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

    ….and the Oscars go to……….

  • Rowna

    Just in case the Oscars get boring, you can either be more entertained or more bored with opinions from moi:

    • gal

      Hum, sorry to disagree Rowna, but actually Iolanta was staged in Baden-Baden in 2009, Madrid in 2012 (there is even a DVD with Persephone as double-bill), in Metz (France) 2013, it will be staged in Opera de Paris (with Nutcracker as double bill, as it was intended for the russian premiere) in 2016 and in the festival d’Aix…
      And I don’t even count the concerts like in Salzburg or during Netrebko’s European tour (Paris, Essen, Barcelona, Berlin, Vienna, London, Copenhagen, Prague, Monte-Carlo…)
      Beczala performed some concerts with this opera too.

      So you don’t have to live NY nor Russia to see/hear Iolanta.

      That said, I’m following you in rejoicing that HD exist.

      • ipomoea


        FYI, IOLANTA was staged by Commonwealth Lyric Stage in 2012, a local Boston area Russian-American company. As you can see, production values were basic, but faithful to the libretto. (if I remember correctly, there were 4 performances, double-cast; the Iolanta I heard was Dina Kuznetsova.

        In Boston, rare/new/avant-garde/early opera tends to be done by small companies and out of the many conservatory and university vocal programs. In this, we are actually quite blessed, but it’s a job to keep up with the many possibilities. Chances are IOLANTA will surface again somewhere around here soon.

      • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

        Theater an der Wien has staged “Iolanta” in 2001 and again about three years ago -- both times in new productions (with young Beczala in 2001). In 2001 it was done alone, and more recently paired with Rachmaninov’s “Francesca da Rimini” (yes, Rachmaninov! Zandonai was not alone!).

      • Rowna

        Picky, picky! Facts are not my strong point :) And I do tend to speak in !!!!! However, those are pretty remote places for people living in the hinterlands of middle America, who rely on either their regional opera company, a local college or university with a good music dept, or the Met HD. Glad you pointed out those performances. I learn something new everyday. And I did know that there were other performances, but not that many. Thank you.

        • semira mide

          Yes, there are a lot of performances of Iolanta around the world, but it is not an opera that is a permanent part of the repertory in places outside Russia as far as I know. It’s length is probably part of the problem. I know there have been occasions where it has been paired with one of Tchaikovsky ballets ( making for a LONG night) but it would be reasonable to pair it with an act of either “The Nutcracker” or “Sleeping Beauty”. Of course this would have to be at a place where ballet and opera inhabit the same house simultaneously ( not the Met) It would be a wonderful way for children to experience both art forms.

          • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

            Rowna: there are regular radio broadcasts from Theater an der Wien -- is there a chance some of them wind up on American radio? Is there still an NPR?

            semira mide: “Iolata” was conceived as the curtain-raiser for “The Nutcracker.” Given that a complete, uncut “Nutcracker” lasts about 85 minutes (which is shorter than “Iolanta”), this is not such a bad pairing, especially if the ballet can be performed without an intermission.

            • Which will be the Paris pairing in the 2015-2016 season -- directed by Warlikowski, so people who bring the kinds to see Nutcracker may get a surprise.

            • Kids, sorry.

    • Camille

      You are never boring, Rowna.

      Pax vobiscum

  • joggerboy

    After hearing this, it’s a shame that they don’t do Eugene Onegin in German more often!

    • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

      A complete 1955 performance auf Deutsch is on my Mixcloud site with George London, Rysanek, and Dermota:

      Viel Spaß!

      • Camille

        Danke, Jungferissima.

        Have always wanted to hear London in this role after having heard so much about it, and also curious as to just what Die Leonissima will be up to here--if this was one of her more felicitous outings, or not. Having only just a bit of her Arabella on recording, (the final scene), I know it can be so wonderful, but one never knows from one piece to the next one.

        Many thanks, once again, and much appreciated. A wonderful treat.

  • “Stars” who’ve cancelled on you and who did you get in replacement?

    I’ll start:
    Teresa Stratas as Tosca: I got a , then unknown, Maria Gulghina

    Alagna and Gheorghiu in Faust: I got Emily Pulley and Marcus Haddock. I fled at the first interval.

    Katarina Dalayman as Kundry: I got Michaela Martens

    • armerjacquino

      I think I’ve mentioned mine before- I’ve been very lucky with cancellations.

      Lucia Aliberti as Violetta, I got Ileana Cotrubas.
      ATS as Ariadne, I got Gundula Janowitz.

      Not so great: Margaret Price as Donna Anna, I got Makvala Kasrasvili.

      I have of course seen most current sopranos on the nights I bought tickets for Harteros.

      • joggerboy

        Who’s ATS?

        • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

          joggerboy: ATS is Anna Tomowa Sintow (I assume).

          • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

            And substituting for ATS as Amelia in “Boccanegra” I got the Met debut of someone named Aprile Millo!

          • joggerboy

            Thanks! Never heard of her before

        • Feldmarschallin

          It surprises me how often people don’t know singers. Not too long ago it was Margherita Grande and now Anna Tomowa-Sintow. There are several books which I might suggest to learn about singers if one is interested. The Record of Singing by Scott and Die Großen Sänger by Kesting. Scott ends in 1925 so he would be helpful for the older ones but Kesting is more up to date and their is even an addition to the 3 volumes which should be in every musical library.
          Tomowa-Sintow is actally a widely known name and just as I write this I am listening to her Aida which is excellent.

          • antikitschychick

            Feld, thank you for these recommendations. Am promptly going on Amazon and adding the one by Scott to my shopping cart :-). I do know who ATS is but there are many other singers who are often mentioned here with whom I am not familiar. Is there an English language equivalent to the three-volume book you recommend?

            • Buster

              There is Opera on Record -- three wonderful volumes, in which not only complete recordings are discussed, but recordings of seperate arias as well. I still look things up in it, even if you disagree, it is chockful of very lively descriptions of singers you immediately want to listen to:


            • antikitschychick

              Thanks Buster! Will check this out too.

            • Camille


              There is also a book by my favorite critic, Peter G. Davis regarding The American Opera Singer, which provoked a lot of discussion when first it came out, I know not why:


              A reminder as much to myself as an advisory to you to check it out, as I have been forgetting to do so for forever now.

            • antikitschychick

              Thanks for that lovely suggestion Camille :-). Sounds like a fun book which would provide some much-needed respite from all things law school so I will see if I can find a cheaper copy.

            • damianjb1

              The Grand Tradition by John Steane is also worth a read

            • antikitschychick

              Thanks damianjb1! I’ll check that out as well :-).

      • To get tickets for Les Troyens with Kaufmann at the ROH, I became a “Friend of Covent Garden” to gain access to priority booking. Dead on opening time, I spent an hour and twenty minutes online (I was over 1,600th in the queue), not to mention an arm and a leg on the most expensive seats I’d ever paid for. Then there was a weekend in London to book, with Eurostar, a hotel, restaurants… Kaufmann was replaced by Hymel. Not, as some peopel say, chopped liver, but I wouldn’t have mortgaged my granny.

      • Krunoslav


        First Met show I was taken to ( and insisted on leaving before At IV)

        Back to back in Vienna in my student Stehplatz years:

        NICOLE LORANGE for TERESA ZYLIS-GARA (Butterfly, Met)

        THANK YOU, GOD
        PIERO CAPPUCCILLI for GIORGIO ZANCANARO (as di Luna, San Fran)
        SUE PATCHELL (d), for JANE EAGLEN, ( Isolde, Met)

        GALINA SAVOVA (d) for EVA MARTON (as Gioconda, San Fran)
        CAROLYN JAMES for RENEE FLEMING (as Ellen Orford, Met)

        ORTRUD WENKEL (or REINHILD RUNKEL (as Herodias, Torre del Lago)

        CHRISTINE BREWER (for LUBA ORGANASOVA) Verdi REQUIEM, Philadelphia Orchestra
        RENE BARBERA for CHARLES CASTRONOVO (Tamino, Ravinia)


        • Camille

          “FRYING PAN/FIRE”—I’d call it HELL.

          I’ll never get over those two horrendous Normas.

          The only thing anywhere nearly comparable was the Lady MacBeth song stylings of NM.

          Execrable, toutes les Trois Toites!

