Cher Public

Fresh faces

Bass Christian Zaremba, who will sing the role of Angelotti in the Met’s new production of Tosca opening New Year’s Eve, is but one of many names recently revealed on the updated Future Met Wiki for next season. (Photo by Scott Suchman.)

  • southerndoc1

    Coote is in two new productions. Can anyone explain why she gets all these plums at the Met, ROH, and elsewhere?

    • Cameron Kelsall

      Because people like her?

      • Bill

        I am not a big fan of Coote -- she has nice tones
        at times but somehow they are interspersed with
        some uneven vocal work -- perhaps she is available
        when the Met wants to perform the operas she sings
        and other singers are not.

        • Cameron Kelsall

          Coote is hardly a ubiquitous artist at the Met, anyway. As of this past season, she’s sung 51 performances since her debut 11 years ago--which was in a routine revival of a decade-old production. And at least one of her Met appearances (Octavian in 2013) was as a last-minute replacement for a colleague (Garanca, who was pregnant).

          • steveac10

            On the other hand you could say that by the end of next season five of her eight “originally scheduled” appearances have been in new productions. Five of six in seasons completely planned by the Gelb administration (with the resulting HD’s). That’s not the Met schedule of a journeyman, reliable singer (which is what she is).

            • Rick

              From on Ariodante in London recently:

              “If only the opera had been called ‘Ginevra’, which indeed one opera based on the same source – an episode from Ariosto’s ‘Orlando furioso’ – had been, I might have felt differently about it. But Alice Coote, in superimposing her own Ariodante onto the piece, was in danger of taking away the power of the story and the music, destabilising the evening by drawing too much attention, with Sonia Prina as Polinesso coming a close second.

              I am not just talking about the frocks either. Coote was wearing an asymmetrical, very low-cut top (by Vivienne Westwood, I hear) and Prina was in what looked like sequinned, semi-see-through jogging bottoms. Vocally they hammed everything up to within an inch of its life. Prina, firing off low coloratura and spitting her fury, almost got away with her caricature. And in any case, Polinesso was dead before the end. But Coote’s idiosyncratic singing included a repertoire of unmusical sounds and she pulled her face and body into the most distracting shapes. We couldn’t tell what to make of her character. ‘Scherza infida’ should be the still ten minutes at the heart of the opera, but I found her performance unwatchable.”

            • grimoaldo2

              Thank you for the quote from the review. It was supposed to be Joyce di Donato in that concert performance of course, who did the role in NY and DC and other US cities recently but cancelled the European part of the tour due to surgery. She was far and away the best of the singers in that cast.
              The one time I saw Coote, in the title role of Handel’s “Orlando” at ROH, i did not enjoy her performance.

            • CKurwenal

              This description sounds very much like Coote’s performances of Xerxes at the latest ENO revival of the piece. Questions of (highly dubious) taste aside, all her extreme choices left her really struggling to sing at all, long before the end -- she’d just exhausted her instrument.

              On the other hand, her Prince in Cendrillon and her more recent Octavian, both at the ROH, were well sung, but even on good behaviour I find her terribly self-regarding and hard to enjoy.

        • Satisfied

          As much as I appreciate Von Otter, The Exterminating Angel is quite possibly the only “Ensemble Opera” I can think of (perhaps House of the Dead…), where no particular singer stands out much brighter than the other. That’s one of the charms of this piece.

      • Porgy Amor

        I don’t have a hard time imagining she’s thoroughly professional and prepared, shows up and gives staging concepts everything she has, is a good colleague, is not rattled when things go wrong. All of this counts for a lot, and when you tick all those boxes for years, you’re respected and you get work.

        She is also, to give her her due, a convincing man for stage purposes, and many of her roles are trouser roles.

        The role she will be singing in Exterminating Angel was created by Anne Sofie von Otter, who never thought the Met was a good venue for her voice even when she was in her youthful prime. That may or may not play a role; I don’t know whether the Met tried and failed to retain her. As for Pelly’s Cendrillon [edited], Coote is experienced in that production. She is also with DiDonato in the ROH’s filmed version.

        • Rick

          In an interview to which a link was provided on, Ms von Otter seemed to indicate that she had been prepared to sing the part at the Met but that when her agent talked to the Met, the Met had indicated that they did not think that Ms von Otter’s voice was sufficiently large. I think that this was not something new. She also indicated that the Met really liked Ms Coote.

    • We’ve had Coote up in Toronto for a few roles and she has always delivered. Her vocal quality is idiosyncratic and I think her roles choices are diminishing. But in the right role, she can be a very moving, engaging artist. We had her as the Komponist which was excellent. But it was in the two Handel roles — Dejinara in Hercules and Ariodante — that she was absolutely splendid.

    • QueenAnne Guido

      I don’t give a Coote for this thread

  • fletcher

    Glad the HD season includes the Adès, Semiramide, and Cendrillon. The Tosca broadcast is Jan 27 -- will that be Netrebko or Opolais?

    • Porgy Amor

      Opolais is scheduled. Netrebko does not come in until April/May.

      • DonCarloFanatic

        A good time to visit NYC, n’est-ce pas?

  • Musette Sonority

    Musical beauty is judged by a musical faculty that is autonomous, anomalous, and radically unique, and the rewards and meanings of music are entirely self-contained.

    The possession and operation of the musical faculty requires no specific character or intellectual traits. Its objects are isolated from extra-musical interests and concerns.

    • Ivy Lin

      A castle room by any other name is still a castle room …

      • Lindoro Almaviva

        we definitely did not miss her

      • Musette Sonority


        Without mental activity no aesthetic enjoyment is possible. But the kind of mental activity alluded to is quite peculiar to music, because its products, instead of being fixed and presented to the mind at once in their completeness, develop gradually and thus do not permit the listener to linger at any point or to interrupt his train of thought. It demands, in fact, the keenest watching and the most untiring attention. In the case of intricate compositions, this may even become a mental exertion.

        Many an individual undertakes this exertion only with great reluctance. Many are incapable of that assiduous fixing of the attention when listening to and enjoying a musical chef d’œuvre.

    • David Rosenbaum


    • Cicciabella

      What utter claptrap you keep churning out, Genevieve!

    • manou

      Equal opportunity plagiarist -- this time from Shawn Raja Akbar of the University of Iowa.

      • The music faculty there is autonomous, anomalous, and radically unique,

      • Cicciabella

        I’m desperately hoping these quotes all sound so barmy because they’re out of context.

        • Musette Sonority

          Edmund Gurney, for one, emphasizes that our understanding and appreciation of melodic forms is without parallel in normal auditory experience. Unlike the visual forms we encounter in art, even in abstract painting, our understanding of melodic forms does not rest on any resemblance with normal sounds. Natural sounds are mostly formless and indefinite, and sequences thereof contain nothing like the definite proportion of melodic forms. This is an interesting argument for the distinctness and autonomy of the musical faculty. If good, it would also present a clear difference between the perception of melody and other perceptions of motion and change.

        • manou

          Hello Ciccia -- If you want to read the whole Shawn Raja Akbar thesis (142 pages), look for “Musical understanding: studies in philosophy and phenomenological psychology”. He also references Jerrold Levinson…

          • Cicciabella

            I will steel myself…

            • manou

              Better to steel yourself than to steal other people’s work.

            • Cicciabella

              OK. I give up. I don’t know how to insert a scrunchy-eyed smiley in Unicode, so you’ll have to imagine it.

            • manou

              I have just discovered that if you hover at the top right-hand side of a comment you get a little arrow that offers two options: “Delete”, or “Flag as Inappropriate”. The dash on the left offers a more dramatic option: “Collapse”. Is this a solution to the GCR incursions in this site?

            • Cicciabella

              Possibly. It could also avoid possible plagiarism law suits.

            • La Cieca

              The “flag” option will send the Disqus admin (i.e., me) an alert that a user has marked someone’s comment as inappropriate or objectionable. I’ll have the option then of deleting the comment.

            • manou

              Thanks for the clarification. Is the “Collapse” option related to the disintegration of civilization as we knew it?

  • Mr Zaremba writes: “I had begun studying
    martial arts at a young age until midway through high school, I was
    practicing capoeira, Brazilian Jui Jitsu, Boxing, and wrestling and
    even took home a bronze in the East coast submission grappling

    Should all come in very handy in the opera world.