Cher Public

No late seating

Your tardy doyenne (pictured) invites the cher public to make the most of what remains of this week to enjoy off-topic and general interest discussions.

  • zinka

    See next comment.

  • zinka

    n the old Met we stood all the way down near the orchestra..Boxes hardly were overhanging. One night when Renata hit the high A on “amore,addio” (and you cannot tell from the video) my friend standing next to me lost control,hit me in the ribs, and I almost ended up like Cio-Cio San…..NO ONE here could imagine…Think of a jet plane landing in your living room

    • “X-RAY STORY: A type of DIVA ANECDOTE that’s all windup and no delivery. Named for a story told by Renata Scotto for the Met’s 100th Annviersary Gala. It seems Renata took a bad fall at the end of her debut Butterfly back in ’65. She was in terrific pain, was rushed to the hospital… But let her tell it. “I tink I brek my nack. Waal, it toorn out I was all royt, but I ‘ave to ‘ave an x-rai.” Pretty lame, huh? I mean, you expect a lot bigger payoff: amnesia, at least. Or else maybe she has to do rehab with a little old physical therapist who turns out to be, say, Toti dal Monte. Or else she’s paralyzed and, oh, let’s see… she says she never wants to sing again and she becomes a recluse and then she meets this cheerful little disabled boy with a really great singing voice and then bitter Renata agrees to attend the kid’s performance of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and, wait, it’s Christmas Eve, and at the end of the show the kid really does walk and then Renata realizes the true meaning of Christmas and she sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with a chorus of children from lots of nations. See, that would be a real Diva Anecdote. But instead, spoilsport Renata pops a Tylenol and gets on with her life. (“It hoort so mahch!”) Divas beware: if you insist on telling X-ray Stories, Edward Downes will 86 you from the Singers Round Table. ”

      http://parterre.com/queens.htm

    • quibbleglib

      zinka — but what if I turn my speakers up really, really loud? ;)

      Did you get a chance to see Fabiano in the current Boheme? I’d really love to get an idea of how the size of his voice in the house, or maybe projection/presence is a better way of thinking about it, compares with that of some of the great tenors of the past that you’ve had the privilege to see live. As I said in my previous posts, I thought Fabiano’s voice projected very well, I’m just wondering how the experience of seeing him live would be similar/different to the experience of seeing other tenors who were known to have big voices or good projection and squillo. Thanks!

      And yes, I’ve said my 10 Our Fathers and 5 Hail Marys for encouraging a pareterrian to compare a currently active artist with singers from the past. I am incorrigible!

      • zinka

        Bianca Berini really was UP with the best..Dec.20,1928..Os it true she ended up in an institution????? I loved her voice…..a bit like Dominguez???

      • zinka

        I have this and the quartet on video..GREAT MAN!!!! It is a bright dark voice…Lombardi last yr.was amazing..BIGGGGG sound and really smart..nice guy……we love him…When was last superb Rodolfo Carreras???

        He also like crazy clips…..

        • Krunoslav

          ‘When was last superb Rodolfo [--] Carreras???’

          Fabiano is excellent, but I’ll bite. They didn’t necessarily STAY superb… few do.

          Richard Leech
          Roberto Alagna
          Rolando Villazon
          Joseph Calleja
          Piotr Beczala

          • armerjacquino

            Shicoff was no slouch either.

          • zinka

            Piotr is my favorite tenor (Giordani says,”I know..but I love him too.” I love Calleja Leech in his prime,Alagna no more,Villazon pushed….O still think that Carreras,naturally after Tucker, Bergonzi,and good Pavarotti.
            I hope Michael,30 yrs.old, lasts..He seems very smart..but how many Geddas and Bergonzis have there been….and Gigli…who would have sung longer had he not died.

            • turings

              You probably have seen this already, zinka, but the premiere of the new Vienna Rigoletto with Beczala, Keenlyside and Erin Morley is live on the radio in about ten minutes here: http://www.rtve.es/radio/radioclasica/

  • MontyNostry

    So, far, a clutch of distinctly negative reviews for the determinedly non-Regie production of Ballo that opened at Covent Garden last night. Did anyone see it?