        • marshiemarkII

          Kruno, operatically wordly you, yourself, you mean to say you were in the theater the night in 1984 when you Jon God Vickers and Eva marton being conducted by the divinely sublime Klaus Tennstedt (mi fai dimenticare Dr Karlest :-)) and the announcement is:
          The Leonore is ill and will be replaced by….. HILDEGARD BEHRENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          Pandemonium in heaven!

          • marshiemarkII

            typo ugggh worLdly you, and of course I meant no offense by not capitalizing Marton.

          • marshiemarkII

            typo, uggggh I give up :-)
            Of course I meant:
            you were NOT in the theater the night in 1984?

            • Krunoslav

              I was not — I endured Marton;s Gauleiter of a Leonore, with Jon “like a florid Welsh priest in his cups” as I believe Andrew Porter write. Lest we forget, Roberta Peters was the calcified but musical and professional Marzelline. Best singing came from Salminen.

              I was, however, in the theatre several times when Penelope Daner went on for Behrens…

    • Camille

      One of my most memorable was the time Plácido Domingo cancelled his superannuated Maurizio in the Adriana Lecouvreur given for Guleghina and the einspringer was Marcello Giordani, who, in this particular performance, was splendid. Had heard his Maurizio once before and it was similarly outstanding, so I was not that surprised, but extremely grateful for the tenor exchange. Having also heard Sr. Domingo in his estimable prime sing Maurizio, I had no need nor desire of hearing him hazard the same terrain some thirty years later…….

      I, too, like OimDoC above me, heard Michaela Martens as Kundry but was not displeased — she seemed to me to be a work still in progress. Dalayman really did do an excellent job as Kundry, some of her best work here, AFAIC.

    • PushedUpMezzo

      The only time Malfitano cancelled Salome at ROH we had the pleasure of Helen Field. I heard her -- just -- but I was only a few rows back.
      Much longer ago Dame Janet changed her mind about Alceste and graciously introduced us effing B’s to the very exciting Julia Varady.
      And even longer ago than that the utterly forgettable Mirna Pecile (?) for Christa Ludwig as Amneris opposite the glorious Leontyne.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Practice with Cheryl! She knows what she’s talking about. I remember when she was an unknown student at Gratz.

    • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

      Too bad Studer cancelled her “comeback” in “Dialogues des Carmélites” in Klagenfurt. And she’s still considering Kundry? Yikes!!!

    • luvtennis

      Good Lord -- It is very difficult to believe that Studer is only 3 years older than Renee!!!!! She looks older than Dame Kiri!

      Genes can be a terrible thing.

      • Salome Where She Danced

        I thought that was Stephanie Blythe!

    • Camille

      I attended a recital of sorts yesterday, of, among other things, some Brahms and Schumann lieder in which I could not make out a single, solitary sentence and inly a word or two. It was just unbelievable that it all sounded like a bowl of oatmeal. Lieder, not opera, with extended long lines. Too bad the Studebaker couldn’t have reached this talented young singer and done a drive by teachiut.

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

        I worked all day on Studer’s exercises and already I’m reconnected with my glorious technique of old.

        • Camille

          She conducts conducting technique as well???!!!!
          Guess she must have learned how from Sinopoli……

  • zinka

    On Feb.25 (born 1873), we celebrate the birthday of Enrico Caruso, still the ALL-TIME GOD of singing in my opinion. He died at only 48, but thankfully we have over 200 of his recordings.

    How did he sound live? One of my teachers, Jerry Lo Monaco,studied with Mr.Stanley, who told him we only hear 1/3 of the voice. The only lirico-dramatico tenor whom I saw who offers me a look at the Caruso talent was Richard Tucker,who could sing Cosi and La Juive, as Caruso sang Elisir and La Juive.

    You listen to such selections as “L’alba separa dall luce l’ombra,” “Angelo casto e bel,”(Duca dalba) “Io non ho che una povera stanzetta,”(Leoncavallo Boheme ) or the last session with “Deh ch’io ritorni”(L’Africaine),where you hear the dark sound that was able to sing “Vecchia Zimarra live.”. Also, “Over there,” where he sings “Send the WARRD” Just marvel at the glory of a man BORN with heart and soul.

    Forget that awful film that is 99% fiction..just listen to the great man, and every single phrase drives me nutsy. With Caruso,and very very few others, every “vocal situation” seems to produce a “different joy.” Without the basic sound,Bergonzi probably comes closest.

    He left us so tragically,…we would have had about 10 more years of him,but at least we have plenty of examples of the great man. May he never be forgotten by those who understand his greatness.

  • zinka

    This what I mean about GOD!!!!!

  • Buster

    Roberta Alexander is indeed doing the Chereau Elektra in New York:

  • manou

    semira mide -- this is for you:


    Melodramma eroico en deux actes
    Livret de Gaetano Rossi, d’après la tragédie de Voltaire
    Première représentation à la Fenice à Venise, le 6 février 1813

    Tancredi Anna Bonitatibus
    Amenaide Jessica Pratt
    Argirio Yijie Shi
    Orbazzano Daniel Golossov
    Isaura Camille Merckx
    Roggiero Mashal Arman

    Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne
    Chœur de l’Opéra de Lausanne dirigé par Antonio Greco

    Direction musicale Ottavio Dantone
    Mise en scène Emilio Sagi”

    « L’opéra débute par la signature d’un traité de paix. Dans mon spectacle, ce sera le Traité de Versailles. J’ai voulu m’éloigner du Moyen Age et prendre de la hauteur. J’ai conçu Tancredi comme un film en noir et blanc, à la Visconti. Je veux rendre la trame compréhensible au public d’aujourd’hui, car les paroles du livret peuvent sembler un peu lointaines.»

    • semira mide

      Thanks, Manou

      In fact Jessica Pratt tweeted about this a short time ago. At that time I didn’t know who was going to sing Tancredi.

      I saw it in Boston a number of years ago with Ewa Podles and Amanda Forsythe and it made me realize that “all” you need for this opera is great singers.

      The performance I would have LOVED to see was the one at the Rossini Opera Festival years ago when they presented both endings ( same evening) -- Tancredi heaven.

      Will you be seeing this production? Would be interested to know how Sagi’s concept works.

      • manou

        I am considering it -- I am often in Lausanne anyway. It certainly looks interesting.

  • armerjacquino

    No Renee Fleming alas, but this- from the *other* PB- might amuse some of the cher public.

    • antikitschychick

      never knew Christina Aguilera did a cover of “Listen”. Not sure if I want to listen to it though :-P. I’ve a friend that I studied with in undergrad who sang an amazing rendition of it in one take (as a rehearsal for a future performance) and posted a video on Youtube. Not sure if I want to post a link here though lol. She’s an awesome singer and performer; she double majored in voice and in Chemistry at my udergrad. She could sing high D’s like nobody’s business. She didn’t go the classical route though; she sings R&B, pop and some covers. She did put out her own album and is trying to get a record deal.

      • antikitschychick

        *undergrad. Sorry.

      • armerjacquino

        That’s a hyperlink, as in ‘Listen’ to the Stars and Stripes.

        I agree with you though, not something I’d want to hear Xtina sing. Did you ever see the extraordinary moment when Beyonce came and joined in with a contestant on UK X-Factor who was doing the song? It is the most potent illustration I’ve ever seen of the difference between ‘good’ and ‘star’:

        • antikitschychick

          Whoops :-P. Sorry I just saw Listen and Beyonce and completely missed the Stars and Stripes lol. Have not seen that vid of Beyonce on X-Factor but will watch it later after my class and let u know what my impression is. Im sure you’re right about the star quality vs. good singer distinction since X-Factor, American Idol, The Voice et al are just shows that shiowcase ppl doing karaoke, albeit many of them sing well and are entertaining. There have been a few exceptions but those are few and far between.

        • luvtennis

          God, how I miss La Houston. (Sorry B., but you ain’t no Whitney.)


          • antikitschychick

            Me too Luv,me too. Her voice was just so even, so beautiful, so rich in tone, she had an amazing range, could belt like no one’s business and she actually had technique and was an amazing interpreter. Don’t think there’ll be anyone like her for a long time to come. So sad about her daughter too. What a tragedy. That family has gone through so much :-(.

