Cher Public

Broadcast: Fidelio

Klaus Florian Vogt makes his overdue return to the Met tonight, and I’m sure all the cher public will listen to the broadcast beginning at 7:30. (Photo: Ken Howard)

  • ER

    No one seems to be here tonight?
    Am I the only one listening?

    • swordsnsolvers

      I’m here… But I haven’t heard anything worth mentioning yet

      • Liz.S

        Ditto -- except -- male chorus -- they did a fine job

        • ER

          yes, it’s a middle of the road solid performance.. nothing particular stellar.

          I find the soprano to be a bit shrill, though she’s doing a decent job

  • southerndoc1

    Still giving Vilar credit for donating the production -- though who knows whose money it was he gave.

  • Liz.S

    This is the 1st time I’m hearing KFV speaking in English, I think. Can’t wait for the next act!

  • Liz.S

    Hopelessness? How many times we’ve heard the word “die Hoffnung”

  • Klaus Florian Vogts voice sounds like it’d be wonderful for a host of roles. Florestan is just not one of them. Weakest “Gott” I’ve heard maybe ever.

    • ER

      I agree with you, based on the little we’ve heard… but may be he’s not warmed up yet.

      • ER

        Ivy will you be going to Idomeneo?

        • IDK. Maybe tomorrow but I’ve been under the weather this week.

      • Liz.S

        He didn’t sound he was in the best state, but his interpretation was wonderful

    • Liz.S

      Have you heard him live? Unfortunately not very obv over the radio, but he’s loud usually. His color could sound warm and soft but far from weak ;-)

      • ipomoea

        I hope he’s better in house — not “getting” him here via computer/radio.

        • Liz.S

          Yes, pls do experience him live. I guess he’s one of those singers you need to hear live to appreciate his charms

          • Porgy Amor

            I never have, but I think he’s fantastic. He and Groissböck have had the two voices that really made me sit up and take notice. It isn’t a bad performance, though, from the parts I have paid close attention to.

            • Liz.S

              Yes! They were wonderful :-)

  • Liz.S

    Groissböck’ got the sweetest role in this tough piece :-)

  • Susan Brodie

    I thought that close-miked it sounded vocally rough, but I’m sure it will have better impact in the house. Vogt wouldn’t be my first choice as Florestan but I’ll take his Lohengrin any day.

  • Greg Freed

    I still remember the collective moment of WTF after his Lohengrin debut. It’s an astonishing, really weird voice.

  • Camille

    After almost ten years--September 2007--his Florestan has not improved one measure. Still as weak and unconvincing as ever. Give me Kaufmann in this role.

    And hell to the yes—
    I heard him twice in the house (DOT Pavilion) and once over the KUSC transmission sing this role before tonight and--be it in the house or over the radio--it’s just the same. The first time I heard that “Gott, welch dunkel hier” issue forth and which was held onto in the teeniest little head voice for the longest time--was one of the biggest shocks I’ve had in the theatre. I could not believe it.

    Now Parsifal,
    Walter von Stolzing,
    Tamino and Ferrando—
    —you fill in the blank—

    But he just doesn’t even begin to sound like a Florestan and I cannot begin to imagine what he’ll
    do to an upcoming Tannhäuser. But Botha is dead and Jonas is all tied up with stuff like family matters+girlfriend and burst blood vessels, so something tells me we may see him around again.

    Oh yes, the Doctor Marianus in Mahler’s VIII at Tanglewood was just up his alley, too. That was
    sandwiched in between a very fine ParsIfal at
    Bayreuth no less, in which he was highly effective—
    Just Not Florestan.

    • simonelvladtepes

      I don’t know about other roles, but anyone who heard his Lohengrin live was knocked off. This is a powerful sweet voice, just like Wagner wanted. Anyway, this has been argued ad nauseam ever since he showed up, he is controversial. The voice doesn’t come across fully in any recording, except for the inhouse from the MET run, where in the context of the house acoustic and in comparison to the rest of the cast you clearly register he is really a heldentenor. As Greg Freed writes above, it was a WTF moment at the MET about 11 years ago, the orchestra stayed in the pit, tired as they were (it was a long Saturday) for the entire curtain calls, stood up and applauded him -- how often do you see that happen? But his detractors won’t be swayed.

    • Liz.S

      Indeed we miss having Botha around. I agree Kaufmann’s color fits this role but even if we have him here, we could be again having that “inaudible” debate, I imagine.

      I also agree that KFV doesn’t really sound helden -- hard to describe it, but more like a church cantor like, no?

      Still I appreciate his sincere expressions, appreciate his keen sense of emsemble — he’s convingsing enough artist for me (it’s an subjective thing ;-P

      • ER

        I didn’t stay until the end but how was he received at the curtain calls?

        • Bill

          It is strange that on this thread hardly anyone
          even mentions the performance of the soprano who was singing the title role or the new Marzelline from Munich or Struckman as Don Pizarro or even the conducting which is so essential for a successful Fidelio.

          • PCally

            Well Vogt’s is the much higher profile met appearance since he’s only appeared here once before. As divisive as he may be, he has a very strong following and tends to get stronger reactions from his appearances (both pro and con) than Pieczonka does from hers. Whether one agrees with this or not, he’s considered a star and I don’t think she really is. Also Florestan is very often the unofficial draw in this opera (this is true every time Kaufmann appears in it, regardless of who the Fidelio is, and was kind of true with Heppner prior to the current productions actual premiere as Mattila was only just coming into her own as a major met presence).

            She has appeared at the met as recently as last year and while I happen to think she’s an excellent singer in general, I agree with JJ’s write-up above in that she lacks true dramatic presence in a role which IMO practically demands it. She’s a well respected, hard working pro with a nice voice and lovely instincts. But as someone who was in the audience I can attest that she didn’t really do much to command attention. And while she more or less has the musical demands of the role within her grasp, she was very audibly stretched on opening night. Mattila and Meier made the character the crux that the whole night depended on (Meier could do this even in a role that was far from her best from a vocal point of view). Piezonka can’t do that, at least not in a revival of a flawed (I do like it though) production very much created with the singer who premiered it in mind.

            And Marzelline is essential to a successful Fidelio? Idk, I think it’s a lovely role with a history of wonderful singers but does that actually make the role itself pivotal? She ceases to be relevant to the story, musically and dramatically, about 20 minutes in and doesn’t return until the last ten minutes, during which she almost exclusively sings with the chorus and is quite literally only mentioned once. Of course a great performance in the role can have a big impact (Mrs John Claggart wrote a lovely post on way Auger made such an impression) but I think that Fidelio can survive a mediocre Marzelline pretty easily.

            • Bill

              PCally -- thanks I was unable to see the first Fidelio at the Met but expect to go to a subsequent performance -- I have seen Pieczonka over the years from time to time and sometimes found her neutral (Eva for example) and sometimes quite effective
              (Kaiserin for example or her early Tatiana’s
              at the Volksoper but consider her a hard
              working, intelligent musically, honest and somewhat uneven soprano.

              I have heard some hideous Florestans but somehow the opera does not seem to be
              ruined as the role is not that long actually.
              I am one who likes Vogt’s voice a great deal, maybe not as resonant as Botha but
              Vogt has a purity of line and actually a purity of voice and sound which appeals to me
              As to Marzelline, almost all the famous
              German/Austrian lyric sopranos tackle it --
              and aside from the aria, a lovely voice is
              required to launch the quartet and it must
              blend well with the Leonora in the great
              trio at the end of the first act -- but yes, after that, nothing much is added from Marzelline either dramatically or musically. But Fidelio is often conducted by great conductors and they often cast top singers as Marzelline. And some Marzellines have moved on to Fidelio, Janowitz with Bernstein, Jurinac, with Klemperer and Schwarzkopf with von Karajan in concert lyrical Fidelios and Fidelio has been sung by heavy dramatic sopranos,
              spintos, some lyric sopranos and a couple of Mezzos. I think the worst I ever heard was Herlitzius (very squally and off pitch)
              and Johanna Meier on an off night. One must sing with great beauty in the quartet, blend with the other singers, and then be able to pull off the much more dramatic
              aria and the Prison scene. Not an easy task. When Boehm was casting the Leonora for the re-opening of the Vienna
              Opera in 1955, he tested Rysanek, Grob-Prandl and Moedl the previous season and chose Moedl -- not her greatest performance of Fidelio as she said due to the emotion of the occasion -- but wonderfully effective
              despite a few vocal lapses. And a great honor to be chosen in that the Konetzni’s were still around as well (though Anny Konetzni was not re-engaged by Boehm
              and somewhat thereafter suffered a stroke which ended her career and some attributed the Stroke to Boehm’s releasing her from her Staatsoper contract. I am also always very moved by the Prisoners Chorus -- always.

      • Susan Brodie

        The first time I heard KFV (Lohengrin at the Met) I thought he sounded like a really loud Tamino.