Cher Public

I kiss your hand, mademoiselle

Enough with the polite formalities, cher public, and on with the weekly discussion of off-topic and general interest subjects.

Born on this day in 1890 baritone Robert Burg

Born on this day in 1902 composer William Walton

Born on this day in 1931 soprano Gloria Davy

Born on this day in 1936 composer Richard Rodney Bennett

  • portia minty

    Impossible to O.D. on D.C.!

    Deep South, I’m very fond of the Harteros/Kaufmann pairing; they are vocally and dramatically wonderful together. I quite liked the Eboli in that production, too – Ekaterina Semenchuk. The production, though, had a rather low-budget look.

    OTOH, the current Met production is a visual delight, with the best auto-da-fe ever. Is the Met Opera DC with Rene Pape as King Philip and Olga Borodina as Eboli (2006) also available On Demand? I remember Pape as being very effective when I saw it in the house. My all-time favorite King is Furlanetto, whom I’ll see again in early April at the Met. Can’t wait.

    • Fidelia

      DSS, do watch that Blue-ray as soon as you can without wrecking your home life. (I have made a trade of Don Carlo for Steven Siegel on several occasions ;-))
      Although many people hated the Salzburg production, I actually appreciated the fact that things were more concentrated on the singers than on the scenery: and the singers were excellent, notwithstanding an ancient Salminen (I prefer Pape by far) and a Hampson past his prime. JK and AH burn up the stage, and Semenchuk does the role of Eboli proud.
      Like Lohengrin, I prefer the earlier Munich production which I think I got through Opera Depot.

      In any case have fun. DC is such a great opera.

    • DeepSouthSenior

      Thank, everyone, for the Don Carlo recommendations. Met on Demand video has only 1980 and 2010 Live in HD.

      I’m already spoiled by Tatiana Troyanos as Princess Eboli (1980). In “O don fatale,” in particular, she reveals amazing power throughout the wide tessitura, with only a slight strain at the very top and a slight fade at the very bottom. If some sopranos can be described as laser-like, Troyanos’ mezzo was more like a taser. Even with 1980 technology, that’s a dangerous sound indeed. Most other mezzos I’ve heard (I’m far from an expert) seem wobbly, unsure, unfocused, weak in one register, or underpowered in general.

      I’ve read that Elina Garanca has her sights on Eboli some day. I can imagine her matching Troyanos in everything except the power.

  • Just back from Munich and the Ring which ended Sunday.

    I found the production creative, thought-provoking and very entertaining. The director, Andreas Kriegenburg, uses people -- as many as 80 dancers -- to represent elements of scenery, illustrate the action and provide “backstory” or context. This is a low-tech production in the sense that scenery and effects don’t magically appear, they are carried out by the dancers. The production is not so much staged as choreographed, and the director fully utilizes the stage space as would a choreographer.

    The dancers are transformed into the Rhine, mud, a lightning and thunder storm, and Valhalla in Rheingold; they “narrate” the gathering of dead heroes and become the horses in Walkure; assume the form of rocks, trees fire, and illustrate the answers to Mime’s and Wotan’s questions in Siegfried; once again mud and the Rhine, and hordes of office workers rushing to work at Gibich, Inc. in Götterdämmerung.

    Petrenko’s conducting was rhythmically driven, both powerful and lyrical. The cast was uniformly strong, some clear standouts:

    Tomasz Koieczny -- Alberich
    Gunther Groissbock -- Fasolt
    Anja Kampe -- Sieglinde
    Elisabeth Kulman -- Fricka (particularly Walkure)
    Evelyn Hetlitzius -- Brunnhilde (Walkure)
    Stephen Gould -- both Siegfrieds
    Catherine Nagelstad -- Brunnhilde (Siegfired)
    Hans-Peter Konig -- Hagen

    The next-to-last-minute replacement for Petra Lang as the Gotterdammerung Brunnhilde was Rebecca Teem -- who did herself honors with a very creditable performance under what must have been very high pressure. Not a beautiful sounding voice, but all of the necessary strength and fabulous (except for one) high notes.