    • armerjacquino

      I was turned off by finding out that it was the same director as that useless ARIADNE at Glyndebourne…

      • MontyNostry

        This one seems to be submerged in Ruritanian polyester.

        • PushedUpMezzo

          Well I saw the dress rehearsal from the highest heights and we all rather enjoyed it. The Angels of Death moved very gracefully at arms length from the singers, and you soon learned to blot them out if you wanted. Calleja seemed slightly underpowered, but I put that down to marking. Dmitri was his usual legato self, a little raspy in places, but also not exactly riveting. Cornetti, burdened by the Igor sidekick, was condemned to play a Balkans Madam Arcati with stooges under her parlour table, but sang as well as I have ever heard her. There was a notably strapping Silvano (a part I have never really noticed before) and Gamberoni gave a fine account of Oscar. LM nener put a foot wrong vocally with marvellous phrasing and some amazing subito-pianos in the duet, and looked a dream in the big hat and veil (think Silvana Mangano in Death in Venice. The scene with her sailor-suited child after Morro… was really affecting. I wasn’t expecting much after the Ariadne, but I think Thoma gave us a considered, if flawed, Ballo.

    • manou

      Yes -- I was there. Negative reviews fully justified.

      It is a sad farrago of a production, set somewhere in a vaguely Austro-Hungarian place where Riccardo is a count who still holds sway over his people and the conspirators are done up as Balkan/Turkish types . The sets are creaky and made of papier mâché. There are four pesky “living statues” who are called upon to do all kinds of mindless business when not standing still. The overture is staged (naturellement) with Riccardo reclining on a couch downstage while a dumb show takes place behind him (the Renatos and their son, a minuscule tot who is often wheeled in to do some cute “acting”, walk into a church and meet a Riccardo double who picks up Amelia’s glove which the real Riccardo is then seen fondling on the couch -- yuk). The whole thing has the distinct look of an amateur production in a one-horse town.

      Daniel Oren is pilloried for a variety of reasons, but I quite liked watching him from the Stalls Circle, jumping up and down like a demented flea and grimacing wildly whist sometimes losing complete control of the proceedings.

      Calleja looks like a nice-but-dim sort of chap -- has a lovely voice but no natural authority or grandeur of any kind. He just grins a lot. He and Monastyrska have the same chemistry as oil and water. She has a phenomenal range and is quite secure (some vowels still need work: “Morrò, ma prima in grOOOOziOOO”). Her acting consists in stretching her arms and fingers out to her sides to indicate every emotion. She is made to wear ghastly cheap frocks and appears to sport cast-iron underwear which gives her a shape Howard Hughes would be charmed with.

      Hvorostovsky was a much better actor, and brought the house down with his “Eri tù”. Pity about the bellows he has evidently swallowed.

      We had an excellent Oscar in Serena Gamberoni, who seems to be doing it all over the place and is completely squeakyless, which is a blessing in this role. Marianne Cornetti (Croissants) had an eye patch and a disturbingly hunchbacked Igor style assistant, who also appeared in the staged overture.

      In truth, the whole evening was just….inert. I love Ballo, and of course one enjoys most of the music, but this is a Ballo in Fiascora.

      No boos whatsoever for the production staff. I booed them quietly in my head.

      • manou

        Plus…Austro-Hungary and the Balkans being completely landlocked, all the *sailor* business makes no sense whatsoever. And you would not believe where Riccardo is hidden when he covertly slips money and a commission to Silvano, who is, of course, a one-armed sailor.

        • moritz

          Why would the Austro-Hungarian monarchy be completely landlocked? For a map of the k.k. monarchy in 1914 have a look here:
          http://tinyurl.com/k4uezyf

          And according to Wikipedia by 1915 a total of 33,735 naval personnel served in the k.u.k. navy:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austro-Hungarian_Navy

        • MontyNostry

          manou, dear, far be it from me to defend Ms Thoma, but doesn’t Croatia, with its glorious coastline, count as the Balkans?

          • MontyNostry

            moritz beat me to it -- more expertly, if less graciously.

