Cher Public


On this day in 1917 Puccini’s La Rondine premiered in Monte Carlo.

Born on this day in 1890 mezzo-soprano Sabine Kalter

Born on this day in 1911 librettist Myfanwy Piper

Born on this day in 1914 soprano Clara Petrella

Born on this day in 1918 baritone Anselmo Colzani

Born on this day in 1925 soprano Hanne-Lore Kuhse

Happy 90th birthday baritone Dmytro Hnatyuk

Born on this day in 1930 composer Robert Ashley

Happy 85th birthday contralto Elizabeth Bainbridge

Happy 74th birthday tenor Nicola Martinucci

Happy 73rd birthday bass Samuel Ramey

  • DeepSouthSenior

    Ah, La Rondine. Some lovely music, but more dramatically inert than Act I of Parsifal, and almost as long. Could benefit from a dead swan to toss onstage from the wings. Greatest advantage: An occasion for some lovely dresses for beautiful sopranos like Gheorghiu and Opolais. Greatest advantage: Nothing much happens, nor does the audience much care.

    • DeepSouthSenior

      . . . Greatest DISadvantage . . .

      • WindyCityOperaman

        The posted excerpt is from Marta Domingo’s “revised version” that ends with Magda drowning herself. Don’t like this version (and I don’t believe Puccini officially sanctioned it either). Met and other theaters stick to the “traditional” ending thankfully.

  • Operngasse

    There is a very nice birthday entry for Samuel Ramey on

  • Buster

    The first Tatiana Troyanos Ariadne is back into print -- always a hard one to find on CD. I believe Regina della fate was hunting for it a while back:

  • Feldmarschallin

    Well but you have to put up with Hillebrecht who was in the 60’s what Racette and Magee are today. I find the Troyanos recording with Rysanek more interesting. Too many Ariadnes have sung the role so much better with more tonal beauty: Reining, Schwarzkopf, della Casa, Norman, ATS, Zadek.

    • Buster

      Schwanewilms was an excellent Ariadne too, for Laufenberg. That was an awful production, by the way. I hope his Elektra is better! Enjoy your trip.

      Listening to Lear right now. What a boring opera. It sounds just like Lulu, and dozens of other modern operas. Have not discovered something original about it yet.

    • Krunoslav

      With Merbeth and Dasch plying their mediocre wares in this repertory, one scarcely meeds to look across the Atlantic for comparisons to Hillebrecht. ;)

      Astonishing that room was made for Norman, a mere American, among fine Ariadnes. And KSS Claire Watson?

      • Feldmarschallin

        Well if you ask me you can put Merbeth, Dasch, Racette and Magee all in the same bag. They are all interchangeable. Can we say bottom fishing in that quartett?

        • phoenix

          Feld: a bonus addition to your bag of bags: Barb Frittoli (as Elisabetta di Valois at the Met tomorrow night -- to a half empty auditorium, according to the Met seating chart of available tickets). Now you have a quintet of crustaceans for bottom fishing.

          • manou

            I do not necessarily concur with the names on the lists, but I have to point out that I think you mean “bottom feeders“.

            Mr manou is a devoted fisherman, and so I know that fishing for bottoms would not yield the desired prey.

            • I’m sure you’re relieved that Mr. Manou isn’t fishing for bottoms!

            • phoenix

              Well, manou, however you decide to compose the list, most of these bottom feeders date back to the Cambrian period of the Paleozoic Era. They feed off the Met & other decaying relics found in the crevices at the bottom of the sea. Competition for any food that falls into a deep-sea trench is fierce.

            • marshiemarkII

              Well there was no bottom feeding at the Met last night, that’s for sure. One of the greatest nights of the season, the final performance of Manon with both Glorious Grigolo and Divine Damrau in spectacular voice and total abandon. The Ah Fuyez douce image was for the history books, and likewise her entire Cours la Reine an object lesson in great singing, she had everything, articulation, cleanest coloratura, musicality and above all total immersion in the role, and she looks magnificent throughout. From my seat this time (row S center) there were times when she sounded immense, and all the time totally audible with her trademark highest notes (Ds Es) now totally clean, and free of the shrillness of the first time I saw them (was she still sick by the second performance?), now totally healthy and clean. He reminded me frequently of Franco Corelli, both in the huge size of the sound and the amazing projection at all levels intensity, as well as the amazing demeanor and overall magnificent physical specimen that he represents, athletic, magnificent Italian stallion, and just downright GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!! to those that pettily begrudged him the glorious final cries, I just have to smile, hon, you had to be THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
              Magnificent as the ovation was for Damrau, still his was at least twice as big, and with hysterical screaming and wailing from the females (biological and not :lol:) that reminded me of what the very young Carreras used to get!
              A night never to be forgotten, glorious glorious glorious!!!!!!

            • Marshie: I’m glad to see that you’ve decided to drop the hyperbole. ;)

            • parpignol

              yes, last night was great; from the very beginning with “nous irons a Paris” Damrau and Grigolo were both kind of dazzling together; and how do they hold the top note while running up the stairs?
              and his voice was big and splendid, but also elegant and lyrical, as in “En fermant les yeux” sung with French style; credit to Villaume?
              and both of them terrific in the Saint-Sulpice, but also deeply moving in the death scene of the last act--
              and how about the panache with which Grigolo leaped on stage to take his bows at the end? wonderful evening for Massenet and the Met. . .

            • marshiemarkII

              Yes parpi, so glad you agree! you know I was astonished how huge the Grigolo voice really is. I saw him first in Rigoletto, and while he could not erase memories of the glorious phrasing of Beczala a few months before, I did remark on the size of the instrument. The first time I saw Manon (from the J row), the sound was of course big and generous but I was not ready for what I heard last night, from albeit the best place at the Met, the fabled back Orchestra. As you say from the first tone, it was a HUGE GIGANTIC sound at all dynamic levels, talk about AUDIBLE even at ppppp, and elegant is a perfect word, twice doing a glorious messa di voce that was a thing to behold. And the final scream is so MUSICAL, and perfectly in tune with both the musical line (most important!) and of course of one piece with the emotional temperature of everything he has done up to that point. A true cri de coeur! The boy is truly and simply SENSATIONAL

            • messa di voce

              “his was at least twice as big”

              Than which there is no higher praise.

          • DeepSouthSenior

            This reminds me of a joke popular down here in the Deep South: “Q. What’s the difference between a lawyer and a catfish? A. One is a scum-sucking bottom-feeder, and the other is a fish.”

        • Bill

          Feldmarschallin -- actually not really in the same bag -- Racette now has a ferocious wobble which
          is painful to hear. Merbeth is a bit dull
          in the fashion of Hillebrecht, Connell, but if I
          am not mistaken does not wobble off pitch and
          has sung a credible Senta more recently in
          Germany and Austria.

          Among the wonderful Ariadnes please include
          Benackova -- one of the best and most beautifully sung I have ever seen -several outings in Vienna). Claire Watson was also a wonderful Ariadne. Wonderful also Janowitz Isokoski should be up there as well based upon her recent Ariadnes
          in Vienna directed by Thielemann which I assume will eventually be available on CD. I also currently like Schwanewilms as Ariadne
          I have not seen Stoyanova yet but she is repeating her Ariadnes in Vienna in the winter of 2016 so you can trot down to Vienna at that time. I think my absolute overall favorites seen (so far) were della Casa,
          Rysanek, Benackova, Janowitz -- then on recording,
          Schwarzkopf of course and the live performances of Reining (Vienna 1944) and Crespin (Chicago 1964). I have never heard anything of Stich-Randall in the role. Tomowa-Sintov’s voice
          blossomed beautifully at the top and two others I rather liked were Gessendorf and Julia Faulkner who had a short but impressive period singing
          Strauss in Vienna and Munich. Gwyneth Jones was variable in the role but when she was “on” was
          fabulous. I though Norman’s top was not sufficiently effervescent to impress me but it was one of her best roles.

          Is the Troyanos recording with Rysanek from
          the 1967 Vienna Neueinstudierung ? I think it was Troyanos’ debut in Vienna (where she seldom
          sang) and I was there -- many in the audience
          liked her but said they could not understand a word she was singing -- and Josef Wechsberg repeated that in a review comparing Troyanos’
          Komponist unfavorably to Christa Ludwig, Sena Jurinac “not to speak of Seefried” who were reigning in that role at that time. The cast that evening included Renate Holm as Zerbinetta,
          Schoeffler, King, Lucia Popp as Najade with Boehm conducting. The scenery was from the celebrated 1954 production at Salzburg brought over to Vienna in 1956. I heard Dasch when she was younger and she seemed promising -- what happened?
          I have heard Merbeth in quite a few roles, a solid voice but no vocal radiance -- worst the Figaro Countess, maybe best Fidelio and Daphne.
          Hillebrecht, Ingrid Haubold, Connell, Hass, Sweet, Petra Maria Schnitzer all struck me as
          being in that category -- adequate but bland.

          • armerjacquino

            The performances I saw from Connell were anything but bland. She was a wonderfully fire-breathing Lady M.

            • Bill

              Amerjacquino -- when I saw Connell sing
              Lady Macbeth at the Met I did not find
              her thrilling at all -- more workmanlike
              than anything.

            • marshiemarkII

              Bill I really have to agree with you wholeheartedly on this one. I saw Connell at Carnegie Hall (was it Muti? I’m almost sure) and she was exactly as you say, just workmanlike, and the only highlight worth remembering was the horrifying flubbing of the D-flat, THAT I still remember vividly!

            • armerjacquino

              Bill/Marshie- sorry to hear that. See if you can track down the 1980 Boston AIDA with Verrett. Connell’s Amneris in that is really something, it might change your mind.

              I remember being very envious of CockyK when he said he’d seen the amazing Turandot she did als einspringer when she was something insane like 65.

          • Buster

            Adrianne Pieczonka’s Ariadne moved me the most. Gibt es kein Hinüber? in particular.

      • armerjacquino

        If we’re talking tonal beauty there’s a German/Austrian soprano missing from that list, too…

        • marshiemarkII

          And a German/German also :lol:

          • Bill

            Marschie -- at least I have never seen or heard Behrens singing the role of Ariadne though
            I have no doubt she may well have done it
            in Duesseldorf or Muenchen or Frankfurt or

            Amerjacquino -- Janowitz was one of the best
            Ariadnes from the postwar era until now --
            I was even fortunate enough to see her farewell
            at the Wiener Staatsoper which was as Ariadne.
            At the time I did not now it was her farewell
            until they honored her onstage during the curtain calls with a speech and a large silver remembrance.

            I did not mention Stemme -- she sang Ariadne
            at the Met but I did not feel it was one of
            her best roles. Good Luck to her as Elektra
            tonight in Vienna. Nor was I particularly
            fond of Leontyne Price in the role when she
            essayed it. Voigt was somewhere in the middle with a strong top and (for me) always a dull
            middle voice.

            • armerjacquino

              Amara’s Ariadne from Glyndebourne in the 50s is really lovely, although the performance is saddled with a badly out-of-sorts Zerbinetta from Streich, who by the end of the aria sounds like someone’s letting all the air out of her.

            • marshiemarkII

              Bill, none other than at the 1979 Salzburg Festival, with Herr Professor Doktor Karl Bohm on the podium!. Dr Karl was insane about her, and pestering her day and night to do his upcoming film of Elektra, which eventually caused her break with Karajan.

            • Marshie: Ariadne is not a role I’d associate with Behrens or her gifts. But an early assumption is certainly an interesting notion.

            • Bill

              Marshie -- Why would Boehm’s request that
              Behrens do the Elektra film cause a break
              between Behrens and von Karajan. Throughout their post-war careers Boehm and von Karajan
              utilized the same singers almost interchangeably -- Plus Behrens did not
              sing Elektra in Boehm’s film, Rysanek did.
              (which did cause a break for a time between
              Rysenek and Nilsson as Nilsson I guess felt she was the reigning Elektra of the day and had sung in many performances of Elektra with Boehm since the 1965 Vienna Elektras
              often with Rysanek as Chrysothemis.) von Karajan broke with many singers when he felt
              he did not wish to utilize them any longer.
              Boehm stayed truer to some of the same singers though had a reputation of being
              cruel to singers at times though not to his
              favorites. Few conductors of opera today
              can muster up the casts that both
              Boehm and von Karajan enjoyed as a matter of routine throughout much of their careers in opera.

            • marshiemarkII

              Well neither did she associate it with her gifts :lol: but there is a recording and the es gibt is on YT. She is beyond radiantly glorious!!!!! the final pages just ecstatic pearls of gorgeous radiant sound!!! but she hated the part and terribly disappointed Dr Karlest who wanted to record it for DG. She said, it was a nice try but this isn’t for me “dumb broad always complaining” :lol:

            • marshiemarkII

              Carisssimo Bill, it’s a really long story that I related in full details a few years back but in very short (need to run to dentist).
              Karajan wanted to immediately after the Salome recording and premiere in Salzburg, wanted to repeat the feat with the same recording and premiere in Salzburg the following season. Behrens said absolutely no way, before Elektra I need to sing Brunnhilde (and there were obviously NO plans from anyone for a Brunnhilde from her at that point), but I do promise that when I do sing Elektra you will be the first to hear and have first dibs of course. Then she started doing Fidelio with the greatest Dr Karl everywhere and Dr Karl started the pestering about the Elektra film. Behrens simply related the story above to Dr Karl, and thought the book was closed on the subject (and Dr Karl then turned to Rysanek of couse as we know) when someone told Karajan “did you hear? your girl Behrens is doing the Elektra film with Bohm” whereupon Karajan went into a fury and sent her a telegram firing her from the imminent recording of Parsifal which would have been Behrens’ debut with DG, and of course ruined the recording with one Dunja Vejzovic instead.
              Hildegard never spoke with Karajan again, but in 1987, when she was debuting Elektra at the Paris Opera, she telegramed him and reminded him of her promise that he would be first to conduct her Elektra, and he responded, too old and sick to conduct Elektra, best of luck!” he was dead two years later.

              I can supply more of the details tonight if you want, but I’ll be gone all day!

            • Marshie: Well, this “Es gibt ein Reich” is definitely good. It’s probably the earliest recording of hers that I’ve heard. It’s probably just as well that she dropped the role. She’s right that the role isn’t one that she could sink her teeth into dramatically. Great Ariadnes are ones who are able to produce a pure line and project a certain stillness and repose, all the while moving the audience with the poignancy of her situation. And of course, grandeur goes a long way in the part (for me, anyway).

              I imagine that in later years, Behrens would not have been able to produce the kind of pure tone and line necessary in the mid-register. But this early effort is good stuff!

            • marshiemarkII

              Wow Kashie, thanks for finding this!!!!!!!!!!! she is so GLORIOUS!!!! the tone is so noble and the top well, miracles like that happen every few centuries, that grand arch to the top!!!!
              By the way, this cannot be earliest you’ve heard her, it is three years after the Salome recording, and one year after the miraculous Fidelio from Munich with also the grandest Dr Karl! and contemporary with the Solti studio recording of Fidelio with the Chicago Symphony on Decca.

    • armerjacquino

      Rysanek, Troyanos AND Auger as Najade! Not bad. Although the choice between Scovotti and Grist is a pretty easy one.

  • Feldmarschallin

    Photos von Salzburg besonders für Lohengrin und Anti :)

    • Lohengrin

      Thanks, but You are late………….
      Found lots of pictures, some clips and lozs of reviews meanwhile.

  • Paris Athenes
    • Cicciabella

      How obliging of Jonas Kaufmann to warn us about these (Southern) Italian men who suddenly transform themselves from normal, friendly neighbours into ferocious killers. They should make a documentary about this unique phenomenon.