Cher Public

Quick on the trigger

Annie OakleyOn this day in 1922 Annie Oakley set a women’s record by breaking 100 clay targets in a row.

Born on this day in 1871 playwright John Millington Synge.

Born on this day in 1913 mezzo-soprano Constance Shacklock.

Born on this day in 1918 contralto Carol Brice.

Born on this day in 1927 soprano Marie Collier.

Happy 74th birthday baritone Leo Nucci.

Happy 72nd birthday conductor Dennis Russell Davies.

  • chicagoing

    Waltraud Meier in a conversation series with Patti Smith on Sunday in Williamsburg. I have read that Patti is an admirer of Ms. Meier, in particular her interpretation of Isolde. An internet search turned up a YouTube video of Patti Smith being interviewed by Deborah Voigt at the 2010 Met season opening which is charming. They both appear genuinely excited to be in eachothers presence and I was amused when Debbie refers to Ms. Smith as the “grandmother of punk rock” rather than “godmother”.

    • The Poet Lenski

      Patti Smith is a big opera fan in general and has a particular affinity for the works of Wagner. I’d love to see her and Meier in conversation but I am traveling, alas.

      • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

        Patti Smith was at Bayreuth the same time as I was a few years ago. I recall seeing her at several performances, and once she was in the dead center of the row in which I was sitting and managed to come in at the last minute after both intermissions, incurring the wrath of the 30-or-so people who had settled in and now had to get up to let her pass. She apologized to everyone till she reached her place, and once said to me, “Here I am like a bad penny.” I believe she was writing about Bayreuth for Rolling Stone (something which I really shoudl try and find).

  • zinka


    …..and you thought you had problems??????????????????????

  • zinka

    THIRD try…maybe the voice does not come out on a forum????? I can see why…

    • Krunoslav

      Stefan Zucker has a legacy!

    • it is the love child between Stefan Zucker and Christina Deutekom.

    • -Ed.

      I just realized, I forgot to buy eggs at the market this morning.

  • redbear

    In today’s Le Figaro an article which asserts that Franco Zeffirelli, along with 35 others still living, are from the same family as Leonardo da Vinci. (I am NOT making this up!)

  • Camille

    well, kashania—-

    there’s no Roberto D. thread so I’ll stick this here —

    you must be very proud of your girl today as that was a helluva performance, not only from her but all. looking forward to hearing the repetition next week!

    • PushedUpMezzo

      Just back from the HD, and I have to say that Sondra R completely amazed me in every department. Absolutely no tuning issues, great chest tones and dynamic range and, most surprising, perfect pianissimi used sensitively and only for dramatic effect. Above all else an exceedingly well graded dramatic performance suggesting that ER was her own worst enemy. Brava! Used to play the old Sills recording to death, but I finally see the vocal size criticisms were basically correct. Also the best I’ve heard Mr Polenzani sing though his costumes did him no favours. Garanca sumptuous and much more animated than usual. Mariusz sounded a bit tired to me. And there was rather too much background rumbling and chatter (stage crew?) especially in the Garanca/Polenzani first duet.

      • almavivante

        Just back from the (wonderful) performance itself, and two questions: Did Nottingham actually kiss Robert in their first scene together? I was at the prima, and commented in an earlier thread on their embraces and the foreheads touching, and so forth, but I don’t recall a kiss!

        Also, does anyone know the significance of the circular motif behind the balcony? It had an inner circle that looked like it was segmented with numbers 1 through 4, and the outer concentric circles appeared to show astrological signs. Did this have some significance to the court of Elizabeth R?

        • Lohenfal

          Almavivante, I was in the house for the RD today. Yes, Nottingham did certainly kiss Roberto twice, once on each cheek. Was this an Elizabethan custom, or was it something that McVicar and the artists thought up? It gives some credence to the idea that Nottingham was more upset over Roberto’s betrayal than Sara’s.

          I noticed the circular motif at the top of the set. I believe the numbers represent the 24 hours of the day, with the signs of the zodiac underneath. The images of Time and Death at the bottom of the set, as well as the tomb effigy, lead me to believe that this is another representation of the inexorable power of time. Perhaps some other Parterrian could explain its further significance.

          • DonCarloFanatic

            Whatever was implied in this production, it was an English custom in the 16th century to greet people with kisses. On the lips, as I understand it. Foreign diplomats remarked on it with wonder.

          • DonCarloFanatic

            Also, memento mori were very popular at the time, and Elizabeth had her own astrologer, John Dee. Genuine period motifs.

        • Camille

          I happened to hear a Singer’s Roundtable on Sirius in which they all discussed their roles, Garanca did so at length and quite intelligently so, but when it came riund to Kriecien’s turn he right away blurted out something like “They are Lovers”. Or “His Lover”: there was a bit tittering and no ine immediately jumped in to say anything but that was his take on it. I did notice head tiuching at the prima and kinda fond gazes but don’t remember the kiss.

          About the clock--did I read something in the program about it???? It is based on a famous one and I’ve since forgotten its name, I am sorry not to remember where I read about it--but it may be in the program. I really liked itand found it effective but I am an old lady who knows no regie.

    • Evenhanded


      I’ll also chime in and agree that the Roberto Devereux (HD) today was absolutely thrilling. It was as high quality a performance as one could possibly want, IMO -- with all the leads turning in individual assumptions that surpassed their contributions from the opening night performance I attended in person. Radvanovsky looked overwhelmed and elated at the curtain calls: rightly so. It was a tremendous achievement in every way.

      • Camille

        That was my exact same impression as well. Indeed, a tremendous achievement and I am so happy it was today’s performance which was preserved for posterity. Brava!

  • PCally

    Happy Birthday Marie Collier, a tad unloved I think due to her rather unorthodox Chrysothemis for Solti. I too prefer Jones and Rysanek in the role but I admire Collier’s rather strange take on the part and I think the basic sound of the voice is quite attractive. One can find her Janacek interpretations on opera depot and they are quite effective.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      I like Collier on the Solti Elektra. It has been mentioned often in the past few days, given how topical the opera is this week, and accepted wisdom appears to be that she lets the side down and is inadequate (not from you, PCally). I gather it was supposed to be Dame Gwyneth at one stage (is that really true? She was such a new name, would she really have been booked for an important studio recording at that point?) and though I am not quite but not far off Dame Gwyneth’s biggest fan, I don’t listen to that recording wishing it was her, I think Collier is thoroughly convincing -- convincing enough for me not to even think about who else it could have been.

      Incidentally though, just on the subject of Chrysothemis, I do consider myself incredibly lucky to have seen Mattila in the role in the late 1990s (opposite Behrens at the ROH) -- surely one of the best in the role there has ever been (and here again, she is up against Dame Gwyneth as a comparison -- but Dame G just seemed to try to sing that role as loudly and as fully as she could, maybe because she was next to Birgit, it’s some of her most refulgent but dullest singing).

      • PCally

        Cocky, I’m pretty certain that when the recording was announced Jones’ was the planned Chrysothemis. However the other name that I’ve heard come up was Berit Lindholm of all people. I’ve no idea if that’s actually true but I’m pretty sure I’ve read an interview with her where this is mentioned. And 1967 would not have been too early for Jones. She had already triumphed at the ROH as Senta, Sieglinde, and Fidelio and she had also sung Fidelio to immense success in Vienna. And she had been featured in recordings with Solti, including a rhinemaiden in Gotterdammerung. In addition in 1967 the voice itself was really quite gorgeous with no real noticeable issues. Those came in the 1970’s, at least based on recordings. I would have preferred her to Collier. Also, I don’t know if you’ve heard Jones in the role but she’s quite fine in the live ROH Kleiber recording. The squally top is there and yes I agree that her dynamic range is limited, but there’s not much wobble and I find the basic sound to be quite lovey. And interprtively she manages to combine the hysteria of a Rysanek and the more human and vulnerable side of Pieczonka. Not my favorite at all but still good.

        • Cocky Kurwenal

          If it was 67 it makes more sense -- I thought it was 65, ie very shortly after she got noticed.

          I’ve heard her in everything available, including several different stabs at Chrysothemis. For me it was a strikingly beautiful voice in everything from the 1950s student recital available on operadepot until the last Ortruds -- that’s what I love about her, the gorgeous timbre. But I think the lack of textual specificity you mention below re Kundry can be a factor in all her roles. If you watch film of her you realise immediately that she was very attentive and careful and not remotely generalised, but it does tend to sound that way on pure audio -- just one of those voices that doesn’t seem to ‘pick up’ expression as well as some others, despite the intentions of the artist deploying it.

          • PCally

            Well 1967 was the release date I believe, it could have been announced earlier but Jones was someone Solti tried to promote and develop so it still makes sense to me. And you’ve hit the nail on the head. When I SEE the sound come out of her I can understand the interpretive gifts she so clearly has. When I’m just listening it sounds like a very intense but very general kind of singing, a certain sameness that isn’t apparent when watching.

  • Cocky Kurwenal

    Who likes Dame Gwyneth Jones? YouTube user Klaus Konig Fan, who is keen on Klaus Konig, has posted a Dresden Parsifal from 1993 recently, which features Dame G as Kundry, in rather good voice. I’ve never had the opportunity to hear her in this role in any performance other than the issued Boulez set, so I’m really pleased to see this. It’s great to hear her in a later assumption -- the interpretation is far more assured.

    • PCally

      Thanks for this Cocky, it’s very interesting. She sounds pretty solid here considering this was late-ish for her and considering that the role lies a bit low. I have to admit that while the Boulez recording finds her in pretty solid voice I’m not to crazy about her in the role. She sings in big strokes and I really think a Kundry needs more textual specificity and interpretive subtle a la Meier, Crespin, and Modl. She must have been spectacular to SEE in the role, being an amazing actress and astonishingly beautiful. But it’s a bit vague on records, though certainly intense.

      • mjmacmtenor

        speaking of Gwyneth’s beauty -- I still really her Venus in the film on Tannhauser (she also played Elisabeth). It did not leave much to the imagination.

        • PCally

          Her best recording IMO, even finer than her Brunnhilde. More or less vocally perfect, stunningly beautiful to look at, and dramatically the finest Elisabeth available. Perfect introduction to her art.

      • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

        Speaking of Kundry, Nina Stemme has been announced for the role in a new production at Wiener Staatsoper next season. Christopher Ventris is Parsifal, Gerald Finley is Amfortas, and Semyon Bychkov is the conductor.

        • PCally

          Have they announced who the director is?

          • Bill

            Regie und Buehne by Alvis Hermanis for the new Parsifal
            in Vienna

            • Bill

              Further in the Vienna Parsifal Gurnemanz is Hans-Peter
              Koenig and Klingsor is Jochen Schmekenbecher --
              premiere March 30, 2017 with 5 subsequent performances
              in April through April 16,

  • Camille

    Phoenix--achtung! Miss Lianna Haroutunian is being interviewed tonight and featured on WKCR.FM. I am so sorry it is NOT on line—so if you can listen.
    She just sang Butterfly’s Entrance in the most beautiful fashion, from a performanc in Amsterdam.

    Hope you may listen in. The Butterfly sounded VERY beautiful!

    • phoenix

      Thanks Camille! Here is the complete audio archive of Haroutunian’s Amsterdam Butterfly:
      (click on LUISTER TERUG to begin the archive)
      -- Fortunately I missed everything yesterday and had a very good time -- was out all day & all night -- but I time recorded in absentia 1) Zemlinsky’s Traumgörge from Hanover with Kelly God & Robert Künzli and 2) Wagner’s Valkyrien from Odense, Danmark with Jennifer Wilson as Brünnhilde.

  • Camille

    The Armenian opera Anush is to be the featured opera tonight on WKCR.FM with the soprano Gohar Gasparyan, the “Armenian Nightingale”.

  • decotodd

    Did anyone watch or listen to the Vienna TOSCA? I Heard that Angela G missed her third act entrance and Kaufmann ad libbed (!) Maybe she was annoyed at the ovation (and encore?) for his aria.

    • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

      You’ll be able to hear ALL of it -- almost 150 minutes -- on “Montag mit Marianne” or directly on my Mixcloud site. Believe me: you won’t want to miss it! I was at both performances, and tonight’s was considerably better and much stranger than the one last Saturday, starting with the cancellation this afternoon of conductor Mikko Franck -- who was justifiably booed last week -- and sudden replacement by Jesús López-Cobos who happened to be in the house rehearsing “Ballo” -- a definite upgrade. As for the other antics, you’ll just have to listen to the performance.

      • nachEule

        So, JML, was it strange enough that the Wiener Staatsoper would have pulled livestreaming availability? I’d decided to not watch, then changed my mind 45 minutes before it was scheduled to stream in my timezone — and instead of “add to cart” found only “no longer available” which it still says. Can’t imagine them limiting numbers of online tickets, so, anyone have any idea as to what’s up?

      • Rackon

        Thank you, JML, I look forward to it. But until then, have mercy! Please tell all -- *was* La Georghiu honked over JK’s bis?

      • Camille

        Oh Goody, Goody!! Can’t wait, Tante Jungfer!!!!!

        Sounds like my kind of fun, all right!

        Danke, tausendmal!!!!!!

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

        Listen carefully during the moments when the orchestra is waiting for the signal to continue and confusion reigns. One of the horns starts playing the first notes of The Beautiful Blue Danube!

      • manou

        Strangely, Mikko Franck seemed fine when he conducted the double bill of Debussy’s L’Enfant Prodigue and Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges last Friday in Paris at the Maison de la Radio.

        I was there, but I think you can listen to the broadcast somewhere.

        (Yes you can -- here: )

        • phoenix

          manou, thanks for putting up this francemusique archive link. france musique over the last 6 months or so ain’t what it used to be. Their website, laden down with generous amounts of advertising, loads so slow -- added to that they have neglected to put on archive a generous selection of their best recent performances (informing me ahead of time of that fact)

          • phoenix

            (continued) So when there is something interesting being broadcast, the server gets so full I can’t access some francemusique opera performances live.
            -- What you and they say about Mikko Franck rings a bell over here -- heard his bdcsts from his time at Theater an der Wien as well as his more recent French performances, but most of the time he (or I or maybe both) seem isolated & somewhat separated from the proceedings -- particularly disappointing was his Paris Tristan und Isolde with the lugubrious Stemme (but I don’t really care for Stemme’s Isolde no matter who conducts it, so that doesn’t mean very much). However, since I keep many of my favorite performances, I went back & found a 2014 Lohengrin from Wiener Staatsoper, a Tote Stadt (not the DVD, but a live performance from Maison de la Radio Paris earlier this year) and an Elektra (2015 Wiener Staatsoper). Franck is at least 20 years younger than Salonen.
            -- Yesterday I time recorded & listened to as much as I could take of the Kauffmann & Gheorghiu Wien Tosca. That any conductor could put up with either of them at this point in their careers indicates great patience & courage. However, Kauffmann’s barking baritone-with-extension followed the beat better than Gheorghiu’s half-a-Tosca, bottomless from mid-torso downward. Believe me, I loved Gheorghiu’s London Tosca years ago -- perfectly balanced & sung, very musical -- but as much as Tosca has become a pink slip opera over the last several decades, you still need a voice to sing it. I would post the archival link to this dreadful Tosca performance but I do have some moral standards, you know, and I don’t want to offend Mme. Jungfer.

      • operaspike

        I watch the entire performance in my US west coast time zone. In my fifty years of opera going I don’t think I have experienced anything quite like this. An ancient production, a soprano highly adept at upstaging, a tenor to die for, and a baritone with oil oozing from every pore. The performance and ovation for JK’s third act aria was one I will never forget and lead to the encore which lead to…I think I said, “what the f**k, the bitch missed her cue!” I have to think JK was thinking exactly the same thing. It was a classic pissed off diva moment for the ages. She probably decided to go back to her dressing room when the ovation for JK and encore went on and on and on. To say that AG lacks discipline on stage is an understatement and we all know that, but to see it on a world-wide telecast from the VSO is beyond words. Thanks the gods for giving us JK; he was quite charming and funny dealing with his diva’s antics. I hope the VSO will repost the performance because it’s worth every nickel!!!

    • Lady Abbado

      Knowing Ange, I’m pretty sure she missed it on purpose…

      • Cicciabella

        As the esteemed Roberto D chatters will confirm: Told ya so!

    • degan

      A great moment in opera, more is almost impossible. Yes,some might say Kaufmann could sound more Italian, Gheorghiu could have fewer diva moments, there were coordination problems with the conductor, but what was offered here exceeds everything I’ve heard in the last 20 years IMO. Gheorghiu was top notch, especially from Act 2 (apparently motivated by Terfel), Kaufmann was in very good form, everything went exceptionally well and Terfel is a very good “bad-boy” Scarpia. “Vissi d’arte” and the “E lucevan le stelle”were the highlights. There were some regie problems after the Bis of Kaufmanns aria; Gheorghiu did not show up when needed, so some people thought she is doing a “Callas-moment”, but after some seconds, they started the duet again. Both sang again in full voice, truly phenomenal. Great applause and countless curtains for all three protagonists.

  • moi

    Kaufmann sings ‘Ah! non abbiam soprano…’ instead of ‘Ah! Franchigia a Floria Tosca…’
    Great fun

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      The complete Vienna Tosca video is making the rounds and includes the live train wreck, which was dealt with as best they could. After Kaufmann realized that Tosca was not in position for the duet and sang “We don’t have a soprano” (primarily for the conductor)and everyone waited, Kaufmann spoke to the audience to report that it looks like they were ready to continue- which they did to great acclaim.

  • Milady DeWinter

    Yes, I certainly agree that yesterday’s Roberto D HD was a culmination -- every singer was in top form. I was in the house for last Friday’s April 8th performance, and it was excellent. Marius actually made it through without cracking -- which he had not done heretofore in the Sirius broadcasts. Garanca hardly even has to act she connects so well with the music. Polenzani was in the most secure voice of the run yesterday- he certainly did not take that top C in the cabaletta to the Prison Scene on the 8th.
    Finally, all hail Queen Sondra, who was magnificent. (One little quibble: I don’t care for the chromatic cadenza she uses at the close of “Vivi ingrato” -- it’s a little too much by then, and the line back to the dominant harmony is sketchy.)
    Elisabetta’s final cabaletta is an extraordinary composition- it lurches and lunges along with the queen’s despair, exhaustion, and ultimate regal resolution in the short bursts of fiery passagework, and clearly presages Verdi. Very cathartic.

    • Batty Masetto

      I too was at “Madame Butterfly-Net”--no, sorry, I mean “The Private Life of Baby Jane”--whoops--“The Roman Spring of Miss Havisham?”--oh dear--anyway, the HD about Queen Bozo the First--and though I differ with JJ in enjoying La Rad’s timbre, I completely agree that the production itself does the work an injustice.

      True, it gave Radv. an opportunity for a tremendous tour de force, but by substituting a demanding physicalization for characterization it robbed the piece of its emotional core, making Devereux little more than an ambitious gigolo. Polenzani was excellent, much more sensitive and moving in his last scene than Camarena in his recent Wigmore Hall version, but given the choice between Garanca and a hideous, ill-tempered harridan, who wouldn’t go for the beauteous Elina? No room for conflicting loyalties here.

      The role of the courtiers as “audience” was underdeveloped and incoherent.

      There’s more to be said but I’m trying to type this on a recalcitrant iPad so I’ll stop here, except to say that Mariusz’s orange bloomers didn’t do him any favors, either.

  • spiderman

    Meanwhile Karita Mattila has debuted Kostelnicka in concert in Prag …
    A recording of the concert perofrmance suggests her Kostelnicka could become as epic as her Jenufa …

    • PCally

      I know that these are seconds of a rehearsal but she sounds fantastic, a brighter more youthful sounds than one tends to hear in this role. The one review I’ve found was a rave.

    • oscar

      Ok. Now I am really looking forward to her Kostelnicka in San Francisco. I didn’t realize that it would be her stage debut in the role. She also debuted her Elsa and Emilia Marty in San Francisco as well. After she’s gone this summer, we can go back to being the provincial opera company we have become.

      • PCally

        Oscar, I could be wrong but I’m pretty certain Mattila premiered her Elsa in Paris first.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      I’m seeing Mattila tonight as the Kostelnicka in London -- can’t wait.

  • phoenix

  • moi

    Mattila also debuted Katà Kabanova in SF opera, in 2002 I think..
    Just watching a live streaming from Vienna . Jenufa w Ròschmann as Jenufa (fine singing, less acting) and Denoke ( fine acting, less singing….)

    • PCally

      Sad to have missed it. Two of my favorite singers and I would have loved to have seen them in those roles.

      • spiderman

        I was in the house last Sunday -- while Röschmann was a nice surprise after her not-so-well-recieved Desdemona in Salzburg, Denoke was totally not Kostelnicka. She tried to be a young and sympathetic Kostelnicka, which didn’t work at all as their was no particular age-difference between her and Jenufa and no strictness which is so improtant for the character. Moreover I think she was in vocal distress in Act2 leaving out high notes and howling quite a lot.

        • Hippolyte

          Isn’t that how Denoke usually sounds?

          • PCally

            That’s how she sounds in some roles. I’ve heard her in all three of her leading Janacek roles (not this new one), the Marschallin (twice) and several Maries and she has sounded fantastic in all of them. She also sounded fantastic this summer. Where she failed for me is her Fidelio (the worst I’ve seen), Salome (vocally unbearable), and Kundry (and I’ve heard performances of this where she has sounded nice).

        • phoenix

          Always wished I could put up with Jenufa, but I just can’t handle it -- it reminds me of something to get away from rather than go to -- be that as it may, thanks spiderman for your comment above. I’ve been listening to Röschmann on bdcsts for many years now and the only memorable ones that got to me were 1) a Berg Der Wein from Salzburg Festspielhaus 2011 with Boulez; and 2) an EXCELLENT Brahms Zigeunerlieder from Wigmore 2008 with Graham Johnson at the piano. Not being a Mozart listener, I probably missed her best nights. But I did listen to that Desdemona you mentioned above -- it was, well, as you said, not the worst but forgettable.
          -- Denoke hasn’t sounded decent for quite awhile (to my ears) -- quick on the trigger to ennoble herself as the ultimate muse for great directors -- she has become an iconic cult personality figure of role interpretation. No matter how badly she sings, boosted by the drama queens & the media legend, like Mattila, she will probably sell videos well into the mid 21st century no matter how she sings.

  • moi

    Sorry for the usual BORING lament… but Gheorghiu as Tosca sounded really small voiced in the 3rd act.. even through radio she sounds like an Adina singing Tosca.
    But there are intense moments to her credit.

  • moi

    You can listen to Mattila’s Kostelnicka live on BBC radio 3 , in about 4 hours