Cher Public

Broadcast: Rusalka

La Cieca (right) invites everyone to discuss this afternoon’s broadcast and HD of Rusalka from the Met! The festivities begin at 1:00 PM ET.

  • La Cieca

    This Mark Elder interview is the crashingest bore ever.

    • Monabel

      I enjoyed his love for Dvorak.

  • Matthew Byrd

    I am very much enjoying this opera and all of the performances. Much better than I puritani last week

  • La Cieca
    • Camille

      Pedro has all the Mai Tais.

  • PATRICK MACK

    is Eric Owens indisposed?

    • Bill

      Patrick -- after attending two performances of Rusalka and then listening to the Broadcast a couple of observations regarding one of my favorite operas. Eric Owens has not sounded (based upon his considerable reputation) to be in good voice in any of his 3 airings of this role -- perhaps these Rusalkas hit him during a bad patch, Barton was much the same -- quite consistent vocalism from performance to performance. To me Opolais sounded better the first two performances in house -- on the radio one noticed some flat high notes and occasional thinness of voice. I think one has to see her to garner her complete performance as she is attractive to the eye and a compelling actress. The earlier Fleming was better vocally than the later Flleming despite the scooping -- the one season Benackova sang the role at the Met set a standard so high that most others (vocally) pale in comparison. Opolais cannot offer the opulent sound which the role requires and Opolais’ voice does not really blossom when singing the highest notes. The Prince has some dulcet tones but an uneven voice, sounding less good than in the two live performances attended. Kitchen Boy’s voice disappointing in all 3 performances. Conducting seemed bland again but the orchestration in this opera is so rich in beauty that no conductor, no matter how uninspired can take the glorious sound of the score away. .

      • Apulia

        are there any Czech sopranos now who can aspire to carry the torch for Benackova?

        • Bill

          Apulia -- I think there are some fine Czech sopranos. For example Dana Buresova who sang Marina in he Odyssey Opera performance of Dvorak’s Dimitrij last September has a beautiful voice and sings most of the major Czech roles Marenka, Rusalka, Libuse -- she is a veteran of over 20 years but the voice is still fabulous. I saw her in Prague as Rusalka some 6 years ago an she was excellent. The lighter voiced Olga Jelinkova who sang Xenie in that same
          performance had a lovely voice -- she has been with the National Theater in Prague only since 2014 after a 2011 debut in Ceske Budejovice and would not yet be ready for Rusalka as she is singing lyric high roles now but maybe in 5 or 7 years. She has taken master classes with Benackova. I have heard some very fine Rusalkas in the last decade in Prague (both houses), Brno and in Bratislava but would have to drag out old programs to check their names. It is interesting as for us
          Benackova had a somewhat unique voice but other Czech and Slovak sopranos I have heard sometimes have the same timbre an vocal production -- maybe it comes from singing in that language. Hungarian or Romanian sopranos do not sound like that and I am not very familiar with sopranos currently singing in Poland or Ukraine, Serbia or Croatia unless they move out to the West as some young ones currently at the Vienna Opera or in Germany have done.. Most of the soprano roles in Smetana, Dvorak and Fibrich operas need a to sing high Cs with a certain amount of power as Benackova could do, even Marenka which has been done by both lyric sopranos and spinto types.

      • Camille

        Bill,
        Did you happen to hear the Vienna broadcast from Carnegie? I was not happy with some of it, the Brahms piano

        Do you think it would be better to see the final performance or the repeat of the HD of Rusalka? Probably better in hiuse, nichts?

        Hope you have recovered from Hard Rock Café!

        • Bill

          Camille -- I thought the Brahms was very lyrical
          and the warmth of the strings magical but that
          was on the radio. The Schubert was lovely and the Bartok suitably edgy -- I thought the entire concert was certainly better conducted
          than the Met Rusalka broadcast earlier in the day on the same station. But I am a
          great fan of Welser-Moest though his Mozart
          OIperas in Vienna were not his finest evenings. I missed the great C major Symphony of Sdhubert the next evening which I wanted to attend but had to be in Boston
          (long day trip back and forth).

          • Camille

            oh the strings are always magical, it was the strange tempi that were taken. No matter. Always a treat to hear their sound.

            I’ve finally decided to try out the Rusalka, come hell or high water, and just for the hell of it.

            My husband heard the Sunday program and told me the Schoenberg was, understandably and expectedly, the highlight for him.

            Also, for you to note: of the six Idomeneo performances to be given, a good four of them will be broadcast, two are Listen Lives, on March 6 and March 21 (plus another two if you have Sirius), so make sure to listen to the ones you can on the radio, too. I am looking forward to it as I have not seen it for a while now and I really love this work.

            I really do not know what to feel about Welser-Möst, he rather puzzles me. The Daphne really and truly impressed me but otherwise, I just don’t know.

            Bis später!!

  • Matthew Byrd

    There are some very high lying moments for him. He cracked on an F#

  • CwbyLA

    I watched the Rusalka broadcast in HD and enjoyed it very much. Opolais does not have the luxury voice of Fleming, who is by far the best Rusalka, but her acting is compelling and she managed to create a complex character. I could mot take my eyes of her. Jamie Barton was amazing and she clearly loved playing this role. The first act started slow and i thought the slow tempi did not help. The first Rusalka-Jezibaba duet lacked energy. Eric Owens and Brandon Jovanovic were fine but not exceptional. Dalayman was the clear wekest link. I thought this production told the story more clearly than the previous production but it was certainly not earth shattering. I just love the orchestral music in this opera so much!

    • Cameron Kelsall

      Dalayman does seem to be this season’s unnecessary import. I’ve enjoyed her in other things, but she was vocally and dramatically wrong here. Listening to the broadcast on Saturday, I actually wondered if Barton could pull off the Jezibaba/Foreign Princess hat trick that a couple other mezzos have done over the years.

  • Batty Masetto

    Yes, Jamie stole the show for me too, in spite of the brief episode of EVIL WITCH mugging in the third act. Otherwise sheer delight all around. In the context of the full performance with the visuals etc. I didn’t hear any vocal messiness, and she belted out the occasional chest tone to exuberant effect.

    I’m sorry, I just don’t get the condescension to Jovanovich. Yes, it’s not a Three Tenors sound, but it’s attractive and always very musical. He’s physically and emotionally present, a detailed actor, and for Pete’s sake, he can sing a lovely pianissimo while kneeling and supporting the weight of a soprano. He’s got the physical and mental resources to handle a complete Meistersinger without tiring (he was excellent here). I’ve seen him live several times now and he has never disappointed.

    Opolais, on the other hand… I’ve wanted so much to give her a chance. She’s got so much to work with. But it never comes together. She was in better shape vocally today than for Manon Lescaut. But. Chopped vocal lines, little shaping of the phrase musically.

    She apparently thinks of herself as some kind of actress, and to give her her due, she never merely flings herself around the stage in the style of one N.M. Whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned. On the other hand, the latter pulls her tricks partly because she’s lost all vocal presence whatsoever, and I dread to think what Kristina will do when her vocalism dries up.

    There’s no specificity to the text or the acting moment. All the acting is as flat and generalized as can be – Intense Looks and God How I’m Suffering – and pretty pallid unless she’s got a Big Dramatic Move. No real sense of yearning at all in the Song to the Moon, no projection of why this crazy watery Thing would want to go through so much just to be human in the first place. I could go on but others have done it for me.

    I saw Fleming years ago in the Schneider-Siemssen sets (which I think were a modified version of the old Met production) in SF. The vocalism was better than Opolais, but left me just as cold. Neither one felt like the character to me.

    This production had its ups and downs by comparison. The set for the first scene was just awkward, and her dress was both hideous and a dramatic embarrassment. The less said about how Owens handled the Vodnik, the better. I know now for sure that he’s no actor. Yet the sprites and their choreography were delightful, and I say this as one for whom lacy panties hold no charms. The Jezibaba scene was funny-scary and on the nose. And I thought having Rusalka emerge into a flowery meadow was a lovely idea (even though she flubbed the acting).

    I also liked the staging of the second act pretty well. The choreography was dramatically apposite, though less would have been a whole lot more during the Vodnik’s aria. Having her bring him a bucket of water was a nice touch. Dalayman’s costume (though she sang well) was another disaster. The attempt to merge an off-the-shoulder version of eighteenth century with traditional Slavic left her wearing the visual equivalent of fat bra straps. Yet Jovanovich’s costumes for both Acts I and II were very nice, and his attendants in Act I were downright spiffy. (And all costuming gaffes paled beside the sheer galloping horror of Zeffirelli’s getups for Antony & Cleopatra in the film clip. Lovely to see Mme. Price still in such good form at age 90 though.)

    Act III again didn’t work for me. I get the idea; execution weak, I thought. I was moved by the Prince’s death, but Opolais’s handling of the end – really of the whole scene – was a great big anticlimax.

    I initially thought Elder’s conducting was sluggish, but the overall effect worked very well. And I found the interview engaging.

    So for me, not a disaster, but a very mixed bag in dealing with a very beautiful work.