Cher Public

The kids are not all right

“’They’re young… they’re in love… and they kill people’ goes the tagline for the 1968 film Bonnie and Clyde, but the slogan could apply almost as well to the outlaw pair at the center of the Metropolitan Opera’s white-hot revival of Massenet’s Manon.” Our Own JJ also ponders another revival (if that is not too strong a word), Lucia di Lammermoor, in his latest New York Observer roundup. (Photo: Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera)

  • Krunoslav

    Ah- LE PRINTEMPS ROMAIN DE MADAME STONE de Jules Massenet!

    ( Ou est-ce bien son LE TATOUAGE ROSE?)

    • Belfagor

      He wrote that already -- check out ‘Sapho’ -from 1898- very detailed account of a predatory cougar and cute country boy hick, would be great if well cast and in a searching production……

      • Gualtier M

        Just listened to two recordings of “Sapho” on cd

        1972 BBC: Milla (Ludmilla) Andrew and Alexander Oliver on Opera D’Oro

        and

        1977 Studio originally on the Bourg label rereleased on Malibran: Renée Doria and the excellent Gines Sirera.

        “Sapho” musically consists of all the transitional moments of “Manon” -- all the talky bits between the arias and the filler without show stoppers like “Ah fuyez douce image” the “Gavotte”, “Adieu notre petite table” and “Le Reve” or the sizzling St. Sulpice duet. There are a couple of arioso moments that almost add up to something and interpolated provencal folk songs like “O Magali” that come back again and again. I think Massenet was going for kind of a French verismo style here -- away from formal arias and into a kind of realistic style. It would take the right kind of diva to put it over.

        Of the two recordings -- the studio version has the better sound and recording quality. Milla Andrew has a large, warm, gleaming voice and is emotionally generous. She is easier to listen to than Doria and wins you over. Renée Doria sounds more mature and has less voice at this late point in her career (fiftyish) but is very knowing, subtle and stylish. Doria still has good high notes and vocally warms up a bit in the last acts shedding about a decade of vocal fatigue. Gines Sirera sounds almost exactly like Alain Vanzo and is entirely wonderful in the very large and important role of Jean Gaussin. Alexander Oliver also has a good clear voice but is less interesting. Jenny Hill is better as Irène than the sour Elya Waisman on 1977 studio recording.

        The plot is very similar to “La Rondine” except that the heroine’s racy past (in the Daudet novel it also included a lesbian affair with a circus bareback rider) is introduced early on in the affair. If Angela Gheorghiu were more adventurous Fanny Legrand might be a good late career role for her -- it would like better than Charlotte in “Werther”.

        “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone” is about an emotionally and psychically unmoored older retired stage actress living in Rome and her relationship with a hardly innocent Italian gigolo. Different story.

        • Gualtier M

          Here is a little Youtube listening sampler of “Sapho” by Massenet (not to be confused with the Gounod “Sapho” about the Lesbos poetess):

          The creatrix Emma Calvé:

          Better sound from Francoise Pollet:

          Georges Thill as Jean Gaussin:

          Milla Andrew and friends at the BBC in 1972:

          A sampler of Mme. Doria and Msr. Sirera:

      • Buster

        I hope Annick Massis will sing Sapho one day. When I was in Liège for her Manon, they had a Sapho score inscribed by Massenet on display. During intermission people admiring it were debating whether it was Sapho Massis should sing there next, or Thaïs.

        • Milady DeWinter

          While Massis still has the Ds, Thais!! -don’t you think so, Buster? I do. Love that Doria recording of Sapho though (practically everything she did is worth a listen, if one had the time, and did burn-out occasionally on her. Well, you know how it is with La Doria..
          I will sample Pollet, but I’ve always found her sort of in vocal disarray and heavy-voiced. I do like her Duparc disc, and generally I prefer the piano versions as a rule, but the orchestra evens out the bumpy edge of the tone.
          Anyway, Massis -- indeed, such a chic bel cantist, well-schooled, smart, and in touch with the expression of the music. However, even at her freshest and most brilliant, and stating my whole-hearted Meyerbeer sympathies, I could not find a thing to hang on to in the Margherita D’Anjou recording- oy, what a dog! Sapho will be good for her too -- she’s in great vocal shape for a soprano of 55. Like Doria, a high voice that owned dramatic ring. I
          suppose that tradition goes back to Calve, at least, on discs.

