Cher Public

A circumference of silence

Born on this day in 1910 composer Samuel Barber

Born on this day in 1839 composer Modest Mussorgsky.

On this day in 1842 Verdi’s Nabucco premiered in Milan.

Two years later on this date his Ernani premiered in Venice.

On this day in 1849 Otto Nicolai’s Die lustige Weiber von Windsor premiered in Berlin.

On this day in 1868 Ambroise Thomas’ Hamlet premiered in Paris.

Born on this day in 1923 bass Nicola Zaccaria.

Born on this day in 1928 bass Franz Crass.

Born on this day in 1930 conductor Thomas Schippers.

Born on this day in 1956 tenor Sergej Larin.

  • Armerjacquino

    NYC-based parterrians- some advice please! I’m getting married in two weeks’ time. I know you’ll say I’m far too young, but I’m 43 years old and I know my own mind, dammit!

    Part of the initial planning of the wedding date was so I could take my new husband to the Met when we honeymoon in New York; so of course sod’s law has stepped in and I now have a job coming up which has forced us to postpone said honeymoon. We’ll now be doing it in June, which although a lovely time of year also happens to be outside the Met’s season.

    So what I’d like to know is- what’s a good Met substitute in June? Concerts, festivals etc in New York or striking distance. I’m sure I could google but I’d like to ask the experts first…

    • Camille

      The MET hosts the American Ballet Theatre — there’s that — just look at the MET’s calendar in May and keep on going through June. Go look at La Cieca’s June calendar and you’ll find Les Indes Galante, Das Rheingold, La Mère Coupable, Angels in America, and a couple more concerts, but most are a little earlier in the month.

      Lincoln Center Festival and Mostly Mozart, which you’d probably most appreciate won’t start up until July sometime and isn’t yet announced. There is the Caramoor Festival, about an hour up north of here, and this year they are giving Bellini’s Il Pirata, but probably not until July, too.

      There is ALWAYS Greenwich Village. There is the Staten Island Ferry which will take you past the Statue of Liberty and that’s for free! There’s millions of things to do — and there is Film Form, MoMA Film series, Anthology Film Archives, the Walter Reade Theatre at Lincoln Center which hosts film festivals.

      Well, that’s all. You’ll have to ask the guys about the Gay Pride Festival, which I believe is the third weekend in June, so there’s that to look forward to.

      Most of all: BE HAPPY, and don’t let anyone interfere in your marriage, no matter what or who they are. Just live a long and productive life and be as happy as you can possibly be, and always be as honest as you can, too.
      Many congratulations on your big step forward!

      • QuantoPainyFakor

        And now Marzelline will have to realize that she’s free of you!

        • Camille

          Yes, she’s going to work for Mrs . Leonore Florestan as a chambermaid. Poverina!!!!!! Sob!

      • PCally

        Cosign everything Camille and Luvtennis said (Boston is lovely and lots of fun in the summer) and best wishes to you both!!

    • Luvtennis

      Congrats. I dodged the matrimonial bullet earlier this year, although it was a deferral rather than a clean break. ????????????

      Are you determined on art music or are you just looking for a diversion from the romance? Is Boston too far? It’s gorgeous in June. The drive from NYC is lovely in late spring. You can make a day of it with a trip to the cape. The ART is still going strong in June. If you want to stay in NYC, google things to do in NYC In June 2017. We are talking plethora!

      • travelforopera

        Boston in June can be over-run with graduating students, their families and friends. Be prepared for crowds.

        • Luvtennis

          Yes, I remember. Harvard had a pretty late graduation as I recall, but I thought everybody was done by mid-June. And it’s so gorgeous in June. Unless it decides to rain for 10 straight days. Ahhh, New England.

    • I got married to the love of my life when I was 52 and he 65.
      Age has nothing to do with it — love is all. Congratulations and all my best to you both!

    • Lohenfal

      Congratulations, armer!

      Some NYC events haven’t been announced yet. In the meantime, try this site. It may give you some ideas.

    • Where are you registered (and under what names)?

      • Armerjacquino

        I’m afraid I don’t understand the question…

        • rapt

          Hi & renewed congrats, AJ. In the US there’s the quaint wedding custom of registering your name at the stores of your choice, where you can specify your china pattern, silver serving pieces desired, etc., conveniently beside the price so that you can know exactly how much each guest spent. Here’s hoping you rake it in!

          • rapt

            Of course, I’m assuming you weren’t joking--always a dangerous assumption….

          • Armerjacquino

            Oh! Well, wedding lists are a thing here too, but being Very Very Old we don’t have one. People would be a bit ‘why didn’t you have a frying pan before?’

