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Here’s the winners of the Ildar Abdrazkov Quiz, Bluebeard and Krunoslav!  

The lucky winners will please email La Cieca so she can arrange to have tickets to the bass-baritone’s Carnegie Hall recital on January 29.

  • zinka

    The man gets everything!! He is O.K.but WAY OVERRATED!!!!!!

  • Camille

    Well, at least with Krunoslav going we’ll get a really good and knowledgeable review of the Russian music, so that’s good.

    Did anyone call WKCR last night for the free tix they were handing out? Hoping that someone profited therefrom.

    I’m convinced Olga has put a spell on him and that’s a part of it, along with being a sideways victim of the intended Ukrainian strike against Gergiev and all that jazz….UGH! Neve, to boot!

    • Krunoslav

      Thanks, Camille, but I cannot in fact go- I’ll be out of town.

      So, the first Parterrean who reads this and wants 2 tickets to see Ildar Thursday night at Carnegie, just e-mail or notify La Cieca, and be sure to give us a full report!

  • In other news, the Met has released this clip of the Iolanta dress.

    Wow they don’t sound good.

    • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

      Wow, you are right -- she more then he. The voice sounds too thick and the intonation is way off. Gergiev’s tempi are no help. Stay home tonight and listen to something very special (and topical) on Montag mit Marianne… (a spectacular performance all around, but especially a long overdue first Mixcloud appearance from a much-loved legendary soprano…). I believe it goes “live” at 08:00 a.m. NYC time.

      • Lohengrin

        AN should be on the hat, her successoressess are already there inside.
        Such a shouting and vibrato, gesturing as if she was drawned.
        Where is that AN from Salzburg Traviata gone?

      • Lohengrin

        I wonder why they published such a so to say “not so convincing” video…..

        • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

          I really, honestly, truly don’t mean to blow my own horn, but as an alternate, please listen to the same excerpt from the 2002 Moscow performance with Olga Mykyteko and Piotr Beczala conducted by Vladimir Fedoseyev which I posted on Mixcloud last week. Click on:

          and slide the cursor to 1:06:10 and listen from there for two minutes.

          My first “Iolanta” was with Beczala with Fedoseyev conducting at Theater an der Wien in 2001, and I will never forget that performance (even if I can’t at this moment remember who sang the title role; chalk it up to a senior moment). I most recently heard the opera in concert at Salzburg with Netrebko and Beczala and they were both quite glorious.

          I hope for all of you who make it to the Met tonight (the news reports about the weather are quite frightening!) or to subsequent performances that the Dynamic Duo (actually, both duos; that is, the cast of “A kékszakállú herceg vára” as well) are in more… what shall I say?… radiant voice than in this clip.

          We haven’t had „Iolanta” in Wien since 2001, but we are getting “A kékszakállú herceg vára” this summer as part of Wiener Festwochen at Theater an der Wien with Gabor Bretz. I can’t wait (especially since this is one of your alte Jungfer’s Top 10 Favorite Operas).

          • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

            Correction on link:

            Hopefully this will work! Sorry! Mixcloud and diacritical marks are not always compatible.

            • Quanto Painy Fakor

              That is such a better example of that Arioso-Duet! Fabulous and exhilarating (It’s got the Schwung Gergiev obliterated at the dress rehearsal.)

            • Hey JML I am listening to your wonderful performance of Iolanta. I can only hope that the dress rehearsal was just a very bad day because both Anna and Piotr sound strained and like they’re just shouting.

              They are capable of way better:

          • semira mide

            My first “Iolanta” was the 1963 film with Lisitsian.
            Although it is on Youtube and very “dated” ( voices were dubbed among other things) I found it very moving
            and for all its flaws it managed to convey the spirit of the libretto ( brother Modest) and the play on which it is based by Henrik Hertz. There are many beautiful aspects to this “old-fashioned” take on the opera. The father is not controlling,but protective, and you feel the burden a widower has in raising a beloved child. The meeting of two cultures ( western and Saracen ( the doctor) and the Romantic notion of the transformative power of love -- all of these presented with out irony in the manner of a true fairy tale. It is a sublime work and I hope that the present production will make new fans for this neglected opera.

          • Bill

            Gabor Bretz is really a fine singer -- have heard him often in Budapest. He is doing some
            Escamillos here at the Met and I assume he
            is the cover in Bluebeard’s Castle -- he sang
            it beautifully with the NY Philharmonic a couple of seasons ago. He is also the Mephisto
            in the new production of Gounod’s Faust this
            May in Budapest -- should be good. He has sung all 4 bass roles in Don Giovanni in various locales -- Masetto, Comandatore, Leporello and the Don himself.

            I saw Iolanta only once in my life when the
            Bolshoi was making a Gastspiel in Budapest with that opera (and a celebrated Russian Soprano in the title role) coupled with Mozart and Salieri with Nesterenko. I thought the
            Iolanta was a terrible actress -- just staring into space -- but as I could not read the Hungarian programme, had no idea Iolanta was blind -- hence the static acting performance.

            Bluebeard really grows on one as one listens to it more frequently -- one can buy the fabulous live concert rendition from Lucerne 1962 conducted
            by Kubelik at the Met gift shop -- in German but gorgeously sung by Fischer-Dieskau and
            Seefried. One can understand every word they sing. The Kertesz (Ludwig/Berry) is also available at the moment in that shop and they sing in Hungarian. The Lucerne performance by F-D is considered to be the best of the several renditions of the opera which he has
            either taped or was taped live -- some in German
            and one with his wife, Varady, in Hungarian, interesting that both Seefried (who sang Judith on stage in Vienna and at the Teatro Colon and Varady are both sopranos while Judith normally seems to be the domain of Mezzos like Ludwig, Troyanos etc.
            A few years ago the Budapest Opera did two versions of the opera back to back (different casts) in the same evening though for the life
            of me I could not discern the differences but
            it made for an interesting double bill (as usually previously in Budapest they coupled
            Bluebeard with two Bartok ballets -- a potent
            evening to be sure). Thrilling actually

            • la vociaccia

              The Kertesz is my favorite- Ludwig is in such astonishing voice, almost impossibly glamorous.

