Cher Public

Lulu’s back in town

Continuing coverage of the Met’s new Alban Berg spectacular includes Our Own JJ‘s extended review, now online at the Observer website, and a critique by Ivan Martinson (aka Hans Lick) in GBOPERA. (Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.)

  • zinka

    I told you Gelb knew who should sing Konstanze this year..His taste is improving.

    Also, Vera is reviving the Gran Scena and…….

    • Cicciabella

      LOL, where do you find this gold, zinka? I think Fanny Soprano would be even better in Lulu.

      Meanwhile, this one is not as good. Someone call Child Protection Services!

      • gustave of montreal

        Pipe down little girl

  • laddie

    Another spectacular review. I will not miss this HD.

  • marshiemarkII

    [singing]…but a little underpowered

    What a fabulous review Cieca, one of your best!

    Just a quibble, I thought Petersen’s singing was not a little but very underpowered. Except for the final 15 minutes or so, I thought there were places where it sounded as marking. Again we are not just talking about the huge cavernous Met, once again, as [relatively] small voices like Oropesa, or even Dessay, or the sublime Ying Fang just project gloriously, and provide full satisfaction, at least for me.
    Petersen’s tone is frequently hollow and thin as to be unpleasant, without ever being shrill. To further buttress the case, I remember seeing her last season at the Met Opening Nozze. Her portrayal was voicewise totally inconsequential the whole evening, and suddenly for Deh vieni, the voice opened up and whoa, there was a real voice there! and it was phrased beautifully, and so on. It was as if she suddenly came to life just for that. But what a looooong night!

    With Lulu there is no denying that it was most definitely NOT a long night, she is a force of nature from the first minute, and you can never take your eyes off of her again, and her transition to the depths, as the tragedy progresses was overwhelming. As a complete package she probably has no equals, and the reason why the Met hired of course. But the opera queen (yes Kruno, lower case q!) in me would have wanted a whole lot more VOCE. Who could have SUNG it better today? I am not asking this question purely rhetorically, or even less for catty or camp purposes. I am genuinely interested in the answer, not familiar enough with the up and coming singers in Europe, who could have delivered Wagnerian punch, with the requisite flights to the stratosphere, and be a decent enough facsimile of Petersen in the acting/looks side. I hope dearly the answer is not NO ONE!

  • Krunoslav

    “Who could have SUNG it better today?”

    Barbara Hannigan
    (Maybe) Laura Aikin

    But I did enjoy Petersen a lot opening night- more so than opening night of NOZZE.

    • marshiemarkII

      Barbara Hannigan I’ve heard of (though unfortunately not “heard”) and is a recurring name as Lulu, I should make an effort to listen to her. Aiken is in one of the Carmelites videos (Scala? so that one I can listen to by the weekend). But interestingly enough the list is really short, more less as I expected…..

      Now I said “marking” above but that was the best word I could find when you are in a hurry, I think what she did is more like a deliberate hollowing out of the core of the voice. I heard a similar sound last year when Levine and the Met Ensemble did Pierrot Lunaire, and the soprano (whose name escapes me now) was a second Viennese specialist. So maybe Petersen was stylistically correct. I think that the orchestration is so lush and rich that you’d want to have a big Wagnerian sound riding right over, but maybe Petersen was more authentic?

      I felt the other singers were also for the most part underpowered, in particular Reuter. He was so moving and the singing so beautiful as Barak last year, and the slightly smaller size than usual didn’t bother me one tiny bit, but here it did, it wasn’t authoritative enough as Schoen, and overpowering enough as Jack the Ripper. The Alwa the less said the better, which leaves good ol’ 79 year old Grundheber as the most satisfying vocally, strange, right? Oh and of course my dream Geschwitz is Margaret Price in that Lulu Suite set, where she just soars, and soars, and soars with overwhelming beauty (Ewigkeit!), poor Graham just doesn’t have that grand arch up there anymore, marvelous acting and movingly sympathetic, but vocally, not either. Strange because with all these complaints I should have hated it, but I still consider it a magnificent musico-theatrical experience. I have tickets for the 24th (first row, don’t know if that is good or bad at this point, probably good as theater, right?) and I am trying to see it at least one more time…..

      • Barbara Hannigan was really remarkable in Brussels, in Warlikowski’s production. Now out on video IIRC.

      • Cicciabella

        Young Anna Prohaska has the potential to be a great Lulu. She has the top notes and also the carrying power, although she’s a lyric soprano. Theatrically she’s an absorbing performer and already a very good lieder singer (a test of whether a singer can bring the text across). I think she’s wise enough not to take on the full role this early in her career, but I’d love to hear her as Lulu someday when she’s ready:

        An excerpt from the Lulu Suite with Abbado:

      • marshiemarkII

        Cara Cicciaisssima, just saw this, many thanks!, I really liked this girl also, I liked that kind of dunkel sound at the beginning. So sad to see Abbado close to the end, it is him conducting the same Lulu Suite, many decades earlier, with Maggie P! sic transit gloria……

  • mrsjohnclaggart

    The Greatest Barbara Hannagan in Lulu’s aria, with footage from the INSANE production (conceived on ACID but I love it and her) that NPW-Paris refers to above.

  • mrsjohnclaggart

    One my FAVE parts of the score, incredible, fabulous, thrilling, known as the “monoritmica”. which I used to play on record every day as a 13 and 14 year old. I still can’t get over. Barbara is fabulous simply “being”.

    • DeepSouthSenior

      There’s a delightful performance from June 2015 of the complete Facade by William Walton on the Berlin Phil.’s Digital Concert Hall. Barbara Hannigan and Sir Simon alternate as conductor and narrator. To me, Hannigan is not only physically stunning with an agile, acrobatic voice perfectly suited to her repertoire, she is also a great entertainer. I emphasize “entertainer” rather than “actor.” Never slight the sheer power to grip an audience and hold their attention. Ideally, artistic considerations should always rule, but we’re just not wired like that. (At least I’m not.) We all know that a powerful presence can cover a multitude of vocal sins.

      I’ve been thinking of the power of entertainment since Mrs. DSS and I saw Donnie and Marie Osmond in Las Vegas last week. (Take that, you snobs!) For our final night, what would we see? “Showstoppers” at the Wynn, two Cirque Du Soleil -- been there, done that. (I’m almost too embarrassed to mention The Tournament of Kings. Does that make me “prokitschyguy”?) For our big sendoff, would it be Chippendale’s or the newest, biggest buslesque show? After about five seconds of serious discussion, we settled on Donny and Marie. They aren’t great artists, or even great singers, but they are supreme entertainers. And so is Barbara Hannigan.

  • mrsjohnclaggart

    Barbara just incredible in Ligeti:

  • mrsjohnclaggart

    Barbara in one of the most glorious pieces of opera-music written in the 20th century, “No word from Tom”, she conducts AND sings (we ancients of days have worn out the great Hilde Gueden performance of this from the first Met b’cast, as astounding piece of singing but Barbara does very, very well and is SO human!)

    • marshiemarkII

      Barbara is sensational in all of these clips! where has she been all my life?!?!?!?!? thank you thank you thank you for all these marvelous clips. Of course I am on my way to get the Warlikowski DVDs immediately, it looks simply fabulous from those bits!

      Madame C! I was in your blog last night, and had a feast reading your ON article! but your write up on “Oscar” was so full of humanity and empathy that it was in another plane, another planet really! so moving! as were your thoughts on the Marschallin in the other thread!

      As such, I continue to eagerly await your thoughts on Lulu, the opera, of course, not the campery on the singers, etc for that we lesser Qs can do just fine! please do stick around, you have too many fans here!

    • EarlyRomantic

      On this we depart. To me, Barbara Hannigan is the Simone Kermes of the brainy-atonal-new-music industrial complex. She is near-robotic. Artificial intelligence. No soul.

  • mrsjohnclaggart

    Barbara sings three minutes worth of some of the most beautiful music written by Stravinsky from his masterpiece, Le Rossignol.

    • mrsjohnclaggart

      Since Barbara was there last night I don’t know how the Arrau selection got in under Barbara singing a little of Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol (Mrs Claggart took a master class with Mo. Arrau who asked sweetly, “isn’t there something else you could do?”.) I do suspect one of those members of the club Krunoslav refers to elsewhere tinkered somehow. But let’s see if THIS sticks.

  • mrsjohnclaggart

    Barbara in part of one of my favorite Boulez pieces, Pli Selon Pli, amazing intonation, incredible vocal composure and expressive intent in music of immense seductiveness.

  • mrsjohnclaggart

    Barbara in WRITTEN ON SKIN, among the most beautiful operas, period, and her tracing of the vocal line is amazing — this is too short but gives an idea (it’s complete on DVD)

  • redbear

    The greatest performance I have ever witnessed in my life (and that would be quite a few) was Barbara repelling out of the sky and singing both Clitoria and Gepopo in Le Grand Macabre in Brussels (2009). Alex Olle’s production was simply outrageous in the best sense. It was a real tragedy that this was not captured on DVD.

    • redbear

      I did write “rappelling” but it got “corrected.”

  • Cicciabella

    As JJ writes, Kentridge’s Lulu is a visual masterpiece. But no love for the eminent Franz Grundheber? Or was JJ’s editor ruthless with the red pencil?

    Several reviews are praising the Personenregie, which is heartening, because in Amsterdam there was very little of it. A lot of posing, but the characters did not really interact. They have obviously done something about this, so well done Met Opera. For me the Louise Brooks lookalike actress on the piano added nothing to the production: I have no idea what her function is. I think there was also a male mime, which I also thought they could have done without. But Kentridge’s dissection of Lulu into her artistic and fantasy representations is brilliant.

  • PCally

    I have no idea whether or not Agneta Eichenholz still sings the role, and I have feeling that she’d be too small scaled in a house the size of the met, but her performance on the ROH is tied with Christine Schafer as the finest of all IMO and that dvd is sublime in every way. It makes more sense to me to have a more passive and empty Lulu as opposed to a hypersexual aggressor (Petersen seems very manic judging by the clips, but I’ll see for myself in the HD). It makes her allure more elusive and mysterious and makes her reactions to things (or lack there of) all the more startling and effective. Schafer in particular was really formative for me in terms of how I viewed the character. A great singer, much missed (by me anyway).

    I’ve not yet seen Hannigan’s dvd but I may buy it for Christmas since I’m eager to see both her and the production. Based on her written on skin performance this summer I’m sure she’d be excellent.

    • Porgy Amor

      Eichenholz is great indeed as the icy Lulu of the Loy/Pappano. Almost everything about that production was outstanding in the version filmed and released on DVD, including the best father/son act I’ve yet seen in it (Volle/Vogt) and Larmore as one of the outstanding Geschwitzes.

      Hannigan is a force. I could not get too excited about the cast around on the Brussels DVD (though no one is awful, and Randle makes a lot of the Painter), and it seemed to me that Warlikowski’s busy production suffocated the opera with detail and eccentricity. I thought seeing it more than once would make the staging grow on me, but there was the opposite effect. He has a lot of ideas; I just wish he had picked out the best of them and done some ruthless self-editing. I’m still glad to have it for Hannigan.

      • PCally

        I’m a bigger fan of Warlikowski than you are I imagine. The way you describe your feelings about his production is the way I feel about a lot of his stuff but for some reason it never seems to bother me all that much. Don’t know why, I just think his staging’s are super dynamic and his aesthetic is gorgeous. Was just watching his Alceste on YouTube and while there were parts that didn’t make sense, there’s an extended dinner scene which is just astonishingly well-staged. Denoke sounds dreadful (was supposed to be Antonacci) but she’s just riveting to watch. I’m eager to see both his Lulu and his Medee.

        Regarding Larmore, she premiered the Kentridge production and I kind of wish she’d come over to the met instead of Graham. I was never the biggest fan of her when she specialized in Rossini and Handel but since refurbishing her rep she’s really become something special. Her performances in Jenufa is quite wonderful and, like her countess, quite different from what one normally encounters in the role.

        Porgy, did you see the Loy live? I’ve always wondered if it’s one of those productions that worked better on dvd than onstage. It got a generally mixed reception.

        • Cocky Kurwenal

          I saw the Loy live and the only thing that sticks in the memory is Larmore- the rest of it pretty much went for nothing, for me. Fascinated to learn that Vogt was in it, I didn’t realise I’d ever seen him live!

          • Porgy Amor

            I thought you liked it more than that, Cocky, from a post on actfive’s DVD review here at PB when the disc was released (I happened to read that when I was shopping). But, of course, things can fade over five years and many intervening performances.

            Vogt was Alwa, yes, and he made all but one phrase of it sound very easy. A magnificent piece of singing.

            In answer to PCally, I’ve only seen the video release of the Loy.

            • Cocky Kurwenal

              Old age must be setting in. I don’t recall what I said previously- I certainly like the Lulu a lot more than his Tristan or any other Loy I’ve seen, but that’s about all I can dredge up now.

        • Warlikowsi is the only director whose work I’d actually arrange travel to see.

  • Milady DeWinter

    I agree with PCally about Christine Schafer -- that was, for me, a Lulu for the ages, vocally and interpretively, and I think there is something to be said for the observation that Lulu (or whatever her “real” name is) can be just as effective as a soulless, empty vessel who gains in tragic stature as the opera’s denouement is achieved. That’s something that Schafer sort of did. Petersen’s is also a mighty achievement by doing the opposite. Hannigan’s Lulu is magnificent, period. But then Hannigan is magnificent in everything she does. The woman has so much talent it should be illegal.
    The trend only recently had evolved that Lulu’s vocal writing is perhaps best served by a high soprano, and for all that is going on in the orchestra, I think the basic orchestral texture is transparent. To be sure, there’s a lot going on, but in single, divergent layers. Only the interludes are more massively built.

    • PCally

      Changing the subject slightly, can I just write that I’ve always found Schafer to be a somewhat undervalued artist? I’ve never found her less than compelling and her premature decline really made me sad. I think her Cherubino is simply brilliant and that even with reduced resources, her Theodora was so moving.

      • nachEule

        I’m a Schäfer fan, too, and felt I “discovered” her only shortly before she kind of dropped out of sight. What is the story?

        • nachEule

          Although, belatedly checking Operabase, I see she’s had a handful of gigs since june of this year, so…?

          • PCally

            With the exception of a couple of the concerts, she cancelled all of those engagements. I may not be correct but I’m pretty sure the last operatic role she sang was the countess in concert. It didn’t go well apparently. I have to say that I found neither her Sophie nor her Cherubino to be anywhere near as bad as others did. But her best days, vocally speaking, were behind her.

            • Lohengrin

              Do You know her Violetta from Paris (I think 2007); a woman similar to Edith Piaf. She was heartbreaking there, have never seen such a 3rd act.

            • PCally

              I saw her live in the role (the Mussbach production in Berlin, brilliant btw) and she’s the single greatest Violetta I’ve seen live. Beautifully sung, if not Italianate, and extraordinary dramatically. The Paris production is pretty stupid but her and Kaufmann are sublime in it and the final duet is given the finest staging of it I’ve ever seen.

            • PCally

              also, how can one not think this is amazing

    • PCally

  • zinka

    Happy birthday to the kindest,sweetest lady…and she can also SING!!!!!!!!!

    Why don’t we have the old “Miscellaneous” section…I do not like Kristine to be buried in LULU!!!! But she is a “Lulu” of a girl……

    • Rudolf

      Ms. Opolais is an attractive woman. Her voice, however, and merely judging from this snippet, is unappealing to me.

    • zinka: The daily “on this day” threads (by WindyCityOperaman) are the miscellaneous, off-topic threads.

  • olliedawg

    This is why I love Parterre — Our JJ gives SuzyG kudos for her vocal and acting chops, marshie… thought she doesn’t have the requisite vocal chops anymore, and PCally wishes Larmore had sung the part. “She’s great,” “she’s meh”, “she should not be there”…all in 31 comments. You kids are amazing…as in Barbara Hannigan. I’ve always heard OF her, but never heard her. Pretty fearless and ferocious. Gotta make sure to see her in person.

    • marshiemarkII

      Cara OllieD! I just want to go on record that I really like SuzyG, and I heard her last year at the Metropolitan Museum, in a joint recital with the stupendous Layla Claire, and in a program tailored to her current voice she was wonderful. The exquisite Chere Nuit was by itself worth the whole evening, what a divine little song, and she has made it a regular in her recitals, and occasionally appears in CAS from Verbier (I think?), check it out it is really a gorgeous gem. So I am favorably predisposed to SuzyG at any time, but for the Geschwitz I really wanted a grand Wagnerian arch at the end, Mein Engel….in one breath, like Maggie Price! who is beyond sublime, but it was short of that…. I did looooove her chic liptsick ‘tude in Act II, and then the spectacular fall into the depths of degradation in Act III was so moving, her walk, her realization what’s happened to her….., great artist, and I am really looking forward to seeing her again. But for VOCE I’ll have to wait till la prochaine, whenever that might be….. it’s not as if Lulu performances are found hanging from trees ready for the taking!

    • PCally

      Olliedawg, my comment wasn’t meant to be critical of Graham, merely to highlight how excellent Larmore was in the role and how wonderful it would be to have to opportunity to see her live in the role. It makes sense that Graham was cast (she’s more famous, both in America and at the met) and while I’m not the biggest fan (though I enjoyed her most recent met didon) I’m sure that, vocally speaking at least, she’s quite fine in the role.

  • DeepSouthSenior

    I have the DVD of Patricia Pettibon as Lulu (Barcelona, 2010) that I bought a few months ago but haven’t watched yet. Any comments on her interpretation/performance?

    • manou

      Wear protective clothing when you watch it.

    • DeepSouthSenior

      Ha! That’s intriguing. Now I must watch soon.

      • PCally

        If you like Petibon you’ll like her, if you don’t this performance won’t change your mind. I tend to like her and in general I enjoyed her Lulu but she’s very much the self-consciously sexy femme fatale so I have a hard time loving it. I will also add though that the role takes her to her absolute limits. In addition, Salzburg gave her a better production, cast, and conductor (also on DVD).

    • DeepSouthSenior

      Did anyone here see Teresa Stratas as Lulu at the Met in the early 1980’s? I have fond memories of a broadcast on PBS. Alas, I can’t find a video anywhere, on DVD or at Met Opera on Demand. I suppose this production would be considered PG-13 by today’s standards, and Stratas’ Lulu rather tame. But the voice was glorious, and she was always easy on the eyes.

      Here’s one more Lulu tidbit from a 2013 article on Natalie Dessay in The Huffington Post (no, I don’t go there for politics!):

      “The role she most regrets never performing is the title character in Berg’s atonal masterpiece ‘Lulu.’

      ‘I couldn’t learn it,’ she said. ‘It’s just horribly long. Musically, I’m not a good reader. And I don’t have perfect pitch. It would have taken me two years.'”

      Well, we know that Lulu is not atonal, but 12-tone. Anyhow, I love the usual refreshing candor from Ms. Dessay.

      • Porgy Amor

        Stratas sang the role at the Met in the Dexter production four times in 1980-81, and the last of those performances was a radio broadcast, but the telecast (and thus the DVD) had Julia Migenes. Migenes’s interpretation has its admirers, but I find her less interesting than Stratas and some more recent Lulus (Schäfer, Eichenholz, Hannigan). Dexter’s production was one of his best, though.

        Stratas was filmed in the other famous ’70s production of the then-new three-act edition, Chéreau/Boulez in Paris, but this has never had an “official” video release.

      • DeepSouthSenior

        Thanks for the correction, Porgy! More false memories, which swarm around me as time marches on. I must have confused the Lulu telecast with the classic picture of Stratas on the cover of the DG audio recording with Boulez conducting.

        • PCally

          DSS, this is the video you are thinking about

          Despite the iffy quality it is an AMAZING performance, and as brilliant as Stratas is, the level of detail in her performance is due IMO to Chereau, who I believe was one of the greatest stage directors in history. The close reading of the text is immediately apparent and the naturalistic acting is a superlative trademark of his.

          • Chéreau is still sorely missed.

            • PCally

              His Tristan is probably my favorite dvd I own. It’s just overwhelming how amazing it is.

      • DSS: Refreshing candour from Dessay indeed. Too bad she couldn’t learn the role. With her love of dramatic roles and her temperament often exceeding the size of her voice, Lulu would have fit the bill very nicely.

  • marshiemarkII

    Just back from my third Lulu, it gets more astonishing with each viewing!. What was wonderfully impressive is that on an odd Tuesday night, the theater was full, and STAYED full past the second act, hardly anybody left, which is fantastic news in NY, where people used to flee from a Berg opera.

    Petersen started with her usual hollowed out voice in act I, and suddenly opened up like a volcano in O Freiheit and from then on girlfriend was ON in a major way, to rise up to an astounding second half of act III. She really gives a tour de force the likes of which we have not seen in NY in a while. She is obviously growing with each new performance, and I am beginning to finally get what a marvelous artist we have! Similarly with SuzyG, she was far freer, and the pathos at the end was overwhelming. A magnificent and extraordinarily well-deserved ovation greeted them at the end. The Qs that have not yet seen this masterpiece should rush to see it, before long it will be gone, and it may be many years before we have it again! I had seats way in the back, under the overhang, and still the voices projected wonderfully. Next Tuesday I will see it from the first row, it will be very interesting to compare. What a beautiful night!!!

    • Milady DeWinter

      Marshie, I expect a doctoral thesis from you on “Lulu” any day now!
      I am looking forward to the HD for sure.
      When I first started going to the opera, in the 2oth century (ouch!)Sarah Caldwell’s production, the regie of its time, was but my second “live” operatic performance, and it has haunted me to this day.
      I did not necessarily appreciate it then, but I knew I might some day. Well, happily, that day is here, and has been for quite a while.
      We are lucky to have Peterson literally give her all in such a savvy and powerful production.
      Enjoy the first row next week, and watch out for that Ripper!

    • marshiemarkII

      My darlingest Milady, you are too kind, “doctoral thesis” if I only had the brains to be able to summarize that kaleidoscope of layers and meaning in the production. With each viewing it gets a little bit better but maybe at the end I will have a more complete understanding……..

      Yes I have to catch up with lost time (A la recherche…) because while I have been a huge fan of WOzzeck for over 30 years (imagine who I saw :lol:), I saw Lulu only once back in 1980(?) and went definitely over my head, and never gave it a chance again. But this time older and wiser, I heard the first notes in the rehearsal and I was transfixed. Now I have always loved the Lulu Suite but the complete opera had eluded me. When was the Sarah Caldwell? I wonder if I was in Boston back then but I sure would remember if I saw it there, and I am almost sure I only saw it once at the Met in the old Dexter of course, have no recollection if it was Migenes or Stratas. Weird, right, when I remember how long a singer held a Bflat in other performances of similar vintage :lol:

      Anyway, next week will be interesting given that I have seen it from middle orchestra and back orchestra, and both sounded wonderful and gave me a huge panoramic view, to see from the first row the detailed acting! not to mention to practically be inside the orchestra!

      • Milady DeWinter

        Again, we agree, Marshie! Wozzeck held no terrors for me at any time, but Lulu took some recovery time, err, decades. (Boston must have been ca.1969 or so. I had not yet graduated high school, I remember that, and Donald Gramm was in it, but then, he was in everything Sarah did, and he was always wonderful and mesmerizing.)
        In fact, it was the gifted Ms. Migenes in her 11th hour substitution for La Stratas who made a Lulu believer of me. Such fire and intelligence she had, the range dismayed her not one bit, and by then, twelve tone rows were just another set of scales for me.

    • PCally

      Miss Petersen’s first run at the met and have kicking myself for that based on the reception she apparently got. Now I’m out of the country and will be missing her final run of the role….Very much looking forward to the HD at least. I’ve been impressed with everything I’ve seen of hers.