            • luvtennis


              There has been so much speculation on her travails that one hesitates to contribute more speculation, but here goes mine -- :-)

              By about 1992-4, Houston had achieved a level of fame and adoration that was almost unique. Right about that time -- and perhaps as a result of her schedule and that damn SONG that she was forced to sing night after freaking night, her upper extension started to become unreliable. That must have been devastating to her. She was still in her early 30s and that incredible instrument started to fail her.

              Can you imagine what that must have felt like? She wasn’t an opera singer who could just disappear when the voice started to go. She was the great Global Songbird. She was an industry in and of herself. The pressure must have been overwhelming without the worry of whether those glorious high notes would be there when she needed them.

              You can hear the effect in ’96 -- when she was only 33 -- in the otherwise delightful Cinderella with Brandi. The voice is noticeably hoarse and the top is used sparingly. From then on, it was a constant struggle -- one that she acknowledged ruefully. I think the stress of her vocal decline lead to all of the other problems that ultimately destroyed her.

              Just my two cents.

            • luvtennis

              Following up on my post -- I think the right thing for Houston to have done when the voice started to get shaky was to take an extended rest.

              BUT -- how on earth could she do that with the demands on her for movies and movie soundtracks and TV appearances and concerts. I mean, it is very difficult in today’s media fragmented world to appreciate fully just how FAMOUS she was at that time. I can think of only one other solo entertainer who achieved that the level of global fame that was hers from the time of the ’91 Super Bowl to say about ’97 after the broadcast of the Cinderella which was one of the biggest non-Super Bowl events in broadcast history.


            • antikitschychick

              Very interesting Luv. Yes the pressure to perform that song so many times must have been daunting and exhausting. So you think that it was her voice failing that made her turn to drugs and other things? I have watched interviews of her (that famous one with Oprah In 2009, the one with Diane Sawyer where she coined that eponymous phrase “Crack is wack” and many others to try and understand what drove her to start abusing various substances and marry Bobby Brown who really didn’t seem like a good match for her despite the fact that the image she portrayed was a facade). I have also read articles but never a biography. I always had the impression (based on what I’ve read and gathered from her interviews) she turned to drugs very early in her career and then when she married Bobby Brown her addictions became exacerbated, though I don’t think he’s to blame for her addictions. Also, I came across rumors that were circulating that she was gay. If that was true, that must have been very difficult for her being raised in such a religious family and whatnot. Whatever the cause of her distress I was just so sorry to witness the loss of such a precious instrument and how she must have suffered because of it. She was such a generous and gracious performer and I think she did care about her fans. I absolutely loved her because she was such a trailblazer and no one could sing like she could. Unfortunately she was also very self destructive and all the attention really didn’t help either.

            • luvtennis


              It’s possible that she was using drugs earlier in her career, but there is no evidence of it in her performances until after 97 or so. She also had a very supportive family structure and a loving mentor in Clive Davis. But it is possible….

            • antikitschychick

              Yes you may be right Luv. I do recall from that Oprah Interview that she admitted that the substance abuse started around the time she filmed The Bodyguard, but there’s no way to know for sure. Think she may have dabbled early or earlier in her career but didn’t become a serious abuser until the period that you mention.

        • antikitschychick

          Just listened to the video (finally) and have to say it was a great performance considering that song wasn’t meant to be a duet…now, while I totally agree with the distinction that you make about star vs. good/average quality,I also hear a major difference in terms of the relative ease of the vocal production: in short, Beyonce’s tone is much clearer/purer and the overall sound is healthier, to my ears at least. Range-wise the song fits her like a glove as well. The X-factor contestant otoh, while very good exhibits some signs of vocal fatigue and/or hoarseness especially evident in the beginning where she sounds kind of breathy. That sort of breathiness is a tell tale sign that either the range is too low or the singer is suffering from hoarseness (because the chords are not phonating enough). I know a lot of ppl find that to be sexy but to me it usually signals a red flag in terms of technique. I’m a total sucker for a raspy sound though, which is not exactly a pristine example of healthy vocal production either lol. Anyway back to the contestant: There was also that voice break she had toward the end when they’re both belting it out which shows she’s kind of at her vocal limit with this song, which is ok since this is a competition. Stylistically she was on point except she added a few extra runs which I thought were excessive and not entirely in tune. But she looked very nice and the performance was heartfelt. Beyonce just sounds healthier. Don’t know if she’s received vocal coaching or not but she almost always sounds healthy to me when she sings, which is one of her many admirable qualities :-).

          Thanks for sharing this armer. It was sweet of B to duet with this young lady. Am curious as to whether she won or not?

          • armerjacquino

            I agree with pretty much every word of this. Like I say, what is so extraordinary about it is how immediately apparent the difference in quality is. I played it to my mum once, who has probably never knowingly heard an R&B song in her life, and she instantly said ‘ it’s like a totally different song’ when B started singing.

            But yes, Alexandra Burke did win X Factor that year (of course she did, she did a duet with Beyonce in the final!).

            As for Beyonce’s vocal coaching- the story goes that papa Knowles used to make her vocalise WHILE RUNNING ON A TREADMILL. Don’t know if it’s true, but it would explain a hell of a lot!

            • antikitschychick

              Dayum! He made her vocalise on a treadmill? Now that’s sacro fuocco right there :-P

              Glad that she won and yeah it makes sense that this was a performance from the finale lol duh.

  • zinka

    I find it most unusual (for me,anyway) that Renata Scotto,born Feb.24, 1933 was so roundly hated and booed, and the repertory became just too heavy, but now,despite flaws (ever hear of Jones,Moedl,Rysanek??), she emerges as the LAST of the singers in the class of Muzio,Favero,Zeani,Soviero,Olivero, where the EMOTION is so riveting!!!
    Yes,the top register could cause much displeasure as the years went on, but when you take her career as a whole, you find so muchgreatnes in the woman:use of words, coloring the voice, true musicianship,etc.

    Happy birthday to Renata Scotto, who should be THE ONE to teach present-day divas what inner emotion is all about.They mostly know from nothing!!!

    • steveac10

      I, for one, would love to lock Scotto up with the likes of Meade and Garanca in a remote Italian villa for the summer and let her have at them.

      It’s also amusing in retrospect that it was this late 70’s Live from the Met telecast that prompted Renata to diet. She’s really not that big. Most current 40 something divas would kill to look like that.

      • Porgy Amor

        I would not want El?na Garan?a turning into Renata Scotto; I find her captivating just as she is. She was the saving grace of that generally dreary Vienna Anna Bolena a few years ago.

        The Meade complaint, I get more. She does sometimes often come off like a gifted student.

        However, that aside:

        I, for one, would love to lock Scotto up with the likes of Meade and Garanca in a remote Italian villa for the summer and let her have at them.

        Great quote from C. L. Osborne on the Barbirolli Butterfly recording, 1967: “Miss Scotto is one of those singers whose personal qualities outweigh the vocal ones. She is a traditional Italian soprano, in the sense that she will more often than not select the same sort of coloristic device, the same kind of inflection, that one might well have heard from many another soprano in the past, from a Muzio or Favero or Albanese. One is never startled by the originality of her conception; the accenti are in place. But what Miss Scotto manages is to persuade the listener that these devices are being created afresh, that they are not merely bits of a stylistic accretion but the direct result of her personal understandings and reactions. In other words, she justifies them. Her use of them is never annoying, because it never sounds learned or swabbed on from the outside. To watch her or to listen to her is to be aware that one is in the presence of the authentic article, the type of artist for whom all the old tricks came into being in the first place. Consequently one understands the old tricks again, and is moved. This Cio-Cio-San is the best thing Miss Scotto has yet done on records. One would say that every young soprano should study it, except that then they will all go off doing their imitations of the “real Italian style” rather than trying to get at the impulses that brought it into being, and we will be spending many more faintly unpleasant evenings, wondering why Puccini bothered to set this play to begin with.”

        • Camille

          Not only a great quote but just dead straight on the target.

    • kennedet

      +1, Zinka. Before the problems with her top she was magnificent. Her portrayals were riveting and also her command of how she styled vocally.

      I know I’ve come to the correct place. Why is there no mention of Pavarotti in her book!? Not one iota! Inquiring minds want to know. O.K., somebody, “dish the dirt”

      • Lohenfal

        I’m not a Scotto expert, but I remember that there was some dispute between them when they did Gioconda in San Francisco around 1980. It caused a minor scandal at the time. Then I watched a TV documentary in which she used some unfortunate language concerning that event. It appears that the Gioconda was the reason for her turning against him. Perhaps some other Parterrian can provide further details.

        • kennedet

          O.K., Lohenfal, You’ve ‘lit the powder keg”. thanks.

        • Batty Masetto

          Scotto and Pavarotti did Gioconda together in SFO in 1979, role debuts for both of them. Adler (or it may have been Mansouri, who directed the show) gave Pavarotti the last curtain call, even though Renata had the title role and the last call should by all convention have been hers. She blew a fuse.

          (Un)fortunately there were cameras filming backstage for a documentary and they caught her venting at the top of her lungs about being stuck “in mezzo a questa gente merda.” Which did not do her a whole lot of good PR-wise.

          She did come back to San Francisco for a Werther in 1985, but it doesn’t appear that the breach with Pav ever healed.

          • LT

            This reminds me of a story the Kabaivanska recently told. It was about a soprano that would love to brag about her successes and receptions to everyone. She would say “it was such a success, you couldn’t even imagine”. Kabaivanska said she and Pavs would have a good laugh about it, especially because said soprano would say it to Luciano. I wonder who it is.

          • Lohenfal

            Thanks for filling in the gaps in my memory. I vaguely recalled the curtain call problem, but I had the suspicion that something additional was involved. Maybe there were some tensions between the stars before that incident. In any case, her language and demeanor during the documentary left no doubt that she was furious. That particular scene has stayed in my mind for almost 35 years.

            • Porgy Amor

              I vaguely recalled the curtain call problem, but I had the suspicion that something additional was involved

              I have read of two other incidents. TV Guide wanted to photograph both of them for a cover (which never ran), and at least one if not both stars were unhappy about not getting a solo cover. Also, Scotto received a taunting letter about her vocal state that probably came from a Callas widow or some other breed of anti-Scotto opera queen, but she thought Pavarotti was behind it. And, in general, I suspect there was just star-singer personality clashing. She did scrub her biography of every mention of him.

              Pavarotti’s last word on the whole thing (circa 2003-4): “No, it was not the beginning of a problem with Scotto. It was the beginning and end of a problem. It was a huge misunderstanding that should not happen between friends.” (Interview with Midgette, appendix to Breslin’s bilious little book.)

          • Krunoslav

            The GIOCONDA problem was that he had arrived unprepared and late at rehearsals and was very lazy, expecting to be catered to.

            At the prima, he took an unplanned solo call after Act II, and Scotto was told by the staff that “he does what he pleases in this theatre or something like that.

            They sang a BALLO together in Chicago after that, on opposite sides of the stage in the duet.

            She does mention him- just not by name, in the list of recordings it is simply omitted- in the book. Who else do you think the tenor too unprofessional and lazy to have read the full story of LOMBARDI and thus not to realize that his character had a posthumous aria was?

            Scotto and Kraus were dynamite in those 1985 WERTHER performances at SFO by the way.

            Zinka, I am wondering how Scotto can be called the last of the line when Soviero went on singing years after Scotto retired?

          • Scotto’s account was a little more complicated, which was that San Francisco had agreed that the artists should take only group calls after each act and then solo calls at the end of the opera. Pavarotti broke that agreement by going out to take a solo call after the second act. (Most likely he was encouraged to do so by the SFO management, but the point was that Scotto complained that one of the artists was, as the saying goes, more equal than the others, and management figuratively shrugged.

            The two artists did eventually make peace. Scotto was a guest artist at Pavarotti’s 40th anniversary gala…

            … and while this clip does not show it, in the original full-length telecast, as the artists exit after the encore, Pavarotti puts his arm around Scotto and she rests her head on his shoulder as they walk out together. They may not have ended as best friends, but I think both had the sense to realize old age is the worst possible time to hold a grudge.

            • Camille

              When and where did La Scottissima reveal that The Pav didn’t really read music, and had to be spoon fed his scores, a lot by Mo. Magiera? Thought it was in More than a Diva???

            • redbear

              I was helping at a gala in San Diego and Pav was there. There was a request that he sing “O sole mio” but he begged off, noting that he did not have the music.

            • The genius of Scotto in one scena:

            • kennedet

              Camille, this is a true story, Gildo Di Nunzio, Pavarotti’s accompanist and coach for well over a decade, gave a Master class in Rochester several years ago and stated very sympathetically that Pavarotti could not read music. I remember him looking up (to the heavens)ie. Pavarotti and saying that he was sorry. Also, he said Pav was also trying to get him to taste food while they were practicing which he found very annoying.

          • manou

            Batty -- you have missed out the di between the gente and the merda.

            Always best to keep the merda separate.

            • Batty Masetto

              Well, at least I didn’t write “quest genre merda,” which is what autokorrekt kept trying to make me do…

              Actually, quest genre merda can be delightful if well done. I’m a big fan of Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, et al.

          • Wow! I can understand Pav making a pitch to have the final bow if the opera were Turandot where the tenor does almost twice as much singing as the soprano. But Gioconda? The poor soprano is on stage singing and singing the whole night. The final act is basically one long monologue occasionally interrupted by supporting players.

            • tiger1

              Seems to be some contradictions in this thread. A few posts saying that Pavarotti did not read music -- and then Redbear saying that Pavarotti would not sing O sole mio WITHOUT the music….

  • zinka

    The Met’s first telecast…Here is chubby little Renata TEACHING us what verismo is all about. I regret some of my past remarks about her…she is truly wonderful!!!!!!

    • bluecabochon

      The “chubby” comment is quite gratuitous.

      • steveac10

        Scotto herself thought she was chubby. She claimed in later interviews that it was seeing that video that prompted her to lose weight. Her nickname among some less than tactful opera queens back then was “Miss Piggy”. Her diminutive stature, button nose and prominent cheeks didn’t help matters -- the most dramatic change to her looks after the weight loss was to her face. To her credit, she has kept if off for decades.

        • tiger1

          She looks absolutely fine to me, not chubby at all. But chacun a son gout

    • mirywi

      It’s when tears unexpectedly come into my eyes that I know it’s good. She has got the realness factor.

  • zinka

    More Scotto stuff:

    When this was done LIVE, a nutcase (you could take him anywhere but OUT) planned to yell,”Brava Maria Callas” at her first aria…he was mad that on a TV interview she complained that in a Medea Callas wanted the role of Glauce cut.”Why she do theees to meee?” The nut was thrown out.
    By the way the first(and ONLY) time I invited him..he was 2 hrs.late.I had a piano then…and if this continued..and i kept practicing while I waited..I could have been at Carnegie Hall!!!!!!
    If you have the video, listen to the first words of her aria in act one…..
    By the way this nutjob said once that he worshipped Callas, and if anyone put her down, he knew Karate… you think Charlie is NUTS??????

    • Krunoslav

      Sorry, as a high schooler I was in the house for that BOHEME, and in fact the “Brava Maria Callas!” incident was during the (excellent) LUISA MILLER telecast some years later. I was watching it in my college dorm and I couldn’t believe my ears or eyes.

      • zinka

        Yes…I didnot say LUISA???My fault..The nut who did it told me exactly what he was going to do..The Boheme was thefirst Met tele cast

      • marshiemarkII

        Well some years back, we discussed this story ad nauseam, and I contributed with my 2 cents because I was in the theater for the Norma that was somewhat concurrent (I said by a few months at the time but some more knowledgeable Q corrected it to about a year :-)) when the [same] nut screamed “Brava Maria Callas, Scotto TU sei la merda” (in obvious reference to the Gente DI merda) at the beginning of the Casta Diva at the Met Opening Night 1981 (?).

      • marshiemarkII

        Which was also concurrent with the “Froci di Milano” quip at La Scala that also sent the San Francisco Qs in a tizzy right about the time of the Gioconda so it was a succession of faux pas that culminated with the Norma affair. She could have been a bit more tactful I guess…..

        Which begs the question, is there an easy way to retrieve the old posts when these things were discussed in great detail? I came up with the same question when Carisssimo Stevey asked me about the “Glorious Obraztsova”/”Devil Incarnate Diva from Hell” contretemps.

        Cara La C, is there some sort of a search function that would allow us to retrieve that stuff from the archives, and just refer to the old discussion by giving the correct URL? instead of trying to retype everything again from memory?

        • Lohenfal

          Liebster MMII,

          The Norma Opening Night at the Met was on Sept. 21, 1981. That was about the same time that (in)famous documentary was telecast, in which Scotto uttered those words.

