream will resume at 8:30 “(I am assuming that refers to Munich time?)

    Does any one know/or think/ that means they are going to re-show the entire thing from the beginning?

    • oedipe

      Yes BP, that’s what it means. It’s going on right now.

      • brooklynpunk


  • brooklynpunk

    I am actually getting many more cut-offs on this re-broadcast, than I did the first time, on my macbook..anyone else?

    • DellaCasaFan

      I don’t know about now because I logged off from their website, but during the live broadcast it worked for me once I turned off the subtitles and used the old player. You can see this option if you scroll down their webcast page. Hope this helps.

    • oedipe

      Both versions have technical problems. But if you want, you can switch back to the initial stream: look below the webstream, there is a button that says “Switch to previous player version”.

      • brooklynpunk

        thanks, again!