Cher Public

The seven percent solution

Anna NetrebkoYou figured it out a fortnight ago, cher public: “The Metropolitan Opera… said Wednesday that it was also asking its solo singers voluntarily to lower their fees, including some of opera’s biggest stars.” [New York Times]

  • CwbyLA

    Of course Anna Netreko, Joyce DiDonato, Placido Domingo and Renee Fleming can afford to take the 7% cut. I am pretty sure there are many soloists, especially the young ones, who can not afford that pay cut.

    • operaassport

      Whether or not they can “afford” it is a value judgment and not a matter of principle. These artists should be applauded for willing to make this kind of gesture/sacrifice during hard economic times.

  • antikitschychick

    Well that is certainly a noble gesture on ANs part but I still think she deserves a six figure salary for Norma :-P.
    OTOT, Renee is retiring in like 3 years :shock: so I don’t think a fee reduction on her part will do the Met much good in the long run, unless she continues to donate which is totally up to her, though I suppose it helps in the short run and it’s obviously still a nice gesture on her part as well. Joyce’s and Plácido’s fee reductions will help in the long run as well. So this is definitely good news :-). But when AN and (hopefully!) Lumi sing Norma…$$$$$ :-P.

  • redbear

    Don’t forget, all your faves are also wanted in London, Munich, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, etc. all of whom pay top. I’d be at least a little concerned. Lissner, new in Paris, has already declared his intention to make Paris Opera the best in the world and he’s certainly talking with all your faves right now for 2016, 17.

    • redbear

      In 2009, Le Figaro reported the top figure as 15,000 euros ($18,600) so if Munich is now paying 20 grand that is probably close to the new norm for the very top European houses and that is $25,200. The gap between the two continents is getting uncomfortable.

      • redbear

        Got to be more versatile and stop using the word “top” all the time.

    • antikitschychick

      But will they do HD streaming online and in the movies?

      • redbear

        Actually Paris does both if you were really interested.

        • antikitschychick

          I am interested especially now that you mention they will be recruiting many of the A list singers :-D… of course I realize there are many great performances happening in places besides the Met but unfortunately I just don’t have time to watch all of them or I am simply unaware that they are taking place :-(. C’est la vie.

  • People not only figured out who accepted the cut (which wasn’t hard), but were spot-on with the actual figure for what the top fee was (and is).

    By the way, I remembered where I’d heard Callas talk about how opera singers make good money, but are not in the league of Frank Sinatra; it was from this sad interview with (the unnecessarily pugnacious) Mike Wallace:

    • By the way, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has an inflation calculator on its website. If you plug in Caruso’s Met fee of $2,500 for the year 1913, which is the earliest available, you get a figure in today’s dollars of $60,109. Figures for the period before 1913 would be pretty much the same, since (as Piketty has noted) consistent year-over-year inflation is a post-World War I phenomenon.

    • Pelleas

      That one could describe that as “pugnacious” tells you how far journalism has fallen over the years.

      Mike Wallace certainly wasn’t an ideal interviewer, but he really seems to just be pinning her down as she tries to stonewall him on subjects she must’ve known he’d broach.

      • aulus agerius

        I thought Mike Wallace was just plain obnoxious.

        • DellaCasaFan

          aulus agerius says:
          “I thought Mike Wallace was just plain obnoxious.”

          And I always wondered if Wallace had some afterthoughts of being unnecessarily hurtful to Callas. One thing is investigative reporting (for which I often respected him), but an entirely different thing is trying to “provoke” an interviewee on cheap, by basically saying into her face *and* for the millions to watch that she has nothing left of her life, either personally or career-wise.

          • Milady DeWinter

            I never liked Wallace after that uneccesarily cruel and disrespectful interview; he must have transmitted his nasty genes to his crappy right-wing son as well.

            • Guestoria Unpopularenka

              He and that harlot Barbara Walters will be relegated to oblivion while Callas will always be at the forefront of her field.

          • I remember my piano teacher always hating Wallace for the interview he did with Pavarotti, calling Wallace a “vulture”.

