Cher Public

“I was crowned before I was king”

Born on this day in 1863 composer Pietro Mascagni.

Born on this day in 1879 composer Rudolf Friml.

Born on this day in 1887 composer Ernst Toch.

Born on this day in 1906 mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Höngen.

Born on this day in 1927 contralto Helen Watts.

Happy 69th birthday baritone Frederick Burchinal.

Happy 67th birthday mezzo-soprano Kathleen Kuhlmann.

  • Camille

    just now, while flipping through my ancient score of Andrea Chénier, what should I come across serving as bookmark but an ancient copy of Parterre Box, issue entitled “I am divine! I am oblivion! I am love!”. One of the news items includes this pertinency to this thread:

    After dislocating her shoulder rehearsing her climactic leap into the orchestra pit, Catherine Malfitano has withdrawn from the role of ‘Lina Bruna Rasa’ in the upcoming Broadway production of The Pietro Mascagni Follies. Julia Migenes-Johnson will replace her in the Betty Comden/Adolph Green ‘verismusical’.”

    good times.

  • Camille

    In other news: seems that I did not get my wish for Placido to conduct Luisa Miller and it will now fall to Bertrand de Billy to do the honors. For the life of me I can’t recall him in anything other than French operas and even can’t recall which ones at that.

    • bertrand simon

      De Billy is a much better conductor than Domingo and i pray for his replacement the day of the HD broadcast . Really not wise to continue singing at 84 then .

      • Camille

        of course, Mr. de Billy is, and was only making a jest!

        I plan on going to the one performance with Luca Salsi, for at least he is a legitimate baritone, but had also wanted to hear the HD for all the close ups and in order to know this work better. Since I’ve put off seeing and knowing it better for an entire lifetime now. It is a major point of interest in this season for me.

        84? Are you entirely certain of that. It seems very far-fetched to me.

        • Armerjacquino

          There’s a long-standing rumour that Domingo has always been older than he claims, despite the fact it would mean he was born when his mother was 15.

          • Camille

            Yes, of course.

            As someone I knew intimately well, once knew Domingo when, as he related to me “he was a boy in short pants”, and that would have been between 1949-51, during the period of time the aforesaid person sang for Domingo’s parents’ zarzuela company in Mexico, I tend to DOUBT all these stories.

            Further, this fact was related to me in 1969, ergo, loooooong before the Domingo legend had asserted itself and when he was only just a new kid on the block. At that time there was absolutely no need to cover up or pretend any age difference, AND --as the person I knew had absolute first-hand knowledge of his facts and, no need whatsoever of embellishing any of them in recounting to me what was only a personal anecdote (Domingo was just then hitting it big and came to L.A., therefore this particular conversation), I have always been highly dubious of all those claiming him to be five, ten, fifty, hell — a hundred years older than what he admits to be. Born on 21 January 1941, would now put him at almost 77 years old.

            This story about him is tiresome to me, that’s all and do not know why people are so anxious to repeat it, and it’s reasonably certain to be more a jealousy-promoted fabrication.

            BUT — IF he were lying or fudging a few years, it’s not by a lot. For if he was wearing short pants in 1950-51, that would have been about the right age to be doing so if born in 1941. At puberty, boys get to put on their BIG pants, the exact age of puberty would be the variable in this imperfect equation and the x = the unknown factor. If he had been born in 1934, or maybe it was actually 1834 for that matter, he would have had on his Big Boy Pants by the time my dearest friend, who sang with Mrs Domingo and had many good things to say of her, made his acquaintanceship. E allora Basta e Buonanotte.

            • bertrand simon

              The tales about his age are numerous . Just 2 here : Freni, more than 30 years ago : “Funny, for some time Placido and me had the same age and now he is younger than me !” One day he was in a restaurant with friends and an old lady, partner at Mexique in zarzuelas, came to him and spoke about precise years of the past . Everyone noticed the extreme embarrassement of Domingo .

            • Armerjacquino

              Can you point me towards the source of the Freni quote? I can’t seem to find it anywhere on the internet for some reason.

            • bertrand simon

              She probably repeated that elsewhere but in December 1978 in Paris i was present .

            • Armerjacquino

              Hahaha, yeah, thought not.

            • fletcher

              If you were around in 1978, I’m not interested in your thoughts on young people.

            • bertrand simon

              Most ridiculous . I have been a teenager like you and you would be surprised if i told you more .

            • fletcher

              Hard pass.

            • bertrand simon

              It was absolutely no for me .

        • bertrand simon

          To learn the work in best conditions you have of course the two great audio versions by Moffo and Caballé, for the video this is for me the best : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wf1WSnUjH4&t=1s Yes Domingo is actually born in 1934 but he imposed the official 1941 .

          • Armerjacquino

            It’s funny that nobody noticed the six year old running around when his parents got married in 1940, or that they somehow managed to conceive him before they met.

