Cher Public

Le déluge

The very busy Met press office announces: “The Metropolitan Opera announces cast changes for this season’s performances of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Verdi’s Aida, and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.”

James Morris and Michael Volle will share the role of Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, replacing Johan Reuter, who has decided not to add the role to his repertory. Morris will sing the role on December 2, 6, 17, 20, and 23, and Volle will sing it on December 9 and 13 (matinee).

“American soprano Tamara Wilson will make her Met debut in the title role of Verdi’s Aida this season, replacing Latonia Moore, who has withdrawn due to pregnancy.

“Aleksandra Kurzak will sing Gretel in the Met’s English-language holiday presentation of Hansel and Gretel on December 18, 23, 27, and 30, replacing Christine Schäfer, who has decided to take a sabbatical from performing this season. As previously scheduled, Andriana Chuchman will sing the role on January 8; casting for January 1 and 3 will be announced at a later date.”

 

  • ML

    Morris = wrong for Sachs!

    • Clita del Toro

      ML, I agree. I loved Morris’ Wotan, but his Sachs leaves me cold. I can’t understand why???

      • DeepSouthSenior

        I thought that Morris was wobbly and unstable as Sachs at the Met (seen on video) in 2001. He’ll be 68 in January 2015. No, thank you.

        I’m most interested in the Live in HD on December 13th. What about Michael Volle?

        • Ilka Saro

          Agreed. He’s just too old. I am surprised it’s not Placido Domingo, who seems to be the go-to singer for so much rep that could be given to someone younger.

        • Trappedinoperahell

          Volle was Sachs in Herheim’s Meistersinger in Salzburg last year.

      • ML

        Ah! Clita is back. Servus!

        Still waiting on Oedipe and Camille … .

        I suppose the “why???” is James Levine, whose old loyalties increasingly harm his work. Surely the casting department is not *soooo* useless.

      • Feldmarschallin

        Clita nice to have you back. Well just go ahead and boo Morris otherwise the management will keep doing things like this. Schande.

        • Gualtier M

          Morris is one of the greatest Wagner singers of all time. His Wotan is historic, a friend believes he sings the part better than Schorr or Hotter. Both those men had vocal declines in their fifties. Morris is bailing out the Met management when a younger colleague cancels less than four months before the opera opens. He is doing the house a favor and Volle is getting the HD and radio broadcast.

          Yes he is past his prime but he deserves respect. Don’t go if you don’t like the casting but show respect for a fine artist. I am going to a Volle show and skipping Morris.

          • meowiaclawas

            Bravo, Gualtier!!

          • marshiemarkII

            Fully Seconded Gualtier!!!!!, his Wotan with the sublimest Brunnhilde will never be equaled in Walkure, ever!!!! And he told me himself in 2007, when he last did the Hans Sachs, at the party after the prima, that for him SHE will always be his only Brunnhilde. One can only wish him the very best of luck at this late stage, but what a great artist!

            • ML

              MMII, he was certainly effective in the April 1990 Ring with HB, which I know we both enjoyed until the surreal non-curtain calls.

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            I agree Morris deserves respect insofar as everybody does, but this is not good casting. They should have tried harder to find somebody else, he is far too far past his best to be acceptable in this role at this point.

            • Agreed. I grew up with Morris as Wotan and years later, got to hear him twice in the part in the early aughts (in NYC and Chicago). Though he was well into his 50s and the voice had developed a wobble, he was still most impressive. But now, the voice is just not good anymore. His Oroveso and Fiesco both displayed a voice that should be retired, IMO.

              And frankly, I don’t agree with the argument put forth by Gualtier that is somehow meant to shame those who think this is bad casting.

            • Gualtier M

              I am not shaming those who think this is bad casting -- I might agree that this point in Morris’ career discretion is the better part of valor.

              However, I do wish to shame those who advocate booing an older veteran artist who is bailing out the Met in a desperate situation. ML may say there are many other international level Hans Sachs performers out there. But are they available on two months notice??? Yes I agree Gunther Groissbock, Gerald Finley or Bryn Terfel would be better choices. The Met chose Reuter and Morris only came into the picture when no one else was available. Clearly the Met made sure they moved heaven and earth to Volle for the HD. (BTW: who is the cover for this run?)

              But unless there is a young unkown Schorr, Schoeffler or James Morris hiding out in the German provinces who knows the role and is ready to take it to the Met, then Morris is the default choice.

              I seriously want to hear suggestions for in their prime or on the rise candidates for Hans Sachs who are available from November to January this season. Please name names.

