Cher Public

Mai Tosca alla scena meno tragica fu

The Met promises eight months from now a new production of Tosca and insiders are already betting that Kristine Opolais as the titular Roman diva will be replaced before opening night.

A review of the “bitterly disappointing” new production of the Puccini melodrama at the Baden-Baden festival sighs, “It is all too depressing. The singers sound ragged and tired. . . . Opolais wildly overdoes the part of diva playing diva, her voice as small and strained as her gesticulations are self-conscious.”

Photo by Monika Rittershaus

  • Hmmm… Osterfestspiele Salzburg just announced that next year’s opera will be a new “Tosca” (Regie: Micheletto) starring Anja Harteros (+ Antonenko + Lucic + Thielemann). Maybe the Met could… oh, never mind…

    • spiderman

      I heard Philipp Stölzl was announced as director.

      • Right you are: the guy who did the Kaufmann “Cav”/”Pag.” With all the announcements here in the last week or so (Staatsoper, Theater an der Wien, Volksoper, and now Osterfestspiele Salzburg) I am getting my Regisseurs confused.

  • Ivy Lin

    There’s always Tatiana Serjan, who got good notices with Tosca at the LOC:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN80cSl71iU

    • I heard her in that, with Brian Jagde and Evgeny Nikitin, in February 2015:

      ‘Serjan has a biggish voice too, though not as big as I’d imagined from hearing YouTube clips – not that I trust those any more than they deserve – with a lot of metal to it and just enough “edge”. On the whole I’d say she saved her best singing for the best bits, and then it was really very, very good. I often find “Vissi d’arte” a tedious interruption (same goes for “O mio babbino caro”) but here, as Serjan is a convincing singing actress, it was urgent and vital, one of the best I’ve ever heard. Just two reservations: instead of opening out generously, her topmost notes, while in tune and by no means sounding perilous, closed disappointingly into a rapid vibrato; and her diction was as hot-potato as it comes.’

      Just the impression of a single performance of course (on a freezing Chicago night).

  • spiderman

    I can hear Gheorghiu vocalizing in the background.

    • PATRICK MACK

      Well then you must be standing within 50 feet because there’s not that much voice left.

      • Camille

        You’d better watch your back, Mack!!
        Them Angiefans is gonna getcha for
        Saying the Unsayable!

        Kind of too bad as it would be a lot of fun to see her one last time in a role which suits her temperament and persona--if not the voice--so fittingly and so well.

        • PATRICK MACK

          I reviewed her Tosca in these pages a while back. She was in her own production surrounded by ‘others’.

          • southerndoc1

            Ma femme et cinq poupees.

        • Lindoro Almaviva

          Kind of too bad as it would be a lot of fun to see her one last time in a role which suits her temperament and persona

          That is what people keep saying and I am still not buying it. She thinks the role fits her personality because (as she puts it) Tosca is a diva and I am a diva. Well, if that is the only thing that one needs to be a good Tosca she is as good as it gets. To me, playing a bitch in real life and then saying you play a diva on the stage are just cop-outs, ok, I’ll be more generous and say it is too one-dimensional and shortsighted to equate this role with that one characteristic.

          Floria Tosca might act the diva in some bits of Act 2 and even in 3 bars of Act 3; but the character is a lot more nuanced in Act 1 and a good singing actress will bring those nuances out and will enrich the character way beyond the whole “diva” bullshit that Tosquettas want to believe make them a world class Tosca.

          So, no, i do not believe that Gheorghiu is withing 5 miles of being a good Tosca. She is a good caricature of a good Tosca, but when it comes to the details, she is missing way too many for me.

          • Camille

            Ha! This surprises me for the level of clearsightedness it shows.

            You know, I was only thinking in terms of the film she made as Tosca, which I found to be quite effective--on its terms and worked within that particular context. In reality, I don’t think she is a Tosca either, at least not for a huge auditorium like the Met, but she is fond of thinking of herself In that role, as are many, many people, so I was attempting to broaden my perspective and ollow a generous impulse -- as -- it is the end of the line for her at this point. And that’s it. What’s next? ” Master Class”? Good call, though, LA.

