Cher Public

Broadcast: Les Contes d’Hoffmann

More Grigolerie this evening starting at 7:25. (Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera)

  • Camille

    It will be interesting to compare this to last Wednesday’s performance which I attended with a great deal of expectation and hopes and came away from a bit deflated and ‘why do I bother’.

    Has the staging changed and/or been toned down or was it just my imagination? It just overpowers the music in a way which does nothing much for either the singers or the story. Still, it seemed somehow a little less cluttered up than last go around but still rather annoying and pointless. Saw it a few years ago with Polenzani and the one with Calleja, too, so this is definitely the last time I’m going to this set of Contes.

  • fletcher

    Poor Naouri does not sound good right now…

    • Camille

      That’s just the way he sounds. His voice is worn but at least he makes up for it in his stage figure (very much le démon du boulevard) and his alertness to text and action. He has a peculiar voice and will surprisingly come out with very forte loud notes on top “Scintille diamant” optional note. Then it will drop out and disappear at others. Frustrating, as one would like to think well of Monsieur Dessay…..

      • fletcher

        I heard him not that long ago as Golaud and don’t remember him being so flat. Beautiful diction though. Frankly everyone sounds pretty off.

        • Camille

          Aha. Perhaps Golaud lies a bit lower? That was at Los Angeles Opera, I suppose.

          Sounds off? Good thing they did not transmit last Wednesday’s which was way off. This sounds quite lively in comparison thus far. Ms Morley, the deliteful dainty doll completely stole the show. Anita Hartig very lovely and an interesting artist as well..pour le reste…

          • fletcher

            LA Phil, with Salonen, Degout, & Tilling. Debussy is too avant-garde for LA Opera.

            • Camille

              Oh right you are!! Hahahahaha! I would have been surprised — but —-if Abuelo could be induced into singing Golaud…….voilà!!

            • fletcher

              God forbid! I have a suspicion that he’s going to sing DG and call it good since he’s spoken about his desire to sing that role and lord knows Conlon will indulge him (though given the news these days and his, uhh, reputation, it might be inadvisable…)

            • Camille

              An aging Lothario in this instance. Yes, I’m afraid poor Conlon is obliged to be his enabler, a sorry fate for him.

              Well, I’m glad not to be in L.A. for the opera at any rate.

            • Camille

              Glad you got to see Sir Willard even if as Arkel. He made a HUGE (pardon the word) impression on me when I saw him as Golaud.

        • Camille

          fletcher--that picture which serves as your icon--it’s famous and I can’t recall who it is or by whom it is painted?

          • fletcher

            It’s Bazille’s portrait of Renoir.

            • Camille

              Merci. It was driving me cou-cou as I knew I’d seen it and liked it before.

            • fletcher

              It also looks very much like me.

            • Camille

              How very nice for you, mon bel ami!

  • grimoaldo2

    This is coming across as a rather dull performance to me, sorry to say.

    • Camille

      Grimoaldo--I found something about Le Prophète for you from Avant-Scène, but can you make out things in French enough for if so I will forward into parterre.

      • grimoaldo2

        Yes my French is officially rated at 63% from a website I practised on the other day, lol, so with the help of Google translate I will be able to make it out. I appreciate it!

  • cielo e mar

    And Grigolo sounds truly indisposed. I hope he stops after this act. The role gets tougher and tougher.

    • fletcher

      Kleinzach got big applause but you’re right, he sounds ill. Very unstable, effortful. Poor guy.

      • H_Badger

        definitely going downhill…. :-(

    • Camille

      Good thing you did not hear the poor debutant last week as that was truly a good singer with a fine goice on a very off night. He simply could not find his voice or his comfort sone throughout almost all the night. Grigolo sounds fine in comparison, to give one an idea!

  • fletcher

    God even the chorus sounds awful. What’s going on??

    • H_Badger

      is it the conducting? everything is just so….lagging

      • grimoaldo2

        I have been wondering if the problem is the conductor, don’t know really, but yes the chorus does sound awful and everything is so …lagging.

  • grimoaldo2

    Doll’s song very, very slow, lagging along with everything else.

    • H_Badger

      WHY IS EVERYTHING SO SLOW

      • Camille

        Because this conductor just doesn’t feel it in his bones? I don’t know but it was just the same last week.

        • H_Badger

          how in the world is the audience staying awake….?

          • fletcher

            I give him a lot of grief but Domingo kept it really brisk in LA, also with Grigòlo.

          • Camille

            That’s why so much coffee is sold at intermissions here…!

    • fletcher

      At least she’s in tune!

      • Camille

        At least she s not the ghost of Nino, shudder!

  • Camille

    They all need a couple rounds of Veuve-Clicquot to give it some esprit—all sadly lackng. Even the tittie girls were dull—

  • grimoaldo2

    Dear dear, a lot of these little squeaks she is putting into this are not in tune…..

  • fletcher

    The audience sounds relieved someone sounds decent.

    • Camille

      Haha! Exactly! The Applause of Great Relief!

      Until she showed up at the curtain it was the biggest applause of the night.

      • grimoaldo2

        Hmmm. I adore this opera but not sure I can make it through to the end if it doesn’t start picking up.

