Cher Public

Spring can really hang you up the most

Zeljko Lucic has withdrawn from his spring Met engagements due to illness. In his place, George Gagnidze will sing Alfio in the new production of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. Gagnidze, who will also sing Tonio in Pagliacci as originally scheduled, will join Marcelo Álvarez in performing in both halves of the evening’s double bill; Álvarez sings both Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana and Canio in Pagliacci. Mark Delavan will replace Lucic as Amonasro in this April’s performances of Verdi’s Aida.” So says the Met press department.

  • Satisfied

    Wonder when the other shoe will drop….hasn’t Marcelo been going through a string of cancellations as of late?

  • Camille

    O goody! Maybe Marcelo will cancel and JONAS DER GOTT shall sing!!!

    Seriously, maybe they can get someone to sing Nedda, too, while they are at it.

    • laddie

      Jonas certainly *owes* us one.

  • Satisfied

    Apropos of nothing, but I was very much on the fence about seeing Manon this season (really not a fan of the production…at all), despite my deep appreciation of Damrau. I am so glad I did: it’s the second intermission but I’d easily say this was my favorite revival of the season (and there have been many fantastic revivals this season)!

    • Sempre liberal

      Hi Satisfied,

      First time seeing the production, and I was not a big fan. When Grigolo was standing on the garret roof in Act 2 and then just walked forward toward the front of the stage while singing the dream song, it seemed a bit bizarre. Why even have a fake roof? Oh, I get it — it’s a dream song.

      Why was St. Sulpice so slanted? It is because it’s on a hill? And is there a bed in one of the side chapels? I really didn’t understand that scene at all. And apparently, a French abbe frock has rip-away buttons (designed by Magic Mike?)

      I think it’s a ridiculous production, but as long as it allows singers to see the conductor and sing, it’s fine with me, since my eyes can always close or I can always look at the orchestra.

      Cast was wonderful. Grigolo is a stud. Damrau clearly enjoys making out with him. And they ran up a flight of stairs end of Act 1 holding a note? Crazy. Damrau was a ham in Act 3. Scene 1 seems fine to be a ham, but in Scene 2 (St. Sulpice) she was Glenn Close meets teenage borderline. It was fun to watch them on that chapel bed going at it when the curtain came down. Again, Damrau seemed hell-bent on enjoying Grigolo as much as she could. So did we. I loved her Zerbinetta, and her highest notes lacked her Zerbinetta punch, but the next 4 (fa-mi-re-do) in the descending scales were superb.

      My favorite revival of the season was, of course, La Traviata. And looking forward to Lucia.

      • Satisfied

        The production is dreadful, hence my reluctance to see this revival again. It’s as you describe, but, even worse: it’s incredibly ugly. Ugh, that disgusting lime colored casino is simply the worst!

        And couldn’t agree with you more about Damrau enjoying her colleague….and I don’t blame her one bit ;-)

        Enjoy Lucia. Not a big fan of that production either (though much easier to watch than this) and Woolfe’s review today in the Times kinda sealed the deal. Hey, he was right about this Manon!

        • How appealing should an illegal underground gambling den look, then? Does everything in every opera have to be encrusted with ormolu and draped in crimson velvet?

        • ducadiposa

          I saw this production in the previous iteration with Netrebko and *loved* the staging and design for the gambling scene. It was probably the best part of the production with the various levels and shadows as I remember. The lighting, blocking etc. all telegraphed the desperation of all those involved -- there was a sense of desperation that is also in the music. Liked the production overall very much, especially those creepy gents staring at Manon -- again, spoke very much to the core of the piece which is that Manon in the end is a male fantasy. Sounds like the casting in this revival is better than the last one. As impressive as was Netrebko’s sound, I really didn’t feel her voice type is suited to the role -- too thick and heavy. And I recall Beczala sounding pretty good throughout, but it did sound like he was a bit at the end of his resources at times. One of my favourite operas…

      • marshiemarkII

        Just back from the Manon also and somewhere in outer space on my way to the galaxies, it was THAT good, it was actually SENSATIONAL, oh did I say ASTONISHING also?
        Grigolo is a God, and I don’t mean the gorgeous bubble, the singing is simply sublime, he is a superstar without any doubt, he has everything, including a very sizeable and TIRELESS instrument, and phrases like a God, that he also looks like a God of Beauty is incidental because he is really really great artist! And finally got to see the blessed Damrau in something I actually liked, a couple of really shrill highest notes notwithstanding. The voice projected beautifully this time and she phrases gorgeously, a real pro, and she looks so glamorous despite the little extra avoirdupois in the derriere, but I finally discovered the great artist others had seen before and escaped me.
        Needless to say, they were greeted with a torrentially rapturous ovation that was the equal measure of those astonishing scenes we has seen earlier, the St Sulpice the highlight for me, mostly because of the glorious Grigolo! Unforgettable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • stevey

          Marshie, as much as I love you… Zinka called. He wants some of his exclamation marks back. ;-)

          That being said, of course, I’m glad you had an awesome day at the opera. You’re one of my favorite posters here (I love Hilde too), and your infection for the genre, and your experiences, is- quite wonderfully- contagious.

          That being said, please return said exclamation points, to Zinka… I would hate to think of him as being deprived of those (and this from somebody that thinks that Stapp AND Soviero AND Galvany fully deserve and merit ANY AND ALL punctuation marks AND MORE!!!)