          • Milady DeWinter

            “if one had the time, and did NOT burn-out occasionally…”

          • Belfagor

            Did’nt Elisabeth Soderstrom do a concert performance of ‘Sapho’ at one point? I remember a rave review somewhere -- could it have been OONY?

            It has a very similar moment to the Saint Sulpice scene in ‘Manon’ -- where Fanny tries to seduce Jean back from his family -- it’s a ravishing aria ‘Pendant in an je fus ta femme’…..in this case it fails -- a rather mature Renata Scotto makes slightly heavy weather of it in one of her late French recitals, but the pianissimi are breathtaking…….

        • Buster

          Massis always sings her Ds with ease, Milady, and she has the legs for Thais. She is even a little older than 55, apparently, born in 1958. It needs to be a better production than the one the gave her for Manon, though. She mentions it as being on her wish list in this interview:

          http://www.forumopera.com/actu/annick-massis-passionnement-cantatrice

          • Milady DeWinter

            Thanks, Buster. And she’s also considering Maria Stuarda and Bolena. Good for her, she’s a real wonder. (I would actually prefer her as Leila than DD next season at the Met.)
            p.s. you’re right about her legs; wonder if she’s a fan of Mme. Guiliano? :)

            http://mireilleguiliano.com/

  • steveac10

    It’s interesting to me that Damrau is able to appear at the Met season after season and score home runs in productions more locally celebrated divas have hit triples. Glad to see the Met is giving her something new next season.

    • Satisfied

      I thought the same thing last night. She really hasn’t had many first runs at the Met, has she? Despite numerous triumphs there, to my memory, she’s only had first runs in Die ägyptische Helena and Rigoletto…and she plays supporting roles in both (especially in Die ägyptische).

      Very much looking forward to Pearl Fishers next season.

      • That’s not correct. She was the first cast in the NP of Bartlett Sher’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia (in 2006), also first cast in Le Comte Ory.

        • Bill

          Poison Ivy -- to be sure and Damrau gets
          premieres also in other opera houses in Europe.
          I am sure she is not lacking in future
          bookings and new productions in the next five years as she carefully enlarges her repertoire.

        • Satisfied

          Totally forgot about those…and thought Barbiere was JDD.

  • Gualtier M

    Damrau has not had many new productions recently -- however she was in the first casts of the new productions of “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” (JDD went in as Rosina for the Spring run which was HD’d) and “Aegyptische Helena” as Aithra. She also had the Gilda in the Vegas “Rigoletto” and Adèle in the “Le Comte Ory” premieres. So not as many as Netrebko but more than most others.

  • Great review, JJ.

  • orestes

    Yes, GREAT review. And the St Sulpice pic is pretty fab, too. One of my employees noticed what I was reading and was shocked, shocked when I told her it was taken at the Metropolitan opera from a number set in a church between a priest and his ex GF, now a ‘ho. “Oo, sick,” she said, meaning way cool, I think. But I digress. I listened to both performances on Sirius and was sick myself that I was not there to see the heat I was hearing in MANON. The sexual energy was scorching, the end crushing for all the reasons our reviewer claims for it. After her Violetta, this Manon surely establishes Damrau as one of the most nuanced and original interpreters of her generation. The dismissive tone of some who commented on the performance as experienced via radio truly puzzled me.
    LUCIA was another matter -- careful, flat, dull, even if technically proficient. For me, this opera must be demented from start to finish, or why bother?
    Once again, spot-on reviews. Many thanks.

  • antikitschychick

    wonderfully descriptive review by JJ. Also, it was fun watching the heading of the review get smaller as I scrolled downward. :-P.

    Congrats to GG and DD for their success in the Manon revival. I listened to some clips on youtube; he sounds fantastic and she sounds very elegant. He’s a very generous performer and sings with his whole body which I like. He also has a very nice timbre.