    • marshiemarkII

      Yes my darlingest Milady we were twin Qs separated at birth it seems more and more :-) .
      But you know even Wozzeck I had trouble with at first. I saw it for the first time with Van Dam!!!!! And Anja Silja replacing the pregnant Hildegard Behrens. It went for nothing, ah youth wasted on the young! And then in 1985 for the premiere of Hildegard’s first Marie at the Met I was still not really on board. And it was she who literally forced me to go to the theater for the second performance, which was the broadcast, and gave a perfect excuse to stay home, and then suddenly the interlude right before the Inn Scene comes, with that sublime little motif on the flutes (I think it is the armer leute motif?), and then the broken Laendler on the violins, and the gates of heaven opened wide and I was on the road…… I saw every single performance she ever did at the Met including the astounding last ones in 1999, but the greatest of them all was at Carnegie Hall with the Cleveland and von Dohnanyi in 1996, magnificent performance that one! And return to the Vienna DVD over and over, now of course loving every last little second of the music. But Lulu since that 1980 performance never gave it a chance again. Once in a long while I’d put to Boulez recording to test the waters and no luck. There is always a time and a place, and it finally came for me and Lulu!

      • Milady DeWinter

        Well you know Marshie, sometimes it DOES take a Diva to Do the Job -- and you got one, deluxe edition, with Hildegard.

        • marshiemarkII

          Our posts crossed carisssima darlingissima Milady, I love that and will always remember it: DeLuxe Edition

      • marshiemarkII

        And of course it is armE Leute motif. Too much ArmeRjacquino around here :-)

      • PCally

        You didn’t like Silja as Marie. It seems like she was pretty amazing in the role according to what other people have told me.

        • marshiemarkII

          Well no, not exactly, that is not what I said, imagine! you could have also implied that I didn’t like Jose van Dam, who is one of the most uncontroversially “great singers of all time”. The point I was trying to make was that in 1979 or 80 when that was, all that greatness on stage wasn’t good enough to persuade me, because I was young and dumb (thinking Turandot was great music!!!! :lol:). In fact, even the greatest Hildegard Behrens didn’t manage to make me love the piece anymore than the others, on the premiere of her first run in 1985, and it was not until that second performance, when the stars were properly aligned in heaven, and I finally clicked, and have loved that piece with all my soul since, but most specially that interlude before the Inn scene, which was the key for me to get in.

          With Lulu it took me 30 more years, but here we are, and your girl Petersen was quite simply fantastic last night, and I totally surrendered :lol:

          • PCally

            Marshie, it was meant as a questions but I forgot the question mark. My first live Marie was Maria Ewing so naturally it took me a while to get on board with the piece. I genuinely thought that’s what the music sounded like. It wasn’t until I saw others in the role than I actually realized Ewing just couldn’t sing.

          • marshiemarkII

            Don’t worry, I did see your implied “?”, the problem was perhaps how I formulated my initial answer, not making it sufficiently clear that no cast (no matter how great) would have made me like the piece, at that particular point in my life. I had just not sufficiently developed the required sensitivity to understand the beauty, in those squalid lives, let alone the music. And then it happened with Wozzeck, but not with Lulu…., who knows why. For me opera has always been instinctive, not intellectual at first. Later I read up more, learn the music, the historical context, etc, but the first reaction has to always be by instinct. With the Carmelites it was absolutely love at first sight (or hearing :-) ), but Berg took its time. And I wasn’t a total indiscriminate brute at that point, having grown up with the Ring, Parsifal and Elektra since I was a teen. Meistersinger, on the other hand, came much much later.

            Now, the 1979 Wozzeck I had to see it twice, believe it or not, because the first time, we used up subscription tickets from a friend whose parents didn’t want to go, he now lives in Paris, but was visiting and we went to Lulu together last night, how the circle keeps turning and turning…. And the second time, a trick at the Mine Shaft was thrilled to know this young Q liked opera, so he took me to Wozzeck!!!!!! I do remember Anja being incredibly wobbly, which I think was the current voice she had back then, and her being very tall and lanky and beautiful, but don’t remember much else. Now poor Maria Ewing (a wonderful Blanche!) was absolute pure filth at that time, didn’t see the Wozzeck of course, but did see the Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, from the same period. So I can totally imagine and sympathize with your predicament :lol: