Cher Public

Aged in blood

Simply put, Christine Goerke is a stupendous Elektra.  

Not to slight her sterling collaborators at Wednesday night’s Carnegie Hall concert, but any version of Richard Strauss’s towering one-act opera will inevitably be all about the soprano brave enough to tackle its incomparably demanding title role. Perhaps Goerke, after a bumpy run as Puccini’s Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera last month, felt particularly inspired in a city where she has seen numerous successes (along with a few missteps) at both the Met and New York City Opera because she gave a tireless performance of unrelenting dramatic intensity and impressive vocal security.

Although the evening was billed as a concert version, apparently no one told her. The rapt Carnegie audience experienced a fully realized portrait of the tortured Mycenaean princess bent on avenging her father’s brutal murder. Just a red blur, Goerke swiftly entered the hall from a side door as if shot out of a canon the moment the orchestra thundered out its initial iteration of the great Agamemnon theme. Initially cowering behind the violins, she rose to defiantly confront the five serving maids and their overseer as they talked trash about her.

From that moment on, there was no question that despite the terrible conditions in which she has been forced to live outside the palace this was still a fiercely proud, obsessed woman, wily and clever in her single-minded quest. With a startlingly organ-like “Allein!” Goerke began Elektra’s monologue. Looking svelte and beautiful in a bouffant scarlet gown—styled very like the legendary Edith Head frock Bette Davis flaunted in All About Eve—she firmly planted herself next to the conductor’s podium to recount her haunted heritage. She announced, then and there, that she would need no time to warm up vocally or dramatically.

By turns wheedling and impatient with her unhelpful sister, sly and brutal with their haunted mother, Goerke fully inhabited Elektra’s journey. Particularly witty was the way she sat waiting for Klytâmnestra: she delicately smoothed her flowing skirt, primly folded her hands at her waist and smiled sweetly in wicked anticipation. The frightening curse “Was bluten muss?” which concludes the immense mother-daughter confrontation was frightening in its seething severity.

The news that her brother Orest had been killed abruptly stifled her confidence and inconsolable sadness reigned until her brother finally did appear alive before her. In that wrenching recognition scene Goerke movingly traced Elektra’s hundred warring emotions until she literally jumped, still half-unbelieving, into the arms of her equally stunned brother tracing his half-remembered face and palm with her own shaking hand.

After the throbbing emotion of that reunion, her impish teasing of Aegisth unfolded as comic relief, but his death cries brought forth that much longed-for relief as her wide face beamed a most ecstatic smile of vindication until the exertions of her manic dance drove her to collapse in the chair to which she had occasionally retreated. That final shocking stillness occasioned a deafening roar of applause that brought Goerke to her feet looking fresh enough to have another go at the role that very evening!

Vocally she was in complete command of every moment of this grueling role. An occasional thin top note or brush with iffy intonation paled in light of the confidence and security with which she conquered Strauss’s insane demands. She may have sacrificed some facility in spinning out piano passages, but the vast sound she would pour at the many climaxes was thrilling. The middle of the voice in particular remains enviably plush and enveloping. She rarely uttered an ugly note and never ignored the terrible beauty of Elektra’s music.

I thought back to the first time I heard Goerke as a last-minute substitute for the ever-ailing Teresa Stratas in selection from Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles during the eight-hour Levine Gala in 1996. I don’t remember her making much of an impression that evening but I was likely perturbed by Stratas’s inevitable cancellation.

But the next year brought her towering Iphigénie to New York City Opera, a portrayal so beautifully sung and intensely acted that she triumphed over the buzz surrounding Francesca Zambello’s homoerotic vision of the Gluck. A deliciously manic Armida in Handel’s Rinaldo three years later also at City Opera gave further notice that this was a real star-in-the-making.

A difficult decade of ups and downs followed until murmurs about a great “new” dramatic soprano began to surface. Her triumphant Färberin in Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Met two years ago proved that the rumors were more than true. After successes in Madrid, Chicago, London and Detroit as Elektra, Goerke’s subjugation of first the Boston public and then New York’s gave final confirmation that she is now one of opera’s most exciting stars. Peter Gelb, though rumored to hate opera, was spotted at Carnegie Hall enjoying his future Brünnhilde knock it out of the park the same night the Mets did!

Oh, and yes, there was also the spectacular Boston Symphony Orchestra on stage with its newish music director Andris Nelsons leading an occasionally slow but increasingly intense reading of Strauss’s opulent score. The first half was cleanly, carefully done but without the insinuating power that should imbue the important Elektra-Klytämnestra confrontation. However, from the entrance of Orest, the performance took on a gathering momentum and pathos and the recognition scene proved uncommonly moving. Nelsons never strove for decibels for their own sake although the BSO at full cry was a marvel, but just as memorable were the quietly creepy moments.

The remainder of Nelsons’s cast was imposing in its depth and commitment. A full-throated contingent of serving maids immediately riveted one’s attention although the important Fifth Maid, Rebecca Nash, had a disconcertingly dark, covered sound. A nostalgic note was struck by the appearance as the Overseer of Nadine Secunde who sang Chrysothemis when Seiji Ozawa conducted (and recorded) Elektra with Hildegard Behrens and Christa Ludwig and his BSO in the late 1980s; she later became a considerable Elektra herself.

Familiar from his performances as Mime at the Met, Gerhard Siegel was an outstanding, clarion Aegisth, a welcome respite from the superannuated heldentenor one so often hears in the role. I was less enamored of James Rutherford’s grave Orest; although he sang well enough, the role seemed to lie a bit low for him and his weighty baritone might have been steadier. A stiff actor, he failed to be very responsive to Goerke’s galvanic performance during their scene together.

On the other hand, Gun-Brit Barkmin’s arrestingly kinetic Chrysothemis could not be accused of passivity. Nelsons’s Salome when the Vienna Staatsoper visited Carnegie Hall last season (a performance I unfortunately missed), Barkmin brandished her occasionally unwieldly laser-like soprano with a compelling nervous intensity. With her tall, thin build, Louise Brooks bob and long, long strands of pearls, she couldn’t have been more different from her boldly extroverted sister. Quivering with fear and longing, she made Elektra’s whiny sister less of a trial than usual. Though occasionally they turned strident, her big high notes soared with stirring power.

Looking like everyone’s kindly grandmother (albeit in a striking glittering floor-length evening jacket), the veteran mezzo Jane Henschel was the subtle, frightened object of Elektra’s hate. After many years her voice remains in nearly prime estate from ringing high notes to disturbing sepulchral low ones. Klytämnestra’s long narration of her haunted dreams was a deft master-class in relishing Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s magisterial text. Perhaps her manic cackling at her scene’s conclusion went on a bit long but this was an indelible reminder of sadly how rare Henschel’s New York appearances have been.

It seemed as if every inveterate New York opera-fanatic took special care to be at Carnegie Hall, a gala occasion which took me back to the last time I heard Elektra there: Eva Marton’s incendiary 1991 collaboration with Lorin Maazel and the Vienna Philharmonic. Those not lucky enough to have been there Wednesday or at Symphony Hall last week should seek out a copy of Saturday’s Boston broadcast to savor Goerke’s triumph.

Nina Stemme will have a tough act to follow when her Elektra arrives at the Metropolitan Opera this spring in a new incarnation of the late Patrice Chéreau’s already legendary final production under another dynamic maestro, Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Photos by Chris Lee.

  • tim200

    I am totally exhausted from this show last night. Just tremendous! Everyone, including the orchestra, was in top form. And having the chorus in the rear of the auditorium to sing “Orest! Orest!” at the end, was chilling! I haven’t gotten a chill from an opera in some time, but I was freezing all night!

    • tatiana

      Yes indeed . . . in keeping with Christopher’s comment about Goerke’s “All About Eve” gown, let me paraphrase/ quote Addison DeWitt: “And she gave the performance of her life. And it was a night to remember, that night.”

      And I agree with Tim. I was in the Balcony and couldn’t tell where the chorus was placed. But having their cries of “Orest! Orest!) swirl about us in the hall was hair-raising! Bravi tutti!

  • aulus agerius

    Last fall in Detroit she did in fact perform it 2 days in a row: Saturday night and Sunday matinee. I saw the matinee.

  • parpignol

    great performance by Goerke and by the BSO, but I’d also say that her top sounded insecure through most of the evening, oddly produced with uneven results, more worrying than “an occasional thin top note,” and more problematic than what we heard in ‘Die Frau ohne Schatten’ a few years back; a great performance nevertheless, no doubt about it, but Brunnhilde also has high notes. . .

