Cher Public

Peter Gelb admits defeat

“Now, asked what the public’s response would be if he did announce he was changing the beloved Bohème, performances of which continue at the Met through March, Mr. Gelb chuckled and said, ‘I’m not going to find out’.” [New York Times]

  • Henry Strouss

    Why not bring another production (I would vote for Herheim) in for just one season? Now companies are exchanging that would be much more possible, then Zefferelli could return

    • That’s an interesting question. Why can’t a company hold on to a production and still rent something different to give the audience a taste?

    • Satisfied

      Second this opinion, and I too vote the Herheim. Hell, he can even incorporate his production to work around the current Met production (as he did with Oslo’s previous La Boheme).

    • Der Fliegende Amerikaner

      I think SF Opera did that with La Traviata. They brought in a contemporary production with Netrebko and then eventually brought back a traditional one:

      • La Cieca

        The production was “contemporary” if you happened to be a flapper.

      • Camille

        *”I was there!*”!!!

        It was notable for bringing in that humongous Rolls-Royce or Bentley with Anna Netrebko’s arrival. She was actually, for once, upstaged but only by a car and not a colleague. That was about it for innovation.

        I read through very carefully Marta Domingo’s (whose L.A. Opera production it was) rationale of and case for the updating to the Roaring Twenties (and à la La Rondine here at the Met) and the best I could come up with was that it was because she had gotten bored with sitting at home while her husband was iut having all the fun. Now, she’s a smart lady so it wasn’t dumb, mah….!

        If I dig deep enough among the piles around here I might come up with that program but at this point a snorkel and diving gear would be necessary, so….

        • Camille, I answered your question about a Don Carlos DVD but my reply was “detected as spam”. So now, this reply is a test…

          • Hmm… it seems to have got through…

            • Camille

              okay merci much. Where is your little Persian miniature? I miss him! WAAAAAAH!

            • Him and his orange trousers…

            • Camille

              Merci! Je suis votre servante aussi!

  • La Cieca

    “Je veux bien consentir à regarder le passé, mais ce sera au travers d’une bouteille de vrai vin, et assis dans un bon fauteuil. Qu’est-ce que tu veux ? Je suis un corrompu. Je n’aime plus que ce qui est bon!”

    • I can remember people drinking real wine in the boxes at the Coliseum. Maybe they still do. Don’t know about the quality of the seats, though.

  • I often wonder why the Paris Opera chops and changes so much. Of course it’s nice to have new productions, but to have a new one when you’ve only had one chance to see the old one seems to me to be exaggerating. And there’s always a chance the new one will be worse than the old.

    • Camille

      NPW--do you have a clue as to when the Opéra will bring out a DVD of the Don Carlos? I’m afraid that I’m going to HAVE to break open my piggy bank to buy it as Once is Not Enough! SOB!.

      • Have you read or heard there will be a DVD? There is no trace of Warlikowski’s Vec Makropoulos or Parsifal. The former at least came back; the latter has sunk without trace and will be replaced in 2018 after a single outing.

        The new avatar is of works by Stefan Tcherepnin that I saw at FIAC last weekend but if you like I can bring back Bahram Gur -- he’s mine and in my bedroom.

      • Let me try a third time to answer this -- my two prevous replies are marked “detected as spam”.

        I wrote something along these lines:

        Have you read or heard there will be a DVD? There is no video trace of Warlikowski’s Vec Makropoulos or Parsifal. The former at least came back to the stage; the latter has been ditched and will be replaced in 2018 after a single run.

        My new profile pic is of works by Stefan Tcherepnin that I saw at FIAC last weekend but if you like I can bring back Bahram Gur -- he’s mine and in my bedroom.

        I mean the Persian miniature of Bahram Gur I had as my profile pic before is mine, and hangs in my bedroom. Wouldn’t want any misunderstandings.

        Incidentally, at the moment most of the profile pics I’m seeing are identical, a Venetian mask by the looks of it.

        • Camille

          oh that’s all right…I have an imagination, you know.

          oh I hope there will be one as I LURVED it!
          merci — I must run as I am going to a party at MoMA right now and yes you are right! Too much food but tonite there is booze!!!


          • Would you believe I had dinner on thursday with someone who thought the singers were no good? And then annoyed me even further by saying “If you look at Maria Callas…” I did the obvious and said “She’s dead,”of course…

            Party at MoMA. Real swank!

            • Camille

              I shall go seek him out as I just love him. You own him? How very nice for you and do take good care of him! One of the reasons I like him so much is because he conjures up for me the types of fairytales Hugo von Hofmannstahl based his libretto to Die Frau ohne Schatten upon—and the other is because Persians are hunky.

              A few years ago, summer 2010, when the D’Orsay came to San Francisco, I made the acquaintance of Our Own fletcher’s nice icon/avatar (a Bazille portrait of Renoir), and, when googling it to reacquaint myself, found that wonderful portrait of his family (“Réunion de famille”), which I absolutely adored and spent a long time with admiring. Since then I had forgotten about it for a long while, so it pleased me to stumble across it once more.

              Je vais maintenant à faire les magasins!

            • I bought him around the time I bought the Yale/Met. Museum facsimile of the Houghton Shahnameh, which is now very hard to buy so I’m glad I got it when I did (and bought a magnifying glass to scrutinise it with). The scene in my profile pic, however, illustrates another poem, not the Shahnameh. I have a couple more old miniatures among all the contemporary stuff -- perhaps when you’re in a Lakmé sort of mood I could change my “avatar” to a lovely one I have of Vishnu reclining on a black, five-headed snake, with Lakshmi massaging his feet.

              To be honest I don’t know (because I’ve never tried to find out) if Hofmannstahl might have read the Shahnameh or just other tales (or most likely, knowing him, the Shahnameh and any and all other works involving a Kaikobad in one spelling or another). Kaikobad or Qobad or Khobad or whatever is apparently a fairly widespread name in oriental lit., such was the influence of Ferdowsi’s epic.

              I’ve sometimes fantasized about a FROSCH in the aesthetic of Persian miniatures. But the idea is absurd really, isn’t it? as opera stages are huge spaces and miniatures are tiny pictures and few opera singers have the willowy (or perhaps I should say “cypressy”, as in the poems they are often said to be like a cypress topped with the full moon) forms of the typical Persian figures. And I’m not sure Strauss’s FROSCH mode might ever be described as “miniaturist” -- Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream might be a more successful sound world.

            • Old miniatures are, by the way, a bargain compared to other kinds of painting.

            • Camille

              HAHAHA! I am never in a Lakmé mood, if only!
              What a lovely thought though.

              I do not and would not know if a FROSCH alla persiana would be possible but I do like to think so. My husband is lecturing my right ear at the moment so I can’t think and will be back!!

            • Camille

              I found him on Google/at Christie’s. That is the correct one? Love the entire picture and the strange colourations, too. You are lucky to own him! The Shahnameh I am wholly unfamiliar with and didn’t know it to be the source of those names, sorry. I shall look it up.

              Yes, La Yoncha’s voice was a bit too light but that precluded any problems with lift-off and the passaggio, always a problem with Verdian soprano singing, and it wasn’t Ricciarelli-light, so, okay, I gave it a pass. What I did quite like was her, and I don’t know how else to express this, her serietà, and the fact she was able to pull focus enough to make herself a proponent of the action rather than just being povera piccola vittima, an approach I don’t much like for this role. The attempt to accustom myself to her singing is because she will be my Luisa in the Luisa Miller coming this spring and one work which I am greatly anticipating (even if I will have to hang my head during the scenes with pater). There is one performance with Luca Salsi, which will be my main focus, but may likely want to see it a couple times, for Beczala as well, as he I greatly esteem and there has been little from him recently. A very well-informed friend o’ mine said “NO!” about La Yoncha and her singing of “coloratura”, a skill which is mightily necessary for la Luisa, as well as an excellent ear to keep that bloody quartetto on pitch, but I am willing to give her a spin. Don’t recall anything about the Traviata except it sounding immature and phrased in a strangely foursquare manner but that was several years ago now. Seems at least though she is growing and evolving somewhat.

              Yes, if one starts in on the “BUT” or the Mah! clause, one surrenders to reality, and therefore it’s rendered unenjoyable or remains under a cloud of grim gritty grimacing. I did that with the performance I went to of La Favorite a few summers ago and learned that I’d spoiled what little joy I did have in that work. Those Caramoor outings (which will be no more and for which I am thankful) are/were always blighted by the necessity of having to feel so grateful for the crumbs of bel canto that came our way, unworthy as we all were to receive such manna.