    • Rowna Sutin

      Congratulations! I second the suggestion re ABT at the Met. You can’t do better.

    • Armerjacquino

      Thanks so much everyone for your kind words and suggestions.

      Operatic arias and orchestral favourites with Gerzmava at Carnegie seem like the perfect solution for my not-that-mad-on-opera husband-to-be…

  • Williams

    Best wishes to you both! A check of the Carnegie Hall calendar reveals some juicy events including the Met orchestra. There are also sporty things like the Mets and Belmont Stakes day which features the Met Mile on the undercard. The Met Museum is always a treat.????

  • Betsy_Ann_Bobolink

    Most importantly, you’ll want to attend the ceremonial Changing of th Underwear at Trump Towers. Everyone who is Anyone will be there.

  • I went to Werther last night with Borras. It was an absolutely wonderful performance. I have the performance uploaded on soundcloud on my blog:

    • Borras is going to give us all a lot of pleasure.

    • PCally

      I agree with everything you say. I was also at his last minute debut and I remember being totally taken by surprise, not only at how beautiful his voice was but at how much of a complete package he already was as an artist. Well last night he was even better, lovely singing and a very sensitive interpretation that definitely gelled more with Leonard, who was also way better I felt than she had been on opening night (I still think the role is a bit big for her though, I’ve never really understood why Charlotte is categorized often as a lyric role, the last couple of acts are pretty heavy duty up top). I’m so glad he’s stuck around as I was quite certain after the first Werther that I would most likely never hear him again since that’s quite often the case with last minute performances, even the ones that turn out to be as wonderful as his did.

      • He is coming back next year as Nicias as well. I agree, I thought he’d be like a one-off thing and we’d never hear from him again. But his career has blossomed. He’s set to sing a series of Fausts in Vienna. Really wonderful.

  • simonelvladtepes

    Kaufmann implies he has 20 years of singing left:

    Frage: Hätten Sie selber mal Interesse an einer Intendanz?

    Antwort: Die Frage ist fröhliche 20 Jahre zu früh gestellt. Zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt gibt es da überhaupt keine Überlegungen.

    • QuantoPainyFakor

      In the same or a similar recent interview Kaufmann also speculates on a possible new phase of his musical life as a conductor (but only if he knew how to do it properly) or a stage director.

  • fantasia2000

    Liceu just announced their 2017-18 season. ( HIghlights include: Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims with Lawrence Brownlee, Un Ballo with Beczala and Hvorostovsky, Chenier with Kaufmann and Radanovsky (same production that we had in SF last fall), Rubinstein’s Demon with Hvorostovsky and La favorite with Margaine and M. Spyres). Some great casting, but feels a bit too much Italian operas there!!

    • travelforopera

      The production of Il Viaggio a Reims is the one that has been mounted every summer in Pesaro for the graduates of the Accademia Rossiniana. It’s a great example of “doing more with less”. Other singers to watch for are Taylor Stayton who gave fine performances in the Oslo Cenerentola and Ruth Inesta, and Pietro Spagnoli ( both well known at the Rossini Opera Festival) Spagnoli’s character has probably the best aria in the opera, so it is good to see that Liceu was able to get him for some of the performances.

    • Camille

      So Hvorostovsky is returning to actual staged works now? Huh? When did that happen as the last I’d read, I thought he was out of actual performances for the foreseeable future.

      This is good news, but makes me regret all the more the fact that the upcoming Eugene Onegin planned for him will not be his.

  • southerndoc1

    Can anyone explain what happened to the career of Franz Crass? Based on recordings, he had one of the most beautiful bass voices ever during the early sixties. I know he developed ear problems later.

    • fletcher

      He’s a fantastic Henry the Fowler on that von Matacic Lohengrin with Konya, Grümmer, and Gorr.

      • Luvtennis

        And apparently NOT the model human being….

      • I always heard he developed a drinking problem and it effected his voice. I heard the same thing about Sotin who sang the most resplendent Walkuere Wotan I’ve ever heard with great Rita Hunter at her debut. Really, not since the Schorr records in his prime did someone simply play out the music so gorgeously and easily. But when I was in Munch both Crass and Sotin were very disappointing and booze was blamed. Sotin pulled himself together to sing at the Met in the late 80’s where he had lost a lot. I was in the first performance as Gerhilde using at the time the name Pyramid Sellers. Of course that was with the she demon I dast not mention.

        The only German bass I heard of who was “not a model human being” was Karl Ridderbusch who evidently really was a Nazi and would invite people to his (German) dressing rooms to look at his paraphernalia. He did a much better than average Hans Sachs at the Met (just the one) and also was Hunding in the miracle Walkuere conducted by Herbie the K.

        And Fletcher ye have broken a very old ladies’ fat thickened heart from the height of your youthful beauty by NOT reading her Adams review. I weep….

        • fletcher

          Oh! but I did read it, and enjoyed it very much -- just thought I had neither wit nor insight to contribute in the comments… beyond wondering what you think of poor Alice Goodman, who had unkind things said about her here during the Klinghoffer mess at the Met a few years ago, but whose Nixon, which I just saw last weekend in a stupendous performance at the Phil, I found very moving.

          • Thank you, Fletcher! Yours is a name I look for (while ducking others).

            I am not Ms. (Father?) Goodman’s biggest fan. But I support her over the Sellars solution any day. She is really a writer and does understand the need to establish characters with their own personal voices and to respond specifically to the situations in which they find themselves. I also love Nixon but I have to wonder if the Adams operas don’t work better in concert? He seems to lack a theatrical sense.

            Next fall you can travel to San Francisco to see his newest GIRLS OF THE GOLDEN WEST. Alas, it is ANOTHER compilation libretto by the despicable Sellars, based on Mark Twain’s writing but apt to be textually suffocating. One must really blame Adams by now…

        • Luvtennis

          I was actually thinking of Ridderbusch!!!!! Forgive me Herr Crass!!!!!

  • PCally

    I have a very random question: Does anyone know much about the opera Penthesilea? After reading a synopsis and listening to excerpts I’d like the buy a recording but ALL of the ones available sound they’re worth acquiring:

    Moedl and Waechter conducted by Leitner (from a live staged performance in Stuttgart)

    Dernesch and Adam conducted Albercht (Live from salzburg, this one is available complete on YouTube)

    Naef conducted by Venzago (I can’t tell if this is a studio recording or a live concert performance)

    I LOVE all three leading ladies and have the little bits I’ve found about all three recording seems like all three are worth a listen. They’re all pretty cheap as well. It sounds like a very strange and interesting piece.

    • PCally how DAST you ASK if there is someone BETTER than the greatest Martha never-say-die Modl? OF COURSE, that is the performance to have. It is deranged. But I have to say I like more a lot of Schoek’s orchestral music — the Notturno for example or the Violin Concerto. There are many beautiful songs as well (not a huge output).

      • PCally

        Modl it is (that’s the cheapest anyway and apparently the sound is pretty solid). I’ll shamefully admit that it really took me a VERY long time to acquire a taste for her (the first thing I ever heard was the waltraute which practically scared me away from Wagner in general) which is why she’s never immediately first choice whenever I’m perusing recordings (my varnay love came first so she’s often my go-to). But I’ve recently been bitten by the bug after repeated listenings of the kleiber ring (I think 1953 because it’s complete) and very few singers throw caution to the wind in quite the same way she does. And that tone is so strange. For someone who seemed to have lots of trouble she must have been a pretty solid musician since her contribution to atonal performance is considerable.

        • Oh, PCally, Modl has smiled from where ever dead singers go! I mentioned that Keliber Ring repeatedly here. She actually sings the role extremely well and with a lot of confidence. And she and Hotter have a truly amazing rapport in the Walkuere. It was perhaps the heavenly part of her involvement with Windgassen (married and uninclined to leave his wife). All who deserve to live love Astrid, of course, but Martha was very special.

          • PCally

            MrsJohn Claggart, it was in fact your recommendation of that recording that sent me searching for it as I had never actually hear a complete Modl Brunnhilde (just excerpts from the 1955 Kleiber Ring which I believe doesn’t exist complete with her, though that’s also pretty well sung). It’s not the easiest/cheapest thing to track down so I contented myself with the Krauss recording with Varnay from the same summer until I could find it cheaply.

            She’s such an interesting artist and must have really been something to see. I don’t know how honest Varnay is in her book in general (though I do love it and she seems very nice as opera singers go) but she raves about Modl a great deal, and when one listens to them on the Karajan Elektra (another performance that it took me a shamefully long time to get to since the three ladies didn’t strike as the most vocally glamorous cast and Hillbrecht especially is not a singer I find myself seeking out) one can hear vocal/verbal chemistry that really puts most duos in these roles to shame. Modl’s angst is practically visible. The fact that they can do that with such unruly and not necessarily the most varied and attractive sounds is really mind boggling.

    • There’s also one by Pascal Dusapin which was given in Brussels in 2015 IIRC and which led me to the Schoek.

    • Shai
  • Camille

    Since this thread has a photo of Samuel Barber, and just now I’ve finished listening to his revised version of Vanessa, broadcast in 1965, I am just wondering —- did anyone here see it and if so, what were your impressions vis=à=vis this edition to the original one and the differences in singers. Miss Costa was a lovely singer, and of course, a beautiful lady, and did all right, but I think that Steber took the prize with this one. It all seemed a rather dimmed down affair compared to the recording of the earlier cast and version, as if someone had turned down the chandelier to its lowest setting.

    Just curious, as I quite like this work and rue the fact it has been shelved in the “Do not Disturb” pile. Always wished RF would have taken it over and embraced it, especially in light of the fact that in 2008 we would have celebrated the 50th anniversary of its premiere. The one time I have managed to nab a performance of Vanessa was an unfortunate one in that it featured a nearly voiceless Dame Kiri, it was literally her next to last performance in opera or something, but not announced. The Erika, as is so often the case, stole the show, especially with her melodramatic toppling face forward down a staircase! It was frightening and I wondered how she was able to continue. Must have been rehearsed for a loooong time.

    While I am at it, I wonder in Antony and Cleopatra, which I’ve seen at least once in concert, will ever make its way back? One would think some protagonist primadonna would try to promote a revival.

  • QuantoPainyFakor

    Wondering when the news will break about Damrau’s decision not to get all dolled up later this month.

    • fletcher

      Hah! I got an email that they were rescheduling the dress rehearsal and assumed the worst after reading some Puritani reports. Who’s the cover for all four heroines?!

      • QuantoPainyFakor

        FOUR? Ha!

        • fletcher

          Am I missing something? She was slated to sing all four roles. Is this one of these “No one could have EVER reasonably expected s/he would actually appear!” situations?

        • fletcher

          I was missing something -- I guess she’s withdrawn from Olympia and Giulietta. So Young Park is fantastic, so no qualms there, but Giulietta will be Kate Aldrich, so no luck on “L’amour lui dit” or Kaye/Keck.

          • QuantoPainyFakor

            Kate is a beautiful person and a fine Giulietta in the traditional version of the Giulietta Act. The version is the same as Marta Domingo staged at the Kirov, the Washington Opera and also previously in Los Angeles.

            • fletcher

              I’m sure she is. I’d read the Kennicott review, now some 16 years old, and assumed, stupidly, someone might have learned something in the meantime, and we’d get a maybe slightly less backwards version, especially with Damrau, whom I liked in the Jones production from Munich.

        • Stella is number four.

    • guy pacifica

      I’m looking forward to this. I’m happy that Damrau didn’t pull out of the run completely.

      • grimoaldo2

        “German soprano Diana Damrau, who was previously announced to make her LA Opera debut as all four of the opera’s heroines (Olympia, Giulietta, Antonia and Stella), will now make her debut singing the last two roles, as aspiring singer Antonia and as prima donna Stella. In recent months, Ms. Damrau has suffered from bronchitis, forcing her to cancel several appearances. Since she has still not completely recovered, she has decided that the rare and formidable task of performing all four Hoffmann roles would be too demanding.”

        I feel sorry for LA Opera, they were planning to perform this opera the way it needs to be done in order to make any sense dramatically in accordance with Offenbach’s intentions but now that is not going to happen. What a pity. I wonder if Damrau is going to continue performing all the most taxing coloratura roles, interesting that she drops Olympia, the role most associated with what has been her niche of the rep for years now and keeps Antonia, more of a lyric part.

        • PCally

          How much evidence is there Offenbach actually wanted all three women to be performed by the same women? I’ve heard varying things about that and they are not very similar

          • grimoaldo2


            “Offenbach intended that the four soprano roles be played by the same singer, for Olympia, Giulietta and Antonia are three facets of Stella, Hoffmann’s unreachable love. Similarly, the four villains (Lindorf, Coppélius, Miracle, and Dapertutto) would be performed by the same bass-baritone, because they are all manifestations of evil.”

            Not that wikipedia is The Supreme Authority of Everything but that is referenced to reliable sources.
            When the piece was presented at Offenbach’s house under his supervision as a sort of try-out for the directors of the Opera Comique and the Vienna Opera ” on 18 May 1879, (it had) Madame Franck-Duvernoy in the soprano roles”.
            “The opera was first performed in a public venue, at the Opéra-Comique on 10 February 1881, without the third (Venice) act” and had the same soprano, Adèle Isaac, as Olympia and Antonia, the other two roles were not included.
            I think it is quite clear that is the way Offenbach envisaged the piece.