Cher Public

Broadcast: I puritani

Javier Camarena fanboys (and others) are invited to comment on today’s Met broadcast of I puritani, which begins at 1:00 PM. 

The intermission feature will include a double helping of Sturm und Drang, as Mary Jo Heath interviews Vittorio Grigolo about Werther and Peter Gelb about the 2017-2018 season.

Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

  • Camille

    I’m sorry to prattle on about the score but I am trying to learn it more as I have never studied it all that much so I am learning as I listen to this set of performances., that’s all. sorry to be an old bore. I

  • Kaziranga

    Au contraire Camille, the depth of your knowledge and critical judgement always fascinates.

  • manou

    Screamfest

    • Camille

      hahahaha! in a nutshell!!

  • Camille

    by the way none of that high C stuff is written at the end of that duet, interestingly enough.

    Okay, Javier, get hopping onto those high notes!

  • Camille

    The Big High FAFA is coming up in the next 30 seconds folks, so get your seat belts fastened!

  • calaf47

    Camarena was the STAR of the afternoon

    • manou

      Hello calaf -- and you are the star of the casting predictions. Are you coming to London to see the Jonas einspringer in Otelllo?

      • calaf47

        No….he’s still a canceller in my book..and not coming to get Greg Kunde as Otello,

        • manou

          I saw him last week in Walküre Act I -- Mattila outshone him (and so did Halfvarson)

          • calaf47

            …and he cancelled the last appearance at the Barbican…which BBC was to have b’dcast.

            • manou

              Yes…….Four Last Songs indeed. Could not being myself to book for that one -- the Wesendonck lieder was quite enough.

            • Camille

              Kaufmann was to have barked his way through the Four Last Songs? Did I understand that correctly? I can’t even imagine and don’t want to, either.

            • manou

              Indeed -- if you go to

              http://www.barbican.org.uk/music/download-programmes

              and click on “The Kaufmann Residency 4-13 February” you will get the full programme of the concerts.

              Misguided, misgendered misdemeanour -- methinks…

            • Camille

              What is he thinking--with that ruptured vein or whatever he has suffered--to be singing these songs which are so high and so lyrical--the thought of what he’d do in “Frühling” is mind-boggling. He needs to talk to his ex-wife about his repertoire--maybe she’d talk sense into him.

              I’m very gratified to hear that Mme Mattila is recovering her former glorious self. She is always so interesting to watch, and generous. I had hoped she would return to form and apparently has done so.

              Hard to fathom what makes Jonas tick.

              And Mis-taken!!!

            • manou

              This is a Sunday Times article that might bbehind a paywall, but you can read one free article a week if you just register (no fee):

              http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-interview-jonas-kaufmann-p723qj5k3

              Just quoting an excerpt:

              He also speaks near-perfect English (as well as French, German and
              Italian), though there is something rather sternly Germanic in his manner. He sees himself as an ambassador or evangelist for opera, so he is not a great one for jokes.

              I ask if he is happy about being
              called the greatest tenor in the world, expecting him to make some
              modest disclaimer, but on the contrary he says: “Well, Placido was the
              one who gave me that label, so, yes.”

            • Camille

              Oh no. Not really.

              So Plácido has transferred the crown, then?

              I heard Don Domingo say highly laudatory things about the current spouse of a famous diva from the land formerly known as ussr, too, at which I was aghast.

              Speaking of crowns, how is your Queen doing? She did not give her Christmas address this year and we are afraid she is finally showing her age. I’ll be sorry when Lillibet goes, frankly, as she has been a great monarch in mnay respects.

            • grimoaldo2

              The Queen did give her Christmas message Camille,
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zscqxgDc9f8
              she did not attend church on Christmas Day as usual because of a cold.
              http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-38430843

            • Camille

              Oh thank goodness, and thank you both for apprising me. Now I remember correctly that she did not go to church but gave her address--I got it turned around. Should have listened to the address when my husband sent it to me. Hang in there, Lillibet!!