            • moritz

              Yes, sorry for that. Blame the limited language skills of the non-native speaker and the shyness of the only occasional visitor.

            • Bill

              The Austro-Hungarian Empire had a naval fleet (and not only on the Balaton) in its day.

            • manou

              My apologies to Austro-Hungarians everywhere.

            • Bill

              Obviously the setting of this production
              is Trieste -- part of the Austro-Hungarian
              Empire, where an assassination attempt
              on Emperor Franz-Joseph was an historical fact in 1882 (a bit late for Ballo but
              I am not familiar with this production --
              perhaps updated in time PLUS everyone is singing in Italian which in a slightly different form was the most spoken language
              of Triest followed by Slovenian, German (the language of the Government), Croatian and Hungarian. Trieste was the seat
              of the main Austro-Hungarian fleet -- hence
              sailors milling about. Must be a nice
              place to visit with its Austrian architecture and Viennese style coffee houses and an intact opera house.

            • MontyNostry

              Bill, what must make Trieste really nice, though, is that it’s in Italy, so hopefully a little more, er, generous-spirited than Vienna.

            • Bill

              Has anyone here on Parterre attendedan opera
              performance in Trieste ? What is the opera house like? What are the standards -singers, chorus, orchestra ? I have been
              to operas in Slovenia but have not yet been
              to Trieste.

            • MontyNostry

              Well, it was Cappuccilli’s hometown, so maybe that’s a good sign …

            • manou

              I have been to Trieste (but sadly not to the opera there). The city is sometimes subject to the bora, a wind so extreme and powerful that ropes are stretched along the pavements to prevent people being literally blown away.

            • Batty Masetto

              I believe the bora has also been known to sweep through Parterre on occasion.

            • rapt

              I know I’m frequently blown away, if not literally (or littorally), by the brilliance of La C’s titles, tags, and choice of pix!

            • Batty Masetto

              And then of course there are the occasional blasts of halitosis from elsewhere…

          • Krunoslav

            Slovenia also had (in 1914) and has a coastline.

            • DellaCasaFan

              If it is 1914, then that small (and lovely) area on the Adriatic coast that is now Slovenian was under the Austro-Hungarian control at the time. Since it was mostly populated by the Italians, Italy got jurisdiction over it after WWI. It became a part of Slovenia/Yugoslavia only after WWII.

          • Batty Masetto

            Not to mention the seacoast of Bohemia, attested by no less than Shakespeare.

            Manou adorée, thank you for a lovely witty review.

            • manou

              I am off to beat myself over the head with an atlas.

          • Camille

            Lieber und teuer Bill!
            Here is Big Lucy to sing about the girls of Trieste:

            httpv://outube.com/watch?v=wrlQym1SqZs

            I recall the name of that theatre as ‘Teatro Giuseppe Verdi’, named for him because, among other good reasons, the prima assoluta of his Stiffelio was given there. It usually has a bit of Viennese light opera in the season, or it usd to have such, hardly surprising considering its location and history.

            Love-
            Camille

            • Camille

              “O Italia, o Italia del mio cuore…!!!”

              I used to love to hear him sing this canzone.

          • Krunoslav

            Croatia a/k/a Dalmatia produced several “Italian’ opera singers, including

            Ester Mazzoleni

            Tino Pattiera

            • zinka

              I was introduced to Meta yrs.ago..FABULOUS..Died so young (33.) This is one of the values of the Internet…….How many singers have been introduced to you only because they are appreciated by crazy collectors like MOI.
              Never forget yrs.ago,someone brought a 78 (remember Alberich?) of someone named Eva Turner. I went NUTS!!~!!
              This is our DUTY..Tell people how some singers escape so many….like Johanna Meier and Frances Bible and Giuseppe Anselmi, Eugenia Burzio, Kimanska Karshaskayacularina.

            • MontyNostry

              That you for that Meta-data, zinka (not unconnected with Croatia yourself …)

            • Rudolf

              @ Krunoslav
              “Croatia a/k/a Dalmatia” is misleading, Krunoslav. I think you well know that in today’s Croatia Dalmatia is “just” one of 20 counties which make up the state of Croatia. Here’s a link to prove my point …..
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatia
              :)

            • DellaCasaFan

              Rudolf,
              Actually Krunoslav is correct historically. At the time when both of these singers were born, Dalmatia was the Austro-Hungarian administrative province known as “The Kingdom of Dalmatia”.