          Your friend…

          S. :-)

          • manou

            marshie has a contagious infection? I think we had better keep the nature of it under wraps, but luckily Dr Pappas available to attend to him.

            Get better soon dear marshie.

            • manou

              …Dr Pappas IS available -- bien entendu.

        • messa di voce

          “a very sizeable and TIRELESS instrument”

          The Met should use that quote, along with the photos we’ve seen, in their ads.

          • Sempre liberal

            I don’t know the score well, but was this production also ‘uncut’?

            He also had the biggest crescendos I have ever heard in a tenor. So I might add that he had a sound that ‘grew to immense proportions.’

            He sounded like a hypomanic doofus on one of the MET opera quizzes a while ago, but his ‘skillful vocal apparatus blew me’ away last night.

            • Sempre liberal

              Whoops -- I meant that with a voice from heaven, “Grigolo’s oral skills blew me” away.

              I think that plus mezza di voce’s comment and a Grigolo shirtless pic, you can sell out the house.

      • If in Paris we can have roller-skaters in St Sulpice, St Sulpice can surely be slanted, no? Re Paris’s Coline Serreau production (2012):

        “Des Grieux wore an oddly low-cut cassock and a see-through tee-shirt. His father was costumed as Germont père. Why his groupies were Belle Époque beauties on roller skates is beyond me, but they raised a few laughs”.

  • Constantine A. Papas

    GG is good. I like him a lot; and from old LPs, he comes close and reminds me of Gino Bechi

  • Satisfied

    Grigolo was simply fabulous, both as an actor and a performer; equal to Damrau’s passionate Manon. Rare is a revival (especially of a recently debuted production) the superior to the opening night cast: however, this pairing was far more impressive than that of Netrebko/Beczela (Villaume was also am improvement to…was it Luisi in the pit?).

    I don’t believe I have ever witnessed two opera singers demonstrate genuine passion on stage until tonight (perhaps Ronaldo and Anna came close): these two seemed downright horny for one another. I think, perhaps, this is where Grigolo might have strengthened Damrau’s performance. Can you blame her if he did? How many of us here wouldn’t want to rip a vicar costume off of him?

    ….need a cold shower.

    • Lohengrin

      …..genuine passion on stage……:
      Have You seen Kristine Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann in Manon Lescaut, London? I expected every moment they would turn off the light ;-)

      • Feldmarschallin

        Well what about the lying on top of each other in the Don Carlos and rolling around and kissing and touching all the time. I have seen many performances of Don Carlos but never an Elisabetta and Carlos as intimate and in love as Harteros and Kaufmann. Many in the house thought they were having an affair but that was not the case. A woman would have to be a cold fish if she wasn’t attracted to him. I mean he is such a masculine man yet kind and considerate.

        • antikitschychick

          Completely agree Feld. They have the most natural chemistry of any of the current tenor/soprano pairings I’ve seen (I haven’t seen the JK/KO pairing in action yet but hopefully soon!).

          “A woman would have to be a cold fish if she was wasn’t attracted to him”. Nonsense. She could be gay :-P.

          • manou

            “A woman would have to be a cold fish if she was wasn’t attracted to him”. Nonsense. She could have taste.

            • vilbastarda

              Brava, Manou, and thank you! Much love to you, our graceful queen!

        • Lohengrin

          Harteros and Kaufmann seem to have a very special relationship; a little bit like brother and sister but enough erotic for their stage-figures. Do You know their common interview in Max-Joseph-Magazine from 2013?
          They obviously love to work together, perhaps because of their well ordered attraction.
          Feld, You are right: it is easy to be attracted by him.

          • antikitschychick

            No I’m not familiar with that interview. I think I read an interview of hers some time ago in which she said she loved his ‘baritonal’ voice lol. Obvs they get along well and enjoy working with each other.

            • Lohengrin
            • Lohengrin

              “MJ Ein Beispiel für den positiven Begriff von Schicksal: Sie beide haben sich künstlerisch gefunden.

              AH Na, da wird mir ja ganz warm ums Herz. (lacht)

              MJ Wo haben Sie sich kennengelernt?

              JK Wie hatten unser gemeinsames Debüt in Frankfurt, in Cosi fan Cutte.

              AH Und du warst fürchterlich! Total arrogant! Aber gesungen hast du gut. -- Nein, Jonas hat der Erfolg gut getan. Als es
              richtig losging mit seiner Karriere, da fiel jede Pose von ihm ab. Weil er dort angekommen war, wo er hingehört.

              MJ Als nächste gemeinsame Oper kam die Lohengrin-Inszenierung in München. Da waren Sie ein Herz und eine Seele. Zumindest beim Singen.

              JK Ich denke, da haben wir im gleichen Moment gespürt: So kann es sein, wenn man sich gegenseitig inspiriert und sich gemeinsam immer mehr steigert. Wenn man Anja Harteros neben sich hat, die auch technisch alles umsetzen kann, dann kann man auch mal riskieren, die wunderbaren Piano-Phrasen in den Don Carlo-Duetten so leise und innig wie möglich zu singen. Und wennjemand dazu noch dieselbe Freude an solchen Feinheiten hat, dann ist das schon etwas Außergewöhnliches, und das überträgt sich auch aufs Publikum.”

