Cher Public

“There seems to be no sign of intelligent life anywhere”

Venomous Fishwife Norman Lebrecht doesn’t know the difference between Anton Chekhov and Konstantin Stanislavsky.

  • theszak

    By adamg
    Boston Lyric Opera to leave Shubert Theatre

  • Very struck, at Händel’s Theodora last night, by the young soprano Katherine Watson, who will be in the cast in NYC at the end of the month. Seems remarkably accomplished t ome. Theer isn’t much on YT, but here’s a clip of her singing Lully:


  • Well…

    (a): to me. There…
    (b) I’ll try again:

    • Go figure…

      • Hippolyte

        I’ve heard Watson a few times and never been particularly impressed. I believe Theodora is being shown on ARTE this week and perhaps I’ll change my mind.

  • Satisfied

    Very much looking forward to LAF performance later this month. Stunning young cast, including the handsome Philippe Jaroussky. How was the (Carson?) production? I would have loved both musicans and production to transfer.

    • LT

      Jaroussky must be one of the most successful worst singers in history. It’s inexplicable. Even his looks aren’t all that to justify it.

      • 98rsd

        That’s a little harsh about Jaroussky, but I have to say, he’s a very dull song recitalist. At Weill (admittedly years ago) he sang much of the program with his eyes closed. One was tempted to join him.

    • It was not a Carsen production, but by Stephen Langridge. Though it’s odd you should mention Carsen, as it reminded me of some of his less convincing work. I wrote my own impressions up here:

      • I don’t think having the production transferred would add much.

        • Satisfied

          NPW -- I read your blog and read this particular entry. Very excited to see Ms. Watson and glad to hear you were otherwise impressed by the incredibly reliable LAF. I’ll look forward to a full production at BAM with the group and Carsen later this season.

          • This: “Following the world premiere of director Robert Carsen’s production of André Campra’s tremendously entertaining opera-ballet Les Fêtes vénitiennes at Paris’ Opéra Comique, William Christie will take the podium at BAM to conduct the work with the Orchestra and Choir of Les Arts Florissants”.

  • Well, someone as widely read and respected as Norman Lebrecht can hardly be expected to waste 10 seconds on a Google search. La Cieca’s “gotcha” journalism knows no bounds or shame.

    • Jack Jikes

      Are you being ironic?

  • geranuk

    I think Mr. Lebrecht also got the quote wrong — didn’t Chekhov say something that if a playwright puts a gun in the first act, he’d better have go off in the third.

    • Ilka Saro

      Not only did Chekhov say it, but Wikipedia authors have raised the status of the quote to a “dramatic principle”'s_gun

      I think is going a bit far with his “kids today” assertion that theatrical professionals don’t know who Stanislavsky is. He should pay a visit to NYC, where earnest young acting students still espouse “method”, and lots of teachers still give KS credit for ideas which were then filtered through Strassberg and others. Whether the students (or the teachers) have ever actually read “An Actor Prepares” is another question. But gems like these from Lebrecht are meant to encourage a belief that he knows something we don’t, so we should listen. Etc.

      • armerjacquino

        He wouldn’t even need to go to NYC. There is literally not one graduate of a UK drama school in the last 70 years who wouldn’t have studied Stanislavsky.

  • -Ed.

    Well, I nominate this hot mess as the most inane opera review of 2015. Patricia Racette and James Valenti in a semi-semi-staged (that’s a quote) Tosca in Detroit.

    Here’s a taste: “Act Three (opening here with some stirring horn-playing) is problematical even in a staging, for not much happens until last-rites-time for Cavaradossi (a jailer in attendance, and not forgetting a lovely-sounding quartet of DSO cellos and some beguiling clarinet contributions from Ralph Skiano); but the dawn of a new day, bells-a-plenty, gave boy-soprano Abraham Frank an opportunity to shine, taken ably.”

    • armerjacquino

      I’m not sure what’s supposed to be wrong with this review.

      • quoth the maven

        Irony, right?

      • grimoaldo

        It attributes a (mangled) quote from Chekhov to Stanislavski.
        Actual quote (translated, of course)
        ” If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”

        • armerjacquino

          Um, not the Lebrecht piece (which isn’t a review). I can read. I was referring to the Tosca review to which my comment was a reply.

          • grimoaldo


            • armerjacquino

              No, I am. My post was defensive and crotchety. Shouldn’t read the internet before coffee.

      • -Ed.


  • blanchette

    if anyone reading this who was checking out the Stanislavsky clip- I would DIE to know what he was saying where they actually show him talking to the actors. I had no idea such a piece of film existed, though it mulst be well known. Thanks, Blanche

    • vilbastarda

      Hey Blanche, seems that nobody answered you. So, let’s try: he’s generally telling them how to be authentic. The woman is saying to him that she cannot lie, that she is used to play an honest, naive character, but she can’t lie. I think she’s supposed to play an apparently naive character that also needs to deceive. So he is asking her if in real life she can lie, and she says that yes, in real life anybody can lie. So he says that this is what he’s asking her, to be a real person. Then he’s instructing the man to feed of each other, and to anticipate through dialogue their thoughts as characters, and their next steps. Or something of that nature.

  • blanchette

    thank you so much Vilbastarda- I truly appreciate that . I still want to know more- but that’s a lot. I am so so interested in this -- maybe I can find out more on youtube. Thanks!!!!!