          The Luisa Miller telecast was on Jan. 20, 1979. If I’m not mistaken, the individual who yelled at Scotto also wanted to throw something at her, but was prevented from doing so. The yelling was clearly audible over the TV, as I was watching it that evening.

        • Milady DeWinter

          Ma chere Marshie -- if you look at the main page of parterre, to the left of La Cieca’s fabulous Versailles pouf (Cieca’s left, not the reader’s!) you’ll see a red search box -- you’d be surprised what you can put in and pull out of it!

          • armerjacquino

            And if that doesn’t work, it’s usually possible to find any given thread with the right google search terms, even if it takes a few attempts.

          • marshiemarkII

            Oh Mille Grazie Milady adoree, have tried that and surprisingly shows only a handful of posts when I know there should be many many more, but truth be told I have not tried it in a couple of years. I’ll try again when I have a bit more time.

            Armer, that seems like an interesting approach and again I should try sometime, maybe on those two subjects? I know I contributed profusely to both of those topics! By the way did you see my post about Corinne Winters?!?!?!?!!? She will apparently sing with my boy Alexey Lavrov in late April in Sucksee!

        • marshiemarkII

          Oh my carisssimo Lohenfal, finally I can say I figured out the confusion then about the years. In my original post a few years back, her eon parterre I said something along the lines “the Gioconda that had occurred but a few weeks before in San Fran” and immediately some Q jumped on me and mentioned that the Gioconda had been one or two years before leaving a lot of egg on my face, eventhough going from memory about something that had occurred 30 years before was not bad :-)

          But now you finally make everything make perfect sense, if the Gioconda documentary had just been broadcast in NYC around that time, small wonder it was so fresh in the nuts mind and in retrospect it appears as it had just happened. Things were so slow back then, right? everything measure in years, not seconds like today!

          The guy’s name was Etienne and he claimed to be from Belgium, but looked middle eastern, I believe someone said he was Moroccan (?). He passed on not too long after, and obviously still young!

          • Lohenfal

            It’s easy to telescope all those events after many years. As you must remember, the Norma itself was controversial. Having the Gioconda of 2 years earlier recalled on NY TV only added fuel to the fire. It’s hard for me to think of anything similar in recent times, except perhaps for the Klinghoffer protests, which had nothing to do with artistic matters.

          • marshiemarkII

            Yes of course carisssimo Lohenfal, you are absolutely right, all of the Only Maria roles (“My Roles”) made the Maria Widows very upset, and it didn’t help that in some of them she was a bit out of her comfort zone, to put it elegantly :-) it all culminated wit the Macbeth where the insane booing (buhing :-)), while mostly directed to Peter Hall, it did rub off of her also, and after that she was pretty much finished in NYC, which was a pity because she still had so much left!

            I had lunch with her and Hildegard, at Fiorello’s, in April 1994, and she had moved on out of NYC, and into the German repertoire, which made for a lively conversation! :lol:

            • marshiemarkII

              Before someone jumps and says she was not finished in 1983 in NYC of course is right! she did the premiere of Clemenza later 84?) and even some Butterflies as late as 87, but after the Macbeth, the bloom was off the rose and there was no going back, the damage was done unfortunately

  • Buster

    According to Nadja Michael’s Facebook page she is landing in Amsterdam shortly, to start rehearsals there immediately.

    That can only mean Tatjana Serjan is out of the Andrea Breth Macbeth, and we get Nadja instead. Less likely is that she starts rehearsals for the Isolde she will sing at the Concertgebouw in fall. She and Breth are a great team (Wozzeck!), so I really hope we’ll get their Lady Macbeth.

    • Cicciabella

      NO! Buster, you just burst my Macbeth bubble. Michael can be wonderful theatrically-she was great in the Bluebeard HD-but her voice is just all kinds of ugly.

    • Krunoslav

      Serjan is still listed on the company’s website and as i plan to go, I will pray that she is doing Lady M.

      Nadja Michael was HORRIBLE in this part at the Met, some of the worst Verdi singing I have heard in years. She did get most of her clothes off in no time flat .

      • Krunoslav

        Alas, a Dutch pal confirms that Serjan has been fired (by the director, not the conductor) and that la Michael is going to be Lady M. Yuck!!!!!!!!!

        • The little black dress must be especially little.

        • Camille

          Do what I do — take your Bose Noise Cancelling Earphones to the performance. Just tell them you have an ear infection and have to guard against ruptures, brought on by sudden very loud noises.

        • Buster

          Thanks, Kruno. I had a most unfortunate replacement a few weeks ago: Maria Bengtsson cancelled her Arabella, and was replaced by Emma Bell. Definitely not going.

          Her Desdemona replacements look better, at least one of them: Guanqun Yu.

          • armerjacquino

            I wonder what happened to Bell. The decline was so sudden and so absolute. It’s like she went from very promising to clapped-out, without the actual career bit in the middle.

            • john

              I don’t have any answers, except I wonder whether she’s really clapped-out or actually just desperately needs a change of singing teacher? The sound is very dirty (not in a sexy way) -- strained and muffled, but also piercing. It’s difficult to tell whether she should be looking at much more dramatic repertoire (the voice is quite big) to release her natural instrument, or whether she’s artificially darkening it and needs to sing more lyric stuff. Isn’t she singing Elisabeth in Tannhauser at the Royal Opera next year? She’s starting to sound more like an Ortrud to me.

          • Bill

            I wonder what happened to Jacqueline Wagner?
            She was excellent in Feuersnot at Carnegie
            Hall a couple of years ago and then I think
            sang Arabella in Detroit and Amsterdam but I have not heard a word about her since -- a very
            even attractive Straussian voice of some substance who I thought would have an
            excellent future. Perhaps she is bound to
            one of the opera houses in Germany as
            an Ensemblemitglieder for a year or two --

            • armerjacquino

              She’s doing pretty well:

              Apr-Jun 15 Die Zauberflote Pamina Paris(Opera) C: Trinks / Patrick Lange; D: Carsen

              Feb 15 La clemenza di Tito Vitellia Strasbourg(Opera)C: A Spering; D: Katharina Thoma

              Oct 14-Jan 15 Giovanna d’Arco Giovanna d’Arco it Bonn C: W Humburg / J Pell; D: Torge Möller / Hinrichs

            • la vociaccia

              Jacquelyn Wagner has a fabulous Suor Angelica final scene

            • marshiemarkII

              Carissssimo Bill, do not forget the ALL Beethoven Program next Monday at the Lutheran Park Avenue Church (85th St) where the exceptional Israeli pianist Nimrod Pfeffer will play the No 4 with the Clarion Orchestra, also the Pastorale. And the following Tuesday, at the Armory, the divine Layla Claire will share honors with your boy Brandon Cedel that you liked so much at the Iphigenie!

            • Camille

              Bella voce davvero!!!

              Such a difficult scene and she went straight through it with none of the usual pratfalls. Such a wonderful intonation and clarity and sweetness to the tone. May she prevail!

              Thanks, vociaccia for bringing her to my attention for I will be looking out for her next she is here in NYC. Sorry now I chose Mona Lisa over Feuersnot!

            • Grane

              Marshie, here is a review of the Dialogues of the Carmelites in Washington, by Anne Midgette. She is lukewarm about the production, and her praise for the singers, including the divine Leila, will probably not satisfy you either. But anyway. Apologies if this has been posted elsewhere.

            • marshiemarkII

              Oh Granissssimo, Mille Grazie, As Blanche, Layla Claire, in her company debut, showed a strong, warm soprano that gave definition to a complicated role. I had not seen that and thanks to you now I know she did pretty well:“As Blanche, Layla Claire, in her company debut, showed a strong, warm soprano that gave definition to a complicated role” is not bad at all, I am sure she was sublime, but Midgette is not the sharpest blade in the drawer usually :-)

              I hope you can make her Armory recital! I can’t wait to see her!

            • la vociaccia

              Camille, I’ve been secretly obsessing over that video. It’s such a well organized voice and it opens up so wonderfully in the Muoio per lui, e in cielo lo rivedro part. It’s a shame that she’s off the radar of the Tucker foundation and the like. She only has German management and part of me wonders if she will just stay in Europe, like Catherine Naglestad.

            • Camille

              Vociaccia--4 U! & 4 Unser Geliebter Bill!

              Yes, just about a perfekt voice for Arabella, as Bill correctly deduced. She needs a little more motion, or vivacity in her stage action or plastique, and a little more specificity with the words, but I would do nothing to have her undo the generally great ease of production and the beauty of the tone. Again, such an intonation and centeredness to tones, which is a big bugaboo for me.

              Give it a little time, and the right agent. What a refreshing change of pace from the usual vibrato ridden and limited compass of the generic manifold soprano stepfordensis.

            • Buster

              Her Amsterdam Arabella was great -- a younger than usual sounding, and looking Arabella, which really helped me to like her as a character:

            • Walther von Holzhaufen

              Bill, as the video posted by Camille shows, Jacquelyn Wagner’s performances as Arabella were in St. Paul, not Detroit.

            • Camille

              as always—Dank U Vel, Buster—for supplying the trailer to De Nationale Oper’s Arabella, for now I am able to see her more in action—whereas the Minnesota Opera’s version was quite static, and made it harder to discern very much of her capabilities.

              A very talented young artist whom I hope will grow from strength to strength and not be gobbled up by the machine. It would appear that she is doing just about what she should at this point and sticking to the right path for her voice. It would be interesting to know how she fares as Giovanna d’Arco, if anyone should hear it—it was in Bonn, nichts?

              Anyway, a huge Toi toi toi to her!

            • phoenix

              re: Jacquelyn Wagner. I am amazed at the two clips above. I only heard her once -- as Arabella in Amsterdam (april 2014) -- at that time I found her dreadful, the worst Arabella I ever heard.
              -- For anyone interested in how she sounds now, tune in this coming Tuesday:
              to be broadcast 3 Mars 2015 at 2 pm EST USA
              Deutschlandradio kultur internetstream
              Aufzeichnung vom 01.03.2015 Philharmonie Berlin
              Alexander Skrjabin
              “Le Poème de l’extase” für Orchesterop. 54
              Maurice Ravel
              “Shéhérazade” Drei Gedichte für Sopran und Orchester
              Florent Schmitt
              Psalm 47 für gemischten Chor und Orchester
              Jacquelyn Wagner, Sopran (she was terrible before, but check her out here)
              Rundfunkchor Berlin
              Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
              Leitung: Marek Janowski

            • Camille

              What is it your amazement is in regard to, phoenix, or should I ask?

              The Arabella you heard from Amsterdam is probably the same as the one from the clip abive, or not? No comprendo, amigo.

            • Cicciabella

              Camille, you can listen to the whole Amsterdam Arabella here:


              In the house, I though Wagner had many qualities to be an ideal Arabella. The high Straussian lines certainly held no fear for her. I found her voice did not have that carrying quality that makes you feel a singer is singing directly to you. Her middle range did not sound well-supported to me and this weakened the impact of her performance. I thought vocally and temperamentally she was overshadowed by the Mandryka (James Rutherford) and the Zdenka (Agneta Eichenholz), who were both excellent in every way.

            • Camille

              Dank U moltissimo, Ciccia! I will try to give it a listen, and certainly do hear what you are saying about the voice, for you express what it is she lacks very succinctly.

              Time and experience will hopefully teach her, for the ease of the higher fifth of the voice is very fluent and graceful to listen to, and highly admirable. She is proceeding from a quite a Mozartian background (lots of Contessa Almaviva, e.g.), so it may take some time to sort it out. I just know I’d rather have heard her Contessa than the ones I did this fall here at the MET, although I liked Willis-Sorenson a lot, just not in that role.

            • phoenix

              Camille, I have no idea whether that 2 minute 12 second utube preview clip posted above came from the same live radio broadcast I heard. I suggest you listen to the same Arabella audio broadcast I heard (Cicci was kind enough to post the link to the ENTIRE performance) so you can judge for yourself.
              -- I went onto utube and I have been listening to several of J. Wagner’s posted clips. Not to offend a working artist, but in all the clips I heard I cannot find anything distinctive in her tone, i.e., the ‘substance’ of which you speak totally eludes me. Her voice is rather pleasant but she sings so awkwardly on most of them I had to just shut them off. The best clip I could find was when she sang the 3rd Norn at the Philharmonie Berlin (15 Mars 2013).
              -- I guess I heard her too late -- I know she had some good nights somewhere.
              Best wishes,

          • Camille

            Emma Bell sounds like Hell.

            Or she did the other day in that blighted Don G., and after that introduction I wkn’t be in a hurry to hear her again. A trial, even just the second act of which I heard. Proof that a work like Don Giovanni just can not be destroyed, no matter WHAT is done to it.

            • Bill

              Camille -- Of course Don Giovanni cannot
              be destroyed but based upon the Saturday
              Broadcast Emma Bell tried her very best to do so. Harsh to say but after the first performance of this series, Gelb should really have bought Bell out of her contract and utilized the Cover or found a replacement.

            • LT

              I don’t think there’s any such quality control during performances, much less by Gelb. Covers are utilized when the principals cancel themselves.

            • armerjacquino

              Since it seems to have disappeared into the thread, I’d like to repeat my question about Bell. She went from very promising to the way she sounds now so suddenly. No warning signs, no overparting a la Suliotis. We can carry on saying how bad she was as Elvira till the cows come home, but I’d be interested to hear even one theory on what went wrong and how.

            • LT

              Jezibaba took her voice.

            • steveac10

              “I don’t think there’s any such quality control during performances, much less by Gelb. Covers are utilized when the principals cancel themselves.”

              Susannah Glanville and Marcello Giordani (regarding Troyens at least) would beg to differ. If it’s to be done, it should during rehearsals. That god awful Musetta this fall should also have been bought out. Sure, Gordon might make an issue of the expense during the next round of negotiations -- but it is NOT a waste of money to buy out a singer who turns out to have no business doing the role when a suitable replacement can be found. In this case if the cover (Jennifer Check) is deemed Met worthy for the last performance she should be worthy for the run.

            • Camille

              “Jezibaba took her voice.” LMAO!

              I am going to steal that line, and give you fair warning!

              Jennifer Check was good enough to sing Elisabeth in the DON CARLOS at Caramoor, she ought to be able to get through the Elvira just fine. I’ve only heard her as Clotilde and the Fifth Maid, long ago.

              A shame that such a work as Don G. can’t always have a first rate cast. Always.

            • Gualtier M

              What is more damning is that Emma Bell sounded like hell the last time this production was revived about two or three years ago and yet the Met rehired her. Not only that they kept her in the lead spot and the very capable and underrated Jennifer Check in the bleachers warming a bench.


        • Cicciabella

          “The director fired the soprano.” Presumably with the benediction of both the musical director and the artistic director. I could live with that unfortunate fact, if the replacement were halfway decent. In the meantime, DNO still lists Tatjana Serjan on their website. They never do publicity with singers’ names and never give refunds after cast changes, so they feel they can replace anyone and make only last-minute substitution announcements. Somehow it still feels like cheating.

          Serjan has sung Lady Macbeth in many houses, including La Scala. Has anyone heard her Lady live and would care to comment on it? At least we’d know what we’ll be missing.

          • aulus agerius

            I heard TS sing Lady in Dallas about 5 yrs ago -- from 5th row in Fair Park Hall. I enjoyed her performance as complete. Also in the cast was Halfverson, Jovanovich, and Alberto Gazale who was also good -- an easy V. Baritone

            • Cicciabella

              Thanks, aulus and Bluebeard. Based on your replies and some reviews I found on the internet, it seems Serjan has all the vocal qualities necessary for the part. There are some complaints about her mushy diction. Her sleepwalking scene receives much praise. There’s also La luce langue on YT, taken very slowly, probably by Muti, which doesn’t help her dramatically. Nadja Michael has a pair of good-sized shoes to fill, it seems.

            • I noted Serjan’s “hot potato” diction as Tosca in Chicago.

          • Bluebeard

            If Serjan still sings this the way she did in this clip from Salzburg, firing her would be just inconceivable:

            • spiderman

              You Forget that Andrea Breth is one of the most difficult directors in the whole world. I bet she just didn’t get along with Serjan and fired her. Maybe Serjans shoes were too loud ;)

          • Cicciabella

            I know of Breth’s reputation, spiderman. It just makes me sad that a director calls the shots re casting, even though I’m looking forward to Breth’s ideas on Macbeth. It’s not like sopranos who can sing the Lady grow on trees. It’s just not the way things should go. I’m very disappointed that both Pierre Audi and Marc Albrecht let it come to this.

            • Directors call the shots and the result is we get good-looking voiceless wonders instead of the best singers available.

              I haven’t been overly impressed with Breth’s productions.

            • armerjacquino

              I’m no fan of Michael, but opera is a theatrical as well as a musical form. If a conductor has the right to sack someone, so does the director.

            • Cicciabella

              Armer, I have no problem with whoever sacks the singer (although I hope for their sake it never happens), as long as the replacement is vocally equal to or better than the dismissed singer. In the reports I read about Serjan’s Lady Macbeth, nobody said she can’t act the part, quite the contrary. In musical decisions, the musical director should override the theatrical director. I understand that, for practical reasons, it is easier to replace the soprano than to replace the director, who often comes with a whole design team, but it still SUCKS.

            • Camille

              …but it still SUCKS.


              Opera being both theatrical and musical a form, It would help if no one person had the power to unilaterally dismiss. It’s a multi-sided and thorny issue.

              I mean, I wonder what exactly, as it is still not really clear to me even after watching her being interviewed on Russian TV alongside her fiancé, what exactly it was that prompted La Netrebko to depart the München Manon Lescaut. Neuenfels, was it not?

            • spiderman

              Andrea Breth is coming from directing plays. She might have not very much knowledge about music and singing and therefor decides not in a way considering both sides of opera.

            • When you see the kind of things Breth asks singers to do, it wouldn’t be surprising if, at times, one or other of them has second thoughts…

            • Example: “Another wet night in the container park. Annina, still in her black dress, is on her knees giving Grenvil a blow job between containers -- his fee perhaps. She wipes her mouth with a tissue”.

              The singer signing up for Annina in Traviata may do so unsuspectingly…

            • Buster

              Breth’s Gambler was one of the most exact and musical stagings of an opera I have seen. The big Casino scene functioned like clockwork -- fascinating. Renate Behle thrived in that environment -- superb acting on a level you almost never encounter.

            • I didn’t see The Gambler. The FT liked it: “… a repugnant tale told with fine artistry”. I saw Katia Kabanova and La Traviata in Brussels.

          • chicagoing

            Nadja Michael opened the season here at Lyric Opera in 2010 with Thomas Hampson in Macbeth and Tatiana Serjan sang the role under Muti with the CSO more recently. The audience appreciated Ms. Michael for her stage presence and her VOLUME. Ms. Serjan certainly had a big success and I was sorry I did not go back after the first night for another listen. Happy then that she subsequently debuted at Lyric as Tosca and is returning next season in Nabucco. Nadja Michael has not returned.

    • Buster

      This story gets out of hand -- now it is all of a sudden Jennifer Wilson who is listed as Isolde.

      Also, La Straniera with Mo?uc:

      zat 14 mei 2016
      13.00 uur Giancarlo Andretta
      Elena Mo?uc sopraan (Alaide)
      Géraldine Chauvet mezzosopraan (Isoletta)
      Leonardo Capalbo tenor (Arturo)
      Luca Grassi bariton (Il barone di Valle Burgo)
      Massimiliano Catellani bas (Il signore di
      Roberto Lorenzi bas-bariton (Il priore degli
      Luis Gomes tenor (Osburgo, confidente
      di Arturo)

  • DeepSouthSenior

    Hey guys, Mrs. DSS and I are back from a week in warm and sunny Orlando (well, six days out of seven). One of our most cherished memories will be from Disney’s Animal Kingdom -- the sound of tall bamboo trees klinking together in a brisk breeze. That has to be one of the most wonderfully musical sounds in all of nature.

    We’re headed to New York City tomorrow for six days. I need some advice, please. We’re looking for a reasonably-priced restaurant with quick service in the Lincoln Center area. One warning: We are not gourments. All food is basically the same to me, unless it’s very bad or very good. We are sugar-free and gluten-free. For me at least, any meal over $20, including tip, is overpriced. (I’m exaggerating only a little there.) I know to double that for NYC. Any help will be most appreciated.

    We have eclectic tastes in music and entertainment, to say the least. I wonder how many visitors have planned a mix like this: Two nights at the Met (La Donna del Lago, Carmen), Brahms Requiem at Carnegie Hall, musical “Wicked,” Helen Mirren in “The Audience,” and the Blue Man Group. Plus other tourist stuff, of course.

    Looking forward to posting here again next week. Y’all have fun!

    • I always eat at the Halal Guys trucks when I am in New York City. :P

      Seriously though, they’re good and cheap.

      • LT

        And unhygienic


        • Buster

          I saw a mouse in a Dunkin’ Donuts once.

          • I once watched one making its leisurely way across an expanse of thick carpeting in the atrium of the Grand Hotel in Paris.

            • armerjacquino

              I’ve worked in various professional kitchens in my time, and never in one which didn’t have its own mouse family. There are bins outside and there’s food everywhere- mouse heaven.

          • LT

            At least now actual food establishments have letter grade for sanitation posted at the entrance and the employees at least have the option of washing their hands. None of that applies to those food trucks.

            • You’ve got to eat a peck of dirt before you die. Or at any rate, that’s what my grandmother used to say. Mind you, she was Scottish.

      • la vociaccia

        In that vein, one should mention that there is a Gray’s Papaya several blocks north of Lincoln Center. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t capped off a few disappointing nights at the Met with a couple of (never disappointing) hot dogs.

        • armerjacquino

          Oh, you’ve done it now. I’ll be dreaming of that alcohol-free pina colada they do. It is the most refreshing thing in the world.

    • Krunoslav

      Cafe Fiorello , 1900 Broadway right across from LC, isn’t dirt cheap.but they have gluten free pasta dishes and also wonderful deals on three antipasti of your choice. you will want a reservation. You might consider for lunches just eating at the tables at Whole Foods at Columbus Circle- they have plenty of salad bar and other gluten free options.

      Have fun,

      • I’ve been there a couple of times after the opera: they’re still open (I can’t face dinner before, at teatime). But it isn’t much of a place really, especially for the price.

        • Boulud too: much better, but $40 won’t go far.

    • Uncle Kvetch

      We’re headed to New York City tomorrow for six days. I need some advice, please.

      First things first: bundle up! I’m lucky in that I actually like cold weather (as long as it isn’t combined with a stiff headwind), but most of my fellow NYCers are having no fun at all with this weather.

      Eclectic indeed: what a great mix you have planned. Will you be seeing Kaufmann or Alagna in Carmen? Either way, I’m jealous. And even more jealous about the Brahms Req, one of my single favorite pieces of music in any genre.

      The area immediately around Lincoln Center is simply not the place for the kind of quick, affordable meal you describe. In fact, in more clement weather I would say your best pre-opera bet would be to get a grilled lamb or chicken platter from the Casbah halal cart at 66th & Columbus and enjoy it al fresco on the plaza before you go in. Since that won’t be an option, there’s a passable diner, the Olympic Flame, at 60th & Amsterdam. There’s also El Mitote, a casual Mexican place on Columbus between 69th and 70th, with good tacos, tortas, and the like.

      The situation immediately around Carnegie Hall is even more dire: honestly I can’t think of a single decent suggestion. Even the diners around there are wildly overpriced.

      A much better approach: come down to my neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen. There’s no shortage of good, reasonably priced restaurants on 9th Ave between 42nd and 57th — Thai, Turkish, Indonesian, Italian, Afghani, gastropubs, you name it. You’ll get far more bang for the buck there than near Lincoln Center. Just allow time for a 15-20 minute after-dinner stroll to Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall (I repeat: BUNDLE UP) and you’re good to go. This is also your best bet by far for your pre-Broadway theatre dinners.

      Enjoy your visit…I’ll be looking forward to the reviews!

      • Camille

        There is a WONDERFUL place, if you like teahouses, around the corner from Carnegie Hallon West 55th Street: Radiance Tea House and Books, which, if not cheap, is well worth it. Leave Starbucks jitters far behind!!

    • CarlottaBorromeo

      I quite like The Smith (which is just about next to Fiorello) though I’m not sure you’d manage the $40 thing there!!

    • armerjacquino

      I’m no kind of expert on NYC, but as an occasional visitor (whose visits always include one or more Met trips) I’ve never once eaten in the Lincoln Center area. There’s much better food to be found elsewhere and with a metro station a two-minute walk from the Met, your dinner options basically include all of Manhattan.

      As for your eclectic taste, I’m sure there are people whose visits to New York don’t include at least two Broadway shows or concerts as well as the Met, but I don’t know any of ’em ;-)

    • bluecabochon

      Indie Food & Wine, below Lincoln Center on 65th street, is a good little place that might fit your budget. You can’t beat the location and the prices are low:

    • dallasuapace

      When in NY, I often eat at the Whole Foods supermarket at Columbus Circle. And once in a while I have a light meal at Alice Tully Hall.

      • Camille

        That Whole Foods supermarket at Columbus Circle is SCARY!! People desperate for food, as if they had not eaten for a month!!!

        One of my have places is the little bakery there @ Warner Center, is Bouchon Bakery -- a pretty nice and fairly authentic fake of a French patisserie. Started in Napa Valley, where I once visited but the place was more packed than at the Warner Center!!

        • A late friend if mine once said “People in health food shops all look so ill”.

          • Camille

            hahaha—Adam Gopnik wrote one of the funniest pieces ever I read of his, about “Health Clubs”, in Paris. Very, very funny. Also loved his essay on French ob/gyn doctors and the whole approach to the delivery of the newborn (his daughter was born there).

            Paris to the Moon, I think was the title of the little book. I was really, really sorry when they sent him on home to ‘Murica.

        • Camille

          “FAVE” places. damn autocorrect. Would that it should correct my friction’ typos instead.

    • Camille

      Try ROSA MEXICANA, --across the street from Lincoln Center, for gluten-free options in Mexican food. Not cheap, exactly, but not bad, either.

      For CHEAP, but gluten-FILLED, try the basic hole-in-the-wall LA TRAVIATA PIZZERRIA Under five bucks, and it’ll do you right, if not gluten sensitive.

      There used to be a hole in the wall next to the Bel Canto Condominiums, which had the best cheap spinach pies, but they tore it down to build that goddam Victoria’s Secret, which I am pleased to say has taken its polyester assed crap and gone away. Still, I mourn my little hole-in=the=wall, where I one morning met Renata Scotto, looking for her morning orange juice. Yeah, really.

      Alice Tully Hall — The American Table — is good, but the other day when I was there — it featured a lot of chicken liver sandwiches, and pork belly thingamajigs, which, frankly, turned my stomach, and so hope their menu goes back to a little less gimmicky fare.

      FIORELLO’S is good if you like really good imitation Italian food — don’t know how else to describe it. It looks like the real thing and is high priced, but somehow it is not quite there. They can be very friendly at times, so……a favorite watering hole of singers, etc., so expect a sighting of….someone!

      • Last time I was at Fiorello’s there was glass on the floor that didn’t get dealt with until we pointed it out.

        • Camille

          Maybe it was the glass Arabella left for Mandryka and the wait staff felt they should leave it there for him??

          Last time I was there, we didn’t even wait for the interval==we walked after taking a look at the aperitivi and their corresponding prices. I know how much it costs to make them, so…….these boots were made for walkin’

        • manou

          glass on the floor” Oh no! A mouse could cut her paws!

      • Camille

        There is also Café Luxembourg — never been there.

        There is a Chinese place nearby, whose name I cannot recall. Good.

        There is an Israeli, I think, falafel place on the way to the 72nd Street station, on the left side, near a Stabuck’s, which is good if you like that type of thing and at least it is fresh food and non-toxic.

        I haven’t been to Gray’s Papaya in a coon’s age. That’s for summertime, ah reckon.

    • Donna Anna

      Le Pain Quotidien on W. 65th is five minutes from the Met. It may come to $20 and a bit more but you can also share a sandwich and soup. You can sit down, the food is good and they do you the favor of listing counts for calories, carbs and fat, just in case you’re interested. And the pain quotidien is pretty decent, too. It gets busy during the dinner hour so get there early. Have fun.

      • Camille

        Oh, that’s RIGHT!
        Thanks for reminding me about that one, as I usually have only gone to the Pain Quotidien up the street from Carnegie Hall. Yes, you can do it for under $20 but yiu have to be clever about itand would be hard to dodge the gkuten there. Very good Café au Lait.

        One last thing: you can go to the little café/bar (Not ARPEGGIO) at Avery Fisher Hall and sit and have a bite, mingle and rub elbows with many of those poor souls looking for a warm place on a cold day, if you follow. Coffee and the usual but it does serve Illy Café.

        • aulus agerius

          Hanami Japanese 857 9th @ 56th. Tiny noodle shop. Delicious and reasonable.

      • Walther von Holzhaufen

        DSS, I agree with Donna Anna about Le Pain Quotidien. It’s a pleasant place where it’s easy to eat lightly.

    • When I’m scouting for food around Carnegie Hall, I usually head to Menkui-Tei ramen at (I believe) 56th and 6th. Of course, loaded with gluten -- but the prices are good and I think the tonkatsu ramen is tasty.

      • Walther von Holzhaufen

        There’s also a Pain Quotidien near Carnegie Hall at 58th & 7th. Café Europa, at 57th & 7th is similar to Pain Quotidien.

    • DeepSouthSenior

      Thanks, everyone, for the gastronomic good tips (and guffaws)! I don’t whether to make a list, rethink my food budget, or hire a food taster.

      Our Carmen tickets are for tomorrow night, Thursday, the final performance in the Garanca-Alagna run. Decent orchestra seats were not available in our price range (first ten rows, right or left side) for Garanca-Kaufmann when we purchased last August. I’ve heard good things about the post-Angie, new-papa Alagna in the past year or so.

      Interestingly, my reactions to Met productions -- mostly from Live in HD and video, of course -- tend to fall somewhere between Anthony Tommasini’s (sometimes) effusive cheerleading and JJ’s (always) guarded balance. Both love opera and know whereof they speak, so I feel safe in their company.

      We’re off to the New Orleans airport. Trivia for the day: Why is the code for the New Orleans airport “MSY”? Look it up. It’s pretty interesting.

      • armerjacquino

        Aha, I know this one. It’s a classic pub quiz question- ‘Which airport takes its code from an air crash?’

        • DeepSouthSenior

          Yep, that’s half the story about MSY.

  • zinka

    Some singers need to change their names..I got the Hot Dog Frankfurter Ring…The Fricka is Martina DIKE…well…..There was a Maria GAY…..
    Not to mention the Vershtuntuken Jutta Meifahrt and the great Luisa Malagrida (OI VEY!!!!). I forgot Gerhard Hinderjock….etc…

    As ever
    Carlo Handelmaniac

  • zinka

    In the olden days when we were normal, a dear friend, Joan Abel, composed a list of REAL opera singers’ names…Here are some:

    Anthony Koch
    Fritz Zipper
    Reiner Suchsdorf
    Gerhard Hinderjock
    Egmont Koch

    (These guys above fit together,along with that conductor
    who added the “e” to his obscene name.)

    Hanna Nocker
    Enzo Titta
    Maria Cherry
    (Body parts ?)

    Salvatore Gioja and Alfredo Allegro
    (GREAT Jewish tenors)

    Luisa Malagrida,of course..and listen to her!! (and Philip Rasp)

    Kurt Wehofschitz and Yutta Meiferth (YUCCH!)

    Pyotr(not Beczala)Varlaamovich Amiranashvili
    (Took him 3 sign an autograph.)

    THat crazy guy: Yury Dementiev

    Well, that is all for now…Can you think of a name for YOU that fits your Carlo Handelmaniac……

    Did I ever tell you how Joanie invented MONOPERALY???????

  • don warner saklad

    harold arlen/ill wind (rare)
    rare masterpiece by harold arlen himself
    “Ill Wind” by Harold Arlen

  • zinka

    Of GOD was a tenor…he would sound like the GOD Caruso…2/25/1873..
    BORN with the heart and soul you can’t acquire…

    • zinka

      Typo.. IF God was a tenor……..

  • zinka

    His last recording session…..Now we understand why the Boheme audience could not guess the Coat Aria was NIT de Segurola…DARK sound.

    This one makes me CWAZY…The “anger” on “della mia patria”…There is no one like him in my view….
    Jerry Lo Monaco told me his teacher,Stanley,who heard him live..says we only get 1/3 of the true voice….