Cher Public

And one for Mahler

Cheer up, cher public, and set yourself to the task of discussing off-topic and general interest subjects.

  • zinka

    Died at only 48 in 1921…Imagine what other recordings (including “Nessun Dorma”) we would have had…I love “Send the WARRRRD”….A great man!!!!!!

    EVERY “vocal situation” he sings is different in my view…That is why I never ever tire of him…and only a few others like this….

  • Camille

    Did anyone attempt to hear Mein Lieber Hair, Christian GerHAIRher last night in his winter’s journey to and from Alice Tully Hall? See attachment for explanation:
    Sort of looks like he took Jonas’s hairdryer and went wild with it or just said to hell with it. Either way, pretty funny.

    Lars von Trier—prends garde!! Your melancholia is getting a run for its money.

    • Bluebeard

      I was there! Gerhaher was truly spectacular, and Huber was an excellent accompanist. In many ways, his stylistic choices were extremely unusual, but it never verged to affectation. EVerything was beautifully thought out, yet it never seemed calculated. The clipped phrases of Gute Nacht, the gorgeous legato phrases of Der Lindenbaum, and the effortless power in Mut were just astounding. Out of recent NYC Winterreises, he is certainly one of the best (easily surpassing Goerne’s superficial take in November), though I might prefer Finley most of all.

      Huber was at Gerhaher’s level every moment of the night, despite being sick (I assume Gerhaher used a score just to make sure they’d coordinate everything). Everything was seamless in execution. It was wonderful how Hüber would just go straight from song to song (Der Greise Kopf to Die Krähe) without pausing. Really just seamless playing. While I understand that Gerhaher was trying to downplay the melodrama of the cycle, I wonder if it became too detached by the end. In the Leiermann, it moved so quickly and you barely registered its start before its end. At the same time, it was part of a complete interpretation. A wonderful, moving (though not devastating) evening. Would gladly see Gerhaher do anything on the stage.

      • Camille

        Ha! Just this moment I am listening to the Marquise de Merteuil and mrsjohnclaggart recommendation of Brigitte Fassbänder’s take on it and it is mighty impressive.

        Thank you for reporting on this recital as I was sorry to miss it, but did attend another Liederabend of his a couple years back and left rather unimpressed with the voice itself, but not his interpretive abilities, so it was a toss-up for me. Perhaps Tully Hall wiuld have accommodated him better in any event, Ich weiss nix. Let’s just say I don’t believe he is the second coming of Fischer-Dieskau, the void he is perhaps trying to fill or being marketed as in “The thinking man’s liedersanger” category. I would kike to see what he could do with his Wolfram at the MET, for example.

        Matthias Goerne was apparently highly praised for this as was Mark Padmore? I suppose that English fellow whose name I dare not, may have done this cycle here as well

        Thank you, Bluebeard, not only obliging but interesting to me and to others.

        • Bluebeard

          I actually like Goerne a lot (the Met Wozzeck was phenomenal), but his Winterreise in the Kentridge staging just was so artificial. It’s a bad sign when the audience starts cheering literally the moment the piano stops in the Leiermann. It really was just a bellowing performance that didn’t really get past the typical feelings of pain and anger. I still prefer Finley over either, perhaps because it is a lower, darker sound, which I prefer for the Winterriese.

          Gerhaher was restrained, but that didn’t mean he didn’t emote or use a forte. I understand why people might be seeing him as filling the gap Fischer-Dieskau left behind due to the clarity of tone and diction, but Gerhaher does present a very different interpretation (Fischer-Dieskau, according to Christa Ludwig, was convinced that the Leiermann represented the man’s death rather than Ludwig’s belief that it was the beginning of the cycle all over again). Avery Fisher was a very good space for his voice, and I’d be surprised if he couldn’t fill the Met in some roles. One part I’d love to see him do would be Olivier in Capriccio, which I think he did in a concert w/ Fleming in 2013. Though what are the chances we see that opera in New York anytime soon (and please not in the Cox production). Regarding his appearance though, his tux was impeccable, a bit of a surprise considering that he normally dresses like a ragamuffin (sorry. no better way to describe him).

