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Paranorma activity

Shuffle_500“Due to Anna Netrebko’s recent decision not to add the title role in Bellini’s Norma to her repertory, the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden—where she was scheduled to debut the role—as well as the Vienna State Opera and Dallas Opera have announced several related cast changes.” The Met’s press office has been whirring this morning, and La Cieca will try to get you up to speed. 

Sondra Radvanovsky will now star in the new production that will open the 2017-18 Met season. As previously announced, the new production will be directed by Sir David McVicar, and will also star Joyce DiDonato as Adalgisa and Joseph Calleja as Pollione. Later that season Radvanovsky will make her company role debut as Leonora in Calixto Bieito’s staging of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino.

Netrebko will step into Radvanovsky’s Fall 2017 performances of Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore in Vienna. At the Met, she will reprise Leonora in a revival of Il Trovatore that has now been added to the season and, as previously scheduled, will debut a new Met role, Puccini’s Tosca.

In the Met’s 2016-17 season, Sonya Yoncheva will withdraw from five performances of Mimì in La Bohème so that she may make her role debut as Norma at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, in the new production originally planned for Netrebko. In her place, Ailyn Pérez will make her Met role debut as Mimì on September 28; October 1, 6, 10, and 14, in addition to her previously announced dates: January 6, 11, and 14 matinee. (She is available for the additional Bohème performances because she had earlier made the decision to postpone her role debut as Tatiana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, which she was to premiere at Dallas Opera this fall.)

Yoncheva will appear at the Met in 2016-17 as Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata in a run of performances beginning in February 2017.

Photo: Dario Acosta

  • leosweill

    Yoncheva’s Norma! very excited.

  • Alucard

    Wasn’t Rebeka supposed to debut as Norma at the MET?

    • The Poet Lenski

      She and Angela Meade are doing a later series of performances.

  • aulus agerius

    Less than 2 years seems to be enough advance to get things sorted out in a manner suitable for everyone.

    • Ilka Saro

      Couldn’t agree more. This 5-to-6-years-in-the-future is nuts.

      I can’t help wondering if Ailyn, Anya, Sonia and Sondra all just pulled out their phones and figure and talked amongst themselves, and then tolds the agents, intendants and lawyers to figure out the details. The solution seems almost too elegant for anything else!

  • Bluebeard

    Wow. I don’t think anyone was expecting Yoncheva as Norma. Anyone else feel that this is too much too soon for this wonderful soprano? I could appreciate her Desdemona, but that role was about as heavy a part as she could go I would imagine. Norma seems like a totally different game that is too large a part for someone who seems a bit stretched as Desdemona and Marguerite. On the plus side, she’s probably a good fit opposite Sonia Ganassi. Glad that La Rad is getting an opening night.

    • la vociaccia

      I love Yoncheva and don’t know what to make of this. I hope it’s filmed though.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Certainly Yoncheva seems to have developed very quickly in recent years. After first hearing her in Handel I’d never have expected Desdemona so soon, but I gather she did well. She had about 4 times more voice than I was expecting when I saw her in Faust. At 34, she’s older than some famous Normas were when the first tackled it. Plus it’s clearly one of those roles one can do on one’s own terms, if Bartoli, Dimitrova and many in between can give well received performances of it in the theatre.

      It’s simply one of those things we’ll have to hear I think.

      • uwsinnyc

        I agree- Yoncheva seems to have developed very quickly. But there is a risk when singers develop too much too quickly of them also falling or burning out with the same speed.

        I like Yoncheva a lot but am surprised-- hers seems a very lyric voice, lovely in rep. as heavy as Desdemona or Boccanegra but no more.

        • Ilka Saro

          I heard her Desdemona and was very impressed. No, Norma wasn’t a part I would have thought of for her, but I definitely thought of Violetta. But I am also always open for pleasant surprises!

        • I loved Yoncheva’s Desdemona in the Met HD. I haven’t heard her in anything else so I’m not entirely sure about Norma. But it’s a seriously beautiful voice and she has great dignity and bearing on stage.

        • LT

          Remember that even Devia with her modest volume sings Norma, quite successfully at that. It’s not Turandot, after all.

    • Camille

      Don’t worry--Haroutounian is undoubtably on standby.

  • spiderman

    Lucky Vienna State Opera … to have Netrebko step in is definitely not shitty for selling tickets …

    • Bill

      Spiderman -- The Vienna Opera already has a new
      production of Trovatore planned for Netrebko this
      forthcoming season -- so for the 2017 season in
      the autumn then Netrebko will be reprising her
      Leonora to replace Radvanovsky. Meyer promised that
      Netrebko was also booked for another new production
      of an unannounced opera in a subsequent season after
      2016-17. It could have been Norma as the Vienna has only had Norma done in the last decade in concert form
      for Gruberova and the old production of Norma
      was done for Caballe long ago. It is unlikely to have been Aida, Tosca, Adriana or Lohengrin as the
      Vienna has existing productions the last two relatively new in recent seasons. Don’t know what other operas
      Netrebko is planning to sing in the future which would warrant a new production in Vienna. And Spiderman you
      know very well that most performances in Vienna are
      sold out in any case though anything with Netrebko who is not even a Kammersaengerin there yet due to her limited number of past performances in Vienna, is a tough ticket to obtain.

