Cher Public

Blind bombshell

Though La Cieca hates to put the brakes on anyone’s excitement, the cher public should be aware that a beloved veteran diva is going to be a no-show at the Met Guild luncheon on Friday.

  • Krunoslav

    Ruza Pospis-Baldani??????

    I want a refund, Mrs. Belmont!

  • Cocky Kurwenal

    Speaking of cancellations, Kaufmann has cancelled both his ROH Carmens, apparently.

    • LT

      That’s a shocker right there.

      • Feldmarschallin

        Did anyone think he would sing those two performances?

        • manou

          Maybe those poor saps who bought tickets did.

        • armerjacquino

          That attitude is so unprofessional it makes me want to scream. ‘they wanted her to rehearse for two weeks’ ‘did anyone expect him to do those performances?’

          People who give a toss do what they say they’re going to do.

          • PCally

            Agree completely and I find Feldmarschallin’s comment bizarre. If you have no intention of showing up and taking your profession seriously, then don’t sign a contract. Pure nonsense IMO.

            • Gualtier M

              Remember that this is coming from Mr. “Why would Anja Harteros even want to sing in London anyway when she can sing in München?” Feldie. Like the Royal Opera House is some provincial backwater…

          • nachEule

            OK, opera infant that I am, I’ll don’t mind going on record as naive:
            Can someone explain what would be the career or financial advantage to any performer of signing a contract s/he never intended to fulfill? Especially one who’s often stated a dislike of the extreme “book-to-the-future” engagement system? Why would JK essentially shill tickets for big houses in a way that only assures the ire of fans and the criticism of detractors? Kaufmann seems like a more astute businessman than that.

            • la vociaccia

              He wouldn’t, but that’s not really what we’re responding to. Feld has suggested on multiple occasions now that when Kaufmann cancels he is simply far too important to busy himself with random repertory performances across the pond, and we are saying that, if that is supposed to be true, then it paints Kaufmann in a rather unflattering light (almost certainly not the mark of a professional who cares about their audience).

            • nachEule

              Thanks, la vociaccia. And I agree that that sort of behavior would be unprofessional — but I’m not convinced there’s enough evidence to be 100% *sure* that’s what’s going on here: Kaufmann’s recent cancellations aren’t long-distance gigs, for starters.

              Anyway, mostly I’m just recalling my own recent bout with a viral respiratory infection: it took me WEEKS to recover energy and full lung capacity, and essentially it was only a cold. If I’d been any sort of vocal performer, I would have disappointed ticket-buyers, too — whether I’d fulfilled gigs or cancelled. (see Manou below, paraphrased, “damned if you do or if you don’t”).

            • la vociaccia

              I don’t personally think Kaufmann is so egotistical that he would allow himself to be booked for engagements he doesn’t intend to honor.

              Which makes it all the more bizarre that one of his most vocal fans here is trying to sell that narrative.

              I haven’t been overly interested in much of what Jonas has been singing in the past few years so I have no dog in this fight, but it will be interesting to see what happens with the new Manon Lescaut production.

            • armerjacquino

              la v: I often wonder if Harteros and Kauffmann know what is being said in their name by their friend and supporter. ‘People shouldn’t be disappointed when I cancel, they ought to be rich enough to come and see me in another country, opera isn’t cheap’ is hardly the most inclusive message and is terrible PR. Reading this site I sometimes find myself thinking Harteros probably isn’t a very nice person and have to remind myself that what I’m responding to is her personality as characterised by FM.

              Anyway, I’m listening to them both in AIDA now via Google Play (I don’t like to stray too far from my computer, you see) and I hope I do get a chance to hear both of them live- there’s some pretty spectacular singing going on.

            • Lohengrin

              Do most of You know what You say? Wise singers stop performing when they are not at the best health and voice. Should one risk voice and reputation?
              As Kaufmann mentioned in a reacent interview: “Jeder Auftritt muss eine Sternstunde sein (Each performance has to be a moment of glory), but I am a human beeing……” a.s.o. If one performance is faulty or not persuasive, it would be much more disappointing than cancellations.
              I was at the Winterreise when he came back from a 3-month-break 2012; he was simply perfect. If he had not taken time to recover may be it all would have been over….
              Wait and see/hear what will happen in Paris at Damnation and later on at the Met. He is such a great Des Grieux.and all colleagues the best. Public should be a littlemore patient and benevolent.
              Wish him

            • armerjacquino

              Have you actually read the thread? The only person saying that Kauffman takes cancellation lightly is FM. The rest of us are saying that *if* FM’s characterisation of Kauffman’s behaviour is correct, that would be unprofessional. Try to be less tribal and read more closely.

            • la vociaccia

              I’d love to hear Harteros some day. I have no idea if it will ever happen. I’m sure I could conceivably find myself in Europe around when she is singing but I’ve all but given up hope that I’ll get from point A to B without her cancelling (she’s just never going to come to the States, I guess).

        • Lohengrin

          Yes, he would have sung, London is just a little jump from München and he h´would have had only one short “rehearsal”. But the better choice was to stay at home and be ready for Paris.

          • armerjacquino

            Actually, if he needs to rest between engagements, the better choice would have been not to have agreed to two so close together.

            • Lohengrin

              Everbody needs to rest with/after a virus-infection. Dont You do the same or do You hurry to Your job to fall ill again?

            • armerjacquino

              I’ve checked myself out of hospital to go on stage, since you ask.

              But to be honest my irritation here isn’t at Kaufmann, it’s at the idea that he was always going to cancel and that it’s naive to have thought otherwise.

            • Lohengrin

              The last time he had cancelled was in March (Carmen Met). Before it was October last Year. Inbetween every performance was ok!

            • PCally

              Doesn’t change the point being made at all.

            • Edward George

              For the record, Kaufmann was rumoured to be under the weather at his Puccini concert in London on October 17th, singing only 3 of his 4 encores.

              He has sinced cancelled promotional Puccini album concerts in Prague (23rd), Mannheim (26th) and Paris (29th), and now the ROH Carmens.

              IF he had no intention of singing those Carmens and is just pulling a sickie, this seems like a rather elaborate ruse. Maybe he does genuinely have a viral infection?

            • manou

              …or a rival affection?

            • Lohengrin

              On the curtain-call-video from London he does not look as sparkling as usual….

            • I thought he was under the weather in Ariadne at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées on December 12, but people who read that on my blog at the time said not.

            • October 12.

            • Feldmarschallin

              Well Freni said to accept all engagements offered and then cancel the ones that you don’t want and do the best ones. That was already years ago.

            • grimoaldo

              Freni did not, as far as I know, have a reputation as someone who cancelled a lot.Maybe she meant in the, often years long, interval between the dates being booked and the time the season is announced and tickets go on sale.
              I think a singer letting tickets go on sale for a performance they have no real intention of turning up for is very unfair to management and audiences. A few of us hard core opera buffs will start saving our pennies and arranging our lives so we can travel to things we are very keen to be present for as soon as they are announced, an attitude such as you describe seems rather contemptuous to the singer’s supporters to me.

            • Cicciabella

              Feld, that might have worked in Frenu’s time, when cancellations were local news. It doesn’t work in the age of internet. Better to book fewer things than you want to do and then jump in for sick colleagues: you get paid, you rehearse less or not at all and everyone loves you for being a hero. Also: the news reaches all corners of the world in a matter of seconds.

            • Lohengrin

              There is another thing which happens to often: houses announce singers, who either did not sign a contract or had cancelled in time. But managers like Mr.Meyer or Mr.Pereira keep the stars on their website to sell tickets. In this case it is nor the fault of the singers nor of their health……

            • PCally

              I think it’s simple. Except the engagements you plan on showing up to. It’s called being a professional.

            • PCally

              *accept

            • Buster

              I hope Massis does not cancel:

            • Buster

              Apparently, Sutherland is her cover.

            • EarlyRomantic

              @Lohengrin, yes it happens too often. Recent examples are Aprile Millo in Tosca somewhere in Italy, Edda Moser in I don’t know what in Paris, and Cheryl Studer in Carmelites in Klagenfurt. Although none of these ladies can seat as many butts as Kaufmann, their names alone carry enormous weight (no pun intended) in opera circles. But I am sure none of them intended to show up for their gigs. I understand bait and switch is illegal in commerce and ought to be in the arts too.

    • Cicciabella

      At least he’s consistent. Two Carmens cancelled in NY and two in London, so neither city feels disadvantaged. Opera houses the world over, and escpecially punters, can learn from these sham commitments. On the plus side for those who have tickets, the replacement, Andrea Carè seems to be quite talented.

      • Cocky Kurwenal

        Andrea Care was really good in Nabucco, I’d be pleased to see him instead of Kaufmann.

        • manou

          Me too -- and really going this Saturday to see the Micaëla…

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            I’m going the following Saturday which I think means I get Byrne as Micaela. Really want to hear Rachvelishvili live.

      • Camille

        I have never forgiven him for canceling those two Carmens that FragendeFrau for which she was all signed up.
        Most ungentlemanly.

        Seriously, maybe being a *Gott* has gotten to him and he is tiring a bit of it all. How old is he? Around 45-46-ish, and recently divorced or divorcing with the strain of still providing for his family. A lot on one’s plate already, without having to think about Don José’s mad passion and jail sentence.

        “Human, all too human”, or something of that nature.

        • FragendeFrau82

          Thank you liebe Camille for thinking of me. I did have a horrible sense of deja vu when I read the news this morning. Work commitments kept me from making the long voyage this time to achieve my dream of seeing JK sing Don José in the theater. For the best, it seems. Meanwhile I hope that JK recovers fully from this viral illness!

          • Camille

            I have never forgotten it for I was mortified by it all, on your account.

            Don’t worry--the day will come again when everything combines in such a way that you will have a chance to more readily hear him sing.

            By the way!!!!!!!!!—have you noticed that his concert next year will be broadcast live over WQXR.org??? At least THAT is for free and in some small way may recompense you. Look on the Carnegie Hall website or http://www.WQXR.org for more detail--I just read this myself the other day.

            • FragendeFrau82

              Thank you Camille, I didn’t know that. Luckily I am in possession of a ticket to this very recital! But I will tell my friends about the live broadcast closer to the time.

        • mrsjohnclaggart

          There is also the Jonas ravenous new (recent by now) girlfriend whose insatiability has shocked some and thrilled others and who — and you know me, an enemy to gossip — may have caused him to cancel … other things.

          • Hmm… He’s supposed to be in La Damnation de Faust at the Bastille starting Dec 5…

            • manou

              Damned if he does…

      • Feldmarschallin

        Well maybe the Londoners would like to come to the Staatsoper where he will sing Parsifal with Stemme, Gerhaher and Pape conducted by Petrenko. 2018.

        • armerjacquino

          Of course! An air fare, a hotel, and a different opera by another composer in three years time is the perfect solution for disappointed ticketholders. I feel stupid not to have thought of it.

          • Feldmarschallin

            The performances will sell out regardless if Londoners want to come or not. Isn’t there Easy Jet or Ryan Air where one can fly cheap. Opera was never a cheap hobby. I have always travelled to see certain singers or operas or productions. Would find it boring just to go to one opera house. Also a good way to explore different cities. But I know there are those who just like to stay at home in front of the computer. Anyway I am off to hear Pape, Botha and Kampe in Walküre now. Cheers.

            • armerjacquino

              You have to be trolling now. I can barely afford to go to the opera in London, let alone travel for it. What a loathsomely entitled post.