              Althiugh, I do idly speculate if Charles will want to rule whenever that happens. Starting a new job at age 70 sounds like anmigraine to me! And will he crown Camilla? I mean, he’ll be King, who’s to stop him? Protocol? Some actual constitutional
              Prohibition? It will be interesting to see what happens and how it is played out as this has been an extraordinary long reign and the status quo has so long been in place that few know any different. Change is hard.

            • grimoaldo2

              No, there is nothing to prevent him from making her Queen but as wikipedia puts it
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camilla,_Duchess_of_Cornwall
              “Although she will legally become queen consort if Prince Charles becomes king, Clarence House stated on the occasion of their wedding in 2005 that it is intended that Camilla will adopt the unprecedented style of Princess Consort instead. The title is similar to the style of Prince Albert.”

              Clarence House is where C&C live, saying “Clarence House” stated this is like saying “the White House” clarified something. Publicly saying that Camilla will not use the title “Queen” was intended to mollify Diana fans but if the day ever comes that Charles is King he does not have to stick to that.

            • manou

              Grimoaldo is absolutely right about the Christmas address -- and has provided the evidence, too. Yes, the Queen has been remarkable and diplomatic (mostly by saying very little), but she is getting on and who knows what will happen in the future. Prince Philip is still wonderfully rude and cranky whenever he is given the opportunity, but he is 95 so these opportunities may not last forever. Anno domini will spare none of us I fear…

            • QuantoPainyFakor

              But this quote from the Kaufmann interview is a keeper!
              “Andrea Bocelli, for instance, says he avoids sex before a big
              concert because he believes it saps his energy, and footballers,
              of course, are not supposed to have sex before a game. ‘Yes, but
              I wouldn’t know why. At least what I call sex — I don’t know
              what they are doing! But on the other hand I know there was a
              generation of singers who were very open and would even have
              sex during a show.’
              Dame Nellie Melba was always rumoured to give tenors a blow
              job in the interval to lubricate her vocal cords, but this is a
              subject Kaufmann will not pursue.”

            • Camille

              OMG! TMI! !!!!!!

            • grimoaldo2

              “Dame Nellie Melba was always rumoured to give tenors a blow job in the interval to lubricate her vocal cords”
              I heard it was the stagehands or any man who happened to be around and not just at the interval either, yes, she thought it was essential to keep her vocal cords lubricated (so I heard).
              Reminds me of a story about the great Birgit Nilsson, who was (rather impertinently, it seems to me, but this was in the ’60’s) asked by a journalist if she had to forgo sex, as some athletes are said to do, in order to perform such feats of stamina as performing the role of Isolde. Oh no, said Nilsson,not at all, but with tenors it is different. She said she knew a tenor who was in bed with his girlfriend and having fun when the phone rang. “Yes, yes? Oh,,ok” then turning to the girl he said “Get up and get dressed. We have to stop. I’m singing Tristan in six months.”

    • grimoaldo2

      Puritani was written for four great stars -Grisi, Rubini,Tamburini and Lablache and really needs star performances in all four roles to be interesting.

      • calaf47

        Tell that to the Met casting dept. They must have missed that.

      • Camille

        In my Met program from 2014 it says:

        “I Puritani had a single performance in the inaugural 1883-84 season as a vehicle for the star soprano Marcella Sembrich. It wasn’t revived until 1918, when it showcased the talents of Maria Barrientos. After seven performances, I Puritani disappeared again until the current production by Sandro Sequi was unveiled in 1976, featuring a remarkable cast led by Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, and James Morris, with Richard Bonynge conducting.”

        That’s the one I remember. I can’t imagine why they cast such comparative lightweights as the baritone and basso they did.