    A sign of the immense respect that the Munich audience has for the performers, its opera house and opera in general, is that NO ONE leaves before the conductor takes his bow. Even more incredible, especially for the Ring performances, even when less than 10% of the audience is left the applause is so enthusiastic that the performers are given more and more curtain calls (believe me, I was in the last 1%!).

    It was a privilege and a thrill, and I am still exhilarated.

    I also had the pleasure of meeting the very gracious-in-person, erudite Feldmarschallin both at Siegfried and Gotterdammerung.

    • KoNieczny!
      HeRlitzius!

    • antikitschychick

      so nice to hear from you Lurker! Glad to hear you enjoyed the Ring and met Feldm as well.

      • marshiemarkII

        Yes welcome back Lurquito! We need more on the Brunnhilde[s]!!!!!! :lol:
        The money pages please! you know where those are, especially in GD!

        • MMII --

          Herlitzius -- How does such a big voice come from such a small person? Gorgeous sound in the Todesverkundigung and War es so schmaelich. Approached many of the high notes from below, and once she got there didn’t hold them long. But an amazing dramatic presence, the best of the 3 BH’s.

          Nagelstad -- managed some gorgeous ppp’s without any compromise in volume at the end. She and Gould practically blew the doors open. I found her physically a bit awkward. He, by the way, can MOVE for such a big guy.

          Teem -- I actually agree with FeldM that she was bland. To me her best moments were Betrug! Betrug! and from Starke Scheite to the end, where the sheer strength of her high notes was most effective.

          • scifisci

            Thanks for this report. Do you or feldy know if there are recordings (or planned broadcasts) of nagelstad or herlitzius as brunnhidle? They are both artists i’ve enjoyed very much in other roles.
            I’m so envious of all of you over in europe!

            • Feldmarschallin

              Nothing official planned as far as I know. Schwanewilms has cancelled the whole Wien run now :( Well I am still looking forward to Wien and Stemme. Will anyone else be there on Saturday or Sunday at the Parsifal?

            • Bill

              Feldmarschallin -- yes with Merberth singing
              the next two replacing Schwanewilms and
              Gun-Brit Barkmin essaying the last two.
              A pity -- Schwanewilms must really have been quite ill. April 9th the Wiener Staatsoper
              announces its complete 2015-16 schedule
              at noon -- Vienna Time.

          • marshiemarkII

            Lurquie, you reminded me of Renata Scotto at Fiorello’s in 1994 hugging Hildegard’s chest and howling “where do you get sooooo much voeeeeeeeece from such a leetle body”
            Your story brought back unerasable memories of that glorious theater in December 1989, those two most unforgettable Goetterdammerungs I saw with the very greatest Brunnhilde………I remember it was the first time ever they put up the large screen on the outside of the theater, and the performances were being taped by Toshiba EMI, for the first time ever in HD!!!! imagine it was 1989, and the technology was still in development. Merciful God they were preserved, and available from Japan on DVD even today. What miraculous two performances those were, never to be forgotten!!!! A glimpse of heaven on earth! and Sawallisch was magnificent also, as was Salminen and the sublime orchestra!

            • MMII -- was that the same cycle from which the commercial DVD’s were recorded?

            • marshiemarkII

              Yes indeed Lurquito, I have them from Toshiba EMI, but though the source is in HD (first time ever for an opera), the DVDs are nothing but a transfer of the original release on Laserdisks, so it is in lower quality. One day they should be released in bluray in its full glory. The Lennhoff production was magnificent and SHE the Goddess was in the most blazing form ever, totally insane Act II!!!!! the zenith of her greatest glory! and in that sublime theater!!!!!

