Cher Public

Small and inconvenient

“Though there was already talk of the erection, in remote metropolitan distances ‘above the Forties,’ of a new Opera House which should compete in costliness and splendour with those of the great European capitals, the world of fashion was still content to reassemble every winter in the shabby red and gold boxes of the sociable old Academy.

“Conservatives cherished it for being small and inconvenient, and thus keeping out the ‘new people’ whom New York was beginning to dread and yet be drawn to; and the sentimental clung to it for its historic associations, and the musical for its excellent acoustics, always so problematic a quality in halls built for the hearing of music.”

  • odabella

    It is not hard to remember that at the old Metropolitan a lot of the public had to use a side door, and sit in seats at the side with no view of the stage.

    • Will

      Yes, the higher priced seat audience had to be protected from “the great unwashed!”

  • Krunoslav

    Looks like God Himself doesn’t want Nadja Michael back at the Met:

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/major-blizzard-to-shut-down-bo/41180972

    • Satisfied

      Hahahaaaa!!!

      But it’s true: looks like us East Coasters need to batten down the hatches! Stay warm everyone!

      …and stock up on lots of booze :-)

    • Presumably Michael was already in New York because of rehearsals? I like to think it’s more likely that God is expressing disapproval of the knucklehead Ukrainian nationalists who will be the ones outside in the snow. But since, like Anna, I am an atheist, I can’t allow myself that consolation.

  • pasavant

    This could have been written about Philadelphia which abandoned its lovely Academy of Music for the Kimmel Center , an artistic and economic disaster. I knew we were in trouble when the opening night gala featured an evening of Billy Joel . The place looks like a train station. . In Verizon Hall sounds have no core or bloom. Verizon Hall’s increased rent was one of the factors that drove the Philadelphia Orchestra into bankruptcy and has made every traveling orchestra ( Vienna, Chicago, etc.) skip Philadelphia, leaving the Verizon Hall available for oldies rock shows, cooking demonstrations, and this week’s spirituality guru. There should be a special place in hell for the local bigwigs and politicians who gave us this white elephant.

  • “Though there was already talk of the erection…” I didn’t get beyond that.

  • La Valkyrietta

    I don’t know where La Cieca took the text he is quoting, but the house the conservatives cherished for its acoustics I’m sure was the Academy of Music on 14th Street, and the ‘new people’ they were keeping out were not quite the “unwashed”, but the likes of Morgan, Vanderbilt, etc. which actually went on to create the old Met. Perhaps there is a new book being quoted, or maybe a work of that lady writer friend of Henry James, forgot her name at the moment.

    • manou

      It’s from “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton -- picture taken from the amazing Scorsese film.

      • La Valkyrietta

        Edith Wharton, yes, the picture is from the movie, I saw it. Thank you beaucoup. Why is memory so fickle? As one gets older there is more to remember, so one remembers less :). Later the same Edith would regret that the Vanderbilt mansion on 5th Avenue was torn down. Horrors. The fence of that mansion remains way up on 5th Avenue and a hundred and something street in a little park in Central Park near where the Only Maria was born. Sic transit.

        • Camille

          La Valkyriettaest!
          You must, MUST beg, borrow from NYPAL, or EVEN purloin this bellISSImo film! The opening scene with its recreation of Faust, is one perfect realisation in film of what performance practise must have looked in that innocent age. Just that bit is worth the price of admission alone, for if I didn’t already love Scorsese for other reasons, this would suffice to swear eternal fealty.

          • DellaCasaFan

            I completely agree with Camille about “The Age of Innocence.” Incidentally, I watched the Russian film “Leviathan” earlier today, which is on the opposite esthetic and dramatic end from the Scorsese film, but absolutely thrilling in its own way and one of those films that stays with you long past watching it.

          • Camille

            Do not know if this will wok but I will try to import the film for you alone, mon vieux Valkyrietta.

            After reviewing the trailer I have to say that the dialogueing is a tad dated even for a period film but that is small matter for the exquisite recreation you are given of that rarified gilded lily of a world, for the most part lost to us, but perhaps not entirely….anyway you slice this torte, it’s beautiful and Pfeiffer is a treat from any camera angle and lighting and Ryder is The Absolute Mistress of Passive/Agressive Nice Girlness, a role for which she won a Golden Globe. Mr Day-Lewis is his usual excellent and endlessly varying theme and variations. One of my all-time favo(u)rites.