        • Porgy Amor

          Sembrich was the Met’s first so many things. Lucia, Violetta, Amina, Gilda, Rosina, Zerlina, Ophélie, Marguerite de Valois, Juliette, Norina, Frau Fluth, Queen of the Night, Marie (Fille; she was gone by the time Wozzeck came around), Adina, Rosalinde, and two different Elviras (Puritani and Ernani).

          I wonder if any Met singer of any kind matched that, in premiering so many iconic roles at the old house.

          She was in the right place at the right time, and had a long run, 1883-1909. Recordings and reviews suggest she was still singing very well at the end.

          • Camille

            “She was gone by the time Wozzeck came around”, hardy har har! As if!

            She was also an accomplished violinist, I know that for sure, and may have also played piano. Good god, I had not known she had sung the prima of THAT many works. It must be a record. There are quite a number of works which Lilli Lehmann debuted, very interesting things, too, but I think Sembrich was regina della notte in this respect.

        • grimoaldo2

          The only times I have seen Puritani live were at ROH in 1992, I think, or thereabouts, with La June, Giuseppe Sabbatini. Dmitri Hvorostovsky (in his debut in staged opera) and Robert Lloyd.
          I saw it several times, I still remember it as possibly the greatest night I ever spent in a theatre ( and I have seen a lot of fabulous opera performances).

          • Luvtennis

            Wow! What a cast! Sabbatini was crazy and an acquired taste, but he could be exciting. Anyone ever heard his recording of Boheme with la Dessi?

          • Camille

            Lucky you. How was Mr. Sabbatini? I am unfamiliar with his work — and did he do the Hi Fa?

            It sounds like a capital cast and I am supposing La Junie was still up to her good stuff at that time. I’m kind of sorry that, after that successful turn as Pat Nixon in the Paris Nixon in China, she has finally hung it all up. Don’t know if she still concertises.

            • grimoaldo2

              June was stunning in every way, vocally and theatrically. I am rather ashamed to say that I don’t remember whether Sabbatini sang the high F or not but I do remember that his singing of “A te, o cara” was of heavenly beauty.

            • Camille

              Well, the heavenly beauty of that inspired cantilena is what is most important and why these museum pieces are exhumed at times.

              I’m very happy you got to hear your big diva in this, something for which she would have been very appropriate for. Maybe I shall listen to her version of “Qui la voce” sometime. I did hear her in 1986 sing Amina and I remember what a careful and delicate way she had with the score, and she looked absolutely beautiful!

            • spiderman

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnbPYqMlXtU
              Unfortunately I never heard her live -- but I admire her Belcanto singing in most of her parts. Here she is a stunning virgin vezzosa.

            • spiderman

              No, he didn’t. At least not on the radio broadcast.

  • Camille

    All this little happy cabaletta Elvira is singing now is not in the score at all but is referred to as the “Sutherland variant”, and I wonder where the music exists…..???

    • Angelo Saccosta

      It’s in the new Critical Edition that’s available for purchase from Hal Leonard online.

      • Camille

        Thank you very much for that bit of information as I was totally unaware of it and although I need another score not at all, I’ll probably go at least to check it out. Last few times I’ve been at Juilliard Book Store I’d not yet noticed it. I wonder if the contributions, or rather, the tinkering by Rossini will come to surface in this edition as I have long wondered if it was possible to suss out what he actually may have done with the score. Upon looking at it this past week I have to say that I find a lot of the writing still remains rather rudimentary and I really wonder, with the assistance and support of Rossini and the encouragement of the great success Puritani, how he would have further developed, and how the nature of Italian opera would have been impacted and imprinted,as he was onto something quite different: even the young Richard Wagner was smart enough to have figured out after having conducted I Montecchi e i Capuleti Oh, that reminds me, I ought to buy the CE of that one, which has long been out. A tantalizing might have been. I wish that Italian movie on his life were available in this zone--“Casta diva” I believe it was called, even if patent nonsense, it would be fun.

        Anyway, Mr. Saccosta, thanks for letting me know.

        • Angelo Saccosta

          Dear Camille, This CE is in 2 volumes because Bellini wrote lots of music including the slow movement that Luciano and Joan recorded and a trio in Act 1 that Juan Diego and Henrietta and Riccardo sing in the DVD from Bologna as do Merritt and company in their performance. At some point before the premiere Bellini realized things had to go primarily I think because the tenor part as written proved to be too much even for Rubini. So Bellini drew a line through the slow movement of Act 3 and wrote the word ” taglio, ” and i think the same happened with the trio in Act 1. I never saw that in print, but long ago in the Queensborough Public Library there was a score in the stacks from which I photocopied the slow movement from Act 3. Now I have everything in the new CE. Your speculation on what Bellini would have become is of course fascinating. But that was not to be as it was not to be for Donizetti to be alive at the same time that Verdi would be achieving his great success in the 1850’s onward. The speculation of what that would have been continues to fascinate me. Bellini’s influence on Wagner was enormous as Wagner himself admitted.

          • Camille

            Yes, that is what is so interesting: what he would have become. Just think of this: what if Verdi had died at age 33, that would have been when? 1813 plus 33 equals 1846 or 47 as he was born in October. There would have been no Rigoletto, Traviata, Trovatore, the sacred trinity which everyone used to think “good” Verdi began and now has been displaced as “bad” or uninformed thinking, and rightfully, and thank you Mr. Budden for all your work and Sig.r. Petrobelli, as well.

            Well, two volumes is more the merrier so far as I am concerned as I find the current Ricordi score which I’ve only had a few years anyhow to be very retro and limited, at least in the typeface and all which I hold to be a very important element. Compare, if you well, a standard Ricordi red cloth version of Don Carlo to the ginormous paper two volume version of Don Carlos, for there is a world of difference in between, veritably!

            Thanks so very much, you have made my old bellinian heart happy by this notice. Somehow or another, back in the heyday of Sutherland, I just sort of stopped listening to her after the beginning of the second act and never finished out the opera as I was up to my ears in sutherlandiana and began to branch out to listen to others. Therefore, this opera has remained a bit of a mystery to me and now I welcome an opportunity of getting to know more about it and may even brave yet another performance next week. Thank you so kindly.

            • Angelo Saccosta

              Glad to be of help. You’ll be happy to know that the typeface of the new scores is excellent, large and well spaced, with appendices of virtually everything a composer created for the opera at hand.

            • Camille

              Molto obbligato, mio bel cavaliere!
              Lei m’ha fatto tanto, tanto piacere!

            • Angelo Saccosta

              Piacere mio, carina.

  • Camille

    I wonder what archive Bonynge dug it up out of or someone had a séance with Giulia Grisi — oh gawd another DD D!!!!!!O

    • manou

      Straight from the Walt Disney songbook

      • Camille

        A variant on “It’s a small world after all”, something I have actually been subjected to on site and whilst taking that wild ride at Disneyland and lived to tell the tale. It’s a hard thing, Disneyland. It prepares you for nothing in life.

        • manou

          And now there is also Trumpland…..Aiuto!!!

          • Camille

            Stay where you are. You’ve got a nice couple of princes coming along after not too long.
            We are doomed here.

      • Gualtier Maldè

        Actually the whole last act was conceived longer and in “aria/cabaletta” form. Bonynge managed to find some cut material and there is a long slow section of the Elvira/Arturo duet which Bonynge reinstated and recorded in the 1975 Sutherland/Pavarotti recording of which the “Vieni fra queste braccia” is merely the cabaletta section. “O sento o mio bell’angelo” was conceived as a duet finale and cabaletta to “Credeasi misera” sung by Arturo and Elvira. When the last act got too long and exhausting for the singers -- the duet was cut down to just “Vieni fra queste braccia” and the final scena to just “Credeasi misera”. Elvira just sings a high note over the rejoicing final chorus at the end in the final Paris version.