      • spiderman

        Bill -- I know, I am from Vienna … still I wanted to express that for ticket sales it is definitely better to have Netrebko on the cast list than Radvanovsky. (although it doesnt matter, as the State Opera is always packed with tourists anyway)

  • Sempre liberal

    LOVE the Shuffle Along image/ad. Nicely done, Cieca!

  • Laura Amorosa

    London wins (Yoncheva), New York loses (Rads)

  • Camille

    È strano!

    After having heard Radvanovsky’s Norma several times and now, along with the Elisabetta, I say brava e benvenuta, and good on her. I know this causes La Cieca a bad case of agita, though.

    It remains to be seen about Yoncheva though and this should be very intriguing. And am glad to see Ms Pérez bumped up to Mimì.

    When will Annannanna give us her Lisa in Pique Dame, though?

    A game of Diva Musical Chairs. Who knows who will sing what, where and when in the end?

    • The Poet Lenski

      I have long wondered if Anna would take on Lisa. With the exception of Iolanta and Tatyana, Russian roles have not been much of a focus of her mature career. But given how her voice is developing, she might end up a perfect Lisa. Maybe she’ll do it around the time Jonas decides he’s ready for Ghermann. :)

      • Camille

        Perfect. You’re hired as my casting director. Now THAT would be a sell-out!
        And Garanca could sing Olga Bol’Shoye Boridina’s part of Polina, too!!!

        • Camille

          BorOdina. Sorry, Olga!

          If she’s gone, at least there is now Garanca, but I’ll never forget her in Pique Dame. Ever!

      • Porgy Amor

        I would never find it now, but I do remember Netrebko saying Liza in Pikovaya Dama was a role she eventually would sing, about ten years down the line. She was 41 or 42 at the time. There was discussion of it here.

        • antikitschychick

          Here ya go Porgy!

          I just googled “Anna Netrebko lisa queen of spades” and it came right up :-). P.S. I still have to read the fabulous piece you wrote about Elektra a week or so ago before seeing the HD performance I missed. Love your writing always. I wanna be you when I grow up. Xo.

          • Porgy Amor

            Thanks for both the Google search and the compliment! Hope you like the Elektra piece. I’m seeing the HD enore tomorrow as well.

          • DeepSouthSenior

            Thanks, everyone, for a great discussion on this thread, one of the most informative I’ve read at Parterre in a while. Anna N. can do whatever, whenever she wants, as far as I’m concerned. Yoncheva’s Desdemona won me over big-time. And whatever doubts I had about Radvanovksy’s quick-fire vibrato and steely tone were swept away after Roberto Devereux. Long may they reign!

            AntiK and PorgyA, I too plan to be at the Live in HD encore tonight. Elektra will be a blessed two hours of peace and calm after the political primaries.

    • +1

  • Signor Bruschino

    In other future news, Opera magazine in their June issue is reporting that the Met is doing Messiaen’s St Francois in Fall 2017, with Eric Owens in the title role. No word on who is directing this -- anyone have any idea (i could joke that Bart Sher is directing it, but would be terrified that it could actually be true).

    • Bluebeard

      No way is the Met doing Francois, as much as I’d like to believe it. Maybe it’s a NY Phil presentation? It’d be a good swan song performance for Gilbert.

      • Signor Bruschino

        I kind of don’t believe it either, which why I surprised to see it in Opera magazine- i remember reading somewhere that the plans for the NYPhil to do it were canned

        • Bluebeard

          I wouldn’t be surprised if those costs were just too high for the NY Phil. If they still have Eric Owens for that period of time though, I’d predict they’ll feature him in an opera. Maybe in Rheingold? I wasn’t impressed by his concert Walküre a few months ago (but nothing about that night impressed me), yet Rheingold certainly sounded promising from that appearance. By then, he will have sung it in Chicago, so he should have a decent grasp of the role then. Worse comes to worse, he just sings Alberich again!!

        • PushedUpMezzo

          I wouldn’t rely too heavily on Opera’s predictions these days. In the same issue they “hear that” Tamara Wilson will be replacing Netrebko as Norma while the forthcoming attractions pages show the Norma tba. There’s also a good review of Marina Rebeka’s Norma in Trieste complete with a colour photo of her looking more like Amneris.

  • At the Met, this seems to be the ideal solution. I still would’ve preferred to have Netrebko’s Norma and Rad’s Forza Leonora but this new arrangement ain’t shabby. Rad had a major success on the opening night of her Norma a couple of seasons ago (though I hear subsequent performances weren’t on the same level) and I’m always interested in hearing Netrebko take on a new role.

