Cher Public

Partial view

Even if La Cieca can’t see you, cher public, she can hear you as you discuss off-topic and general interest subjects.

  • Well, I have started a business. It’s called So Noted Music and I’ll be selling mp3 and wav rehearsal tracks as well as sheet music in previously unpublished keys. I have an Indiegogo campaign currently running.

    • turings

      Good luck with it, Sanford!

    • antikitschychick

      best of luck to you on your business travails Sanford :-).

  • redbear

    Peter Sellars: “This is a period of mass intimidation, one where it’s no accident that governments are not only cutting the arts but destroying education…They want a frightened, docile population that’s easily manipulated – and the arts are about thinking for yourself…”

    Does this have anything to do with the approaching end of professional music criticism in the US?

    • kennedet

      Interesting article,redbear. I’ve read Sellars comments before regarding opera needing different venues but if the singers need balanced sound..opera still needs a pit. Certainly you can choose operas that don’t call for large orchestras but I don’t think the public will completely abandon the ‘war horses” at this time to please the next generation of opera goers who desire smaller venues.

      • redbear

        Saw “Birdman” last night. The intellectual gulf between father and daughter is very clearly expressed. She demands truth and creativity. He can’t understand. What is opera doing for young people? Don’t you get dismayed by the “old people talking” on this site? Don’t you get dismayed by the general level of bullshit in the public media night after night. Name a single original, ground-breaking idea here recently that might engage an adventurous mind. The contemporary art scene, for example, is filled with outrageous challenges to the middle class mindset. Why is opera set in formaldehyde? It was not always that way.

        • kennedet

          I’m sorry to tell you this redbear, but I am an “old people talking on this site”. What bothers me as an “old people” is ageism which I hear from your comments. Furthermore, My mind is always engaged by parterre box and it is the very reason why I blog here. Why do you accuse us of not rendering “ground breaking thoughts”? I don’t think that was the purpose of this blog. I’m constantly learning and educated by the comments here. I don’t know if thay are ground breaking but I don’t necessarily expect them to be. Whats wrong with opera lovers sharing their love of the profession in its many elements, past, present and future?

          I know musicians who only enjoy contemporary music or opera and they are the ones that spend their musical life rejecting anything that is classical or standard. There is a university music program here dedicated to modern music which radically changed from standard music to all contemporay and was lead by Lucas Foss in the 70’s. Surprisingly, they are the ones that have the least amount of challenge for the next generation. There vocal students were taught Stockhausen and John Cage which is fine but the vocal traditional repertoire is basically sacrificed for 20th century composers only. They are a very small group of people that are lost in the past trying to make people think in a contemporary mind set. In their defense, it might happen but I don’t believe in my lifetime.

  • Will

    I left the Magic Flute broadcast early yesterday, not believing the poor quality of the singing. A charmless, inelegant Tamino who couldn’t get even weak applause (in fact he got no applause at all) for Dies bildness; a Queen of the Night who eventually hit the top notes, though not brilliantly, after beginning sounding like a tremulous mezzo, and a Papageno who barked his entrance aria charmlessly — where did they GET these people. Even Heidi Stober who’s done some very good work in Boston didn’t sound so good as Pamina. I gave up before Eric Owens came on the scene — I hope he, at least, held up some kind of MET standard.

    • armerjacquino

      According to the Met site, there was no Stober and no Owens:

      Metropolitan Opera House
      October 21, 2014 Broadcast

      Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-Emanuel Schikaneder

      Pamina………………Pretty Yende
      Tamino………………Toby Spence
      Queen of the Night……Ana Durlovski
      Sarastro…………….Tobias Kehrer [Debut]
      Papageno…………….Markus Werba
      Papagena…………….Ashley Emerson
      Monostatos…………..Mark Schowalter
      Speaker……………..Ryan McKinny
      First Lady…………..Amy Shoremount-Obra
      Second Lady………….Renée Tatum
      Third Lady…………..Margaret Lattimore

      • armerjacquino

        Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte

        (Performance from October 2014)

        February 28, 2015 1:00 pm ET
        Fischer; Yende, Durlovski, Spence, Werba, McKinny, Pape

        • Uncle Kvetch

          I saw it 10 days later, on Halloween. The Pamina that night was Miah Persson, and Toby Spence was once again Tamino — I thought both were OK but nothing special, and there was zero discernible chemistry between them. Our QOTN was Kathryn Lewek — to my non-expert ears she was terrific, and the audience went nuts for her at curtain call.