        Bellini was commissioned for a subsequent performance of “I Puritani” in Naples where Maria Malibran was scheduled to be the prima donna. Bellini knew that Malibran was going to sing it and conceived the brilliant “Son Vergin Vezzosa” with Malibran’s voice and style in mind.

        Simultaneous to his final revision to the Paris production of “I Puritani”, Bellini fashioned the “Malibran” version of “Puritani” rewriting the role of Elvira for a lower voiced mezzo and turning Riccardo into a second tenor role. It was sent to Naples around the time the Paris version premiered but tragically neither Bellini nor Malibran lived long enough to see it performed.

        That version exists and has been performed and recorded. In that score, “Credeasi misera” is done to an altered text with mainly Elvira singing it and “O sento o mio bell’angelo” is the cabaletta to that as a solo for Elvira who in the final Paris version just tosses in a high note at the end over the chorus.

        Obviously what Bonynge did was take the “O sento o mio bell’angelo” from the Naples Malibran version and transpose it up into the Paris soprano Elvira keys which would fit into the final scene with chorus. So Bellini did compose it before he died and it existed in a different form in the original longer draft of the Paris “I Puritani” score as a duet. That duet version has not survived in manuscript.

        • manou

          Thank you so much -- erudition triumphs again over persiflage.

        • Camille

          o thanks a lot that is very interesting to me and haven’t time to find it all today.

          • Luvtennis

            The Ricciarelli recording is very interesting and is a sad reminder of what we lost when she decided to put on her big girl pants and sing middle period Verdi in the big houses.

            Shame on Abbado and HvK for encouraging her. She never had the strength in the upper middle for those roles and after awhile that part of the voice just imploded until everything at the top of the staff had to be attacked piano to avoid wobble and pitch sagging. God, I loved her as the Due Foscari Lucrezia. I don’t think she should have sung anything heavier than Luisa Miller. Instead she was singing Amelia!

            And the thing is, SHE KNEW BETTER! In an Opera News interview from the mid-seventies, she actually questions Caballe’s decision to sing Ballo and Aida, while attesting to her own unsuitability for the heavier spinto roles! Crazy to think that Ricciarelli is barely a decade older than Fleming, and only 4 years older than June Anderson! Opera lost a lot with Katia’s early flameout!

            • La Cieca

              Canard alert. Please take a look at the annals of Ricciarelli’s career. She sang “middle period Verdi” only occasionally. Her concentration was always in bel canto music. She RECORDED a broad range of music but that is a very different matter from singing these parts day in and day out on stage.

              Also, even if one assumes that you have the ability to see into alternate realities necessary for the sweeping generalizations you throw around, you’re comparing apples and oranges. Surely part of the reason for Ricciarelli’s early vocal decline was her extremely volatile personal life: I’ve heard that she attempted suicide multiple times, for example.

              But I realize I am banging my head against the queeniest of all opera queen shibboleths here, i.e., “Nobody is ever ready to to sing anything, so stick to Mozart until you’re 50.”

            • Luvtennis

              La Cieca:

              I was actually basing some of my criticism on her own statements about those roles and her unsuitability for them. And my assessment was not intended as a generalization but rather as a specific commentary on HER very particular vocal strengths and weaknesses. Her voice had gleam but not thrust. But of course it’s all speculation on some level, no? And while recording (particularly in the digital era) is less stressful than live performance, she did actually have to learn and sing the music….

              I was generally aware of the personal issues. I was not aware of the MULTIPLE suicide attempts.

            • PCally

              I also have to point this out. Simply stating that the rep she chose is what ruined her voice completely ignores the TONS of recorded evidence (in music that ostensibly did suit her) that her technique was shoddy to begin with. Her coloratura in most of her recordings is sketchy (even at ridiculously slowed down tempos she sounds like she’s gingerly making her way through) , most of her soft singing is crooned and flat, and even in a relatively easy role like Mimi the tone spreads when above the staff. I think it’s quite plausible she would have burned out no matter what she was singing.