    • Gualtier M

      It does seem like Goerke has a wide columnar sound from the contralto depths up to G or A and then she shifts to a narrower headier placement. It doesn’t have the same sonority or power as the middle, upper middle and bottom. Like a narrow knife-like tone -- thinner and brighter. She does have the high notes though. A lot of Wagner requires a huge oceanic middle register that can compete with the huge orchestra and isolated high notes that can be “managed” -- see Traubel, Helen. Or Moedl, Martha…. Nilsson’s voice had lots of cut and ease on high but a lot of veteran Wagner listeners found her middle voice kind of cold and arid for the “Walkure” Brunnhilde and long stretches of Isolde.

      Agree with everything I am reading above. I found that Nelsons did mine the lyricism in the score -- as I listen over the years I hear less and less dissonance and more and more Viennese waltzes in Strauss’s score.

      • parpignol

        yes! I was imagining an Elektra waltzes suite alongside the Rosenkavalier waltzes. . .
        and agreed: Nilsson not the only standard for singing Elektra--
        was remembering what a great thing Polaski also made of it with the Philharmonic some years back, also facing off against Henschel, then in even stronger voice--

        • Good thing Nilsson wasn’t the exclusive standard, as she was only born in 1918.

      • uwsinnyc

        Agree with Gualtier:

        If anything I’d say her voice is suited even more to Wagner than to Elektra. Her middle is her true glory and she’d be phenomenal as Isolde and Brunnhilde (esp GotterD and Walkure) I think.

        Also, yes the top may not be her best attribute, BUT it is at least all there. She doesn’t have to lunge for them, or omit them, the way some other dramatic sopranos do.

      • quoth the maven

        I could definitely hear the “narrower, headier” aspect of Goerke’s top. But I found her phrasing so convincing that I accepted it readily: those high notes were all beautifully integrated into the musical statement. (Strauss’s vocal writing supports this, which is perhaps why CG is more--much more--effective as Elektra than Turandot.) I also felt that the top improved as the performance progressed, acquiring increasing color and vibrato.

  • gustave of montreal

    Montréal’s singers for upcoming Elektra in November is Linda Lindstrom as Elektra; Nicole
    Beller Carbone as Chryso and, Agnez Zierko as Klym. Yannick NS conducts. Do we know these names ???

    • oscar

      Is Linda Lise’s sister?

      • Feldmarschallin

        Linda Lindstrom sounds like a drag queen.

      • gustave of montreal

        correct, should read LISE LINDSTROM not Linda

    • Krunoslav

      Nicole Beller Carbone has sung a respectable WOZZECK at Santa Fe and a wide range of ‘singing actress’ roles in Europe, including Salome. She was looks-cast in DER ZWERG in Paris-- not a patch on Mary Dunleavy;’s radiant L.A. performance on DVD.

      To me it’s a utility voice, even more so than the distinctly shrieky, pitch-challenged G-B Barkmin, whom ,any queens cheered yesterday- presumably because she was styled as Louise Brooks dressed up (‘down’?) as Little Edie. Both sopranos do “give a performance”, however.

      • armerjacquino

        Why the scare quotes?

      • Nicola Beller Carbone sang Salome in Brussels. At the time I noted “Nicola Beller Carbone is a very remarkable soprano. She has film-star looks, a fashion-model figure and endless legs; but she also has a powerful voice with effortless top notes and an interesting timbre, edgy – almost shrill -- but with darkish undertones. It seemed to me, nitpicking as usual, that she was possibly one size too small for Salome.”

        • lorenzo.venezia

          I saw Nicola twice as the Farberin in the smallish Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden and she was riveting, dramatically and vocally, in the stunning 2014 Uwe Eric Laufenberg production.

    • Kilian

      Polish mezzo Agnes Zwierko sang Mrs Quickly in Falstaff and the Deaconess in Król Roger at Covent Garden. She also was in Tchaikovsky’s The Enchantress at the Theater an der Wien and she sings at the Komische Oper Berlin. Jezibaba is another of her frequent roles.

      • Gualtier M

        Strangely Lindstrom is singing the titelrolle and not Chrysothemis which is the natural fit for her voice which is basically a big lyric with a huge top. Of more interest is Yannick Nézet-Séguin in the pit and veteran Alan Held as Orest.

  • davidhenry

    Last night was my first time at Carnegie Hal, and what a night it was. “Shot out of a cannon” is the right way to describe Goerke- she was riveting from the first moment. I agree that her voice seemed strongest and most resonant in the middle (her opening ‘allein’ showcased that excellently), whereas her highest top notes seemed smaller than I remember her in Die Frau Ohne Schatten. Regardless, it was a thrilling performance overall, and the BSO was fantastic. I took a friend whose only other opera experience was La Boheme, and to my delight she loved it! We were quoting Hugo von Hofmannstahl all night long.

  • Krunoslav

    “We were quoting Hugo von Hofmannstahl all night long.”

    Useful around here--and especially on Opera-L:

    “Du lüg’st!”

    “Sie meint es tückisch.”

    “Ein jeder Wort ist Falscheit.”

    • parpignol

      “Sie schlagen mich!”

  • Christopher Corwin

    The broadcast of Saturday’s Elektra from Boston is available on the WGBH website:

    http://www.wgbh.org/programs/The-Boston-Symphony-Orchestra-in-Concert-1641#63866

  • uwsinnyc

    I was there and all I can say was: you had to be there.
    It was an elec(k)tric night from beginning to end.

    the line: “Although the evening was billed as a concert version, apparently no one told her” couldn’t be truer.

    Fair to say that she is now one of THE top dramatic sopranos of our time?

    • la vociaccia

      I mean, sure.

      The question, though, is for how much time?

      • steveac10

        Enough, one would hope. She’s been singing professionally for over 20 years and has already emerged more than successfully from one retooling, so I’m not all that worried about it. Unlike many around here, I’m of the glass half full persuasion. Enjoy it while it lasts.

  • Satisfied

    A night of pure excitement and perhaps even better than the fully staged performance I saw in Chicago. Echoing the thought of others, I can’t recall any other performance I’ve attended where I had goosebumps from beginning to end!

    I’ve seen some amazing performances at Carnegie, but last night felt like something really special.

    • Satisfied

      And for all the hate that might get (justifiably?) thrown at Tommasini, he completely hits the mark with this ArtsBeat Post.

      I love the fact that he felt so excited about the performance that he had to write about it before his full article was written. The accolades are incredibly accurate and deserving, particularly this: “Ms. Goerke now owns this role.”

      http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/10/22/boston-symphony-presents-elektra-in-three-night-carnegie-hall-stand/?ref=arts&_r=0

      • Nobody really owns any role.

        • armerjacquino

          Exactly what I was about to say! Especially bold for this one, with Herlitzius, Stemme and Theorin around.

          • I’ve heard all three, but only Theorin as Elektra, and that was in Carsen’s rather “cool” production at the Bastille -- snippet from my write-up: ‘But again, “sobriety” was the operative word, and the dialogues, of which this work is, after all, largely a series, were sung with daring intimacy. Elektra’s confrontation with her mother was thus fascinatingly different from the usual panting slug-fest’.

            • (Intimacy is not really what the Bastille ws built for.)

          • laddie

            Though the singing IS rather magnificent, the acting cannot match that of Herlitzius. I thought last night’s acting a bit camp and only when she was still and reflective did it feel authentic.

            • Hippolyte

              Come on….you’re comparing a semi-staged concert with no credited director where I assume everyone was more or less on his own to a performance staged by one of the world’s greatest directors for which there was probably weeks and weeks of rehearsals.

            • laddie

              I think that perhaps the performance such that it was ought not to have been attempted without a director.

  • I was there. Absolutely fucking amazing.

    http://poisonivywalloftext.blogspot.com/2015/10/elektrifying-elektra.html

    And I think Goerke has absolutely set a very high bar among the current Elektras. The richness and beauty of her voice make her unique (IMO).

    • oscar

      Nice review Ivy. One correction though. Aegisth is a tenor, not a bass.

      • Yeah I was corrected. I always kind of forget Aegisth exists for some reason. I actually wonder why Strauss even put him in the opera. I think he works better as a generalized abstraction — this horrible person who Ruined Casa Agamemnon.

        • davidhenry

          Casa Agamemnon.. Don’t drink the sangria!

        • uwsinnyc

          fantastic review, Ivy! Lovely to read. Yes I noticed the flats too!!! Good for her.

          I wonder why they didn’t give her the new production at the MET. May be Stemme was already signed up before Goerkemania had started?

  • LT

    Nice to hear good reviews about her Elektra. I was not impressed with what I heard from her Turandot.

    • steveac10

      The Turandot was obviously a “get her on the roster dammit’ move by the Met. While around these parts we might have kvetched about particulars of her performance, she was well received by the audience at large.

