Cher Public

Ouvre tes yeux bleus

Which soprano/tenor team won’t have to hunt very hard for a triumph on December 31. 2016, when the Met reunites them for a new production of Roméo et Juliette?

  • The Poet Lenski

    Damrau and Grigolo?

    • gustave of montreal

      Raoul Jobin and Grace Moore?

      • Gualtier M

        Surely Léopold Simoneau and Pierette Alarie, mon ami?

        • danpatter

          Nellie Melba and Jean de Reszke, surely! That would be my vote.

          • Mario and Adelina Patti!

            • danpatter

              Even better!

  • I’m guessing Anna Moffo and Sandor Konya.

  • 98rsd

    I can only hope “Blind” doesn’t refer to Bocelli…But perhaps it means La Cieca is scheduled!

  • LT

    Bobby and Draculette?

    Future met states Damrau as Juliette which is kinda hard to imagine.

    • The Poet Lenski

      “Won’t have to hunt” = Diana, the huntress. It’s Damrau. And the title is a Massenet reference (Damrau just sang Manon at the Met to rapturous reviews, opposite Grigolo).

  • Gualtier M

    Grigolo and Damrau were in “Manon” together. I have also heard that Grigolo is singing in revival of “Werther” next season (Jean-Francois Borras has some performances and also is singing Nicias in the “Thaïs” revival with Yoncheva.) BTW: I am one of those who is a big naysayer on Damrau’s Manon which I found both weirdly oversung and undersung and wildly overacted and unsexy. Vittorio was fabulous -- keep him in French opera.
    The clue here is that “hunt very hard” phrase. They may have to hunt very hard since I am pretty sure that Gelb is rehiring Bart Sher to recreate his Salzburg production. I am also wondering about Damrau’s voice -- I saw the recital and she was scaling back her tone. But a friend said he heard definite shortening and thinning on the upper end (she sang up to an occasional B) with some shrillness intruding.

    • steveac10

      The production is already built and in use. Chicago is doing it this season and their website credits the Met as the owner of the production.

  • Rowna

    Well for a shocker -- what if Ms Poplovskaya had a vocal turnaround and Mr. Gelb gave her another chance. She and JK did sing Faust, and I bet Kaufmann could sing anything he would want, although Romeo is not one I would think he would be pining for.

  • Satisfied

    Went back to the Met Future Page…really starting to look forward to next season: lots of Yoncheva, exciting new productions and many well cast revivals.

  • Milady DeWinter

    I’m with Gualtier M regarding Damrau’s Manon, with the exception that ultimately, she did sway me to her side, by sheer dint of force, and with a lack of any etincellence (I know that’s not a real word), or even a clean scale. And Grigolo finally swayed me to his side -- not a fan of his Hoffmann, but that is a different “sing” than Des Griuex. And oy, that scream at the curtain! It was great.
    However once past the Waltz, Damrau as Juliette may be ok despite a lot of pushed tone at the top, which is what I’ve come to expect of her. Leila should hopefully evoke a gentler approach, but the score, despite some very beautiful tunes, is in its net effect, very lightweight. IMO, Lakme has much more to offer. But god forbid, I wouldn’t want to hear Damrau in that role now.
    I saw Pecheurs years ago in a Philadelphia revival with Nathan Gunn and William Burden at their buff-est, costumed (or more correctly un-costumed))in their trademark loincloths, with a wistfully lovely Hei-Kyung Hong, and it was still overall a “meh”. The new Met import production looks interesting, so one can always hope for an epiphany.

    • Rowna

      I saw a Pearl Fisher in Pittsburgh with a typical cast of up and coming singers. What a bore fest! I would say that a good pair of scissors to the score and an imaginative director, focusing on the AUDIENCE, would help a great deal.

      • Milady DeWinter

        Rowna, isn’t there a current Pecheurs production circulating that is staged as a reality/game show set in front of an audience? See? You missed your calling! As a seer or a director!

          • Milady DeWinter

            You’re on the ball, Ciecissima!
            (How dare they copy my morning yoga mit rice and vocalezzi stretch, anyway?)

    • Krunoslav

      “a Philadelphia revival with Nathan Gunn and William Burden at their buff-est, costumed (or more correctly un-costumed))in their trademark loincloths, with a wistfully lovely Hei-Kyung Hong”

      The Leila was in fact the wistfully lovely Mary Dunleavy, I thought the performance pretty much ideal.

      • Gualtier M

        Isabel Bayrakdarian sang Leila in one of the Pearl Fishers runs with the Gunn-Burden hunkenduo

      • mrsjohnclaggart

        Krunoslava, you know I wanted to ask you if you had worn out your “authentic” Pearl Fishers with John Aler, Gino Quilico and Barbara Hendricks (smarter than us all, I ween, she was a kind of genius in the sciences until she threw all that math over and sang. I hope you have her Schubert with the very greatest Radu Lupu, who I saw break all hearts with Bartok 3 last season completely ignoring Yannick who didn’t know what Radu was doing.)

        You know there is no orchestral score by Bizet, his wife threw his MS out. (She was the daughter of Fromental Halévy and evidently an idiot).

        I think that one with Barbara is the careful Hammon ed. touched up by that genius Plasson. But I LOVE some of the older ones where WHOEVER makes insane harmonic choices, especially in the winds. I think there was a standard one that Choudens, Bizet’s publisher, was pushing, which was the MOST insane! Also, a lot of the third act was composed by Benjamen Godard in a noticeably different style.

        That echt Frenchman Brad Cohen produced a “definitive” edition somewhere around 2000, using a suddenly found conductor’s score by Bizet, abbreviated in notation, but suggesting reasonable choices. It’s like the Cerha LULU act three!!!! I guess the Met will use this.

        I LOVE Bizet, a real genius, the Symphony in C is fabulous and he was only 17 when he wrote it, I also AM (as you know) Carmen despite all the damage inflicted on it, righted in recent years by Michael Kaye. I’m so sorry Bizet had to fight to set every scene he wanted to base accurately on Merimee’s original. The scene where Carmencita, filthy from head to toe, cooks her famous pepper soup and tells the narrator’s fortune accurately (that would have been Merimee, who liked lice) is just priceless and think what Georges would have done with that (I know she has a fortune telling scene but tells her own fortune, oddly like mine in some particulars, but it’s worked into a standard comique scene with those two twitterers).

        And to think Merimee, who liked his opium, was INTIMATE with the amazing George Sand, the butchest being in all of the French Empire when France had an empire. You, Krunoslava, must have read his “translations” from the Russian.

        Oh, well when I was a terrible snob I didn’t like Pearl Fishers, too diatonic for me, but now with age come on, it’s like a lukewarm bath. At least, as I remember them from when I could fit into tubs.

        • Krunoslav

          Never warmed to Hendricks in opera. I did hear her sing a fine recital once ( San Fran 1988 , with Dmitri Alexeev).

          I grew up on René Leibowitz’s LPs with the late Mattiwilda Dobbs and echt Frenchman Enzo Seri and then encountered the Angel set with Gedda and the collabo Micheau, who was passée in all of the 50s recordings I have heard. In my collection presently:

          Vanzo/collabo Micheau/Bacquier
          Kraus/Maliponte/echt Frenchman Bruscantini-- Adriana M. is the best Leila on records, bar none.

          It’s, to me, a perfect “B” opera.

          • mrsjohnclaggart

            I saw Barbara Hendricks at Met with aging B. Fassbaender and Tomato-Sintax, then with Brenda Boozer (the ex Mrs. Robert Klein) and the unforgotten Romano Nieders as Baron Ochs (!) and later that season with the greatest Soderstrom and your fave Artur Korn as Ochs. First conductor was Tate (there was a mean joke among Italian musicians about him, a pun on “spalle” — shoulders — since the leader in Italian pit orchestras is called “il spalle del’ maestro” hardiharhar) then Jimmeh. Barbara didn’t have much volume, and I recall Brigitte may have had a touch of the rumatize as she appeared to be able to walk only crabwise and bent.

            She came back for Figaro in ’89 I think, with the former Mr. Frittoli, Natalie De Carolis, a very nice man.

            But I LOVED her when she was a baby singing St. Settlement in Four Saints in Three Acts (her debut) presented by the Met at the sonically untreated Forum at the Beaumont (now the Mitzi Newhouse a complex of sound enhancements). Roland Gag(non) the individual who wrote all those wildly horrible endless ornaments for Ms. Sills (a saint herself as you know) conducted and it all fell apart the first night, but Virgil was there and took a bow to a standing ovation.

            That was part of the Mini-Met, which they abandoned but not before Evie Lear and Thomas Stewart did Dido and Aeneas. A big hoot, with a new French opera as “first act”.

            I have that Vanzo Pearl Fishers since he was a miracle (with Bacquier, and Spoorenberg who is Ansermet’s SECOND Melisande after that divine First recording with our sister, you know, S. Danco and the wonderful Mollet) but I agree with you about Maliponte, the very great.

            • When Tate conducted a production of Ariadne in which the house guests were in fancy dress as opera characters I heard someone say “Even the conductor came as Rigoletto”.

            • mrsjohnclaggart

              NPW-Paris, I always thought Tate was a very talented conductor. He led a very beautiful Lulu at the Met (he got two after Jimmeh had gotten the rest). He is a very nice man but in so public a post he probably expected the jokes.

            • Very talented indeed. Excellent in Strauss.

            • He worked quite a lot in Paris.

    • calaf47

      In the Philly production….Mary Dunleavy sang Leila with Mr Burden/Gunn…not Ms Hong (who sang it with Washington Concert Opera with the late Jerry Hadley).

    • Porgy Amor

      Re: Damrau’s Manon. Although that production was a critical and audience hit, Damrau was not happy with her own performances in it. She spoke in the recent Opera News profile about how a viral illness and her larynx-drying attempts to treat it resulted in a series of performances on her part that ranged from just “okay” (the opening) to “horrible” (the last one).

      She dropped out of the SF Lucias later in the year and took a long break, and the recital described above was one of her first things back. She may not have been at 100 percent yet.

      • PCally

        As someone who went twice and thought she was sensational in the part, I still think that vocally there were rough moments, some of which are audible in the broadcast. At time rhe vocalism is pretty raw, though she makes it totally work dramatically I think.

        • Porgy Amor

          A testament to her professionalism. That’s what keeps singers (musicians, actors, athletes) from embarrassing themselves when they have to go on without their best stuff.

  • Camille


    It’l be that Manon duo of Damrau+Grigolo but hoping Yoncheva would be Juliette in her stead, or for that matter, how about Bobby Baby with his new main squeeze? Now THAT I’d go to.

    • manou

      • manou

        …also a central theme in the Kenneth McMillan Manon ballet (music purloined from everywhere in Massenet -- except his Manon).

        • manou
        • Camille

          And that REALLY bothered me about that over long and rather OTT-ending ballet.
          Once survived, it’ll be twice ignored. Thanks for the list, too, as there were some choices that were just ?????what and whyfore???

          • grimoaldo

            I saw that ballet “Manon” once with the Royal Ballet. OMG so boring, one of those evenings when I agreed with Shirley Maclaine in Steel Magnolias, I shouldn’t have come because “I can nap at home for free.”
            Now this is the kind of ballet for me, “Excelsior” from La Scala. I am particularly fond of Roberto Bolle’s costume in this excerpt.
            I like the music too!

            • Camille

              What costume???
              Oh yes, now I see his loin covering--and whoops! Now I don’t!!!

              Seriously thanks for posting as I have those good intentions which pave the pathway to Hell of viewing this ballet for a long time now and never do, or forget…or something. At least I can manage this much. Hoping Ms Opera Chic is watching as she was so enamoured of Bolle. Saw him a few years back now in….something…was it Sylvia…anyway, he looked good.

            • “Le brise souffle au loin”

              “L’amour est loin, tu peux l’attendre;
              tu ne l’attends plus, il est là!”

              “Loin de l’hiver morose,
              Laisse moi sommeiller”

              “Tu m’as donné le plus doux rêve
              Qu’on puisse avoir sous notre ciel,
              Reste encore, pour qu’il s’achève,
              Ici, loin de monde réel.”

            • manou

              Gnomic post from La Cieca -- four disparate operas, three French, one in French…what to make of it?

              (I have been losing several brain cells due to forthcoming festivities and lots of overexcited kids running around)

            • bronzino

              Boring? Mcmillan’s Manon?! Are you daft? LOOK at that thrilling first act pdd for DG and ML with the daring overhead lifts and spectacular, dizzying slide-into-home-base ending of the two of them on the floor; the clever tipsy ppd for Lescaut and his mistress: balances just held before collapsing in alcoholic stupor-- a wild, terrifying ride of comic genius; the serpentine passing of ML into the hands of the party guest of M GM, as though a human rollercoaster; the gripping corps de ballets of the third act waifs demonstrating their fear and hopelessness by clinging and wringing the heads in despair; the choreographed blow job (!) of the ship captain and ML (didn’t even THAT hold your interest?!); the heart-wrenching final ppd where ML THROWS herself over and over into the hands of DG--so emaciated and bedraggled that the viewer is not quite sure which of the throws was the last before she became a corpse--dancing with a corpse! And we haven’t even STARTED talking about the gorgeous Georgiadis costumes and the exciting Massenet music. When else (other than Mayerling) will we have the chance to see such a varied/thrilling/inventive/dark ballet? EVERY performance of the ballet Manon is an EVENT!