            • Exactly! When I listen to Ricciarelli’s recordings, I hear less an overparted singer than an unfinished technique. The vocal emission is bumpy — the voice doesn’t seem to be released smoothly. I never heard her live, but based on her recordings, I’d imagine that her voice was perfectly up to the task of recording Verdi roles in the safety of the studio.

            • Luvtennis

              I think if you read my post again, I never suggested that she had a perfectly evolved vocal technique. The weaknesses that may have been exacerbated by some her rep choices were clearly intrinsic to vocal endowment and training. But any soprano who hasn’t fully figured out her upper middle and top should probably avoid Verdi if she wants to survive vocally past the first blush of youth….

            • La Cieca

              Maybe you should base more of your criticism on actual facts instead of what you sort of remember. Ricciarelli mostly sang in her Fach, occasionally taking on heavier roles. Her technique was probably incomplete because she started getting offers very early based on the sheer beauty of the voice. She also happened to be in the right place at the right time in regard to recordings, and so she was propelled into stardom (perhaps) before she was completely ready to take on the sort of physically grueling work that an international career entails.

              But the queen’s answer is always “oh IF ONLY I COULD HAVE TOLD HER to stay away from THOSE AWFUL HEAVY ROLES.” Blaming repertoire is just fucking lazy, not to mention show-offy.

            • Bill

              La Cieca -- I saw Ricciarelli a few times only
              and the last was as Maria Stuarta in Vienna

            • Bill

              Sorry = clicked before I finished regarding Ricciarelli. The last time I saw
              Ricciarelli was in Vienna as Maria Stuarda a role she sang there from 1987 to 1996 and the last of her performances there after singing heavier roles such as Fedora, Ameilia in Ballo, in Andrea Chenier. Ricciarelli still had the facility to be a good Maria Stuarda though the voice was a bit worn. She started in Vienna as Liu in 1973 and sang 12 roles there and only Giuletta in Capuleti required more florid technique than the Donnizetti -- -- she sang a reasonable Maria Stuarda (mostly following Gruberova in the role) which was hardly embarrassing. in any case. She was a much desired singer during her years on stage as she came along more or less after Tebaldi, Callas, Stella, Gencer, Cerquetti and others were retired or soon to be retired and Ricciarelli had the facility to sing much of their repertory and was as a blonde Italian singer, very attractive on the stage. Scotto and Freni were around and also moved into heavier repertoire but Ricciarelli was also bolstered by well known conductors who wanted to work with her. She was singing Ballo in Vienna as early as 1975 though not often. She was certainly much more than a footnote among Italian sopranos during her day .

            • Camille

              That is very interesting and thanks for bringing up that interview as just the other day I heard that ’82 Luisa Miller which I recalled so vividly (or thought I did) and have been on a bit of a Katia contemplazione. There is also an interview with her at the time of the ’80 Ballo in Maschera Telecast in which she speaks about the role of Amelia and by then she seemed to have accepted this heavy part and feels comforfably ensconced within.

              I have to say, that ’82 Luisa already showed the signs of the precariousness of her top even if it was not yet that noticeable--and not that I was capable of that discernment at all back when I heard it and was so impressed by it!

              And I’ll never forget the shock I had, walking into a Tower store in West L.A. one fine day, hearing her sing Turandot! That von Karajan had a demon in him which loved tempting singers out of their respective Fachs and ultimately out of their vooce, it would seem.

              That Carnegie Hall Youtube with Carreras really shows her singing as she could at her best. And, of course, that marriage to Pippo Baudo, although by that time it probably didn’t matter as she had already sung her best years, couldn’t have helped! I like to remember her best from the film of Otello she did with Domingo and will never forgive ZiaZeff for editing out the Willow Song. CretiNONE!!!!! I guess she has gone on to some acting and more power to her as living with Pippo was probably no hed of roses, to say the least!

              There was a nice bit ofJérusalem which I tried to post yesterday and which has not shown up, grumble grumble. I will try again over at the appropriate thread.

            • Luvtennis

              I love the Desdemona too, but she attacks virtually everything above the staff piano and the crescendos have the wild pulsy (sic) quality that marred most of her post ’78 singing. But God! She is so beautiful and touching. And the soft singing was marvelous…when used at the right time.

        • swordsnsolvers

          This is the frequently cut number that goes before ‘vieni fra queste braccia’
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLMKRGTy7oM

          • Gualtier Maldè

            Here is the “O sento o mio bell’angelo”as originally conceived by Nino Machaidze and JDF: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRiH5oMdDsg
            A big improvement over the standard original Paris ending. Don’t know who and where they found this music.

            • Gualtier Maldè

              Katia Ricciarelli singing “O sento o mio bell’angelo” in the Malibran version and keys c. 1985:
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88zXV2dSzmk

            • southerndoc1

              Why is she wearing polyvinyl trash bags?

        • Luvtennis

          Did he actually transpose it? I must confess that having heard the opera in the Bonynge edition first, that i prefer the opera with it. Yes, it’s a bit trashy but I think the original ending is too abrupt and I sufficiently focused on Elvira, who after all, drives the plot with her wacky antics.

          I have always imagined it staged on a staircase with the castle folk arranged (Disney style) along each side with Elvira descending slowly during the first verse while embracing some members of the crowd. During the bridge, as it were, a scrim descends, separating Elvira from the scene. She then turns and sings the second verse to the audience with the house light up. During the coda the scrim lifts and she races back into the opera, again as it were, up the staircase and into the arms of her loved ones while unloading that final D. Lol! Full on, hardcore, Disney.

    • grimoaldo2

      I think that ending was prepared for Maria Malibran, before the premiere in Paris, but never performed due to her death.

      • Camille

        Oh thanks much grimoaldo. That makes sense to me. Oh wait, let me go check my Bellini biography. It must have been a part of that version for her to be staged in Napoli that wasn’t.

  • Camille

    Oh thank you, Mr. Siff!!! Added by Bellini later? When? After he died? It had to be between January and September 1835. oh well, poor Javier sounds like he is tired of being the king of the high Ds, frankly. I guess I’ll have to familiarize myself with Semiramide, all on his behalf.

  • Camille

    Do I really want to go hear this another time next week, even if I want to study the score? Maybe I’ll go slap on that Callas CD again? Where is it? Maybe I’ll go to the last performance….may be a chance that Miss Pretty sings again.

  • Camille

    Ciao 4 now, y’all!

  • I had to miss the third act. How was it?

    • Camille

      more of the same, only more desperate Schrei und Try Again!

  • Rowna Sutin

    Reading everyone’s remarks -- here are mine: in the house they all sounded better. I loved it.

  • Camille

    Just now I’ve finished listening to a rebroadcast of the 1986 I Puritani starring Sutherland, Blake, Milnes, & last and certainly not least, Ramey.

    It was interesting to hear now in light of the recent iterations still so fresh in my ear. En bref, and other than to say there was no positive comparison of the recent “Suoni la tromba” to this older one, the ’86 tenor only gave ONE verse of the “Credeasi misera”, so, no more than a D flat, one time, and not repeated as did Mr. Camarena.

    Some portions of the ’86 were a lot better, and some were the more or less the same as this just past production. One thing, above all, was the conducting: it was Bonynge, of course, and he--who had been accused so often of so many deficiencies--sounded infinitely better than the timebeater we’ve just been given yet again. Now I dread what he may do to the Semiramide, which needs a strong shape.

    I can only thank my lucky stars I heard Camarena, so much more poetic and with his clarion beauty of tone. Who needs a capon squawking a high F when one has the dulcet mellifluous tone he bestows upon our grateful ears?

    • grimoaldo2

      “One thing, above all, was the conducting: it was Bonynge, of course, and he--who had been accused so often of so many deficiencies--sounded infinitely better than the timebeater we’ve just been given yet again. ”

      Yes, people were very mean about him, even routinely booing him out of a feeling, I suppose, that he only got jobs as a conductor because of his wife, but I always found his performances most enjoyable and am very grateful to him for reviving a lot of works by my most loved composers. He doesn’t ever get much credit for the Handel revival, for instance, but the Alcina with Sutherland and Berganza was one of the first recordings of a Handel opera to get wide listenership.

      • Bill

        gimoaldo -- Bonynge apparently (perhaps on behalf of his wife) also seemed to be a scholar of bel canto
        operas and some earlier ones -- we must remember that some of the operas he conducted were not in need of a von Karajan, and also some of Sutherland’s
        operas were previously not common repertory at the time. So he apparently did do a considerable amount of research and editing to come up with viable
        performances which showcased the operas and also arranged them to show off his wife’s particular talents in ornamentation as well as for the other singers
        such as Horne. He found his niche and I do not think
        he tried to expand his operatic repertory to Wagner,
        Strauss or Berg and mostly stuck to works for which he had some comfort conducting.

      • Camille

        People were mean simply because they were jealous. Probably they felt he rode in on her coattails when they did not realize there would not have been any La Stupenda at all without Bonynge.

        No Bonynge = no Sutherland? Well, we’d have never heard of her here in the States had it not been for HIS love of early ottocento florid music. She wanted to be and would have been a reliable Wagner-Verdi house soprano at Covent Garden and continued to have had a happy flourishing career there.

        But, no Bonynge = no La Stupenda. It was HE who tricked her into vocalising past the high Cs she dreaded, as he played for her at home. As she only had “relative pitch”, she was unaware he vocalised her up to E flats, thus beginning the extension of her upper range, as simply as that. At Dame Joan’s death, John Yohalem wrote a memorial piece on his blog which was of particular interest as he illustrated how Bonynge helped and supported her from the pit in a moment of stress. A very interesting and insightful eye witness accounting. I do not know if his blog is still up.

        About ten years ago I delighted in finding at long last an air check of a broadcast she did wiith Fritz Stiedry of Euryanthe. It’s around the mid-fifties and before the big Lucia. It is very fine and sure and competent, professonal and all that. She sang with good German diction, too, so that other route would have been viable. In fact, I have no complaint at all. It’s just not
        La Stupenda.

        And yes, that Alcina may have not been HIP, but in the mid-sixties it was quite a daring and way-out-there thing for a major record company to issue. It did not make a Handel opera fan of me--with apologies to grimoaldo--but it did acquaint me with the fact there WAS something from Handel that wasn’t music church ladies stood and screamed out (“King of Kings, and Lord of LOOOORRDS”!) until they turned a bright beet red.

        So yeah, Bonynge was someone’s husband. There are in the upcoming season three conductors married to three of the leading primadonnas, Opolais, Yoncheva, and Garanca, who will conduct operas and not all with the wife involved. There was Wilfred Pelletier and Rose Bampton long before. It happens.
        I’m just forever grateful Bonynge happened to Sutherland, and we have what they accomplished together as our great boon.

        https://youtube.com/watch?v=-guNMY_SCdE

      • Camille

        As well, grimoaldo, I wanted to listen to this particular ’86 outing of Puritani because of what a friend of mine who had been at it told me about Bonynge--that he had come out to the podium with a full maquillage applied. He was quite taken aback by this and went on to say how affected JS performance was and yaddayaddayadda.

        WhatEVER. She was sixty and he was fifty-six at the time and everyone needs HELP by then!! This performance did not seem to be impacted by the overapplication of beauty products, in the LEAST. Perhaps they helped.