Cher Public

Robbed blind

she_blinded_me_with_scienceWhich internationally famous but vocally shaky diva may soon find her career waning if her upcoming appearance in one of her signature roles gets nixed?

  • PCally

    question: this doesn’t neccesarily have to be at the met? and the assumption is that these performances are this season?

  • Quanto Painy Fakor
  • Olivero Fan

    Kristine Opolais in Rusalka. I’ve never understood how she has an international career.

    • Bill

      Opolais was scheduled to sing Rusalka in Vienna
      in the autumn of 2015. For some reason she cancelled all the scheduled performances and Olga Bezsmertna an ensemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper filled in and had a spectacular triumph. Krassimira Stoyanova had sung
      the new production in Vienna the previous season and will again in Vienna the autumn of 2017. I doubt that either
      Stoyanova or Bezsmertna would be available for the Met
      new production is Opolais was not to sing it, but I think
      there are currently a number of fine Rusalkas around the world currently now that it has become a Repertory staple
      including some fine ones in the Czech Republic. But maybe everyone here is barking up the wrong tree and La
      Cieca has a totally different singer in mind though it would not be Gheorghiu as she is still in quite good voice (based
      upon her Vienna Tosca last season). And it would not be
      Fleming -- singers such as Jurinac and Gruemmer sang the Marschallin when past 60 -- it is a sympathetic role for
      singers past their initial freshness of voice if their interpretation of the role is clever and touching.

      .

      • Porgy Amor

        Opolais talks about that earlier Vienna cancellation here. Neck inflammation, she says.

        http://der-neue-merker.eu/kristine-opolais-einspringen-war-mein-schicksal

        • grimoaldo2

          Opolais was supposed to be Rachel in the Munich “La Juive” which I saw in June, but she was replaced without explanation with Aleksandra Kurzak. I was disappointed at first because I have never seen Opolais live and was looking forward to it, but Kurzak was stunning vocally and in every other way so I was happy but I did take it as a sign that all is not well with KO.

          • Lindoro Almaviva

            You didn’t miss much. Her Butterfly at the met in April was boring, and not well sung. I failed to see why is this woman an international superstar. All i could come up as an explanation was “average voice wrapped in above average looks”

  • Susan Brodie

    Hmmm…nixed…Nixie…Opolais in Rusalka?

    • Armerjacquino

      Plus ‘waning’ = Song to the Moon?

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Flemming Rosenkavalier?????? gar nix….

    • PCally

      That’s a possibility. Though she got mostly positive reviews, people I know who saw her ROH Rosenkavalier said they were suprised at how weak her voice was.

      Still I think those who are guessing Opolais are probably correct.

    • Porgy Amor

      Fleming is about to effectively retire from staged opera, and has been going for 25+ years — her “waning” at 58 wouldn’t surprise anyone or complicate anything for her future. It has to be Opolais.

      • Marcello

        This Rusalka production comes too late for Opolais, who is another case of a singer who has been led by her temperament and stage presence to sing unsuitable roles.

        • Porgy Amor

          A couple weeks ago, I was reading an interview with Opolais conducted around the time she caused a sensation stepping into the Kusej Rusalka (2010), and there were some worrying things within it.

          She talked about how she had not enjoyed her time at a music academy, because they kept trying to emphasize vocal fundamentals and music theory and get her to sing “age-appropriate” things, and it was not doing anything for her personality as an artist. I couldn’t help thinking, “I’m not sure ‘personality as an artist’ is what anyone should be focusing on at that point.” She would have been at most 20, 21. So she left and took private lessons, and then was singing considerable roles by her mid-twenties.

          I admire some things about her (her work ethic, her commitment to challenging productions, a certain “fearlessness”), but in recent times she has always sounded to me about 10-12 years older than she should. Very worn, vocally tired. Actually that applies to everything I have heard after about 2012.

          I do not doubt that this item is about her, and I hope she is not wrecked.

          • Marcello

            Her Jenufa in Zurich in 2012 was very good. I don’t remember the 2013 revival. Since then I have heard her only on the radio. Her Munich

            Margherita sounded worn and tired.

            • ER

              She’s still a good singer if you consider her as a ‘package’ instead of a purely vocal singer.
              The problem I have with her is that the physical and dramatic personality are more interesting than the voice itself.

              And Rusalka isn’t exactly a role like Manon Lescaut or Tosca where you can get by on intensity alone.

            • Armerjacquino

              I get very confused by the regular references to Opolais being all performance and no voice. The one time I saw her, as Manon L, she sang spectacularly well, as by all accounts she did in the ‘breakthrough’ ROH Butterfly. I’ve enjoyed her singing on YT as well. I just don’t hear the ugliness others seem to- maybe I’ve been listening to the wrong (right?) performances.

