Cher Public

Rome invasion

Given that Jonas Kaufmann just canceled half his Met season and Anja Harteros is, well, Anja Harteros, La Cieca thought it would be interesting for us hinterlanders to hear what this duo sounds like when both show up to sing.

Sorry, but this file has been deleted and can no longer be downloaded or shared.

  • phillyoperalover

    What did JK cancel??

  • Claudia4Ever

    ooh! where/how did you get this recording? is it possible to download? thank you thank you!

    • laddie

      [deleted]

      • Claudia4Ever

        mille grazie, laddie!!!

      • semoyer

        I haven’t been able to download this. Do you know why?

      • manou

        Happy Birthday laddie!

  • Feldmarschallin

    Well a friend of mine flew back on the same flight as he did on Saturday 14.50 which got delayed. He sat in the first row economy with his new girlfriend and they were kissing while waiting for the luggage and his suitcase came out right next to her suitcase. He is not sick and everyone knew after the strenous two weeks for all of them in Rome that he would not fly over the Atlantic for two performances. I will write more about Rome but just got back and am too tired now. My full report will come but I am sure Fidelia and Lohengrin already wrote about the performance. Kaufmann was also seen coming out of one of the Palazzos by someone I sat next to while waiting for my flight today. And in the Tosca last night Lee cancelled and La Scola sang instead. So the opera world turns.

    • moi

      I hope you mean that La Colla , (whoever he is) sang last night, because poor Vincenzo La Scola passed away a few years ago

    • Feldmarschallin

      Yes you are right. I am exhausted after my trip to Rome and very tired. I will check the program tomorrow. He is the same one who sang the first Festspiel Tosca with Harteros last summer when Alvarez cancelled and was suppossed to sing two later performances.

      • Camille

        Feldmarschallin—ruhe sanft!!!

        There is always tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow to tell everyone the facts of the matter.

        Gute Schlafe!

      • moi

        Anyway, one comes to think… where is the respect for the audience… how come is Lee supposed to appear in Tosca in Rome, and simultaneously on a short notice replacing Kauffman in New York on Wednesday???
        And he is still listed as Cavaradossi in Rome on Thursday

    • liloloperaluv

      Being one of those with Met tickets, very disappointed in him. They should watch their behavior, he is too well known. Or, maybe he is really sick and now so is she…:/
      Fieldmarschallin, Since I would like to hear him live someday and have limited funds, what perfs SHOULD I spend $$$ on?

      • Feldmarschallin

        Well I can only recommend that both Kaufmann and Harteros hardly ever cancel here. Alone the last Forza which had 8 plus 3 performances she was 11 for 11 and he was 9 for 11. Both have sung all the Trovatores which they were assigned to.

        • liloloperaluv

          Fieldmarschallin, Thanks for your reply. In let my desire to hear Kaufmann’s DJ live, I ignored factors making cancellation likely: 2 isolated perfs, mid-winter bad weather, major perfs very close before & after, role & prod done many times…whatever issues may be with Met…I just hope he isn’t seriusly ill and recovers quickly.

    • Cicciabella

      Everyone knows if you fly economy class, you catch all kinds of bugs.

      Commiserations to those who bought Carmen tickets, although Lee is a lovely tenor. I think many parterrians expressed their doubt about these two isolated performances when they were first announced.

      Thank you, intrepid bootleggers and La Cieca, for the Aida. Ms Harteros sounds sick from the very beginning, although how wonderful that her pianissimi don’t let her down. Was she announced as sick? She should have been. Pappano’s chamber music/espansive fortes approach to Verdi is very interesting: I think I need some time to let it sink in. Several performers sound a little nervous at first, except Kaufmann, who sounds like himself–all that overblown publicity, no doub. Also some shaky orchestra entrances, especially the brass. That bloke who shouted “Ekaterina!” should be walled up alive. Che stronzo! Ma che razza di gente è questa? The poor woman was obviously not feeling 100%.

      • Cicciabella

        *expansive. Although I’m glad I caught autocorrect’s processing of Pappano’s name into Pepperoni.

      • manou

        I have often noticed that no bugs dare to venture into the Business or First Class sections without securing an upgrade.

  • decotodd

    If I was the Met, I would have a company-appointed doctor pay a visit to Herr Kaufmann to check on his ‘flu’. Hopefully the broadcast exposure is enough to entice him over for at least the one performance (and probably fittings for the new ML)

    • liloloperaluv

      Really, shall I hang on to my Sat ticket? ML not until Feb 2016.

  • aulus agerius

    I imagine the pay cut is not helping. Or maybe OMG chose not to sacrifice.:-)

  • antikitschychick

    What a treat!!!! Thank you La Cieca :-D and laddie for providing the download link!.

    Feldmarschallin I await your report with anticipation but I second Camille’s sentiments; rest (gently) and write later!

  • Camille

    What was it that cretino integrale said after Anja Harteros’ reiteration of “Numi pietà” in the second act duet with Amneris? Just listened once more and can not discern what it was said.

    • armerjacquino

      According to the Italian reviewer quoted above, someone shouted ‘CATERINA!’ in praise of Semenchuk.

      • Camille

        okay! Actually I am liking La Smenchuk quite a lot and agree with il cretino!!
        Thanx!

        • Searainbow

          In New York, we are not counting on his showing up for Saturday’s performance either, despite the fact that it will be a Met broadcast.

          • LT

            Broadcasts are passe. HDs are the craze today.

      • LT

        Yes, that’s what he says. He can’t even pronounce her name correctly. But then again Italians are known for their pronunciation struggles.