    I know this is going to sound unrealistic and outlandish but I really wish the Met would cast Angela Meade as Lucia. I know she doesn’t have the ideal physique for the part but she can sure sing the living s**t out of it. Her singing in the sextet from the Tucker Gala was unreal. In fact I don’t think anyone is better suited to the part currently than she in terms of the vocal demands and she’s also an excellent musician and can really bring something to the role. Why can’t they give her at least 2 performances like they did with Norma? She has a fan base in NY so I’m sure ppl would go. Plus, as JJ’s review pointed out, the Mary Zimmerman production “has declined into a bland example of stand and sing”. Or maybe we should get a kick start campaign going for her so that she can record an album. Thoughts?

    • Rowna

      Anti -- I was an early hopeful one for Ms Meade, but my experience with her of late has been disappointing. She tries floating high notes and it doesn’t always work, and the rest of her voice, instead of blossoming, has become uninteresting. At least to me. For Lucia, the tradition was of the light voice, but then when Sutherland had a huge hit with the role, a heavier sound became acceptable. (I know that Callas sang it and I am preparing for grief.) One thing for sure -- you need money high notes. It is not like Violetta’s optional Eflat which Verdi didn’t even write. Actually, I think Ms Meade would be all wrong, but this is what makes our planet go round. Re JJ’s and Mr. Woolfe’s review of Lucia, I thought Ms Albina Shag sang beautifully. Of course I couldn’t see how she moved on stage, but the expression in her voice gave Lucia a languid feel that I enjoyed. So much for people being on the same page!

      • antikitschychick

        Hi Rowna :-) nice to hear from you. Perhaps you are right and I shouldn’t be making such assertions without hearing her live first, but based on all the recordings and broadcasts I’ve heard her top notes always sound pretty great to me…and she sang Lucia at AVA with Michael Fab as Enrico so she knows the role. She has the right weight, agility and knows the bel canto style well so I figure why not? But of course, there is more that goes into these sorts of casting decisions, though I’m sure she’d be game if they offered her the part…any who this was just something I wanted to put out there.

        • manou

          The elephant in the room has crept in the middle of your fifth line, anti.

          • antikitschychick

            crap, I meant the right *vocal* weight!! I was thinking faster than I was writing lol. Thanks for catching that.

        • Krunoslav

          I heard Meade at AVA in LUCIA and she was quite good, certainly not as expressive as a Scotto or Callas or (sue me) Sills-- what student would be?- but impressive vocally and at least somewhat affecting.

          Meade had no problem with the Ds and E flats, which of course are not by Donizetti. Shagimuratova vocalized the part brilliantly is Los Angeles but made zero contact with the dramatic situation, let along the words.

          • antikitschychick

            Thanks for sharing that Kruno. Am glad I’m not the only one who thinks Lucia is a good role for her or that she can at least sing it.

            Theoretically speaking it could work but in reality we won’t really know unless she is given the chance to sing it…next season she is doing Trovatore…I’m not sure her voice is ideal for that role…I remember when she sang it a couple of years back replacing someone ppl were torn on how she sounded…there is a recording on YT. I thought she sounded good but not as good as she sounds in other roles. I think Trovatore and Verdi roles in general requires a heftier voice than she has, even though technically speaking her Verdi singing is superior to a lot of sopranos who specialize in Verdi rep.

      • armerjacquino

        I don’t think Donizetti wrote the acuti in Lucia either, did he? Anyway they’re certainly optional.

        • PCally

          He didn’t but the point being made I think (correct me if I’m wrong) is that Lucia (along with other bel canto roles)really relies on ornamentation and money notes to make the music alive and exciting. It also can be used (a la callas) as a means of expression. Violetta’s Eflat is by no means a way of determining who is and isn’t a skilled Violetta.

          • armerjacquino

            That makes a lot of sense, yes.

            You’d be surprised how often people hang on to that Sempre Libera E flat, though. ‘I know it’s optional and it doesn’t really matter but I always feel disappointed if I don’t hear it’ etc.

            • PCally

              Frankly I could do without it and find it very annoying and it usually sounds really bad.

