Cher Public

I have seen the future and it is posh

The visionary Rupert Christiansen peers into the mists of the not-yet and apprehends the perfection of the Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk. In his radical new vision, text, music, design, movement and light are fused to those two other absolutely vital aspects of the musico-dramatic experience: snob appeal and hampers of ice-cold Champagne. [The Telegraph]

  • aulus agerius

    James Valenti is not singing badly in Detroit this afternoon, IMO, of course. More muscular sound but still access to the top. PRacette not so much. I don’t care for the rattley papery sound in the middle. She acting it well though as usual. I guess they’re mismatched in that sense = his acting skills are minimal still.

    • John L

      Rattley papery is a good description. I’ve found her “meh”. I also find her very un-Italianate.

    • phoenix

      After 20+ years of steadily going downhill (both Racette and I), I have retired but she has not. She persistently continues to lower the bar -- but how far down can it go? She never had much vocal refulgence to begin with -- what there was was never enough of a qualification to get her into the dramatic rep.
      -- But if Racette does retire, El Zambo, yes she of the Coven of the Far Flung Ladies of the Wiccan, will send us something just as dull and hard to get rid of -- Melody Moore is waiting in the wings.

    • operadunce

      I cannot speak about today’s performance, but on Friday night, Racette’s acting was mesmerizing and her voice sounded quite healthy in the friendly confines of Orchestra Hall. The entire evening was quite thrilling actually. I admit that Tosca is one of my favorites and I have seen quite a few different productions including the recent HD with PR. Of course, to me, a live performance is much more exciting than the screen version, but I was not expecting to be as impressed with Racette as I was. I think that there is a lot to be said for opera performed in a smaller venue than the Met, much as I love going there. Not only is the house smaller, but the singers are not dwarfed by the cavernous stage. As this was presented, with the singers at the front of the stage, Racette seemed well within her comfort zone. Raymond Aceto was a convincingly sinister Scarpia. We were supposed to have Eric Owens, but he canceled due to illness. As for Valenti, I was a little worried after the first act that he would not make it through the evening. “Muscular” is a good description of his performance, but much of the time he seemed to be at his limit and his phrasing was somewhat choppy and truncated. The third act was better. Kudos to the UMS Chorale Society and the Michigan State University Children’s Chorus for their smooth entrance and exit and powerful rendering of the Te Deum and of course, to the Detroit Symphony and Leonard Slatkin. For me, it was a wonderful evening and a memorable end to the subscription season.

      • aulus agerius

        I don’t know the score well but I felt Racette rewrote some passages -- like the final phrase of Vissi d’arte. Dunno, but it sounded different to me. Aceto I have heard numerous times around the country (he sings a LOT) and I don’t remember any of them. Today was no exception. I didn’t feel JV was at the limit, maybe he was though. He had plenty of umph except for the duo concerted passage in A3 when PR drowned him out. He does some strange thing with his diaphragm that I am often aware of (I’ve seen him numerous times): like now I am singing opera, or now I will sing a high note. HIs technique needs to be less obvious. Alas, his physiognomy has matured, indeed thickened, even coarsened -- unlike my own, still delicate and fair.

  • manou

    This will surely cause outrage in some quarters

    • phillyoperalover

      I love Emmanuel! What outrage will happen?

      • manou

        Well -he is a foreign import…

        • phillyoperalover

          I don’t think that will be a problem.

          • manou

            Not a Brit, of course.

  • manou
  • Ilka Saro

    “Country house opera is altogether more artistically sophisticated”.

    “Ich wüsste nicht, wer ausser meinem gnädigen Herrn, in dessen Palais Sie sich befinden und Ihre Kunstfertigkeiten heute zu produzieren die Ehre haben, etwas zu gestatten!”

    • I wonder if there are fireworks?

      • Ilka Saro

        Fireworks? Yes, but not those beastly publicly funded fireworks. Lovely fireworks, paid for by lovely people.

        • That’s alright, then.

          • Milady DeWinter

            Well, Opera Holland is certainly alright with me if they are reviving Amore dei tre re and Lakme, which Sirius/Met won’t even touch in their archival broadcast lineup.
            Oh, condolences, Cieca, on the pearl clutcher surrender. This too shall pass. Elephantem ex musca facere.

  • manou
    • All that is why I’ve never been there.