          • manou

            This is the bit where I generally pop up and remind people that Gerhaher is a fully qualified doctor -- here is an excerpt from the Guardian:

            Gerhaher decided to become a professional singer at 23, but made a point of completing his medical studies and qualifying as a doctor before embarking on a fully fledged career. In part, that was because he believes singing comes from the head as well as the diaphragm, and intellectual study is important. “The outcome of a voice is very dependent on what you imagine,” he says. “You will never grasp a piece just by technical vocalising.” But he also had a particular reason for wanting a safety net if music didn’t work out. He suffers from the intestinal condition Crohn’s disease, and wasn’t sure how he would cope with a musical career. “I wanted to have some security, to have a profession in case I had to give up singing,” he says. Happily, with medication it is now under control, and he says he is in better shape than 20 years ago.

            Full article here:


            • Camille

              Yes, thank you, Mme manou, I was aware of him being a medical doctor but I certainly did not know he suffered from that pernicious Crihn’s disease, a real hazard for a singing career.

          • Camille

            Thank you again, Mr Bluebeard, for your commentary is very interesting and informative to me.

            Mr Goerne’s Wozzeck I was privileged to hear in Carnegie Hall and was delighted for him to prevail at the MET as well—he should have taken over the entire run, no offense to Tommy H., but it was too much a stretch for him from the sounds I heard him emitting iver the radio.

            I had not thought of Finley, but he is a good reference, I would think. Thank you, and of course, I shiuld go to Fischer-Dieskau, but I don’t want to be intimidated by his kind of ultimate interpretive authority, as I think of it, right off the bat.

            Just now I have finished listening to Fassbänder’s 1974 recording and it is quite beautiful, I must say, and even if not generally a fan of women singing a man’s songs, unless in certain cases—or if it be Lotte Lehmann—it was evocative and so lovingly rendered. I have got to acquaint myself more with these songs, and funny thing, I started out in my teens listening to much Schubert and now in much later life, find myself returning to him, as an old, old Friend who, despite being ignored for many years as the flashier and trashier companions I spent time with took his place, he still stands there waiting for my prodigal return, the fast and true friend to the end. A homecoming of sorts and a closing of a beautiful circle, like the one I always look up to on the ceiling of Carnegie Hall.

            “Du holde Kunst, ich danke dich dafür…”

            • luvtennis


              For me, it’s like this with Schubert: when I am into listening to him, I can’t get enough, especially the piano sonatas. But then I fall out with him again because I just don’t have the patience for him. Make sense?

            • Camille

              Yes, it does make sense but the fact is I really did not listen to him other than an occasional lied or symphony or Tod und das Mädchen, until about seven years ago when I latched onto Mitsuko Uchida’s recording of Moments Musicaux, Op. 94, and Impromptus, which utterly bewitched me, and started me reconsidering him altogether and in a different light than I had for decades. Then I heard MTT do the Great C Major Symphony and I have just gotten more and more into him while at the same time becoming rather impatient and allergic to Schumann, who just gets on my proverbial jock strap, and I further think Clara Wieck’s Vater should have locked her away from that man! Oh, then we would not have all those lieder from 1840, would we? Okay, I’ll cut him some slack but I am deeply distrustful of him.

              Whereas Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten both like to say that Die Winterreise should be sung by an experienced, older man, I do not see it that way at all—for I think it should be sung by a young person grappling with some terrific horror which is seeping the life away from them, as was its composer, Franz Schubert, or so I am surmising from an initial survey on the subject but perhaps I am very incorrect. It will be interesting to see what der Meister Fiescher-Dieskau has to say on the subject. Or I shall try to find that book of Lotte Lehmann’s, I have two of them…somewhere.

              Many good wishes to you, luvtennis and here’s hoping our friend Cerquetti-Farrell may check in again someday but until then let us wish him health and happiness, for he deserves them.

            • I’m saving Winterreise for my old age but I do love many of his lieder. His instrumental music can be long-winded for sure but Schumann’s phrase “heavenly length” (which he applied to the Great Symphony, I believe) is apt as well. Someone once described Schubert as the musical son of Mozart and Beethoven and I couldn’t agree more. At his best, Schubert’s music has the noble spirit of Beethoven’s combined with Mozart’s exquisite lyricism. I wonder if he would have become a better self-editor had he lived longer.

            • DellaCasaFan

              Oh, Kashania, please do give Winterreise a try. I often go back to Gerhard Hüsch’s recording from the ’30s, but there are also fine interpreters today: Gerhaher and Finley would be my top choices. If you’d like a tenor version (if you find baritonal hues in this music too gloomy or for an old age :-)), Kaufmann’s recent CD was superb.

          • Camille

            Oh yes, Olivier would be just about perfekt, I would imagine.

            Would that Fleming would make her adieux in Capriccio, instead. O Götter! Strike me dead! Remembering that I saw her in it once und nimmer-nimmermehr! Carpaccio.

            • Not keen? I thought it was one of her best roles, at any rate in Carsen’s production, which is the one I saw -- in the house, rather than the video version, which has silly additions. Capriccio, and Arabella.

            • Camille

              Oh THAT one, the Carsen in Paris version, which I saw a huge chunk of—thinking it was the entire finale--was tutt’altra cosa!!!!

              You were so lucky to have seen that one instead. Yes I wish they would junk the one at the MET and bring in the Paris one. Lucky you, NPW. I would not leave at the interval for that one!

            • I admit I have left operas with R. Fleming in the cast, but not Capriccio. I saw it again when it came back with Michaela Kaune. but it would be hard to put on elsewhere, wouldn’t it, as it “uses” the Palais Garnier specifically.

            • I found a 10-minute clip of the end of it on YT, but it’s from the video version, complete with silly additions.

            • Camille

              Oh thanks. Even with silly additions it will be better than the one from The MET. Merci!

              It’s funny, but the staging seemed to work marginally better with Kiri, when first given.

            • The end of Carsen’s production, milking the aura of the Palais Garnier itself, was magical.

              OT but as I sit here I’m chewing my way through assorted lokum from Haci Bekir in Istanbul and finding it hard, having started, to stop…

        • armerjacquino

          There’s a film of the cycle by the singer you dare not mention, which I think is spectacular, but I know better than to post it here.

          • Camille

            O thank you dearheart! I will haste away to hear him, (and without importing him to offend the sensibilities of our dear friend and ultimate connoisseur, NN—for one just never, never knows, from one œuvre to the next.
            Perhaps this type of cycle is the place he lives and breathes for.

            And I do not agree with die Grosse Christa—I feel it is the man’s death, surely a new beginning, yes, but a final nail in a coffin on the preceding incarnation.

          • Camille

            As a wizened old crone, I know now I’ll never know better —at that, am posting this as introduction to IB’s interpretation, which I do find both highly successful and competent as “Das Konzept”. The voice is altogether a different matter but here it can be plied into service of the work.

            As well, and good thing Nerva Nelli is deceased and hoping this mention will not disturb her ashes, there is this very nice and highly competent lecture IB gave at his alma materon this work, FWIW 2 everyone. Really, a thoroughly decent and upstanding, intelligent chap, whatever other quibbles and reservations. I admire his intent.

      • Batty Masetto

        Gerhaher was exquisite in that L’Orfeo from Munich a few months ago and had excellent reviews for the Brahms German Requiem here last week.

        And yes, Fassbänder’s Winterreise is shattering.

        • DellaCasaFan

          I thought that Gerhaher did the Winterreise concert last week, with Brahms scheduled for tomorrow. I was looking for his NY concert review on Parterre but it seems no Parterrian was in attendance.

    • How very interesting. I had never heard of Gerharer until I read an article in the Globe & Mail this week. And now, I seem him mentioned here. He’s bringing his Winterreise to the intimate Koerner Hall in Toronto tonight. The Globe article (below) is very effusive. I am a bit suspicious about all the comments in the article about being free of influence from others as if learning from the best is a bad thing. But he seems well worth hearing.