            • La Valkyrietta

              Camille,

              I agree with you, it is a beautiful movie. I have seen it twice, but years ago. I will see it again. I also read the book, long before the movie, long ago, when I was reading all of Wharton and all of Henry James. I loved the book too, as much as “The House of Mirth”. Perhaps I will take a rest from Nabokov, whom I find amusing these days, and revisit “The Age of Innocence” movie.

              “The Veens speak only
              to Tobaks
              But Tobaks speak only
              to dogs.”

            • Camille

              Oh, mi scusi--I dis not see that you had seen it already and because it is a mad love of my own I wanted to share it. Perhaps someone else will benefit from it, though, so. I am sorry but I really have never spent much time with Nabokov, aside from a bokk that I had in the 1970’s, and no linger remember! So, for now, I have lost you.

              Right now I am in Downton Abbey so I must say cheers et mes adieux!

            • Camille

              I have to admit to only reading “The House of Mirth”, which I loved, but the movie a lot less. There is an edition of her novels -- 3- which I purchased at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, very reasonably too, which I’ll have to go back to. I can’t recall the title of the third novel—--wait, —yes here is the link:
              http://www.edithwharton.org/shopping/three-novels-new-york/

              The second novel is called “The Custom of the Country” and it looked rather entertaining. There is a foreward and/or introduction by Jonathan Franzen (“The Corrections”), in this edition.

            • La Valkyrietta

              Camille, it is I who should apologize for my horrid lapses of memory. Sorry.

              Nabokov does not translate well into film, though Lolita was famous (remember Sue Lyon?). There is a movie that follows his novel closely, but not exactly, you might like, it is well made, “The Luzhin Defense”. Then also “Knight, Queen and Knave” was made into a film with David Niven and Gina Lollobrigida. The movie is made in a very slapstick way, but the Knave is cute and Gina, of course, is Gina, but the movie is not as well accomplished as the other one. Nabokov does not translate well into film, you miss his wonderful play on language. Or maybe he has not found quite the right director. Edith Wharton was very lucky with Scorsese.

            • Krunoslav
            • Camille

              “The Luzhin Defense”?? Is that a film about a chess position? Or am I confusing this also? For I saw that film, I think, around a year ago and quite liked that story!

              Of course, I have seen “Lolita” but never cared at all for Humbert Humbert -or maybe James Mason as HH -- and Shelly Winters was in her most wanton woman phase by then… I don’t know. Methinks Russian thoughtwaves are very difficult to translate into English. Any language with another alphabet is/would be, at least to me. Anyway, I liked that “Defense” movie if that is what you are meaning by Nabokov.

              Now I missed the his episode of DowntonAbbey. Apparently Maggie Smith has a LOVER from her Russian days at the court of Czar Alexander show up unannounced!! Gives me hope an ancient admirer of mine may show up someday. Oh yes, most are dead, I forgot for a moment….!!!!!
              love—

            • Camille

              Oh my yes, it IS. I checked IMDb. I had no idea it was adapted from Nabokov as It happened the movie was about a third of the way through when it captured my attention and held me, particularly because I like Turturro a lot. Thanks La Vally--I will go find it and watch it all the way through sometime. merci et Spasibo, too!

              http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Luzhin_Defence

            • La Valkyrietta

              Yes, Turturro is in “The Luzhin Defense”, that is the movie. I think Nabokov wrote the story in Russian, but then wrote the English translation. Nabokov knew the player the story is based on, and he really jumped off a window.

            • La Valkyrietta

              Krunoslav, thank you, I had not seen that beautiful photo of the “knave”. In the movie he has a different persona, he wears glasses, is always conservatively dressed, and is rather awkward :) but equally cute, a worthy Lollobrigida bon bon.

  • La Valkyrietta

    Camille,

    Youtube has that opening Faust scene. Much better production of Faust at the Academy than that atom bomb Faust with all those spiral staircases we had to suffer at Lincoln Center. Oh well, as Marcel said en Français, the true paradises are the lost paradises. Today if the production might succeed, you will be brought down with hip-hop lingo during intermission.

    • Camille

      Oh goody! I could not find it!!! I hope parterrians will like it, the UR-UN-Regie production!
      Many thanks!!!!!!

