Cher Public

Over the garden wall

Seduced by the fan-frenzy raised by Joel Rozen’s recent ecstatic, expletive-rich embrace of “the beautiful voice,” Renée Fleming makes her belated “Trove Thursday” debut as Sandrina in a rare early performance of Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, a work being staged next week by Juilliard Opera. 

Written when Mozart was 18, Finta G (as opposed to the earlier La Finta Semplice) arrived after Lucio Silla  and before Il Re Pastore.

An especially complicated dramma giocoso, it mixes genres uneasily with comic characters like Serpetta and Nardo interacting within the potentially lurid melodrama surrounding disguised noblewoman Violante (aka Sandrina) and her paramour Count Belfiore. The latter had previously stabbed (!) Violante who then fled disguising herself as a gardener.

The lovers re-encounter each other—he’s now attached to Arminda—and eventually reconcile but only after each goes “mad.” Perhaps the most noteworthy features of the score are the complex multi-movement finales which end the first two acts and look forward to those in Le Nozze di Figaro and Così fan Tutte..

I first came to the work via a 1972 recording of the German version (with spoken dialogue) Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe conducted by Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt which starred a particularly fine quartet of ladies: Helen Donath, Jessye Norman, Tatiana Troyanos and Ileana Cotrubas.

It might be wise to try to catch Finta at Juilliard next week as when the school presented it 10 years ago the production it like that recording featured three (future) American international stars in the cast—Erin Morley, Brenda Rae and Isabel Leonard.

This 1991 performance comes several months after Fleming’s unscheduled Met debut replacing an ill colleague as the Countess in Figaro. After the Finta she reappeared at the Met in what should have been the role of her first appearance: again as the Countess Almaviva but in the world premiere run of Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles.

I’ve always found Fleming at her best in Mozart and a baffling aspect of her opera career (and there have been more than a few) was her backing away from that repertoire. I suspect that she didn’t care to be typed as a “Schwarzkopf-type Mozart-Strauss” soprano. One of my biggest Met regrets was missing her reportedly exquisite Fiordiligi in 1996 as I was out of town during the run; I didn’t catch her Pamina either but there were just four and I don’t believe she ever sang the role again.

Donna Anna at the Met in 2000 seems to have been her final Mozart appearances. Tantalizing glimpses of what we’d been missing occurred when she partnered with Susan Graham or Joyce DiDonato at concerts around town for special-occasion Fiordiligi-Dorabella duets. Her last Countesses in 1998 were ravishing as was her “Porgi amor” at the Met gala just this spring celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the new house.

Someone (I can’t remember who, sorry) on this site has posted frequently of being a great fan of the elegant Dutch Mozart specialist Charlotte Margiono, and it’s valuable to hear her Arminda as there aren’t so many live souvenirs of her in complete roles. David Rendall was Ferrando in a Così that was my second-ever performance at the Met while his son (with mezzo Diana Montague.) Huw Montague Rendall is a promising baritone who will sing Nardo in this opera next spring in Winterthur under the auspices of the Zurich Opera.

Margiono and American mezzo Lani Poulson still perform occasionally, but other than Michele Pertusi the busiest singer in this cast is Kurt Streit who continues in great shape, both vocally and physically, as may be seen in a preview clip of this fall’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria in Hamburg. Not too many 58-year-old tenors portray their heroes shirtless; no wonder Sara Mingardo was so glad to have him back home!

 

Mozart: La finta giardiniera

Salle Pleyel, Paris
28 September 1991
In-house recording

Sandrina: Renée Fleming
Arminda: Charlotte Margiono
Serpetta: Catherine Dubosc
Ramiro: Lani Poulson
Belfiore: Kurt Streit
Podestà: David Rendall
Nardo: Michele Pertusi

Orchestre de Paris

Conductor: Louis Langrée

Finta can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a square with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.

More than 100 other “Trove Thursday” podcasts also remain available from iTunes for free, or via any RSS reader.

  • Camille

    How very timely, as I’d just been hemming and hawing as to whether or not this might be worth attending, especially as I’m not much for Mozart. At least we’ll be getting a deluxe experience here. Awaiting the adjudication of Monsieur JR, as well.

    Many thanks, as always.

    That poster was likely my dear Buster, now missing in action here.

  • PCally

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve been on an early mozart kick lately, particularly Lucio Silla (WATCH THE CHEREAU CLIPS ON YOUTUBE!) and this particular opera is one I’ve only encountered on studio recordings. Despite the amazing trio of women you mention above, that early studio recording is imo pretty mediocre in terms of conducting and the studio bound aspect that’s completely absent in the Jacobs and harnoncourt performances (Margiano is in that recording as well, solid but not at all a match for Penda). Also want to check out the Salzburg DVD with gens, sounds like a great little part for her.

    I don’t think Fleming’s commercial releases of her mozart roles catch her at her respective best. The met fiordiligi though plainly acted was the best sing I’ve ever heard in my life, ditto the 1998 contessa. I guess she had sung enough mozart but I’d wish she’d kept a few choice roles to sing every now and then.

    • Camille

      PC—as I am entirely unacquainted with and ignorant of Lucio Silla as a work, what is it in particular which so strikes you about it, and is it any way comparable to Idomeneo, my touchstone in Mozart operaland?

      • PCally

        It’s hard to explain Camille, especially since I think I’m much more of a mozart fan girl than you. The plot is nonexistent (their were compromises due to casting changes which forced mozart to make the title role considerably less central than he had intended) and it’s traditional in the way that it is faithful to the opera seria format. But Mozart is like Shakespeare to me in that he takes relatively stock scenarios and characters and manages to convey the pathos and conflict within each person so that end up being a totally living breathing human being. I think even in ostensibly happy moments there’s a sense of foreboding and melancholy that imo reflects the uncertainty people face in reality. Silla is overlong and flawed, and it’s certainly no idomeneo, but I think Cecilio and Giulia have music of such pathos and tenderness (watch the clip of the chereau staging where the aria Pupille Amate is sung and you’ll see how chereau clues into this) that it makes me teary eyed.

        But I pretty listen to mozart all the time, even the lesser stuff

        • Camille

          Very mucho thanks for this as I am not a mozartgurl at all! It has taken me long years of recovery from my disastrous first exposure to his works (as a 13 y.o. page turner for my teacher, conducting an opera workshop, therein lay the rub!),

          —-and am CONSTANTLY trying to reform my attitude and reformulate my ideas. I do absolutely agree that in his best music one does hear the yin/yangness of being, sad/happy, etc., and that to me, my dear sir, IS reality, and usually can only be accomplished by a great master. I’ll try to give it a run for the money, along with the little gardener lady.

          • PCally

            Christopher Corwin posted a Silla performance from Wien with Gruberova and Murray, conducted by harnoncourt. It’s not a commercial release which means the sound is what it is but everyone is amazing, there are cuts to make it move (which it does, though one of my favorite arias gets the axe) and I think it works as a first listen.

            These clips are also worth checking out because they show you how unstatic his music is when put on properly.

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ntgp9ytQyGU

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1XtgK7r-Yp0

            • Camille

              Thank you. Most kindly of you.

            • Niel Rishoi

              Here is my review of the DVD of Lucio Silla, and about the opera, from 10 years ago:

              As many of you know, Decca is releasing every single Mozart
              opera on DVD, from performances in Salzburg last summer.
              This ambitious project is welcome, as it gives us a chance
              to see stagings of the likes of “Il sogno di Scipione,” of
              all things.

              Lucio Silla received a highly received production by Jean
              Pierre Ponnelle in Salzburg dating back about 3 decades.
              The production was not set per se in the story’s 80 B.C
              Rome, but in elaborate 18th century dress.

              It is Mozart’s one Italian-premiered opera, given at the
              Teatro Regio Ducal in Milano, 1772.

              The story is claptrap. Another opera about dead legends “so
              lofty they look like they’re about to shit marble(c/o
              AMADEUS’s Mozart)” This concerns the dictator Lucius
              Sulla, who has the hots for Giunia, who is married to
              Cecilio, whom Giunia initially thinks is dead. There are
              misunderstandings galore, vengeances, death threats,
              prolonged utterances of suffering -- the usual “I will find
              peace through death” declarations abound. The opera -- with
              an absolutely wretched libretto by one Giovanni de Gamerra
              -ends with pardons, misunderstandings cleared up, and Silla
              praised for being a compassionate ruler.

              What is NOT claptrap is the 17 year-old Mozart’s music.
              Sure, there is much in the way that is conventional
              (particularly in the music of Silla, Celia and Cinna), but
              there are some pieces that are astonishingly mature.
              Cecilio (mezzo) and Cinna (soprano) are both castrato
              roles. Silla, a tenor, despite being the title of the
              opera, has relatively little music to sing, of equally
              little difficulty. The central “action” and motivation
              centers on the love of Giunia and Cecilio. Cecilio has one
              aria, that a more widespead popularity, “Pupille amate,”
              which is a gem, a farewell of the utmost melancholy and
              poignance. His other arias, “Il tenero momento,” and “Quest
              improvviso tremito,” are fiery, impassioned, exciting. He
              and Giunia have a marvelously elegant, sinuous duet,
              “D’Elisio in sen m’attendi,” that features a set of
              dizzyingly fast divisions in unison; the second set has
              Giunia taking her line up in a neat variation (however,
              disappointingly, in the performance under review, the first
              set of divisions is omitted).

              The filet mignon of the music, however, belongs to the
              prima donna, Giunia. Anna de Amicis, the role’s creator. 4
              long arias, an extended prayer with chorus, a long duet, a
              part in a trio, and miles of recitative. Amicis most have
              been a virtuosa extraordinaire, for NO, I repeat, NO other
              Mozart heroine has such treacherously difficult music. Its
              equal is to be found in the Aloysia Weber concert arias
              like “Ma che fece o stelle,” Popoli di Tessaglia,” etc.

              But all of Guinia’s music has that special distinction
              which sets it apart from most of the rest of the music in
              the opera. “Dalla sponda tenebrosa” is a 4 part aria which
              has some wonderfully effective contrasts; the coda is a
              quick-spirited outburst of much vigor. Her preghiera with
              the chorus, “O del padre ombra diletta,” has a heightened
              sweep of formality, grand, tragic: it is an amazing scene.
              “Ah, se il crudel periglio” is one of the most terrifyingly
              difficult arias ever composed. It calls for the soprano to
              sing bars and bars…and bars…of 16th notes on end like a
              highly skilled trumpeter. Hearing it is akin to a person
              balancing on a precarious tightrope. “Parto, m’affretto”
              requires a lot of ascending staccato skittering, a la the
              Queen of the Night. But the most amazing, and
              forward-looking piece in the opera (and the only one in a
              minor key) is the “Fra i pensier,” preceded by a long, and
              extraordinarily vivid recitative. “Fra i pensier” begins in
              a hushed, dense andante, which surges slowly like a dark
              current of the gloomiest despair. It gives way to an
              agitated allegro, finishing off in a panicked frenzy.

              Many people may not agree, but I have always found the
              opera greatly entertaining. Of his earliest early operas,
              pre-Idomeneo, it is far and away my favorite, and
              preferable to Il re pastore, Thamos, and Zaide. Under the
              right singers and artists, it can be an evening of
              spectacular singing and even vocal drama. For though the
              libretto is shoddy, Mozart~Rs music carries the day.

              Amazingly enough , in addition to this DVD, the opera has
              been represented by 3 recordings. The earliest, from 1969,
              conducted by Carlo Felici Cillario, is heavily cut,
              featuring an undistinguished cast, save for Fiorenza
              Cossotto~Rs Cecilio. She is not a virtuosa, but given that
              her career was based in singing Verdi roles, it is
              nevertheless astonishing: you would never expect this kind
              of agility from such a large voice. ~SPupille amate~T is
              gorgeous. The Hager set from 1975, is the only one that is
              absolutely complete, and a dream cast: Peter Schreier,
              Arleen Auger, Julia Varady, Edith Mathis, Helen Donath
              (these last two together on a recording!!) and Werner
              Krenn. Top-notch, all of them. The 1989 set under
              Harnoncourt, is, alas, cut ~V one aria per role. Grrr. Why?
              Why? Why? No excuse. Even stupider ~V the (small) role of
              Aufidio is cut out of the opera. I hate it when rare operas
              are not allowed a full representation. It is done on
              original instruments, a bit rough sounding, and Harnoncourt
              takes a dramatic, almost brusque, approach. It features
              another lineup of impressive artists: Peter Schreier again,
              Edita Gruberova, a very young Cecilia Bartoli, Dawn Upshaw,
              and Yvonne Kenny.

              The current DVD staging features Annick Massis as Giunia,
              Roberto Sacca as Silla, Monica Bacelli as Cecilio, Veronica
              Cangemi as Cinna, Julia Kleiter as Celia, and Stefano
              Ferrari as Aufidio. Tomas Netopil conducts the ~SOrchestra e
              coro del teatro la Fenice.~T It is staged by Jurgen Flimm,
              sets by Christian Bussmann, costumes by Birgit Bussmann.
              This was presented not in Salburg~Rs intimate
              Festspielhaus, but in that big echoey warehouse, the
              Felsenreitschule.

              No, this is not a traditional staging by a million years
              forward from Mozart~Rs time. I~Rd accept an updating if it
              worked. This one doesn~Rt. It~Rs a monumental mess. It~Rs as
              if the producers said to themselves, ~SGod, what an antique
              monstrosity,~T and proceeded to make it a modern
              monstrosity. The stage features a false front replicating
              the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza (where the Ponnelle
              MITRIDATE film was made) The costumes. It looks like a
              multi-century costume department was raided. You see hints
              of the baroque, along with sweat suits, gestapo-type
              uniforms, pearls, ski caps, shimmies, sometimes all of them
              mized together on one person. It looked like the prop
              department was flung helter-skelter all around too. I kid
              you not: every prop under the sun is made some use of.
              Characters pick things up, toss them around, bang over
              chairs. The characters are rarely allowed a moment of
              respose. They are made to spent time executing a lot of
              boneheaded action, positions, constant moving around. So
              distracting to the eye was much of it, I found it hard to
              enjoy the music. All this screams out distrust of the music
              on the producer~Rs part. The gimmicks galore certainly
              upstages the music.

              Ironically, this is the one opera that could have done well
              by a staging done in a period of antiquity. It~Rs a dark,
              gloomy piece, and a lot of faux-stonework, forbidding
              lighting could have aided the tone of it. There is one
              long scene in the Roman catacombs; the potential for the
              morbidity might have an eerie effect.

              Worse, an hour of music is cut. ~SMozart~Rs Opera, Lucio
              Silla, Hacked To Pieces and Scintillatingly Updated: Our
              Re-directioning of It.~T Flimm changes the ending. In the
              original, Silla is hailed as a hero dictator (foolish, but
              it was the rule in Mozart~Rs time that Government could not
              be shown being deposed of). Flimm has it that while the
              chorus sings Silla~Rs phrases, Aufidio ~Ssecretly~T stabs
              Silla, while Cinna is hailed as the new leader. It almost
              works. But the imbecility of what has gone on before, plus
              the heavy cutting, does not faithfully represent the opera.

              A pity, because the cast is nearly, uniformly excellent.
              For their work this release is desirable. Roberta Sacca in
              the title role does yeoman work in his performance, but the
              voice is insubstantial: I had the same impression in 2005,
              when he sang Leukippos in DAPHNE, here in Ann Arbor.

              Annick Massis achieves a triumph as Giunia. A tall, elegant
              woman, she is equal to the demands of the music, acts up a
              storm, and really injects a lot of emotion and commitment.
              Massis attacks all the passagework fearlessly, fluently,
              and with no shortage of gusto. In particular, she goes
              after the ~SAh, se il crudel periglio~T with a real
              instrumentalist~Rs flair, and takes fewer breaths in the
              last run than one would expect. Her finest moment comes in
              the preghiera with chorus, where Massis sings with a finely
              modulated tone and exquisite phrasing. She finds a little
              trouble in the low tessitura in the first bars of ~SFra i
              pensier,~T and the tempo by the conductor is too fast, not
              giving Massis the room to phrase it as expansively as she
              might. As the line rises, though, the purity of her legato
              is exemplary. It is great, though, to see Massis featured
              at last in a video incarnation.

              Monica Bacelli, not ideally honeyed in tone, nevertheless
              makes a real person of Cecilio, acting with a great deal of
              passion: her music, and the meaning of the texts is alive,
              vibrant, infused with depth.

              Veronica Cangemi, a name new to me, is an excellent Cinna,
              singing with precision, an inflamed sense of purpose, and
              thoughly at ease in the travesti role.

              However, it is Julia Kleiter as Celia who walks away with
              top honors. Remember the name: she will go far. Celia~Rs
              music is not very interesting, but Kleiter sets an example
              that lesser music can be exhilarating with impeccable
              artistry and musicianship. Kleiter has a pure, bell-like
              tone, rich, and no rough edges anywhere. Your ears just
              respond with pleasure to the quality of her singing. More,
              she is a born Mozart stylist, have a true feel for the
              shape of the phrasing.

              One demerit, a disservice done to the singers: Hannes
              Rossacher zooms the camera unbearably close to the singers~R
              faces, and it exaggerates uncomfortably the physical
              motions of mouths moving in those numerous coloratura
              ~Snoodles~T (as Mozart~T called them.