  • antikitschychick

    am listening to the Ritorna vincitor now…and she is absolutely DEVASTATING. I have goose bumps and I am teary eyed. Bravissima. Also, Erwin Schrott sounds very good; better than I expected. Jonas sang a very exciting Celeste Aida…he was drowned out by the trumpets in the beginning which was unfortunate but his high notes were thrilling, his phrasing immaculate and he didn’t bark out the last high note; bravo!
    Am not loving Ekaterina Semenchuk unfortunately…I hear a bottled (albeit even) sound and a very heavy slavic accent. Sorry querida Camille! It seems after hearing Olga Borodina I am spoilt :-P. Choir & Orchestra amazing thus far…many thanks again to La Cieca…more later…:-)

  • Camille

    Uh-oh. Finally, after three attempts, I made it to the third act when I heard that do miagolata, and it was just that, they did not exaggerate. Too bad as otherwise she was doing well.

    Wondering now if that second act concertato which is about the loudest singathon tutti imaginable could have done her some harm.

    • antikitschychick

      Oh dear :-(. Haven’t made it there yet but perhaps she was feeling under the weather? Feld briefly indicated as such above I think…am really just shocked at how good Erwin Schrott sounds. He should sing Ramfis at the Met. At the end of Act 1 now…Jonas is really singing out like I have not heard him before. Perhaps his voice needed a rest after this and he has the Cavalleria/Pagliacci double bill coming up in Salzburg with Lumi and Maria Agresta :-D.

      • Camille

        Unfortunately, as I had been hoping reports had been exaggerated or just plain scurrilous, that famous, fearsome C did sound like a dying cat, but most all of everything else was fine. It must have been quite an enormous amount of stress on the poor woman so entirely understandable.

        Yes, about Erwin: I had a big shock when I finally heard him as Figaro last fall. He was the knoy one who projected his voice. I wasn’t expecting a lot and had a pleasant surprise.

        Mo. Pappano’s conducting of the Triumphal Scene, which I am not Italian enough to love, is quite good and draws me in.

        Well, it’s Amneris’s Turn now!

  • la vociaccia

    Really not liking Jonas in this. There isn’t really any charisma in the timbre- the Italian vowels sound lifeless. I appreciate that he’s an intelligent interpreter but in this rep I just don’t feel it.

    • Camille

      No SQUILLO!

      It is what it is with what he has got, but am afraid Italian operas such as these demand it.

      • Rackon

        Heretic that I am, with what he brings to the performance, I don’t miss the squillo. Don’t.

        • la vociaccia

          It’s not the squillo or lack thereof- his Italian is just so limp and pallid. I used to think his voice sounded like burnt copper; to me it just sounds like a brown paper bag now.

          • Lohengrin

            la vociaccia, would You be so kind and do not run for tickets when JK sings. Many others like to hear and see him and to You it is only pain.
            Are You Italian? All Italiens I talked to mentioning Jonas` ability to speak and sing this beautiful language were praising him……..

            • la vociaccia

              Would you be so kind and allow me to express my opinions? Do my impressions of his singing interfere with your enjoyment? Do you think maybe we can co-exist without you making suggestions about how I should choose to consume opera?

            • Lohengrin

              I did not say anything about or against Your opinion, only asked You not to occupy seats where You have no joy and others are so very longing for them.
              About Italian : please answer my question.

            • la vociaccia

              *claims to not say anything against my opinion*

              *pointedly asks me to reveal my nationality in reference to my stated opinion about the quality of his vowels*

              No. I will continue to consume opera however and whenever I wish and if the mood strikes me I will comment on the quality of the singers.

              And I will not be interrogated over my opinions. How utterly classless

            • Lohengrin

              I am German and would never get excited about someone´s way to use an other language which is not mine! Therefore I referred the opinions of native Italian speakers, did You check it?

              Opinion is opinion, ok; but what You do is bashing, that has nothing to do with mentioning an opinion about a serious objekt.

              OK?

            • la vociaccia

              I am German and would never get excited about someone´s way to use an other language which is not mine!

              Then we listen for different things in opera. I appreciate idiomatic vowels in every language of every opera I listen to. I don’t speak Russian but I still appreciate the vowels of Lemeshev in Eugene Onegin over Domingo.

              The difference is, I don’t make snarky condescending suggestions about how you should spend your money when our opinions differ.

              As for your reducing my criticism to ‘bashing,’ there is little I can do to help you if you are going to be that defensive. Suffice it to say that there are some types of fans with whom I find having a debate to be utterly futile -- you are one of them.

              I’ve been commenting on parterre for several years now and frequently praised Kaufmann for many things; that you weren’t around for them is not my problem. If I wanted to bash Kaufmann, believe me, I would use more than 35 words to do so.

      • Camille

        however, lots of heroic timbre which is only too appropriate in this role, to compensate, and perhaps the most carefully observed interpretation of Verdi’s markings at the end of “Celeste Aïda” I’ve ever observed. Remarkable .

        I know there was someone else I’ve heard pulling off some of these effects, come scritto, at sometime or another, but he did them in a rarely heard manner, complete with the marking of morendo on the final si bemolle. The feat of a Meister.

        …so, in this instance, lascia perdere lo squillo!!!

  • antikitschychick

    Listened to the whole thing…haven’t got a alot of time to write but very briefly I shall say I very much enjoyed the performance. Anja definitely struggled with the highest notes (there were intonation problems at the very end) and yes the high c in o patria mia was unfortunate but elsewhere she displayed beautifully sensitive phrasing, lovely Italian and a real dramatic sense of the music. Despite the unfortunate high notes her singing displayed the requisite longing, tendernesa, the urgency which wa a perfect contrast to Jonas’s heroic singing…it’s really a shame about those highest notes.
    I thought Jonas sounded good in that there was no strain nor the excessive covering he is prone to because the music does not allow for that so I very much liked his performance.