    • Feldmarschallin

      Well I didn’t like Teem as much as Lurker did. The voice is nothing special but she has a good bottom and good top. The middle is lacking and what was lacking ws the feeling for the role. She was dull. The orchester and conducting was amazing. Ovations and ovations and one last Götterdämmerung tomorrow. It was lovely meeting Lurker.

  • marshiemarkII

    Deeply in the spirit of Easter, I just turned to the Stabat Mater CD with the divine, sublime, glorious, Goddess Anna Netrebko, and what a gorgeous CD this is. The articulation of the 18th C style seems to the manner born, she sounds like the greatest classical singer one would ever want to hear, is there anything this glorious soprano cannot do as PERFECTION?!?!??! The Pergolesi ornamentation seems to hold no fears for her, with impeccable rhythmic clarity and the even plush sound just a miracle to the ear. I am talking about the entire CD, not just the actual Stabat Mater. She is truly divine!!!!

    • armerjacquino

      Marshie- try the Alessandrini recording with Mingardo and Bonfadelli. It’s the best version of the work I’ve heard- sort of breath-stoppingly good.

      • armerjacquino

        Sorry, Bertagnolli, not Bonfadelli.

    • marshiemarkII

      Thanks Armer, I will definitely look for it, as I am in a major Stabat Mater mood. I know Netrebko may not be the most idiomatic version, in terms of the orchestra and all, but just as I adore the sound of Obraztsova in the Handel and Bach arias (including the sublime Easter Oratorio aria for Alto), I truly love Netrebko in this style, which shows her amazing versatility, but I am also interested in a more “authentic” style. It turns out I also have a DVD with Nancy Argenta, but don’t seem to have ever heard it. What do you think?

      • armerjacquino

        I like the Netrebko version a lot, but there’s something a bit magic about the Alessandrini. It’s EXTRAORDINARILY slow- the singers are breathing all over the place- but it weaves a kind of magic because the harmonies get more time to clash with each other as they move, if you know what I mean.

        It’s a mood thing, isn’t it? Sometimes I want to hear Bonney and Scholl and the authentic band, sometimes I want to put on the Ricciarelli DVD…

        • armerjacquino

          And, inevitably…

        • marshiemarkII

          OMG, I’d give half my kingdom to have a CD of this!!!!!! anybody knows if there is a recording with the divine Gundula?!?!?!

        • marshiemarkII

          Armer! check this link:
          http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/giovanni_battista_pergolesi/stabat_mater__gundula_janowitz__maureen_forrester__berliner_philharmoniker__claudio_abbado_/

          Did you know about this ?!?!?!?!? unfortunately if you follow the link “buy this CD” it takes you to the recording with Lezhneva, alas there does not seem to be any obvious way to buy. It’s also really late for Gundula but Abbado and Berlin Phil also!!!!!

          • armerjacquino

            I knew about the YT. To be honest, now that I have a MacBook Air without a disc drive, YT is more use to me than I CD. I can cast anything to my TV, which is hooked up to my good speakers.

            It’s a sedate performance, and Forrester has some uncharacteristically plummy moments, but there’s some lovely stuff in it.

            • armerjacquino

              PS- it’s a 1992 release of a 1968 performance.

            • lyrebird

              It’s interesting, isn’t it, how good it sounds with the extra dimension of video despite being about a tenth of the CD bitrate, yes through (your) good speakers. (Speakers btw are the weak link in the audio chain, not news I know.)

    • DeepSouthSenior

      I have a special fondness for the Pergolesi Stabat Mater with Nathalie Stutzmann and Roy Goodman and The Hanover Band (1993). Seems like such a long time ago, with her RCA contract and those “glamor-girl” covers. I admit to loving this CD less for interpretive skill than for the joy of hearing that deep contralto, a sound of the richest and darkest chocolate.