  • WindyCityOperaman

    The ad for Matthew Polenzani’s recital reminds me of those Big Eye paintings -- can’t help noticing.

    • Camille

      LolololoL!!!!!!!!!!

      Thanks for the chortle. I may be an old lady but I sure as hell always hated those damn paintings.

      Also day-glo on black velvet paintings one sees at (f)”Art” Fairs in the Southwest. Ugh.

      • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

        Camille: DO by all means watch the Golden Globe-nominated “Big Eyes”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Eyes

        if for no reason other than another bravura performance from (our very own) Christoph Waltz. It’s the true story of all those hideous paintings and is quite hilarious (and somewhat pathetic).

        Did you ever catch Waltz explaining der Krampus to Jimmy Fallon:

        or the difference between Austrians and Germans:

        • Camille

          Jaja! We Amerikans sind sehr dumme about the difference twixt Deitscher und Œster!!!!! It’s all Greek to ussens!

        • Krunoslav

          I thought Waltz’s ultimately manic performance almost sank the movie. Amy Adams is terrific, though.

      • Camille

        Ja, Jungfer, I have the intention to do just that but have been pressed for time and attention and neglected it. Amy Adams is probably going to try to snag an Oscar, again! Quite some story, and I am very happy for the real Mrs. Keen that the truth came out at ladt, and marvel that it did at all. Povera donna.

        Jungfer, as it happens, I just this evening once more saw an extrait of “Giselle” from a 1977 ABT production of same starring the glorious duo of Baryshnikov and Markarova. The entire ballet exists I am sure, on DVD, but I thought of you and was just wondering if you had seen them in person, and if so, what was it like? It was just gorgeous and a lesson in how to go mad! Had she a voice she could have sung Lucia, certainly.

        I have only listend to half the Iolanta but I liked Olga’s timbre of voice very very much. I have to finish it. Danke tausendmal.

  • Phantom Violist

    FYI, the “Age of Innocence” movie scenes above were filmed in Philadelphia’s aforementioned abandoned Academy of Music.

    • Krunoslav

      In what sense is the Academy of Music abandoned? Opera Philadelphia’s OSCAR with David Daniels, Dwayne Croft, Heidi Stober and William Burden will open there in a week or two; in April comes DON CARLO with Dimitri Pittas, Leah Crocetto, Michelle de Young, Troy Cook, Eric Owens and Morris Robinson, arguably a finer cast then the Met is promising this Spring. Plan a visit! Perfect venue for 19th century opera.

      • la vociaccia

        Leah Crocetto as Elisabetta unquestionably makes it a must-see. Also confused by the ‘abandoned’ trope here; Opera Philadelphia has no plans to depart the Academy of Music.

      • nalasa1

        I lived in Philadelphia for a long time and attended the Philadelphia Orchestra and Operas at the Academy of Music. The problem with that hall is that the balconies have poles to hold them up. These block a full view of the stage for about 50% of the seats. Who wants to see an opera with a pole dissecting the stage view?

        • Krunoslav

          ‘Who wants to see an opera with a pole dissecting the stage view?’

          Doesn’t that depend on the Pole?

          http://tinyurl.com/63ksx2k

          • manou

            I think the Philadelphia poles bisected the stage view -- unless they were skilled pathologists.

            We used to have a small pole to close the upper half of the sliding windows. We used to call it Roman Polanski. It got more and more apt as the pole became more and more bent.

        • Milady DeWinter

          And the other 50% of the seats are as comfortable as a 17th century torture rack.
          But the sound is gorgeous from any seat.

          • Camille

            Oh. Like Carnegie Hall balcony, then? Ouch.

            • Milady DeWinter

              Worse.
              And sometimes AVA/Curtis Opera Theater do performances at The Prince -- a renovated (sort of) movie palace from the 30s on Chestnut St -- very nice. Opera Co Philly often uses the smaller Perleman Theatre which is within Verizon for modern/chamber/new works, but the main course are still served at The Academy -- which did indeed echo with the voices of Renata (both of ’em) and Maria and Birgit -etal -- for years, during the 50s, was a regular stop on Tuesday nights for the Met.

        • kennedet

          I am a native of Philadelphia, nalasal and I enjoyed viewing all of the operatic performances as a teenager in that great hall. There were two companies performing at that time and I saw some of the greatest opera stars. Also, experiencing Eugene Ormandy and hearing the sound of the Philadelhia Orchestra during that time was another incredible experience.

