Cher Public

Everything’s coming up Jamie

Mezzo-of-the-moment Jamie Barton’s future Met assignments include “Jezibaba in a new production of Dvorak’s Rusalka and Fenena in Verdi’s Nabucco . . . [and] a revival of Norma in 2017-18. Perhaps most exciting, for Bartonites and Wagnerians alike, is the news that she will be Fricka when the Ring cycle returns to the Met in 2018-19.” [New York Times]

  • JohninSeattle

    Apologies for going Off Topic but….

    STONEWALL is being released today.

    For those interested in hearing from those who were there (including a vice cop who was tasked with rounding up those who appeared in public in drag)… Here’s your link to a Radio Pacifica broadcast from the long ago and far away.

    SEYMOUR PINE: My name is Seymour Pine. In 1968, I was assigned as Deputy Inspector in charge of public morals in the first division in the police department, which covered the Greenwich Village area. It was the duty of Public Morals to enforce all laws concerning vice and gambling, including prostitution, narcotics, and laws and regulations concerning homosexuality. The part of the penal code which applied to drag queens was Section 240.35, section 4: “Being masked or in any manner disguised by unusual or unnatural attire or facial alteration; loiters, remains, or congregates in a public place with other persons so masked . . .”

    Btw, Miss Barton was lovely in the Seattle Opera staged concert version of Nabucco. But those who know that work better than I will know the part of Fenena is but a plot point with a moment here or there. If you go expecting a full meal, you will be disappointed by the lone cracker you are served.

    Also of real interest is Amber Wagner in Strauss’ ARIADNE in Minnesota.

    Sorry for the hijack.

    I hope we get more from Miss Barton than a Fricka or Nabucco. And soon!

    • We will hear Amber Wagner in Ariadne in Paris soon: Ms Harteros dropped out. Her Bacchus should be Kaufmann, so long as he doesn’t fall sick.

      • Camille

        Apparently, NPW,
        Ariadne is a very good role for her and am hoping she does well, as she is very talented. Let us know how you find her, if you should assister à l’opéra.

      • aulus agerius

        I’m planning to hear AW in Ariadne in West Palm Beach in March next year. The Bacchus certainly won’t be Yonas. I heard Alexey Dolgov sing it in Houston and I wouldn’t mind seeing him again. He was special.

    • armerjacquino

      Ah, Stonewall. A film about how a square-jawed ‘straight-acting’ white boy led the Stonewall riots.

      • jackoh

        I have not seen this film, but I will comment on the social and political concepts surrounding the event. The prevailing notion seems to be that the resistance of gays to the police action at Stonewall was a beginning point for the movement of gay liberation in the USA. And, I suppose, we need to give this action its due. But the very credence given to this event perpetuates a notion of what it means to be gay, a notion predominant in the straight world, that I find to be abhorrent. That notion is that gays can only find human connections in gay bars and bathhouses. So the Stonewall movement is taken, in some quarters, to signify that if you can make the gay bars safe, then you can make it safe to be gay. And, from the opposite perspective, the police and the politicians seem to have had the idea that if you can destroy the gay bars and the bathhouses, you can eliminate the gay “menace.” But if anyone who is gay needs to find the fulfillment of their existence in a gay bar or in a bathhouse or has to suppose that these venues are the only environment in which they can exhibit who they are then, I submit, that they have lost the battle for considering themselves, and having the rest of the world acknowledging that they are, normal human beings, just like everyone else. We need gay bars and we need bathhouses (at least they should not be banned), but more importantly we need not to confine the experience of being gay to these venues that may be outside the “mainstream” of society. You can be gay and can find a lasting relationship(just as many straights do) in the grocery aisles, at a church group, among(straight) friends, at work. And you can find that relationship in the most “normal” way possible. Stonewall and what it represents in the community can be seen to marginalize gays in insidious ways that no one needs.