            • Gualtier: Well, I certainly never advocate booing singers but I do think that people have a right to express the amazement at this bit of casting. I realise that this is very short notice and the world isn’t overrun with Hans Sachs. No doubt, this is a difficult spot for the Met. And no, I don’t have suggestion in mind, certainly not someone high-profile. But I’m sure there are unknown singers who would be willing to take the plunge. There are Wagnerian bass-baritones singing all over Germany and other European provincial houses. It’s not an ideal situation, but I’d rather have a newcomer who is adequate than veteran who should have hung up his gloves at least two or three years ago.

            • Krunoslav

              James Johnson, who sang Sachs for the Met in 1998, sounded very solid when i last heard him, as Wotan in 2011.

              He sang Sachs in Amsterdam in 2013.

            • Krunoslav

              Alan Held, who triumphed as Jokanaan in Philadelphia in May, added Sachs to his rep in 2013 in Tokyo. He sings the Dutchman in March in Washington and Kurwenal in Munich in July. I see no major gigs in December.

              Either Johnson or Held would surely be far preferable than Morris, who at this point has little voice and who was never an interesting or profound Sachs, well as he might have sung Wotan decades ago opposite the Only Pyramid Sellars.

          • ML

            Gualtier, the Met doesn’t need a favor. It needs a Sachs, and Morris isn’t one in 2014. His voice wasn’t right for the role even in 1994.

            They have four months. Surely a company of such stature could find a proper replacement if it chose to. But no. The “music director” has fallen back on someone he has long worked with — and the results be damned.

            • Gualtier M

              Yes, ML, the Met needed a BIG favor. Very few bass-baritones or basses are out there who sing Hans Sachs on an international level -- those who can are not waiting by the phone waiting to be called on two or three months notice.

              And no, the Met did not have four months -- the opening night is December 2nd and rehearsals would start in November. So that is two or three months at the most. So they need a major artist who knows the production and is available on very short notice. That basically leaves only 68 year old James Morris at the end of his career.

              In fact I would think that the Met in order to secure Michael Völle for two performances in December (including the HD) had to buy him out of an engagement or some rehearsals abroad.

              Also I would not entirely write off Morris -- he has good nights. When he sang his last Wotans in the last run of the Otto Schenk Ring Cycles, he sounded old in the first cycle but surprisingly strong and credible in the third cycle, if not exactly fresh tonally. I suspect that health permitting, Morris may improve vocally over his run.

            • ML

              With all due respect to you, Gualtier, and to Morris, I’m not buying any of it — not the scarcity of Hans Sachses “on an international level,” not the lead-time constraints, not the need to know (now) the staging, not the assertion “very short notice.”

              This is James Levine, and by sanction Gelb, doing a disservice to the theater audience for most of the run, and I’m sure it goes against the better judgment and abilities of Met casting staff.

              And yes, I do entirely write off James Morris for the role of Hans Sachs in 2014, in my humble anonymous far-distant, non-subscriber capacity, a Joe Schmoe who attended Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {380} when JL still couldn’t pace it.

              Your Volle buyout thought may be accurate, only to cynically save the intended DVD product.

            • overstimmelated

              One can’t help wondering if Gelb, who booked Volle for a future Ring after hearing his Sachs, wanted him in this telecast all along — even at the cost of short-changing the house patrons for the rest of the run. (Would a current world-class Sachs agree to forego the HD?)

              What happened to Adam’s rib and Amanda?

      • operaassport

        James Morris? Wasnt Donald McIntyre available?

        • Krunoslav

          Did they try Norman Bailey, who’s 81? He was very good as Sachs…

          • marshiemarkII

            I was at the Met this summer and someone mentioned that Donald McIntyre had just done one of Orestes’ servants, at some over 80 age, I believe, so wonderful they can keep on going……

        • operaassport

          I love Morris, his Wotan was shattering. But this is ridiculous.

    • laddie

      dreadful news.

      • ML

        Laddie, what’s going on in Scotland?

        • ML

          Answering my own question, the Glasgow “yes” margin seems lower than expected — pointing to a “NO” victory overall.

          • operaassport

            The Glasgow result hasn’t been announced yet. It’s not expected until midnight Eastern time. But no is looking good, thankfully.

  • antikitschychick

    “The Metropolitan Opera announces cast changes for this season’s performances of…Verdi’s Aida” this literally made my heart skip a beat lol I was like omfg nooooooooo this can’t be happening now that I’m so close to NY!!! Thank goodness the cast change involves Latonia Moore and congrats to her on becoming a mommy! :-). Ok I really should buy my tickets now! :-P.

  • Gualtier M

    Johan Reuter is basically a medium-sized baritone with a lyrical cast to his voice who never should have considered Sachs, or Wotan in the first place. Morris is old and wobbly and his Sachs was never on the level of his Wotan, but hey, he is available. Did Rene Pape ever unveil his Hans Sachs? He was listed as preparing it for Barenboim in Berlin and recorded the arias on his DG Wagner recital. I think he only sang the Rheingold Wotan and never got to the Walkure and Siegfried Wanderer?

    As for Tamara Wilson, good news about her debut. I heard her sing “O Patria Mia” flawlessly in a radio taping for WQXR. Sorry not to hear Latonia Moore but I am sure she is happy about the addition to her family. Hopefully the Met has future plans for Latonia Moore or maybe can squeeze her into another contract soon after the baby.

    As for Christine Schafer, well the handwriting was on the wall -- what WERE THEY THINKING WITH THIS CASTING??? I mean even if it was done four years in advance -- how was she sounding in 2010? She was 45 in 2010 and 49 now. When Schafer sang that geriatric Cherubino with the execrable Mojca Erdmann and Maija Kovalevska in 2012 the Met should have known that Gretel was a foolhardy decision.

    • well, I think the issue was that she was offered Gretel and not Hanz. I think she could do Hanz and do it well, if without distinction. Personally, i saw the writing in the wall when I saw her Sofie and had me wishing she had sung Octavian instead.

      Too bad because 49 is not old for a soprano. Is she having a vocal crisis?

      • ML

        It’s OVER for Christine Schäfer, OVER for Toby Spence.

        • Bill

          Christine Schaefer has cancelled virtually
          everything in Europe this past year -- I am not
          sure about lieder recitals but most everything in opera for which she was scheduled has had a
          replacement sing in her place.

    • Daniel

      Amen re that horrific Figaro shit-show a couple years ago. The men did a fine job, but the women, except the woefully underused Margaret Lattimore as Marcellina, were a travesty. I’ve enjoyed some of Christine Schaefer’s singing on disk--her arias in the 2001 St. Matthew Passion with Harnoncourt were gorgeous--but she hasn’t been very good lately. If this “sabbatical” is a step toward retirement, I think it’s a good call and wish her well.

    • ML

      Pape is Wotan on the Gergiev Walküre.

      • I’ve heard Pape’s Wagner album. To my ears, his voice doesn’t sound its best as Wotan and I think he is much better in bass roles. I’d like to hear more of him in Verdi.

    • ML

      Hans Sachs = Groissböck or Bretz or Volle.

      • ML

        … and, James Levine, if you ate your chickpeas, you would know this.

        • Quanto Painy Fakor

          If he ate his chickpeas, he’d have less control over Tom.

          • MontyNostry

            “Hat Er schon seine Bohnen gegessen, Wozzeck?”

      • Bill

        ML -- I do not think that Gabor Bretz has yet
        sung Hans Sachs. I have only seen him as
        Kothner (splendid) but he surely is up and coming
        with debuts at the Met and in Munich. Groissboeck
        will also be wonderful -- maybe even better.
        I was not fond of Volle’s interpretation of Mandryka -- far too childish and primitive and he didn’t have the wonderful Fischer-Dieskau, Weikl
        type voice (well George London, more bass than
        baritone was wonderful as well. Pape should sing it but I find it tough following his career.

        • ML

          I believe the role needs a young voice, meaning one in great condition. Ditto the Rheingold Wotan. The highs must be beautiful and part of the package, not a trial. Rutherford in Graz was the best I have heard; I don’t know how he did later in Oberfranken. Now he sings Billy Bigelow, lol. Koch would be good, I imagine, but not at the Met. Volle is a relatively safe bet, although already sounding old, if he doesn’t overdo it. The great thing about Groissböck and Bretz is how smart they are, another requisite obviously. Did you hear Bretz’s Gurnemanz? All the wisdom was there, and the legato! Honestly I don’t want either one of them going to New York, but if the casting folk are dumb enough to waste him on Escamillo, as Bachler sadly is too, at least no harm will be done!

          • ML

            “him” being Bretz, and sorry to ramble.

            • Bill

              Bretz has 5 or 6 Children -- so I imagine he will continue to sing alot in Budapest
              where this season he is singing Mefiszto
              in Gounod’s Faust in a new production.
              I imagine he is he cover in Bluebeard’s
              Castle at the Met as the Escamilos he is doing at the Met are concurrent with the Bartok. As Bluebeard he was sensational
              with the NY Philharmonic. He has sung all 4 bass roles in Don Giovanni in his career to date. I did not hear his Gurnemanz
              unfortunately, but Budapest has several
              good basses for that role, Parsifal being in the repertoire there regularly every season at Eastertime.

            • ML

              Big family. Understood.

              Of course, how stupid of the Met to have a glorious Hungarian bass on the premises and assign Bluebeard to someone else.

            • spiderman

              Bretz has 7 children. And I agree, he is a great voice, great actor and good musician!

            • spiderman

              Bretz has 7 kids …
              While he is a great singer and a fabulous actor, I think it is still too early for Hans Sachs!

            • ML

              If you heard his Gurnemanz, you would know he is ready for Sachs — a role that benefits from the support of a young voice.

              Problem is, people assume Sachs is late-career work. The same people cast Mime with retired Siegfrieds.

          • Buster

            James Rutherford was a fabulous Mandryka in the Loy Arabella, conducted by Marc Albrecht. First time I realized how beautiful the big scene between him and Arabella’s father is -- also in he orchestra.

          • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

            James Rutherford was spectacular as Sachs at Bayreuth in 2010 and 2011. And having a Sachs in his mid-30s really changed the dynamics between Sachs and Eva (once were lovers) and Sachs and Walther (the new boy in town, stealing his Eva away). But most important: he sang it absolutely gorgeously! I have the broadcast from one of those years (with Klaus Florian Vogt) and will eventually post it at Mixcloud.

            Speaking of Mixcloud, I got my 4,000th “follower” last night!

            I am running out the door to “Charodeyka” at Theater an der Wien. Three and a quarter hours of Tchaikovsky, none of which I’ve ever heard. It sounds fascinating and since I love “Onegin,” “Pique Dame,” and “Iolanta” it will probably not be a chore (unless it’s closer in style to “Mazeppa,” which is just not my thing).

            • ML

              Congrats, Jungfer. And glad to hear my Graz impressions were on the mark.

              It really is a role for a healthy voice!

            • Gualtier M

              Okay we may have come up with a winner here. James Rutherford is an ensemble artist at the Graz Oper. He is singing Tell in “Wilhelm Tell” and Scarpia in “Tosca” in Nov-Dec but there is an alternate, Wilfried Zelinka as Scarpia. The Tell seems to end in mid-November.

              http://www.theater-graz.com/oper/ensemble.php?bereich=15&a=&person=3121

              http://operabase.com/a/James_Rutherford/7760

              http://www.askonasholt.co.uk/artists/singers/baritone-bass-baritone/james-rutherford

              Krunoslav will be upset because he is a fucking Brit but Robert Rattray and Jonathan Friend should know who he is.

              This is a credible, young promising alternative to the past-it James Morris.

            • Arianna a Nasso

              Has anyone heard Rutherford in a large theater? Graz has about 1200 seats, and Bayreuth is just under 2000. The Met has 3800. Perhaps what may work in houses 1/3 to 1/2 the size may not work at the Met.

            • Bill

              James Rutherford has sung Hans Sachs
              not only in Graz, but at the Wiener Staatsoper, Hamburg, Cologne, in Budapest
              at the Bela Bartok Hall (a very large
              orchestral hall), and has sung Wolfram
              in San Francisco (a large opera house) as well as something at the Chicago Lyric.
              Plus Jochanaan at the Wiener Staatsoper --
              believe his voice is not large, but it must
              be ample enough to be heard. I do not think Sachs has to be particularly loud -most of the intimate sections of the role, the Monologues and duet with Evchen, are not sung with a blasting orchestra. But obviously he has an ample number of bookings in increasingly more and more
              important opera houses, though still utilizing Graz as a base. Quite clever.

        • Bill

          Sorry, correction -- I’ve seen Gabor Bretz in numerous roles,
          but in Wagner only as Kothner. He has done
          Daland and I think would make an excellent
          Hollaender.

          • ML

            He needs to get out of Budapest, and I would be happy if both were handcuffed to lampposts on Maximilianstraße.

    • mskapay

      Rene Pape decided against Hans Sachs; said in a paywall piece on the UK Sunday Times that he finds modern orchestra tuning too high. Here’s the quote.

      “I thought about Hans Sachs,” he admits, “but I changed my mind. The problem for me is that orchestras are getting bigger and playing higher. When Wagner composed Die Meistersinger, the orchestra was playing a whole tone lower than today, so it was easier for a bass to sing. Now even baritones struggle with the top notes.” In this respect, he echoes the views of his friend and colleague Kaufmann, who bemoaned to me the lot of contemporary Wagner singers at the hands of modern conductors and orchestras earlier this year. “Jonas is right, and that’s why I am so careful. I have seen so many colleagues ‘dying’ on stage, so why should I do the same?”

      • The business about the orchestra being a whole tone lower is a complete canard, of course. Scheiber pitch was established in Germany a generation before Meistersinger premiered. Tuning forks were standard tools by 1868 and it is nonsense to think that as technically advanced a theater as the Königliches Hof- und National-Theater in Munich (handpicked by Wagner for this important premiere) should have been out of the mainstream of standard tuning.