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      “Nur auf der Hut” indeed! Gergie didn’t help at all and the microphone placement sounds all wrong in that video; such ragged unbalanced playing resulting in such an un-marchlike dirge plodding from note to note. No sense of Jubilation T. Cornpone! It must be very difficult to sing that music so early in the morning, but that’s why they pay them the big bucks. It will probably be glorious in performance.

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

        Oops! I just checked the score and the Iolanta music is marked “Adagio con moto [1/4 note] = 69”! I guess over the years I’ve just done it faster.

    • PushedUpMezzo

      And PB’s outfit reminds me of those Gautier sailors

  • Camille

    It grows more and more dire for the once mighty Attila—for now his Carnegie Hall recital debut is the same night as the new prima of the Iolanta/Herzog Blaubart. Bad karma. Who is going to show up.

    Strange how it all plays out.

  • Camille

    Did anyone on earth attend Ildar’s recital debut in CH?

    Boy, talk about an ill-starred event.

    Just wondering what happened.

    • Bluebeard

      Thanks to La Cieca, and Maestro Artist, I was there on Thursday. It was a pretty nice recital, and I certainly wish Abdrazakov would do more recitals. The audience was very appreciative of his efforts, and his recital was a well-assembled program. He took a little while to warm up in the Glinka songs I must say. The lower register often sounds gravelly, yet by the time of the Tchaikovsky songs, he did some wonderful things. In the Tchaikovsky Lullaby, he did this gorgeous diminuendo at the major high note in the song.

      He then delivered an excellent Songs and Dances of Death. After hearing Pape’s gorgeously sung though slightly monotonous version in September, it was such a thrill to hear an interpreter who really got the text and sank his teeth into Mussorgsky’s music. A thrill to hear the rhythms of the Serenade made so clear. I just wish he wouldn’t have to read from his score. He seemed to know the music so well, and it was a shame to see a music stand blocking his hands, which he often uses to great effect.

      I thought the second half didn’t show his voice off quite as well. The Liszt Petrarch songs were all right, yet his intonation and diction were somewhat muddled. The Ravel Quixote songs were better, particularly the drinking song, yet his vibrato oftentimes becomes intrusive in this music where conveying these words is so important.

      Interestingly, I find that the lower half of his voice has become an increasingly weak, yet the voice can be beautiful when he’s not pushing the voice (which I find he does too often at the Met of late). His best moments came either while singing the most lyrical lines or the patter lines of Glinka’s Traveling Song. It’d be great to hear him sing more lyrical Russian roles (I loved his Dosifei in 2012) or even some comic Rossini parts more often. His best moments genuinely came at moments where the music turned joyful and cheery. For his third encore (after Deh Vieni and Granada), he sang about the most gorgeous version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow I’d ever heard. A surprisingly perfect way to end a very nice evening. I hope this is just the first of many recitals he’ll do in New York.

      • Camille

        This is all very interesting to me and many thamks, Bluebeard—it is really the time for your star to shine, isn’t it?

        The reason I am asking is because lately I’ve been rethinking this man and what he does, and after seeing his Figaro and the Tucker Gala, decided that perhaps he fares best in those types of roles , the “joyfull and cheery”, rather than being the Beast of Doom, Attila, or that S.O.B., Enrico Otto, either. Although I did rather like him as Igor, but there he is on his home turf, and so a different case. Long aho I happened to hear him as Pappataci in my BELOVED L’italiana with his BOL’ SHOYE ex-wife.

        Another thing: you say his bottom has fallen out or off, as the case may be!! I am never quite certain where his voice category lies. It doesn’t at all sound like a bass much to me. Puzzling. And the Petrarca Songs? Why? Can’t imagine that why or wherefore.

        Very interesting and many thanks again Bluebeard, O Thou of Seven Doors!
        I’ll not be knocking at your door very soon!

        • Bluebeard

          I’ll admit I’ve been a little confused by his career in general. I think he’s very good in a lot of lighter roles, as well as the lyrical Verdi and Russian rep. I liked him in Attila, but with the caveat that he couldn’t dominate the ensembles the way an Attila should, I feel. You couldn’t really buy Attila as a threat when you had Violeta Urmana as a go-for-broke Odabella and a really excellent Franco Vassallo as his rival for the last performance. During his Figaros this fall, I grew a little nervous about where his voice was going. He was excellent in the 2012 run w/ Finley, but he sounded tired at the performance I attended in 2014.

          Thinking of his repertoire, I’d stay away from the Verdi roles for a while and explore some of the French rep, should he want to do more dramatic roles. I liked him a lot in the Hoffmann and Damnation de Faust a few years back. I’d also like to hear him in more Rossini in general, perhaps Assur in Semiramide? Especially if Luca Pisaroni and maybe D’Arcangelo aren’t available! I can’t help but think he could probably do Guillaume Tell pretty well in a few years.

          • Camille

            Oh! That might work very well, the William Tell idea, but I am sure that will be a plum up for grabs with loads of competition in barytonville!

            Well, thank you for all your considerations as I have begun to think of him in a new light as of late, and will look forward to seeing him, granted it’s the right role, in the near future.

            I’m still mad at him for dumping Olga, but that’s none of my damn business. Maybe it was a mutual dump or she dumped him.