    • Camille

      I, for one, am glad this discussion has all come up for as yet I’ve not once been to Philadelphia to hear any music, whatsoever. So, the fact that this admirable old Hall exists at ALL is really good news to me, especially as it exhibits 19th c. Operas in this venue. So, between all the confusion about Kimmel Center and Verizon Hall and who knows where and what AVA presents works at, I’m very happy now to know I have the chance. Imagining this to be the same place Mrs. Claggart and various members of her family cheered to the rafters the visiting Metropolitan Opera cartist? The scene of many a Little Renata triumph? Or I hope so.

      Anyway, thanks for clarifying all the above as what I know of Philly is the Barnes Foundation and those awful cheese steak things, (Yuch, as Clita would say), and a failing I intend to remedy.

      Come to think of it, if anyone could or would explain the different musical performance sites in Boston, I would be much obliged, having never once been there, at ALL! Thanks.

  • pasavant

    The Kimmel Center is Philadelphia’s new performing arts center. It contains two concert halls: Verizon Hall , the Philadelphia Orchestra’s new home, and the Perelman Theater, a smaller hall with acceptable sound and sight lines used for chamber music and recitals. AVA performs in the Helen Corning Warden theater at 1920 Spruce Street. The Philadelphia Opera Company continues to present at the beautiful , historic, and slightly dusty Academy of Music . The Curtis Institute Opera Theater presents at the Prince Theater at 1412 Chestnut Street , although the Prince is having financial problems and may close. Curtis and the Philadelphia Opera Company will also collaborate in presenting Ariadne Auf Naxos in the Spring at the Perelman .

    • Camille

      Thanks very much pasavant and I shall bookmark and keep this information safe as a handy reference.

      And a thank you to Milady for her further clarification as well. Somehow or another I had a faint false impression the scene where the MET toured was no more and am happy to know I may still go there and cheer at least someone on and, more importantly, close my eyes for a moment and imagine myself back into the age of innocence, quite a fest for me.

      Wasn’t it you, pasavant, who of late was complaining about the acoustics of Verizon Hall? Seems kind of strange a company devoted to fiber optics (and one who has pirated many a dollar off me!) should have constructed yet another modern soundbox where music does not carry well or graciously. One would imagine that the millennia of acoustically still valid theatres the Greeks and Romans built, their style that is, would be the standard model. Re-inventing the wheel.

      • pasavant

        Verizon did not build the theater; they bought the naming rights for $14.5 million dollars in cash, equipment, and other services. The Theater was build by the usual suspects: politicians, civic boosters, and the philistine rich.

        • Camille

          “…and the philistine rich.” Is there any other kind? They must all pray to Dagon.

          All is now clear and thanks!

  • moi

    Just finished listening to Damrau’s Lucia mad scene, en direct from Munich
    Well, surprising problems ‘up there’..it got merely a polite applause.
    Also got my hands on the new CD of Yoncheva… chapeau!
    but I have Stoyanova’s ‘Il est doux, il est …’ on my
    car CD , and it is much more glorious vocally, even if
    Yoncheva is very langoureuse.

  • fletcher

    Based on the hints Los Angeles Opera has dropped on Facebook, the next season looks like a Pagliacci/Gianni Schicchi double bill (Domingo is singing Schicchi in Madrid this summer; he’ll likely do this same here and conduct Pagliacci), Moby Dick, Norma (the Bogart production from WNO), Zauberflöte (Kosky production from last season), Butterfly, and La bohème. Heavy on Puccini; nothing French; no Strauss since 2005. Official announcement is tomorrow.

    • la vociaccia

      My sympathies for that season. At least 14-15 had Florencia and Bluebeard

  • fletcher

    Yes, pretty dire. The details are here. Casting is a mixed bag: Norma is Angela Meade with Jamie Barton; Ana Maria Martinez is Nedda and Cio-Cio-san; Andriana Chuchman is Lauretta; Marco Berti is Canio. Bohème has Mario Chang and Amanda Woodbury, who sang in last year’s Operalia. And then there’s Domingo’s Gianni Schicchi…

    • fletcher

      Oops, forgot to close that link tag!

