Cher Public

“After all that time, she can call Tristan ‘du’ surely”

sieFinally we know what Brian Kellow used to do at Opera News: proofreading.


  • Camille

    “Was ist das?”?????? ……………./

  • Telia Sonera

    I’m pretty sure she at the very least does sigh at the end.

  • Based on all the reading I did this summer, I get the impression very little editing or proofreading gets done these days.

  • scooterberwyn

    For what it’s worth, it’s correctly printed as “die” in the print version of Opera News.

  • cefalu

    Siezen und Isolde

  • Milady DeWinter

    And no matter how ON tries to spin the latest in diva/divo glitz and glamour, as opposed to presenting anything of, say, substance, when will opera company PR staff and writers cease and desist using the catch-all adjective “dazzling” to describe everry singer in existence who are decidedly not. Dazzling. Stemme did impress me with her Turandot and Elektra last season (I did not expect so much capital to be intact). She is a serious and hard working soprano, but ‘dazzling’ she is not.
    And imo Isolde does sterbt. Kerplop, silly literalist that I am.

    • armerjacquino

      ‘literal’ is the last thing Isolde’s death is. More than any other character in the rep, she just dies of that dangerous condition ‘being in an opera’.

      • Camille

        armerjay--how do we KNOW for certain she just didn’t get food poisoning aboard ship, e.g.? Or that bumbling Bragäne didn’t pour her the TodesTrank instead of a becher of Mead, e.g. You know what I’m saying? Stranger things have happened.

        • Imagine if the ship’s cook were Welsh !

          • Camille

            Righto! Although I really do not know what the beef the Welsh have with the Irish, in any case. Then there are the mysterious (to me) Cornish, too. I never have spent enough time investigating all these different groups and suppose I should have. Especially, the differences between the Irish, the Scots-Irish, and the Scots. All very hard to suss out here in America where everyone is “‘Murcan” and none of this means very much. It’s like being a mutt dog and never knowing one’s ancestors. Well, sort of.

            A bientôt, cher NPW! La rentrée commence!

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      I have been dazzled by Stemme. I know what you mean, in something like Fanciulla or what I’ve heard of her Elektra and Turandot she does a very good job but you’re aware of the work. But the first time I heard her Isolde I was amazed, and ditto her Proms Brunnhilde with Barenboim -- tireless, refulgent tone, undaunted by any of it, totally inside it (I concede I didn’t feel quite like this when she came back to London for a revival of her Isolde a few years later, but it was still wonderful).

      • PCally

        I have a more equivocal impression of stemme. I don’t find the voice all that attractive and it doesn’t soar, so roles like Salome IMO don’t work for her, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard her where I didn’t get the impression that she was over excerting herself and pushing a bit. But she’s probably the best we have in dramatic rep currently (Herlitzius is one of the most variable singers and Georke, whom I enjoy, seems to be having increasingly noticeable issues with intonation and top notes. The Elettra excerpts were horrendous IMO). And caveats aside I was mightily impressed by the elektra despite what a certain somebody kept saying about how bad she was. I thought she stayed the course exceedingly well and fit wonderfully into the production which is amazing since she never worked with chereau. And I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a more human and weary elektra. There was no camp or melodrama whatsoever and even Herlitzius veered towards that occasionally. So stemme has risen considerably in my estimation and I’m glad to have chance to revisit her Isolde which I enjoyed quite a bit when I saw it a few years ago.

        • Lohenfal

          I don’t think I’m the “certain somebody” who had negative opinions of Stemme’s Met Elektra last spring, but I did have mixed opinions of her in the role, as I wrote at the time. I didn’t find the timbre of her voice as appealing as I had expected from listening to broadcasts of her in Wagner, and she just seemed too effortful in the role. Still, I can’t say that she was bad in it, or that I would prefer anyone else on the current scene. And I certainly wasn’t trying to compare her with Nilsson (my favorite) or Behrens. Hopefully, I’ll find her Isolde more satisfying.

          • PCally

            Lohenfal it wasn’t you lol. I enjoyed the Elektra quite a bit but the singing was hardly effortless and as I’ve written above, I often have similar reservations about Stemme in most of the things I’ve heard. But she seemed connected to Elektra in a really truthful way which I haven’t seen before. Most women in the role either claw and bay at the moon or they just stand there and give bitchy side eye. Stemme seemed like a shell of a once beautiful and regal princess who was summoning up her final bit of energy and sanity to get the job done. That she managed to do and manage to seamlessly fit into a production that she had never created was doubly impressive in my book and also further proof that non-traditional regie can be just as accommodating to different interpretations as traditional regie. And having seen her completely run out of steam on more than one occasion, I was pleasantly surprised that she made the role work for her voice (again, with noticeable effort which is admittedly less than ideal) and made it to the end.

  • LauraOTeersey

    The fact-checking sucks, too. In the Tristan cheat-sheet story on pages 16-17, one Harry Stewart tells us that the climax of the opera is Isolde’s g-sharp on the last word of the Liebestod, which he helpfully quotes as “Welt,” meaning (he says) “universe.” The last time I heard it, and the hundreds of times before that, the last word was “Lust,” meaning “bliss.” And “Welt” means “world.” This is supposed to be a magazine about opera. That kind of editing error is simply inexcusable.

    • Oh, yes. One of the books I read this summer described the former Smyrna as a “cosmopolitan Black Sea port”. That’s just one example.

    • Well, to be fair, I think it is accurate to describe the “climax” of the Liebestod as occurring on the vocal G-sharp mentioned, i.e., on the first bar of the third system of this page of the score:

      Literally, I would day, yes, “Welt” means “world,” but only in the sense that “world” is a metaphorical way of saying “everything that exists,” as in the lyric of the spiritual “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” In the context of the text of the Liebestod (“in des Weltatems wehendem All”) I think “universe” is as good a meaning as any.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Plus the note on ‘Lust’ is an f-sharp.

      I agree with La Cieca, the climax of the Liebestod definitely is the g-sharp on ‘Welt’ and the rest is what Schoenberg would call liquidation.

  • LauraOTeersey

    Good point, LaC, but he does say it’s the last word of the Liebestod. Perhaps the author’s submitted copy was correct, but an editor screwed it up.

  • Camille

    The “Welt-atems” is the all-important climactic point, no? And the “höchstes Lust” is the resolution of the work, or that is how I’ve always looked upon it. Could be I am wrong.

    The last word, however, is “LUST”, no two ways about it. Probably the author broad jumped over his intention and just meant to say “the last, concluding phrase”?
    I don’t know, but I’m probably RONG, again!

    Proofreading is an art which requires PATIENCE and no one has much these days. And, I doubt the pay is all THAT much!

  • Camille

    Dazzle is not the word which comes to mind when thinking of Stemme but, for me, it is “Overwhelming gratitude at hearing a Wagnerian role sung both fully and realized dramatically as well.”

    Her wonderful Brünnhilde was one of my best Wagnerian experiences, ever. I did, per chance, hear her debut here as Senta in Fliegende Hollander, back whenever that was in the early aughties, and, I have to say, it did nothing very special other than to be a competent debut and all that jazz, and would then have never suspected she would subsequently grow into something so wonderful later on. Even if her Elektra was effortful in some respects, it was way way way better than many another’s, and for someone whose forte is not in the upper fifth of the voice, I think she did one damn fine job of it.

    I do look forward very gratefully to her turn as Isolde, as the last clutch of them, excepting the one, singular sensation of “DIE WALTRAUDESNACHT”, (the night when Waltraud Meier flew in for One Night Only in December 2008) has been disappointing to worse.

    And best of all….I am ecstatic at the thought of losing the old sets, and the bad, bad business with that McDonald’s Happy Meal crown they put on Isolde at Act I’s end. THAT was BAD!

    • PCally

      Stemme has talked about how that first Senta was the heaviest thing she’d sung at that point and how the combination of it being both a role debut and her met debut might have got in the way. I also saw one of those performances and while I thought she was pushing I actually thought the voice was more beautiful then than now. And looking back on past sentas the met has had in this production she’s the obvious standout IMO. It was late in the day for behrens when I saw her, though the role sat better for her than most of her others, and voigt was very poor by the time she sang it at the met and she never really had the temprement for the role at any point.