            • armerjacquino

              If the singer (a) has the note comfortably and (b) can make it mean something, it can be thrilling. But if either of the above is missing…

        • Milady DeWinter

          “I know that Callas sang it and I am preparing for grief.”-
          no grief Rowna -- when Callas first sang Lucia she had voice and E-flats to spare. If anything, Sutherland piggy-backed on her then newly re-set coloratura soprano template.
          The Lucia acuti are indeed traditional, armer. In fact, the only written E-flat in the score is, I believe, for Edgardo, in “Verrano a te” (I heard Anderson take that note in one performance), and Carreras sings in in the Caballe ornament/acuti-free version (with the mad scene in the higher original key)she recorded for Phillips. Very dull.

    • PCally

      I don’t know. The last time I saw Meade was as Mathilde and she sounded dreadful. This could have easily been an off night for her since she sounded fine last season (I’m not the biggest fan in general) but I’m not sure she’d be my first choice as Lucia.

      • Her Mathilde in Toronto sounded very good but I’m also not sure I’d want to hear her as Lucia. She seems much better at full-blooded singing than music requiring delicacy. So, while she has all the notes and coloratura skill for Lucia, I don’t think the roles suits her. When I heard her sing the Esclarmonde aria in the Richard Tucker Gala broadcast, I was surprised at how peppy it was and how little sense of fantasy or atmosphere there was in her singing.

        • antikitschychick

          Peppy. Now there’s a word you don’t hear everyday…especially not as a way to describe singing :-P. I agree all those staccato notes in the Esclarmonde were peppy…but I hadn’t heard that piece before so I don have a preconceived notion of how it’s supposed to sound like.

          • It wasn’t necessarily the staccati. The whole thing had a march-like quality that I don’t recall hearing when I’d heard the aria before.

            • antikitschychick

              Yeah I get what you mean. I thought the orchestra played really well though.

  • hailui

    I recalled Dessay as Adèle in Ory at a Saturday broadcast..was that after Damrau? I know Damrau is in the DVD.

    • armerjacquino

      Dessay has never sung in COMTE ORY at the Met.

      • hailui

        Thank you armer..aging memories need assistance

        • armerjacquino

          No worries! Would have been a great part for her back in the day.

          I have fond memories of the old Jo/Aler/Montague recording.

        • Lohenfal

          You might be thinking of Pretty Yende, who sang it in the 2013 Saturday broadcast. I remember the performance well--the entire row behind me was empty, a sure sign of the Met’s growing problems. Even Florez couldn’t attract a full audience.

          • Does the weather affect attendance? It was bitterly cold.

            • Lohenfal

              Yes, sometimes the weather has a negative effect, but until recently the Saturday matinees at the Met were generally sold out or almost sold out. That’s why I bought a subscription many years ago. For the last 2 or 3 years, that hasn’t been the case. If a major attraction is on, that helps, but the difference with former times is noticeable. I would consider Florez to be major, even in a less familiar piece, but the lack of interest in showing up that day was startling, bad weather or not. I can only imagine how many empty seats there are in the evenings, but that New Yorker article gives me some idea.

  • The suggestion of a weightier soprano isn’t a bad one; Caballe recorded it after all, and Callas was no chirpy light coloratura. But the more I hear Meade, the less I like her. I thought her Pace, Pace on the Tucker Gala, which I attended, was incredibly meh. There are other sopranos I’d rather hear. I have glorious perfs of Giovanna D’Arco, Oberto, and Gemma Di Vergi with Maria Agresta who is stupendous, imho. FOr that matter, the Met had Erika Miklosa on the roster and never gave her anything but Queen Of The Night.

    • Gualtier M

      Actually Sanford your beloved Anna Moffo also had a larger, darker fuller lyric sound and a more dramatic delivery as Lucia -- and she was singing it pretty much contemporaneously with Callas. (Callas debuted the role in Mexico in 1952, Moffo in 1955 or so) Virginia Zeani and Leyla Gencer also sang Lucia in the fifties. So Callas wasn’t the only big-voiced Lucia in town. I think Toti Dal Monte if her work was better represented on recordings (sound quality bad) and remembered today would count as a “dramatic” Lucia. Dal Monte was a stage animal who was fiercely expressive and theatrical and the voice supposedly was darkish and round and very different from the typical “nightingale” sound of a Galli-Curci, Pons or Pagliughi. Tetrazzini also had a big Sutherland like sound. Frieda Hempel said that Tetrazzini’s high A’s were powerful like an Isolde but she had this upper extension.

