Cher Public

“Children need pets,” Miss Munsel believes

Born on this day in 1925 mother of four and soprano Patrice Munsel

Born on this day in 1885 conductor Otto Klemperer.

Born on this day in 1917 composer Lou Harrison.

Happy 69th birthday soprano Carmen Arlen Balthrop.

Happy 66th birthday soprano Helen Field.

Born on this day in 1957 soprano Daniela Dessì.

On this day in 1957 the Bob Merrill musical New Girl in Town opened on Broadway.

  • Camille

    In contemplating this season just faintly past, I find it one of the most peculiar I’ve traversed in the past couple decades and, all the more so when it was to have been one which I’d anticipated with great gusto as it included many of my very own personal favourites.

    As I pack my purse up to be inspected by the Met guards now I’ve learned NOT to include the ashes of any dead friends as We All Know Now that is a big “No-No”.

    I will also be packing up that purse to go to the final HD, as I had previously with the season opener, a rather strange feeling when one is in NYC, but in the first instance it was a request from a Bestie and so I did it. It’s strange to eat popcorn as the nature of life, love and “UND”--“dies süsses Wörtlein”--are being discussed via durchkomponiert. Ah well, no dinner that night so what’s a girl to do?

    As I pack that purse up and head out this Wednesday to a theatre to see and hear the repeat transmission of The Rose Cavalier, this Wednesday, as I’ve found three things to largely hold true, at least for me: 1) those works conceived for HD are better seen in HD, and 2) Ms Fleming’s final performances in these series tend to be her best, and finally, 3) the repeats don’t oblige one to seat through endless inanities in interviews and slightly shorten one’s length in the theatre, an important thing as, when I went to see Siegfried a few years back I went in on one day and emerged on another.

    And so, with an aborted attempt to see that beloved L’italiana in Algeri, a new era began in my opera-going life, the new era of just not caring as much as I once did and of no longer making the same gigantic efforts to “be there”. I’m not so sure it’s where I want to he anymore. Especially after arriving that night and seeing the lobby flooded with police. Why should I, at my age and with my log of opera-going experiences, try so hard and particilarly when there are so many other forms of music and theatrical entertainment which I would like to enjoy: Broadway is right here and I rarely if ever go for fear of feeding my opera addiction.

    • WindyCityOperaman

      This weekend’s national movie box office finds the MET’s Saturday afternoon Rosenkavalier tied for 9th place with “The Circle”. This HAS to be the first time this has happened.

  • southerndoc1

    It’s easy to forget what an expressive singer Verdon was.

  • Satisfied
  • WindyCityOperaman

    Just heard about this. Of course, wondering which performances and if a digital clean-up matters with the live material. Thoughts?

  • “Mitwoch mit Marianne” – since there have been no new posts since Sunday, let me do my own, which is tied specifically to today: the anniversary of Mahler’s death.

    With the end of the Met season it’s time for a break from opera… but not voices. Leonard Bernstein conducts a 1965 performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphonie Nr. 8 with the New York Philharmonic and soloists including Beverly Wolff, Jennie Tourel, George Shirley, and Ezio Flagello.

    Despite his astounding symphonic works and Lieder, Mahler’s brief life was dominated by conducting assignments specializing in opera, the first of which was “Il trovatore.” He served as music director of several opera houses throughout Central Europe including theaters in Hamburg, Prague, Budapest, and, most notably, a decade of innovation at the helm of the K. & K. Hofoper (the name of Wiener Staatsoper prior to the dissolution of the Hapsburg rule) during which he introduced 33 operas to the repertoire, modernized productions, and conducted 600 performances of the 3,000 given by the company under his tenure.

    He was driven from the Hofoper in 1907 as the victim of an anti-Semitic attack by press and public and quickly negotiated the jobs of music director of the New York Philharmonic and the Met. His final performance was at Carnegie Hall in 1911 a few weeks before his death at age 50.

    For many years, Wiener Staatsoper gave a memorial concert on 18 May, the anniversary of Mahler’s death, but the last was in 2011. His legacy remains intact at the house, where the main promenade bears
    his name where a portrait and his collapsible, scaled-down “travel piano” are on permanent display, as well as a bust in the Schwindfoyer.

    Despite all of his work conducting operas covering a vast repertoire including world premieres as well as composing numerous works for or featuring voices, he never wrote an opera of his own, although he dabbled in maters such as writing extra music for “Le nozze di Figaro” and creating a performing edition of Carl Maria von Weber’s unfinished opera “Die drei Pintos.”

    Each summer he would travel to the countryside and seclude himself in a “composing hut,” the most notable of the three situated in the southern Austrian state of Kärnten near Slovenia, in the woods of Maiernigg by the shores of the Wörthersee.

    In 1906, he arrived there with the idea of revising his seventh symphony but was struck with a bolt of inspiration and, in a matter of eight weeks, he instead wrote the entire eighth. Given its call for huge choral forces and eight soloists, plus the inclusion of religious text in Latin plus a setting of the final scene of Goethe’s “Faust,” it comes as close to his own opera as he ever got. He disdained the name “Symphony of a Thousand” given by a concert promoter to sell tickets to the 1910 world premiere in Munich, the last of his compositions he would hear in his lifetime.

    After an initial burst of performances in Europe and in America (where Leopold Stokowski led the American premiere with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Academy of Music in 1916), interest in the symphony dwindled due to its call for so many performers and the dire conditions of two world wars.

    The work saw post-war revivals, championed by conductors such as Adrian Boult, Stokowski, Hermann Scherchen, Jascha Horenstein, and Dimitri Mitropoulos.

    Bernstein was likely the man most responsible for the popularization of Mahler in the 1960s with his performances with his New York Philharmonic and the first complete recordings of the symphonies

    This is how I began my lifelong love of Mahler, who remains one of my four composer deities. My dads invested in the Columbia Masterworks set, with the LPs stored in pages of sleeves in a binder which was housed in a shiny black box adorned with a gold medallion of Mahler.

    As Stephen Sondheim noted in “Company,” Mahler was a fad in New York in the 1960s and 1970s, and I attended every performance for which I could score a ticket, with conductors including Bernard Haitink, Pierre Boulez, and Daniel Barenboim. My passion grew even more after moving to Austria, where Mahler is everywhere, and the first time I heard the eighth in live performance.

    I was treated to a surprise visit to the Maiernigg “composing hut” in the summer of 2004. After trekking a good while on a narrow path through lush forest, the tiny yellow structure came into view. I and my companion were the only people there aside from the volunteer who was the caretaker of the day. I imagine my feelings were akin to those of devout Catholics entering the Sistine Chapel. I was so in awe I was speechless. The volunteer asked if I wanted to hear some of Mahler’s music on the newly installed sound system and I immediately barked, “No!” I wanted to hear only the sounds of nature Mahler heard.

  • Happy Birthday….I am still there…1956 standing room…..I hear you NOW…always……
    VELL, Vat else is new????????????????????? Greatest voice I ev er heard (889 times)…but sometimes you could be a Kunc