            • MontyNostry

              Maybe we need to ask Mandryka about this.

            • Krunoslav

              Thanks, DellacasaFan.

              I of course meant historical Dalmatia, since time era of MEERKAT WIDOW was being discussed.

          • And Greece?

      • MontyNostry

        manou -- what you say sounds exactly what I would have expected from the production shots -- and my prior experience of the singers (especially huffin’, puffin’ Hvoro). That flowery dress given to poor Lumi looks like something a cleaning lady would wear in an Ealing Comedy. The show sounds really grim.

        • manou

          Here is Rupert C:

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/opera/11303774/Un-Ballo-in-Maschera-Royal-Opera-House-review-leaden.html

          There a many reviews online -- most of them along the same lines.

          Several reviewers who are better versed than I am in geography (and history) think that the setting could be 1914 and mirror the Sarajevo assassination.

          And yes -- the costumes are definitely Laide Epoque.

          • antikitschychick

            goodness what a harsh review! Poor Joseph Calleja is reduced to a Teddy Bear…and some other reviews I looked at said he sounded bleaty. That is very harsh criticism for one of the world’s top tenors.

            Judging by the pictures, Lumi’s costumes look kind of unflattering indeed which is a shame. Still better than that ghastly black frock she wore in Nabucco but pretty much anything will be better than that. Also, I agree she needs to work on the consonants and the acting (albeit both are improving me thinks), but I’ll still take the “gorgeous noise” thank you very much :-D. Also, having a matronly presence is not such a bad thing in this particular role. I know he didn’t mean it as a compliment but, she is playing Amelia, who, ya know, is a mother and gets to sing about being a mother. Just sayin. Such a bummer that the production seems to be a drag though; I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the performance manou, though I must say your review was hilarious. Thank you for writing it.

            There will be a live broadcast of this on January 10th which I hope to be able to listen to. I do see on Cieca’s calendar that there are other Met performances scheduled but maybe we can still have a chat? In any case, hope the rest of the performances improve.

            • armerjacquino

              Whoa there. ‘Matronly’ doesn’t mean the same as ‘maternal’.

          • turings

            Thanks, manou – very funny! Calleja reminds me a bit of Ramon Vargas – lovely lyric voice, seems like a very nice man, but just a bit hapless on stage.

          • antikitschychick

            Yes I know it doesn’t strictly mean maternal armer. It’s kind of a negative euphamism for a certain body type but the maternal aspect is implicit. So it kinda means both. Ergo, my criticism of his criticism is somewhat justified ;-).

            • armerjacquino

              Hmmm. Well, maybe I’ll let you off because it’s Christmas, but I still think it’s stretching it to say ‘it’s good that someone playing a mother is described as matronly’. A lot of the mothers I know would NOT be happy with that!

              In general, you know, I don’t think you need to make as many excuses for Monastyrska as you do- she’s inert as Aida because ‘there’s not as much to act’ was a previous conversation I seem to remember. Nobody would disagree that Monastyrska has a spectacular voice but you seem to go through a lot of hoops trying to paper over the fact that she just isn’t, and sometimes doesn’t even seem to try to be, a compelling stage performer.

            • Krunoslav

              But armer, the rhetorical strategies people here advance for making the faults of their Supreme Idols seem non-existent or even virtues is one of the great things about the site.

            • armerjacquino

              Janowitz has a CALM INTENSITY, dammit.

            • :)

            • “Lumi took the role of Amelia so seriously that not only did she want to look like a mother she wanted to look like MATRONLY. She always takes that extra step to make sure her perf’s are special :)”

            • antikitschychick

              Maybe “you’ll let me off”?? Seriously? What does that even mean?? Maybe you didn’t intend for that to sound offensive but that came off as condescending.
              I am happy to better explain what I meant since this is a semantic issue and I like discussing semantics :-D and it’s totally fine if you end up disagreeing with me but you don’t have to talk down to me to make your point.

