Cher Public

Sommo giubilo, Eccellenza!

BREAKING: Peter Gelb (not pictured) announces that the Met will return its 1980s glory days as a hideously overpriced theme park! David McVicar whinges about literally everything! Exclusively in the New York Times! (Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

  • La Cieca

    “Diedi gioielli della Madonna al manto, e diedi il canto agli astri, al ciel, che ne ridean più belli. Nell’ora del dolor perchè, Signor, me ne rimuneri così,” David McVicar, the production’s director, said during a recent rehearsal break, tilting his head back and slowly sliding off a couch for dramatic effect.

    • But “Theater people are kind of great in a crisis. It’s cliché, but we just are.”

      • Armerjacquino

        *quiet voice* That’s true though…

  • trevor

    (from the NY Times article) “Zeljko Lucic, a Met fixture…” like those pointy chandeliers that could poke your eye out.

    • Porgy Amor

      But unlike the chandeliers, Lucic doesn’t have a mechanism that can be fixed over the summer so he works better.

  • grimoaldo2

    “I have learned my lesson from the Bondy production,” Mr. Gelb said in a recent interview. “When it comes to a classic piece of repertoire, beauty counts — and that’s what the audience wants.”

    Hmmmm.

    • Lindoro Almaviva

      I had to laugh when I saw that. Yes, a beautiful production is nice, but one that gets to the heart of the piece will do that, even if it is less than pretty; but he did not want to learn that lesson.

      This issue, to me, boils to one thing: Gelb made the right decision to replace the Zefirelli, but his error was in just replacing a boring stale production with a boring stale production.

      The audience was going to bitch mo matter what and this is what they got, so their screams were even louder. And then he just retreated. This whole debacle is so damn stupid

  • PCally

    Ugh the Gelb quote about the Bondy production is risible

  • Brackweaver

    How well has this production sold?

    • H_Badger

      the first few look good….but then there’s Friday, January 12…seems a bit sparse https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ac19609eca043ee727d8582c881f8872ea7030158b9d20679fb9f34143dd9479.png

      • Rowna Sutin

        Pretty gruesome! The shows with Netrebko are well sold and they start in April. Hard to figure. I thought NY loved Ms Yoncheva as much as AN. Obviously I was wrong. If any Parterians are going to the Saturday Matinee please let me know.

        • H_Badger

          maybe they’re waiting for the reviews? i’m curious to hear this cast…

        • LaFavorita

          Jan 12th Tosca is with Jennifer Rowley.

          • Rowna Sutin

            Didn’t realize that when I made the comment. Ok. I take it back! :)

      • Klee

        This performance is Jennifer Rowley’s, not Yoncheva’s.

        • ER

          True. Rowley may not have Yoncheva’s name, let alone Netrebko’s, but she is really good and the most Italianate of the three (she was Roxanne in last year’s Cyrano at the MET, fyi).

  • CwbyLA

    I like any good production: modern or classical. I would like to cut some slack to Gelb. He has to sell tickets. If the conservative audience members want a museum-piece Tosca or Boheme, so be it. We can always enjoy the singing and cherish the other modern productions, of which there are admittedly not many.

    • Ivy Lin

      I was going to say … in the case of Tosca I think a very literal production is not only appropriate but necessary. The libretto makes so many specific references to places and dates that it’s hard to deconstruct that.
      This isn’t Parsifal or Rusalka. The stage directions and the settings for Tosca are sort of frozen in amber. The only difference between one performance and another is how well the singers work with the material.
      I mean it’s sort of like Suor Angelica. Can Suor Angelica really be set in the present time considering that women no longer take the veil if they have a child out of wedlock?

      • grimoaldo2

        What you say is more specific and sensible than what Gelb says in that quote, though I am not sure I agree with you either. I remember Jonathan Miller’s Tosca set at the time of Mussolini, yes the libretto refers to Napoleon and Queen Maria Carolina and that does not make any sense in that setting but there are any number of opera productions with such anomalies.
        However Gelb says ““When it comes to a classic piece of repertoire, beauty counts — and that’s what the audience wants.”
        Very generalised. What is a “classic piece of repertoire”? Obviously he thinks Tosca is, but what else? Don Giovanni? Rigoletto? The Ring? And i have never heard anyone say “I want beauty when I go to see an opera” though I have heard any number of people say “I don’t like modern productions”.
        And is it really cool for him to say ““I have learned my lesson from the Bondy production”? dissing a production that he chose himself and naming the director like that in public?

