Cher Public

“Madame Patti is up there on the stage, Cornelius!”

If you can tear yourself away adrming from the scenery long enough, cher public, now’s the time for conversations on general interest and off-topic subjects.

“On This Day,” courtesy of WindyCityOperaman:

Born on this day in 1893 soprano Edith Mason

Born on this day in 1912 soprano/mezzo-soprano Martha Mödl

Happy 85th birthday composer Stephen Sondheim

Happy 75th birthday bass-baritone Günter von Kannen

Happy 70th birthday baritone Alan Opie

Happy 67th birthday composer Andrew Lloyd Webber

  • zinka

    Comment to follow for Sam’s birthday

  • zinka

    OFFICIALLY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO DEAR SAM!!!!!! When Sam one saw Norman Treigle early on….did he dream he would someday “inherit” some of the great man’s famous roles…and the Olin Blitch scene here is RIVETING and represents an incredibly great artist..Love to dear Sam on his birthday..and my best to his lovely family…

    We go back 45 years….I am so happy for him!!!!!

    • Camille

      Yes, it was in that most iconic of Mr Treigle’s roles, MEFISTOFELE, in which I saw him first, over thirty years ago in the NYCO production of the same opera, as imported to Los Angeles. Mr Ramey previewed the ‘Netrebko effect’ of rolling around on the floor while singing and carrying on, long before she did!

      Over the years I have seen him in a number of his roles and he was almost always very impressive, no less so than when I saw him as Pope Leo of the Red Shoes in the Attila of just a few years ago. All I could do was sit there and wish it would have been him singing the title role for which he was so justly famous, instead of a rather limp and inert Ildar. Too bad about that one but at least he brought his famous Mefistofele to the Met, after it had been absent for decades, and I still can remember that terrific performance. As well, he was memorable in the Nabucco and wonderful as that supreme slimeball, Reverend Olin Blitch. Also loved him as the Supreme Servant of the church in Don Carlo. No one could play bad guys so winningly, convincingly, and get away with it.

      In the La Rondine a few years back he strode on at the end and completely overshadowed the two principals, when he glowered with anticipatory lust at the return of la rondine to her plush Parisian nest. That was the animal magnetism, of which our own semira mide spoke a few days or threads ago. He had it, in spades. You can’t fake that.

      • mjmacmtenor

        I also saw that Mefistopholes in LA and well remember the impact of his performance. I saw him in several other roles, including a great Count Ory with Ashley Putnam and Rocksll Blake. Unfortunately, I never got to see him at the Met (except in telecasts), bit I remember his debut in Handel. Many people forget what a great coloratura bass he was before he switched his focus to more standard rep. Look for a copy of a Live from Lincolm Center broadcast of Manon (with
        Sills, of course) where a young Ramey almost steals the show as Papa Des Grieux.

  • Feldmarschallin

    In der Vorstellung von Richard Wagners Götterdämmerung am 29. März 2015 wird Rebecca Teem die Partie der Brünnhilde anstelle der erkrankten Petra Lang übernehmen.

    • Feldmarschallin

      So now my question has anyone heard her? Never even heard of her. Well I will know more tomorrow. What a pity Herlitzius isn’t singing but I guess she is busy elsewhere. Well I am keeping my fingers crossed that in the end I will come up with a ticket for the Wiener Götterdämmerung in which she will sing and Rattle will conduct.

      • Camille

        As yo can see, cara Feldie, she has sung a lot of Brünnehildes:

        Somewhere I have heard her name but mnow nothing of her singing.
        Viel Spaß and enjoy yourself.

        • Feldmarschallin

          Yes but most of them in Lübbeck and Essen. :(
          Speaking of Brünnhildes there was one several years ago who wasn’t bad at all and her name was Janice Baird. She has vanished it seems.

          • Buster

            Janice Baird is Ortrud in the Rouen Lohengrin with Barbara Haveman. Looking foreward to that a lot.

            • Feldmarschallin

              Good she had some decent performances. I am listening to the Berlin Parsifal now and am shocked at Kampe leaving out high notes all over the place. Is she sick? She almost sounds like she is marking at times. Haven’t heard this from the start so don’t know if there was an announcement. The bottom sounds good.

          • Camille

            Yes, but at least she is experienced in the role and that counts for something. I just can’t recall whereby I heard her name mentioned nor in what context, so sorry.

            Janice Baird was the substitute Isolde the night In which Debbie Voigt barfed and had to leave the stage in act two. I think it was her debut. I wasn’t there but Monsieur Camille was so I shall ask him…yes, he said it was Baird. She had quite an amount of acclaim there for a while but I don’t know where it all went.