        • Scheibler (/nitpick).

          The standardization of concert pitch in German realms was a bit more complicated than given here and the tuning forks are a bit of a red herring. The Stuttgart convention of 1834 (A=440) had no enforcement mechanism -- it was a conference of physicists, after all, not musicians. In 1858, France officially set its pitch at a=435, a standard which was adopted in a few other places. In 1861, Dresden was at a=446. Berlin measured at a=450.8 in 1858 and a=451.8 in 1859. The Viennese opera was at a=456 in 1858, and at a=461 in 1861. That got to be too much, and the Viennese conference of 1885, in which Prussia, Sachsen and Wurttemburg participated (as well as Italy, Sweden and Russia) adopted the French standard of a=435.

          But certainly (as La Cieca rightfully points out) no major organization at the time was using anything like a=390. If anything, there’s a good chance that the Meistersinger premiere was sung slightly higher than a=440. I wonder how Pape’s story got started.

          • You’re right -- that was oversimplified. The point, though, as you bring out, was that various theaters did have their own standard pitches, mostly not all that far off from good old 440. I can possibly understand more confusion and ambiguity in Italian theaters, because, you know, Italians. But not in Munich, not in 1868 and not with Wagner himself actively involved.

        • mskapay

          I am Pape’s biggest fan, and even I think he could take on the role in at least an occasional capacity. He’s been quoted in the past as liking a German saying “You can’t dance at every wedding’ when it comes to roles, and that’s fine, but wouldn’t you want to try it at least a couple times as a Wagner specialist? It’s disappointing. I can’t think that an orchestra wouldn’t be willing to accommodate him in the role to suit him for a performance, either.

          Every time he has branched out into something new in the last few years (Boris, Wotan), they seem to disappear after a couple of runs. It makes me sad as his fan. He’s a splendid singer, but stays far too often in his comfort zone.

          • Pape isn’t a spring chicken. Perhaps Wotan taxes his upper register too much, as well as requiring more volume than most of his more comfortable roles.

            Again, the Wotan selections I heard from his Wagner album did not impress me greatly. He seems much more comfortable in bass roles.

            • mskapay

              Indeed, but he is only just 50, which isn’t wildly out there for a male singer, and he’s been hemming and hawing about Hans Sachs since 2006. I still think it’s surprising he didn’t at least try it.

              The man needs to quit smoking, though, before he really starts to have trouble. But, he won’t. I’ll still love him.

      • ML

        Pape is so 1990.

      • Bluebeard

        another article I read years ago made mention of the fact that Pape didn’t quite find Hans Sachs worth singing. As I recall, he found the role extremely challenging and not quite worth 1-2 years of heavy study only to sing once or twice a year, which is clearly how the Walküre Wotan turned out. One performance here and there in Berlin and then La Scala (he pulled out of the opening run of the production which was to feature something like 6-7 performances), and Wotans Abschied in concert of course. I was surprised to read that article, but I suppose it makes sense that he views such roles as investments. Which probably explains why he really just focuses on seven or eight roles right now (Sarastro, Banquo, Filippo, Gurnemanz, Marke, Mephistopheles, Orest, and the occasional Lohengrin/Tannhauser king).

        • ML

          1-2 years of heavy study?

          • Gualtier M

            He has already sung the Flieder Monolog in concerts and recorded “Wahn, Wahn” as well I think. But I think the smoking and drinking have tarnished his upper register, in early career he had a very bass-baritonal sound that really seemed destined for the Heldenbariton rep.

            • ML

              I hated his Philip — all flailing around and superficial grasp of the text.

  • Wow, that’s some major stuff.

    Too bad that Latonia Moore’s much-anticipated return will have to be postponed. But Tamara Wilson is the real deal. And it’s nice to see the Met grabbing a major singer on the rise, rather than years after they’ve been established elsewhere.

    I’m concerned about Reuter. He is our Wotan in Toronto this season (opposite Goerke, Melton and Forbis). Our last Wotan (Peteris Eglitis) was woefully under-powered.

  • la vociaccia

    Oh damn. Was excited to hear Latonia but I’m thrilled that Tamara Wilson is making her debut.

  • Constantine A. Papas

    I saw Moore in Aida, in the house, in 2007. She was very impressive, and no match to Berti’s woody Radames. Hope, she comes back to the Met after the baby, even with a bigger voice a la Netrebko. Stretching the diaphragm during pregnancy may increase lung capacity and oxygen storage, thus giving the ability to prolong a musical line. Netrebko’s end and diminuendo of the aria “Timor di me?” from her Salzburg Leonora is breathtaking, and it seems to last for ever. I wouldn’t pay to see Morris no matter what. I have so many good memories of his performances and wonder why is he still singing. If he were a surgeon and his hands were functioning like his vocal cords, the hospital would not allow him to operate any longer to protect patients from being injured from his shaking hands, wobbly vocal cord that is!