            • Lohengrin

              Where is that Walküre with a great Wotan, brillant Sieglinde and boring but good singing Siegmund?
              (By the way: loved Kampe as Senta from Zürich)

            • grimoaldo

              You’re not doing your two favs any favours here Feld with these posts. Kaufmann and Harteros do both cancel a lot, and since I know you know them both, at least on a “chat in the dressing room after the show” basis, you are making me think they cancel for very flimsy reasons (“nah, don’t want to do that if I have to rehearse” “don’t feel like going all the way over to London that week”).
              Yes, as I said, people, including me, do save up and plan for special trips to see operas and explore new cities, that is one reason why such a cavalier attitude on the part of the singers to actually turning up and singing is so unfair. They are both wonderful artists but I wouldn’t travel for either of them now.

            • Feldmarschallin

              Nur 1 Aufzug also kein Wotan. Münchner Philharmoniker. I knew opera wasn’t a cheap hobby when I started buying LP’s and paid DM 129 for the Callas Aida and Karajan Rosenkavalier. At least I could go for 6 DM on student tickets.

            • PCally

              jacquino, I just wouldn’t bother. Some people will just remain ignorant of their own smug entitlement. The notion the people who cannot afford to travel to globe fail to do so because they would rather watch clips and listen to recordings is as idiotic and it is arrogant.

            • Lohengrin

              Pape = Hunding, isnt he?

          • Not a solution if he cancels again. I did go to the trouble of becoming a “Friend” of CG (which I am not) so I could get tickets to see him in Les Troyens at the ROH. Eurostar fares, hotel, restaurants…

            • manou

              Did you feel short-changed by Hymel? I thought he acquitted himself rather well in the circumstances.

            • Lohengrin

              I was there, Hymel was good (no Jonas but good); also Antonacci and Westbroek. Loved it

            • No doubt Hymel acquitted himself well, but I wouldn’t have forked out, what was it, £80? to be a “Friend” for starters, then whatever the tickets cost (a lot, of course), the train fares, the hotel room, the meals… to see Hymel. And I wasn’t hugely impressed by the production.

              It’s all on my blog.

            • manou

              Fair enough -- although one is always taking a chance. I shall look it up on your blog. Meanwhile, it seems that Kaufmann has given up on singing Enée -- or has he done it elsewhere?

            • “One is always taking a chance”. The opera-goer’s epitaph. An alternative name for my blog.

            • manou

              How about “Opera was never a cheap hobby”?

        • Resistopiu

          Oh wow now there’s an idea!!!!Tell me how secure my ticket would be if it were possible to buy one 3 years in advance? Oh and in that crystal ball of yours how much the ticket, airfare, hotel will be then? but of course as you say opera was and will be expensive.

  • Camille

    Lilli Lehmann--oh no, she was not so much beloved as respected and feared.

    Rosa Ponselle, then? NO?

    Mirella or Renata, most likely.

    • AllKnowingSeashell

      Indeed, “freni” -- “breaks” in Italian.

  • EarlyRomantic

    Renata Scotto, Martina Arroyo or Nay-Nay (she has entered veteran territory by now, no?).

  • EarlyRomantic

    Or Aprile Millo.

  • pavel

    Brakes = Fregni, Mirella Freni’s original last name

    • pavel

      Oops, Google informs me that brakes is “freni.”

  • LT

    Well, Freni is quite the bitter viper these days. And her masterclasses are a joke

    • messa di voce

      Nothing bitter about Freni in that tape. The students seem to appreciate what she is doing.

    • EarlyRomantic

      Freni is indeed brutal and rude in this masterclass.

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

    Latest cancellation news: Wiener Staatsoper just announced that Simon Keenlyside is out of “Ballo” in January. This was to have been his return to the stage (and his role debut). Does anyone have any updates on his health situation?

    • Porgy Amor

      I don’t know more about the health situation, but I’m surprised the theater is only now announcing this. It was on Keenlyside’s site last month. Petean replacing.

    • Hippolyte

      Didn’t he sing Macbeth in Japan on tour with the Royal Opera in September?