        • A number of times, when I’ve posted a photo of an artwork I have at home, people have asked “How can you find that beautiful?” Every time I have to reel out the same answer: I don’t necessarily expect art to be beautiful. It may be, of course, but it isn’t a prerequisite. The fact some people ask implies that they want beauty, at least from painting and sculpture.

        • Porgy Amor

          Grim, unfortunately, I have heard people say “I want beauty onstage when I go to see an opera.” Or “I want to see a lot of color.” They might make allowances if it’s something like From the House of the Dead or The Passenger, but the pretty-pictures crowd often checks out at Turandot anyway.

          No kidding: There were comments on certain Facebook groups about how the Chéreau Elektra wasn’t pretty enough. One woman theorized that Roberto Devereux had depleted the Met’s costume budget, and so the Elektra singers had been forced to wear their own clothes, when Klytämnestra should have had a beautiful ornate gown and jewels. Never mind that that Elektra was a co-production with about a half dozen venues, and looked at the Met exactly as it had in Aix-en-Provence, and a “pretty” Elektra is a rarity.

          I’ve wondered at times if it’s related to this ugly-American obsession with how much everything costs. People here are used to going to these terrible movies and knowing exactly what the budget was, because production costs are constantly being trumpeted. Then after something opens, there’s all this coverage of the grosses, as if we’re all part of the studio accounting department. But the comments I’ve seen on the Royal Opera House’s page, about productions that open there, are similar. Sometimes they seem to be hating or liking something for (IMO) all the wrong reasons. I really don’t think a lot of people who go to operas even know what a director does.

          Gelb will name Bondy because there’s no harm to an ongoing relationship there. If a director has a flop and there are plans to bring him (or her) back in something else, or bring the production back, he’s more circumspect. So he’ll still defend Lepage’s Ring, while expressing that Bondy’s Tosca and John Doyle’s Peter Grimes were mistakes.

          • H_Badger

            The Met’s facebook just posted photos of the 1901 production and 4 more since then….leaving out the Bondy production. Guess that cuts down on the comments. ;-)

          • Luvtennis

            Porgy

            I respect your opinion, but I disagree with the notion that concern over profits and grosses is a new phenomenon. Every composer of grand opera that I can think of cared deeply about grosses. As did impresarios. And audiences flocked to popular works without regard to whether the physical production conveyed a deeper significance. And productions that did not suit popular tastes failed. It is only in the last 50 years that the artistic quality of a physical production was viewed as paramount.

            Hell, Callas refused to die wearing a hat! Is she to be despised for this?

            But yes, Gelb’s comments make him doing like an idiot.

            • Porgy Amor

              Callas isn’t to be despised for anything, but I think she should be understood as a performer of the increasingly distant mid-20th century. Not all of her expressed views on all sorts of things, from stage productions to performing editions, have aged well.

            • Nelly della Vittoria

              I dunno, I’d be slain dead if she showed up at my door wearing this hat: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/be20c621ef86d4533ff5c08606cb9b4306144457a00111c49ee38ddc8fbd21ce.jpg

            • La Cieca

              It is only in the last 50 years that the artistic quality of a physical production was viewed as paramount.

              First off, nobody said “paramount,” so you can just drop that strawman from your repertory.

              Second, try throwing out that “last 50 years” bullshit to Max Reindhardt, David Belasco, Walter Felsenstein, Wieland Wagner, Luchino Visconti, John Gielgud, Margaret Webster, and…. oh, what the fuck, the list goes on and on, not that I expect facts to make a dent in your gueeny prejudices.

            • Luvtennis

              What on earth do you mean by queeny???

            • La Cieca

              “In the manner of a queen.” You know, like using three question marks to indicate your regal dudgeon.

            • La Cieca

              It’s also typical that you cherry-pick one detail out of the dozens of other Visconti innovations she acceded to in the Traviata and in other operas they did together.

              Callas was the most important performer in opera by the mid-1950s and she could have had anything she wanted. She chose to seek out innovative and challenging stage directors, and, conversely, to resist doing stock revivals. Her valuing of the importance of stage direction is demonstrated by her acts.

              But you choose to obsess on an anecdote about a hat because it happens to fit into your own narrow queen taste.