              You will have to decide for yourself if you can accept the
              compromises made ~V the brutal cuts, and the kooky staging.
              I~Rm glad I have it for the singers alone, and all told, it
              is a fascinating enterprise.

            • Camille

              This is very helpful to a tyro.

              Thank you very much for taking the time out to share these considered thoughts around and about this work.

            • PCally

              Giunia (Camille I called the characters the incorrect names in my post above) is a fortunate role on disc. Considering how challenging it is, Auger, Gruberova, and Cuberli is absolutely amazing and totally different in the part.

            • Camille

              Yes, I just heard Cuberli sing the bit which precedes Ann Murray’s “Pupille amate”, and which was dazzling. At least I THINK it was she? Quite a wonderful revelation this work.

            • Tamerlano

              I am also a huge fan of the Adam Fischer recording. Very theatrical and well played. Simone Nold sings Giunia so well that I’m surprised she’s not a bigger name. Her singing rivals Auger and Gruberovas. Here she is in the wonderful and strange “Dalla sponda tenebrosa”…I don’t think I’ve ever heard this kind of yodely coloratura anywhere else in Mozart.
              https://youtu.be/Z8kSsocFzMM

            • Tamerlano

              Dessay is amazing in that area too. It’s very impressive and impassioned singing. It also feels reckless.
              https://youtu.be/fP3FMNhWe8M

            • PCally

              You might like the Brussels performance from 1985. Minimal cuts, mostly well cast and audibly theatrical.

            • Camille

              “because they show you how unstatic his music is when put on properly.”

              Yes, I do see what you mean already.

              I’m afraid the stepwise motion and Vaccai-like exercise of “la Giardiniera” are a bit much for me.

            • PCally

              Mmm I can’t remember her singing much in that particular clip but yes I think she’s pretty great in the part, even if bravura isn’t really her thing (she’s a bit effortful in the longer showier arias, whereas that’s where gruberova especially and auger really shine). I’d only heard of her in the past year and there’s a lot of stuff of hers on YouTube which is pretty great. Wonder what became of her and why she’s so forgotten, considering her discography is actually pretty substantial

            • Camille

              Yes, I am just now hearing that effortfulness, but I give them a pass in this “Periglio”! I will go back and check to see who was singing, it was something.

              The only thing I am familiar with of Cuberli is that she sang Semiramide at the Met, along with La Junie. She is just one of many whom I had never an occasion to hear nor somehow took no notice of; there are so many like that for there’s not enough time and unfortunately we all get stuck in our diva/divo ruts…..

            • Bill

              I attended two performances of the Vienna Opera Lucio Silla -- Gruberova was absolutely phenomenal as Giunia which was in 1991 when she was in peak form. I am not sure though it was the same as shown above as Arnold Oestmann was the conductor and Cubeli was not in it --
              The cast was Thomas Moser, Edita Gruberova, Ann Murray, Yvonne Kenny,
              Marlin Hartelius/Eva Lind and Peter Jelosits and it was a Ponnelle production with only 7 performances -- it was not repeated in subsequent seasons. I have been
              a Mozart fan since my earliest opera going
              days at the Met, Don Giovanni with Siepi, Kunz,Zadek, several times Cosi with Steber, Thebom, Tucker, Munsel and Figaro twice with della Casa, Seefried (both debuts) Kunz -- I only saw “Die Gartnerin aus Liebe” (La Finta) once in my life in Salzburg at the Residenz in 1965
              a small production conducted by Bernhard Conz with Cesare Curzi, Colette Boky as Sandrina, Donald Grobe, Jean Cook, Evelyn La Bruce, Graziella Sciutti and
              Thomas Tipton -- but it really paled as that season also was Boris and Elektra with Karajan conducting, Ariadne and Cosi under Boehm, the famous Strehler
              Entfuehrung with a young Mehta and
              MacBeth under Sawallisch. La Finta is charming but light fare but I shall check out the Julliard performances for I have not encountered or listened to the opera for over 50 years.

            • PCally

              Wish more of ponelles productions had been filmed in live performance. Huge fan of his but I don’t think the videos show his work in the best light

        • Bill

          Lucio Silla is an opera which demands phenomenal technique of almost all the singers in the cast -- many florid arias which test the technique (and both the legato and the agility) of the most accomplished Mozartians.

  • Early Fleming singing rare Mozart. Delightful!

  • Nelly della Vittoria

    Oh thanks! Looking forward to listening to this.
    I tend to think of the Giardiniera as one of the reasons for my abiding love of the unparalleled Richard Croft:
    https://youtu.be/W9XzoMBROqk
    Parmi, o dio, di vacillar!

    But almost everyone else in that cast was equivocal at best, voiceless at worst — and I cannot imagine how much better it’d have been for the presence of Renee.

    I’m going to hear it at Juilliard, and hope they have a success with it, for it takes some doing (not as much as Lucio Silla, perhaps) but has real rewards for a large ensemble cast.

    • Dame Kenneth

      Huge Richard Croft fan as well. One of the most musical singers around, completely “in” the music and drama, and is somehow tremendously sexy in the way he sings.

      • No Expert

        A great great interpreter of Handel and Gluck

      • Nelly della Vittoria

        Especially when he wears silly wigs.

        • Dame Kenneth

          Yes, this is not the clip I would have chosen as Exhibit A to the sexiness of the singing. There’s a Belmonte somewhere on the net that is a better example, and I think also some of his singing/acting in the Sellars production of Glyndebourne’s “Theodora” has a very sexy quality. Such a musical singer.

          • Nelly della Vittoria

            Oh yes, um, I was joking about the silly wigs; totally.

            The Septimus in “Theodora” is sovereign, the florid precision and force he musters in the Minkowski recordings — Hercules, Ariodante, Orphee et Eurydice — peerless, and the Almaviva in that Barbiere with Jennifer Larmore under Zedda a delight, even with cuts. As to that Belmonte, I can’t speak of it too frequently because the first time I heard it I felt, and still feel, I was being bewitched.

            • Kullervo

              I’ll pop in to this Richard Croft love-fest to post my favorite recording of his -- Ford’s aria from Salieri’s Falstaff.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eC_qnszumU

            • Nelly della Vittoria

              Oh god, I love that recording too; there’s something about the stepwise scale-making and occasional chromaticisms of that repeated “piu costante ardor” that make it feel oddly like hearing a tenor sing Ch’io mi scordi di te.

              As if it weren’t enough that the basic sound is so rare and exquisite. Why hasn’t he been here more often? — I seethe — but of course it makes a great deal of sense for him to be in European theatres. Sigh!

  • CCorwinNYC

    The hyperlink to play/download a very fine performance of Silla is included above but in case that wasn’t clear, here are the details and direct link--

    Mozart: Lucio Silla
    Theater an der Wien, Vienna
    18 May 1981

    Giunia: Edita Gruberova
    Celia: Rachel Yakar
    Cecilio: Ann Murray
    Lucio: Cinna Jill Gomez
    Lucio Silla: Philip Langridge
    Aufidio: Peter Straka

    Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt

    http://parterre.com/2016/01/21/the-lady-or-the-tiber/

    • PCally

      By any chance would you happen to have the live performance that corresponds to the Hager studio recording ? Would love to hear what those singers sounded like in those parts.

  • CKurwenal

    Fleming said that she didn’t want to appear in ensemble operas anymore, which I think explains why all her Mozart roles got dropped. This seems to be a bit of a feature of many careers these days, leaving Mozart behind even if it is still a good fit.

  • z. barf

    Fleming has said many times that she learned to sing by singing Mozart. She has also said that Mozart is very challenging to sing and so she retired her Mozart roles because she had enough of the stress to always sound perfect. This implies that she didn’t think she could meet the vocal demands of singing Mozart. She continued to sing bel canto and baroque for another 10 years because in her mind she could rely on her jazz and blues roots. In several interviews she has said that she gets inspiration from jazz and the blues in her bel canto and baroque singing and that she is not a specialist. We definitely won’t be hearing Fleming sing a complete Mozart role today and I think that is for the best. She can still sing a respectable “Progi amor” in recital, but anyone who heard her 20 years ago singing the same music can hear the difference.

  • Camille

    Thanks so much to all, and especially PCally, for bringing up not only Lucio Silla, but putting up Lella Cuberli’s singing, as I am going to listen to her for the upcoming Semiramide. It was very gratifying to finally have some time for this interesting and formidable work.

    • CCorwinNYC

      Cuberli is wonderful in Rossini.

      http://parterre.com/2015/12/31/to-the-rescue/

      • Camille

        Thank you so much!!

        Somewhere I’ve heard a great bleeding
        chunk of this--was it Den Haag? and it interested me so, I shall certainly listen in.

        Her Elisabetta R. aria is also quite lovely, accomplished and serene in the way Her Majesty should be. A real treat.