            • re Camille: “Oh yes, now I see his loin covering--and whoops! Now I don’t!!!”

            • manou

              OK -- that helps a bit (mais pas beaucoup quand même).

              And “brise” is feminine. Admittedly, this masculine/feminine distinction is never a breeze…

              (Also -- “loin du monde”…)

            • manou

              bronzino -- I am with you there. But it is quite distracting to try and place much of the music from the score.

            • bronzino

              oh, manou--here’s a start; Ensoleillad’s famous theme from Cherubin shows up in the first act as the Madame’s ‘girls’ make their entrance after the coach has dislodged its occupants…

            • grimoaldo

              ” the choreographed blow job (!) of the ship captain and ML (didn’t even THAT hold your interest?!”

              Don’t remember that, sorry, I think that must have been during the considerable part of the evening I spent snoozing. The same friend who took me to the ballet of “Manon” insisted on taking me to “Mayerling” also, I fell asleep at that one too.
              I think I must be a ballet philistine, I only like the old ones like “Excelsior” or “Le Corsaire” with a bit where the ballerina spins around on tippy toes while the guy leaps about in the air.

            • bronzino

              grim--well, we are all somewhere on the path of experience and if you enjoy, for now, the en pointe and the jetes--fine, good,no problem. But McMillan is pushing us further, to see ballet theatre (ie, full length works) as more than just entertainment for the czars. When/if you a ready, could you ask your friend to show you the Penney/Dowell Manon (DVD) and revisit some of the scenes? Maybe that performance will resonate with you. Likewise, Mayerling with Mukhamedov (DVD).

              Trivia: did you know that the male dancer who originated the role of desGrieux in Manon has his own bronze statue in London, just a few blocks from Tate Britain? He is represented doing a jete, so you might enjoy it! (His name; David Wall)

            • Camille

              “Où es tu? LOIN de moi….!”

              Ah yes, I remember it well…:

              O NO! Grimoaldo! Get your earmuffs on ’cause it is that FLYING MOUSE on the radio which drove you to such despair. — it’s driving me there right now and am going back to my Bach cantatas!!!

            • grimoaldo

              No, I didn’t know there was a statue of David Wall in London bronzino, thank you for that, I saw him in something with the Royal Ballet years ago but I don’t remember what it was, I do know I thought he was good though.
              Indeed Camille I am staying far away from those lose-the-will-to-live Flying Mice.

            • Batty Masetto

              L’amour au loin (de porc):


              (Hint to Manou: il faut un dictionnaire franglais.)

            • aulus agerius

              Didn’t I see Bolle in the Met Gioconda a few yrs ago? The one with Voigt and Machado?

            • Krunoslav

              “Didn’t I see Bolle in the Met Gioconda a few yrs ago? The one with Voigt and Machado?”

              No, that was Angel Corella ( 4 shows) /David Hallberg (1 show). Also pretty glam…

            • Porgy Amor

              Corrella and Letizia Giuliani in a different Gioconda with Voigt.

            • manou

              bronzino -- I have posted the complete list here


              (scroll down).

              It was driving me mad, so I looked it up!

              David Wall, who died very young a few years ago, was very good as the original Rudolf in Mayerling -- but I think it is a lesser work than Manon, which is still performed all over the world with the wonderful Romeo & Juliet.

              But I can see that one might prefer the showpiece ballets over the “story” ballets -- to marvel at the sheer virtuosity of it. We can’t all love the same things!

        • WindyCityOperaman

          The theme begins at about the 4:00 point

  • Milady DeWinter

    Oh darn -- was it Dunleavy? Thank you, kruno, I’d forgotten (“Il dolce suono”…the mind wanders…)
    Well, she was as wistfully lovely as my false memory syndrome Hong was.
    And you are correct -- the performance was indeed probably close to ideal. That didn’t make it less of a snore, though.