Cher Public

Send in the clown

On this day in 1927 Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari‘s opera Sly premiered at La Scala.  

Born on this day in 1910 composer Paul Bowles

Born on this day in 1943 tenor Gösta Winbergh

Happy 63rd birthday soprano June Anderson

Happy 62nd birthday director Graham Vick

Happy birthday tenor Andrew Richards.

  • chicagoing

    A late entry in the most powerful vocal performance of the year (non-classical). Aretha Franklin sang Carole King’s (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman at the Kennedy Center Honor’s which was broadcast last night on PBS. Amazing. And the way she shucked off her fur coat to finish off the song a wonderful diva moment.

    • Ilka Saro

      You know you’ve arrived when La Franklin offers a tribute!

      Is there a name for the curious device of a song title containing parentheses?

      • manou

        Pathetical parenthetical

    • chicagoing

      Renee Fleming was also in attendance at the event and spoke from the stage about honoree, conductor Seiji Ozawa.

      • dgf

        And in her typical self-serving manner Renee found it necessary to mention her Grammy Award winning collaboration with Ozawa.

        • armerjacquino

          Oh for god’s sake. If you’re presenting an award to someone you’ve worked with and don’t mention your collaboration, it looks like a snub.

          Renee Fleming could cure cancer and someone round here would snipe about how her hair looked while she was doing it.

        • I’m no Fleming apologist but I actually liked that she didn’t dumb down her remarks. She referenced IDOMENEO and Dutilleux. And I don’t think mentioning the Grammy was so bad. It’s a reference that the audience would understand.

    • bronzino

      OK, so for many years now arts critics such as Rich and Ross and Kennicott have been lamenting the fall of standards in the KenCenHonours (eg, This year, Ozawa was the token ‘high brow’. Do parterriens take the KenCenHonours seriously as an important ‘arts’ award, or is it a bit of popular pablum for the television masses? And when you listen to non-operatic singing during the award, do you ‘enjoy’ it, or do you cringe?

  • DerLeiermann

    I like June Anderson. Is it safe to admit that here?

    • Bill

      DerLeiermann -- sure, why not -- she had a very
      promising start at the NY City Opera but later was
      all over the place in Europe. I suppose she is fully
      retired now but others would know.

      • Chanterelle

        I saw her in recital a couple of years in Paris. She looked fabulous and sounded great--she sang a bit carefully, and she didn’t sing that much, but it was a very satisfying diva evening.

    • Krunoslav

      Can’t say the personality as expressed in interviews makes me warm to her; neither do her recordings. However, I enjoyed hearing her in DIE FEEN (NYCO) , MAOMETTO II (San Fran, very impressive singing); more partially so as Semiramide ( cold as ice, Met) and in ERNANI at OONY.

      • PCally

        I saw her live most unfortunately as the trovatore leonora. The worst I’ve heard live. Too light for the role, which sat too low for her. The arias were totally flat.

    • armerjacquino

      In the cadenza to Caro Nome on the Chailly RIGOLETTO she makes some of the most beautiful, otherworldly recorded sounds I’ve ever heard.

      Enjoyed the Cunegonde live, too.

      • Milady DeWinter

        Well, I love Anderson. Heard live in the theater, the top voice has a way of bouncing off the back of the house like a bell. Probably the best Gilda and Lucia I’ve ever heard/seen live, and I’ve seen a lot (although admittedly, Sutherland’s Lucia was late in the day for her). Like Devia, whom I also adore, you have to pay attention and…wait for it. Neither one had a tone that grabbed you by sheer dint of beauty, but technique galore, and unusual purity and seamlessness in the upper octave.
        And as of three or four seasons ago, Anderson was very much “in voice” and sang a resplendent Daphne and Salome (in the French translation).
        And I agree, armer- June’s Cunegonde set the bar, at least for me. Brilliantly sung and eschewing the usual cutie-pie vocal tropes.
        I suppose I am the sole person on the planet who thought she triumphed as Lucia in Zambello’s infamous production of Lucia. Honestly, it did not bother me all that much. Oh, that ridiculous wall of recycled coffins for the Mad Scene was an obvious bore, but I’ve encountered worse in the ensuing years, like last year’s new Cavalleria, for starters.

        • JohninSeattle

          Speaking of bothersome Lucia productions…

          Seattle Opera, which is determined to treat all non-Wagner works with as limited consideration as possible, gave us a Lucia of rope soaked in creosote for the set. Because nothing says Scotland, like a set of rope dangling from the rafters.

          The odor was strong enough that I heard one chorister filed an OSHA complaint. While I don’t sit in the first few rows I heard you could smell the creosote from there as well.

          Funny, not one offer to rent the creosote rope set. Surely someone somewhere wants a ropey Lucia! Order Now! Operators are Standing By!

          I’ll take coffins over rope. If I must.

          • Milady DeWinter


            Maybe Lucia went mad from the fumes.

        • She was also Pat Nixon in Paris (Châtelet) in 2012.

          Personally, I’ve warmed to her more in these later roles. Before, after the initial excitement of her Fille at the Opéra Comique (where she was pelted with daffodils) I found her an unexciting actress. I saw that Met Lucia but was bored. Perhaps you’ll say it was the production and that may be true. Also, in winter I find the Met freezing and wonder how the singers manage, but usually when I say so people tell me It’s my imagination. I remember at dinner after, a lady saw we had the program and asked what we thought, and when we said we’d been bored all she could do was assume we were new to opera. Telling her we had subs in paris and Brussels was to no avail.

          We gamely went to see June A. again in the Paris production of Lucia, in case she or we had had a bad night in NYC, but found Dessay and above all Devia more exciting, in later runs of the same production (which incidentally also involves a fair number of ropes).

          • When I say “later roles” I’m thinking first of The Bassarids at the Châtelet.

            • And reading back, I see that in fact I was even more impressed by Dessay than Devia. These tricks of the mind and memory… I was right to start writing it all down.

        • gustave of montreal

          I’m sure you also love her in Massenet’s charming Chérubin recording with Upshaw and von Stade.

    • grimoaldo

      I adore June Anderson! I have never worried about being safe (in my comments here).

      • rompicolleone

        I played her Italian debut in Lucia in Firenze, where she definitely outsang the woman who sang opening night … I also played her performances at la Fenice in the 80’s — she was always very compelling, intense and a wicked sense of humor.

  • redbear

    Speaking of “send in the clowns,” this Gordon Getty essay, published in SFCV, which he helped found, is a must. Wacko is the first word that comes to mind.

  • laddie

    Did anyone see the dress of Pearlfishers? Curious. The videos appear promising, especially those fake tatoo sleeves worn by Polenzani.

    • pasavant

      I was at the dress rehearsal. A word to the wise. They cut out the bell song !

      • armerjacquino

        I hope the Jewel Song and the Habanera were still in it.

        • Krunoslav

          Which of Urbain’s arias gets sung?

      • rapt

        As long as they leave this one in:

  • zinka


    I must have missed the instructions..From now all my Giordani posts will go there…