            • Luvtennis

              Yes, and it also suggests that she had her limits, just like any other performer. And while Visconti was considered innovative in his time his productions were not interventionist in the way that many productions today are. In any case, those directors are remembered because history has validated their artistic vision. But at the time they were just working directors who got gigs because they put butts in the seat and got people energized about a production.

              And yes, Callas probably had more clout than most opera singers of her time. But most of the productions she starred in were pretty straightforward. Better designed and directed -- in many cases, yes. Experimental, avant-grade -- I would need to see evidence of that because Visconti’s opera productions for her don’t strike me that way at all. But in any case, I don’t get the sense from her limited statements that she wanted anything more than new productions that were thoughtful, not routine, and not shabby -- which apparently many met productions of operas she was offered were. Callas wanted success and she thought a good production enhanced the chances for success, artistic and financial.

              And the comment about “narrow queen taste”…. Wow!

            • La Cieca

              And how you claim to the power of necromancy, queenplaining to us all what Maria actually really thought.

              You are a very boring queen.

            • Luvtennis

              I can only go by the fact that despite her reputation for dramatic truth and her alleged love of artistically challenging directors, most of the photographic evidence of productions post weight loss show her costumed in a way that emphasizes her personal glamour according to the haute couture standards of her day.

            • Ivy Lin

              LT, I think from the video evidence of Callas what was revolutionary about her wasn’t what she wore but how she acted onstage. Let’s “cherry-pick” one performance:
              This happens to be a performance I uploaded (well, re-uploaded anyway) to YT. Watch how much she differentiates the body language of Flora’s ball vs. her bedroom. That’s one of Verdi’s returning motifs: public persona vs. private anguish.
              At the ball despite her billowing crinoline gown her body language is masculine, a real boss lady. She could be walking into a boardroom meeting. There’s nothing warm about her interactions with the guests. It’s clear that she’s here for business, not pleasure. In the bedroom she’s a crumpled up waif, and her small gestures and lack of mobility suggest someone who is really dying.
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ14lmyKTko

            • Luvtennis

              Maybe, but I often get other posters to respond to my posts so there’s that….

            • PCally

              What on earth are you talking about ?

            • Luvtennis

              Where did I write that I didn’t care about the physical production????? That’s something you pulled out of your own head? I happen to love Wieland Wagner’s productions. My point was a simple one -- grand opera is expensive ergo -- box office matters unless the house is subsidized.

              And you are damn straight my opinion about singers -- regardless of whether I have seen them live is just an opinion. What the hell is your point? That my opinions iare less valid because they don’t accord with yours?

              As for the directors you cite, I would argue that they were very much exceptional in their time and they were perceived as such. We remember them because the passage of time has validated much of their work. But they were perceived as revolutionary because they were reacting to the norms of their time.

              And if you can’t see that citing Varnay is cherry picking like my reference to Callas and the hat then …..

            • La Cieca

              There is a big difference between “going on endlessly” and parroting a single meaningless anecdote.

            • PCally

              Never said you didn’t care about the physical production, read my comment again (nor was I the one who said you were cherry picking but if you think my Varnay reference, which is based on pages of detail and numerous citings of names and places, is at all the same as your Callas anecdote about a item of clothing then we define cherry picking differently). And you must be joking if you see anywhere in my comment that I proclaim your opinions to be any less valid than anyone else’s. You made an exceptionally broad statement and used an example of a singer disliking a hat as proof. I take exception with your constant assertions phrased as though they are facts (Wilson is the greatest ever based on a video from a decade ago, Opera might is dead because Netrebko sounds less than ideal in her first ever run of Aida, Von Karajan and abbado are to blame for Ricciarelli and the handful of inappropriate roles she sang) even though the evidence used as basis for your statements tend to be based on your entirely subjective ideas as to what ideal singing is and what an opera house should be prioritizing.

            • Armerjacquino

              What was so special about 1967?

            • Luvtennis

              Nothing. I just picked a date. Like 40 days and 40 nights.

        • Porgy Amor

          McVicar’s set/costume designer, John Macfarlane, claims in a new WWD interview that McVicar’s original plan was, in fact, to set it in Mussolini-era Italy.

          “Originally I think [the director David McVicar] wanted to set it in 1943 in Rome,” says Macfarlane. “But there had been two other productions of [Giacomo] Puccini operas this season, and they were set in that period. I think [Gelb] was anxious also that it should be in the Napoleon period.”

          Eyre’s Manon Lescaut is one, I assume, but I’m drawing a blank on the other. He doesn’t specify that they were Met productions, though.

