Cher Public

I’ve never seen one as big as that before

The ineffable Fred Plotkin explains why, so far as he’s concerned, size doesn’t matter. 

  • Armerjacquino

    MITRIDATE at the Met would be wonderful (massive caveat: with the right director). Although I see my favourite Sifare, Persson, is singing Aspasia these days.

    What would a Met cast be? Polenzani, Di Donato, Oropesa? Or am I stuck in 2008? The new CG production has Spyres, Crowe and Shagimuratova, which isn’t a bad start.

    • In Brussels 10 years ago (god is it really?) it was Carsen: “Act 2 opened in what appeared to be Farnace’s bedroom, for there he was on the bed, leafing through a porn mag with his trousers round his ankles and his hand down his underpants.”

    • Camille

      hey armer--I heard your “favourite Sifare” just the other night as Fortuna/Poppea and was quite favourably impressed by her. She sang a long role (well, two actually) without showing the slightest signs of stress and in a very lovely manner. As I’d only previously heard her sing Gretel a few years back, I’d say she has grown a lot and is definitely a keeper.

      My husband did have the complaint that she didn’t act enough like a “‘ho”, but I told him to remember that sometimes even nice ambitious girls get too ambitious and end up like her, too. Apparently, he had seen a version a year or so ago wherein the Poppea really let it all hang out, and which he preferred. It is viable both ways, I reckon.

      Anyway, I don’t know if it (L’incoronazione di Poppea)will be reviewed here but am hoping so, as it was a memorable outing.

      • Armerjacquino

        Interesting. From what I’ve seen, she does ‘introspective’ better than ‘extrovert’ so she wouldn’t necessarily serve the traditional Poppea. I do think she’s a treasurable singer.

        • Camille

          Oh, that would explain a lot. To me, she was perfectly fine serving as a Poppea a tad innocent, as little girls who get themselves entangled in situations often are, and who do not realize the ultimate price they may pay.

          What I liked about her voice was its warmth and fullness throughout the middle, which often isn’t the case with her category.

          As well, her personal loveliness is not flaunted, per se, but carried very well as a part and parcel of her characterization.

          Thanks for your thoughts, armer.

          • Nelly della Vittoria

            I love her, though I know her better from video and recording than in real life — but I saw her Pamina when she sang it at the Met, and that was very fine, so stylish and eloquent. She always sounds like she’s coming up with the words for things on the spot.
            As for her Sifare, this makes it look like an astonishing piece of singing. Lucky Armer!

        • PCally

          Armer there’s a very fine DVD of her Poppea available and she’s really quite fantastic in the role. Not a femme fatale (this is the David Alden production and Antonacci was the original Poppea and she’s about as different from Persson as a performer as can be imagined. There’s an audio recording of that performance and Antonacci is remarkable in it) but I actually think she’s surprisingly frightening because she switches pretty effortlessly but girlish innocence to surprisingly cold and cruel calculation on a dime in way that’s chilling. There’s a close-up of her face as Ottavia’s crown is being lowered onto her head and the look of triumph on her face is frightening. And she sings it beautifully.

          Agreed, she’s a treasure.

          • Camille

            “she’s surprisingly frightening because she switches pretty effortlessly but girlish innocence to surprisingly cold and cruel calculation on a dime in way that’s chilling.”
            Exactly that! You’ve said it exactly as I saw it the other night! Thanks!

            To me, that’s a lot more surprising than having a bad girl sing about being how bad she is. We expect that.

            • Nelly della Vittoria

              What I wish most of all is that they’d asked her to sing Ann Truelove again when they did The Rake’s Progress last season (I don’t know if she’s still singing it) because on that DVD from Glyndebourne she’s ravishing and Auden would weep for joy at her way with the English text.

  • Camille

    Back to Mr. Plotkin’s thesis here: he makes some valid points about other Mozart operas, all of which I would be unfamiliar with, as it’s enough for me that I’ve finally discovered something I love, rather late, in the masterpiece Idomeneo.

    I would absolutely adore to see some Monteverdi operas and remember very well and very fondly the production of Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria which the late NYCO presented back when, and which I just loved. They managed to make it work in that sized space, the New York State Theater, but it’s admittedly smaller than the mammoth MET.

    HOWEVER, the little Handel I’ve seen at the MET, Giulio Cesare in the late nineties, and a Rodelinda, oh that was on television so it doesn’t count — did seem to be dwarfed by the proscenium and that huge maw of a stage. I’m sorry, but for me that did hold true. It takes more than Big Presence and Imaginative Direction to overcome the enormity of that space.

    Mozart just gets by perhaps because of our greater familiarity with and tolerance therefore, but even there, I’d much prefer to see his operas in a space at least one half the size of the MET. Whatever became of the talk about building a smaller theatre for such works over in Damrosch Park adjacent to the MET? no money?

    • La Cieca

      That was talked about a lot when the Met was rolling in money back in the 1990s, but as I recall the promise was made to build a smaller Met theater just as soon as the three sisters left for Moscow.

      • Camille

        Yadda, Yadda & Yadda:

      • Brava, La Cieca, on “ineffable”. If you play your cards right he’ll cook you dinner, or even ask you on one of his tours. You might want to skip touring with a glad-handing and ignorant bore — after all an idiot here has been spamming the comment section without your having to brave the TSI. But who wouldn’t want to risk a few IQ points for a good free meal (I gather he is quite a good cook.)

        I think Big Jim’s lying about a “mini-Met” goes back a long way. I seem to remember a scandal in the ’80’s where he was going on, spinning this fantasy, and his interlocutor asked him who he’d like to work with in a smaller theater. “I LOVE Peter Sellars” he said. But the mean music press in NY (vanished as a group, alas) did some digging and it turned out that Big Jim had NEVER seen a Sellars production of anything and just pulled the name out of his ass.

  • Camille

    Yadda, Yadda & Yadda:

    They’re leavin’ on a jetplane, Mamma Cieca!

    • Tri Sestry is a work I’d be glad to have on the schedule again.

      • Camille

        Oh, did you actually see it then, NPW? Do you have a page on it or is that too far back, before you began notes on your performances?

        It was really rather intriguing and my husband liked what Eotvös was trying to do, so please let me hear your impressions if you still recall them. Thanks!

  • Eight years ago I asked James Levine which Mozart opera he would want the Met to do next and, to my delight, he quickly said Mitridate. He added that it takes time to build a new work into the DNA of the orchestra

    Levine is great at excuses, isn’t he?