    • southerndoc1

      “I can hear Gheorghiu vocalizing in the background”

      Good description of her last New York Tosca.

  • Camille

    And I will bet my life on the fact I know whom it is La Cieca wants in her stead!

    Looks as though the throat chakra band is not having its desired effect . . . .

      • Did you mean to post a picture of Netrebko and accidentally put one of Racette instead? ;)

    • southerndoc1

      Elisabeth Matos? Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs?

      • QuantoPainyFakor

        Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs gave her heart and soul to save the day for the TOSCA she sang at the MET and she was wonderful indeed.

      • Camille

        Actually, Matos was a very fine Minnie. I wouldn’t know about the other debacles as I wasn’t present. I’m sorry that she likely won’t return as that was more than six years ago now. And, what?

        I happened to have heard via radio the Blancke-Biggs first act of Tosca and it was way better than some others I have heard. Way better. Had to go out after the first act so did not hear anymore.

  • Degan

    Gheorghiu would be the Tosca to go for but she must cancel Tosca in Vienna to get to the Met. If I were Mr Gelb, I would buy her out of the contract in Vienna and forget all had with her in the past to get a first rate Tosca at the Met.
    Otherwise I would get Yoncheva.
    Opolais was always an odd choice as Tosca. Even her debut at the ROH was not promising. Now her voice sounds even more strained and she I no Maura Like Tosca at all. Doubt also that Tosca is a good choice for Netrebko (she has a lot of stage presence and voice but she is no old school jealous diva needed for that part).

    • Gheorghiu is not on the schedule at Wiener Staatsoper when the Met “Tosca” is set to premiere; our first “Tosca” of the season is in mid-October with Pieczonka.

      • Degan

        But she is scheduled for 9&12 of January so she could do only a few performances or cancel Vienna

        • Sorry: I couldn’t count the “eight months” and assumed the new “Tosca” would be the Met’s opening night in September. At this point I am very curious if she shows up for the “Toscas” here this season after what went down last year. I have it from, uh, an in-house authority that she was quoted as “They make me wait so I make them wait.” Maybe Kaufmann will withdraw, too!

          • Degan

            If she cancels that run, I doubt she will ever sing in Vienna again… I thought she had big plans with Meyer when he took over. In his first full season she sang 3 different operas in one season and afterwards debuted as Charlotte in Werther. After that she only sang/sings Tosca in Vienna.

            • Meyer’s entire Intendanz is turning out to be one big unfulfilled promise.

            • spiderman

              You name it, Jungfer … a bore from the beginning …

    • “and she I no Maura Like Tosca at all” — what does this mean?

  • Cameron Kelsall

    Anja Harteros, please. It’ll never happen, but I can dream.

    • DonCarloFanatic

      I don’t really see Harteros as the Tosca of Act I, although doubtless she can sing it well.

        • Danke, liebe Marianne!

        • Just listened to the first act. The great Harteros is certainly not complemented by her male colleagues. The Cavaradossi and Scarpia are embarrassing in comparison (though the Scarpia may have just been warming up and is sounding better in the second act). On the other hand, the pipe organ during the ”Te deum” is splendidly present.

          • Wow, the tenor, Jorge de Leon, might just be the worst Cavaradossi I’ve ever heard. Such wobbly tone and laboured singing. The Scarpia, Marco Vratogn, has improved a bit over the first act but not by much. And his henchman also sound awful. I’m really shocked by the level of casting from a company like the Vienna Staatsoper.

            Anyway, I’m very grateful to hear Harteros in the role but just rather shocked at the level of artists with which she is surrounded.

            • spiderman

              You are right, kashania. I saw that performance and thought Harteros was the flower on the dunghill.

            • Cameron Kelsall

              I thought de Leon sounded horrendous at the Met last week singing Radames. No legato, just bleating.