    But BEST OF ALL, WE GET ANNA AS TOSCA!!! I might have to make my first trip to the Met in several years just to catch that. I hope Lucic isn’t her Scarpia. I want fireworks in the second act.

    • The Poet Lenski

      Radvanovsky really gets the best of all worlds here. She gets to keep her new production of FORZA and pick up the NORMA. Two new productions, (presumably) two HD transmissions, and opening night — not bad for someone who was poised to fall off the Met’s roster altogether less than 10 years ago.

      As others have mentioned, the other big winner seems to be Vienna’s box office now that Anna is jumping into their TROVATORE.

      Yoncheva is in the prime of her career and is collecting as many high-profile engagements as she can. Good for her. It doesn’t hurt that she’s singing and acting exquisitely, too.

    • antikitschychick

      Yes those Toscas will certainly be “an event” Kash and I’m sure you’ll enjoy AN in the title role, as will the rest of us, and speaking of Tosca and Scarpia, look who is singing Scarpia opposite Glammyla’s Tosca at Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin next season:

      Tehehe…Those performances are going to be killer! Wish I could go see them :-( but maybe there’ll be a radio broadcast or something. He is exactly who I think the Met should cast as Scarpia for those 17-18 season Toscas, for obvious reasons lol…not that Bryn Terfel is a bad choice for Scarpia but…I think someone younger would be better. I’m going to have a hard time choosing which performance(s) to go to though, assuming I can, since I like all three of the sopranos and they’re all different…I feel like for the HD (if there is one, and I would think there will be) they should each get to sing an act lol.

    • DellaCasaFan

      Netrebko’s Tosca is the best part, I agree, but also hope it would not mean Mr. Netrebko will be her future Mario as he is already her Des Grieux (Rome, Salzburg), Manrico (Berlin) and who knows what else is in their future cards… these are major venues for a minor talent at best.

      • antikitschychick

        Well DellaCasaFan, according to the Future Met Wiki, Jonas Kaufmann and Marcelo Alvarez are slated to sing Cavarodossi in that run of Toscas. Previously only Jonas was listed as Cavaradossi, and I was kind of bummed to see he’s allegedly sharing the role with Alvarez, since that means one or two of the ladies won’t be singing with Jonas :-(. I don’t like Mr. Netrebko’s voice but I think I would prefer him as Mario over Alvarez.

        As a side note, a Tosca with AN as Tosca, Mr. AN as Cavaradossi and Erwin Schrott as Scarpia would be fun!!

        • Camille

          Genius!!! And little Thiago can sing the third act Shepherd!!!

          “As a side note, a Tosca with AN as Tosca, Mr. AN as Cavaradossi and Erwin Schrott as Scarpia would be fun!!”

          The blood would be REAL!

        • DellaCasaFan

          antikitschychick, good to know it but you bring up another possible concern. I wonder why they added Alvarez. Let’s see if it is not yet another quiet signal for Kaufmann’s steady disengagement from the Met and US scene as we’ve witnessed lately.

          • antikitschychick

            Yes let’s hope not!! Otherwise it will end up being Alvarez and Mr. AN for sure :-(. Was sad to see he’s not performing at the Met’s 50th Anniversary Gala next May either although it will be still be a great gala.

        • Lohengrin

          My idea: AN will do the new production with Alvarez or YE and JK will take over with KO.

          • YigeLi

            The new production opening would be the New Year’s eve gala--at least that’s the plan. If they still keep this plan, then, it must be KO that opens it. I’m very sure Anya would rather stay with her family on that day.

            I believe that MET would like to have Kaufmann opening the production with KO. But not sure that he’s willing to work on New Year’s eve.

            And, I’m very sure that the original HD plan was to HD Norma with Anya, but for Tosca, HD goes to JK+KO. Now, things get more complex. I will bet that HD will go to the one with JK, and he’s most likely to do it with KO. Of course they can now move JK to be paired with Anya, at least partially, and make that HD. But I doubt Anya might have reservation to HD her role debut run.

            • Lohengrin

              I am sure JK will not be pleased to sing on NY-Eve in NY, as he keeps free Christmas-time this and the next year:he tries to havemore privacy.
              HD: yes, JK + a beautiful good singing lady; I think it will be KO.

      • Camille

        DCF--you bet and I am a little suspect about what all may be going on. He is suddenly getting more and more engagements with her. Since he has made a passable debut at the Met just this past fall, how long will it be before they are featured together--not that it matters to me, but——it’s really pushing it. May as well get used to itt.

        • DellaCasaFan

          Camille, I’m afraid you are right. It certainly seems to be going in that direction.

