Cher Public

Uomo non vidi mai

From the Met: “Jonas Kaufmann has canceled his performances in this season’s new production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut due to illness. Star tenor Roberto Alagna—currently at the Met giving an acclaimed performance of Canio in Pagliacci—will sing his first-ever performances of des Grieux in Manon Lescaut, replacing Kaufmann. To allow time for him learn the staging before the February 12 new production premiere, Alagna must withdraw from his remaining performances as Canio as he undertakes this new challenge.”

  • antikitschychick

    Has anyone looked at the schedule page of JK’s website?

    http://www.jonaskaufmann.com/en/5/schedule.html

    I thought the exclamation marks were funny and judging from the odd spacing it looks rather frenzied and as if signaling a disaster lol.
    (Note: I’m not trying to create further controversy or ruffle anyone’s feathers; am just trying to inject some humor into a rather unfortunate situation).

    • Cicciabella

      Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (both vocal parts), where both the tenor and the baritone are high cancellation risks. LOL indeed !!!

    • nachEule

      Those cancellation notices on the JK website must be very recent, because I checked earlier and they hadn’t been noted yet. Also, I still haven’t been contacted by the Broad Stage about any cancellation there even tho’ that recital is during the ML run and clearly not happening — but as of yet his website still lists that event as on the books. Do you suppose his representation forgot to call California? :-/ (antikitschychick, I’m still working on not being bummed by this, and I must admit, a little worried as well.)

      • antikitschychick

        yeah they certainly look like they were written in haste. Perhaps he still plans on doing that event, or perhaps it is being rescheduled?? I’m really bummed out as well although I think Alagna will be a fine substitute for the ML vocally and dramatically, there’s no substituting the beard and the curls :-(. I’m not going to get into the Cav/Pag situation because that’s been talked about to death already. I wouldnt worry yourself though. If he is sick I’m sure he has good doctors. If he is having issues at home I’m sure he can afford a good therapist ;-) and I definitely think he will sing more performances at the Met. Maybe not entire runs or every season but he will still come if the offers are good enough.

        • nachEule

          Yes, I think you’re right -- I surmise the delay by the Broad is that may be trying to negotiate a re-schedule (although I noted Carnegie Hall is NOT rescheduling, but issuing refunds). Well, we’ll see!

        • gloria

          Seems tickets were available for every performance for this ML. His Carmen cancellations burned many who don’t want to take a chance -- fans from South America and all parts of US.

          Shouldn’t there be a statement of regret -- he must have a staff to handle this?

          • I’m just going to guess but those few tickets left will now be snapped up by Algnascenti. Sell out, and it only took two tenors to do it.

          • gloria

            GOOD NEWS -- Jonas Kaufmann issued a statement of regret to US fans 2/7/16. Little things do mean a lot. This year he has scheduled South America and Japan as well as his Puccini Concerts and Meistersinger in Munich and Lohengrin in Paris -- etc.etc.etc.

            One very famous soprano supposedly said accept everything and then cancel.

            Hope he recovers from whatever ails him.

    • gloria

      Did anyone notice that Carnegie Hall booking fell off his official schedule months ago and was never replaced. I emailed them twice -- no answer. Also contacted Zemsky Green -- no answer there either. Just wondering.

  • k0000

    The announcement that, in June, Kaufmann will be singing both parts in Das Lied von der Erde in Paris has me shaking my head, for all sorts of reasons.

    http://www.theatrechampselysees.fr/en/the-season/resident-orchestras/vienna-philharmonic-orchestra-1

    • Krunoslav

      He can then cancel and be replaced by both Alagna and a singing hologram of Elena Nikolaidi.

    • Hmm. I Have tickets.

  • leftcoastlady

    Have an HD ticket for 3/5. Extremely disappointed not to see and hear JK, and may or may not go to hear Alagna; I’m only out $24.35, a pittance compared to what others are bearing. Kaufmann has said that to preserve his vocal longevity, he absolutely will not sing when he is ill. Have to take him at his word. He does not seem to me to be a dissembler. Just wonder what on earth is wrong. Alagna and Opolais might be fun to see/hear, scenery-chewing and all. Besides, it’s Puccini.

    • DonCarloFanatic

      Oh, I think Alagna will definitely be fun.

  • Gualtier M

    Reality check here: Jonas Kaufmann is not a narcissistic sociopath who books engagements years in advance and allows tickets to be sold months ahead all the time having no intention of actually showing up. If it was all about staying home in Munchen with his new lady while not honoring that legally binding contract he signed four years earlier, he had the option of withdrawing a year or two before prior to the announcement of the season and sale of tickets (I think if you withdraw with two years lead time there are no legal repercussions).

    Canceling less than two weeks before a high profile new production which includes an international HD transmission in tandem with a Carnegie Hall recital throwing the presenting organizations into disarray is not anything a serious professional like Kaufmann would do wantonly and lightly. I am leaning towards believing his is genuinely ill. Also has anyone noticed that in the last two years Kaufmann has aged considerably and that recent photos with the scruffy beard have shown him looking gaunt, drawn and unhealthy with lots of gray in the hair and beard? There really may be an ongoing health issue here that he is keeping low profile while trying to honor as many of his prior contracts as he is physically able.

    • armerjacquino

      Yes, I’m with you on this. Where Kaufmann is concerned we always seem to end up debating the version of him that FM presents us with rather than the one which fits the facts.

      • mrsjohnclaggart

        Well, but does “Gualtier M” (ohne S) KNOW Herr Kaufmann? I know I will read that I’m a has-been and a failure but I spent most of my life working with famous people, a fair number, big international stars. I never met one who wasn’t a narcissist. You cannot have that drive, ruthlessness and attraction to risk and not be one. I’ve also worked with major directors, producers and yes, even some writers, who were narcissists. A drive to beat other people out, a self-definition as important, huge risk taking to grab for the heights in a given profession, an intense concern with one’s own status and perks — these are all results of narcissism. Only a narcissist would have risked his livelihood to restudy as a darker sounding, more powerful tenor when he already had a career, sure that he had greatness in him. I suspect Herr K is indeed narcissistic, which is neither here nor there and not a surprise. And there are nice narcissists — just don’t mess with THEM, and all is well.

        The bizarre narcissists are those found on the Opera ‘Net, the grandiose nobodies who are vicious — the world’s highest tenor, the scumbag from Kansas City who is “expert” but who in reality raises dogs, dresses in drag, uses terms like “tinky winky” when mentioning urination, and oh yes, steals product to pirate. Or the would-be experts who know the world in detail before they were born, are astoundingly ignorant of any scholarship or history but are sure they are always right. Herr Kaufmann is far superior to those creeps; they are mentally ill and fools, and I don’t think he is either. If anything he may be a trace TOO business like.

        “Sociopath” is one of those buzz words now that one didn’t hear so often twenty years ago. A Narcissist might shrug off or only dimly regret disappointing people by canceling an engagement if he or she didn’t need the money or hope it would catapult them into greater stardom. A sociopath would want to be paid for the cancelation. Mr. K, I’m sure, doesn’t expect to be paid and would assume that a huge institution like the Metropolitan Opera would survive the failure of one tenor to show up, even one as famous as he.

        However, we will never know for sure what went on. For the “too sick” excuse to wash (and to avoid legal retaliation) he would have had to provide a doctor’s note and possibly some supporting material. Occasionally performing institutions send their own doctor to verify claims. One must assume then that a doctor the Met had reason to believe and perhaps a representative of theirs on the scene attested to Mr. K’s illness, it’s enduring through a run, it’s potential for being exacerbated by transatlantic travel.

        Of course, Mr. K or representative might have told the Met a year or more ago that he didn’t want to do ML, perhaps he has been having physical difficulties. Since his in an invented voice he may be experiencing problems, a long, very loud, often high role in a huge house might have seemed a risky prospect and maybe he wanted to carve out some time for a fix. It was lucky that a certain Mr. Alagna had a season at the Met at the same time in two short roles. He knew ML but had not sung it in public, has a following, and after a “narcissistic, sociopathic” period has been behaving responsibly.

        The Met would have no legal liabilities for continuing to announce Mr. K even if they had an inkling (or more) that he wouldn’t show up. They don’t even have to refund tickets (unless they are part of a subscription and even then it’s a matter of getting the subscriber to accept a different opera).

        There’s no reason then to assume that Mr. K isn’t ill enough for the engagement to be too difficult to undertake. Whether there are other issues as well… speculation is fun but nothing is likely to be made public.

        • grimoaldo

          You are right, we don’t know why he cancelled except the official reason, illness.
          But I don’t like him any more after what he did to ME.
          Making me miss Alagna as Canio and spend more than $700 on a trip to NY I don’t even want to go on anymore.
          Yes, I am a narcissist.
          Maybe a sociopath too.

          • Oh my god. Just cancel the fucking trip and stop bitching about it.

          • Gualtier M

            Or would it kill you Grimoaldo to exchange the Cav/Pag tickets (that revival hasn’t been considered that great even with your darling Bobby as Canio) and see Alagna in “Manon Lescaut” instead? I mean wouldn’t a full evening of Bobby (and it is ALL ABOUT BOBBY) in a role debut (even in an opera you can’t even…I mean really… you are beyond it…) be compensation for a shorter role in a one act where you have to endure a rather mediocre “Cavalleria” in a lousy production for half the evening as a warm up?

            Also to the stalker above: a “narcissist” and a “narcissistic sociopath” are two related but different things:
            http://truthlover5.com/2012/12/07/profile-of-a-sociopath-charming-manipulative-grandiose-lying-narcissitic-authoritarian-secretive/

            “A narcissistic sociopath is someone with a combination of narcissistic personality disorder and definitive behavioral signs of sociopathy.
            People with narcissism are characterized by their excessive and persistent need for others’ admiration and positive reinforcement. They generally have grandiose opinions of themselves and believe they are superior to other people. Narcissists are also frequently convinced that they are above the normal responsibilities and obligations of everyday life, so they usually have significant difficulties maintaining employment or relationships as a result.
            The narcissistic sociopath has this type of personality along with a noticeable lack of regard for the rights of others and a tendency to regularly violate those rights
            .”…”One noted difference between a narcissistic sociopath and people with narcissism alone is that: The narcissist with the sociopathy reacts strongly and sometimes even violently to negative feedback. True sociopaths generally do not respond to criticism or care what others may think of them.
            A narcissistic sociopath is unable to tolerate criticism and needs constant praise, as well as deference from other people. Many with this condition present themselves in the best light possible and are able to easily charm others to gain their trust.”

            The likelihood of a handsome man who is in the performing arts being a narcissist is very high. Being a sociopath or a narcissistic sociopath is a much lower percentage of the general population like 3 to 5%. May be higher in the arts, for all I know like it is in the criminal population. ;)

            • grimoaldo

              My post was intended to be a bit jokey “I only care about how this affects me because I am a narcissist”, linking to the discussion of narcissist in the previous one.
              The thing is, though, the ticket is only one element in the expense involved -- high speed train fare from DC and a nice hotel, supposed to be a special treat. I cannot cancel those because they are prepaid, or in fact, charged to credit cards which will take me months to pay off.
              I don’t like the music of Manon Lescaut enough to go to such expense again to go and hear it live.
              And now I am not discussing this anymore.

    • A year or two ago, Kaufmann was cancelling a lot and got a lot of online flack for it. This included his anticipated Enée at Covent Garden (which allowed replacement Brian Hymel to burst into stardom). If I recall, the period lasted a few months after which he was back and (mostly) keeping his engagements. I wonder what’s going on here. Perhaps he is genuinely ill, and obviously not with a cold or flu since he’s cancelling the whole run two weeks before it starts.

      • Lohengrin

        The cancellation You mentiones was in spring 2012 -> nearly 4 years ago!

        • Thanks. Four years ago already??

      • Lohengrin

        Could it be that Gelb would not allow him to jump in later on (perhaps without rehearsals)? Let JK get well and he will be back better than ever!

        • armerjacquino

          Because after all, rehearsals are for losers. Why appear in front of an audience fully prepared when you can just stand downstage centre and sing?

          • Wow, AJ, I think you’re reading way too much into Lohengrin’s post. I don’t see any hint of him suggesting that rehearsals are bad or that Gelb should have let him jump in without rehearsal.

            • armerjacquino

              I think Lohengrin is a female poster.

              I dislike the implication that rehearsals are unimportant, which is an ongoing conversation around here. When someone says that the solution to a casting problem is for a singer to go on without rehearsal, I think opera deserves better.

            • Lohengrin

              Alagna now does the rehearsals, so he will/wants to sing the whole run (may be). JK could have jumped in after a while into this very long series of performanced, at the best for the HD transmission, but………. As we know JK is able to learn very quickly by watching a video and he and KO sung so many ML´s, that it should be no problem only to have one or the other rehearsal (remember Fidelio at La Scala: no chance to rehearse at all!). There is a video of the production from Baden Baden which he could have used.
              Now Alagna is Des Grieux, JK gets completely well within the next weeks and the world will go around as always.
              Looking forward to see/hear JK in Vienna in April.

            • So it’s Alagna’s fault now that JK cancelled and Alagna is willing to do the rehearsals? Gotcha.

            • armerjacquino

              kash: as you can see from Lohengrin’s clarification, the point was indeed that rehearsals are unimportant. Mindboggling.

            • PCally

              Lohengrin your example of kaufmann stepping is completely different. In the case you mentioned kaufmann stepped in for performancers at the last minute when the house needed his help so rehearsals were never an option. He literally was flown into Italy the day of. Though this manon lescaut has been seen elsewhere it’s pretty obvious that met performances were scheduled to showcase him. So rehearsals are necessary. The difference should be apparent even to you. I understand that you basically can’t hear a single negative thing about your Jonas (not that you would ever defend another singer if he did the same thing) but you’re apologist stance doesn’t do him any favors, especially since many people (including myself) have no problem believing that he is actually ill.

            • Lohengrin

              Some of You WANT to understand that rehearsals are NOT nescessary. Sorry!
              Of couse it is important to rehearse every show, even for JK. But in this case Alagna is on work now and I would agree that he wants to do the whole run. If JK can get fine in time, he would not have (and make) problems to jump in with only short preparation. We know that Alagna has to study/refresh (see the pictures from Met-Website) the role because he had never sung it on stage. Opposite to that JK did two productions the last two years with the same ML-singer. That should help him.
              Nevertheless: no JK as Des Grieux now at the Met.,,,,,,
              Pleas notice: rehearsals are VERY necessary for every actor/singer, but in some cases less “training” may be enough.

            • armerjacquino

              I get it. Rehearsals are very important but it would have been ‘no problem’ for Kaufmann to do this production with one rehearsal and a watch of the DVD. That’s not a contradictory position at all.

            • Rehearsals are only for non-Aryans.

            • Lohengrin

              Stop such posts!

            • Fluffy-net

              I do not run this site and am glad of it, but if I did Poison would be on moderation.

              You can call a person a fool without implying that he is a Nazi fool.

            • If JK weren’t “Aryan” would you think he could waltz in mid-run without rehearsals?

            • Fluffy-net

              At this point, Poison, I don’t know if you are attacking JK, Lohengrin’s description of him, or Lohengrin.

              In any case self-centered arrogance and divodienst know no nation, race, or politics.

              I stand by my previous comment.

            • PCally

              Fluffy, it isn’t your site so you have know say. And quite frankly it should be apparent that Ivy is specifically criticizing Lohengrin and his inane statements, which certainly deserve criticism. It’s funny that you say Ivy should be moderated, since Lohengrin is hardly someone who goes out of his way to avoid offending people.

            • PCally

              *no say

            • Fluffy-net

              PCally, I find many things people say here and elsewhere silly and surely think it appropriate for people to say so. The direct and indirect Nazi references take the discussion to a different place. I find them inappropriate and offensive.

              I stand by my previous comment.

            • Wow, a lot has been said here.

              AJ, I just wanted to close the loop here. Yes, you divined Lohengrin’s original intent correctly. And count me as pro-rehearsal.

            • armerjacquino

              Thanks, kash. I think where rehearsal is concerned we’re looking at the difference between what’s possible and what’s desirable. For the Met to ask Alagna to rehearse and open the show, only to relinquish the second half of the run so that Kaufmann could come on clutching his DVD would have been unbelievably rude to Alagna.

            • PCally

              Armer, I also just want to make it clear that I also agree with everything you said completely, including the way Feld and Lohengrin have portrayed kaufmann in their comments.

            • armerjacquino

              I genuinely believe Kaufmann (and Harteros) would be horrified if they were to see how their decision-making is characterised by their ‘supporters’ on here.

              Meanwhile, of course, the guy may well actually be ill.

            • Lohengrin has made comments about how Grigolo is genetically inferior to Kaufmann because Grigolo is Italian. My Aryan comments are totally fair considering it was Lohengrin who brought master race discussion into parterre.

            • Lohengrin

              Poison, why are You spreading lies! When and where should I have mentioned what You pretend?
              For Grigolo: I my taste and opinion he is not such a good tenor as JK, but this has nothing to do from where he comes and who his parents are. Even in Italian repertory I prefer Kaufmann, as it is my taste. You may like whomever You want to like….
              Stop now ultimately Your wicked comments!

            • http://parterre.com/2015/03/18/the-kids-are-not-all-right/

              This thread where you mentioned that Grigolo was simply Italian and thus only good for boy toys. Basically saying Jonas is genetically superior bc he is German.

            • Fluffy-net

              I think La cieca herself answered Lohengrin quite appropriately at the time:

              “La Cieca says:

              Can’t you worship your blessed Jonas without denigrating an entire national culture? Or is your bias against singers who are actually audible through an entire performance, as opposed to murmuring everything except the big “applause” moments?”

              The Nazi part is, to my eyes, your interpretation Poison and, I think, goes too far and becomes offensive.

            • excuse me? I’m being offensive? Lohengrin denigrated a non-German singers not because she doesn’t like his voice, or his style, but because he’s Italian and thus only good for a fuck and run, according to Lohengrin. So she’s the one who went there with the racism and I’m offensive?

            • Fluffy-net

              Poison, no one here wants me to go through every line of the exchange, but you are exaggerating the obnoxiousness of the comments in order to attack more fiercely with name calling.

              It is the old story that whenever a German (in this case an Austrian) says or does something we don’t like the Nazis come out of the closet, moth-eaten uniforms, rattling bones and all. The Nazis were really terrible, but they are now really dead. Your reviews tell me that you are smart enough and articulate enough to argue a point without shrill and hysterical name-calling. Do so.

              La cieca: please, I do not see how to delete my account. Will you do it for me? I do not want to be tempted to reply again.

            • Lohengrin

              What did Gualtier say than:
              “Jonas Kaufmann doing the same thing would be just ridiculous. Italians can get away with big, over the top emotional stuff because they are big, over the top and emotional.”
              Who was the person saying Italians are better than (ridicolous) Germans?
              So I answered. Thats it. But Poison LIKES TO MISUNDERSTAND, to spread poison.
              For the last time: Poison, STOP writing destructive posts and discuss the facts of a theme.

            • SO your response was outright racist:

              You said:
              “Gualtier:
              JK does HIS thing, not that of any small italian. Never saw such a powerful and at the same time tender man in my -meanwhile long- life, than Jonas. Boys like Vittorio are “something” for holidays as toy-boy, but not to think about something serious (perhaps Mr. Grigolo is not such one, but he seems to me in that way…).”

              In case that wasn’t offensive and racist enough you followed up with:
              “Let Vittoro be “un Italiano vero”, there are millions of interestig men all over the world not beeing Italian; beleave me,I know what I am talking about!”

              Behind the horrible English, spelling, and grammar and general stupidity conveyed in those posts was nothing but racism. So go back to reading Mein Kampt.

            • Lohengrin

              The greatest, most horrible rassist I ever met are You, Poison! Every word is full of hate. Whats is going on inside of You.
              Please stop and do not annoy the Parterreans any longer.

            • This thread of comments has long since outlived its usefulness. Change the subject, please.

            • Lohengrin

              Thank You La Cicea.

            • armerjacquino

              I think that was aimed at both of you, but nice try.

            • If I’m the “greatest most horrible racist” you ever met then you must not own a mirror. But nice try.

    • Porgy Amor

      Also has anyone noticed that in the last two years Kaufmann has aged considerably and that recent photos with the scruffy beard have shown him looking gaunt, drawn and unhealthy with lots of gray in the hair and beard?

      “Lots of gray in the hair and beard” surely isn’t that unusual for someone who’s entered his late forties. His father probably went gray too. I’ve seen photos of JK looking thinner or heavier, but none that made me alarmed for him. Even with his cancellations of recent times, he keeps a pretty busy schedule.

      • Lohengrin

        See the pictures of Andrea Chenier: clean shaved he looks much younger, but the gray beard is more interesting ;-)

    • Rosemont

      In this interview (auf Deutsch), which is apparently fairly recent, he sounds more than a little burned out by his scheduling and lack of personal time. http://www.concerti.de/de/3432/interview-jonas-kaufmann-ich-muss-ein-bisschen-auf-die-bremse-treten.html

  • John L

    The guy just seems like a tortured conflicted soul. Weren’t we reading five years ago about him complaining about the 5 year contract system? Yet he definitely commits (5 years or otherwise) to ALOT of opera, concerts, and recitals much more than the average opera star. Just look at his operabase schedule the last five plus years. So we get it, he wants to make alot of money so he can provide for himself, his children, and family. I think we’re all sympathetic since even a decent singer’s lifespan of making an actual living from their craft may be even as short as ten years. However this “poor me” schtick about the 5 year contract system, being too far from home, being burnt out is just getting old. He certainly knows what it takes to rake in all that money. So what does he want? To make a lot of money or to have more time for his private life? I’m all for making as much money as one wants in their life. But his cancellations and screwing over many people and then on top of that complaining about things from his perspective, just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If you want to play in the sandbox, be ready to get dirty!

    • Rosemont

      Genau, John L. After sighing and complaining, he admits “Doch das ist natürlich Jammern auf hohem Niveau.” Genau, Jonas.

      • Don Rose

        That’s not what he is saying here. He says you can’t have it all at the same time. He wants to cut back in the future. But it is not possible now, because of the 5 year contract system.
        Give it a break. Who knows what happened. In dubio pro reo.

        • Rosemont

          I am a huge fan of his, and being a parent, am very sympathetic to his apparent personal dilemmas. And it’s a credit to him that he knows that he can’t get much sympathy for his “Jammern”. He even hints at thinking about hanging it up entirely in this interview. I do hope not! And like so many others, I am hoping he is not seriously ill. Jetzt werde ich mich darüber nicht mehr reden.

  • To change the subject, I’m listening to an absolutely thrilling Stiffelio from Venice starring Julianna Di Giacomo and Stefanno Secco. Glorious.

    • I must say that so far I’ve always been pleased to hear Secco.

      • (As Gabriele Adorno, Macduff and Don Carlo.)

        • armerjacquino

          One day I will instantly know which one is Secco and which one is Sacca.

          • mrsjohnclaggart

            Just think of ball-sacca and you will know who to avoid, Amerjaquino. (I believe — unless being a sociopath has eroded my memory — I saw him do Florestan twice. I think it was the night my life ended). I also saw a HORRIBLE Ferrando not too long before and I think — unless — see above — I saw a Des Grieux within a few evenings — the first hint my life would end. NPW-PARIS we must be psychically linked (maybe not something for which you can honestly rejoice) but I like Secco very much too. He is very deft and interesting with words and line. I also like Juliana di Giacomo, she resembled me as I would look were I human before she began to attend — with varying results — to her weight.

            • armerjacquino

              Haha! I *think* I saw Sacca as Bacchus opposite Mattila a couple of years ago, but as pretty much everyone other than Herself was poor that night, not much of it has remained in my memory. You mention Ferrando- is he the Ferrando on the Bartoli/Zurich DVD? I mean I should just google it. Yes, he is.

              Hmmm. So I think it’s only Sacca that I’ve come across. I should investigate Secco. Think of this post as a dry run.

            • mrsjohnclaggart

              Amerjaquino I was very friendly with Madame Widmer then (he was very sweet too, although just a colleague of hers, he speaks perfect unaccented English and his father was a Big-Swiss Cheese — as a baritone, I was in love with him myself!!!!!!!) so I saw ALL those Cosi(s). She got me tickets where she could see me except for the evening Mo. Harnoncourt let me sit in the pit (I had gotten friendly with him during an angry argument about the GREATEST Arnold and his f sharp minor quartet) but one night I traded them in for the upper balcony from whence she had been booed the performance before. She was very annoyed but happy with my descriptions of various people up there — I wonder if she had a hit squad? Believe me, hearing Ball-sacca shriek “tradito, schernito” performance after performance is WHY I am a sociopath with psychotic tendencies today!!

            • armerjacquino

              I’d love to hear how those performances sounded in the house- on DVD it comes across as Bartoli’s best stage performance for me, with a truly beautiful and moving ‘Per Pieta’. And obviously Baltsa is hella fun, if not making the nicest sounds she’s ever made. I like the thrift-store Garanca who plays Dorabella, too.

            • mrsjohnclaggart

              Oh, Armerjaquino, there was SUCH Cici hate back then. I LOVED her Fiordaligi; deeply felt and very vulnerable and well sung in that tiny house (however though I remember a narcissistic sociopath saying she was inaudible at the Met in Figaro, I saw them all from different areas of the house and always found she projected well). I loved her Donna Elvira too, all of which I saw.

              Baltsa was truly nutty backstage, I think it was just her way, but she was definitely eccentric and rather sardonic about the business, understandably given all she had been through. She had a HUGE following of, what is the word I am seeking? Non-heterosexual males?

              Dorabella was Miss Nikiteanu. It was her apartment Cici rented (I think Miss N had another option) and we used to listen to Claudia Muzio (supplied by me, with Merli, and also — not with Claudia — Pertile. Cici LOVED all of them but cried listening to some of Claudia.)

              A time there was…

            • Bill

              Mrsjc -- Bartoli was completely audible when she sang
              Susanna at the Met -- no problem hearing her at all.
              I was a little taken aback by hearing a mezzo voice
              singing the higher (higher than the Countess) line in the ensembles as it seemed to me to skew the line of the ensemble.

              For me it was Battle who was somewhat inaudible at the Met as Susanna -- not in her arias -- but in the ensembles
              and I found that threw off the balance as one listened for her voice in the ensembles and sometimes could not
              hear her.

              I thought it rather interesting in that Zurich Cosi what with Bartoli, Garanca and Baltsa the opera was being
              done with 3 Mezzos when it is usually 2 sopranos and 1 Mezzo. That said Bartoli has an unusually high
              extension for a Mezzo, Garanca has a somewhat
              soprano timbre, and Baltsa, in her prime, sang some
              soprano roles such as Fedora, Santuzza (and Komponist
              which is definitely a soprano role).

            • armerjacquino

              Bill, Garanca wasn’t in that COSI. I was just being cheeky about Nikiteanu.

            • mrsjohnclaggart

              I’m glad you had the same experience I did, Bill. Ceci has an odd voice, she can sing VERY high. I’ve heard her do genio’s aria from L’anima del filosofo, Haydn’s Orfeo right up to the high E flat live.

              You know Harnoncourt was DESPERATE for her to record Aida with him. He was going to do the Cairo world premiere edition, with proven Cairo tuning of that era (A=415) and small orchestra. She sang a demo for fun, and managed a better O Patria mia, with soft high C and bigger breath line for those final phrases than most of the Aida(s) I’ve heard live (those who do it well are often in the studio and some splicing has gone on). And the words were wonderful. The lower tuning is about half tone but it’s still exposed. But reading how hated she was on the Interweb of the era, she thought she’d be pilloried for months. That would have been quite a different performance than the one H conducted for Teldec with the VPO and poor Galliardo-Domas.

            • Bill

              Ms JC -- I do not know why Cecilia Bartoli would be
              disliked -- she is a superb musician and actually
              sort of a musicologist going through archives to dig
              up interesting revivals of operas and arias. Perhaps some in the USA could be peeved that she no longer appears here but she is an absolute power in Salzburg and when she is announced to sing a in which role which no one thinks she can succeed, she has overwhelming success. Have no idea how her Maria in West Side Story will be but the Budapest Opera just did it this autumn with Erika Miklosa as Maria, and Miklosa has been around for over 25 years, and it was a success. With Bartoli
              some complain about aspirates or occasional audible
              breathing or mannerisms but given some of the terribly difficult baroque arias she sings, any singer is fortunate to just get through the arias with aplomb as they are technically so difficult. Another mezzo who could cope marvelously with some soprano arias with no register breaks was Teresa Berganza. No one talks much about her now but some of her recordings of Mozart
              soprano arias or Gluck arias (usually sung by sopranos)
              were absolutely splendid for style, tonal beauty and
              perfect rhythmic precision.

            • Bill

              MrsJC -- speaking of Bartoli singing a difficult Haydn aria I have a question about singing Haydn. When
              Irmgard Seefried died, Michael Heltau in witing “memories” about Seefried stated that “Bruno Walter once said that Seefried was the only singer who could sing the difference between Haydn and Mozart” “sie sei die einzige Saengerin die den Unterschied zwischen Haydn und
              Mozart singen koenne”

              Now, Mrs. JC we all know that Seefried sang both Haydn and Mozart throughout much of her career but my question of you (or anyone else on Parterre) is -- What actually is he difference between singing Mozart and singing
              Haydn ?? For me, not being a musicologist, I know not of what precisely Bruno Walter was speaking. I find that stylistically most singers who sing Mozart are also quite adept at singing Haydn -- perhaps it is the purity
              of voice which I like -- but Bruno Walter meant much more -- whether is was technical prowess, or technique, or expressiveness. So Ms. JC -- do you have any idea what Bruno Walter had in mind ? He may well have been on to something which I, not having the girth of knowledge about music itself, cannot grasp.
              That said, as Haydn and Mozart were the favorite
              composers of my extreme youth ( I could recognize each of Haydn’s London symphonies after hearing just a few notes -- and alas now, I can no longer do that) so
              I listened a lot. But what is the difference in singing Haydn and singing Mozart to which Bruno Walter was
              alluding? If there is a difference, Bartoli might
              be the one to recognize it today as she has had
              quite a bit of experience singing both composers.

            • armerjacquino

              Oh wow, that AIDA sounds like a fascinating missed opportunity. And how sad if it really was the bottom half of the internet that stopped it happening. But it’s totally understandable- look at all the vitriol poured on the very interesting NORMA recording.