  • armerjacquino

    Taking the (ahem) fiancé to see the HD of ANDREA CHENIER tomorrow. I only know the three arias and the end, so it’ll be as much of a new experience for me as for him.

    Found this, which reminded me of how ballsy ATS could be in Italian rep. Love all the flirting with chest voice at the beginning.

    • dexter

      It makes me feel very old (and god knows what it does to her) to realise that I heard Rosalind Plowright as Maddelena with Carreras at the ROH and now she’s Maddelena’s Mum.

      • armerjacquino

        I worked with Plowright’s sister at the end of last year, she’s a lovely woman. Didn’t get to meet RP, alas- I was too shy to introduce myself in the bar afterwards!

    • MontyNostry

      Mazel tov, armer!

      The whole opera’s a riot, so you should have fun, though the obvious highlights really are the highlights. I rather like the rustic idyll that is staged chez Coigny in Act 1 -- lovely tune. And I’m sure Zilio will wring withers as La vecchia Madelon.

      I saw both Plowright and AT-S as Maddalena back in the mid-80s at the ROH. I can’t remember much about Plowright, but I remember being a wee bit disappointed with AT-S, whom I was seeing for the first time after being blown away by the ‘Ernani, involami’ she sang at the Met Centenary Gala (see below). I always felt that her voice didn’t come at ya enough for verismo, though she was fab as the Marschallin, Kaiserin and Yaroslavna.

      • armerjacquino

        Thanks, Monty!

        I never saw ATS live- I was supposed to get her as Ariadne, but she cancelled and was replaced by one Gundula Janowitz.

        That AIDA she did in Munich in the 70s is one of my most listened to recordings though- partly because everyone, especially the women, is RIGHT at the edge of vocal capability, which adds a certain frisson to the whole thing. I bet Fassbaender couldn’t speak for a day or so after each performance.

        • MontyNostry

          I saw ATS quite a number of times. I didn’t think Tosca was her role either, but I can imagine she was a fine Aida -- the right sort of temperament, for a start. I love Fassbaender, especially in lieder, but have trouble imagining her as Amneris. She must have been yowling a bit (albeit excitingly).

          • I saw ATS in the ’84 run of Lohengrin with Domingo and Marton. She was quite radiant and held her own against Marton who blew the house down with Entweihte Götter.

            • MontyNostry

              I also think that poor ATS had to sing the first night of that Lohengrin having just heard that her mother had died. All that and a fire-snorting Eva too.

    • DonCarloFanatic

      Is the ROH by any chance also live streaming Chenier?

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    I love wearing fur in the cold, but have you seen the huge fur coat on Netrebko’s chubby hubby? Her Peltz are also molto strano http://slippedisc.com/2015/01/anna-netrebko-gives-thumbs-up-to-putin-demontrators/

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    So happy that health problems have not deterred Barbara Quintiliani from singing. Her NY recital is streaming live in video now. Heavy handed pianist not very interesting, stylistic, or sensitive.

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      With all the technology making this possible, why do they make it look like it’s lit with one oil lantern? MEHR LICHTER!!!

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

    (FORMER) DIVA WATCH: Cheryl Studer is out of “Dialogues des Carmelités” in Klagenfurt: “Wir weisen darauf hin, dass Cheryl Studer erkrankt ist und daher leider die Rolle der Madame de Croissy nicht übernehmen kann. Die Partie wird von der schwedischen Sopranistin Marianne Eklöf gesungen.”

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

    BAYREUTH TICKET SERVICE HOTLINE, announced today:

    30.01.2015
    Service-Hotline

    Am Sonntag, 01.02.2015, beginnt um 14 Uhr (UTC+1) der Verkauf von Eintrittskarten für die Bayreuther Festspiele 2015 im Online-Sofortkauf-Verfahren. Bereits ab 10 Uhr (UTC+1) wird eine Service-Hotline ihren Betrieb aufnehmen, die den Kunden Unterstützung und Hilfe bei Fragen zum Verfahren des Ticket-Kaufs sowie eventuell auftretenden technischen Problemen anbietet.

    Telefon-Nummer: +49 (0)921 78 78 800

    ——————————

    Please repost this to anyone who may be trying to buy tickets on Sunday (01 February). They have four hours to talk to a customer service representative before the tickets go on sale. You gotta give them some credit -- they’ve accomplished a lot in three years and are trying to make the process easier,