          • antikitschychick

            It certainly is pushing it and its distressing how he’s happy to ride her coattails it seems. I get he sings rep that’s difficult to cast but I don’t think for a second that he’d be getting such high profile gigs all of a sudden if he weren’t Mr. Netrebko. Not that I blame her for wanting to spend time with him and wanting to have a normal family life but unfortunately there is a considerable disparity between them in terms of artistic caliber and it’s not really cool that we have to just put up with him now, but *shrugs* it is what it is at this point. It’s likely they’ll keep appearing together so we have to just get used to it as Camille says.

            • armerjacquino

              Evyazov was singing Des Grieux for Muti at the Rome Opera when they met. That’s the top of the profession right there.

            • The Poet Lenski

              Evyazov was singing Des Grieux for Muti at the Rome Opera when they met. That’s the top of the profession right there.

              Yeah, seriously. Can we stop acting like he was busking in the subway before they hooked up?

            • LT

              I don’t think Rome opera is a top tier house. I don’t even believe it to be a second tier one. Not nowadays for sure.
              Of course, that doesn’t mean that Eyvazov is a talentless noob.

            • Cocky Kurwenal

              Whatever tier we’re placing the Rome Opera in, I don’t think Riccardo Muti works with just anyone.

            • armerjacquino

              Yep. Here’s someone who was breaking through to big, high-profile gigs before they met who is now ‘happy to ride on her coat tails’ and it’s ‘not really cool we have to put up with him’.

              Have you heard Marco Berti? Evyazov would be singing Manrico and Calaf in major houses if he’d never met Netrebko. I’m sure being married to her doesn’t do him any harm but it’s supremely mean-spirited and insulting to both of them to pretend he’s a no-mark who’s suddenly getting hired because he married well.

            • antikitschychick

              armerj: yes I have heard Marco Berti and he was actually pretty good in Pagliacci. Further, I never said YE was a “no mark” (or that he was “busking in the subway”), I said there was a disparity in terms of artistic caliber between him and AN which I think is a fair statement. If you think the almost instant success he has garnered is due solely to his own merits because he was singing DG in Rome with Muti, then fine. I happen to have a different opinion but it really doesn’t matter. Either way he aint goin nowhere so…that’s that.

            • armerjacquino

              Yes, you did say that. You also said some other things. They’re right there for people to read.

            • Gualtier M

              From reports, that “Manon Lescaut” in Rome in Feb-Mar 2014 was organized at very short notice by Muti when he secured Anna Netrebko for a role debut. It was all very last minute which is why a first tier tenor like Marcelo Alvarez, Jonas Kaufmann or even Marco Berti were unavailable. So it was a slot for a promising newcomer which I guess, Yusif was at that point.


              Looking at Operabase, it seems as if in 2011 Eyvazov had sung Cavaradossi at the Bolshoi Theater as a guest and had sung Otello in Ravenna under Muti in 2013. So that is what got him on Muti’s radar for the Des Grieux in Firenze.

          • Camille

            I hope to god I am wrong but, you know, it’s only natural to want to sing with your partner — look at Fabulous Fabio (Armiliato), who was once something of a presence at the Met. I don’t know what happened there but he seems to have long been the happy partner of Daniela Dessì, on stage and off, and to remain on home turf — and so it goes.

            Let us hope that he continues to improve and that management will show some discretion, even if that is a vain espoir.

            • RosinaLeckermaul

              Well, Fabio starred in a Woody Allen movie a couple of years ago.

          • antikitschychick

            Gualtier, I thought about what and Niel Rishoi had to say about La Rad’s voice as I was watching the Roberto Devereaux HD last night. I think you were both spot on in your assessments/criticisms. Still, her performance was a tour de force! The best I’ve seen from her hands down in terms of acting and vocally it was amazing as well. And I cannot get the melody of “quel sangue” out of my head lol. Seeing how moved she was at the end was also touching. Loved Elina Garanca as Sara. She is super ready to move into heavier mezzo rep and I look forward to it! Mariusz K struggled vocally but his acting was great and his confrontation duet with Elina was electrifying. I was less impressed with Mathew Polenzani. I would have preferred Bryan Hymel or Stephen Costello in that role. I liked all of McVicar’s productions for this trilogy, though this one was a tad too dour. But his work with the singers, i.e. personenregie was fantastic imo. I hope his Tosca will be even better.

            • Niel Rishoi

              Antikitschychick, thank you for remembering what I wrote.

              The final scene of Roberto Devereux, like that of Norma, rarely ever fails. The way Donizetti and Bellini wrote these, they almost sing themselves. The manner of the vocal writing, the scoring, the sheer lyricism -- the emotions are built so ineffably into the text and the line, that the soprano can’t help but make the effect. I have noted that in these final scenes, they *rarely fail.* You can go on youtube and listen to the final scenes of both operas, and one really won’t come across an instance where the impact is wanting.

              Radvanovsky scores well in all the lyrical scenes in Norma; the “Casta diva,” the duets with Adalgisa, and in the closing scene, from “Qual cor tradisti” on. These require just the plangent lyricism in which she excels.