            Poor Kampe is such an interesting and thoughtful artist — her high notes were not secure when I heard her as Fidelio in 2007, so by now….I can imagine.

            Anyway, I hope you are feeling better and don’t mind which soprano you are stuck with for the time being.

            • Feldmarschallin

              Yes Camille all is well again. Busy in the garden already plating peas, kohlrabi and lettuces. I am late with being sick and all the Ring performances. But today was a glorious spring day and got a lot done. I switched the Parsifal (intermission anyway) and am watching on TV a Verdi Requiem from the Hollywood Bowl with Dudamel. Grigolo is also in the cast.

            • Camille

              Ah, to be home again, back in the Bowl! It is so much fun to sit there on a warm summer’s evening and enjoy the music. There are so many wonderful things I’ve heard there, starting with my first opera ever, La Boheme with Dorothy Kirsten, a million years ago.

              Well, it will be a Hollywood Requiem, so expect a little extra pizazz, Feldie! Glad to hear your Garten is under way and you are feeling a little better. Gardening helps restore one’s balance and puts things back in perspective, at least it always did for me, as well as to cheer me up!

              Guten Abend!

            • Feldmarschallin

              Well I turned the Parsifal back on. The Requiem didn’t work for me. Don’t know what it was but none of the singers was really great and I also wasn’t moved by the conducting. Maybe you had to be there as you say. I mainly wanted to hear the soprano Juliana di Giocomo since she is singing here and was interested but didn’t really hear anything that would make me want to go see another Trovatore after having heard Harteros, Stoyanova and Netrebko in the role. Would rather hear Pape.

            • Lohengrin

              Feld, isn´t it a litte early to start planting? Will be cold the next days and nights.
              I have sawn wood today together with my daughter, we hat splendid sunshine!
              The Requiem from Hollywood I’ve switched off soon ……… Will listen to the transmission from Salzburg on BR Klassik (Tuesday, 7 pm.m) .

            • Feldmarschallin

              Well you can plant certain things that don’t mind if the weather gets a little cooler. The tomatoes are all inside thriving nicely. But the things I planted are cold weather crops. Peas you always plant around the middle of March. Beans need it warm with temperatures at least 10-12 at night. I am liking the Parsifal very much and look forward to seeing it next month. Pape who sometimes can sound somewhat bored is in great voice. I am glad that I was not the only one for whom that Requiem didn’t work. I must say from both the singing and the conducting there was no spark and nothing sublime. I mean those two women need to soar and need legato. Earthbound at the bowl. There was no feeling to the whole thing either.

            • Lohengrin

              Will wait to start my gardening till middle of April when I come back from Austria. Then it is early enough to plant beans and later on some zucchini. Tomatoes are always on my balkony, underneath the roof to keep away the Braunfäule. This is only the leftover of a bigger garden, a symbolic one, but I like it.

            • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

              Feldmarschallin -- shall I assume you heard that Anne Schwanewilms has cancelled the “Elektra” prima tomorrow and we are now stuck with Ricarda Merbeth? I may try to dump my ticket and go to a later performance -- there are tons of tickets available. Also, are you seeing a “Parsifal” here? Peter Schneider cancelled and Adam Fischer is jumping in (which I consider an upgrade).

            • Camille

              haha, I would have been surprised if that Requiem would have worked for anyone, Feldmarschie!

              How are your flowers doing, by the way?

            • Feldmarschallin

              Guten Morgen Camille and Marianne,
              no flowers yet but I do have a camille about to bloom outside in front of the house. Will see if she likes it there as I have no luck with them in the house. Yes, I saw that Schwanewilms cancelled the Premiere but will not see Elektra until Saturday and perhaps she will sing that performance. I have no desire to hear Merbeth. I also saw your posting on the Parsifal conductor. Well I like Fischer and it will be fine. Now I am certainly no Kampe fan but she did sound astoningly good at her last Sieglinde with a relatively easy top which surprised me since that is usually her problem and no she is no Martha Mödl. I will see the last performance of that Parsifal in Berlin so hopefully by then she has recovered or they have gotten another Kundry to take over. Other than hyachinths and crocuses there is nothing blooming at the moment. No reports on Stemme’s first Elektra? I read a review of the Cav/Pag and it was so so. Boring production. He was better in the second part than the first and both ladies were nothing special. Orchester playing and chorus got good notes. The comparision Kampe to Mödl cannot really be made since Mödl had a very interesting voice that was flawed but completely unique and with a gorgeous timbre. Kampe has a non distinctive voice with a troubled top and that is about it. Yes she is a great actress and looks very good and you can do anything with her onstage.

    • Tonight Villazon withdrew from Hoffman after Act I, and was replaced for the remainder of the performance by Antonio Chacon Cruz, a great save and great improvement. Evidently he has sung the role at Scala as well.

      • dr.malatempra

        Actually it is Arturo Chacon Cruz. He is a protégé of Don Placido and an excellent singer and musician.

        • Thank you -- no wonder I could not find any performance information!

  • Camille

    You were not only correct about Shagimuratova, you didn’t even rag on about how utterly boring and non-compelling her singing was. This time, I’m glad Lucia died. Yuck.

    • DonCarloFanatic

      Made me laugh.

      Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t she skip some runs of fast notes in favor of dragging out fewer? Or was that just the dullness effect?

      • Lohenfal

        DCF, I didn’t hear any skipping. I’m never really sure about what Donizetti actually wrote, so I don’t care much about that anyway. She seemed very accurate to me, but the dullness was all too obvious, and this is music which demands some interpretation. It doesn’t stand up that well on its own. The only singer I liked was Calleja, so I felt my afternoon by the radio was somewhat justified by his work. Otherwise, not much to commend. I hope her Konstanze next season has more life, since it’s on my schedule.

      • Camille

        Well, by that point I was either dozing or doing something far more exciting like washing the dishes, so, do not recall exactly. Colourless, uninflected, uninteresting, flat as the proverbial pancake.

        There are many, many variants for that scene, however, and it is more or less up to the discretion of the artist, how much she sticks to the traditional set cadenza frame, or indeed, which one of them. Since the first one I listened to was Sutherland’s, for example, I always tend to have that framework pre-existing in my anticipation. When I listened to Callas’s version the first time or two, it was WOW! That’s different. Of course, I was too young and too dumb to know that the variations I heard were not those already written by the composer himself, the industrious Donizetti. The Marchesi variant (one of them) is what Sutherland did, plus a couple extra riffs==as I recall at the moment and off the top of my head==the climactic reiteration of the “Verrano a te sull’aure” love theme toward the end right before that tremendous E flat in alt, and which always affected me overwhelmingly, was a little extra. Caballé sang it more or less ‘come scritto’ on her recording back in the day —- I don’t know offhand whom else may have as well, and I heartily regret not liking Andrea Rost’s take on it as conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras in the late nineties, which employed that fantastically evocative sound of the glass harmonica. Truly an eerie effect! At least I listened in over the radio and heard that much and I do not recall what I objected to in Rost’s singing.

        Anyway, I was quite disappointed in Shagi—--the Queen of the Night is not Lucia, and vice versa. Krunoslav called this one correctly, this time. This Lucia revival was one of the only things I was interested in attending this season and now that I’ve heard it, I won’t bother to go. Hoping that Calleja gets over what has been troubling him as the constriction and congestion in his voice was plainly audible and seemed to reduce the amplitude, as heard over the radio.

        DonCarlo—-this is truly your moment -- what with two of your three operas being played in one week!!!!! Could you possibly explain to me, ( I have been worrying this one for a couple days now and don’t understand why it hasn’t previously occurred to me), WHY is the King of Spain referred to as Don Carlo in Ernani? Yes, it is a nicety for the nobility, but he is EL REY!!!! King Alfonso, e.g., in La Favorita is not referred to in this manner, at least I don’t recall such and I don’t know where my score is now, so is it an Italian discrepancy in the score or would it have been the custom? I figured you might know!!! thank you.

        Talk about lèse-majesté!

        • Lohenfal

          In the Victor Hugo play, the King is referred to consistently as Don Carlos, even after he becomes the Emperor. I’m not an expert on Spanish titles, but Piave probably just copied this detail from Hugo into his libretto. What justification did Hugo have? Das weiß ich nicht.

          • Camille

            o danke wohl!! That explains it.

            I have that play and started to read it years ago but never did.

            bad camille.

        • tatiana

          I was at the Met for yesterday’s matinee and it WAS dull — not only vocally but there was absolutely NOTHING going on onstage — it looked as though everyone was left to their own devices and decided to simply stand and sing. Calleja obviously still sick, but I love his sound. Shagimuratova has easy high notes and projects very well in the theater. That’s about it, though. No fire, no imagination, no clue. Too bad.

  • phoenix

    Anja Kampe must have been a mesmerizing actress to be able to get away with sporadically dropping octave at Berlin Staastsoper im Schiller today. Was there no cover available in Berlin to replace her? Or is this kind of free-style do as you will singing sanctioned by Barenboim & his musical establishment — or at the Bayreuth Festival, where she is scheduled to sing Isolde this summer?
    -- I guess the standards have changed more drastically than I realized.