      • uwsinnyc

        Not disagreeing- but if they just wanted to get her on the roster, there were several other operas (including Elektra!!) they could have put her in.

        • messa di voce

          Buy out some of Stemme’s performances after people had been bitching about how SHE wasn’t on the roster? It’s a no-win job!

          • steveac10

            Plus the fact she’s otherwise engaged for most of the Elektra performances.

            • tatiana

              Ha! I wouldn’t have thought of this otherwise, but the comment string above reminds me of the story of how Beverly Sills came to sing Cleopatra at City Opera: Phyllis Curtin was going to sing it and Sills told Julius Rudel that she would hire out Carnegie Hall and sing all of Cleopatra’s arias! Don’t think it happened this way with the “Elektra,” but the timing IS interesting.

        • Krunoslav

          She could do either role , or both, in TANNHAEUSER and was a fantastic, funny Rosalinde in FLEDERMAUS in Philadelphia some years ago. I bet she’d be terrific as Elisabetta in MARIA STUARDA. However, none of these roles are on her current rep list.

          Santuzza is, however.

  • Donna Anna

    Thanks for the reviews. Goerke will be north of the Ohio River to sing Leonora in Fidelio next summer. Can’t wait!

  • John L

    She is such a stage presence! She just really draws you in. From the way she stared down and stormed up to the 5 women like an angry teenager. To how her face slowly (key word: slowly) transformed from impassivity, to a smirk, to overwhelming joy when Aegisth was being murdered. It was like she was pretending not to know about a prank that was unfolding in front her. Of course the prank being murder, so it was really quite demented in the best possible way. Perhaps the most amusing scene I saw which made me laugh was when she was trying to convince her sister to join her in murdering their mother and stepfather after hearing that their brother had died. Gun-Brit really portrayed a nervous frenetic energy throughout and in this scene she was sobbing like a nervous wreck. It was like watching Popeye trying to convince Olive Oil to kill Bluto!

    Yes I can see how some people might call her acting style campy. But I think she makes the drama really accessible to anyone watching. She also has a likability factor working for her. She had this one look which is etched in my mind when I saw her as Ariadne in Glimmerglass. When she first made her entry as the diva, she straightened out a framed artist portrait of herself, and then she gave a broad toothy smile to the audience and posed much like a teenage girl would for a big audience. It was just a little injection of modern light-hearted humor which just made things less serious and more enjoyable.

    • SilvestriWoman

      Having worked with her, albeit many years ago, I can testify that Goerke is one of the most down-to-earth, unpretentious people you could ever hope to meet. She also happens to be a natural stage animal. Even in rehearsal, she always gives 150%, and you can’t find a more generous colleague.

      • la vociaccia

        I suppose as down-to-earth as one can be when they lie like a rug in interviews about their “transformation.”

        • Would you care to expand on that observation?

          • la vociaccia

            Sure. The only difference between her singing in 1997 and her singing now is that she sings louder, chests harder and the very top has detached from the rest of the voice. The fact that she can’t sing piano above the staff without flatting, or even comfortably maintain a consistently high tessitura (and I’m not talking about Turandot- her Fidelio videos all have her very under pitch in the higher parts of Abscheulicher), not to mention how out of place she sounds singing Lieder, does not mean she’s “matured” or “transformed” into a dramatic soprano. It means she’s still very much the problematic singer she was a decade ago, she’s just less noticeably problematic in things like Elektra and the Dyers Wife.

            I’ve made it very clear over the years I’ve commented here that I think Goerke is a tremendous musician and performer and in roles like Elektra, Kundry and Dyers Wife I love her; but people can miss me on the “transformation.”

            • steveac10

              Alrighty then!

              In your opinion she did not have some sort of breakthrough after her vocal problems in the mid aughts that sent her on her current trajectory as a major dramatic soprano. Therefore she is disingenuous and not “down to earth”. You can deny (in your opinion) her voice has grown into something it wasn’t -- but I don’t see how that makes her a dishonest person, which is very much what you implied.

            • la vociaccia

              No, I’m well aware of her vocal troubles in around 2004 and the subsequent re-focusing of her repertoire on dramatic -- leaning repertoire.

              What I dispute strongly is this narrative that her voice magically grew three sizes and the “new” technique she learned was to adapt to it, which is what she has been saying the past few years. It’s the same voice, the same size and more or less the same quality, save for the changes I outlined above.

            • la vociaccia

              She’s always been a dramatic soprano, is what I’m saying. She was problematic and struggled in a lot of repertoire because of it and found a repertoire that suited a bottom-heavy, largely explosive technique that she now uses. And she’s having huge success because, as I said, it suits her AMAZINGLY and she’s a phenomenal dramatic artist.

              But this ‘transformation’ stuff is mythology.

            • steveac10

              “But this ‘transformation’ stuff is mythology.”

              To you, perhaps. Having heard her regularly over the last 20 years, I politely disagree. I would say she was always destined to be a dramatic soprano, but was unable to make it happen on her own until her “breakthrough” with Soviero. The voice is substantially larger and has more thrust than it did 10 years ago.

              I also think it is more than a little mean spirited to insinuate that Goerke just made all it all up to give good interview. Not to mention implying she can’t be “down to earth” because you don’t see her career trajectory and vocal progress as she lived it. Healthy cynicism has it limits.

            • la vociaccia

              I will confess that it has come out more mean spirited than I intended.

              But I do not believe the Soviero breakthrough was necessarily the ideal one. Just as I think Kaufmann could have fixed his pre-crisis technique without resorting to…what he does now. Since Goerke has been with Soviero the voice has simultaneously gained many qualities (a more expansive middle, for one) but lost a great deal of facility elsewhere. I don’t consider that a hallmark of a hochdramatisch finally in her optimal vocal form, because if that were the case there would be far less caveats about her current abilities.

            • Even if all you were saying is true, I don’t see how that precludes Goerke from being “down to earth” and why she’s “lying like a rug.” Many singers are not 100% self aware of how their own voices work.

            • la vociaccia

              Again, it was more vicious than it should have been, and for that I take responsibility.

              I get irrationally upset when I think people are misrepresenting their singing, if only because people WILL take their word for it and (what I consider to be) lore will then enter the academic lexicon. Which I again, admit is an irrational thing to get angry about.

            • armerjacquino

              La v, I could sing you three different notes using my voice and my body three completely different ways and they’d come out sounding pretty much the same. It’s perfectly possible that, whether or not the sound of the voice has changed, Goerke feels as if she is producing it completely differently.

    • uwsinnyc

      I agree with you! She was fabulous.

      I wouldn’t call her campy at all though; her performance and acting emerge very naturally and never seem out of reason.

      one very nice touch I noticed was that in the scene PRIOR to the final one, in which Orestes kills their mother and her lover, her dance had already begun in subtle small broken steps. So when she finally went all out at the end it seemed the release of all this built up tension…
      It was the most believable finish to the opera I’ve ever seen.

      And as an aside she seems to have lost weight. Or that red gown was very flattering.

      • Porgy Amor

        A flattering outfit can go a long way, but not that far. She has lost weight. She’s worked very hard at it, and she’s obviously very proud of her efforts.

        I’m glad to hear that the performance was such a success. I’ve heard nothing but raves, very widely, from people at all levels of Elektra expertise.

      • John L

        She definitely has a likability and approachability factor, as if her singing weren’t enough! And then she has the acting ability as well!

        I actually didn’t realize that her dance had started in bursts immediately after Oreste kills Aegisth. I was sitting maybe 20 feet from her at Boston’s Symphony Hall so I did see other touches. But it’s just little things like that that makes for a complete performance and makes her audience appreciate her artistry. Also it’s just not about her. The way she interacts with the other characters/colleagues is also a labor of love. All right I’ll stop gushing, I’m starting to sound like a fangirl.

        • uwsinnyc

          nothing wrong with being a fan girl! I’m totally in love too. I agree, there’s that very wholesome un-diva quality about her. Plus the way she giggled like a schoolgirl through the applause was so infectious.

          I hope we see/hear lots and lots of her in the upcoming years, but also hope that she doesn’t now go into overdrive and sing the heaviest repertoire so incessantly that her voice goes kaput in a few years.

          Also, I really liked Gun-Brit Barkmin-- and the chemistry and balance between the two sisters was really exciting and believable.

          • John L

            It seems like she’s pacing herself smartly. Not taking on too many roles. And giving herself breaks in between roles, to learn new roles i.e. Isolde! I’m sure she’s getting alot of future Brunnhilde offers, but she’s gotta turn some of them down. If the next 5 years go well, she may be taking Nine Stemme’s mantle. I hate to compare between the two since Nina has been at it for so long, nearly covering the entire spinto and dramatic soprano repertory. I’ll be very interested in seeing Nina’s Elektra this coming spring!