Cher Public

Met’s loss is our Margaine

margaineClémentine Margaine will make her Met debut in the title role of Bizet’s Carmen this Thursday, January 19, and will sing the role in all performances of the opera at the Met this season. The French mezzo-soprano, who was to make her company debut in the role later this season, replaces the originally announced Sophie Koch, who has withdrawn from her scheduled performances due to illness.” Thus saith the Met’s press department. (Photo by Photo by Scott Suchman / Washington National Opera)

  • Sanford Schimel

    I hope her singing doesn’t give me a Margain headache.

    • berkeleygirl

      I highly doubt it. Last month, I saw her Dulcinee here in Chicago -- just ravishing. Rich lyric voice, fine control, lovely presence.

      • Leslie

        Oh! She was Dulcinee? She was wonderful.

  • So I take it that this is the answer to the blind item then?

    • CwbyLA

      I am still not sure if this is the answer to the blind item because the blind item said “in one of her signature roles”. I don’t think Carmen is one of Sophie Koch’s signature roles.

      • spiderman

        and how would the “waning” and “nixed” reference fit into Koch and Carmen … (I am not an english native, so I might not know some double or triple meanings …)

      • Good point. Operabase doesn’t list any other performances of Carmen, which tends to indicate that it’s not one of her signature roles. In any case best wishes to Ms. Koch. I hope she recovers from whatever is ailing her.

        • ines

          For Koch it was more of a debut-role…

      • Armerjacquino

        The blind item still seems to me to point to Opolais: but after all, implicit in any blind item is that it’s just a rumour and may not come to pass. It looks as if Opolais will be playing Rusalka but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t ever a point when it didn’t.

  • Margaine alternated the role with Rachvelishvilli in Toronto last season. I didn’t see her but I heard very good things.

  • Cameron Kelsall

    I hope whatever is ailing Koch is not too serious. This is her second high-profile cancellation, following her withdrawal from Les Troyens in Chicago. She clearly travelled to New York to start rehearsals, as there was a production photo of her in costume in an email I received from the Met the other day.

    • Bill Kenny

      I was at yesterday’s final dress. Koch was singing very badly-spread, worn-sounding, and not always in tune. Actually the only first-rate singing came from Maria Agresta as Micaela. Alvarez is a known quantity-a decent house tenor at best. I left after Act 2 (the first break).

  • RD

    I´ve always enjoyed Clementine Margaine’s performances, but I have the impression that she should stay within the contralto repertoire, which suits her voice better. But it seems that this doesn´t really pay the bills…

    • Rick

      I just checked Ms Margaine on Operabase. Carmen is her main part but she has also sung Concepcion, Dulcinee, Sara in Roberto D, Dido in Troyens, Leonor in Favorite, Marguerite in Damnation, Charlotte, Dalilah, Orfeo and Komponist (to mention the lead roles). This does not strike me as a “contralto repertory” (despite Orfeo and Dalilah being on the list). So I wonder what parts you think Ms Margaine should focus on, RD?

      • RD

        Hello, Rick! I neve said she should focus on HER contralto roles, but rather that she should focus on contralto roles. I saw her as the first Norn in Götterdämmerung and Isaura in Rossini’s Tancredi (technically not a contralto role, I know, but contraltos use to sing it) and thought that her voice sounded more appealing than it usually is when I saw her in true mezzo roles. That was it.

        • Rick

          You’re right, I put words into your mouth. Sorry.

  • Leontiny

    Margaine was just wonderful in Toronto. Warm rich powerful in all registers, moved well, gorgeous sultry tone when needed. Maybe I’m just partial to smoky contraltos. She blew the rest of the cast off the stage vocally. Her Jose didn’t give her much to play off or against, and a frumpy frock didn’t help. Of course her French was beautiful, and her diction shot an arrow into this Carmen-disliking heart. I wish her well and look forward to what everyone has to say.

  • chicagoing

    I was looking for any word online regarding the Carmen opening but only discovered a notice that Marcelo Alvarez was ill and did not go on.

    • Cameron Kelsall

      I listened to the third and fourth acts over the radio last night (missed the first two because I was out at another engagement). Margaine sounded pretty fantastic throughout, quite a find. Gorgeous sultry voice and (not surprising) great French diction. The sub sounded underprepared, which was probably the case. Agresta sounded more worn than I would have expected--maybe she’s ill too. Aside from Margaine, I thought Fisch’s conducting was the best part of the evening.

      • rapt

        I was only able to hear the first two acts, but my impression was the same--Fisch and Margaine made it a pleasure for me.

    • DonCarloFanatic

      Wretched singing from just about everyone. Carmen was very tentative, her muted sound never convincing. Jose was…raw? Is that a good way to say his tone was not smooth and he effortfully attempted but could not comfortably reach or achieve the high notes? And as for Michaela, a role I look forward to so much, well, it was sad. I do not even remember the Escamillo, which says a lot about the impact he made. A bad night. Perhaps in the auditorium, it came across far better. I hope so, at those prices.

      • chicagoing

        The Escamillo, Kyle Ketelsen, sang the role here. He has also had a number of other assignments (Leporello, Don Basillo) and is considered a house favorite. I was curious how well he would do. It got by me that he sang this role at the Met previously. Our upcoming cast in Chicago is not looking too shabby in comparison; Gubanova/Rachvelishvili, Calleja/Jovanovich, Eleonora Buratto and Christian Van Horn.

  • Juicy Bjoerling

    who went on for alvarez????

    • rapt

      Rafael Davila, a house debut.

      • Don’t count on Marcelo Álarez showing up: he has just cancelled three performances of “Turandot” at Wiener Staatsoper in February/March. His replacement here has been annouced as Stefano La Colla in his company debut.