Cher Public

I am terrified at the thought that so much hideous and bad music will be put on records forever

Born on this day in 1842 composer Arthur Sullivan

Born on ths day in 1876 composer Raoul Laparra.

Born on this day in 1937 conductor Judith Somogi.

Happy 82nd birthday baritone Dominic Cossa.

Born on this day in 1938 tenor Ludovic Spiess.

Happy 68th birthday conductor Jane Glover.

  • Camille

    Back from a dour, depressing Dufchman las night--the last in the series.

    What has become of Michael Volle’s voice? He made such a big impression on me in that awful
    role of Mandryka a few years ago--but this--he seemed to be struggling a lot. As he will be the next Wotan in the upcoming Ring, it’s important. In fact, they all seemed pretty sung out with the exception of Ben Bliss, who admittedly has a lyrical and shorter role but still knew what to do and to do it well, and the indomitable, indestructible Dolora, still lots of fun, her “Ich spinne fort”, being a highlight.

    Actually, the dour sets really rather suit the nature of the work somewhat but it is boring to be seated for a two and a half hour stretch in a fog bank, watching people struggle. Not a golden age moment. Now hoping there will he a new production some year or--god knows--maybe the Ponelle production which I missed years ago is somewhere in deep storage somewhere in New Joisey.

    • Rick

      Good to hear that I am not alone in my assessment of Michael Volle, Camille. Of course, I did not hear last night’s performance but I finally got around to hearing the broadcast from last week or so. I found Mr Volle OK in the aria -- but as the evening progressed, all his high notes (particularly the Es) sounded pressed with no overtones and, frankly, like he was really struggling. So he did NOT improve.

      • Camille

        No, he didn’t and I was looking forward to hearing him in this role as I’d felt it would be nearly ideal. As a matter of fact it was indeed around the E natural, to which he had to badly scoop up in the concluding phrase “Nimm mich an” in his opening number “Die Frist ist um”. It was a long dreary foggy mass of sound with a lot of the other singing as well. After the very successful and enjoyable Cyrano, the Dutchman was a downer.

        In addition to the vocal dis-ease, in the finale, some brilliant person had added jack-o-lanterns to the stage and, what with his red cravat and voluminous Dracula drag getup billowing in the foggy dank night, why, all of a sudden I was thinking of Hogwarts and wondered if he taught an Evil Enchantments class.

        Another night at the opera.

        • Bill

          Camille -- I was at an earlier performance of Fliegender Hollaender on Monday and did not feel Volle was all that bad -- He certainly does not erase memories of Hans Hotter or George London or a few others, but I found Volle quite tolerable if not ideal. Selig has the right kind of voice for Daland and he has all the notes but he has developed a distressing wobble, less pronounced on Monday than on the previous Saturday matinee Broadcast -- Amber Wagner is a find -- the voice, though not particularly distinctive is rich in the middle -- far better than Voigt for example but Voigt had stronger top notes.
          Amber Wagner does not sing with clear
          German diction at all -- but it is a voice just as the very early Sharon Sweet indicated in her first years of fame before flaming out. Of singers of this type I thought that Christine Brewer was the most promising though she, perhaps, did not sing Senta and had a shortened career as an opera singer. The Erik was reasonably good, the Steuermann, Ben Bliss very promising. The set seems more faded and ragged than when it was new -- the house was quite full if not 100 % sold out -- the conducting fine, the men’s chorus better than the women. We cannot complain -- this season as we had TWO Wagner operas and they along with the single Strauss opera, Der
          Rosenkavalier, had generally better attendance than almost anything else this season at the Met. I rather think that Volle would have been better as Hans Sachs in the aborted Met Meistersinger than he will be as Wotan. But we shall see.

          • Camille

            Yes, it is all well and good you found him not “too bad” but I felt he was not “too good”, and in general felt the foggy miasmas creep over me with his breathy insecurities and the scooping, and the foggy miasmas feeling is not one I enjoy after having been enthralled by a “lesser” work, the Cyrano de Bergerac from two nights before. When one witnesses a star turn, then only to turn around and watch an evening of “not so bad”, it’s, well, not so very good.

            About the other singers I’ll leave well enough alone as they are still sorting themselves out but I did appreciate the Erik’s ability to negotiate a turn at a high altitude, and that musical conscientiousness, coupled with the fact it was a good job for a last minute one. So far as Daland’s Wobble, I heard none, but then I heard a voice not terribly well projected but at least sounding his lower notes and more solidly than what our protagonist was offering.

            Sharon Sweet was to have sung Senta in the fall of 1998 (I’m pretty sure that is the correct year) but suffered some injury that seemed to take her permanently out of the game. A shame, as she had tilled new territory with her Tannhäuser Elisabeth the previous year. So far as Brünnhilde’s are concerned, Brewer was the great lost hope and the only real such type I’ve heard in the last twenty years in this house. A great waste. Many theories as to how all that played out and I would be privy to none.

            The men’s chorus in the third act, one of the highlights for me, seemed a particular Höhepunkt for the orchestra and its maestro, about whom I am growing increasingly ambivalent but he is young and still has a lot of time, and is gifted, usw . . . .

  • No chat today for Renee’s final Met broadcast of a signature role (that should cover all the qualifications attached to her farewell)?

    • Camille

      È strano. There IS a chat for her “penultimate” sing from last Tuesday, if one cares to go there. Maybe La Cieca is busy….