    ES has a beautiful voice with an even range but she lacked gravita in the lower register and she sounded unintelligible for the most part, at least to me. Still a valiant attempt. Ludovic Tezier sounded splendid, with elegant phrasing, good Italian and dramatic thrust. I’ve already sung Mr. Schrott’s praises and my only other comment about the orchestra was that the strings were a tad too loud in some spots but other than that it was a great and very nuanced performance. Pappano did a commendable if not downright excellent job. Bravi tutti and with that I say goodnight :-).

  • Camille

    What I am wondering is if there is any other possible way whatsoever to transliterate the mezzosoprano’s name into English as it is…unfortunate as it now stands.

    Tomorrow I’ll listen again with headphones as I could not frankly make out all that much except the orchestra from this recording from somewhere quite a way back in the hall it would seem.

    • LT

      Sehmenchouk

    • There are in the world a few Semenchuki who have opted for Semienchuk. Russo-Magyars will opt for Szemencsuk.

    • Cicciabella

      Semenchuk sang at Charles and Camilla’s wedding, hand-picked by the Prince himself. Her travel expenses were a wedding present from the Mariinsky. If her name was not modified then, I guess it will stay as it is.

      • armerjacquino

        hand-picked by the Prince himself.

        So we’re told. Don’t believe it for a nanosecond.

    • Camille

      Thank you m. croche and, I guess, LT. I am going to chuck it all.

      I hope her name means something lovely in Russian.

  • Feldmarschallin

    Roman Holiday

    It has been 25 years since I have been to Rome but was there in the 80’s five times so know the city quite well. I had never seen any opera there since I was always there when their rather short season was closed. I mainly went in September and October and this was my first time going in the off-season if Rome has such a thing. Granted some of the sites such as S. Pietro and museums, Colosseo and Pantheon were very full but other such as Villa Guilia, Palazzo Barberini, Terme di Caracalla and Villa d’Este were rather empty and it helps to go early to things especially S. Pietro.

    The weather was mild with temperatures hitting 18-20 for several hours between about 11-15.30. Only a light jacket and sweater were needed in the morning and evening. The food was as it is most of the time in Italy great and went to Meid in Nepols twice since had an extraordinary meal there on my second night.

    I was warned about Rome being dangerous but perhaps since I blend in rather nicely there had no problems on the contrary I was only in the city for two hours before being asked already by Italians ‘Dove Piazza Navona?’.

    Now the main purpose of the trip was of course the Aida. When it was announced by Santa Cecilia I immediately asked Harteros and she told me she only agreed to the recording but new nothing about a concert which was to be public and even said had other dates scheduled for when I told her it would be. Apparently they assumed she would sing the concert but this was not agreed to at that point and therefore she told me to wait before I make any plans to travel there. After a few months she cancelled the Wiener dates and agreed to the concert.

    The recoding was made prior to the concert and especially that Friday was the best day of the 6 days I was there weatherwise since it was the warmest and mildest even staying warm at night. Going by bus through the city was interesting since I had done all my previous trips by foot and walked at least 15km per day.

    There were many people outside looking for tickets since it was a huge event and was heavily promoted in the Italian TV. She was not feeling well that day and had it been possible would have cancelled but that was not an option. I have to say she was also not that sick and at first you didn’t notice anything. The voice was working from the start and the piannismos were all there and she never cracked. She looked stunning in a black and gold dress and of all the principles tried to act as much as one can expect from a concert performance. Semenchuk also acted but more superficially by grabbing her hair and pulling it back. The C in patria mia was certainly not a good note and there were one or two others which were not as pristine as they usually are from her. The shout of Caterina was heard after the duet in the second act and we were all stunned but not more stunned than later when at Harteros’ curtain call a man stood about 3 meters away from me and started booing which provoked bravos. But it was not one boo but he continued at about 10 second intervals to boo again and then the bravoing immediately followed and the bravoing was louder than the one boo plus a boo does not project as well as a bravo. After about 8 tried he gave up and then she walked away anyway.

    She gave a very good and fine performance nonetheless and I found her, Kaufmann and Tézier the three best singers. True Kaufmanns voice is not the largest but he can project and sing with many shades and colours and has a great dynamic range. All this is also true of her and that is why they blend so nicely together.
    Semenchuk was good but had bad Italian and the bottom is not as booming as it might be. Her first dress was horrible and she looked more like a butchers wife from Moskow or a drag queen than a princess. After the pause she changed and her second dress but much nicer. She did wear great shoes which were very high but almost tripped going offstage once. Harteros wore flat black sandles and a black and gold Escada gown. Schrott was the weakest of the princples and wobbled noticeably at times and has put on weight.

    The conducting and chorus were superb and Pappano choose tempi on the fast side so the opera never dragged. All in all it was the best performance of Aida which I have heard in that the whole cast was of such high quality minor quibbles aside.

    More on the Tosca at Teatro dell Opera later.

    • Lohengrin

      Very nice “Fairy tale of Rome”, thank You Feldmarschallin!
      I only could add, that the streets were full of (pretty nice) policemen because of demonstrations against Government.
      To miss the log row on Museo Vaticano I ordered our ticket per internet from home; a simply good idea!

    • Feldmarschallin

      Roman Holiday Part 2

      Let me say it was wonderful to finally meet Lohengrin and see Fidelia and Mr. Fidelia again. Manou and Camille were missing and I would think Camille would have gone to spend the rest of the night at Jackie O.
      The bad thing about the sala was that going up and down to the various sections there only seemed to be two staircases and everything got totally bottled up and I think was not designed proberly also there needs to be more restrooms. The acoustics were very good but the public transportation not very good and we managed to get the last bus at only 23.30 which is quite early for a Friday night. They either need to start the performances earlier or have the buses go later. The lines for the taxis are also very long and some headed over to the bus stop and said it was impossible to get a taxi since there were only so many and so many people ahead of them in the line.