      • Camille

        Yes, also have my suspicions about a number of things and reasons given…if you can make it tonight and it is not utterly frozen outside, why not attend and see for yourself?

  • zinka

    Feb.27, 1888….The greatest!!! Rise once sat at her desk and spoke glowingly of Lehmann’s Eva when she saw her in the 1930’s…Rise sounded as if she was “in a “trance” as she spoke of a lady who would someday sing with her in Rosenkavalier

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

    DIVO WATCH: Neil Shicoff cancelled his first two (of four) performances of “La Juive” at Wiener Staatoper this week, part of the 40th anniversary of his operatic debut (there will be a big gala in May with staged acts of three operas, as opposed to the recent Gruboverá gala performed konzertant). On Monday they had no cover and had to replace the opera with “L’elisir d’amore” (!!!), but American tenor John Uhlenhopp hopped in for tonight’s performance (does anyone know him and/or his work?). The next scheduled Shicoff performances are on Tuesday (03 March) and next Saturday (07 March), which is scheduled for a Livestream broadcast. I am not holding my breath.

    Also: It’s been confirmed that Angela Gheorghiu is here and in rehearsal for “Werther” and seems to be in good spirits (the first performance is Thursday; I will be there), but Ramón Vargas is out (as he was for the recent run of “Don Carlo” – his replacement, Stefano Secco, was really rather good, but not quite as good as Anja Harteros’ replacement, Maria Pia Piscitelli, who rather blew me away).

    Jean-Francois Borras will sing the “Werther” performances. He is the guy who replaced Jonas Kaufmann on the one night Kaufmann cancelled “Werther” at the Met last season. I believe he was well received.

    I just realized: I think this will be the first time in almost 45 years that I will hear a Frenchman sing Werther! Let’s see… Di Giuseppe, Corelli, Domingo, Kraus, Shicoff, Álvarez (Marcello), Villazón, Vargas, Kaufmann… (I missed Alagna, and Tézier in the baritone version).

    It’s going to be an interesting week: I have the “Werther” and a few nights later “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” with Angela Denoke, Misha Didyk, and Kurt Rydl.

    P.S. Apropos of something mentioned recently on another thread about “Winterreise” (of which live recordings by Keenlyside – with over 700 listens! – Finley, Padmore, and Kaufmann are all posted at my Mixcloud site), I will soon add Lotte Lehmann’s 1941 recording to the list. Now I need is to find several interesting performances of “Die schöne Müllerin” (“My Beautiful Laundrette”).

    • Lady Abbado

      Thanks for the updates Marianne: I would add for those not in Vienna -- you can watch the live streaming of the 13th of March performance of “Werther” for 14 Euros here

      • manou

        Interesting choice of photograph for Werther.

    • Wow! Thanks JML for the updates. But I don’t get it … Vargas is out for Werther but Secco is replacing him but Borras is singing Werther?

      • Bill

        Ivy -- Secco replaced Vargas for the run of
        Don Carlo (with very good reviews actually) -- then Vargas was supposed to follow the Don Carlo series with a run of Werthers and still being ill has been replaced by Borras in Werther. Vargas has had a series of cancellations lately (like Keenlyside)
        and I hope both will recover. I think Gheorghiu will be an excellent Charlotte -- and hope it is a grand success and she keeps it in her repertoire.

        • Thanks! Happy for Borras, him and Angela will be an interesting combo.

  • zinka

    Lucine Amara turns 90 on Sunday….That boring (no high note) Hoffman trio from the Met made me think of how Monteux had to hold the drumroll Opening Night 1955 because we all screamed at the C#.
    Lucine became what we call (and not a nice term) a “house singer.”Incredibly reliable..but with Tebaldi,De Los Angeles, Freni,etc…you know it was just a different situation.
    Listen,if you have it, to Lucine’s singing before “Tu che di gel” in act three Turandot..Pure gorgeous legato…..
    If she came out today as a new singer (although the voice is still in good shape,with of course less range…..we would forget that Gerzmava..who had no clue!!!(Liu with no clue??)
    So…Happy 90th to Lucine…whose xxxx rated jokes are FAMOUS!!!!!