              However, having heard half a dozen of her Normas in te last couple of years, I have noticed certain consistencies which never deviate. One of those factors is that once she learns a role one way, it is done in almost precisely the same manner each time same phasing choices, accent and colorings.

              But as I explained in my review, Rad’s shortfalls (to me) are in recitative, demanding passagework, and in the moments of high drama -- anger, despair, frustration, along those lines.

              The “Sediziose voci” is often take quite slow, unaccented, and rhythmically slack.

              The “Ah bello a me ritorna” is not polished.

              The section with Clotilde, before the first duet with Adalgisa, is imperative to the drama, outlining as it does, Norma’s grave doubts about her situation; it gets passed for nothing.

              The outrage and mounting fury of the end of the first act simmers on a low, restrained temperature instead of being monumental and charged.

              The dilemma she faces regarding murdering her children is too restrained, not deeply felt and conveyed.

              The call for war lacks forcefulness.

              The duet with Pollione, “In mia man” is altogether too tame and not believable.

              Fortunately, matters change with Norma’s “Son io,” and here Rad really goes to town with her full, generous tone pouring out effectively.

              It’s the right voice for sure. But as a tragedienne, a vocal actress, she’s too inhibited and self-contained to be maximally effective. I don’t know if this is tied in to the way she produces her voice, which is soft-grained tonally, added to her muted vowels; but her tendency to slow the rhythm and impetus down doesn’t help.

              My disappointment that Netrebko isn’t going to be doing the Norma is quite strong. I was planning to make my first trip to New York to see her in the role. Though she too has not the best florid technique, all the factors I mentioned above as being drawbacks with Rad, wouldn’t be so with Netrebko. Anna has an excellent sense of drama, physically and vocally. Her presence, her involvement into her roles, not to mention the sheer beauty of her voice, I think would give Norma the necessary stature and individuality.

            • LT

              Polenzani was wonderful in his role. Costello? He would have needed CPR during his aria.

            • antikitschychick

              Hi Neil, thank you for sharing your thoughts about Rad’s Norma. Having listened to a couple of live broadcasts while looking at the score when she debuted it a the Met I agree with you once again. The plangent, lyrical singing was gorgeous to be sure, but the muted vowels (and muted consonants) issue you point out is I think the biggest drawback for me in a role that has a lot of declamatory singing and coloratura and such. There were some mushy vowels in the RD as well though mostly it was clear she was making an effort to dig into the text more, and her chest notes were great. What was truly great for me though was that, even though she does have a hard time “letting go, or else bad things will happen” as Gualtier eloquently put it, this was the most physically/viscerally elegant, believable and intense performance I’ve seen from her because she mostly kept the facial distortions and grimaces that I think tend to mar her performances in check. In fact I don’t recall seeing a single one of those distracting gestures throughout the entire opera which I was very pleasantly surprised with. Plus she executed the limping/gait problem and other physical quirks she and McVicar incorporated into the performance really well. This alone I thought was an extraordinary feat for her and she certainly deserves the success she garnered. Again hats off to her.

              As to the topic of AN and Norma, I definitely share your disappointment that she won’t be taking on that iconic role (at least not in the foreseeable future). I don’t think it’s even sunk in yet tbh; like I’m still in denial. My heart literally sank when I found out she dropped out of both productions and when it was announced she would be singing a revival of Trovatore instead, it made me even even more sad because Trovatore is one of those roles that paves the way to Norma :-(. Anyway I’ll stop now since I don’t want to keep rubbing salt into the wound and it’s not like we won’t get to see her do her thing in other roles. I look forward to her Elsa, Tosca, Aida, Adriana and whatever else she has in store. Buona Notte good sir :-).

      • YigeLi

        Of course, Yusif is not the same level artist as Anya. But, Anya is unique! You don’t get too many like her in decades.

        So, if your favorite Jonas was not available (to pair with Anya, or to show up in this side of Atlantic), who do you want to have if you have such objection to Yusif?

        You may prefer Marcello Giordani (Anya’s DG in Vienna next month)? Or--now, without any reference, tell me name of the tenor singing Manrico on the DG Manrico-less cover DVD of Trovatore. Oh, and there’s Antonenko who was originally scheduled for the Berlin Trovatore in 2013. Also, Marcelo Álvarez could be another option. I, at least, don’t believe any of them could be a significant improvement, unless you are a fan of any of them, which I can totally understand.

        I hope you are not crazy enough to suggest Piotr Beczala or Joseph Calleja to take on these heavy roles at this point.

        • armerjacquino

          This is spot on. He’s in an uncrowded field where he’s at least on a par with most of the people singing his rep. Is he a singer for the ages? No. Is he a useful singer for houses that want to mount warhorses? Absolutely.

          It’s sad that some people prefer to curtain-twitch than to be practical about it..