        • Camille

          Well, I don’t know how Antonia/Anita Hartig will come across over radio but she was lovely in the house and very affecting as Antonia. Rather smallish voice with a bit of vibrato that doesn’t get too irritating and takes her high notes very well and cleanly. I don’t know how Grigolo will go….

          Inliked her as she seemed ill without overdoing it from the very outset and didn’t need to ham it up, cough, cough…

  • Camille

    I guess all those little squeaks we owe to La Dessay -- who did ’em all bouncing around like a top and several months pregnant. Nothing else like it. Never forget that.

  • grimoaldo2

    OK now I have decided the conductor is definitely no good. How is it possible to make this music so dull?

    • Camille

      Blame Canada! It’s Debus, or it was last week.

      There is kittle respect for this music because it is not SeRIÖS!! It takes wit and a knowledge of this particular style.

      I don’t know how to account for it all but it is a trial and the very antithesis of what French music of this genre could be. .

      • H_Badger

        Yup, it’s Debus.

        • grimoaldo2

          I got to know this opera through the Bonynge/Sutherland/Domingo recording years and years ago, to think people used to be rude about Bonynge and say he was riding on his wife’s petticoats, he really made this music fizz and sparkle.

          • cielo e mar

            I agree wholeheartedly. Bonynge had a great affinity for French opera.

          • Camille

            Bonynge had many, many merits and even if he did get a hand up from his great wife, he was conscientious and able enough to give back plenty. And I believe, with the pressure she had on her to be La Stupenda, she needed a friend in the pit. There would have never been La Stupenda without him in any case.

    • Porgy Amor

      He was similar at Bregenz (Herheim’s production, weird edition).

  • fletcher

    Camille, did you also hear the other Nicklausse? Chauvet?

    • Camille

      Yes and I went very expressly to hear her, too.

      Heard her debut as Adrano in Rienzi with OONY where she was only slightly overparted but promising and then her Sesto debut (and one and only performance) about four years ago and was rooting for her. Although she had the profile and the figura for the role, her boice had sadly diminished and did not project at all well. I was so sad, as I had hoped a lot for her. Maybe she will be back in small roles but she was not on a pare with Clémentine Margaine, whom I have also heard before her Met debut and who has developed very well and is now fluorishing.

      I mean, even being francophone, her text sid not project especially well, to give you an idea.

      • grimoaldo2

        Clémentine Margaine will be Fidès in Le Prophète in Berlin, really looking forward to hearing her in that great part. Thank you for the French article Camille, very interesting “.Le grand opéra à son apogée” it calls the work, which it is. The director is Olivier Py, don’t know what to expect, I imagine it will be something wacky, all I ask is that he doesn’t make the singers sing from the back of the stage.

        • Camille

          Yes, it really is at its apogee at that point, I think 1849, wasn’t it?

          You know, Verdi had Fidès in mind when creating the role of Azucena. Verdi was no fool. A smart farmer is a smart man.

          You might go look up Py’s work on NPW-Paris’s blog or just ask him what to expect.

          Yes I am hoping to hear good things about Mlle Margaine and hope she is up to the formidable challenges of the role and I hope there is a decent Berthe as well.

          • grimoaldo2

            Yes 1849 and as well as Trovatore, the apocalyptic ending of Prophète influenced the ending of Götterdämmerung. In the audience at the premiere of Prophète were ” Chopin, Verdi, Théophile Gautier, Delacroix, Ivan Turgenev and Berlioz, among others” (wikipedia) -- just imagine!

            • Camille

              Right. Just imagine if you MAY! Meyerbeer was considered that seriously and importantly by his peers and contemporaries. And today, well perhaps a slow rehabilitation?

            • grimoaldo2

              Yes, Meyerbeer is coming back into the rep of continental European opera houses now, especially in Germany , which is as it should be, but not in North America but I don’t really care as long as I can hear his operas somewhere.

  • fletcher

    The Met keeps Antonia in the middle, yes?

    • Camille

      Oui! That’s why I mention it. Not really worth bothering with the Venetian casino scene…

  • Rowna Sutin

    No energy performance. Same as on Saturday when I was there.

    • Camille

      Same as yours, too? Well that makes three of a kind for this Three Tales of Love.

  • fletcher

    IIRC from the HD, this act in this production was really weak. Flimsy fabric backdrops etc

  • fletcher

    Well Hartig sounds very good, as long as you’re not trying to understand her French…

    • grimoaldo2

      Yes that was the nicest singing of the night so far, for me.

  • Camille

    I love this character and always have and there is no explaining love, hahaha!

  • fletcher

    Kate Lindsey really kills with this ‘très bel automate’ bit… I suppose Erraught does something similar?

    • fletcher

      Really ragged singing, yikes. She doesn’t have the high notes or the low notes.

    • Camille

      Kate Lindsey killed. Period. In this role.

      • H_Badger

        Her singing was great, but what I remember was her facial expressions and demeanor….just perfect.

        • Camille

          Yes. It truly requires that, too, to be effective. That much, at least, Mlle Chauvet did manage well the other night.

  • Camille

    I’m sorry to say she sounds much better than her sub, for whom I’d had un vain espoir.

  • Camille

    When Antonia dies I’m going to sleep as this is not getting any better this time around.