        • mirywi

          He asks, ‘when has Maria Callas held a poker face?’
          ‘ Oh, many a time’ she answers. I imagine she is thinking to herself, ‘right now, you pompous fool.’

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Quentin Tarentino just announced that he will retire 10 films from now. I hope he will do an opera or two either before or after.

    • perfidia

      Le Grand Macabre? Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk? Wozzeck? La Sonnambula?

      • perfidia

        Tarantino has an operatic sensibility, but I wonder if he has any interest or feel for the form. I think if someone would write a new opera that uses lots of kitschy-poo music he could make something interesting. But I would pay good money to see a Sonnambula where he would let his freak flag fly proudly. It would be a glorious mess.

  • Constantine A. Papas

    With Iolanda, Netrebko will make her 11th appearance on Met’s HD ninth season, more than any other top singer from Met’s roster. There’s no question; Met HD exposure solidified her status as an international opera superstar. Being a good sport and grateful to the Met and Pete, she’s reciprocating.

    • redbear

      “There’s no question; Met HD exposure solidified her status as an international opera superstar.” A teacher once was explaining that a double negative is bad grammer and actually suggests a positive but continued there are no examples of double positives suggesting negatives. From the back of the class you could hear, “Yeah, right!” That kid was me.

      • Guestoria Unpopularenka

        “Yeah, right” is not a double positive.

        • armerjacquino

          The joke doctor is IN:

          For the purposes of the gag, the usage of right to mean ‘you are correct’ is implied.

          The joke doctor has left the building.

          • Guestoria Unpopularenka

            So at which point was I expected to laugh?

            • armerjacquino

              Ask whoever thought it up. It’s a gag so old it still has a betamax.

        • Milady DeWinter

          Nor is “There’s no question” a double negative.
          I hope I didn’t miss something vis a vis a the joke doctor.

      • manou

        I think your grammar teacher was referring to Kelsey.

      • armerjacquino

        That kid was me

        Lovely to meet you, Mr Oldjoke!

  • Chanterelle

    Instead of beating this one to death you all might enjoy watching the Opera Comique 300th anniversary gala on NOW at http://concert.arte.tv/fr/gala-du-tricentenaire-de-lopera-comique

    Anna Catarina Antonacci is now singing “D’Amour l’ardente flame”.

    • Milady DeWinter

      You’re right, and I am, and I send you milles mercis, Chanterelle -- fabulous!

    • rapt

      Thanks for this link! Savine Devieilhe’s Doll Song!!!!

      • rapt

        Oops--Sabine….

      • Chanterelle

        Her Bell Song isn’t too shabby, either. The French soprano légère has not disappeared! (though I gather the tenor has called in sick)

        Great parade of OC greatest hits, in historical context.

        • Milady DeWinter

          Especially loved the send-up of Pelleas!
          Marouf needs a revival. Petibon needs vocal rest peut-etre?
          Thanks again for the alert, Chanterelle -- what riches have been served up la-bas over three centuries!

          • Chanterelle

            Fau and Deschamps are very good at these comic bits. On the other hand, the scene between Pelleas and Golaud gave me chills.

            I hope all that Petitbon needs is rest. I see that she’s recently added Manon to her repertoire, but she sounded stretched a bit thin. Though “n’est-ce plus ma main” was lovely--well, until she started rolling around on the floor in that cage/skirt.

            Marouf was just revived a couple of years ago. They might consider bringing it back. But next season the house will be dark (renovation), so who knows what will happen.

            • Milady DeWinter

              Yes, I remember that it was done in Paris fairly recently (it’s not too neglected in France) -- I’m talking in the U.S.! Fat chance.
              I think Petibon was never meant to go much beyond Rameau, imo, but maybe I’m crazy. She’s a wonderful and charismatic loon of a performer though, can’t blame her for wanting to break out into bigger parts.
              Yes, that Pelleas scene (the one without Fau…) shows exactly how it should be done --

            • It was in 2013.

            • Chanterelle

              Fat chance indeed! It takes a certain insularity to revive something so un-PC, though I suppose that was addressed by the cartoonish quality of Dechamps’s production. Personally I’d rather see some Reynaldo Hahn. But who could do justice to the style?