      • marshiemarkII

        Stutzmann, now that is a voice from the past, she was really wonderful and I really like the Hanover Band in the full traversal of the magnificent Haydn Symphonies (Happiest of Birthday to him and the greatest Johann Sebastian!) so I ought to look it up. Mille grazie.
        I also see that the conductor for Nancy Argenta, one Dante Fasolis recorded it again with parterre favorite Julia Lezhneva, anyone heard it?

        • hailui

          Dorothea Röschmann also has a lovely recording of the Pergolesi’ “Stabat Mater”. I now prefer the Netrebko, but the 1993 Röschmann one with Bernard Labadie is also a favorite.

          • Hippolyte

            There are two Röschmann recordings of the Pergolesi Stabat Mater: the Labadie with Catherine Robbin and a later one conducted by Fabio Biondi with David Daniels. I rather like the new Lezhneva version with Philippe Jaroussky--their pure, sexless voices blend well together and suit the piece.

            Speaking of Stutzmann, she is far from retired--still singing as well as conducting. Here is a recent Pergolesi Stabat Mater where she leads Jaroussky and lovely young Hungarian soprano Emoke Barath:

  • Resistopiu

    Both Alexia Voulgaridou and Noah Stewart have withdrawn from the two Butterfly performances at the ROH, Illness Voulgaridou and “unforeseen circumstances” Stewart. Replaced by Ana Maria Martinez and Brian Jagde.

  • Feldmarschallin
    • Nice to be reminded that critics for the German dailies can be just as goofy as their Anglo-American counterparts: Barenboim ist im Laufe der Zeit bei Wagner immer noch langsamer geworden, und jetzt, mit 72 Jahren, verfolgt er jede Verästelung dieser auf Motivaskese, Triebverweigerung und Entschleunigung setzenden Partitur. Fast gerät die Musik zum Stehen, was die Buhs für Barenboim und seine Staatskapelle erklären könnte. Aber dieser Stillstand glüht, und er bringt eine avantgardistische Schreibart an den Tag, an der gemessen Richard Strauss und der frühe Arnold Schönberg wie geschwätzige Zwerge wirken.
      My quick/dirty translation: Over the course of time, Barenboim slows more and more. Now, at 72, he follows every twist of this score born of a paucity of motives, a denial of vital urges, and ritardando. The music almost seems to stand still, which may account for the boos for Barenboim and the Staatskapelle. But this immobility glows, bringing to light an avant-garde compositional style compared to which Richard Strauss and the early Arnold Schönberg look like chattering dwarves.”

      • DeepSouthSenior

        I’d pay good money to see immobility “glow”!

  • Feldmarschallin
  • DeepSouthSenior

    Sometimes just a passing word can highlight a point so obvious that you hadn’t thought about for a while, but which you need to remember often. One of those moments happened last Saturday night after Mrs. DeepSouth and I again watched “The Music Man” starring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones. (I had forgotten how good that score is, more so as a whole than its individual parts. It has a sweetness and a gentleness rarely heard today, but with quite a strong backbone as well. But that’s a topic for another day.) If you want to know what a senior couple do for lively weekend entertainment at the end of March in the Deep South, well, there you have it.

    Anyway, after the movie, we watched a 30-minute “The Making Of . . ” documentary. I was struck by remarks Shirley Jones made about Robert Preston. She said that everyone on the film was pleased that Preston, the veteran who created the role on Broadway, never insisted that the film duplicate the way he had always performed on stage, and that he embraced new ideas. Jones said something like, “On Broadway you have to do the same thing every night.” At that point I paused the DVD and said to Mrs. DeepSouth, “Of course, such a thing is impossible in opera, as it should be.” Now we love all things Broadway, as I know many of you do. But I’m not much interested in attending a Broadway musical to hear someone’s unique, never-to-be-seen-again, utterly individual interpretation of a role. (There are exceptions, I suppose, but they are very rare.) Some performers are better than others, of course, and a few have that special “star quality.” Naturally, no two nights are ever exactly the same in any live theater production. But the range of interpretive choices and variations in performance are pretty narrow on Broadway compared to opera. This is not a negative criticism, simply an observation. Isn’t this one of opera’s greatest glories? Who could possibly write a book on the differences in performers who’ve sung Christine Daae in Phantom, for example, compared to the hundreds of thousands of words already written about the Violettas or Mimis of the past thirty years? I envy Parterrians who attend several performances of the same opera in the same season with the same cast. You know what I’m talking about. Opera’s variety is infinite, its charms endless, and its challenges new every day.