  • Milady DeWinter

    Kruno, I saw Meade at one of those AVA Lucias, and while I was sort of wowed by the voice, I thought that Lucia was not her true vocal self, nor did I find the E-flats convincing, although she had the note. (Sort of like Studer when she went through her soprano assoluta phase. I saw her Lucia twice, and she didn’t make the E-flat either time, and the D’s were suspect.)
    I don’t know exactly where Meade will go vocally,but I would guess that the more dramatic early-mid Verdi bel canto heroines and Norma are good for her at this point.
    I was impressed with that Esclarmonde excerpt in the Tucker Gala also, antikitschy. Peppy indeed.
    Also, I think that some Mozart would be a good fit too, if only to help the voice stabilize as it hits its maturation point.

  • tiger1

    I just heard the recording of Manon with Ms Damrau and Mr Grigolo. What is that strange wail or howl at the end after the last line, the one about this being the history of Manon Lescaut? It sounds really bizarre -- and I have never heard such a thing before.

    • Milady DeWinter

      That’s Grigolo. Acting.

      • manou

        …and acting up.

        • tiger1

          Maybe it worked well with the visual element… Thanks for the info, I actually thought it was Ms Damrau as it reminded me of similar sounds sometimes emanating from Violetta and other sopranos in the throes of death.

      • armerjacquino

        I’ve not heard the wail in question, but in principle I don’t have anything against someone emitting some kind of vocal response to, y’know, watching the love of his life die.

      • marshiemarkII

        In the theater it is a devastating moment, in that barren highway with the dim lights, and given everything else Grigolo has done up to that point, all of one piece. It is magnificent theater, and there is nothing exaggerated or over the top about it. Just glorious pathos, exactly what well done opera is supposed to be. What? opera over the top?!?!?!?!?!? :lol:

    • “Des Grieux jette un cri déchirant et tombe sur le corps de Manon.”

      • tiger1

        Even if it written, it still (to my ears) sounds horrible. I much prefer the small hulking sound of Mr Villazon on the Berlin version with Ms Netrebko (2007 or 2008).

        Notably, Mr Alagna, also with Ms Netrebko, from Vienna a bit later, Mr Gedda with Ms Sills from San Francisco 1971, Mr Domingo with Ms Sills from NYCO 1969, Mr Alvarez with Ms Fleming Paris late 1990s, Mr Valletti with Ms de los Angeles Met 1954, to name but a few, makes any sound at this point.

        • Gualtier M

          Grigolo being youthful, Italian and passionate gets away with it big time -- Jonas Kaufmann doing the same thing would be just ridiculous. Italians can get away with big, over the top emotional stuff because they are big, over the top and emotional. What should be hammy is cathartic and overwhelming instead. A very real moment.

          • Lohengrin

            Gualtier:
            JK does HIS thing, not that of any small italian. Never saw such a powerful and at the same time tender man in my -meanwhile long- life, than Jonas. Boys like Vittorio are “something” for holidays as toy-boy, but not to think about something serious (perhaps Mr. Grigolo is not such one, but he seems to me in that way…).

            • Can’t you worship your blessed Jonas without denigrating an entire national culture? Or is your bias against singers who are actually audible through an entire performance, as opposed to murmuring everything except the big “applause” moments?

            • Lohengrin

              Let Vittoro be “un Italiano vero”, there are millions of interestig men all over the world not beeing Italian; beleave me,I know what I am talking about!

            • marshiemarkII

              Brava Cieca for telling it like it is!!!!
              At least AT THE MET, Alagna and Grigolo are actually audible, and PROJECT their voices in the entire tenor range, and throughout the entire opera, yes tirelessly! unlike certain others who may sound fine on recordings, but at the Met fade into the scenery!

            • Feldmarschallin

              Well I hear Kaufmann quite often and never in my wildest dreams would think of saying he is inaudible. Now his voice is not huge but you can always hear him and he never cheats (leaves out phrases or the likes).