      Now the Tosca was something that I decided to attend since I was already there and have never been inside the Teatro dell Opera which interested me. The building itself is nothing special and there are many levels of boxes. After the first act I pretty much dismissed the performance and had never had high hopes for the cast to start with but I wanted to see the production since it was new and by a young Italian director. They could have saved the money and used a Zeffirelli since it was the most boring thing I have ever seen. I quickly lost interest and perhaps my trip to Tivoli had tired me a bit but really had thoughts of leaving after the second act but did stay since for me the most interesting thing to see was the people who were dressed to the nines with many ladies in long fur coats (chinchilla, minks, sables) and I thought that a bit much since earlier in the day it was 18 and it maybe cooled down to about 8 or 9 but certainly no need for furs. Also the Italians love to walk around the auditorium and bring their coats inside. They go from place to place greeting people and only when the conductor comes in do they all sit down.

      The Tosca got booed and she had a loud voice and a large body with breasts that could feed all the hungry children in Africa. There was no subtleness in her singing and everything was sung mezzaforte or forte. She is also one of the most unfortunate actresses their is on the opera stage and she makes Milanov look like Streep. Oksa Dyka was her name. Certainly don’t want to hear her again.

      Yonghoon Lee who I just heard as Manrico was to be the tenor but as we know he was ‘indisposed’ and we got Stefano Lo Colla who is a belter. Provincial Italian tenor who was not bad but again very loud but he had the style down. Roberto Frontali was the best IMO as Scarpia. The soprano and conductor got booed and then I left. It is a shame that such a leading opera house has such a mediocre performance since I have seen better operas in Augsburg and Nürnberg than this travesty in Rome.

      • umangialaio

        You managed to visit in Tivoli both Villa Adriani and Villa d’Este, didn’t you?

        No Villa Borghese in town?
        I am happy you altogether enjoyed your stay.

        U

        • Feldmarschallin

          I took the 7.42 from Tiburina and got there about 40 minutes later and went directly to the Villa d’Este where I was alone for about 30 minutes until the next people came. The garden are spectacular with all the fountains. Then I took the Bus 4 in direction Rome and walked about 1 km to the Villa Adriana. I took the 15.09 train back since the next one didn’t leave until 17.39 and that was too close for me since I had the Tosca and still needed to change and eat before.
          I went to the Villa Borghese twice once while visiting the Villa Giulia where Fidelia and I missed each other by mere minutes and then on Saturday when I wanted to see the Museo but learned that they were completely booked until Tuesday and you needed reservations and since I left Monday that didn’t work but I went there years ago so I did see it already. I miss my cafe di granita already. :)

        • Feldmarschallin

          Did you manage to get a ticket for Götterdämmerung on Green Thursday? I have one extra one if you need it.
          Price is 16,50.

          • umangialaio

            I have a ticket, but still don’t know if I will make to Munich.

            Thank you.

            U

            • Feldmarschallin

              Well if you come please let me know.You have my number just send a message or whatsapp.

          • Lohengrin

            By the way: Feldmarschallin, do You know anything about the program of Kaufmann´s Festspiel-Liederabend? I have tickets, but it depends of what he will sing wether I go or not. Someone said, it does not matter what he sings, even when he would sing the Telephone-Register she would come…. Yes I also would come because it were a new program ;)

            • Feldmarschallin

              No I don’t but I don’t care what he sings and I will go. Unless some Ives or something in that nature but I doubt that. If you don’t want to go I can sell your ticket here if you want but I would go if I were you. There will be a very well cast Tosca next season for the Festspiel opening. I will just say that all the principles have the sung the roles here before just not together. :)

            • Lohengrin

              Thanks, but it is easy for You to go to BSO, I have a long way to drive…… I have also tickets for ML on 28. July. I must choose one.
              There are still people waiting for my not unsed tickets!
              If You hear anything about the program, please let me know! Helmut Deutsch talked about “next will be Schanengesang”, but I fear Jonas will not have enough time to rehearsals.
              Jonas did a Strauss-Program in Vienna, could be also in München.

      • Porgy Amor

        Oksa Dyka was her name. Certainly don’t want to hear her again.

        The Yaroslavna in the Met’s Prince Igor last year? I thought more kindly of her there than you did in the Tosca. I didn’t think she was as imaginative as she might have been in her response to the drama (despite Tcherniakov’s excellent direction), but she sounded good. Of course, these are very different assignments.

        • Camille

          I thought she was pretty good as the Jaroslavna as well, and we had been warned by œdipe about the Aïda fiasco at the Paris Opera. Maybe she just doesn’t sound right in Italian roles. There is a huge difference and a bridge too far for some to traverse.

      • antikitschychick

        Thanks for the detailed review Feld :-) am glad you enjoyed the trip! Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy the Tosca though. The soprano who you say got booed is Oksana Dyka I imagine and she is one of the four Toscas that will be singing next season at the Met. I was very surprised to see she got more performances than LM, I guess maybe because she has more experience with the role…in any case I’m excited to get to see/hear LM’s Tosca. Hopefully it will be just as good as the Aida vocally speaking and better acting-wise.

        I’m sorry to hear Anja was sick during the performance; still, she managed a completely devastating Ritorna Vincitor and O Patria Mia was great, excepting the high C. I think she should sing it onstage at least once with Jonas, that way it can be released on DVD and she won’t have to sing it again if she doesn’t feel up to it.