  • DeepSouthSenior

    HOW TO INTRODUCE A CHILD TO OPERA: During our visit to the Met at the end of February, I bought a little doodad for the coffee table (TV cabinet, actually). It’s a mini-mini version of the LePage “Machine” from the Ring cycle, with 15 (instead of 24) wooden pieces held together by magnets. You’re supposed to be able to configure it just about any way you want. The success rate, however, at least for me, is about the same as the original on the Met stage. Last weekend our 7-year old grandson Owen came for a visit, and naturally he attacked the new (but not bright and shiny) object first. After a few minutes dismantling the little monster and scattering pieces around the room, he got with the program and came up with some interesting designs. Then -- as I hoped he would -- he wanted to see the real thing in action. I quickly pulled out my Blu-ray box, which happened to be conveniently at hand, and played The Ride of the Valkyries. Remember the eight gals riding and sliding down their plank horsies, all the while managing some clean high C’s? (Are they C’s?) Then Owen said, “I want to see more,” at which point his mother (our daughter) vetoed any more opera excitement for that visit. Maybe next time I’ll get through more scenes, if not an entire opera. I want Owen to be the first viewer in history who does not realize it’s not actually Debbie Voigt upside-down on that plank at the end of Die Walkure.

    • John L

      What a discerning 7-year old! He might be the first 7-year old to not associate the Ride of the Valkyries with Looney Tune’s kill the wabbit. But for a 7-year old, a Looney Tunes cartoon might be as ancient as a late 19th century opera.

    • DeepSouthSenior

      How well I know! My daughter, who is 38, was laughing and singing “Kill da Wabbit!” all during the Ride. Turn about is fair play. For once, the father is embarrassed by the daughter.

      • -Ed.

        That’s joy on a popsicle stick, DeepSouth! Too funny. Would luv to spend an afternoon in your household.. fun! I’ve something akin to a Masters degree at successfully introducing adult newbies to opera across my decades, but have never tried with a 7yo. You go!!

  • portia minty

    This may be the best use yet for LePage’s 45-ton toy.

    And if it helps draw in that longed-for younger generation that will assure opera’s survival, maybe more sets should be designed from Lego parts. No sacrifice is too great.

  • chicagoing

    I actually thought (assumed?) at one time that part of the justfication for the machine was its potential to be utilized for productions other than the Ring.

    • DeepSouthSenior

      The Machine for productions of other operas? The possibilities are endless. Finally, a set that drives Tosca to suicide, not merely the location for it.

      • Porgy Amor

        Act One: Cavaradossi paints the Madonna, the painting represented by a projection which bleeds onto him, and then onto him and Tosca in their subsequent argument. The Te Deum procession is squeezed into a narrow strip of stage while the planks form crosses.

        Act Two: Cavaradossi is tortured in view of the audience. “Tighter! Tighter!” screams Scarpia, as the tenor’s hand or foot (…one hopes) is squeezed between two planks. But is the screaming still part of the show?

        Act Three: Tosca makes her suicide leap from the top of the Machine, after conspicuously attaching a bungee cord. She bounces back up twice.

        A three-hour recipe for Bondy nostalgia!

    • John L

      I thought I read that too (either very early on or even before the Ring premier), that The Machine could be potentially used for other productions. But how many additional configurations can be made from that thing that hasn’t been seen already? Maybe if it were split in half. I can’t imagine the Met using The Machine for anything other than maybe one more Ring cycle after it has been so universally criticized.