    • la vociaccia

      Moore sang Aida in 2012, and her Radames was Giordani, not Berti.

      You probably saw Angela Brown in 2007

      • Loge

        Latonia Moore sang a beautiful Aida this year with the (currently locked out) Atlanta Symphony. Stuart Neill was an excellent Radames. Michelle de Young and Gordon Hawkins were impressive.

    • messa di voce

      “no match to Berti’s woody”

      If you say so.

  • dramaturgical dame

    • antikitschychick

      a very very fine voice. The high c sounds a bit disconnected from the rest of the voice but it’s definitely there and the diction is very good too! Brava and best of luck to her :-).
      Thank you for sharing this dd. I was not familiar with her singing and it pleases me to say that I am now.

      A while back though I did come across this really fun (and recent) informal interview/conversation she did with Jamie Barton. Thought I’d share it for those that might haven’t seen it and might be interested:

      The interview has several parts which they’ve separated into different videos (according to the different topics they discuss) but I’ll just post the first one so as not to clutter the thread. They talk about all sorts of stuff, including the Tara Erraught controversy and about which musicians they think would or should write a modern opera…oh and they are both big fans of Dr. Who lol. It’s really worth watching I’d say :-).

      • alejandro

        I love Jamie Barton so much. Like I want her to be my neighbor and come watch Doctor Who with me and then on my birthday I can ask her to sing “O Mon Fernand” for me.

        • antikitschychick

          and then give her a mojito and an abanico and have her sing Carmen! :-P. Her voice is perfect for Carmen…I really hope she’ll sing it one day in the not too distant future.

          • alejandro

            I’ll give her lessons on Spanish realness.

            Me: Jamie, repeat after me: “vete p’al carajo y no me jodas mas!”

            Jamie: um, the opera’s in French.

            Me: Gurl, you gotta work that into the subtext! Now let me teach you the tarot.

            • antikitschychick

              Yessss y enseñala a menear el fondillo! That’s a must for Carmen ;-).

            • You both speak like boricuas. Scary how cubans and boricuas can siometimes not be separated one from the other on paper.

            • marshiemarkII

              You surely meant enseñalE, no chikie querida?

            • antikitschychick

              Querido marshiemarkII: Por supuesto!! Y gracias por la corrección :-). I wrote that rather hastily…plus my phone’s auto correct feature has a mind of its own, which renders it somewhat unreliable :-P. But yes I know what I let happen with those two a vowels is a no no.

              Lindoro:”Cuba y Puerto Rico son, de un pájaro las dos alas…” ;-)

      • SilvestriWoman

        The top note, though fine, is disconnected. She’s switching into her whistle range. No doubt that Ms. Wilson vocalizes quite a distance north of that C.

        • As Rosalind in Toronto, she had a remarkably easy high C (I haven’t heard the pianissimo one above yet) and even held on to the E-flat at the end of the Czardas.

          • Milady DeWinter

            That’s a top D in the Czardas, kash.
            Silvestriwoman, I respect your insights about voice production, but I don’t quite buy Wilson going into whistle register for the top C in “O patria”.
            If she is, then it sounds fully blended (a la Mado Robin) into the voice.
            Almost as lovely as the C are the concluding notes of the aria. Most sopranos come to grief there if they haven’t already fallen off the precipice, so I say ‘Brava Tamara!’

            • Thank you, Milady. I do hate misidentifying high notes!

          • pirelli

            “…and even held on to the E-flat [sic] at the end of the Czardas…”

            …which defeats the entire effect of the musical gesture as written, IMO. That moment is less about the high note as a “money note” and more about a folk-ish slide up from the A before it -- more of a “geshrei” Hungarian-style than a bravura top note. I think the only reason for a soprano to hold onto that last note is to prove that they can -- and although I understand the temptation, I think understanding what Strauss was looking for is better in the moment. The Rosalinde can always throw in a D at the end of the Watch Duet and/or the Champagne song, which both invite more “traditional” endings. I think that slide to the short high D at the end of the Czardas is unique and special, and musically exactly right.

      • Cicciabella

        What a couple of great gals! Thanks a lot for this link, antikitschychic. Wonderful, honest discussion and a lot of fun silliness. Rory would have loved the Dr Who section. The discussion on opera singers and body size should be mandatory viewing for anyone involved in opera casting.

      • I just listened to the “O patria mia”, anti, and the high C doesn’t sound disconnected to my ears. The tone is a bit spread but that’s it.

        • antikitschychick

          hey there kashania :-). Perhaps disconnected is the wrong word to describe what I heard…I guess what I meant was (and I should have explained this since this is serious and hopefully constructive criticism) the c sounds a bit thin compared to the rest of the voice. Now, I realize the dynamic in which she initiated the note (piano) has a lot to do with the note sounding thinner but I also think that if she integrates the note a little more by adding more support, possibly more weight and letting some air into the sound (at least to my ears) the note might have a better quality to it. In others words I think she ‘backed off’ from the note to make it sounds softer but still let the tone come through, which, is the right thing to do technically, but because of the quality of the sound is a bit wiry I think she actually needs to make somewhat of an adjustment to that approach. Of course I may be wrong as this is just an intuition I had and I guess you can also argue that we shouldn’t be making these types of assertions based on videos with compressed sound but this particular video has good audio quality so unless it sounds completely different live, I think its fair to make certain observations based on the sound quality.

          I know that what I’m suggesting sounds counter-intuitive technically speaking in that, normally, ascending into higher registers requires the opposite of what I suggested: in effect, singers should remove weight as they go up and use the ‘head space’ to make the sound resonate and then create the “float” effect. This is achieved by creating space at the back of the throat with a simultaneous a deep and low intake of air, which in turn also lowers the larynx and lifts the velum. I’m not suggesting that she isn’t doing all of these things, I’m just saying she needs to work a little more actively and intensely on aiming the sound and keeping it connected to the support rather than letting it become thin and disembodied. This is also just a question of taste. Other singers let those high notes become disembodied yet they manage to produce what I would consider a very pleasant and beautiful sound.
          Moreover, the practice of carrying weight up to certain notes in different registers can be harmful and unpleasant sounding (this is typically how a lot of untrained pop singers “belt”), but in this case she’s not really switching to a different register as she ascends….and ideally she shouldn’t have to. I know this depends on the type of voice but I think many of the best singers are able to float that high c with just a tinge better balance between weight and air. Obviously I’m using these terms a bit loosely to make a somewhat objective analysis but there’s really no other way to make sense of vocal production. Its abstract and imprecise since everyone’s instrument is different. Also, just to be clear, I chose to comment on this because I think she is fully capable of making this adjustment and I honestly think it would’ve made the difference between a very good and a flat-out stellar performance. But again, this is just my subjective opinion and you certainly are entitled to disagree with it. Ultimately I think we both agree that hers is a quality instrument and that she can probably go far given the right opportunities :-).

    • steveac10

      This clip is lovely but Ms. Wilson (as Tom and Lorenzo would put it) needs to fire her gays. The dress, the hair and the makeup are all conspiring against her. If she was wearing a well fitted Tadashi Shoji (the designer of choice for all celebs whose size exceeds a 10 or 12 and not that expensive) and had some decent styling she could be a stunner. As it is in this clip, she looks a dowdy, disheveled mess. Why would any aspiring diva do that to herself? Joan and Bev were not petite flowers, but never set foot on stage looking this wrinkled and dowdy.

  • stignanispawn

    So it’s Marcello’s woody that we’re talking about….sorry I’m on Amtrak after a few days on business in Washington.

  • Avantialouie

    Tamara Wilson has just completed an excellent run as Donna Anna in concert presentations of “Don Giovanni” in Milwaukee. The voice is HUGE; but the runs were clean and clear, the pianissimi were luxurious, the legato was smooth. She did a great deal more as Donna Anna than just piss and moan, which is more than even some world reknowned singers have been able to do with that role. Her acting was absolutely minimal, but these were concert performances, so who really knows? Vocally her performance was everything one could wish for. (Perhaps she was inspired by Nicole Cabell, who turned in the finest performance I have ever heard from her as Donna Elvira.) LUCKY be the New Yorkers who will get to hear this “Aida.”
    On another subject: can we all quit dumping on James Morris because, while he is no one’s first choice nowadays for Hans Sachs, he IS available to help the Met in a crisis? The glass is, after all, half full: he is KNOWN to be creditable in the role.

    • Damn it! I wish i had known. I would have gone.

    • 98rsd

      Was creditable is not the same as is creditable.

    • Krunoslav

      Tamara Wilson was very good indeed in Houston’s DON CARLOS and both sang and acted wonderfully as Elettra at Ravinia. Aida doesn’t always serve people as an ideal debut role, but she is a very fine singer.

  • Constantine A. Papas

    Oops!It was Brown. And she was good. What happened to her? I heard Moore on Sirius.

  • Krunoslav

    “Christine Schäfer, who has decided to take a sabbatical from performing this season”

    Let us hope that sabbatical is extended indefinitely. Since she wasn’t good as Gretel when the production was first done at the Met, and since the voice has unmistakably deteriorated, the fact that they had rehired her bespeaks the usual mindless Friend computer casting operation at work.

    • tiger1

      Krunoslav, what an unkind posting. Why not rather hope that a year’s sabbatical is exactly what is needed to allow Ms Schäfer to rest, reconsider her technique and her repertoire and come back as a useful and interesting artist (as once she was)?

      • Grane

        All good wishes for Ms. Schäfer. She is an interesting and intelligent artist who’s been cast in some inexplicable roles recently.

        • antikitschychick

          yes best wishes to her for sure. I don’t follow her career that closely but I agree that she is a valuable artist and I hope everything works out for her.

      • manou

        I never thought I would read “Krunoslav” and “unkind” in the same sentence.

        • Krunoslav

          Manou, how touching! :)

          I admired Schaefer as Lulu a great deal and have heard some intelligent Lieder singing from her, but the last few encounters (Gretel, Gilda, Cherubino) have been pretty much vocal disasters , and at age 49 few singers can re-work their technique and timbre to the extent needed to make Schaefer valid as an opera singer; speaking more charitably, I hope she can retool and can continue in concert work ( I’d go to see her PIERROT LUNAIRE, for example, in a flash).

          • manou

            Or the title role in L’Arlesiana?

            • LES TROYENS {29}
              Berlioz-Berlioz

              Part I: La prise de Troie

              Cassandra……………Deborah Voigt
              Coroebus…………….Dwayne Croft
              Aeneas………………Ben Heppner
              Ascanius…………….Jossie Pérez
              Priam……………….Julien Robbins
              Hecuba………………Jane Bunnell
              Helenus……………..Ronald Naldi
              Andromache…………..Alexandra Deshorties
              Astyanax…………….Zarin Lal
              Panthus……………..Tigran Martirossian
              Hector’s Ghost……….Peter Volpe
              Trojan Soldier……….Brian Davis
              Laocoön……………..Kayvon Pourazar

            • MontyNostry

              That’s wicked, Kashie. Can I put in a good word for Deshorties -- she was genuinely exciting in Welsh National Opera’s Roberto Devereux last year -- and really knew what to do with a bel canto line, even if the sound itself is not pretty (but that could be said of many singers who are beloved on here).

            • Monty: I was just having fun. I’ve heard good things about Deshorties. I heard her just the once, as Tatiana in Britten’s Midsummer Night. I vaguely remember it being good even if the tone wasn’t terribly beautiful.

              I was at Troyens that I listed and was puzzled why she’d be hired for a silent role. I thought later that they must have dismissed her from another assignment but wanted to use her for something. Just a couple of months earlier there was that Kostanze when she wasn’t having a good time of it “Ach ich liebte” and “Marten aller Arten” and go booed.

            • MontyNostry

              I know you were just having fun, kashie, you are always a gent.

          • Lohengrin

            Don´t forget her great Violetta in Paris.

          • MontyNostry

            I saw her do Pierrot Lunaire at Wigmore Hall some years ago and she seemed to capture it pretty much ideally. A very classy performance.

          • pirelli

            “I admired Schaefer as Lulu a great deal…”

            Me too -- much much more than Marlis Petersen’s take on the role (I’m looking forward to hearing the Nozze premiere on Monday night, but fearing I will not like Petersen’s Susanna -- not that she’s not a competent singer but I just don’t like her timbre -- yet I’ll be willing to take another listen).

            I will say, though, the only opera I will probably skip listening to this season is the Bluebeard’s Castle -- which is a shame because it’s a work I truly love. But I can’t fathom sitting through Nadja Michael ever again -- not after her truly horrid Lady M a few seasons ago. I don’t even understand why the Met would hire her again.

    • Feldmarschallin

      Yes and let’t also hope she never sings again and her two orphaned children will have to beg on the streets. I guess it isn’t enough that their father died before the age of 40 but the mother should be unemployed. She did give much joy for many years and it would be nice if she could sing again after she gets her voice back in order.

      • Krunoslav

        That’s what we love about you, Feldie-- infinite pity for the thin, fashionable and (preferably) German-speaking singers. The others can--indeed should-- be booed and fat-shamed!

  • Still feasting on the memory of James Morris in his briefs in Don Giovanni in the early 80’s …turned me into a JM groupie forever!

    • RosinaLeckermaul

      Surely there’s someone out there who can do a better job as Sachs than the wobbly James Morris. This is really disastrous casting — a Walter who is too heavy to move and a Sachs well past his prime. Perhaps by December Morris will realize that he is well past his prime and withdraw.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    The MET press release for MACBETH is surprising. Of the 11 photos from the production there’s only one rather bland one of Netrebko. She not very beautiful as a blonde. The photos of the men and the chorus are excellent.