            • antikitschychick

              aww, how touching. Thanks for providing that excerpt Lohengrin. The page you linked to has a translation feature but when you hit translate the format is lost, making the text hard to read.

              Their simpatico really boils down (or should I say up ;-)) to them both being sensitive artists, who are on the same page artistically and are able to be in the moment and feel the moment in the same way as Jonas says.

            • Lohengrin

              They do some jokes, hidden in the text, working only within people with sympaty and a sort of intimacy.Another Excerpt:
              AH Die Freude, das Gönnen-Können -- und auch das Vertrauen! Bei Jonas hab ich immer das Gefühl, dass er nie seinen Stiefel durchzieht, sondern immer auch für mich da ist. Und so etwas ist selten in unserem Beruf. Umso desillusionierender ist, wenn man bei Proben einen Zustand von Spannung erreicht, wie zum Beispiel im 2. Akt von Don Carlo, und den Moment erreicht, wo es wirklich knistert -- und dann fährt der Regisseur dazwischen und sagt: „Mehr nach links!” Das ist der Interruptus schlechthin.

              JK Ich denke, dass unser Instinkt für emotionale Spannungen sehr ähnlich ist, deshalb schaffen wir in solchen Schlüssel-Szenen wie im 2. Akt von Don Carlo auch diese Bilder, die eben nicht allein der Regie zu verdanken sind. Und wenn jemandem diese Art von Emotion zuwider ist und er nachdrücklich dagegen arbeitet, dann hat man eben einen Partner neben sich, der einen versteht.

        • PCally

          I feel like Kaufmann brings out the best in many sopranos thought. I thought him and antonacci burned up the stage in Carmen and he had fantastic chemistry with Westbroek even in what was essentially a non staging.

          • Feldmarschallin

            Kaufmann and Harteros also bring out the best in each other. At the recent Trovatore she had a tenor who did not sing one phrase piano and she would attempt to start phrases piano only for him to blast in with a forte. Kaufmann is a much better musician and attempts the pianos even if they are not always true but at least he attempts them. And in Rome the morendo b was a true piano. There is absolutely no jealousy either and its shows his character that he will not be the audience favorite and get less applause but artistically he knows they can do things with each other that they cannot do with other partners. I also noticed that in Salzburg the applause was ever so slightly larger for him but in München which is even more her house than his and for a much longer time, she is the winner. From what I hear he plans to sing more at the BSO in the future so he can be with the family more. I think at a certain point in a singers career when you achieved what he has achieved and can go now higher and have to prove nothing you start to make your schedule more easy for you and if you have the luck to be born in the city which has one of the best houses in the world well that just makes sense and everyone else in that situation would do the same. And since her schedule now is where it should be and the other houses that had to be cancelled is all in the past she sings happily all her contracted performances.

            • Krunoslav

              “Kaufmann and Harteros also bring out the best in each other.”


            • armerjacquino


              ‘Am watching your performance from the back of the auditorium. Wish you were here’.

    • Porgy Amor

      (Villaume was also am improvement to…was it Luisi in the pit?).

      It was. The unpredictable Luisi. Sometimes he’s quite good (I thought Cenerentola last season sounded like a dream), but he presided over more than one disheveled performance in the period Pelly’s bomb was new to the Met. Overwork?

      • Satisfied

        Very true, I also enjoyed his Macbeth this season.

  • Rowna

    I wish Mr. Lucic a full recovery. But how do you know in mid March that you can’t sing in April?

    • turings

      When you’re seriously ill …

      • turings

        Sorry, Rowna, that was a bit curt. I hope he’s not seriously ill, of course, but it does happen – just this season, Ramon Vargas and Simon Keenlyside have had to take lengthy sabbaticals, and Joseph Calleja was also out for a few weeks with flu/tracheitis, which he is still recovering from. It’s presumably better anyway to let the opera house and the audience know in plenty of time to make other plans.

        • Rowna

          Thanks turigs. I think I have become a little jaded about so many recent cancellations. However, my husband used to travel by air when he was in banking and was sick almost all the time. Being in a plane for hours at a time is certainly not good for you, and done repeatedly, can compromise your health. We forget how delicate an instrument your vocal cords are! Even me -- a former singer.

    • Dawn Fatale

      Rehearsals are already underway. So it is perfectly reasonable for him to cancel if he feels he cannot rehearse. After all, new productions should benefit from a cast that has been through an intensive rehearsal process together. So he’s being very professional about this.

  • IIRC J. Kaufmann announced in May that an infection he had had since April would force him to withdraw from Les Troyens in London in July.

    • Lohengrin

      Hopefully JK will be fine the following time! If You are interested and able to manage watching European TV, here are the transmissions from Salzburg Easter Festival:
      ZDF: 03.04.2015, 13:15 -- 14:05 Uhr, Requiem, Salzburg -- Die Höhepunkte
      Classica: 6.4.2015, 20.15 Uhr, Pagliacci, Salzburg, (live)
      Classica: 7.4.2015, 03.00 Uhr, Pagliacci, Salzburg
      ORF2: 6.4.2015, 22.00 Uhr, Cavalleria rusticana, Salzburg
      ZDF: 6.4.2015, 23.15 Uhr, Cavalleria rusticana, Salzburg
      3Sat: Cavalleria rusticana und Pagliacci, Salzburg, 11.4.2015 (Aufzeichnung vom 6.4.2015) , 20.15 Uhr
      On Radio:
      BR-Klassik: , 31.03.2015 Messa da Requiem, Salzburg, von 19:00 bis 21:00 Uhr
      OE1: 11.April 2015, 19.30 Uhr Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci (Aufzeichnung vom 28.3.2015)

      • Feldmarschallin

        Thanks Lohengrin. Works out perfectly for me since we are leaving Saturday for Wien so I can see the Requiem on TV on Friday and our train gets in around 18.30 on Monday just in time for the Cav.