        I liked the faster tempo taken by Pappano and the orchestra. It made the performance more exciting and gave it an Italianate bite.

        • Bill

          I recall reading years back that Antoinetta
          Stella was singing Aida at La Scala and missed the high C in O Patria Mia -- apparently at her
          curtain call she knelt before the audience
          and begged forgiveness.

          • antikitschychick

            Wow. Hope they forgave her lol.

          • Porgy Amor

            I was listening to a YouTube of the notorious Carnegie Hall Norma with Souliotis, and you can hear a lot of very clear audience chatter, either the person making the recording or those close to him. Some guy is talking about how Souliotis should come out and beg forgiveness and show she can do it properly. I believe Stella’s name comes up in his litany.

          • peter

            So many sopranos come to grief with the high C in O patria mia. I remember reading at the time that Caballe flubbed that high C at the Met and never regained her confidence for the rest of the performance.

        • Fidelia

          I’m finally back from Rome and, although late to write, I wanted to share my reactions about the Santa Cecilia Aida last Friday night. It was an exceptional event. I haven’t taken the time to read the above entries and apologize if what I say here is repetitive.
          So often, when one hears the name “Aida”, one thinks of elephants, ersatz palm trees and le Style Pompier. However, what Sir Antonio Pappano did with the Aida we heard last Friday night was far removed from that type of production. Sir Tony has spoken about his attachment to the Aida project, undertaken as a tribute to his father. It was clear from his performance Friday night that he had put not only his heart but also considerable thought into the work. The result was a glowing Aida: the interpretation was clear, forthright and simple in line, rich in dynamics, sumptuous in tone and effective in its dramatic movement. Pappano did not reject the exotic elements of the work, but he integrated them beautifully into the piece, totally avoiding kitsch. On Friday, I felt that Pappano had given me a view into the mind of Verdi, a man totally committed to establishing and maintaining the impetus of the drama, realistic enough to espouse the theatrical and aesthetic conventions of his time, insightful enough to capture and convey his protagonists’ psychological states, and capable of melding potentially contradictory elements into a truly coherent musical whole. Nothing jarred or felt out of place. The words “simplicity” and “elegance” may seem surprising when used in connection with this work, but these qualities were present throughout the performance.
          My husband and I have been discussing the opera on and off for the last 3 days and have not yet come down to earth. Like the orchestra, the chorus was irreproachable. I get goosebumps thinking of that ringing “immenso Fthà!” but that was only one of many magnificent choral moments. The orchestra couldn’t have been better, either. With its accentuated rhythms and pronounced swing, the ballet had both of us practically dancing in our seats, and we were not the only ones: the concert master was playing away with a smile on his lips, obviously dancing in his mind, too.
          As for the singers: There’s been a lot of buzz about the boos for Anja Harteros. Yes, she did run into some problems with her top notes, from “O Patria mia” on, but to focus on that is to miss her extraordinary musicality and the overall excellence of her interpretation. She has that capacity given only to the finest artists, of turning the music into language as true and natural as the spoken word, where every intonation reveals something essential to the character she is portraying. In spite of the little technical difficulties she had that night, her performance was outstanding and very moving.
          Thank goodness, Jonas Kaufmann hadn’t yet fallen victim to the flu. He didn’t need/take his usual warm-up time but launched into a sublime “Celeste Aida” and continued in top form from then on. It was superb singing: the clarion heroic passages, the nuanced expression, the delicate piani were all there, in all the right places. Radamès has always seemed to me to be a silly sort of character, but Jonas managed to make the character credible, as conflicted as Aida by his public duties and private longings. His duos with Harteros were memorable and he sang an ethereal “O terra addio” that took us all to another world.
          Ludovic Tézier showed his usual mastery of his strong, velvety voice. I can’t believe that he was once such a stage potato. His Amonasro was as powerful as his Don Carlo di Vargas in Forza. “Non sei mia figlia, dei Faraoni tu sei la schiava!” The incredible emotional charge he packed into that sentence made my hair stand on end.
          I can’t imagine ever seeing a better Amneris than Ekaterina Semenchuk. She too was in very fine voice and sang the role with great expressivity. In her interpretation, Amneris is much more than the Standard Bitchy Mezzo, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her, another prisoner of circumstance.
          Marco Spotti had a powerful presence as the king and was excellent vocally. Erwin Schrott was effective as Ramfis, although he pushed his voice so much for Radamès’ call to judgment that it came out a little flat. (But I won’t quibble about this any more than about Anja, he did his job!) Finally, the Grand Priestess was beautifully sung by a member of the St. Cecilia chorus, Donika Mataj.
          To complete this great evening, I had the pleasure of meeting Our Own Feldmarschallin, très en verve, and of making the acquaintance of Lohengrin, a charming lady with a delightful sense of humor. Even saw Cecilia Bartoli, surrounded by a group of admiring young men, during the intermission. She was as happy as we were with the performance. Grazie et complimenti a tutti!

          • Lohengrin

            Fidelia, You are great; such a wonderful written review!!
            Nice to have met You; hopefully we will see each other in Salzburg or München!

            • Fidelia

              Thanks, Lohengrin. I really enjoyed meeting you & hope we will have a chance to see each other again before too long : not in Salzburg or München, but maybe in Milano for Cavalleria?

            • Lohengrin

              Sorry, not in Milano. Lets look at Aida in München!!!

          • antikitschychick

            thank you for this lovely and articulate review Fidelia. I agree with all of your assessments based on the recording except, like Feld, I wasn’t as taken by ES, but perhaps she was more impressive in the flesh. Great that you Feld & Lohengrin got to meet as well :-).

            • Fidelia

              Anti, I’m glad you enjoyed the review. Come over here again so we can meet you too! (but look at the map first ;-)

              Lohengrin, it’s a date for Aida in München, if not before.

            • Lohengrin

              Will report from Salzburg! As I heard the premiere will be on TV (Arte or 3sat).

            • antikitschychick

              Yay looking forward to your report Lohengrin :-). Fidelia: I will! Probably after I finish school but maybe before…I’ll let you know :-).

      • manou

        I saw Oksana Dyka in Tosca here last year. Although it is not always kind to remark on physical characteristics her performance left an impressive mammary.

      • John L

        “large body with breasts that could feed all the hungry children in Africa.”

        I can understand the need to insert humor into reviews to make them more readable, liked, etc. I just don’t find that statement very cultured or worldly.

        • Cicciabella

          So now, besides age beyond the first flush of youth, a short stature and a full figure, singers playing female characters are not allowed to have discernible breasts. The requirements grow ever more stringent.

      • Camille

        Feldmarschie, hahahahaha! I just now saw your reference to Jackie O! I am sorry to disappoint your image of me but I did not frequent that nightclub and never hung out on Via Veneto much, either, besides—that was all rather passé by that point in time.

        Now it’s all changed, as I am sure you must have discovered. I am glad you made it to Tivoli, of which I am quite fond for many reasons, not least of which the curative sulphur baths which were wonderful, in my experience.

      • spiderman

        “The Tosca got booed” … you take this as the first and most of all facts, why do you not write “Harteros got booed” but explain in length how that one evil man booed you poor star?
        Oh yes, because you and your co-fans lost all objectivity.

        Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with AH, whom I like very much, but only with the fact how comparable things are treated.

        • Feldmarschallin

          And there is not a difference if one person booes a singer or half the galery? I suppose you were at both performances like I was. Both got booed but one had extraordinary things to offer and the other one had nothing to offer. Dyka gets booed at other houses as well apparently. Ask Oedipe about that Aida in Paris. BTW Callas got booed too so that has nothing to do with how good someone is I just stated the facts. I was thinking of leaving after the first act of the Tosca since it was so bad and provincial something which the Aida certainly was not.

      • manou

        Dear Feld, according to this

        http://www.giornaledellumbria.it/article/article222938.html

        the Tosca production you saw is an exact re-run of the original one at the Teatro Costanzi, which Puccini himself saw. It was faithfully reproduced from contemporary sources and “directed” by Alessandro Talevi.

        • Feldmarschallin

          Zeffirelli or Schenk could not have done it better. Too bad the singers were not as good as the ones Puccini heard in his day. When you see things like this Tosca it does not suprise you that opera is dying in Italy. Had I never been to the opera and I would be seeing this Tosca for my first opera experience I would never have gone a second time.

    • PCally

      Thanks for such a wonderfully detailed review. I always love reading your comments. I actually enjoyed Schrott quite a bit. Not a pristine vocalist, but I thought this was really exciting singing. Live could easily have been a different experience. Based on photos though he is looking pretty tubby lately. I actually feared that Aida may have been slightly outside of Harteros’ comfort zone in terms of size but other than the unfortunate high c and some raw singing towards the end, she’s easily the most beautiful Aida I’ve heard in a while and her and Kaufmann really make a wonderful pair together. He was amazing. Semenchuk I liked quite a bit. I’m really really excited for the recording now

      • Feldmarschallin

        You are welcome. Well in the triumphal scene she could be heard over Kaufmann but she is not certain yet if she will sing the role again. I think she could and should maybe not in the Arena di Verona but she could certainly sing it at the BSO. They do make a great pair together since both are very musical and she can have a partner unlike Lee in the Trovatore where she can sing piano and not just belt out fortes. Visually they are also a nice pair together.

        • Lohengrin

          BSO Aida will be Stoyanova; perhaps Anja could go to London later on.

          • Feldmarschallin

            London LOL.

            • armerjacquino

              A city full of people who want to see and hear her, who have bought tickets for her on countless occasions, and where she triumphed as Desdemona on her last visit.

            • Resistopiu

              Actually Armer her last London performance was in Don Carlos, the first night which I was very lucky to see. I doubt she will return she has caused too many people great disappointment.

            • Lohengrin

              The points for her decicion, to do Aida in London cond be “the conductor and the tenor”, who “wanted her” for Rome.

            • Feldmarschallin

              Actually she is not against singing in London again and there are always still talks. I am more against her singing there since I see how she gets torn apart when she cancels. Not so much here but I read that Covent Garden blog. Of course I have nothing to say in the matter but I have expressed my opinion to leave London alone. She has good memories of London but with me it is not so good.

          • LT
            • Feldmarschallin

              So I assume the Danae she is talking about in 2016 is Salzburg.

            • Bill

              Stoyanova already had stated in another
              interview in German that she had yet a third
              Strauss Role (after Ariadne in Vienna and the Marschallin in Salzburg) which she would
              be singing in the future in Salzburg. And it is known that Welser-Moest is doing Die Liebe der Danae
              in Salzburg 2016 so it is now pretty clear then that Stoyanova will be the Danae.
              As to Aida in the future at the Met…well
              others have said that Gelb seemed to have
              no interest in Stoyanova and lamentably her name has not cropped up in any Met Futures castings. Unser Feldmarschallin will be able to attest as to Stoyanova’s success
              (or not) after the autumn Aidas in Munich.
              Muti has proclaimed Stoyanova to be the finest Verdi soprano currently active -- it is always possible he might be doing an
              Aida with the Chicago Symphony (as he
              previously did with Otello and the Desdemona
              was Stoyanova) with one performance as well in New York. Stoyanova is also doing one or two series of Ballos in Vienna next season
              which was not mentioned in the above interview. One Viennese critic last year
              wrote that he had never heard Stoyanova
              give a bad performance and she has been
              singing regularly in Vienna since 1998 though I think her Ariadnes in Vienna two seasons ago were her first forays into
              German repertory. In another interview
              last year in Vienna when asked about new
              roles she said, if asked, she would suggest to the Intendant in Vienna, Herr Meyer, to assign her Lisa in Pique Dame. So far no indication that he has done so, however. every time I have seen her in Vienna (mostly) or in New York (usually in the second cast) she has been extraordinarily effective.

            • LT

              Bill, this sounds very plausible. Considering she was going to debut the role of Aida in Rome under Muti this past fall, which never happened since Muti left that company.

            • Archaeopteryx

              Thanks for the link, very nice interview. Stoyanova has been one of my very favourites and I’m really happy that things are going so well for her. I especially look forward to her Verismo arias disc!!

        • antikitschychick

          Completely agree. She is tall, statuesque and has a very noble presence onstage and he’s obvs very handsome. Singing-wise they complement each other very well, are both sensitive artists etc., though I’d still give the edge to her because her voice is more plangent and she has beautiful overtones in her upper register. Wonder if they’ve ever considered dating. I know they’re both with other people but they’d make a really nice couple. Think they’re even the same age aren’t they?

          • Feldmarschallin

            Well she has a true piano and his is sort of crooning but other than that you are right. Their private life is their private life and not our business. But the thought has crossed my mind as well. :)

            • antikitschychick

              haha of course, and yes you’re right about the true piano vs crooning as well :-P.

            • Milady DeWinter

              Such a shame that Harteros came to grief in the Nile Scene -- but those waters are fairly crowded with illustrious names -- it’s probably the toughest “C” in the book for soprano.
              JK had a really surprising amount of “ping” to the voice, although as remarked by Feld and others in attendance, the voice isn’t of huge circumference in person. And while he can tend to croon here and there, I thought the closing B-flat to “Celeste Aida” was a genuine piano. Good for him.
              La Semenchuk did not rivet my attention.
              Tezier is my current favorite baritone. Timbre and temperament by the bucketful.

          • Lohengrin

            They like each other very much as they mentioned by chance, but I would say more like sister and brother. She has a so said not so young husband and he is in love with a pretty nice young women; so no need for speculation.
            As many of us know it is wonderful to have colleges to whome you have a inner connection without beeing a love-couple.
            Hopefully they often sing together!!

            • antikitschychick

              Yes you’re right. I didn’t mean to speculate. I just think it’s rare to find two people who complement each other so well artistically, and its really lovely, but of course artistic partnerships don’t have to lead to romantic ones.

            • umangialaio

              In the last act of Lohengrin, in Milan with Barenboim conducting, they were simply amazing.

              U

            • Feldmarschallin

              Yes it is exactly like that. They like each other a lot but like you said as brother and sister.

    • Camille

      Feldmarschallin!!
      In “Roman Holiday”, did you get a chance to see Audrey Hepburn???????????

      Don’t tell me, you are actually Gregory PECK!

      Eddie Albert?

      • Feldmarschallin

        Camille I adore Audrey and one day when you come to visit I will show you some pictures of me with a little black Givenchy dress and pearls in hommage to La Hepburn.

  • Bill

    Back in NYC The Clarion Orchestra had an interesting
    orchestral concert in the Park Avenue Christian
    Church (probably formerly a Lutheran Church) which
    had some Metropolitan Opera connections -- Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto nimbly and soulfully played by Nimrod
    David Pfeffer a young Israeli pianist and conductor currently an assistant conductor to James Levine at the Met. A fortepiano was utilized. The orchestra then played Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony in the church with vivid sonorous acoustics (no echo despite the very high ceiling) and the lively conductor was Steven Fox who had worked with the NYC Opera and the Lindemann program at the Met. The orchestra was founded in 1957, revived in 2006 by Fox and is considered to be a period instrument orchestra with a series of concerts all through the season in different venues including churches. Because of the Met and Julliard connections
    quite a few young Met artists were in the congregation
    (audience) including our own Marshiemark II who also found the concert truly inspiring (and seemed to know everyone in the audience) -- and interestingly
    for the 2015-16 season among other programs an all
    Donizetti concert is foreseen with Mario Chang who has
    been stepping up to a prominent international career as
    soloist (or one of them).

  • kraneled

    sorry
    i think harteros should never sing AIDA and the other italian Parts like TROVATORE and FORZA.
    The color of her voice doesn’t suit these parts at all-
    She is a very serious and important artist in mozart und strauss and perhaps TRAVIATA but she will never be a spinto…..

    • Feldmarschallin

      Go back to youtube Hera where you have been trashing her for years and hope that your girl Dina will perhaps one day get a performance or two if Harteros cancels.

    • Lohengrin

      Have You heard: Pappano wants NO VerdI-Trumpets except in the trionfo marcia; he searched for lyrical a Soprano (and Tenor)….

    • Fidelia

      I find this remark surprising. Only heard Trovatore on line, I did have the chance to hear her sing Leonora in Forza. She was remarkable.

      • Feldmarschallin

        Fidelia and Lohengrin do not waste your time. This creature has been trashing Harteros for years on youtube. For at least 10 years he writes horrible things about how awful she is while praising the likes of Guleghina and one Dina something or other. I heard 9 Leonoras in Trovatore and 11 in Forza and she was great in all of them. Every single one of them. So she came to grief with one high C. I can name you dozens from Callas, Tebaldi and Ponselle on downward who had problems with that C. And she didn’t even crack really. And what about the beautifully floated final note? Go back to your cave.

    • PCally

      Kraneled, even if I shared your opinion (which I don’t) can you name a soprano who currently sings these roles better than Harteros? The only role she shares with Liudmyla monastyrska is Aida so you can’t compare them and the only role she currently shares with Netrebko is Il Trovatore so that’s not an apt comparison either. Frittoli is past her prime so I guess the only person you could put side by side with Harteros is Stoyanova. I love Stoyanova but Harteros’ voice certainly leans more towards spinto and, occasionally iffy intonation up top aside, she sings most of her roles with rock solid security and musicality.

      • Agreed. Harteros is perhaps more ideally suited to Wagner/Strauss/Mozart (her Elsa in the Jones production is out of this world). But she can certainly do justice to Verdi based on the recordings I’ve heard.

        • PCally

          I really would have loved to have seen her back to back Arabella and Rosenkavalier in Dresden.

      • Resistopiu

        Well you all seem to forget Latonia Moore who was the best Aida I have seen since Price

        • Camille

          I haven’t forgotten her at all because she is my favourite, by a landslide, because she could really do the job, high C be damned! And am so sorry her planned Aïdas were postponed by the pregnancy and do so hope she will return some day. In May at Carnegie Hall her voice, high C and all, was then in splendid shape, so Good luck, Latonia della bella voce!

        • PCally

          Moore was excellent and had a super high c. But I think Harteros has the more distinct voice and phrasing and I personally preferred her. Of course, she doesn’t really have any concrete plans to see the role onstage as of yet.

  • Fidelia

    Mr Fidelia thinks that today we can’t find a voice better suited to the role of Radamès than JK’s. From Lauri-Volpi (whom he doesn’t like!) through Gigli, Di Stefano, Bjorling, Bergonzi, whom he considers as wonderful lirico spintos, to today, he only considers voices like those of Giacometti, Vickers, Del Monaco and Domingo (whom he heard live) as being really super-powerful. (Don’t talk to him about Corelli.) What do you all think?

    • Bill

      Well Pavarotti also sang Radames, at least some
      performances I guess he is in your first group.
      Di Stefano, Bjoerling, Bergonzi all had voices
      with ample penetration and projection -- they could be heard. I was not so fond of Vickers in these Verdi
      roles (except maybe Otello) -- McCracken also sang
      Radames. In the last years there have not been
      many tenors, if any, effective in this role -- so Kaufmann may be a Godsend but I suspect, being quite versatile in repertory he will not trouble himself very often with Radames. We are all waiting to see
      if he makes it into New York at all to the Met for the Don Jose on Saturday.

      • Fidelia

        Thanks for your reply, Bill. Mr F agrees with you, and although a great admirer of Vickers thinks you’re right about Otello being the best of his Verdi roles.

    • rapt

      Giacometti, however, would only sing with extremely thin sopranos…

    • Cicciabella

      I don’t know if he’s ever sung it, but, based on his Otello and other Verdi roles, Gregory Kunde should be an excellent Radames.

      • moi

        I think Kunde sang Radames … was it in Sao Paolo,
        of all places , last year…
        Pappano said on italian radio, that the famous high C has been forgiven to many greats,
        like Tebaldi.
        And many sopranos avoid the role for that one note.
        But italian favourite soprano Cedolins certainly had it 10 years ago.
        I’ve been looking for my live recording from 79 Aida in Salzburg w Karajan and Freni, Carreras,
        but cannot find it.
        And I think Kauffman realized, that his scheduling
        was too ambitious… Salzburg rehearsals start in a week (… but Garanca is in too..?..)

        • Feldmarschallin

          Wasn’t it Freni who said accept everything at first and then cancel what you don’t want. But seriously did anyone really expect him to show up for these two performances. He has a long flight and three difficult new operas before and after at high profile events. New girlfriend and low Met fees…I expect Kaufmann to stay closer to home in the future. He can keep quite busy with München, London, Salzburg, La Scala and Paris. All in the same time zones and he can fly home when he has a few free days.

          • Lohengrin

            “New girlfriend” is still now his “old one”……… She is free till Easter and could go with him as she was in Rome and elswere the last time.
            But You may be right, that he tries to concentrate on Europe and only fulfills the contracts for new productions at the Met, f.e. ML with “his” Manon.
            I did not find any notice about cancellation the show on Saturday, does somebody know about?

      • Archaeopteryx

        Don’t know about his Radames, but Kunde was an excellent Manrico at the Fenice last year. He didn’t need to transpose anything, sung with verve, bravura and palpable enjoyment, sung both verses of Di Quella Pira with embellishing the second, didn’t skip many notes in the stretta and gave a ringing high C in the end. His account of that role was youthful, intense, idiomatic and very stilish. I’d love to hear him in more Verdi!

  • moi

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    • moi

      sorry… I am a technical wunderkind…

  • moi
  • Lohengrin
  • DIscher-Fieskau

    Many thanks to Die Feldmarschallin and Fidelia for these reviews. Wonderful reading.

    I don’t hear any mismatch between the color of Harteros’ voice (Apple autocorrect always wants to turn her name into “Hurters”) and Italian opera, but I also find hers the ideal voice for Strauss. So, she miffed the C. BFD! But it’s not just a beautiful voice, she’s a real artist who phrases and shapes her singing beautifully. She’s one of the very, very few singers around today who sing a genuine legato and who manage to maintain a steady tone at all dynamic levels.

    The first “Aida” I heard live was with Gwyneth Jones and Jon Vickers. Vickers had a way of spoiling me for any other tenor in roles I heard him sing. Kaufmann is, to me, the most satisfying since in terms of not just singing the role but of really taking charge of it musically and delivering a powerful statement of the music.