            • PCally

              I too enjoyed everything I’d seen her in up until last seasons’ Met Manon Lescaut, and no one was in very good form so I thought it was tad unfair that she (along with Eyre) bore the brunt of the criticism. I don’t know that I think of it as a beautiful sound and it can sound pretty pushed at times, but I don’t inherently find it to be ugly.

            • ines

              I saw her about 6 years ago, and would have never guessed, that here is the new big star…. I feel she was imposed on us as a star. The audience never ‘discovered’ her ( if you get my meaning)

            • La Cieca

              Yeah, you really should complain to the Met about how they handcuffed you to the seat and forced you to listen.

            • Bill

              We occasionally have these tantalizing tidbits
              on this blog wherein there is some rumored
              speculation suggested for all to ponder that
              some cast change or some future production is about to be altered and everyone must guess what it is to be and comments fly around (sometimes quite interestingly) and
              eventually the item and all the speculation disappear off the radar and screen without
              any resolution or anyone revealing what
              alteration in casting etc. was had in mind to begin with. In this case may speculated tht
              Opolais might be replaced in the title role of the upcoming production of Rusalka -- that
              tended to be the prime idea. But she Opolais is still listed in the cast and rehearsals must have commenced. So I wonder what was in mind to spark this
              particular thread -- or was the rumor just drummed up without any basis of actuality just to get everyone’s juices flowing. Was it indeed Opolais in Rusalka or something else. Or do we never find out?

            • Porgy Amor

              There are rehearsal clips of both Opolais and Jovanovich on the Met’s site and Facebook page, the “Song to the Moon” and the final duet. She sounds in the aria as she has sounded to me in everything in the last few years, including the Met Manon Lescaut and Butterfly last year: older than she looks (and is), with a hard tone, not as attractive a sound as she had in the Munich DVD of this opera from six years ago, and veering sharp sometimes, but it isn’t a markedly worse performance than her usual. It’s only a piano rehearsal, of course.

            • Armerjacquino

              I don’t know if you’re talking about the Met, but she didn’t sing there until four years ago, by which point she was already a star elsewhere- so if there was any ‘imposing’ going on, it wasn’t the Met that was doing it.

              If you weren’t talking about the Met, I will apologise and wander off.

            • ines

              Well partly I meant the Met also… She made her debut in La Rondine… but if memory serves me right, it was already common knowledge , that there were many things lined up for her ( il Trittico among others ).
              And watching the Tucker gala this year I could not avoid thinking, that her Butterly- aria was perfectly well sung, but the audience did not seem to warm up to her

            • I tend to think you have a point there ines, but it’s hard to substantiate it given that audiences don’t actually get to make casting decisions, and given that she doesn’t do any solo recitals or concerts and she is usually stars in productions with other notable singers so the performances would sell well anyways, thus we don’t really know how much of a “star” she is, so this is a bit like the chicken or the egg debate lol…but, like you, I also get the sense that she seems to have gotten handpicked by casting directors for high-profile performances in new productions because she is attractive, a good actress and because she could step in last minute to replace someone, rather than because she was well-suited for the role’s vocal demands or because audiences are clamoring for her, or because she auditioned on her own merits and worked her way to the top like other singers have done, without any hype. But I don’t think that necessarily means she is unworthy of the success she’s achieved. Not at all actually. I mean, I doubt Maria Callas married that old rich dude because she was madly in love with him.

              However, and I know this might be an over generalization but, I haven’t seen a great deal of comments on here saying that they can’t wait to see/hear her in something or that they were blown away by her and would like to hear her sing X role or record an album…nor have I seen any videos of hers with the kinds of rapturous ovations that other A-list divas usually get…but I may be biased because I wasn’t immediately taken by her either. This is all very subjective so it all depends. And I will say, once I listened to that Butterfly recording from a few seasons back and watched the more recent HD from last season I could definitely see that she was very talented and I was very impressed with both her acting and her singing. I wasn’t as impressed with her in Manon Lescaut but I also just don’t like Manon Lescaut. I do agree with Porgy that she tends to sound tired and older than she really is though. In any case I wish her the best and hope that, if she is in danger of being replaced that she can sort out her vocal issues. Opera needs singers liker her and Popsy just as much as they need singers like..well you get my point lol.

            • La Cieca

              You’re going to have to do better than that.

  • The Met Rusalka is set to open in less than four weeks. If it is Opolais, I guess rehearsal aren’t going well. Too bad. When she first came to my attention (in the Kusej Rusalka from 5-6 years ago), her voice was quite lovely. The voice has declined rather rapidly, though I’ve still found much to enjoy from her performances (I thought around 90% of her HD Butterfly was well done, though her entrance was wretched).

  • Luvtennis

    Maybe the risk is that they really want Martinez, who has been under-utilized at the Met? If Opolais shows weakness in rehearsals, then they have an excuse to substitute la Martinez.

    Martinez IS still singing the role, right?