          • antikitschychick

            Armerj, smart and righteous you are but taking what I said to the extreme you are because like to quarrel you do ;-). That Cavaradossi is an easy role to cast, did not claim or suggest I; merely provided alternatives I; nor because of who he married is the “only” reason he gets employed did I claim. Acknowledged that he sings repertoire that is difficult to cast I did, and employment before AN he had and continue to have no doubt he would, but a shortcut to the top houses (and productions) through AN he’s had and will have I think.Planned this may not have been but nevertheless true it is. Shortcut to success (i.e. riding coattails) and “no mark”/no talent, “no employment without AN” not the same thing are. Plenty of great artists shortcuts have gotten. That some basic talent he has this does not negate. Wrong I may be, but comes down to different standards this does I think.

            If by”useful,” singing notes on the page loudly you mean, then sure, useful he is. Different standard for useful I have. Quality of voice important to me is. If harsh and grating to the ear, for world’s best opera houses, useful a singer cannot really be. Yes functional, but expect more than functional tenors at top houses with expensive ticket prices I do…but merits of singing difficult roles this day and age debatable surely are; too lofty or singular standards perhaps I have.

            Again not the first or the last to get a shortcut he is, and happy that she is happy I am, but like his voice and think it is on par with tenors mentioned above I do not (again my opinion and taste just). Realize that what I am saying about him unpleasant may be, but an extremist or “mean spirited” I am not. Recognize that he has talent I do, but talent at the level currently at he is? Questionable at the very least I think. More than question I did, but try to appreciate his abilities I have, and succeeded thus far I have not. Perhaps improve he will. Trying I know he is.

            • grimoaldo

              Particularly interested in this debate I am not but most entertained by this post I certainly was, delightfully written it really is.

            • armerjacquino

              It was indeed a delightful post.

              (I don’t like quarreling. Only an idiot likes quarreling. Saying so will doubtless be taken as evidence of liking quarreling. It’s an accusation it’s logically impossible to answer, like being called defensive.)

        • Lohengrin

          Not so easy to name the right partner for AN in this heavy roles. Of couse JK would fit from the voice, but they are no acting-partners as we can see on several occasions. JK tends to act like a “stage actor” and AN behaves more like in traditional opera.
          Let´s wait and see!

        • antikitschychick

          YigeLi, I assume your comment was directed at me but I’m not sure so apologies if it wasn’t. In terms of who I would want to hear instead of Mr. Netrebko as Cavaradossi, well there are some good alternatives, including some up and comers who I think deserve a shot…yes of course Jonas would be best, although I never said he was ‘my favorite’. I admire him as an artist and he is at the top of his game currently so I would like to hear him live…

          so there is Yonghoon Lee, who I’ve heard twice now and is a good performer with a pleasant timbre:

          there is the up and comer Andrea Care, who happens to be Italian and handsome :-D:

          Mario Chang is another up and comer…though I’m not sure he’s sung Cavarodossi yet…and also Russell Thomas…he sings Pollione, Turrido, Manrico, Don Jose and Don Carlo so I don’t think Cavaradossi should not be a stretch for him…

          There’s Roberto Aronica whom I saw live as Cavarodossi at the Met back in November…he has a nice timbre and lots of squillo…

          and yes there’s Alvarez, Alagna, Berti, Giordani and Massimo Giordano:

          again this is just my opinion and you’re free to disagree.

          • antikitschychick

            missed Antonenko and some others I’m sure but, I think I’ve put my point across. It’s all a matter of taste really and armerj, I don’t disagree that being practical is really the best approach to this…but standards to be upheld there are, thus curtain twitch I must (this once) :-P.

            (P.S. May the 4th be with youse all!)

            • armerjacquino

              Well, it could be argued that having to mention two tenors who by your own admission don’t sing the role would suggest that it’s not as easy to cast as you suggest… :-P

              I’d certainly rather hear Evyazov than Berti or Giordani at this point, so as you say it’s a matter of taste. But I think in general should probably stop implying that the only reason he gets employed is who he married.

            • Cicciabella

              Brandon Jovanovich is also a very good Cavaradossi. Eyvazov is hardly the only game in town, although sound spinto tenors are thin on the ground. Of course he gets hired on his own merit, because of his type of repertoire. And of course he’s not even close to Netrebko’s league. Both sides of the argument are true. Here’s a fresh report on Eyvazov’s Calaf from Vienna:

              “Yusif Eyvazov as Calaf – to say he does not exactly have an appealing timbre is putting it all too mildly. It probably is the ugliest tenor voice I´ve heard in the last ten years.” Go to for the full review.

              By the way, the unnamed/invisible tenor on the Netrebko Trovatore DVD must be Francesco Meli, who sings a beautiful Manrico. He’s not quite up to all the demands of the role, but I don’t think anyone is at the moment. When it comes to beauty of tone and phrasing he leaves Eyvazov in the dust.