      • jackoh

        Keep in mind that “the machine” in itself is nothing. It serves as a background for and is animated by video projections which can bring the action to life. I think that the possibilities for its artistic use are exciting, if not endless.

  • zinka

    Las Noticias Para el primero de April Millo

    1. Govna Pence celebrates new law at the Stonewall.(See Russian Dictionary)

    2. Angela Gheorghu stars in Remake of “On the Good Ship Lollypop”

    3. All Met divas who refuse to sing low notes like Fedora Barbieri are relegated to roles like Alisa,Inez,Xenia, and Don Jose’s madre.

    4. Handelman takes over Met. Theatre loses 50 billion dollars because who wants to hear Virginia Zeani and Diana Soviero?

    5. Facebook only allows people with I.Q.less than that of Kim Kardashian to become members.(Wait…it may be true already…check the number that is the circumference of your ass.)

    6. Diana Damrau visits Vittorio Grigolo (gets up her courage) and makes sure he cannot sing anything again but the death of Klytemnestra (OUCH!)

    7. Any new Met production with nudity will be given in a special showing for Carmelite Nuns. (I bet they will love it!!!)

    8. Placido Domingo stars in the remake of “E passato con il Vento” in the role of Tara. (Orange sky……I’ll never be a tenor again!!!!!)

  • zinka

    It is a shame Bruce Burroughs never got to write the Milanov biography.A part was written once in “Opera Quarterly,” but that is all. I cannot think of any singer who was reputed to be involved in so many tales, some true and some we wish were true, because they really could been, knowing Zinka’s personality as we do. I will list below the ones i know to be true,from reliable sources, and then separately I will list the “wishful thinking” ones that are just rumors.

    1. The only time I got mad at her was when she refused to sign what I thought was a gorgeous,in house photo, of Zinka and Tucker singing the Chenier final duet at the 1966 closing of the old Met. “I vill not sign..Eet ees messed up!” I was then told she only signed POSED photos…big deal, it is such a beautiful memory.Oh well,there was only one Tebaldi!

    2. A neighbor of Zinka told us how the butcher threw her out for smelling the chickens. The joke was, “Could SHE pass that test??” I always made believe she said, “Vat???? Don’t you know who I am?” and the butcher would say ” I don’t give a F.”

    3. My friends met her at a Met event after retirement. They came up to her,complimented her, and she said, “Are you PROFESSIONAL?” Actually they were, but did this mean she only accepted compliments from “people who know.” She vas a pain een the neck!!!

    4. Resnik had to replace Zinka and made a surprise debut in Trovatore in 1944. Resnik did a great Zinka on the phone and said to me, “I vas never seek.” (Word has it Zinka had a black eye,given to her by a lady who found her with her husband..this I did not know for sure..but I love it!!)

    5. We always heard that in Tosca,Steber jumped and broke a tooth, and Zinka said, “I knew the role vas too heavy for her!” I do recall once on radio I think she said,”No vun can take my chair!” (SHE WAS RIGHT!!)

    I am sure there is more, but at least you have some true and “I wish” tales of my all-time favorite singer…88 1/2 times (remember she” fainted” during the Verdi requiem under Bruno Walter….although it might have been a fake…since she sounded terrible!!!!)

    Oops..I forgot!!! She ran like crazy off the stage during a Santuzza/Alfio duet…They said it was that she felt the panties falling…Darn it…I would have been able to sell them at the 99 cent store if I was in the wings when she let them fall.

    By the way, I can play her entire repertory with voice and all the exact phrasing in my head!! I still come close to tears every time I hear “Enzo dorato, ah come t’aaaaaaaaaamo.” I must have heard that 500 times but it is like yesterday!

    The rest is undocumented, but possibly true, but the stories SHOULD be true!!