              Couple other things: 1. I never said that it’s GOOD that someone playing a mother is called matronly. I said that it’s not necessarily a bad thing in this particular role since Amelia in Verdis Ballo is a sort of matronly figure because she’s both a married woman of high social status and she’s a mother. That’s the literal definition of a matron But RC used it in the negative sense that ppl tend to use in order to euphamistically refer to a woman’s physical figure which, in certain contexts can be sexist although I won’t accuse RC of that since he pretty much stripped JC of not just masculinity but sexuality altogether since Teddy Bears are just about the most asexual things on the planet (though that notion may be receding thanks to Mark Walberg).
              2. I didn’t excuse her for not being a “compelling stage performer” (highly subjective phrase for opera standards). In my original comment I said that I agree that the consonants and the acting need work ^^^ and I’ve been saying this all along.

              Thus, my comment was meant as a criticism of RC’s word choice based on my interpretation of the character of Amelia not as an excuse for her particular stage deportment in the role since I wasn’t there and didn’t see the performance.

            • armerjacquino

              ‘I’ll let you off because it’s Christmas’

              Seriously? That’s ‘offensive’?

              Oh well. Tone on the internet, and all that. But I would have thought the cheeriness of the tone was pretty clear.

            • MontyNostry

              armer definitely wasn’t being offensive, akk, it was throwaway British humour. (We f***ing Brits have to stick together, ya know.)

              As I’ve said before, Monastyrska is a good-looking woman in a traditional statuesque diva way. She looked very good in the ROH production of Macbeth because she was well costumed and coiffed. Why designers see fit to shove the leading lady into frumpy frocks when Amelia is some kind of desirable society lady, I really don’t know. They just aren’t doing their job properly. (As per the Dumpygate scandal earlier this year, though I think Monastyrska as Amelia is an easier design proposition than Erraught as Octavian.) The costumes overall in this production look pretty shoddy, to judge from the photos. How the hell are these things are let through by the management?

            • armerjacquino

              Ta, monty. There really wasn’t the slightest offence meant.

            • antikitschychick

              thanks for clarifying Monty; appreciate that and sorry for misunderstanding then. Totally agree with you about the costuming situation. It really is a shame. I didnt think Dima or JC looked shoddy judging from the pictures, albeit pictures can be misleading so idk.

      • Camille

        Mary Ann Croissant, lost twin sister of Mary Ann Kalogeropulos AKA Callas!

      • Camille

        Brava! Very funny “Morrò, ma prima in grazia”…ecc .! And about the windmill flailing of the arms--trying to hail a cabby!

        Bravo, as well, about the pity of those bellows Dima seems to have swallowed..hahaha! Cap’n Huf ‘n Puf!

        Whysoever in God’s name could it not have been set in Sweden??? It took bloody long enough for the modern stagings to wrest it away from the New England area, for heaven’s sakes.

        Why not try it in Ceylon next?

  • MontyNostry

    And do you think she nicked the Balkans idea from Nic Roeg?

    • Camille

      Thanks for having posted. It has always been my favourite section of that film and the one readily remembered.

      • guy pacifica

        Thanks for posting that snippet of Aria. A reminder that I must watch it again. There are some very compelling vignettes in it. Myself, I love the Goddard.

        • MontyNostry

          I’ve always found Ken Russell’s (admittedly rather tacky, but that’s Ken for you) ‘Nessun dorma’ surprisingly memorable and it somehow captures the spirit of the aria -- and the opera.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Just saw the new highly erotic Warlikowski production of Don Giovanni from La Monnaie. I hope JJ and others can comment on it soon. It’s a radical take on the libretto and the cast cooperates to make it a very unusual experience.

    • Some of us here have also seen it (and discussed it) and found it a disappointment.

  • zinka

    http://www.handelmania.com/mad.htm

    There is probably ONE PERSON here who knows if I have posted this link over 10 times…but I wanted to offer a Christmas gift to anyone who can guess the screams. It is the complete 567,987 cd set of Fischer-Dieskau singing every hip-hop selection from the Cro-Magnon era…