              Basta per ora! Must arise at the crack of dawn demain. Au devoir! Au revoir!

            • The Shahnameh is Persia’s Homer, only longer, so its influence is broad and deep. I have Iranian contemporary art that even today refers to it. Iranians still know their classics.

            • Camille

              Merci, mon ami.

            • FYI diaspora Iranians in the US are working on a pop-up version of one of the Shahnameh legends as part of a drive to popularize the epic. This would be off-topic rambling on my part, except that it seems to me that pop-up books with a CD might be a lovely way to get children interested in some operas -- Vixen, perhaps, though I know that’s already had a cartoon version, Hänsel und G., Flute, Frosch, and so on.


            • Cicciabella

              “No good”? Unbelievable that anyone would think so. Finished watching the broadcast this weekend and the singing just kept getting better and better. OK, Yoncheva’s voice is a tad to light for her role, and the same goes for Ildar maybe, but this was a performance for the opera annals. As you wrote on your blog, not Warlikowski’s best work but the singers’ direction was done very well. So wise that ARTE captured it. They should cut a CD or whatever they do for audio these days.

            • It certainly is a Don Carlos worth listening to. For one thing, the recording restores the balance: as I was on the front row and to the right, and as the Bastille is big, any singer over on the left sounded relatively distant. And whenever the brass and horns were busy I got the full benefit, so to speak.

      • fantasia2000

        I, for once, would want the audio recording out of it. The singing I heard last Wednesday was heavenly! Everybody was on fire!!! The Fontainbleau scene gave me goosebumps! Jonas had great chemistry with Sonya!

        I like the production, but didn’t love it. The ending confused me a bit. But I liked the auto-da-fé staging. I never like the cheesy burning of blow-up dolls for that scene lol.

        Surprisingly, I had equally great time at the opening night of Falstaff the next day. The staging was effective (set in 40s New York, it seems). I was pleasantly surprised with the Nanette of Julie Fuchs. What a gorgeous sound!!!! Sir Bryn still has it, and Fabio Luisi kept things moving swiftly. Great night at the Opera! :)

      • DellaCasaFan

        Camille, it’s on Youtube (for now):

        • It works in the US?

          • DellaCasaFan

            It does. (It’s not on the ‘official’ channel.)

          • Camille

            It worked this afternoon, NPW but qui sait for how much longer?

            Hey, you were correct about the long phrasing in “Ah, je meurs…ecc.”, that he did it in one long line. While admirable to create such a cantilena, it is not actually written in that way, pas du tout! The long, long line Verdi requires (and is rarely heard) is in “Toi qui sus le néant….ecc.”, which in the first instance is to be linked all together as one. They are always nervous and blow out too much air thus vitiating any possibilities of accomplishing this phrase as conceived. I am getting more used to Yoncheva and she has many attributes I appreciate. However, still think the voice is fundamentally too light for this role but it’s easier for them to do with this type instrument.

            It was so great for ONCE to hear a princesse Eboli who actually looked the part and didn’t render it absolute camp, as do so many. No names.

            • I thought Ms Yoncheva’s voice was half a notch too light, too, but as you saw, preferred to focus on some samples of the positive, of which there was a great deal.

        • Camille

          So noted and thank you so many times! Hopefully it will last until tonight when I have the time to listen to it.

          Thank you again. Very happy!

        • Camille

          I saw it this afternoon all cuddled down with my scores and I was IN CIELO!!! It is so much better than the iteration we usually get or the one here at the Met. I’ll continue to re-view it as many times as I’m allowed but I will still buy the DVD as I have to live with this loooooooong-awaited divertissement for the rest of my days.

          Hear me ROAR, Monsieur Néz-Ség!!

          You must absolutely restore this version to us whenever you became Monsieur le Directeur!!! C’est Votre Devoir!!

          (Forget about Wagner--this is where you LIVE!)
          (And with the Ballet, too!)

          • He could leave Wagner to Jordan, perhaps.

            • Camille

              We’ll see after next season.

  • Degan

    Netrebko cancelled Tosca at Munich in July 2018 citing obligations with FIFA World Cup. Gheorghiu will replace her.
    Is something similar coming also at the Met?!

    • QuantoPainyFakor

      Depends who wins the soccer games!