    1. Mme.Milanov,this new soprano Leontyne Price is famous for her Bess. What else should she sing? “Bess…just Bess!!!”

    2.Mme.Milanov, your high notes and your low notes tonight were glorious!! “Vat about the meeedle notes?”

    3. This is true as I am told,but do not know exact details. A guy (gay??) made a joke in the Lili Tomlin one-woman show that her “cover” was Zinka…Supposedly she SUED!.

    Vell,you can’t say she vas boring…… With fond memories Charlie

    • The one about Lily Tomlin is true. Ms. Tomlin’s new show was doing an out of town tryout at the Wilbur Theater in Boston. I believe it was “The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe”. I was reading my program waiting for the lights to dim and the show to begin. And then I read,” Understudy for Ms. Tomlin. Zinka Milanov. I burst out laughing and couldn’t contain myself. None of my companions were Opera People so they kept shushing me. I would venture to guess I was one of the ONLY people in the entire theater that got the joke. Ms Tomlin had to have an “opera queen” on staff to slip that one in.

    • Krunoslav

      When you next trot out these **never-before** told tales ( early next week, right after something about Romanian sopranos--why not include Yolanda Marcoulescou?)--and before venturing that NO ONE would hire Galvany [GUESS WHO KNOWS HER REAL NAME!!!] or Gencer today) you might get the Milanov quote correct-- and it came from an OPERA NEWS print interview, actually: ”No one has filled my seat!”

  • DeepSouthSenior

    Thanks, -Ed. I still have a lurking suspicion that my grandson was more interested in The Machine than the whoops and harmonies of the squad of Valkryies. He’s into Home Improvement, so maybe it’s the gadget factor. At least it’s a start. Anything to spark some interest, eh? Next up, more horses and other beasts of burden: Voigt’s Grane (fake), Musetta’s cart (real), the Triumphal March (Papa, what’s an endless loop?).

  • Buster

    Non-members of the Freundeskreis Nadja Michael will be pleased to see the name of Amarilli Nizza listed as Lady Macbeth in the Andrea Breth Macbeth. Apparently it is still a toss-up which beautiful blonde you get on which evening. Annoying.

    • Feldmarschallin

      So the choice goes from bad to worse and you can choose which one is which :)

    • Cicciabella

      Amarilli Nizza? Too little (or, in the case of the Lady, too much), too late. At least with Michael you know you’re getting a good theatrical experience. The DNO is really getting up my nose with these latter-day announcements, of which they’re aware weeks ahead The question is: who has the biggest stage presence: Michael, Nizza or the Giant Teddy Bear?

      • Buster

        Me too, Cicciabella. Apparently Patricia Petibon withdrew from the Gilliam Benvenuto Cellini, but ticket buyers have not been informed.

        • Cicciabella

          More bad news. I’ve got a sub and they never send cast substitution notices. I get my info from you! I guess since they don’t offer ticket returns and substitutions they feel they don’t need to announce cast changes, but it would be common courtesy to do so. They never emphasise casting in their season announcements, either: it’s all about designers, directors and conductors. All important elements, to be sure, but voice fans are ignored. This year Audi made an exception: he mentioned Sarah Connolly, who will sing Ariodante and Eva-Maria Westbroek, who will give a gala concert, both next season.

      • Krunoslav

        “At least with Michael you know you’re getting a good theatrical experience. ”

        So goes the party line on her fabulousness, but she did not give a great theatrical experience in the Met’s MACBETH-- she hardly could be said to command la parola scenica, without which the part falls flat ( as did her voice, but…) Basically what she did is look for opportunites to disrobe and look foxy. Only some people equate being thin and hip-looking with great acting.

        I m sure there are some things Michael would be theatrically satisfying in-- I’d like to see her Emilia Marty--but her presence does not guarantee such.

        • peter

          For a second, I thought you were referring to Michael Fabiano. The thought of his Lady Macbeth and Emila Marty made me crack up!