        • Lohengrin

          I’ll be thinking of you when I’m in the performance on 6 April.
          Have You seen the plan for Baden Baden next season?

          • Feldmarschallin

            Yes I posted it on the site for diverses. For that Sylvester Gala one will need to sell his house. Of course that will be shown on TV.

            • Lohengrin

              Why will Massimo Giordano be so expensive?
              The Big Gala is in July!

            • Feldmarschallin

              Must have misread that. Marianne Du hast Post.

            • Lohengrin

              Karten erhältlich von 87,00 € bis 280,00 €

            • Hippolyte

              I think it’s admirable that the management at Baden Baden has chosen to put on an expensive gala saluting America’s late “Queen of Disco”:

            • Satisfied

              Can’t seem to get to Baden-Baden’s site. I keep getting this message:

              Aktuell führen wir Wartungsarbeiten an unserer Webseite durch.
              Bitte versuchen Sie es später noch einmal.

          • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

            Lohengrin: I’ll be in Salzburg on 06. April, too. Would you be interested in meeting? You can e-mail me at

            Feldmarschallin: were you ever successful in getting a ticket for “Götterdämmerung” in Wien? If not I might be able to help you. Again, send me an e-mail.

  • tiger1

    It is a relatively common occurrence that the same singer sings Canio and Turiddu the same evening. Similarly, having the same singer as Alfio and Tonio is seen often enough. Alfio and Tonio requires a similar voice. Canio can be sung by more dramatic singers than Turiddu -- but Canio can also be sung by the same kind of singer that would sing Turiddu.

    But I wonder if there are any cases of the same singer doing Nedda and Santuzza in one and the same evening? Or at all? Two sopranos, Renata Scotto and Montserrat Caballé both recorded both parts with Domingo and Carreras similarly alternating. Maria Callas and Victoria de los Angeles also recorded both. But I am not certain to what extent any of these ladies ever sang the parts on stage? I have the impression that Santuzza is seen of more of a diva part and requiring a dramatic soprano or mezzo (but neither Ms Scotto, Ms Caballé nor Ms de Los Angeles fit that bill). Nedda can be sung by a more lyric voice, probably a lyric-dramatic soprano, like a Mimi.

    I seem to recall a story about Ms Callas being offered to sing Santuzza at Covent Garden after she had stopped staged opera but refusing when she was told that she would not be singing Nedda as well. I am not sure if there is any truth to that.

    I would think that there are a number of singers active today who could sing both Nedda and Santuzza….

    • antikitschychick

      “I have the impression that Santuzza is seen of more of a diva part and requiring a dramatic soprano or mezzo (but neither Ms Scotto, Ms Caballé nor Ms de Los Angeles fit that bill). Nedda can be sung by a more lyric voice, probably a lyric-dramatic soprano, like a Mimi.”

      I think you’re absolutely right tiger1, or so it would seem based on how the parts were cast for the Salzburg Easter Festival and at the Met. LM is singing Santuzza and Maria Agresta, who has a lighter voice and has Mimi in her rep, will sing Nedda. According to her Wikipedia page LM sings Nedda as well but maybe she didn’t want to sing both parts in one evening, since she’s also singing in the Requiem shortly after, though it’s more likely she was only offered Santuzza. It’ll be interesting to see/hear the performances and contrast the two parts.

      At the Met this season Eva Maria Westbroek will sing Santuzza and Patricia Racette (who sang Mimi and even Musetta earlier in her career) will sing Nedda. EMW sings Wagner and a lot of Verismo so hers is arguably the more dramatic voice based on the rep that the two of them sing although I think they’re both spintos or lyric-dramatic sopranos if you like.

      I’ve never heard the sopranos you mention sing these roles, except Maria Callas (through her recordings of course) so will have to give their performances a listen at some point.

    • armerjacquino

      Domingo told a story about a potential CAVALLERIA with Callas, but that’s the first time I’d heard that she turned it down over not being offered Nedda.

      The obvious choice for someone to sing both would be Netrebko, I guess.

      • antikitschychick

        vocally yes, I agree AN would definitely be ideal but in terms of the dramatic aspects of the roles I don’t think it’s likely she’d be interested in singing them sadly, for the same reasons she won’t sing Desdemona and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. As a woman I respect her artistic choices but as an opera lover I’m like booo :-P. But maybe in a recording of verismo arias she’d sing them :-D. Who knows though, maybe after she sings Norma she’ll do more verismo…and she did change her mind about Tosca…Gelb could probably persuade her to sing them.

        It would really be fun getting to see/hear her play two different characters back to back… Darn it now I really wanna see her do it haha.

        • armerjacquino

          Oh, I think she’d LOVE Nedda. But I agree that Santuzza might take a bit of persuading. She has some great music but she’s a bit of a whinger.