              (glad to have reason to look up the production--I see that the baritone in the title role, Jean-Sébastien Bou, is singing the title role in the Warlikowski Don Giovanni at la Monnaie next month. I don’t really remember him either way so I hope he’s good…)

            • Mârouf: Jean-Sébastien Bou. Princesse Saamcheddine: Nathalie Manfrino. Le Sultan: Nicolas Courjal. Le Vizir: Franck Leguérinel. Ali: Frédéric Goncalvès. Fattoumah: Doris Lamprecht. Le Fellah ; premier marchand: Christophe Mortagne. Ahmad: Luc Berthin-Hugault. Second marchand ; premier mamelouk: Geoffroy Buffière. Le Kâdi: Olivier Déjean. Chef des marins ; ânier ; premier muezzin ; premier homme de police: Patrick Kabongo Mubenga. Second homme de police: Ronan Debois. Second muezzin: Safir Behloul.

            • I like Bou, which is just as well as he’s cast quite a lot in Paris, but the FT critic calls him “a hard, unyielding baritone”.

            • I’m not sure Deschamps’ production helped with the un-PC aspect. At the time I wrote “I don’t usually yearn for either poetry or good taste; but I did sit there wishing the production had gone more for the potential magic of a good-humoured oriental tale (Mârouf is taken from the 1,001 Nights) and less for goofing around farcically in a PC-free zone, making fun of Orientals”.

            • I’m not sure Deschamps’ production helped with the un-PC aspect. At the time I wrote “I don’t usually yearn for either poetry or good taste; but I did sit there wishing the production had gone more for the potential magic of a good-humoured oriental tale (Mârouf is taken from the 1,001 Nights) and less for goofing around farcically in a PC-free zone, making fun of Orientals”.

            • Chanterelle

              I thought the production deliberately exaggerated the stereotypes to the point of caricature for just that reason. Either way, I found it irritating. Of course, I do tend to get cranky when seated in the nosebleed section. Perhaps improved ventilation in the theater will help with that.

              NPW, any young singers in the cast you’ve been following since then?

            • ‘Fraid not. But I’ll see that Don Giovanni in Brussels in December.

            • Chanterelle

              I see it on the 7th.

  • Chanterelle

    Anyone care to head over to chat?

  • Milady DeWinter

    Oh for sure, you have to stage Marouf elegantly and gracefully, no ethnic buffonery -- I think the score has more charm than that. Glimmerglass ought to try it out; the venue is the prefect size for it’s seductive intimacy. There was a notable Charbrier l’Etoile there, seasons ago, which was a delight.
    Maybe some Bondeville -- now that’s a stretch at present, even in Paris.

  • redbear

    The recent history of the Opera-Comique continues a remarkable journey for France. In the early 80s, the opera repertory was German and Italian standards with an occasional Manon, etc. The French had generally assumed that their music history was not very, very important. It was in 1987 that Bill Christie scored a major hit at the Comique with Atys and everyone was surprised that Baroque, which formerly drew audiences of a few hundred, could sell out a larger hall. That major Baroque revival continues to this day, That same year, Pierre Jourdan took over the Theatre Imperial at Compiegne, a two hour drive north of Paris. He raised private funds and it opened in 1991 with Henry VIII of Saint-Saens. These were low budget productions of French repertory and just a couple a year but the passionate soon got used to the long drive home. Jourdan got major notice for his efforts and we got to see Dinorah and other treasures. Jourdan’s death in 2007 ended this remarkable project but it wasn’t a far leap for Jerome Deschamps, who took the direction of the Comique in 2004 to continue to explore this rep. Dinorah was only one of the many since then and the success of the project is remarkable by any measure. We see rediscovered masterworks now in German and other European houses and even at the Opera de Paris which is, this season, doing El Cid and Le Roi Arthus, something unimaginable a few decades ago.

  • phoenix

    re: the foto at the head of this thread. Is it a 1965 foto of veteran Met survivor Dolora Zajic?