            • Gualtier M

              Against my better judgment I am wading into this mire of fan bias. I am a Jonas fan and admire him -- the vocal production can go from very frontal and focus to very back and covered. Sometimes the voice is big and other times sounds smaller and backward. It is never inaudible and can be heard even when it isn’t one of the “big applause moments”. Kaufmann is a very calculated technician.

              Grigolo’s voice can turn breathy and unsupported in the lower regions and he can oversing at the top. The Des Grieux is a happy exception and is maybe his most successful all-around performance at the Met so far. Definitely star-level work here.

              What I was saying is that Grigolo being latin and emotional can do certain things that would look silly on Kaufmann just as certain things that Kaufmann does would look unnatural, artificial and stilted on Grigolo. Each is very much his own man -- if Lohengrin prefers Kaufmann, that is his taste just as La Cieca may prefer Grigolo -- or not. Kaufmann for example has a vocal production that is not really conducive to classic French vocal style but worked for me as Werther because he sounded like an obsessive depressive man. Grigolo would do something totally different as Alagna would.

              As Lohengrin says “JK does HIS thing” and Grigolo as a BIG and WONDERFUL Italian does HIS thing. Each can be appreciated for their own unique characteristics which are different.

              We benefit from living in a time with so many good lyric and lyric-dramatic tenors.

            • Lohengrin

              To Gaultier´s long comment:
              Found a very interesting an well written article about the extremly different presentation of Werther by Kaufmann/Met and Alagna/Turin_Bilbao.
              http://www.franzmuzzano.com/2015/03/werther-alagna-kaufmann-deux-visions-des-souffrances.html
              Two different Tenors/persons/voices, two different results.

              Hard to compare without being unfair.

            • Lohengrin, go back to your Nazi youth league. I bet you’d belong.

            • Lohengrin

              Poison Ivy, you should apologize quickly. Such manifestations are unworthy and have no place in a forum about opera.
              Shame on You.

            • You are right, Lohengrin. Calling Italians “small” and “something for holidays as boy-toy, but not to think about something serious” is flat out racist and has no place in an opera forum. Shame on you.

            • Lohengrin

              If You read my commendts carefully, You will see, that I did NOT write what You understood!!

            • First post:

              “Gualtier:
              JK does HIS thing, not that of any small italian. Never saw such a powerful and at the same time tender man in my -meanwhile long- life, than Jonas. Boys like Vittorio are “something” for holidays as toy-boy, but not to think about something serious (perhaps Mr. Grigolo is not such one, but he seems to me in that way…).”

              Second post:

              “Let Vittoro be “un Italiano vero”, there are millions of interestig men all over the world not beeing Italian; beleave me,I know what I am talking about!”

              Despite the awful grammar and spelling I understood perfectly the subtext of what you wrote.

            • Lohengrin

              Remain on Your thinking, no one can help You in Your hating some nations. One thing You should know: generally I like Italian people.
              I will stop the “discussion” now.

            • armerjacquino

              I believe the Internet-approved meme for this kind of thing is ‘well, that escalated quickly’.

            • You “generally” like Italian people? Well how generous of you. I bet you “mostly” like non-Aryan people, as long as they don’t impede on your own sense of Aryan superiority.

            • Feldmarschallin

              Lohengrin bin wirklich überrascht. Diese Nazi Schiene müßten Sie doch schon längst kennen. Die habe ich oft im Ausland gehört und ich habe dann immer die passende Antwort gehabt die ich Ihnen mal privat sagen werde. :) Koch hoch und denken Sie von wem sie kam. Mehr sag ich nicht. Übrigens es ist ja nichts gegen einen netten Urlaubsflirt und so ganz pauschal kann man ja ein Volk auch nicht beurteilen.

            • Lohengrin

              Hab ja nicht ohne Grund die Diskussion abgebrochen. Danke für den Zuspruch.

            • Feldmarschallin

              Bitte und es gibt durchaus viele Italiener die Wagner anhören und nicht nur den Liebestrank!

          • armerjacquino

            Go to the Veneto and tell them they’re ‘big, over the top and emotional’. What you’ll get in return is maybe a raised eyebrow.

        • What, can’t you think of any tenors more remote from the present? What did Edmond Clément do at this moment, or don’t you have the Edison cylinder for comparison purposes?

          • tiger1

            Is that a comment to me, Cieca? I have examples from 1954, 1969, 1970, 2008, 2010 or so, and late 1990s -- so you implication that I am comparing Grigolo (whom I find to a very credible Manon -- and also Hoffmann, for that matter -- in general) to very ancient singers strikes me as a bit silly and far-fetched.

            After having heard -- and been very surprised -- by Mr Grigolos’s howl of anguish I went to youtube to hear how other singers did it. My examples are simply the first recordings to show up on youtube.

            • manou

              Grigolo -- “a very credible Manon”? Suis-je gentille ainsi?

          • Krunoslav

            Actually, I want to know how Donzelli, Rubini and Mario handled the cry of des Grieux.

            • Milady DeWinter

              Donzelli, dal petto; Rubini, falsetto; Mario, voix mixte.
              I know, I was there.

          • quibbleglib

            Carissima Cieca, would you — for the benefit of those Parterrians who wish not to offend — set a range of dates defining the period of operatic history that your marvelously modern sensibilities find palatable? I, of course, cringed at tiger1’s mention of a singer who has been dead for over a decade (!), but perhaps restricting forum discussion to singers who are still alive is too conservative a measure for one so thoroughly entrenched in the modern as yourself.

      • antikitschychick

        I really liked it. It started off as kind of a muffled primal scream but the way he sustained it was very musical, and if it’s in the text of the libretto then it’s totally justified. It’s not indispensable but it can certainly add to the drama.

        • Gualtier M

          Opera is theater as well as music and it is also to be seen and not just heard. So that moment as seen, felt and experienced as theater works because of the commitment of the performer.

          • antikitschychick

            Right you are Gaultier. Thanks for sharing those Sapho recordings as well. I listened to a few and they’re very beautiful.

      • Cicciabella

        That explosion of cheering and applause doesn’t lie (not to mention the universally enthusiastic reviews): this Manon must be really something. When I heard Damrau sing excerpts from the opera at a concert recently, I ever-so-slightly envied the NY audiences who would be seeing her in staged performances: she was simply riveting. And how wonderful that she has found the perfect partner in Vittorio Grigolo. Without having seen anything he did before I found that primal cry of despair heart-rending. Bravi and go Met!

        Quasi-non sequitor: If any opera fans are following the BBC TV series Banished, set in a New South Wales penal colony in the 1880s, I’m sure they can’t help thinking of Manon’s fate. It shows how women in penal colonies where the property of any soldier/officer who wanted them (officers got first dibs), unless they were married. They were treated worse than cattle, and the male convicts weren’t treated any better.

  • almavivante

    Apropos (sort of) the comments on Angela Meade above, did anyone happen to record off the radio last year’s stupendous Caramoor concert of Lucrezia Borgia, when QXR broadcast it? I was at one of the perfs, but on the radio they included the alternate aria from the second performance. I understand Meade’s detractors, though I enjoy her anyway (as I do Sondra), and the finale to the Prologue (“Ma chi e mai? E La Borgia!”) is probably the best thing I’ve ever heard her do. Now, if anyone out there would care to share that off-the-air recording…?

    • coloraturafan

      I posted this broadcast on YouTube some time ago, and surprisingly it is has not yet been removed :)

      Enjoy

  • Trappedinoperahell

    This may have already been mentioned, but Damrau and Grigolo are in Lucia this May and June at La Scala.

  • portia minty

    Thanks, Coloraturafan. I hadn’t noticed this on YouTube but am glad for a second chance to hear it. Listened to Prologue so far; Meade sounds just glorious.

    • stevey

      Indeed, Coloraturafan! I’m quite enjoying this…

      And, for whatever it’s worth to any who are interested in such things- Meade’s floated pianissimo in the ensemble at the end of the Prologue clocked in at an amazing 25 seconds! That equals Caballe!!!

  • almavivante

    Actually, it surpasses Caballe, who held the note only half as long (though equally as gloriously). Grazie tanto, Coloraturafan!