          • SF Guy

            • antikitschychick

              that was beautiful!! Thanks for sharing that San Francisco Guy :-D.

            • antikitschychick

              *SF Guy. Sorry for assuming SF stood for San Francisco. Don’t know why I assumed that lol.

            • SF Guy

              No problem--in my case, it does, in fact, stand for San Francisco. (When those of us out west start using abbreviations for opera towns, however, it can be unclear whether we’re referring to San Francisco or Santa Fe--thanks for checking.)

            • antikitschychick

              oh good; thanks for clarifying :-).

          • antikitschychick

            lol well but she has reason to be…during the intermission of La Donna Del Lago, when EMW was interviewed she mentioned that Santuzza was excommunicated by the villagers because she was pregnant. Is she really? I thought she was shunned because ppl knew Turrido had ‘seduced’ her and whatnot…I’m guessing this a directorial touch/decision by McVicar?

            • armerjacquino

              All we know is that she can’t go into the church. That’s all that’s in the text. It’s up to any production to decide precisely why, although obviously we know the general area.

            • antikitschychick

              right; ok. Well then her being pregnant seems plausible, although that can lend itself to the idea that since she’s all ‘hormonal’ that’s why she betrayed him, etc…so I’m not sure I like that, but I’ll wait and see how it plays out.

            • Bill

              Believe Leonie Rysanek was slated to
              sing Santuzza in a new production in
              San Francisco (years back) and in that
              production Santuzza was pregnant. Rysanek did not like the concept and backed out of the
              production altogether. There could be
              many reasons why Santuzza was not welcome
              to enter the church (Roman Catholic) even if the text does not specify why.

            • There is such a thing as “automatic excommunication,” which is brought on by certain sinful acts. That is to say, the commission of the sinful act instantly places the culprit in the state of excommunication. Fornication is not among those offenses in the current Catholic doctrine, but it’s possible it was back iin the 1880s.

              The word “scommunicata” does not appear in the original Verga story.

              I think the most sensible way to understand Santuzza’s cry is that she is exaggerating slightly because of her deep emotion. She knows that there is gossip about her fornication with Turiddu and that if anyone complains to the priest, she could be excommunicated instantly. In the meantime, she has (so far as we know) not made confession of her sin and therefore literally no longer communicant; that is, she cannot receive the sacrament because she is in a state of sin.

              It is entirely possible that Santuzza is pregnant and I think that is a valid dramatic choice for the performer and director, but any such pregnancy woul not be the direct reason for her being excommunicated. Personally I think the more the affair with Turiddu is a secret, the more effective the drama.

            • antikitschychick

              Thanks for the explanation Cieca…I may have misunderstood what EMW meant about the pregnancy ordeal; in any case I’ll keep an open mind in anticipation of the Met performances and McVicar’s new production.

              Bill: interesting anecdote about Rysanek…perhaps she was thinking along the same lines I was, or perhaps she was against it because it’s not in the libretto…or the director wanted to make it evident that she was pregnant but she thought that would be unflattering or would hinder her singing…Other than Marguerite in the Met’s last production of Faust, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an opera in which the soprano or any lead female singer is made to be pregnant though. If they look pregnant it’s because they really are pregnant, not because it’s part of the production. So in that sense McVicar’s idea is kind of novel.

            • marshiemarkII

              Well that Santuzza is scomunicata is not a conjecture, she says quite and very specifically, at the beginning of the opera, not only she cannot enter the church, but not even Mama Lucia, in other words no “christian” home, wow what times were those, and the “morals” that went with it!
              Che dici?
              Se non è tornato a casa!
              (avviandosi verso l’uscio di casa)

              Non posso entrare in casa vostra.
              Sono scomunicata!

              She actually repeats it to make the point extra clear, the second time lower into the voce di vagina, boy it must really hurt!

            • marshiemarkII

              typo ugggh:
              but not even Mama Lucia’S,

            • Perhaps Santuzza is a vampire.

            • Cicciabella

              La Cieca’s take on the story is very interesting: that “the more the affair with Turiddu is a secret, the more effective the drama.” A modern interpretation of the plot could place most of the shame in Santuzza’s head, as a result of her rejection by Turiddu. In the libretto the “village” is very important in making Santuzza’s position impossible, whether she’s pregnant or not. Basically, a priest could deny entry into the church and to the sacraments to anyone, for any reason: adultery, fornication, leftist political beliefs etc. People would know of this “excommunication”, even if it was not officially issued from Rome, and would tut-tut and bully that person if they tried to go to church: the equivalent of the whole playground following the school bully to make one girl’s life a misery. Santuzza knows this will happen now that the villagers have heard that Turiddu has seduced her (she’s a “fallen woman”). Lola rubs salt into the wound by entering the church unmolested. Turiddu can also go to church: no-one’s threatening to shun him or ruin his reputation. Santuzza’s shame and humiliation is so great that she reports everything to Alfio. She knows the Sicilian code of honour demands that Alfio, once in the loop, has to take revenge on his wife’s lover. All the characters are trapped in a suffocating moral social environment. But a staging where Santuzza presupposes all this once Turiddo dumps her would be very interesting.

            • armerjacquino

              With regard to secrecy, the text is once more enticingly ambiguous and brings up really interesting questions for the director and singers to answer.

              The first one I’d ask is ‘What’s the new information Santuzza gives Mamma Lucia?’ The aria starts with something ML already knows- Turiddu’s old relationship with Lola. But by the end, ML has been shocked (‘che cosa vieni a dirmi?’). Is that shocking new information Turiddu’s relationship with Santuzza, his reigniting of the affair with Lola, or both? It’s playable all three ways.

              (While we’re at it, I’d say Santuzza’s big acting choice in the aria is what changes for her between the first, matter of fact ‘l’amai’ and the outpouring of the second.)

            • armerjacquino

              Sorry, between the first, second and third, that should be!

            • armerjacquino

              Something else that’s just struck me: the whole of ‘Voi lo Sapete’ is an answer to a direct question- ‘why did you signal me to be quiet?’

              Another director/singer discussion that comes from that is ‘Why does Santuzza tell ML about her own affair with T?’ In order to answer her question, all she needs to do is tell her about Lola.

            • Cicciabella

              “Who know what?” is a fascinating question here. Let’s not forget that Turiddu is never interested in Santuzza. He seduces her to make Lola jealous because she went and married Alfio while he was away in the army. So Turiddu needs Lola to know about Santuzza (and makes sure she does know), but not her husband, his mother or anyone else. Mamma Lucia could also know that he’s reignited his relationship with Lola, but pretend not to know, hoping it will all go away by itself. Whether public knowledge of the affair is a fact or only in Santuzza’s head, the plot depends upon the fact that public shunning and religious shaming of Santuzza is a very real possibility. Also Turiddu would get out of it unscathed, because he is a man. Until his actions offend another man, that is. I’m curious to see what McVicar will make of it all.

            • Cicciabella

              @ m.croche. Santuzza could only be a vampire if played by Angela Gheorghiu, who is more of a Nedda re voice and temperament and would look enchanting dressed as Colombina. Eva-Maria Westbroek is too nice to bite anyone and could only be cast as the Queen of the Elves.

            • manou

              I have seen Gheorghiu as Nedda at the Royal Opera in the Zeffirelli extravaganza (with Domingo) -- with no other opera on the bill



              and it seems she also sang it at the LA opera:


            • AKC -- for the Ring Kasper Holten did in Copenhagen, Brunnhilde is pregnant in Gotterdammerung; she comes on stage during the apotheosis music holding a baby

            • antikitschychick

              @Lurker good to know! Haven’t seen that Copenhagen ring…is it on Youtube?
              @m.croche, the idea of Santuzza as a vampire could work :-P.

            • Camille

              Won’t work.
              Every old vecchietta siciliana has garlands of garlic hanging from the eaves of her cottage. That’s why Santuzza “non posso entrare in casa vostra”.

            • antikitschychick

              LOL @Camille; super clever! Well maybe the bb has made her immune to garlic :-P.

    • Krunoslav

      “Maria Callas and Victoria de los Angeles also recorded both. But I am not certain to what extent any of these ladies ever sang the parts on stage?”


      Callas sang Santuzza in Athens very early on.

      De los Angeles actually sang both parts in one night, at Covent Garden in 1961.

      Singers who have done both parts at the Met, though *not* together, include Lucine Amara, Emmy Destinn, Claudia Muzio, Jane Noria, Frances Peralta, Elisabeth Rethberg and Elda Vettori.

      • tiger1

        Thanks, Krunoslav

        • Gualtier M

          What is interesting is that in the first four decades after the opera’s premiere, Nedda was considered a plum role for a leading prima donna soprano. Divas like Nellie Melba (Covent Garden and Met premieres), Claudia Muzio, Emmy Destinn, Marcella Sembrich, Lucrezia Bori, Rethberg, Geraldine Farrar, Alma Gluck, Lina Cavalieri and Florence Easton all took it on until about 1940. Then Nedda dropped into being sort of a “B” soprano role -- a Lucine Amara standby (highest Met totals at 66 performances). Late career Moffo sang Nedda for a handful of performances. Good sopranos who were not big Met superstars like Raina Kabaivanska, Elena Mauti-Nunziata and Jeanette Pilou did a bunch of performances (Soviero who is not B has plenty as does Daniela Dessi). Gabriella Tucci sang Nedda in Italy and Japan but not at the Met. The biggest star who made it a regular thing was Teresa Stratas but she is the last.

          But star lyrics who would do Mimi like Freni, Scotto, Caballe, Tebaldi, De los Angeles, Gheorghiu, Steber, Cotrubas et al. won’t touch it except maybe on recordings or singing the Ballatella in concerts.

          • manou

            Gualtier -- just posted above that I saw Gheorghiu as Nedda at CG and it seems she also performed it in LA.

            • Cicciabella

              Thanks, manou. She should sing it more often, or do you disagree, having heard her live? She does look delectable in that LA costume, although maybe not as delectable as this:

            • Lady Abbado
            • peter

              That Pagliacci in LA, by the way, was performed by itself. No double bill. Just Pagliacci with one intermission. Unbelievable.

            • manou

              Same thing at Covent Garden -- same price tickets…completely sold out.

              We did have a talented donkey onstage though.

            • manou

              She should certainly sing it more often -- she was wonderful.

            • manou

              …not the donkey -- Gheorghiu.

            • Lady Abbado

              Some video footage of the LA Pagliacci with a very young-looking Ange…

            • Lady Abbado

              Well, it doesn’t work here -- for a trip to Youtube paste this link

          • Krunoslav

            Except, as I said, de los Angeles *did* touch it, just (sic!) at Covent Garden, not at the Met.

            Cotrubas sang it 14 times in Vienna ( where other notable post-1940 Neddas have been Lipp, Welitsch (one trusts she ripped Silvios’s clothes off onstage), Kabaivanska, Carlyle, Tokody, Wise, Zinka favorite Mara Zampieri, Weathers, della Casa, Amara, Gallardo-Domas, Guryakova, Réthy and Schwarzkopf (Colombina’s tricks included making party cards, rivals and Untermenschen disappear).

            It *is* odd that Scotto never did it in her early years. Does someone have MORE THAN A DIVA on hand to check?

            I’d complicate your post-1940 picture a bit by noting that Albanese — one of the Met’s biggest stars at the time-sang Nedda 1941-1957, and also in San Fran ( Sayao sang Nedda there too, in 1952; other interesting Neddas there include Lipp, Marilyn Horne pre-fame in 1962, Kabaivanska in 1976 (by which point she was indeed a prima donna) and Soviero, who was FABULOUS in it in 1987.

            Not superstars, maybe, but neither “B” singers, other internationally known sopranos who sang Nedda at the Met post 1940: Malfitano, Moser (!!!), Migenes, Focile, Kirsten, Tokody, Villaroel, Kazarnovskaya, and-- best vocalized I think i have ever heard anywhere-- Stoyanova.

            Did anyone here witness the one and only Met performance of the first Soviet recorded Norma, Moldava’s late Maria Bieshu?

            October 23, 1971 Matinee

            PAGLIACCI {517}

            Nedda……………….Maria Bieshu [Debut & Only Performance]
            Canio……………….James McCracken
            Tonio……………….Cornell MacNeil
            Silvio………………Raymond Gibbs
            Beppe……………….Andrea Velis

            Conductor……………Christopher Keene

            Covent Garden since 1940 has had some very fine ‘house” Neddas: Carlyle ( who of course recorded it with Karajan) Collier, Vaughan.

            Also the international de los Angeles, Stratas, Maliponte, Miricioiu, Soviero and, as has been stated, Gheorghiu.

            Vaness sang it in Paris opposite Vickers as I recall.

            Scala since 1966: Maliponte, Focile, Dyka ( ya know), Kabaivanska, Petrella, Ratti (!), Frazzoni ( another Nedda who also sang Santuzza)

            • manou

              Maria Bieshu -- pronounced “Bye, shoo”?

            • Krunoslav

              BYAY- shoo

            • manou

              (Feeble attempt at joke).

          • Bill

            Gualtier -- some Neddas in Vienna After the war
            Lisa della Casa, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Daniza Ilitsch, Eszther Rethy, Ljuba Welitsch all of whom were leading sopranos there at the time, then later Wilma Lipp, Raina Kabaiwanska, Jeanette Pilou, Felicia Weathers and Mara Zampieri!!! A new production in 1982 had Ileana Cotrubas singing Nedda 14 times, Patricia Wise, Ilona Tokody, and Krassimira Stoyanova (18 times) among others such a Gallardo-Domas, Gauci, Gustafson, Ildiko Raimondi and a few lesser lights. Younger singers tend to sing it earlier on and eventually drop the role as they
            become more celebrated. The role does require
            a bit of prancing around which would not have
            suited Tebaldi (with restraints from Polio) or
            Caballe mid-career or after. Freni or Gherorghiu of course could have done it but
            perhaps had no interest in it, or because of their star quality were never asked.

            • Gheorghiu did sing Nedda in London with Domingo.

            • Gualtier M

              I don’t have her totals but according to Claude Heater’s bio he sang Silvio to Caballé’s Nedda in Basel Switzerland. But once the international career took flight, she dropped the role. Steber recorded highlights from the role on those “World’s Greatest Operas” highlights recordings from the 40’s on RCA Victor (never on stage). Pilar Lorengar and Lucia Popp recorded Nedda as well but I don’t know if they sang it onstage. Barbara Frittoli is singing it next season at the Met and I saw Stoyanova in it who was excellent. Ana Maria Martinez also does the role internationally (totally neglected by the Met).

            • damekenneth

              Lorengar’s recording is with McCracken, who was in a dispute with Decca and ended up recording his role -- or bits of it anyway -- in a kind of post production process. The release of the recording was held up as well. Lorengar’s work as Nedda is quite beautiful, as I remember. She remains my favorite recorded Nedda.

  • everest

    Not to mention that Elisabeth Schumann sang it in Vienna before the war!

    Kruno, I believe Soviero’s SF Nedda was in 1986, with Mauro and Cappuccilli both singing both operas. Cossotto was Santuzza.

    • Krunoslav

      Yup, 1986. Cappuccilli also jumped in as di Luna (opposite Zajick, the iffy Dimitrova and the ghastly Bonisolli.

      That was late for Fiorenza in the part. Soviero reigned supreme.

    • Bill

      Everest -- and the first ever Nedda in Vienna was
      the celebrated Marie Gutheil-Schroder

    • luvtennis

      Can anyone explain wht Martinez is not a star at the met???????????

      She is one of the greatest singers in the world for goodness sake. She is beautiful. A talented actress. Versatile. What the freaking, fracking, fu$k.

      Also, check out Archer. Great show.

      • Krunoslav

        One had Emma Bell as Donna Elvira; why would one need a non-Briton in Mozart???

        • armerjacquino

          Yes. Martinez’s absence from the Met can be entirely explained by the sixteen performances Emma Bell gave in DON GIOVANNI. Seems so obvious now.

          • armerjacquino


            ‘Are you on that opera site? I can tell by the way you’re typing’.

            • manou

              Operatic typing? Are your fingers melodramatic?

            • armerjacquino

              N’est-ce plus ma main?

            • manou

              Che gelida manina…”

          • LT

            Sixteen performances are sixteen too many for that hack…

      • Feldmarschallin

        Maybe she doesn’t want to sing there. There are certainly enough other singers who rarely sing there. Some here seem to think if you don’t sing at the Met you count for nothing.

        • armerjacquino

          Yep. The poor soul has had to struggle by with only the Bastille, Vienna, Covent Garden, Munich, Berlin, Dresden, Salzburg, and every other major US house.

          • LT

            Which contradicts the notion that she doesn’t want to sing at the Met.

  • Krunoslav

    Ana MariaMartinez has, of course, sung at the Met- 6 Micaelas in 2005; and is scheduled to sing there next year (oddly, as Musetta).

    Elvira and now the god-awful Emma Bell were mentioned not ONLY to pull the requisite chain, but as an indicator of one aspect of Met casting (“London-based is better!”) that works against her in a production which JUST happened, and in a role in which AMM is excellent. c.f. Kate Royal, Amanda Roocroft.

    She would also have been preferable to Fleming in the latest RUSALKA revival, in which Renee used to rule but has now, with natural vocal aging, been surpassed. So commercial ismis another factor.

    The third is the administration’s love for former Soviet bloc ‘cover babe’ blondes, which has brought on the likes of Scherbachenko, Poplavskaya and Kovalevska in key roles for Martinez-- as well as some better singers they understandably want to ‘build up’ like Yoncheva as well as Rebeka. To me-- to judge on her Met career thusfar-- Opolais falls between these two last camps. I keep hoping she will sound better than she does, and as well as she does on DVDs, and as well as she acts.

    Fortunately in Chicago and Houston and Santa Fe, Martinez is appreciated and prominently featured.

    • armerjacquino

      Sorry you didn’t get to see her Elvira, kruno.

      You should have popped over when she did it in London.

      • Krunoslav

        I saw AMM sing it in Santa Fe.

        Lucky Londoners if they were spared Emma Bell in the role. I heard her as an effective Rodleinda some years back (Glyndebourne visiting Paris) but the tone has gone just about as far south as it is possible to go.

        And if you’re being all “WELL, look, Yanks sing HERE and CLEVER US don’t complain” about it, consider yet again the relative size of the populations:

        UK population: 64.1 million
        US population: 318.9 million

        ..and how much more frequently major US companies are saddled with less than great Brits than major UK companies are saddled with less than great Americans.


        • armerjacquino

          Oh wait a minute, this is really out of order:

          ‘And if you’re being all “WELL, look, Yanks sing HERE and CLEVER US don’t complain” about it,’

          What the WHAT? You got that from a cheeky- dammit, a FRIENDLY- tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that the singer we were talking about sang the role in question just down the road from me? That’ll teach me.

          And just for the record, I’ll say it again for the millionth time: I don’t give a flying fuck on a rolling doughnut where anyone is from. YOU’RE the frothing nationalist here; it’s pretty outrageous to pretend that I am.

    • overstimmelated

      Bell, this time around, may have been even worse than Roocroft. But Kate Royal (who sounded good to me, at least as Euridice) hasn’t done Donna Elvira (or any Mozart) at the Met, as you seem to imply -- has she?

      My first Met Elvira was a Brit -- very well, a New Zealander -- and no complaints there.

      • Buster

      • Krunoslav

        Not that Royal sang Mozart but that she sang AMM core rep:

        Met Performance] CID:354553
        Carmen {973}
        Metropolitan Opera House; 09/28/2012
        Debut: Michele Mariotti
        [Met Performance] CID:354564
        Carmen {974}
        Metropolitan Opera House; 10/02/2012
        [Met Performance] CID:354571
        Carmen {975}
        Metropolitan Opera House; 10/06/2012
        [Met Performance] CID:354581
        Carmen {976}
        Metropolitan Opera House; 10/11/2012
        [Met Performance] CID:354590
        Carmen {977}
        Metropolitan Opera House; 10/15/2012
        [Met Performance] CID:354594
        Carmen {978}
        Metropolitan Opera House; 10/18/2012

        • overstimmelated

          As you pointed out before, Martinez also sang six Micaelas here, ten years ago. If you’re going to blame Kate Royal for preventing her (now a Carmen anyway, I gather) from singing more Micaelas, shouldn’t Barbara Frittoli, Nicole Cabell, Ailyn Perez et al share the blame?

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Lucio Silla at La Scala was a huge success and Villazon replacement Kresimir Spicer remarkably elegant.

    • Buster

      Lenneke Ruiten (Giunia) will sing Aspasia at La Monnaie next season. Cannot wait for that: