Cher Public

Babes in arms

Chances are you’ve been wallowing in Wagner all week, and I head up den Grünen Hügel tomorrow for eight days, so it’s time for some attractive and very young singers, coloratura with embellishments, and high notes galore: La fille du regiment from Wiener Staatsoper with Julie Fuchs and John Tessier. 

If Fuchs’ name sounds familiar she was the Zerlina in the Don Giovanni broadcast from Aix earlier this month.  The petite French soprano is at the dawn of a most promising career: coming up are Nanette at the Bastille, La Comtesse in Le Comte Ory at the Opéra Comique, Morgana in Alcina at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Pamina in Hamburg, and Monteverdi’s Poppea in a Calixto Bieto production in Zürich.

Canadian tenor Tessier already has 10 Tonios under his belt at Wiener Staatsoper, so he’s popped out at least 90 Donizetti high Cs to go along with those in Il barbiere di Siviglia and I Puritani.  A master of the Mozart tenor roles, he’s sung them at New York City Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia, as well as Pasquale in Haydn’s Orlando Paladino and Acis and Galatea at Glimmerglass Opera.

Werther has been his most recent triumph, prompting an Edmonton critic to write, “There is something very special about his tenor voice: there is a colour, a kind of tiny musical accent, to his sound that is entirely his.  Jon Vickers and Jussi Björling had something similar, with the result that their voices are instantly recognizable.”

It’s hard for me to think of Carlos Álvarez as a “veteran,” but the Wiener Staatsoper Kammersänger made his company debut in 1995 as Rossini’s Figaro, and at the Met the following season as Germont père.  He returns to Wien in the coming season as the High Priest in a new Samson et Dalila with Elina Garanca and Roberto Alagna, Mozart’s Figaro, Escamillo, and more performances as Sulpice, a role he’s sung in every performance here of Laurent Pelly’s well-traveled production since its 2007 premiere with Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez.

While Wien counts Montserrat Caballé and Kiri Te Kanawa among its interpreters of La Duchesse de Crakentorp, another veteran and Kammersängerin, company mainstay Ildikó Raimondi, who debuted as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier in 1991, vamps up the cameo role with a Gershwin tune.  (Gee, I wish Ljuba Welitsch had done the same in her Met performances!)

Post scriptum:  For those of you who can’t get enough, here’s the Bayreuth Meistersinger which opened last Tuesday, which I’ll be attending a week from today.  And here’s Thursday’s Parsifal, too, which I’ll be seeing on Saturday.

  • Bill

    Julie Fuchs had good critics in Vienna at the time of this revival and though she is more associated with the Zurich Opera, stands to have a very successful career. Thanks for posting.

  • grimoaldo2

    Very interesting, thank you.

  • simonelvladtepes

    I have good memories of John Tessier’s Nemorino from 10/2006 NYCO:

    Conductor: George Manahan
    Adina: Anna Skibinsky
    Giannetta: Erin Morley
    Nemorino: John Tessier
    Belcore: Paulo Szot
    Dulcamara: Jan Opalach

  • Camille


    Please report in on your reaction to the Parsifal as I am very interested to hear your reaction to it live. Am I correct that you did not go last year and saw It via the Webcast? Or am I misremembering?

    Also, how does Pankratova work with Schager as opposed to. partmered with Vogt? I will be waiting to hear what your feelings are.

    Don’t neglect to have a long cool drink during the entr’actes. Take a fan.

    • Whadda do you think I do, Hilda? Snap my fingers and suddenly appear auf dem Grünen Hügel? I began traveling at 07:00 this morning. Got to where I am staying at about 15:15. Unpacked and ran to a supermarket where I could get good vegan yogurt and tofu. Then changed and ran up the hill to chat with the Pressebüro and collect my stuff, and then met a Parterrian who is doing the “Ring” at the first Pause of “Siegfried.” I am now looking at e-mails and checking to see the latest cast changes in “The White House.”

      I start tomorrow, with “Tristan.” “Parsfal” is on Saturday. “Meistersinger” is on Monday. Be patient! You’ll hear from me in good time, in perhaps a more formal way than you expect…

      And yes: 2016 was the only year since 2003 that I missed Bayreuth, but I did catch the opening night “Parsifal” on a frighteningly large Kino screen in Wien.

      As for the fan, they ain’t lettin’ it in the house. I had to show my passport and have security guards search for my name on a list just to get to the Pressebüro! No umbrellas permitted (I’m not making this up).

      I am well-hydrated, sitting in my room drinking Mineralwasser with a chuck of fresh lemon, watching the distant lightening as the storm approaches. I love the Internet weather here: it goes so far as to say, “Rain and a strong thunderstorm starting in 7 minutes!”

      • Luvtennis

        Mineralwasser mit tonic und gin? ????

      • Jungfer -- it was a treat to meet!

        Note to Eric NYC…I smuggled a folding umbrella into the festspielhaus by hiding it in my carried tuxedo jacket -- a transgression I was forgiven due to the heat. Good thing -- we missed the rain during the two pauses but it started pouring as soon as the performance ended.

      • Camille

        No, neither do I think you snap your fingers Samantha the Witch-like, nor intended to put you on the spot. Please entschuldigen Sie mein Übermutes Enthusiasmusheit!!!

        I can hardly wait to hear all the on-site impressions. Since that Parsifal last year I have experienced a radical 180 in my attitude toward Bayreuth, that’s all.

        Ciao 4 now and
        Keep Clam!