        • Cicciabella

          Well, Meister Kruno, I am not destined to hear Michael’s Lady live. She’s sick and Nizza’s singing the first three performances. I just heard her at the premiere. Since she jumped in short notice I will only say that she did her best to fit into the production, but vocally she is all wrong for the part. Michael will at least have the volume. I’ve seen Michael as Lady Macbeth and as Emilia Marty thanks to the Munich wecasts. I was impressed with neither. On the other hand, I thought she gave very absorbing performances in the ROH Salome and the recent Met Bluebeard. The DNO Macbeth has a wonderful Banquo: Kowaljov (spelling?) and an exciting young Korean tenor as Macduff. Scott Hendricks acts his socks off as Macbeth. His voice is not beautiful, but he uses it effectively. Breth focuses on Personenregie: I can imagine that Hendricks and Michael will make the scenes together very concincing. The production is OK, nothing revelatory or shocking, but much of the audience hated it and booed the production team. I thought Marc Albrecht and the NedPho did themselves proud. The chorus was excellent, as usual. P.S. Michael will not strip in this production: the only (semi)-nudity is in the Sleepwalking Scene when Lady Macbeth wears a sheer top with a bra showing through. By the way, Nizza and Michael could be sisters: they look alike.

          • Buster

            Thanks, Cicciabella. I’ll keep you posted on the cast I get. It is Nizza in the PR clip, I see. The witches sound great:

  • zinka

    When I told the late Salvatore Licitra,I enjoyed his brand of “DelMonaco squillo.” His eyes lit up…but when I did the same thing to another tenor, he replied (and rightly so)..”No, I am ME!!!”
    Don’t we often hear that…………..is the new………….. Sorry, that is a false statement, because, as I just posted, no one is the next anybody…also when we say that tenor Z is the next Caruso, and tenor Z flops, we get disappointed.
    What singers have been billed as the “next……?” I think that is silly..We may say that we love….as much as……..but comparisons are really not fair to the singer (or the dead/retired one).
    Do you ever play “guess the singer?” Once the brilliant Met quiz panelists took Nilsson’s “O don Fatale” for CALLAS!!!!
    I can understand a Tagliavini phrase sort of similar to Gigli, or a Carreras phrase something akin to Di Stefano, and I once did tell Stephanie Blythe that she is the “ghost of Stignani.” They are magnificent in their own way, but totally different in sound.
    Are there any singers today or of the past who you have trouble telling apart? Is Justin Bieber the next Al Jolson???? Did Fischer-Dieskau remind you of Perry Como? (do not answer that by cursing poor Charlie)

    EXCEPTION!!!!!! I was always the next (and Grazie a Dio) LAST Osie Hawkins….

  • zinka

    I once asked Zeani if the “air” in Romania caused more emotion and excitement in divas…..Well,let us know what you think….

    • Bill

      Zinka -- well I think in Romania more of the population
      smokes cigarettes than anywhere else in the
      Western World and it used to be the East European cars driven in Bucharest were the worst polluters. But the air in the countryside in Transylvania is wonderfully clear away from the Steel factories of Galatz. But basically Romanians and their language are part of the
      Roman culture (except for the large Hungarian minority in parts of Romania -- with some German and Greek thrown in). There have been in the last 50 years at least quite a few cherished Romanian
      sopranos.

    • Lady Abbado

      Until 9th of April I am free to fantasize that D. Meyer would convince Angie to take on Elisabetta in Vienna in the 2015-16 season or next…

      • degan

        I think she is getting a new premier at Vienna, either Rondine (would be the first time in Vienna ever) or as Albarez told me, Manon Lescaut.
        Or even the new Tosca that was mentioned a few days ago for April 2016.
        Next week we will know.
        Besides of that, Netrebko is coming with a new Macbeth, Alagna with Turandot.
        Looks like a really good season at the Staatsoper!

  • zinka

    Mme.Westbroek on the Met quiz showed us VERISMO……Go to Magda at 1:20:20……I know she lives forever……