          Tobias Kehrer was the Sarastro on our night as well, and I thought he was excellent, perhaps the best singer of the evening overall.

          Markus Werba’s Papageno was indeed a huge disappointment — he’s a very appealing stage performer with good comic chops, but the singing was utterly charmless.

  • Loge

    I am in Washington DC and I am planning to attend the Washington Concert Opera’s Guntram this evening. Is anyone else here planning to go?

    • DonCarloFanatic

      Apparently not, since it is snowing heavily out here in my boondocks area. Torture me with reports of wonderful singing.

    • aulus agerius

      I bailed on Guntrum as of yesterday. I have received 3 emails on 3 days encouraging attendance so it must not be selling well.

    • Loge

      Actually there were only a few empty seats. There was excellent singing especially from Smith and Owens. The orchestra sounded good. Beautiful score even if it is not Strauss’ best. He sure knows how to end an opera. I heard a lot of Wagner, Humperdinck, and even Siegfried Wagner in the music but by then Strauss had pretty much developed his own voice. (I even heard parts of L’Amico Fritz which I am pretty sure was written well after this.) Got to cut this short as I need to make my way to the airport.

      • Krunoslav

        GUNTRAM was indeed very fine. Owens is a real find for Strauss and light Wagner roles, though she doesn’t look like Annette Dasch and will this be ignored by more than one foolish theater.Tom Fox and Zach Nelson also in good form, and an outstanding performance by Chinese bass Wei Wu as Freihold. Walker led like an advocate.

      • Krunoslav

        And btw AMICO FRITZ dates from 1891 and was in Hamburg by 1892; Strauss could well have heard it in Germany or Italy (where he write part of GUNTRAM).

        • Loge

          Thanks, Krunoslav. I normally would look up dates before saying anything but I was rushing to get to the airport.

  • The “TBA” Musettas for next season’s Bohemes have been filled with Ailyn Perez.

    • Interesting, I had been told she was originally scheduled for the Mimis. Was I told wrong?

  • leosweill

    Last night’s “Hoffman” at the Met was totally glorious in every way. Was anyone else there?

    • calaf47

      Yes…a very exciting evening in every way…with the “second” cast and conductor outshining the first cast. Levine was in top form as was Laurent Naouri as the villains. Audrey Luna brought down the house with her Olympia and her sustained Ab above high C at the end. Except for the final note in the trio (which got away from her)…Susanna Philips was a lovely Antonia…and Matthew Polenzani was absolutely superb musically and dramatically as Hoffmann…pacing himself well thru the long evening.

      • leosweill

        yes! well with jimmy one can hardly call it ‘second’ -- this cast seemed like the reason to revive the production -- Polenzani was a revelation, all the high notes and tough stuff integrated into the line…Susanna Philips sang gloriously and with true lieder-style…

        and the Niklauss, whose name I forget, was a glorious dramatic presence

  • skoc211

    Any tips/tricks on the Met’s online rush program? I would love to see Kaufmann in Carmen on Wednesday or Saturday, but both performances are entirely sold old.

    • LaDonna E. Mobile

      I’ve had a couple of successes with the new rush tickets. I think the main thing is to be logged in and at the “ticket offers” page, staring at the clock on your computer, ready to hit the “Met Rush Ticket” link at the stroke of noon. Then, if the transaction doesn’t go through the first time, try again. I got a ticket for the rescheduled Iolanta/Bluebeard premiere on the third try. Also, I’ve been on the phone with a friend with both of us trying so that if one is successful and the other isn’t, we cancel one of the transactions and the tickets go back into circulation. Finally, if you’re unsuccessful trying to buy a pair of tix, try again right away for one ticket.

      • LaDonna E. Mobile

        Oops. That should read “if *both* are successful we cancel one of the transactions…”

    • Hippolyte

      If it were me, I’d grab a standing room ticket Wednesday at 10:00AM when they go on sale online (or at the box office) just to make sure I can get into the house. Since there are roughly 170 standing places, it will be more of a sure thing than trying for a rush ticket at noon. I’m sure there will be only the minimum number of rush tickets available for what has been the hardest performance to get tickets to at the MET all season! And if you end up with both a standing and rush ticket, I’m sure you could sell the unwanted extra at the perf.

      • Satisfied

        So looking forward to Wednesday’s performance! My only chance to see Herr Kaufmann all season! Thankfully he’s better represented at the Met next season.

        For those still looking for tickets, I wouldn’t be surprised if tickets open up sporadically between now and then on the Met ticket page.

      • skoc211

        Thanks for the advice! I’ll definitely be giving this a try.

        Which begs another question: what’s standing room like? I’ve never considered going that route before, but I’ve always wanted to see Kaufmann’s Don Jose, so this might have to be a first.

        • manou

          Forget the high heels.

  • zinka

    In 1972,we were on the way to Leyla’s Attila in New Joisy. Suddenly a friend (who would KILL any anti-Leyla fan) played the Saffo ensemble…At 3:39 on this clip we just cracked up…she just lets it fly…and bless one of the greatest sometimes a CAMP)singers we adore.

    BTW this friend once got mad at another friend’s house over Leyla and ordered him out of his OWN HOUSE…..You see….some divas’ recordings (plus some Vodka) make you NUTS!!!!

  • Satisfied

    Fantastic performance of Brahms’ German Requiem this afternoon at Carnegie. Tempi was a little on the sluggish side, but I suppose that’s to be expected from Gatti who conducted without a score. Luxury soloists in the form of Damrau and Gerhaher. This isn’t my favorite requiem, but I was so happy to finally hear this piece live under the Vienna Phil no less.

    Anyone else in the hall?

    • Rackon

      Wish I had been there -- it *is* one of my favorite requiems, both to sing and to hear.

    • DeepSouthSenior

      Mrs. DeepSouth and I were in Carnegie Hall this afternoon for the Brahms Requiem. Ditto the previous comments on the wonderfully played and sung, reverent, yet dramatic performance. We were three rows from the top of the balcony (highest level), yet the sound was perfect. Damrau’s voice floated like an angel up in the stratosphere. Special praise for the Westminster Symphonic Choir, with tight ensemble sound from delicate pianissimo to thunderous power. The snowfall just as we were leaving was a calm and comforting complement to the reassuring peace of the Biblical texts. We’ll remember that moment for many years. More when we return home.

  • jd

    I was there and I loved it! Damrau was especially good as was Christian Gerhaher, the baritone. Big enthusiastic crowd giving the Vienna Phil, chorus, Gatti and soloists ecstatic ovations. Snow did not dampen the pleasure of the afternoon concert.

  • PushedUpMezzo

    I’m not sure whether the passing of Charles Kalman (son of Emmerich) has been reported here.

    • Belfagor

      ‘Arizona Lady’ is scheduled in a season or two at Arizona Opera (surprise) -- never knew Imre had a son, or that he completed the above work……..

      • Camille

        Ha! I am surprised they discovered--finalmente--that score of Arizona Lady which I uncovered once a little more than twenty years ago at University of Arizona @ Tucson, while visiting there. It was one of the biggest surprises I have ever encountered in a library stack and can never forgot that moment of being gobsmacked to within an inch of my life by the discovery of this little gem. All I could think was ‘why don’t they put this on here?’ Really sort of CzardasFürstin with spurs, there is one big old bit of Schlagobers to sing which I remember still, which was not toobad, although imaging cowboys and cowgurls singing in a minor Hungarian mode was an imaginative leap of faith, even for me, the willing. Thinking that there is a recording of some production I have heard some bits of—let me see--
        O qual gioia!!!! I found it! It is called “Lona’s Lament” and here she is, spurs and all:

        Anyway, never thought anyone would wake up to the fact there was a camp classic in the making!! It should tour the entire Southwest and would surely make a lot of friends there.

        I never thought I’d ever hear of it, even here, but you certainly are L’ultimo degli Moicani!!

        • Belfagor

          Oh my -- I see huge potential for kick kick turn dance routines and a touch of lodernd Sättel………..amazing what you can find, I wonder if Opera Hawaii has ever researched the work of Paul Abrahams -- Die blume von Hawaii

          Am rather regretting not being in London as my spies tell me that Chelsea Opera Group’s first performance in UK since 1880 of Massenet’s ‘Le roi de Lahore’, with Michael Spyres was hugely entertaining -- maybe they’ll do ‘Le mage’ next, with its Zarathustrian fire worshippers and deranged cobra woman……….

          • manou

            Chelsea Opera Group did indeed put on a remarkable performance of Roi de Lahore -- the bastard child of Lakmé, Norma and Pêcheurs de Perles. I had a wonderful evening -- and so did many of the Twitterati it seems.

            • It’s amazing what the Chelsea Opera Group get up to. I heard my first live Daphne with them.

            • Camille

              But isn’t that precisely the point of so much of French opera — to have a wonderful evening? E basta! That is reason enough for moi.

              Isn’t that enough of a reason to present a theatrical work? To give some people some joy at the end of the day? Does everything have to be tense and meaningful and urgent and edgy and au courant, and well, dreary as hell.

              The French know how to ENTERTAIN!! And that is not a BAD thing!!!

          • PushedUpMezzo

            Oh Die Blume von Hawaii! Can still be found occasionally at the Volksoper, but this film is just the tops


            And this is a right shocker. If you thought that sky blue dress of Gruberova’s was bad, think again

            • PushedUpMezzo

              Sorry these exotic dancers were a bit reluctant the first time

            • Belfagor

              The exotic dancers!! -- Thank you! This made my day, an unholy alliance between Mel Brooks and Esther Williams…..and I particularly cherished the tiny cameo near the beginning with the dancing frog -- not since the lobsters in tutus at the Bolshoi, in ‘Sadko’……………

            • Camille

              Egregia Pushed Up Mezzo!

              Absolutely sublime! Thank you so much for having made my day, nay—my entire week. Monsieur Camille will expire from delight when he gets an eyeful of this one, a treat from the empyrean regions, indeed.

            • Camille

              Was ist ein Diwanpüppchen???

              I want one, too!!!

              I have always loathed that color of blue, anyhow.


            • Lohengrin

              A doll just as decoration on the sofa (=diwan).
              Listen to the Jonas Kaufmann-Version on his album Du bist die Welt für mich

            • Camille

              O danke Feldmarschallin und Lohengrin. Jetzt verstehe ich was ist ein “Diwan”!

          • Camille

            Once upon a time I came across the score to Le Mage, in Berkeley, CA. It was a shocker as I had had no previous idea that such an opera existed. It appeared rather delightful, actually, but I did not have the time to bother xeroxing any of it out, a pity, as I’ve not come across it again.

            Back in the day, I unfortunately missed by only a couple days or so—ah cruda sorte!—-the Bonynge led Le Roi de Lahore in Seattle. A friend of mine (later on), worked on the production and had many bad things to say about the Maestro which I should not repeat here, even if I still remembered the specifics. Worst of all, he told me, was the tenor who refused to die! My friend told me he was so relieved to see he died somewhere before the end, and then, he reincarnated (or something). Apparently the tenor was pretty bad…….and it so it went. Hopefully, the worthy Mr. Spyres was the twice-lived tenor this time around and his subsequent reincarnation was a pleasant one.

            There is a recording from St. Étienne of Le Mage, made only a couple years ago, and one may also hear the styling of Rolando Villazon of one of its arias, on an early album, ca. 2005-06. I remember hearing it once and it instantly evoked the parfum “Shalimar” by Guerlain, so redolent it was.

            The love child of Lakme, Norma, and the Pearl Fishers sounds like my kind of fun!!!! I should love to give it a whirl.

            • “There is a recording from St. Étienne of Le Mage…” You reminded me I had it. listening again now.

            • Very fancily produced, by the way, in book format, numbered edition and all…

            • It’s a wonder it didn’t evoke Oud Ispahan from Dior!

            • Camille

              Let me know how Kate Aldrich fares on this one, as one would hope she did okay and that it was before she started having problems vocally, but I seem to recall that her character(Varedha, or some such name) has quite a lot of vehement music to sing, soooooo…………………..