    • Does Iphigénie en Tauride count as French?

      • Bill

        NPW-Paris -- I would say yes as it’s premiere was in Paris in 1779 and in the French language -- when it came to Vienna in 1781 it was sung in German in a text of J. von Alxinger and then in 1783 in Vienna in Italian with a text by da Ponte and apparently the New York premiere as late as 1916 in German in a
        Richard Strauss version. There are recordings in French , German (Jurinac, Caballe etc) and Callas sang it in Italian. I am particularly fond of the Jurinac broadcast with Wunderlich and Prey which is in German but Jurinac sang it in French at Covent
        Garden (and about the same time in Vienna in German). Iphigenie en Aulide also premiered in Paris some 5 years earlier.

  • Camille

    It seems the latest news now is that Maestro Levine has issued a written denial of the accusations. Read about it in today’s NY Times, in another article written under Michael Cooper’s name. Sigh.

    There was a big Guild luncheon just held for Renée Fleming and Mr Gelb had to do quite the assuaging and handholding it would seem. Many movers and shakers there so who knows what is getting cooked up now.

    Oh, and Marco Armiliato will conduct the series of Il Trovatore. Sigh, again.

    • grimoaldo2

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/07/arts/music/met-opera-james-levine-trovatore-luisa-miller.html
      “Four men told The New York Times that Mr. Levine sexually abused them decades ago. One said that he was 17 when Mr. Levine abused him in 1968 at the Meadow Brook School of Music in Michigan, a summer program where Mr. Levine, a rising star, conducted the school’s orchestra and led its orchestral institute. Two more said that they were abused as students there that summer as well — one when he 17, the other 20 — and said that the abuse continued for several years after they joined a clique of young musicians who followed Mr. Levine to Cleveland and later to New York. A fourth man said he was abused in 1986, when he was 16, near the Ravinia Festival in Illinois, where Mr. Levine was the music director. He reported the abuse last year to the Lake Forest, Ill., police.
      “As understandably troubling as the accusations noted in recent press accounts are, they are unfounded,” (Levine) said in a written statement. “As anyone who truly knows me will attest, I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor.”
      I don’t believe him. Four independent accounts telling very similar stories, that is as close as it is possible to get to confirmation.
      “Mr. Levine made it clear in his statement that he hopes to resume conducting.”
      Dream on!

      • bertrand simon

        The question is : were they really abused and this continuing for some years in which they were adults ?

        • DonCarloFanatic

          It is folly to be so skeptical. Let’s not pretend there are no victims. So what if one of these boys--yes, they were boys, not grown men--turned eighteen the day before he was subjected to sexual harassment? Do you think that makes such accusations without merit? Power is what harassment is all about, and Levine and others in current high-profile cases and low-profile cases cited in many kinds of #metoo postings all had far more power than their accusers.

          • bertrand simon

            You reflect the view of so many people who prefer for their safe not questioning the sexuality of young people (between them ok, but we don’t want to know, but with an adult, impossible that he was agreeing .

            • grimoaldo2

              Have you read what the accusers are telling the NY Times and others? They say Levine used his position as their teacher and mentor to persuade them to perform sex acts on him. When one boy felt bad about it and told Levine he would not do that again but he hoped they could still make music together Levine said “No” and didn’t speak to him again. This is abusive, not consensual.
              https://twitter.com/alexrossmusic/status/937701099976327173

            • bertrand simon

              It took very long time to feel bad about all that . It is just the best time to take much money .

            • Armerjacquino

              You’ve managed to illustrate *precisely* why people don’t feel strong enough to come forward.

            • bertrand simon

              American world prisoner of the psychoanalists .

            • Armerjacquino

              Are they? Fancy that.

              I’m not American, so I wouldn’t know.

            • Camille

              Well sure, everyone wants to give the benefit of the doubt, it’s only natural. I don’t actually see what Mr Ross needs to apologize for as he was doing his job as he saw fit to do it at that time, and with the facts such as he had.

              No one has a crystal ball here. Alex Ross didn’t, and I don’t, and you and you and you don’t. There are indeed a few people who actually know what is going on but they are not speaking, nor should they be while an official investigation is being conducted.

              What has come, alarmingly, to mind is this Lindemann program which Levine set up and has been in effect for over thirty-five years now which a lot of young people have gone through and come out of, successfully. I’d like to hear from them, but am fairly certain that if there were tales to tell, they would be too afraid to risk their careers and reputations to say anything, and that is terrible. The fear of losing one’s job is likely complicit in this whole nightmare, to a much greater degree than one would like to think. Employment in the classical music world is difficult to find and what one finds is precious.

              and one more thought, according to the first article in the NY Times, it was Anthony Bliss, in 1979, who first dismissed these rumors as “scurrilous”. A lot of people knew a lot for a very long time, and I can’t see a way to deny that.