    • Porgy Amor

      I’ve been reminded that Martinez has a run of Onegin at LOC on the dates, though.

      • Luvtennis

        Yeah, but a new Met production….

      • Luvtennis

        Is she sharing the Tatianas?

    • Yige Li

      Martinez was great both vocally and theatrically (thanks partially to David McVicar. I always feel the blame on his mid-core productions at MET should go more to MET than him.) when I saw her as Rusalka 3 years ago at LOC. I find no reason for her to drop this role based on her current voice and think she would be great if given the chance singing at MET. However, her run of Tatiana at LOC is Feb. 26 -- Mar. 20 and I don’t believe she can or would cancel that. Lyric did the same production with half of the run sung by Mariusz (Dima withdrew halfway due to some family issue, if I remember correctly) not too long ago. This revival is mostly done for getting Martinez’s role debut of Tatiana.

  • actfive

    What is the significance of the one-eye glasses photo?

    • The photo just indicates that it’s a blind item. In the past, the photos accompanying blind items have not been a clue.

  • manou

    Eric Owens interviewed Opolais and Zimermann during the interval about the forthcoming Rusalka. Would this happen if KO was about to be KOd?

    • Porgy Amor

      Maybe. I am sure the intermission features for the HD were planned well in advance, and I think the situation is up in the air at the moment. If they are not liking what they are hearing from her in the rehearsals, she can have the abrupt onset of Zampieri’s disease any day, and then we will be hearing about gratitude to Martinez or El-Khoury (or whichever soprano sings the role and can be secured for the dates) for stepping in.

      It is a situation that will be interesting to watch. I have sympathy for Opolais, but we do seem to have at least one of these major reshuffles every season (Alagna for Kaufmann, Majeski for Poplavskaya).

      • manou

        Yes of course, but Kaufmann and Popsy cancelled, and La Cieca seems to imply that Opolais would be…..terminated. On verra bien.

        • Porgy Amor

          The Popsy Countess Almaviva case was more equivocal, as I recall. She wanted to do it, and actually did sing for Levine, and it was clear to both of them that it was a no-go. That was per an account she had up on social media around that time.

          • manou

            Ah -- I did not know that. She certainly had vocal problems and cancelled several performances here at Covent Garden.

          • southerndoc1

            And Popsy was a possible replacement for Kovalevska (what ever happened to her?) who was a replacement for Netrebko.

            • Armerjacquino

              Was Kovalevksa part of that merry-go-round? I know she sang some (by all accounts, weird) Countesses round about the time of Sandy, because I was supposed to have seen one of them, but I thought Poplavskaya was to have replaced Netrebko…

        • I am not fond of Opolais’s singing, but it seems farfetched to me that the Met would actually fire a prominent singer for not being vocally up to par. After all they did an HD broadcast just today with Domingo in the title role.

          But you’re all much more in the know than I am, and I suspect you’re all right. I would love to hear Martinez rather than Opolais in the Rusalka HD, if that’s possible.

          • Armerjacquino

            I’m not in the know at all, but I really can’t see Martinez cancelling a role debut.

            • Luvtennis

              Not even for an HD?

            • Armerjacquino

              That would be a consideration, certainly. But months if not years of preparation go into a new part. And, on the commercial side, she already has a Rusalka DVD.

            • Porgy Amor

              Ana Maria Martinez does, AJ? Not to my knowledge. There was a commercially released live recording from the Glyndebourne Festival, but not a filmed production with her.

            • Armerjacquino

              You’re right: my brain somehow changed the live CD into a DVD release.

            • Luvtennis

              A worldwide HD would be an incredible career coup for Martinez. I think the fact that they are not announcing things means something is being worked out.

              Chicago is less that 3 hours by plane. Couldn’t she do performances of both? Tatiana strikes me as not a difficult sing for a soprano of her gifts.

            • Armerjacquino

              ” I think the fact that they are not announcing things means something is being worked out.”

              Woah there, Mr Syllogism! You’re now taking the lack of an announcement about the best guess about a blind item as evidence…

            • Luvtennis

              No. I am taking the blind item to be about La Opolais. It seems a good guess. Following from that assumption, the only reason they would not have already axed her is because they haven’t firmed up plan B. That would mean negotiations and favor calling and real careful consideration by the soprano. But look, if this happens and she pulls it off (and Martinez strikes me as old school vocally -- she was prepared for Tatiana a decade ago) then it will catapult her career onto a whole new level of success. With her looks, voice, solid technique, she could gain legendary status that will get her the best gigs for another 5-8 years. It’s worth the risk -- if you have her technique.

              Or not, of course. ??

            • southerndoc1

              “Old school vocally” means lpreparing Tatiana in 2007 but not performing the role for a decade?

            • Luvtennis

              Yes.

            • Luvtennis

              There have been a lot of good Tatianas and could-be Tatianas in the last decade. Maybe the time wasn’t right and Russian isn’t easy. I can definitely see her preparing a role so perfectly suited to her vocal endowment a decade ago.

            • Luvtennis

              Also, Gelb can ill afford a fiasco here. Rusalka for Opolais was already a gamble. He wants a sure thing. That means no cover going on for a prima and an HD. That means not just a good singer but an HD glamorous one. Who also happens to be an underutilized American-born Latina who should be a reigning Met diva???? Oh, and at this moment in US history?

              No brainer, dude.

            • Luvtennis

              Plus the dates don’t completely overlap. She could sing the first series of performances at the Met and still make the debut at LOC. ????

            • Yige Li

              Actually, the schedule could be worked out perfectly that she sings the first series of Rusalka and still catch the Onegin at LOC. The only problem is that HD is on Feb. 25, the 2nd of last Rusalka at MET, and the opening of Onegin at LOC is on Feb. 26…

            • Yige Li

              So, IF she’s singing the Rusalka at MET, there’re 2 ways to work it out. 1. Sing Rusalka until Feb. 17; go to Chicago for 1 week of rehearsal; back to MET for the HD Rusalka on Feb. 25; then back to Chicago for Onegin opening. 2. Sing Rualka at MET until Feb. 25, then skip the 1st performance of Onegin at Lyric; do a brief rehearsal room walking; get on stage on March 1, the 2nd scheduled Onegin. I should say both ways would be artistically risky.

            • Yige Li

              The problem is, as I explained in a previous comment replying to you, it’s very likely Lyirc is doing the upcoming revival FOR HER. The fact that she is one of the two Lyric’s “community ambassadors” shows they have a close relation. No doubt that Lyric and she have a series of big plans in the long term. What would happen for her upcoming Lyric career if she chose to cancel the Onegin for MET’s HD Rusalka?

            • Luvtennis

              Her close relationship would mean that they are more likely to cooperate, in my opinion. And this could be a box office boon for LOC. The halo effect from this would be HUGE for her and Chicago.

  • If this is really about Opolais I am sad to hear of this. She is a fantastic singing actress and a smart woman…I saw an interview of her and her husband Andris Nelsons and she said she is interested in directing. I think she could potentially be a good director since she knows how singers think and she’s sung at all the world’s best theaters and worked with the best and most infamous directors. It could be an interesting path for her. I would like to see her live at least once. Maybe I can make it to the Rusalka. Who is the tenor again?

    • Porgy Amor

      Jovanovich. It is a potentially very good cast down the line, with the other principals being Dalayman (FP), Barton, and Owens.

      • spiderman

        Couldn’t it be Dalayman? She went off her dramatic roles way fast, lost her top and is now in for Mezzo roles. Maybe the foreign princess is too high for her?

        • La Cieca

          You realize Foreign Princess is about four minutes of music, right?

          • spiderman

            I would say 10. Still the FP has a high c if I am not mistaken and Dalamyan may not be able to pop that out anymore. So it would be a possibility as the item is still bilnd and despite Opolais being the most likely choice.

            • Armerjacquino

              I don’t think the FP is anyone’s ‘signature role’ though.

            • PCally

              I highly doubt it’s Dalayman. Like Armer said, it’s not a signature role for anyone and if Dalayman was going to replaced I imagine her name would have simply disappeared from the cast list. She’s hardly a star met diva

    • Lohenfal

      She’s more effective when seen than just listened to on a broadcast. Her stage presence in Butterfly last season was remarkable and helped to compensate for the uneven vocalism. The comparisons between her Manon Lescaut and Netrebko’s obviously favor the latter, whose voice is in prime condition.

  • rapt

    An observation: since Opolais has an upcoming Rusalka in Munich, do we necessarily need to assume that, even if Opolais is the subject, LaCieca’s blind item refers to a threatened appearance at the Met?

    • Marcello

      There are 4 Rusalkas planned for Munich in June. Very unlikely that the conductor (Andris Nelsons) is going to complain about her vocal state.

      • rapt

        Good point, I’ll admit….

  • Parpignol

    I thought Opolais very inadequate in Manon Lescaut last year, and wondered then how the Met was going to manage to put her at the center of all the new productions that were rumored to be going forward for the future; thought the voice was not beautiful, not freely produced, not resonant in the house; she did look good in the 1940s costumes but the acting was certainly not strong enough to compensate for the singing. . . Netrebko, by contrast, was vocally glorious, and almost managed to bring off that crummy production. . .

  • Countessa Salome

    So are we correct it’s Opolais?? And in which role?

    • Armerjacquino

      There’s never a definitive answer to a blind item until whatever it’s about happens.

  • spiderman

    There’s a clip of Opolais singing the Song to the moon about a week ago at a Bolshoi Gala on her facebook page, in case anybody is interested.