Cher Public

The sky’s the limit

On this day in 1889 the Eiffel Tower officially opened in Paris. 

Born on this day in 1685 composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

Born on this day in 1732 composer Franz Joseph Haydn.

Born on this day in 1893 conductor Clemens Krauss.

Born on this day in 1899 tenor Franz Völker.

Born on this day in 1911 soprano Elisabeth Grümmer.

Born on this day in 1924 bass Frederick Guthrie.

Happy 85th birthday tenor John Mitchinson.

Happy 79th birthday bass-baritone Jozsef Dene.

Happy 77th birthday soprano Olivia Stapp.

Happy 71st birthday soprano Christine Weidinger.

Happy 65th birthday soprano Nelly Miricioiu.

Happy 63rd birthday tenor Dénes Gulyás.

Happy 62nd birthday tenor Robert Gambill.

Happy 56th birthday composer Jake Heggie.

Happy 50th birthday baritone Matthias Goerne.

  • La Cieca

    “As Aïda’s wily father Amonasro, baritone George Gagnidze pumped out the sound, but it was hard to take him seriously in that Susan Sontag wig.”

    • I am glad JJ liked Carmen Carmen Giannattasio. I met her at Scala when she was in the school, led by Leyla Gencer. She is hilariously funny. Gencer HATED her. The feeling was mutual. We’d have a coffee once in a while and she’d regale me with Leyla’s most recent vicious salvo against her, and her byzantine intrigues among the students. (It was Leyla who organized the plot against Renee Fleming, one of her ex-students was the understudy and Leyla was determined that she go on, and she hated Ms. Fleming on principal. I don’t think Leyla put Gelmetti up to falling over TWICE in one evening but as Muti said, “every conductor has wanted to faint once, but twice?”).

      I had known Leyla to a degree since I was a teenager, and always got a huge kick out of her. She was just outrageous. And I did have the honor of seeing Renata Tebaldi, the sweetest human ever to sing opera at a high level, try to kill her during a Forza rehearsal when Leyla knowingly provoked her.

      Carmen would tell her stories about Leyla imitating her — perfectly. She had the accent and manner down exactly. Later, she entered a contest in Paris, and sang the final scene of Pirata. She did so for experience, she felt there was no way she could win since Leyla Gencer was one of the judges. But she did win. Leyla had to greet her with all the other judges and said, “I hated you. But then the worst often win! Look at Callas.” And she turned her back and strutted off (Carmen does this whole scene).