        • armerjacquino

          But the very credence given to this event perpetuates a notion of what it means to be gay, a notion predominant in the straight world, that I find to be abhorrent. That notion is that gays can only find human connections in gay bars and bathhouses.

          The ‘event’ is ‘given credence’ because a bunch of people, who were sick of being arrested purely because of who and what they were, finally said ‘no more’ and fought back. You can find the fact that they were in a gay bar, and that some of them had probably gone there in search of sex, as distasteful as you like, but bear in mind what happened that night was the single most important catalyst for the gradual increase in the human rights that LGBT people have gained in the last 40 years.

          It’s precisely BECAUSE of the bravery of those drag queens who were in that bar that night that gay life *is* now part of the mainstream, rather than marginalised. Rather than distancing yourself from them, you should be thanking them every day of your damned life.

          • jackoh

            Where in what I wrote did you find that I said what was happening in Stonewall was somehow “distasteful.” Nor did I denigrate what they did. My point was more to what has been made of that event subsequently for political and social agendas, not what actually happened. Also, I happen to think that whatever acceptance that gays currently happen to have in this country is due not solely to Stonewall but also to the tireless work of lots of people(most of whom are gay, but not all) who seek not to be noticed. And as for my “damned life,” I will accept full responsibility for it, not making excuses for its failures nor attributing the success of my own struggles to those who did not set the stage on which I acted.

            • armerjacquino

              Ah, the tireless work of people who seek not to be noticed.

              If history tells us anything, it’s that those are the people who change things. Oh WAIT A MINUTE.

              And no, you didn’t outright say that you found the heroes of Stonewall. But your whole post reeked of disapproval of people whose lifestyle differs from your own.

              Well, you can pretend that Srinewall ‘didn’t set the stage’ for your life. But if you’re gay, it did, and to think otherwise is the height of entitled ingratitude. If you’d been there that night doubtless you would have allowed yourself to be beaten and arrested in the noble, tireless cause of not being noticed.

            • armerjacquino

              iPhone typos: I missed a ‘distasteful’ in there. And I don’t know what ‘Srinewall’ is…

            • Greg.Freed

              The tireless work of lots of people who seek not to be noticed! God, their courage. Downright stirring is what it is. If only those tawdry creatures at Stonewall had been respectable church-goers.

              But if anyone who is gay needs to find the fulfillment of their existence in a gay bar or in a bathhouse or has to suppose that these venues are the only environment in which they can exhibit who they are then, I submit, that they have lost the battle for considering themselves, and having the rest of the world acknowledging that they are, normal human beings, just like everyone else.

              Oh you submit, do you? It may interest you to know that the people you find abhorrent are no more enamored of your own dour, pathetic assimilationism.

            • armerjacquino

              Bravo, Greg.

              I hope you’re somehow able to exhibit who you are when you’re not in a gay bar.

    • aulus agerius

      I used to cavort at The Stonewall Inn in my salad days. AAMOF I met my first lover there in June of ’67, my first night in the Big Apple. Thereafter it was our favorite place to go dancing. Before I went in there I had never before seen 2 men dancing together! Nor did I know what opera WAS.

  • Gelb refers to Barton’s voice as “huge and charismatic”. I agree it’s a big sound but I’ve never seen anyone’s voice referred to as having charisma. As I see it, the charisma comes from the performer not the instrument. Odd comment to make.

    • la vociaccia

      Hmm, funny you say that, because ‘charisma’ is the exact word I used when describing what I found lacking in Kaufmann’s Italian in his Aida recording.

      It actually makes quite a lot of sense to use that word when describing timbre. Think of it as antonymous with ‘opaque.’

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      I’ve seen it now and again, usually used in the same sense that people use the term ‘glamorous’ when referring to a voice or a sound, as opposed to a person.

  • Cicciabella

    Jezibaba, Fenena… Come on, Met, this is a voice that should have whole productions planned around it, not be fitted into previous plans. How about Dalilah and La Favorita? Ms Barton should be given as many main roles and just-as-important secondary roles as possble. Fricka: wonderful, but more leading roles in the meantime.

    • Camille

      Yes, indeed, how about Léonor in LA FAVORITE? Since, apparently, Ms Garanca is not singing it…..last time I looked at the Met Futures they had Angela Gheorghiu plugged into that revival (along with Brian Hymel)!!!

      Well, at least Giovanna Seymour is quite an involved role with a pretty good showstopper of a final aria, that is, it can be if the singer is good enough. Maybe that will change things up somewhat. With the figure she currently has, however, the Carmens just will not happen.

      • Camille

        Into the revival (or is it a new production?) of Samson et Dalila. Are they serious? I know Gheorghiu made recordings of Carmen and Charlotte is currently in her touring repertoire, but Dalila? Maybe I didn’t have on my glasses, and had better check once more!

        • gustave of montreal

          Perhaps MIGNON ?

          • Cicciabella

            Very funny, gustave. Mignon has a boring title role and that stupid Je suis Titania drivel. Last time I heard it it was with Sophie Koch, and boring as hell. Yes, even if the singer has an 20-inch waist and pretty curls, it’s still boring.

            • almavivante

              If Je suis Titania is drivel, well, “More drivel, please!” And Mignon also has Connais-tu le pays and a smashing overture. True, I might not be thrilled at the prospect of sitting through the whole thing (its best destiny might be for an old LP “highlights” album), but last time I heard it (OONY) I enjoyed the good bits very much.

              On the other hand, Fides is the only interesting thing in Le Prophete, which is truly boring. I saw that Met production years ago and only Marilyn Horne survives in my memory of it: “Frappez mon fils!” The music for the skating ballet is lovely (though cut from that production), and was wisely used by Frederick Ashton for ballet Les Patineurs, which was its best destiny, too.

            • gustave of montreal

              OK let’s try HENRI VIII then. Ann Boleyn is a mezzo

            • Camille

              Quelle bonne idée, et je suis tout à fait d’accord, cher gustave!!!!!

              J’avais entendu Henri VIII dans l’été 2012 a Bard, et j’aimais beaucoup la musique! Très belle!!

      • I think that after finshing the Tudor Queen trilogy, Favorite would make great sense for the Met to do. They never did it for Dolora. Why not for Jamie?

        • Greg.Freed

          It’s been years and years (Sonia Ganassi, I think? In San Francisco) but it seems to me that the music outside of “O Mon Fernand” is not the most riveting. Even the tenor aria is the one thing I often skipped on the Corelli aria album.

          • aulus agerius

            Yes. I saw that. It was Ganassi and Giordani -- first I’d ever heard of him. It was in French. I’ve no desire to hear it on DC next spring feat Kate Lindsay.

          • Porgy Amor

            Greg, I think it’s slightly above-average Donizetti. In a good performance, I love the first mezzo (or contralto)/tenor duet, the baritone’s aria, the big ensemble at the wedding ceremony, the whole final act. But it needs special voices and personalities, such as those of Cossotto and Kraus in the Tokyo video (even there, they have a baritone who had seen better days). I do think there’s more here to work with than in Anna Bolena, a note-complete performance of which can be quite restful for me.

            • Camille

              This last remark made me laugh very hard last night. I’m not laughing now after having survived yet another performance of my bad luck opera, Anna Bolena. Basta

      • Camille

        Or perhaps Fidès in a revival of Le Prophète? Now, there’s a role that JB could really strut her stuff in. I guess Bryan Hymel is the logical choice for the Jean le fils role, and any number of lirico-coloratura sopranos could sing Berthe……..

        • Cicciabella

          Fidès is a great idea. If Jamie Barton doesn’t want to tackle the big Verdi and Wagner roles for now, French rep is the obvious choice: Didon, Charlotte…Although, if she’s singing Fricka, why not Ortrud, Brangäne or Venus? Of course, Laura in Gioconda would also be great, with Netrebko or another spectacular soprano in the title role. In any case, she’s not just another mezzo. The voice is big, exciting and beautifully round, and she can act and be expressive in several languages. And she has a top C. She is one of those unique mezzos that come along every generation or so, such as Marilyn Horne. The Met should be bending over backwards lining up productions for her. Added bonus: no travelling from Europe and low cancellation risk.

          • Camille

            Yes, Laura Adorno is a very good idea, as is the Brangaene. The fact that there is such a good high portion of her voice is a huge plus. When she sang the Agnese in the Beatrice di Tenda I had occasion to see her up close and think I understand what it is she does to get her high notes, and is very smart about it. I think Ortrud would be pushing it for now, as would be Eboli and Amneris, but eventually. L

            Looking forward with slavering excitement to tomorrow afternoon’s smack down between Giovanna and Anna B.!!! Since they both own large voices it is going to be a real doozy!!! Can’t wait!!!

            Cicciabella, what do you say to starting out own opera company together and doing the casting? We are doing a better job than some of these other guys?

            • Camille

              Oh, forgot — and Cassandre, for now, and Didon eventually would be wonderful, even if there are not a lot of high notes.

            • Cicciabella

              Ha ha. Great idea, Camille! But we’d need Kashania to manage the fund-raising campaigns. Krunoslav can be Director of Indigenous Cost-Effective Casting. Zinka can be Do-They-Measure-Up-To-Milanov Compliance Officer. Manou can welcome the press and instruct them on how to refer to operatic residents of various islands, such as Cyprus. The rest of the Parterriat must keep up the criticism, sarcasm and vitriol coming so that our opera company can be the best.

            • Camille

              I think those are all capital ideas and am sure there is room on board for a host of other parterrians as well.

              However, we have left out the most important personages: La Diva Cieca and her faithfull amnuensis, Mr JJ. Will they be the Head of the Board of Directtors and Director of Communications, respectively?

            • Krunoslav

              You can tell from my idea about Furlanetto that I insist on ‘iIndigenous’ casting at the Met.

          • Hippolyte

            Please no Meyerbeer or Thomas!

            Barton sang Didon’s great scene at the finals in Cardiff two years ago (begins around 2:50) and she sounded pretty ready for the role then and now!

            • Camille

              Yes now not later, I concur.

              How about Gounod’s Sapho, then? It could be nice to hear ONCE.

              I found Le Prophète a bit of a trial, too, but it still affords a voice of her type a great big sing. and it was ostensibly the forerunner and inspiratiin for the role of Azucena which she has apparently done well by.

              My preference is far and away La Favorite but I am not holding my breath on that one

            • Thanks for this, Hippolyte. She sings it beautifully, especially the “Adieu fiere cite”.

        • Camille

          Or perhaps forget all of this. This one has a long ways to go yet to superstardom, a long way.

          Fantasy baseball, after all.

          • Cicciabella

            Oh dear. Deflated balloon. Or maybe Giovanna’s not her role?

            • Camille

              Cicciabella, I am sorry but you will have to take on the burden of the casting by yourself. I am hanging it up.

              Ciao bella!

            • Cicciabella

              So sorry you were disenchanted, Camille, but, on the bright side, you heard the exciting Trovatore. Hopefully, the Bolena was just a case of mismatch between singer and role.

    • la vociaccia

      I really wish we wouldn’t do this.

      Can’t we be grateful that Gelb views her as a great artist and wants her back in multiple roles? Why do we have to incessantly demand the moon? She gets a huge feature in the New York Times with Gelb himself singing her praises and we’re complaining that he didn’t uproot entire season schedules to mount productions around her?

      • Camille

        You’re right about that.

        However, Fenena and Jezibaba is not what she is cut out for, and that creates the problem.

        People always complain that their favorite Diva/Divo X is not singing this or that role, it is true. In her case it seems to be a little something else, that’s all. And in the meantime, she is gathering experience and not just singing in Knoxville or Santa Fe where we all can’t hear her, so that’s all to the good.

        I still want Léonor in La Favorite and nothing will change that.

      • Camille

        I mean to say, vociaccia, it’s all just Fantasy Baseball, you know what I’m saying’?

        • la vociaccia

          No, you’re right Camille. I do agree that Jezibaba doesn’t really show her off (but she could be lots of fun) and to be honest my impression from her Adalgisa was that her voice is lyric above all else, and I haven’t really warmed to the idea of her as Amneris etc.

          I was just a bit put off by the immediate pushback against the announcements.

          • Camille

            I’m NEVER right, dear heart.

            It’s only that she is getting character parts for a reason, and no one wants to admit the reason and I know you are smart enough to know the reason I am alluding to. This is an important new voice and she is still young enough that she could have a steady climb in the next twenty years and become a very important singer.

            This Giovanna Seymour may change the geography considerably if it really succeeds in spades and she may miraculously inherit some more plum assignments. No one gets excited about Fenena!

            Anyway, I have to shut up my piehole and get ready to go to bed as I not only have to hit the Greenmarket tomorrow morning but get to the MET by 12:45 so I can bolt down a glass of champagne to celebrate this new Anna Boleyn and Jane Seymour! Hip hip hooray! I hope that Costello has had a change of attitude ’cause if he hasn’t I am getting up on my haunches and yelling “Lose the ‘tude, dude!” Good voice but a weird attitude and off-putting. And if he strangulates on that terribly high aria, I can’t remember its name right now, I am going to be VERY unhappy.

            p.s. —- the Barenreiter sale (20% off) continues at Juilliard Store through the end of the month and their new hours are open until 7 pm in the evening, FYI.

            • steveac10

              Next season (the Fenena at least) may very well have been contracted before the Adalgisas with Meade. As far as other casting, the Met has very little on the boards this season other than the Bolena and Deveraux that would have been seen as a good fit for her when this season was planned. It’s not a mezzo friendly line up if you’re not a pants role kind of gal.

          • Camille

            Oh, and I also think her voice is very lyrical, based upon hearing that Aldagisa and Agnese but also think she is unusually savvy about what to do with the voice and can handle some heavier stuff. Fricka in Walküre really sits in the middle and is limited in length so I think that is a safe bet. Some of the others, no. It’s a case by case thing, as you would well know.

            Whatevs. Dalila would sound beautiful in her voice and it is plenty lyrical but she is not going to be cast in that and you know why.

            • LT

              “Whatevs. Dalila would sound beautiful in her voice and it is plenty lyrical but she is not going to be cast in that and you know why.”

              I don’t know why, but whatever the reason, I’m sure she can do something to change that…

            • steveac10

              “I don’t know why, but whatever the reason, I’m sure she can do something to change that…”

              And if she did, a sizable contingent on this board would be castigating her for ruining her voice by doing so anytime the least vocal flaw was displayed.

            • Camille

              you are right LT and you are right Steve.

          • Camille

            NO, YOU were right, la vociaccia. Now I know that Fenena and Jezibaba are just about right, for right now.

            That’s about all the rightness I can tolerate, but it is Sunday, after all.

  • Krunoslav

    Time to revive the quite successful Wadsworth BORIS GODUNOV while Furlanetto- much better than Pape in the role-- is still singing Boris. Jamie Barton could do Marina; Antonenko was very good as Grigori/Dmitri-- though I’d like to hear Michael Fabiano take a shot at that part: Tucker and Pertile did, after all..

  • Signor Bruschino

    I was lucky enough for my first Fricka to be Christa Ludwig’s final Die Walkure at the Met and it was unbelievable. I saw Barton’s Fricka in Houston this past spring, and she was just as unbelievable. She has the voice and stage charisma (agree with quote above about what is vocal charisma) that is going to make her a superstar.

    • Cicciabella

      Thank you for this, Signor B. Barton reminds me so much of Ludwig, especially the drama in the voice and the smoothness through the register breaks. I’ve never heard either if them live, so I didn’t dare make the comparison, but you have.

      • mandryka

        Can anyone tell me why Ildar was booed after yesterday’s Bolena matinee? I was there and thought he was quite good. A bit of booing for Costello would have made much more sense.

        • Milady DeWinter

          I think it was supposed to be a humorous “booing at the villain” thing. It was merely embarrassing.

          • Camille

            I am no big fan of Ildar’s, but he showed a really marked improvement over his Enrico in the original production. It seemed to me that he finally is managing the confidence necessary to fill the big boots of these outsize characters, like Enrico. That’s all.

            I left at the curtain so did not hear any of this booing but it is pretty childish. It’s fine if an audience of fifth-graders watching Hänsel und Gretel, but a group of grown-ups attending a melodrama? Come on.

  • jackoh

    Three things:

    1. How do you know that those lifestyles differ from my own?

    2. How do you know what I would have done had I been there that night?

    3. How do you know of what my post “reeked,” your sense of smell or your reading comprehension?

    • jackoh

      This was meant for Aj above. Don’t know how it got moved to here.

    • armerjacquino

      Threading is really very easy, you know.

      Your questions belong in a world where apparently the concept of interpretation doesn’t exist, so I couldn’t be less interested in answering them. Let’s just use ‘from your posts, duh’ as the answer to all three.

      I don’t think this is getting either of us anywhere, do you? You can go on enjoying rights braver people than you fought for. Nobody’s going to stop you.

  • Greg.Freed

    If anyone taped the Trovatore tonight please let me know. It’s the role I dreamed of hearing Anna in and now I live three thousand miles away.

  • UpB7

    To Cicciabella, I disagree. I find that Mignon does not have a boring title role. Her role is the role of a passionate innocent young woman who withstands travails and finally has a doubly happy ending.

    This opera “Mignon” can seem like a fairy tale. However, this opera is really more of a picaresque coming-of-age story with serious drama, some romance, and touches of humour, and most of all a happy ending -- which in opera you don’t found many of around here. As for “Je suis Titania” seeming like drivel, you may have a point -- only a qualified point. For “Je suis Titania” to sound like drivel may have been deliberate on the part of the composer. Thomas wrote this for Philine. If I remember right, this aria was what Philine sings, as she rejoices about playing the role of Titania in a play. Philine is a vain, haughty, and spiteful actress. She either has taken in interest in the scholar Wilhelm or is dating him, but gets jealous when she senses that Wilhelm and Mignon are falling in love with each other. Her Titania aria is probably meant to show how frivolous, petty, and shallow Philine is.

    Overall it is a very good, sweeping, and touching story that follows a girl receiving kindness after years of enduring mistreatment and injustice. It also concerns a girl who is growing up and dealing with various emotions connected with a deep love for a boy. She and the boy come to terms with their love for each other and are ultimately brought together. This girl also has an emotional reunion with her father, from whom she had been kidnapped as a small child. The father had suffered and breakdown and lost his memory, but regained his memory and is brought back together with his daughter. I have heard the Marilyn Horne recording of Mignon on SONY/BMG and the vocal trio that ends this opera -- Mignon, Wilhelm, and Mignon’s formerly amnesia father (when they are all reunited) -- is one of the most moving happy endings of an opera that I’ve ever heard. It is very poignant. [It is much better than the not-as-good can-can jumping through the aisles ending that has those three characters and the townspeople all dancing and cheering as though they were at a nightclub in Paris or somewhere similar to Moulin Rouge. This wild, overly frolicking rah-rah ending is what the Met used in their last productions of “Mignon” in the 1940’s. That ending is more suitable for “The Merry Widow” or “Wiener Blut”, but not really so suitable for “Mignon”. The far superior ending is the intimate ending with Mignon, Wilhelm, and the father -- only their voices and the orchestra. It is the kind of ending that can leave not a dry eye in the house.]

    For years, I have been thinking that it is high time for this work “Mignon” to return to the Met in a new production. The story has modern and timeless emotional themes that are still relevant. It does not need to be dressed up in modern clothes or modern set-designs. What it needs is to be done right, by the director, the conductor, and the cast, completely respecting the story. If it does get performed at the Met, then the intimate happy ending with only the three characters on stage singing their trio is the ending to use.

    Jamie Barton is one of the current mezzos who could probably do this lead role justice.

    • aulus agerius

      I used to have the Met broadcast of Mignon with Jennie Tourel. The cri de coeur she emitted in the scene by the pond when contemplating suicide is the most heart rending thing I have ever heard.

      • UpB7

        Jennie Tourel. I wish I could have heard that Met broadcast of Mignon with Tourel in the title role. Her voice is even more lyrical than Rise Stevens’, whose Met broadcast of Mignon I’ve heard. Tourel’s voice was that of a true lyric mezzo, whereas Stevens’ voice was more like a dramatic mezzo. From the recordings and performance excerpts that I’ve heard of Jennie Tourel, she seemed to be even more expressive and seemed to have more of a facility for phrasing, shading, and nuance than Stevens did.

        That scene with Mignon by the pond was a gripping and wrenching scene. From what I’ve just read, it seem that Tourel was another example of a cast member who did “Mignon” right.

        • Krunoslav

          Tourel is PHENOMENAL on that broadcast, which marked her Met debut-- it shows her immense skill, and how beautiful an instrument she started out with. We are used to hearing recordings made in her late 40s, 50s and 60s, but in 1937 she was under forty-- exact date of birth a matter of debate, but probably 1899 or 1900. And her French style is immaculate. She is joined by two other fine exemplars of that lost art, the fine Bulgarian-born Armenian, Paris-trained tenor Armand Tokatyan and Léon Rothier, who was well into his 60s and sounds older but is totally imbued with Gallicism.

          Stevens is ‘not bad’ as Mignon, but PLEASE! No comparison in either vocal quality or artistry.

        • Cicciabella

          UpB7, I think I first heard Mignon with Von Stade, who opened my eye to the charms of several operas, including Massenet’s Chérubin. Unfortunately, the wonderful Von Stade was not enough to make me like Mignon. I also confess to be puzzled by the Wilhelm Meister character, switching from soprano to mezzo without any apparent reason. Obviously, I should buckle down and read Goethe. But first, I’m listening to the Horne recording, in which, incidentally, Von Stade sings Frédéric. Vanzo is Wilhelm, so if I still don’t feel some empathy for him in this, it’s never going to happen.

          • aulus agerius

            Well, Ciccia, in my frivolous youth I used to switch boyfriends for not better reason that I liked the hair on this one’s toes! These things are not to be understood!

            I’m glad I saw the NYOO performance with Blythe, Giordano, Relyea and a nameless soprano who came to grief in the trifle mentioned above.

            I don’t think JB could do a staged version because, not to be indelicate, but Mignon is a waif.

            • Cicciabella

              Wise words, aulus. I think you’ll find someone else above suggested a staged Mignon, in jest. Vanzo’s singing is so divine, I forgive Wilhelm Meister everything. Even with Horne in the title role, I need to warm to the opera more. Although, as I’m thinking “this sounds like slightly flimsy ballet music”, Thomas throws in a wonderful trio. I think I need to hear this live, like you, with a really good cast. A staging would be even better. Je suus Titania and everythinf else will all fall into place.

    • Cicciabella

      Thank you for this case for Mignon. Never heard Horne’s version: on the case and I hope I will be cured of my Mignon-phobia. And Jennie Tourel sang it? One of my favourite singers of all time.