    • That was an anxious-making second act. There was a cough in the GP after “lachte”, so maybe she was under the weather. Problems were apparent from the start of the act, though. I’m not sure whether she “got away” with it or not -- there were some lusty boos after the second act. Originally I thought they might have been for the production, but now I’m not sure.

      I missed most of act I and part of act III, but still found many, many thing to enjoy in the rest of the performance.

      • phoenix

        An announcement was made before both Acts 1 and 2 that Anja Kampe was indisposed but would sing the performance anyway. I didn’t notice any boos for her in the final curtain calls after Act 3, in fact she was cheered by the audience for her interpretation of the final Act. There were a few boos for the production team, but nothing approaching the avalanche of boos after Act 2.
        -- Does not Berlin Staatsoper have covers for their principal roles? Given that this was a complicated staging and Kampe is a great actress, another singer could have sung from the pit as Kampe interpreted the role onstage.
        -- I enjoyed her performance as Kundry at the Liceu in 2011 very much. She sang the entire 2nd act quite well for me at least. But since then it has been touch and go for her. My statement “getting away with it” does not refer solely to this performance -- she has been progressively coming to grief above the staff for the last few years. Camille mentions the La Scala Fidelio above in her comment.
        -- Are we supposed to minimize any judgment of her vocal flaws in light of her great interpretations? Is she another Anny Konetzni or Martha Mödl?

        • Camille

          Yes, phoenix, she really IS a very good actress, a simpaticona.

          Unfortunately, she has long suffered from a lack of ease in the upper fifth of the voice. I heard her sing Fidelio seven years ago and it was difficult then for that comparatively less high note challenge than the fearsome Kundry Zweiter Akt, where many a mezzo is laid to waste besides Klingsor’s crumbling castle.

          It’s too bad, as other than that, I really like her a lot.

        • Camille

          O Götter nein, she ain’t no Mödl. That only comes around once in a great while, fm hat I have heard and the little I have seen from her appearance with Lenny on Omnibus with Lenny in the fifties, and from what Clita and sinka have witnessed of her. No, no—No Mödl.

          • phoenix

            I wonder what madame patti would have thought about this

            • Camille

              What would Madam Patti have thought about anything?

              She led a very restricted life and I don’t think she thought much of anything but counting out her notes to the tune of the exact same number of renumerative coins.

            • Camille


              Sorry, Tristan and Isolde have run me off the rails.

              O wonderful music! Guten Abend!

          • Camille

            Sorry, typo nightmare. I am listening to Isolde’s Rache and can’t see straight!

        • Camille

          No, that Fidelio was at the Los Angeles Opera not La Scala.

          I saw her on the webcast from Wherever with Jonas as well and it was interesting to see her close up. By then, abiut five or six years after, the voice had deteriorated.

          • phoenix

            The webcast performance with Kaufmann & Kampe you write about above -- I believe was broadcast from La Scala 10 December 2014 -- and that is the one I thought you were referring to. At any rate, I am going to try to dig up a copy of her Isolde at Glyndebourne 2009 to listen to.

            • Camille

              Oh was that Scala? Did not remember. I heard her long before and really liked her, FWIW. Doesn’t matter.

              Never mind.

              Isolde? O götter! That is pushing it, nichts?

            • phoenix

              I’m not so sure. That’s why I’d like to hear Kampe’s 2009 Glyndebourne Isolde performance in preparation for her Isolde this summer from Bayreuth (if it actually happens). Irene Dalis was my first Isolde and as much as I couldn’t stand her stage persona or her voice, she sang it quite well (considering her God given resources). A week or so back Larisa Golgolevskaya sang Isolde from the Liceu and she reminded me of Irene Dalis’ performance in the same role -- raw & ugly. I prefer Anja Kampe’s tone to either of them.

            • Camille

              Glyndebourne is one thing, singing it in a big house is another. Didn’t Nina Stemme sing Isolde there, too, in the beginning?

              I hope her voice has held out over the intervening years — now I realize I have not heard her since the summer of 2010 and I do not look forward to hearing her as Turandot, but do as the Elektra. Well, we will see who ends up singing them — maybe Gheroghiu will surprise us all!!!!!!!!

          • Lohengrin

            That was in München 2010. Scala: JK was Einspringer in the second performance.

            • Camille

              München 2010? It seems like it was so much later than that, that not so much time has elapsed. So then it was only three years after I heard her and already there was a big difference.

              Yes, I liked that production, especially the Streichquartett!!!!!