            • Camille

              Agreed. It sounded like uncured jamón.
              No me gusta, papí

            • Camille

              Oh, Vratogna was the bad Scarpia I heard along with Pieczonka’s Tosca so it may have had something to do with that bad sandwich. I cannot remember exsctly what it was he did but remember not liking it, at all.

            • Porgy Amor

              De León just made his Met debut a couple weeks ago as Radamès. I imagined people settling into their seats with relief that it’s anyone but Berti, and then…

              (I didn’t hear it. But nothing I’ve heard in the past has been very good, so I’d be…well, more than “pleasantly surprised” if he were great. Or even above-average for a Verdi tenor in 2017.)

          • Yeah -- this is everyday quality at Staatsoper under Dominique Meyer. When I posted this I mentioned that the men are not exactly “star quality.” I just did it for Harteros, who goes kind of wonderfully bonkers in the later acts.

            • Porgy Amor

              I’m digging Jongmin Park’s Angelotti, at least. I’ve heard him in a few roles from there of greater or lesser importance. He even made an impression as Billy Jackrabbit, which isn’t easy.

      • Camille

        I wouldn’t have either until I saw the recent Maddalena in Chénier in which she really convinced me, for once.

        • PCally

          I have seen her in the role and while I wouldn’t call it her best role (chest voice is weak, its not really rich enough for verismo imo, and she’s a bit low key temperamentally) the whole adds up to being WAY more than the sum of its parts I think, i.e. she sings the role more or less effortlessly, has all the notes, has the style pretty well nailed for someone who doesn’t have the most Italianate sound, and she’s very moving in moments where the characters’ vulnerability is up front. Not a bad combination and I personally can’t think of anyone as well equipped for this specific role these days, though we will see what happens when Netrebko sings the part.

          • Camille

            I am not quite sure as to whom you are referring to here, PC--it’s Frau Harteros,
            I think?? I was very pleasantly surprised by her Maddalena--and NO,
            I would not imagine her giving a lot of that chest voice thing but I think the way in which it is indulged is just that--indulgent--and a lot of meretricious effects. Look at the score--or
            better, listen to the recording Renata Scotto made of it. Tosca is NOT Anna Magnani in Città Aperta, for cryin’ out loud!!!

  • Evenhanded

    Well.

    Tosca is one of Pieczonka’s most frequently sung roles, so it would be great to hear her in this at the Met!

    • Camille

      You wouldn’t say that had you heard her in this role…about as italianate as a strudel. Stiff, effortful unidiomatic and workmanlike. Nix.

      Let her sing the Marschallin.

      • She’s done two rounds of Tosca at the COC. The first was un-italianate as you say. The second time around, I got my tickets for the alternate soprano, not seeing a need to see Pieczonka again. But then, I heard her radio broadcast and she was vastly improved. Anyway, we’re getting her Tosca again next month so I”ll report back.

        • Camille

          Okay kashania. This one referenced was 2009-10 San Francisco so maybe time will tell a tale.

          She’s a real nice lady but I feel she is better singing calmer music--like sections of this past Fidelio were very pretty--when she is singing in a lieder-like and calm fashion. Hence, no Tosca for me. I’m an old school biddy when it comes to Floria.

          • This is what surprised me about her broadcast Tosca. It was far more fiery than I expected. No, she didn’t suddenly morph into Rysanek or Marton but it was much less polite than I was expecting.

          • Armerjacquino

            I’ve only heard the Abscheulicher so far and I was pleasantly surprised by the power and richness she brought to the last few fiendish bars.

        • Evenhanded

          Well.

          Thanks for the report on this, Kashania. I have been listening to her develop in the role for a while, and tend to agree about the “Italianateness” of her assumption. Camille -- I actually PREFER a soprano with some reserve (both vocally and especially histrionically), which I realize separates me from most fans of this opera. I also think I would enjoy Harteros for the same reasons.

        • ducadiposa

          Pretty certain Pieczonka only sang Tosca in the revival of the COC’s production the last time it appeared 5 seasons or so ago. No other Toscas in Toronto before or since though as you say she’ll be singing the role again here come next month when the same Curran production is revived for the third time, other cast has Keri Alkema who seems to be a company favourite right now.

          • Ducadiposa: Really? Who was the Tosca when the Curran production premiered?

            • ducadiposa

              That was Eszter Sumegi plus Yannick Muriel Noah made an unexpected Tosca debut as understudy for I think two performances.

            • Yes, of course! Then I must have heard Pieczonka in some other Tosca broadcast. I distinctly recall finding her good but not Italianate or passionate enough. And then I heard her radio broadcast from 2012 (or thereabouts) and was quite surprised. Or it could be my faulty memory (yikes!) and that I just assumed that Tosca wouldn’t be a great fit.

          • Armerjacquino

            Dunno if it means anything, but Pieczonka has recently changed her Twitter username from ‘Vatosca’. Might just be because she decided it was more professional to use her own name. or perhaps it was a signal that she doesn’t identify with the role any more.

            • Cameron Kelsall

              That’s been her Twitter handle for as long as I can remember so I wouldn’t read it as indicative of anything in particular.

            • Armerjacquino

              I think you’ve misread my post. Yes, it was her handle for years. Then just recently she changed it.

            • Cameron Kelsall

              Yes, I did misread it. Too many mimosas at Easter brunch, perhaps.

            • Armerjacquino

              Sounds fun! Happy Easter.

  • Porgy Amor

    Yeah, if there is a replacement, I’d bet on Yoncheva being relieved of Met Countess Almavivas (and Paris Mimis) to take this over. I don’t think we’ll see Gheorghiu in another new production at the Met in this lifetime. When they use her at all, it’s in very low-risk things, a couple of performances in a revival, into which they can easily plug someone else if things go south as in the past. Harteros, whom I love, just seems an impossible dream to be that far from the homeland for that long. Or, really, at all.

    • Cameron Kelsall

      Yoncheva is scheduled to make her role debut with Yannick and the Philadelphia Orchestra in May 2018, so she is clearly learning the role. I could definitely see a scenario in which she were to jump in. With Grigolo now singing Cavaradossi, the PR copy practically writes itself: two rising stars of the next generation make important role debuts in new production.

      • ines

        But is there maybe too much importance paid here on one critic’s view on this performance… and 8 moths before , we are looking for replacements…

        • spiderman

          sure it is. but it is fun.

          • ines

            you said it

            • Degan

              There are some critics citing that Tosca is not a good role for Opolais. It was the same when she debuted at the ROH. Even if I like Opolais in some roles (butterfly, Manon) she would never be my choice for Tosca and I can imagine all the flaws. On monday there is a broadcast so we can all make our opinion…
              Also I can’t imagine Netrebko being a Tosca for the ages…

            • ines

              And I think on this special day every opera lover should be paying tributes to Montserrat
              Caballé…. Can’t believe how fast people are forgetting…

            • spiderman

              I thought this Baden-Baden Tosca was Opolais’ Floria-debut.

        • Porgy Amor

          True, it’s early. After the Rusalka blind item in January, there were dozens of comments about potential replacements for Opolais, theoretical negotiations that might allow for Martinez or El-Khoury to take over, a new and fresh and exciting star, fully equipped with water and music. But then Opolais tied some scarfs around her neck and showed up for every performance. (I didn’t think she was great, but the shortcomings of that production were deeper than her.)

    • Portia Minty

      I adore Harteros, and would join in that impossible dream — but here’s someone nearer — Sondra Radvanovsky, who’s singing the role in LA in a few days. I enjoyed her Tosca here a few years ago in the Bondy production and would like to see her in a new one, but I suspect her schedule won’t permit, as she’s off to do a Poliuto in mid Jan. after finishing the run of Norma here.

      • fletcher

        I feel like a new production of Tosca at the Met is the sort of thing one upcancels for. Radvanovsky & Yoncheva seem like the most obvious alternatives.

    • calaf47

      With Opalais’s husband on the podium at the Met…I doubt she will be replaced. If they replace her…they will have to replace him.

      • Camille

        Oh, that is right, i.e., Nelsons will be conducting — that fact I had completely forgotten about —likely a moot point there will be any replacement Tosca.

  • Lady Abbado

    Sadly, Angie’s steep decline continues. If until recently she used to do 3-4 roles / season, it looks like she retired Mimi and Magda, and now she sticks to only Adriana and Tosca. To compound the decline, if in the old days she was a MET staple, her forthcoming engagements reveal a shift toward provincial B and C opera houses (Palermo, Hamburg). Just in today:

    http://operawire.com/hamburg-state-opera-2017-18-season-to-include-angela-gheorghu-jonas-kaufmann-kristine-opolais-and-olga-peretyatko/

    Oh, another embarrassing thing: she shows up at Vienna State singing the same role (Tosca) three years in a row (2015-2018).

    I sometimes wish we had not only opera reviews but also artist career reviews, so that people like Angie get the feedback they need before it is too late.

    • Degan

      Lady, I don’t find it embarrassing but a big waste of talent and possibilities. If she took more risks in her career she could have tried various roles (maybe some would be better, some not so good but there were many that she could have tried: Norma, Anna Bolena, Manon Lescaut, Butterfly, Don Carlo, early on Lucia and Elvira) but to rely only on 2 roles per decade (Adina and Violetta in the 90ies, Mimi and Violetta for the next decade and now Adriana and Tosca) is a bit short IMO, as much as I love her voice.
      After all Hamburg maybe pays more than some A houses.
      In assume her last (and only) role debut will be Fedora…

      • southerndoc1

        Too late now, but a run in the Decker Traviata with a strong maestro would have done a lot to jazz up her career.

      • Cameron Kelsall

        Gheorghiu was never a workhorse and always seemed to concentrate her career around several key roles. For a while it was Mimi, Violetta, Adina and Juliette, and it always seemed that the production mattered not--she had an interpretation of each, and it went wherever she went. Now it’s Tosca and Adriana. She’s at a point in her career where she can probably coast on those roles for another decade or so, plus the odd revival or master class here and there, and still make good money.

        • Bill

          Interesting though -- with all her cancellations in the past years, in the last couple of years
          Gheorghiu has actually a number of times
          replaced other singers in the opera house or in important concerts. Perhaps as she has had a lighter schedule more recently and is
          more readily available to fill in.

    • PCally

      Since when is Hamburg a C or even a B opera house? The house gets a decent amount of top singers on a semi regular basis and is known for consistently staging interesting regie.

    • Ivy Lin

      The list of roles Angie could have sung beautifully but never did is longer than the roles she actually sang. Desdemona, Luisa Miller, Tatiana, Manon (Massenet), Norina, Contessa, Marschallin, Alice Ford, I could go on and on.

      I have so many fond memories of her singing. I saw her in Traviata, Boheme, Adriana (concert), La Rondine, Tosca, Richard Tucker Gala. I just wish I had more of those memories.

      I often think Sonya Yoncheva is having the career that Angie should have had.

      • Cameron Kelsall

        I often think Sonya Yoncheva is having the career that Angie should have had.

        “Could have had” is more accurate. There was nothing holding her back except her well-known difficult personality and her reluctance to diversify her rep. She certainly received offers to sing some of the roles you mention.

        • Porgy Amor

          I’m usually the last person to offer a mitigating word about Gheorghiu, but I do think she has a legitimately poor memory for music and text, which is not the sort of problem that tends to improve between one’s thirties and one’s fifties.

          When she’s obviously getting through a performance with a lot of prompter help, or she has a memory lapse in something she’s sung many times through the years, people accuse her of laziness or inadequate preparation, and that may not be the problem. It could be, but I suspect she has a lot of trouble getting roles into her head and making them stay there, hence the tiny repertoire. Maybe if she learned Alice Ford, it would push Adriana Lecouvreur out. (If she learned the Marschallin, it would max out her data limit.)

          There was a Wagner tenor who had a similar problem, per some accounts. He never really had the career that some had predicted for him, because if he did not have the score/text in front of him, he would forget what he had absorbed just a day before.

          • If she learned the Marschallin, it would max out her data limit.)

            Haha. God one.

            I assume you’re talking about Reiner Goldberg re: that Wagner tenor?

            • The greatest Porgy might mean Ernst Kozub, who was said to have a thrilling voice and no ability to learn a variety of roles.

              I met Goldberg at Bayreuth and chatted with him often in the cafeteria. He was a very nice man. His version of his career (confirmed by some of the other singers there when he wasn’t around) was that he had paralyzing stage fright. One of the smarter singers there, a famous baritone, told me he thought Goldberg suffered from terrible depression which would paralyze him for periods of time. He had a fine voice and in a big concert in NY with Eva Marton he made quite an impression and had no difficulty with extended excerpts.

              Peter Hall (brilliant enough to marry and be taken to the cleaners by Maria Ewing) blamed him for the failure of the Solti Ring at Bayreuth, saying he couldn’t learn Siegfried. But the English elite always single weaker artists out for their own faults (they can’t strike back). Goldberg did sing a varied rep on stage, so whether he had trouble with the longest tenor part ever written (Hall himself, although he’d signed to do the production three years before, never learned German, not even workaday German and was despised by the stage crew and many of the singers for evidently never knowing what he was talking about even when someone translated him) or was sent crazy by what became a chaotic process is hard to say.

              I knew Madame G rather well for about 14 years and find the comments here amusing. She is a very smart woman. She made a particular choice. She wanted to be very rich rather than an artist, but just because at one point she had a singular and beautiful although small voice does not mean she had an “artist” in her. And when confronted with the opportunity to make the kind of money she could never have imagined back in Romania (and I knew her first husband and sister — a suicide — too and got the stories of an impossibly hard life led by all three from them), she took the high concert fees and the worship of fools and ran.

              For people who have never tried to do very much in their own lives, who have not had grit, courage and drive, to judge this sort of choice in an art form where everything can dissipate in an instant strikes me as the height of priggishness.

              She may have disappointed some of the gushers here, she’s happy. I’d chose her life over theirs.

            • Luvtennis

              I think it is very easy for opera lovers to forget that opera careers are just as “contextual” as any other aspect of human existence. But then again there are people who hold up Callas’ career as a model because of her posthumous success….

            • Mrs JC, thank you for your thoughts on Goldberg. I’ve only heard him on the Levine studio Ring. What strikes me most about the voice is a free and powerful upper register (up to a strong C), which obviously comes in very handy for heldentenor roles. I imagine it made a big impression live.

              I’m always sorry to hear about artists’ performance anxieties. To have such a gift and not be able to fulfill one’s potential…

            • Anton VonWebern

              Kozub probably was the tenor in question.
              Oddly enough he sings the stuffing out of Erik on Otto’s recording of Fliegende Hollander.

            • Porgy Amor

              I was, in fact, thinking of Goldberg, but I left him nameless because I was mainly going on Solti’s memoir, and it’s possible that what I’ve heard since was just people repeating Solt’s side of the story (and, as mrsjohnclaggart notes, Hall’s). I didn’t know enough about the rest of his career on stage, and I had also heard he was having personal problems at the time of that Bayreuth Ring. It was an ill-starred cycle all around, today mostly remembered as “the one between Chéreau’s and Kupfer’s.”

              But yes, there was Kozub as well.

              Absorbing and retaining is a particular cognitive process. Someone can be otherwise very intelligent and just have a poor memory, and it’s a terrible impediment for an actor or a singer in music theater.

              Olga Peretyatko the other night sang an emergency Violetta on a few hours’ notice, not having sung the role in a year. The Met’s is a challenging stage production, too, so there was all of that preparation to take it with an assistant stage director on the quick. Of course, she had to rely heavily on the prompter, but all she was able to do beforehand was brush up on the score on her iPad. I’m rather impressed that opera singers can do this sort of thing. And of course, if this kind of high-wire act doesn’t work out and you freeze up, you could go down in history with Libia Drog.

            • Luvtennis

              Kozub is most likely the tenor referred to in Culshaw’s tale of the Decca ring.

          • Camille

            “Legitimate poor memory”. Yes, it must be the case and that is true for many a singer. Sutherland was also known for her memory problems, although her repertory was vast in comparison. Also, I’ve always wondered if her health, general constitution and her monthly cycle, were not a small cause of her cancellations. She may have well not been physically resistant enough for repeated performances of demanding roles in big venues, and that’s not her fault, really.

            I only know that, upon following her second act of Traviata with Slatkin some years back, the rhythmic variances and lapses were confounding and very hard to fathom, especially in a role she must have had in the bones by that time. I think she is just a rather delicate woman, and that is hardly her fault, but just the way she is made,and that’s only a hunch or a guess as ich weiss gar nix.

      • Luvtennis

        Ivy

        Maybe she tried them in the studio and figured out that she could not make them work for her.

        Luisa Miller requires wide range of tone, good florid ability across a wide range and real amplitude in the last act. Desdemona also requires strength of tone in the middle register that is very hard to fake. And the Marschallin is not a role for the memory challenged….

        Also those some of the roles require the soprano to sublimate herself to the ensemble…..

  • Degan

    What about Giannattasio? She recently said that she is giving up Violetta (mostly because of Act 1) and preparing Tosca for San Francisico. IMHO she is the best “Italian” soprano at the moment and has the right voice and temperament for Tosca (she recently sang lots of spinto repertoire including a very good Norma).

    • Camille

      I agree largely with this. She impressed me as far better than what she has been credited as and look forward to hearing her develop. I do hear her more as a veristic rather than a Verdian. Individual tones were quite beautiful but the voice is not always all the same nor doesn’t always “speak” in the same manner, but I am hoping to hear more from her as she has some real quality about her.

      • Luvtennis

        Yes. The voice is very like that Cammie! And while she makes it work in some music, she does not have Callas’ ability to fashion all those fragments into a compelling stained glass window. But some of the fragments are indeed cherce!!!

        • Camille

          Oh. I just now noticed this. But where did you hear her and in what role(s)? I find her rather interesting and hope for something more from her in future.

          • Luvtennis

            Only on the opera rara recordings of Pirata and Ermione. The voice is striking but uneven in scale so any wide-ranging music brings forth an equally wide range of “colors”. Sometimes she makes it work sometimes she sounds … insecure, maybe a bit provincial -- Callas made magic with a similar quality. (For the record, I think a voice like that can be more effective in some Bellini and Donizetti and Pacini and Mercadante than smoother more conventionally beautiful voices.)

            That said, I am not so sure about Giannastasio. She is dertainly an interesting artist and the voice can be impressive. She can be a bit idiosyncratic with the florid stuff on recordings -- clumsy phrasing followed by stretches of impressive accuracy. A mixed bag?

            Now I would not be surprised if the effect were less noticeable live, and you might very well love her. I would encourage you to listen to excerpts of the Il Pirata recording on Opera Rara. I would love to read your reaction.

            • Pia Ngere-Liu

              I looked forward to the Pirata recording with great anticipation and I was a bit disappointed. I first got to know the finale from the Callas Amsterdam recording -- which blew my small mind away when I was 17. The Giannasasio was just plain boring. The mad scene cabaletta was also sooo sloooow.

  • Hoffmann

    Really hope that it is Netrebko that replaces her… I hope Netrebko does the HD as her other Toscas in Munich won’t be filmed either…

  • Degan

    Now I watched that Tosca from Baden Baden and my thoughts on Opolais are the same as before. Good Butterfly and Manon but no Tosca at all.
    Alvarez very good, also Vratogna.
    German modern Regie was awful.