            • mrsjohnclaggart

              Amerjaquino how simpatico you seem! Yes, Harnoncourt’s would have been a wonderful “take” on Aida; we hear it so swollen and coarse. Ironically his actual recording, though notable for a lot of usually ignored detail and careful observation of Verdi’s rather extreme dynamic indications has some of the swollen quality given the massive sound of the VPO. But it does contain a good sample of Borodina in her prime. I wrote at length about Cici’s amazing Norma in my blog and have only contempt for the fools who put it down. Starting with the edition she used (Biondi with additional research) to the ornaments she and her colleagues employ it is scrupulous and very musical. There are always other ways in performance-based art, and she was aspiring to present the work honestly as written in a style the composer would have recognized, not create a definitive rendition for all time. (Bellini would, of course, have recognized other options taken by different singers and different decisions made by the leader of the performance, probably at the fortepiano, but all would have been in the same ballpark). I am always amazed by idiots some of whom write for Opera News for example who dismiss MacKerras’ Lucia recording, which is a revelation, or June Anderson’s Norma, (also uses the Biondi edition and conducted by his brother), a performance of great integrity from sheer ignorance. The fools on the internet with their bizarre agendas…

              Bill, I don’t know what Walter meant about Haydn and Mozart. His performances of both are highly inaccurate (in terms of what they actually wrote and how that was meant to sound) so who can say? It may be that Haydn’s vocal writing is more “instrumental” than Mozart’s, less overtly emotional and requires more elegance and lightness of line. But as with all generalizations, one needs to go piece by piece and see.

              I always listen to a lot of Haydn and play the string quartets in piano reduction when suicide would be a better option and his emphasis on counterpoint with many of the “emotional” points made through balancing different lines and surprising modulations suggest that a singer might want to be very precise rhythmically and in terms of pitch. Mozart has been approximated to more standard operatic singing, so performances are sloppier and more general — but then the famous operas are far more familiar and more people who do Tosca and Sieglinde and Siegmund and Don Jose do some Mozart too.

      • manou

        So -- you are pro Secco?

        • You remind me I must buy some -- and a bottle of Aperol -- for tomorrow night’s Spritzes.

  • manou

    Secco has no dire critics and Saccà has a diacritic.

    • Krunoslav

      Can Secco handle the recits?

      • armerjacquino

        Meanwhile, Juliana di Giacomo is a whole opera in herself, like Aureliano in Pertile.

      • manou

        Only the receipts.

  • Arabella

    I would be interested to hear what Poison Ivy means by Aryan and non-Aryan.

  • MissShelved

    Oh dear. I just joined. I was a little concern that someone casually tossed out the word fraud. Now we’ve moved on to sociopath and Aryan? Think before you post.

    • armerjacquino

      In fairness, ‘sociopath’ came up in the sentence ‘he’s not a sociopath’.

      • MissShelved

        High praise indeed.

        • armerjacquino

          Ha! Deliberate misunderstanding with a touch of snark? You’ll do just fine ;-)

          • MissShelved

            ;-) back atcha!

  • Krunoslav

    La Cieca says:
    This thread of comments has long since outlived its usefulness. Change the subject, please.
    …………..

    Indeed, time to exult that Our Own Brindley Sherratt is still slated for the full Met ML run as Geronte.

    Finally we’ll get a clean, musical reading of a role too often marred by the Mediterranean excesses of non-pukka ‘ethnics’ like Pini-Corsi, Baccaloni, Corena, Tajo or Capecchi.

    Pity Covey-Crump was not engaged for the Dancing Master.

    • armerjacquino

      Right, let’s see if I’ve learned the language after all these years. Sherratt is a terrific singer and something of a luxury for Geronte, so the objection must be- too small a part, an American should do it?

      I’ll be so proud if I’ve got it right!

      • Krunoslav

        Sherratt *is* a good singer, unlike Alastair Miles and other such who have been visited on us recently. Bet he’ll be a good Geronte.

        The idea was ironically to ‘change the subject “from ‘boy toy Italians’ and ‘Aryans’ to Vicar-style “Our Own” harrumphing.

        Guess that was a fail.

        • armerjacquino

          A win, surely, given that’s what you achieved!

          The Vicar would doubtless have disapproved of the casting of Maurizio Muraro at CG, but it was a memorably sleazy performance.

          • Porgy Amor

            I didn’t like much about that ML, but Muraro was great. He seemed to be having such a good time with it that I was “pre-missing” his Geronte before the second act was over.

          • Krunoslav

            Indeed!

            “The Italian proved not a patch on what Hammond-Stroud achieved in the role when (properly!) sung in good, clean English.”