              Let me know as well how the ballet stacks up, if it is at least as good as the one from Le Cid, e.g.

              Merci, Monsieur NPW. You should be studying up to get into just the right mood for Le Cid, coming up soon!!!

            • Camille

              Is there such an Oud, i.e., Oud Ispahan by Dior, vraiment???????

            • Feldmarschallin

              Those Divapüpchen used to be very in. My grandmother gave one to my mother when she was a child and they had it on the Divan as well but this was around 1930. No one has those anymore.

            • Yes. My Iranian friends love it.

            • Belfagor

              Le mage was my first Massenet opera! I found a vocal score in a jumble sale when I was about 14, my eye was caught by the brightly coloured title page -- and that’s why my life is how it is. I learned to play through it, and loved it to bits. I got the recording from St Etienne seconds after it came out and had a delicious wallow.

              In the cold light of adult discernment (well, one can aspire…..) it might lack the largesse of ‘Le roi de Lahore’ and ‘Herodiade’, but it is much better structured and has less rhetoric -- some surprisingly good tunes too -- and the cobra madwoman Varedha who conjures fire out of her fingernails and is a total vamp baddie with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, is fabulous. Kate Aldrich does pretty well with the mad histrionics and 2 octaves lunges -- a shame through la Grace never got her talons into it………..

              The real buried treasure among Massenet’s capacious oeuvre is the implausibly late grand opera ‘Ariane’ -- rather more serious, but there’s a wealth of gorgeous music there -- St Etienne exhumed that one too in a pretty good performance -- on you tube I think….

            • That presumably makes you quite unique, Belfagor.

            • Camille

              O my word!!! How lucky you were to find that score and yes, I do recall either the title page or the cover beautifully coloured and with intricate exotic design to it which really caught my eye!! No wonder you became an early convert, Mr Belfagor, happening on to such Magique at an impressionable young age. It does something to one’s formative state which is irrevocable, i delible. Now I am doubly sorry I didn’t copy it but I suppose it lives on IMSLP.

              La Grace would have been the right woman for the job, it seems, so I fear for La Kate…….neither her fangs nor her talons are quite long enough!!!

            • Camille

              A rose from Ispahan along with a lily de la belle France.

            • I’m not complaining. The remarkable thing is that the recording is as good as it is.

            • Ah yes, roses… My Iranian friends love Pierre Hermé’s Ispahan as well! It turns up at the end of every Persian dinner. But I guess cake is getting off topic.

            • Camille

              o mon dieu! Now I want Confiture Ispahan, aussi!!!! YUM!

              thank you for introducing me to such délices!!

            • manou

              Yes Camille, the tenor (Alim) does die at the end of Act II -- treacherously killed by the baritone. Cue the heavenly choir at the beginning of Act III, and of course ballet (some of the music purloined for the Kenneth MacMillan Manon). Alim begs Indra (the top Heavens man) to let him go back, and being a good sort Indra lets him with the usual operatic conditions. Quite a few people then trot back to Indra -- for good this time.

              Forgot to say that the heroïne, Sitâ is one of those badly behaved vestal virgins that populate librettos.

              And the whole thing is wondrously lush and sometimes quite beautiful. Yes indeed -- di più non chiedo!

            • Le Roi de Lahore is another one I haven’t listened to for ages. If I carry on at this rate I’ll start levitating.

            • Camille

              We mustn’t carry on any longer or La Cieca will wonder what we all have got in our pipes and will want to air the Casa out of inebriating ouds and opiates.

              Thanks again for the mention of Hermé Ispahan! I am getting on my youtube inner tube and going surfing on the shores of Naxos to find this Ariane by Monsieur Jules.

            • Camille

              Badly behaved vestal virgins are the BEST kind!

              Wouldn’t you be badly behaved if all you had to do is stare at a fire all night while you knew your boyfriend was out shtupping some other non-virgin??

  • Buster

    First ticket of the new season: Rheingold in an old industrial building, conducted by Teodor Currentzis:

    • Chanterelle

      Oh that IS interesting--I’ve been wanting to attend the Ruhr Festival for ages. But who are these singers? Have only heard Eichenholz and Henschel.

      • Buster

        Wesseling is excellent too, but I don’t know any of the other singers either. No giants announced yet.

  • umangialaio



    • manou

      Grazie tanto.

    • aulus agerius

      Thanks Uman! That ending of Celesta Aida is quite spectacular! That and the baritonal beginning must be unique. Placido used to say he strove for the sonority of a cello -- I think JK really achieves it here. I look forward to the closing scene especially.

      • Rackon

        The finale is posted online, via various JK FB groups. I agree -- the Celeste Aida is pretty special, especially considering he was apparently coming down with flu.

  • Milady DeWinter

    “Don’t you get dismayed by the general level of bullshit in the public media night after night. Name a single original, ground-breaking idea here recently that might engage an adventurous mind.”
    —here’s one: to everyone on site who is an ageist, learn context and stop congratulating yourself simply because you were born in 1982 instead of 1962. Operatic warhorses with starry casts and dowager designs can co-exist quite nicely with cutting edge new works and/or regie approaches to established repertoire.
    The contemporary visual art scene is indeed amazing; when hasn’t it been? So that means you can’t look at a Titian or a Vermeer without a sneer? Or that they are not relevant?

  • manou

    Oops! Twitter:

    Metropolitan Opera ?@MetOpera 2m2 minutes ago

    For the performance of CARMEN on March 4, 2015, Don José will be sung by Yonghoon Lee, replacing Jonas Kaufmann, who is ill.

  • don warner saklad

    The Queen of Spades
    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Lowell House Opera, New England’s Oldest Opera Company

    LHO Music Direction by Lidiya Yankovskaya
    Stage Direction by Roxanna Myhrum
    Produced by Julius Ross


    Adam Klein
    Mikhail Urusov
    Steve Im (Cover)


    Zoya Gramagin
    Samantha Schmid
    Mariya Shoteva (Cover)


    Jacob Scharfman
    Adam Pistole
    Jon Oakes (Cover)


    Ryne Cherry
    Sean Currlin
    Mikhail Zingman (Cover)


    Lauren Frick
    Irina Kareva
    Meghan Ryan (Cover)


    Giliana Norkunas
    Kylee Slee
    Britt Brown (Cover)


    Cindy Vredeveld
    Erika Mitchell
    Evangeline Athanasiou (Cover)


    Alexandra Dietrich
    Carrie Reid-Knox


    Natalie Dewey
    Eunhee Kang


    Charlotte McKechnie
    Katie O’Reilly
    DeAnna Tisdale (Cover)


    Sean Malkus
    Antanas Meilus
    Michael Merullo (Cover)


    Joel Edwards
    Gabriel Pang

    Major Domo

    Andy Troska


    Jeramie Hammond
    Miles Rind


    Sam Bowen
    Tom Lovering (Cover)


    Seth Grondin


    Amelia Wilber
    Alexandra Harvey
    Stephanie Kreutz
    Carolyn Ingalls
    Rosa Zaytseva
    Rachel Yurman
    Mariya Shoteva
    Natalie Dewey
    Eunhee Kang
    Charlotte McKechnie
    Katie O’Reilly
    DeAnna Tisdale

    Cecelia Levin
    Sara Weaver
    Meghan Ryan
    Britt Brown
    Evangeline Athanasiou
    Alexandra Dietrich
    Carrie Reid Knox
    Cindy Vredeveld
    Erika Mitchell

    Stephen Klosterman
    Justin Moore
    Steve Im
    Mario Arevalo
    Michael Merullo
    Joel Edwards
    Gabriel Pang
    Andy Troska

    Benjamin Morris
    Jon Oakes
    Hunter York
    Matthew Chang
    Mikhail Zingman
    Sam Bowen
    Tom Lovering
    Seth Grondin

  • Camille

    Dima THE DEMON! ossia “Dima Does Drakula”

    First, as he did it at the Obraztsova Gala:

    (Which gives an example of the arioso as a stand alone excerpt.)

    And then this recent (January 30th) production in Moscow:

    Wonder if there would be ANY chance at all this would/could come to New York?

  • manou

    œdipe/NPW -- can either of you report on the new Bastille Faust? Seems to be a great success.

    • LT

      Is it really new? I read somewhere it was sort of a recycled version of the old one.

    • I didn’t buy it this year. Once bitten…

      • It looks, from that review, as if the result of the rethink is no more successful than the orginal.

        • Re the original, this, for Parterrians’ entertainment, is what the FT’s local critic said at the time:

          ‘I doubt this production will last 28?years unless, like the notoriously bad Ferrero Rocher ad, its nonsense goes on to acquire cult status. Highlights include rejuvenated Faust’s gold lamé T-shirt, a beauty pageant in the Kermesse, the ghoulish violinist who suddenly emerges from under the bed to accompany “Salut! Demeure chaste et pure” and the grand finale that sees deranged Marguerite sprinting suicidally towards a guillotine. Her severed head jumps five yards (more audience mirth) and is promptly turned into a religious relic’.

          • manou

            I seem to recall that œdipe posted a spirited defence of the original Martinoty production (but I can’t seem to find it in the archives).


    • Chanterelle

      I got a last minute ticket out of boredom/morbid curiosity. The young production team did their best with the handicap of those silly sets, to mixed boos all around. Hard to rework someone else’s concept with any coherence. Updated to 1930s, judging from the slinky evening dresses the luckier chorus ladies wore--the unlucky ones were dressed in circusy-night club escort wear. Some divine hats, too.

      Oh, the music? If Plasson gets everyone to follow him it will be divine. Stoyanova as Marguerite sounded girlish and exquisite. From the third row Beczala sounded a little strained, but others appreciated his clear, ringing tenor. Abdrazakov is a seductive devil but lacking in low notes. Anaik Morel was an appealing Siebel.

      I heard some chorus music that was new to me, also an Act II Siebel air. We got some of the ballet music, with modern-ish choreography by Selin Dündar, for le veau d’or, the waltz--with 10 dancers dressed identically to Marguerite swirling around Faust; they reappear in the Walpurgisnacht, tossed around like rag dolls. Spoiler alert: Marguerite does not meet the guillotine, but slowly walks up and off after “Sauvée!”. Faust slowly descends into the floor, and reappears as his old self, slumped over the cup of poison he has drunk. Like Dallas, it was all a dream.

      Michael Fabiano sings the last two performances; that should be pretty good.

      • Chanterelle

        Just read the Res Musica review, which is worth a look for the slide show of production photos, including the burning coffin at the beginning of Walpurgis. The French reviewer, who didn’t see the original Martinoty production because of a strike the night he went, suggested it might be worth keeping the original just so viewers could judge for themselves. Watching last night I was reminded of the previous Met TROVATORE, which lost so many mirth-inducing details over its first run that it lost all character. I certainly didn’t remember the wacky original details cited by NPW-Paris--it would have been fun to see them again.

        For the second half there was a scrim with a black-and-white grim reaper seated on top of the world. I remember that striking image, but was it part of the original production or borrowed from a different opera?

        • Chanterelle

          Oops. ForumOpera, not Res Musica.

  • Camille

    This is a note of appreciation to Mr STEPAN ATAMIAN, announcer and programmer for the Saturday Night at the Opera program on

    Bravo!! You, and your programming, are both a wonderful and most welcome relief from the struggling attempts of your predecessors. We especially enjoyed the La Belle Hélène this past Saturday night and would like to commend you for the inclusion of Die Schöne Helena extracts from Das Berliner Ensemble, at the end. It was a very intriguing comparison, thought provoking, and most enjoyable.

    Thanks for the good work you do and may you continue and prevail!! Excelsior!

  • don warner saklad

    Re: New England’s Oldest Opera Company or the hidden old gay Boston annual musical spectacles.

    As opposed to the Cambridge Harvard House System residences Lowell House Opera, Dunster House Opera, Leverett House Opera, etc. and maybe almost as old or older than Hasty Pudding Theatricals what is the story of an ancient hidden old gay Boston organization that yearly for many many generations have put together extreme lavish musical licentious spectacles for the select libertine group, outrageous to understate, definitively not for general audience. Archives kept privately/photograph albums from each year exist, but who?/where?…