            • Porgy Amor

              No, the unnamed, puny-sounding Manrico on Netrebko’s DVD of Trovatore is Gaston Rivero. He stepped in late, so there was no reason to expect anything ideal, but I’ve never heard the role go for less.

              Meli in Salzburg is on a different, altogether higher level. As far as I know, that performance has not had a commercial video release.

            • antikitschychick

              Cicciabella, for posting that review I thank you. (Also, email you about my spring break trip I must! Amsterdam absolutely gorgeous is!!!!!)

              ““Yusif Eyvazov as Calaf – to say he does not exactly have an appealing timbre is putting it all too mildly. It probably is the ugliest tenor voice I´ve heard in the last ten years.”

              Precisely my problem with him this is :-(. Very harsh review this is but, again, at the top high standards there are. Though extremely harsh reviews read from that site I have, including some that don’t agree with I.

              Porgy: my mind as usual you read! Actually thought about Meli I had but neglected to mention him. Liked him in the Giovanna D’Arco performances from La Scala with AN quite a bit I did! For mentioning him thank you as well!

            • Cicciabella

              Ah, thank you, Porgy, for setting the record straight.

    • Camille

      Not so! Who told you that ’cause it ain’t troo—

      I heard her opening night on the radio, which EVEN Clita del toro liked, and then attended two further performances including the last one and there was no falling off and turned my attitude around 180 degrees on her singing. Her voice is peculiar and its peculiarities really suit the role of Norma. I only hope she works on her damned diction, that’s all. I will be there on Opening Night next year with bells on my toes and rings on my fingers. Go, Toronto, Go!!!

  • antikitschychick

    Holy shit Yoncheva is not fucking around is she?!! Never would have expected this although it makes sense they would need someone glamorous to take AN’s place. This is bold and I wish her well. I will say hers is the most beautiful soprano voice I’ve heard live and I do think her voice is agile enough for the coloratura runs so I am looking forward to hearing her. Having said that, she is taking on a lot of heavier roles in a short span of time…Desdemona, Iolanta, Tatiana, Antonia in Hoffman soon, Marguerite and now Norma…maybe the Forza Leonora is not too far off after all :-P. In all seriousness though I hope she lasts. But I’m glad she’s taking chances and really going for it. Takes some brass ovaries to make such a high profile debut in a role that difficult. I’m still hoping AN will change her mind about Norma though that’s looking less and less likely… Well toi toi toi to all the ladies involved in all these cast changes!! Lots to look forward to in the coming seasons.

    • manou

      Thank goodness we have antik to teach us antiques “the new small talk” (as Higgins says in Pygmalion).

      • laddie

        *brass ovaries* Perhaps Hillary Clinton can benefit from the new terminology.

        • antikitschychick

          lol well this is something a few of my feminist friends and I want to make a thing…idk if it’ll catch on but we hope it will! Hillary could certainly use new campaign slogans. Hers really suck compared to Bernie’s. Even Obama said so recently.

    • LT

      She already sang the 4 roles in Hoffmann (inc. Antonia) a few years ago.

      • antikitschychick

        interesting LT! I didn’t know she had sung all four heroines in Hoffman and sure enough there is a live recording of her singing the Olympia aria on her own Youtube account:

        (there are a few intonation problems here and there but overall a nice rendition)

        and there are videos of her singing the Antonia aria as well so my bad. Still, all the other roles are new plus she is slated to sing Luisa Miller at the Met in a coming season too.

        • LT

          Yes, this was in 2012 and she replaced Dessay.

    • Everything you said, twice.

  • Chenier631

    Interesting turn of events to be sure. I am excited that SRad will be doing the new Norma here in NY. Her previous performances here were quite spectacular, imho.
    I’ve never heard Yoncheva live, but to me she sounds kind of “studentish” based on some of the broadcasts I’ve heard, sloppy phrasing and poor singing line, etc.
    It appears she is headed down the “too much too soon” road.
    (Shades of “Popsy”!)


    • Camille

      Popsy did come to mind [Insert sad face]. Wondering if she will ever come back to the stage? That Tatyana I heard in December 2014 was her last stage appearance, so far as I can tell, Ever??? What a shame she couldn’t get her voice together. What a stage talent, no matter whatever the condition of the voice.

      • PCally

        I hate to say this for I am also a fan but I’m pretty Popsy isn’t going to come back. I also saw her final run of Onegin and while she was clearly unwell the singing and general vocal production was so unhealthy it sounded like (at least on the night it went) the voice was literally going to break at any moment. And Tatiana is a role that in theory was appropriate for her.

        • operainsider

          Poplavskya will be back. Give her time.

          • Camille

            Time sometimes IS the answer.

            I very much hope that it will be the cure in her case as she has a very unusual, extraordinary, gift--and I’d further say that in all my many years of opera-going I’ve had a handful of experiences in which I’ve seen an artist similarly gifted on stage.

            Not talking particularly about the sounds that emanate forth but the actual PRESENCE and assurance on stage and glittering sort of magnetic ability to act and communicate that presence.

            It’s my hope she will become strong and someway find her way back to us all. It would be a real loss if she doesn’t. pax

            • Porgy Amor


          • Krunoslav


            Do a search for “Stuttgart”.


    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Whether Yoncheva is doing too much too soon is something we won’t know until after she’s done it. But she certainly has a better worked out technique and more healthy basic vocal production than Poplavskaya ever did.

  • antikitschychick

    p.s. brilliant headline by La Cieca as usual!

    and p.p.s am so glad to hear Pollione in the Met’s Norma will be sung by Calleja! He’s an excellent choice.

    (I do wonder about Joyce opposite Sondra as Norma…not an ideal vocal pairing imho but certainly better than JDD and AN would have been…)

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Their vibratos will kind of match, at least! I’m afraid it’s kind of my Norma from hell but I’m very happy with the ROH solution.

      • antikitschychick

        Precisely Cocky K! A clash of vibratos is precisely what I feared with the AN/JDD pairing and I completely agree that it should not be an issue with La Rad and JDD. Yes the ROH casting change worked out nicely and it’ll be a great performance I’m sure. Hope you enjoy it :-D.

  • Milady DeWinter

    To tell the truth, for me the jetees de joie are for Radvanovsky in FORZA (please tell me Antonenko won’t be Don Alvaro!).
    At first I fell over when I read Yoncheva was to be assume the Druidic pose. Interesting. I thought she sang the hell out of the scalework in “Sempre libera”, so that’s a skill essential for a Norma contender; can she fill out the other more epic lines of the role? Possibly. She has a lot to offer, so I wouldn’t rule out a home run, but the idea still blind-sided me.
    Anna’s Tosca, of course, will be fabulous and will be news, but I’d still rather have an Aida or a Gioconda from her golden throat.

    • Lohengrin

      Aida Salzburg 2017.

  • phoenix

    -- Isn’t Rad considered to be one of the greatest singers in the world at theaters outside of USA on the international circuit? Are there not any new productions scheduled for her at ROH & Wien?
    -- Never seen Yoncheva -so don’t know if she has the histrionic chutzpah Rad puts out.

  • PCally

    I know that Norma is a role where the really isn’t one specific way to sing the music and I also understand that singers are different so please tell me if this is an empty concern. I’m kind of fearing that Yoncheva may be taking on new roles a little too fast. I’ve loved everything she’s done so far at the met but the voice has struck me as VERY much a lyric voice, albeit one with pretty effortless projection, with a top that (at least when I’ve seen her) tends to spread when singing at forte. Even Desdemona seemed to take her to her limits and her coloratura in Traviata was hardly the most effortless and pristine, so I’m having a hard time picturing her as Norma. Ditto Thais and Salome which just seem to require more heft than she seems to possess. I have a feeling people will disagree and idk if I really stand by what I’m writing but I’m *slightly* skeptical.

    • phoenix

      You are very generous -- on the other hand, I am more than skeptical about any performance. My motto: Skeptical = Sensible.

  • Camille

    Oh. And if they wanted a Mimì-singing Norma, whyever did they not call Maria Agresta? She’s proven as a Norma, in Paris. This is getting curiouser and curiouser….

    • armerjacquino

      Not free, really- would be very tight to rehearse after her Salzburg FAUST, and she then wouldn’t have time to rehearse before her Normas in Madrid.

    • LT

      Because she’s a bore?

      Funny you should mention a Mimi-singing Norma, since the last thing Netrebko sang at the ROH is exactly Mimi.

      • Camille

        Dis-tu vrai?????

        How so?

        • LT

          She did Boheme in June of 2015.

          Unless you’re being sarcastic, which you probably are but I will pretend to not notice.

  • antikitschychick

    armerj: LOL a good point that is. Debating a more apt word is.

    Stressed out I am and two more final exams to go I have but nonetheless happy I am since good clerkship for the summer I got which means broke I won’t be! :-)))

    Grimoaldo: sweet you are, thanks :-).

  • LT

    This whole paraNorma activity reminded me of Verrett’s autobiography, in which she says that Norma is one of the most overrated roles in the repertoire.

    • antikitschychick

      LOL @ this and your previous comment. Perhaps you and Verret are right. Also, I’m sure Elina, La Rad and Mariusz would all happily lock lips with Stephen for some CPR ;-) and that’s precisely one of the main reasons why I would have preferred him in this role, especially in this production since it’s clear everyone wants a piece of that Essexxx….:-P.

  • LT

    One thing’s for sure, now one would have imagined that the singer who does Fortuna in the Glyndebourne L’Incoronazione di Poppea would open the ROH season 8 years later, much less singing Norma.

    Her performance (including a funny skit, all in the very beginning of the opera) available below on the Chinese youtube