          • La Cieca

            Not the mention the 12 million other productions of Tosca set in that period elsewhere.

            • Armerjacquino

              I wish someone would do a version of that insane, brilliant ‘recording FRAU in Vienna’ production, only of TOSCA in WWII with Tosca, Cavaradossi and Scarpia portrayed as Caniglia, Gigli and Gobbi being forced to perform for the Wehrmacht (although according to Gobbi they didn’t have to, since Caniglia sneaked out dressed as a tealady, or something equally implausible). Anyway, there’s definitely a production in there somewhere, although possibly not for the Met on NYE.

        • Armerjacquino

          Sidebar: the Miller TOSCA was at ENO, so I’d guess that the translation dropped references which clashed with the staging (although it was also shown at the Maggio Musicale, I think, so I don’t know what happened there).

          I don’t think there’s a problem with (small) tweaks to the libretto to help the staging make more sense. I saw a very notturno COSI once, for example, which changed ‘che bella giornata’ to ‘che bella serata’ and the world didn’t end. Little tweaks like this are commonplace in theatre and I don’t see why they shouldn’t be in opera. Far, far worse is to ‘respectfully’ keep the libretto syllable-perfect and then ignore it, as in the example I’ve used a million times on here: Zeffirelli’s Calaf repeatedly singing ‘Lasciatemi passare’ when not one person is in his way.

          • Luvtennis

            I agree that minor tweaks in the libretto are better than keeping in text that clashes with the production so long as the new text works with the composer’s music in terms of stresses and rhythm.

            As for the Turandot example you reference … it seems fairly commonplace. As a performer, how do you react to that? Do you raise an objection during rehearsals? Would anyone listen?

            • Armerjacquino

              You say to the director, whether it’s an NP or a staff director, ‘these lines don’t make sense unless someone is in my way’ and it gets fixed.

            • Luvtennis

              Lol!!! Makes perfect sense, but doesn’t explain why such things still make it out of rehearsals. I suppose that sometimes a change would be problematic due to the rest of the staging.

          • La Cieca

            Or, as it seems to me to make more sense, you leave the period references in place and try to hope that the audience is imaginative enough to understand that what you are putting on stage is not a documentary but rather the telling of a story.

            Richard III is an historical drama but I don’t recall any great fits of archeological despair when this production was seen.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjJEXkbeL-o

            • Theatre audiences don’t seem to get into such a huff.

        • ER

          Echoing Ivy above, Tosca is almost unique in that the action is not only pegged to three very specific locations, but these locations (at least for Act I and III) exist today for all to see. Doesn’t mean a director can’t play around, but the bar is higher than for other operas.

          (The Sant’Andrea della valle by the way is one of the most beautiful churches in the world. I strolled in one morning as the sun was pouring through the windows at just the right angle and it was one of the most glorious photographic moments of my life.)

          • grimoaldo2

            Calixto Bieito did a production for Oslo opera in June, it just ignores all the precise settings and historical references, without changing the libretto, and comes up with this, for instance, at the end of Act One -- Claudio Sgura as Scarpia-
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpjF--DyDUc

            • Comment: “Por que sacan la opera Tosca de su contexto Histórico. El acto Primero se Efectúa en la iglesia sant’andrea della valle, en Roma.” Perhaps it should only be performed there.

              (I copied and pasted the comment. The missing accents, capitals, etc. are nothing to do with me.)

      • Bill

        Ivy -- I believe a set designer and stage director should present a work in the best possible fashion
        which illuminates the work and some operas
        in text are quite precise as to time, mood, period and place as is Tosca as you suggest. Sometimes the text refers to occurrences or of people who are linked to historical happenings (the reference to Gluck in
        Capriccio for example and some operas may not make sense in another era such as moving Andrea Chenier out of its period.) When I first started to go to opera the Met’s productions were generally true to the period of the story -- it was a shock for some to see Faust (with Bjoerling, de los Angeles) moved up to the 19th century and it was very controversial perhaps less so when Forza (for Milanov) was advanced a couple of centuries as Forza had not been part of the standard repertoire. Now I have seen all sorts of imaginative productions -- some brilliant, others total flops. Much changed after Wieland Wagner but he was, in my opinion, very adept in stage direction and showing the development of a character with interesting sometimes minimal lighting effects -- but he knew the music well. Generally I like a certain amount of light and brightness -- I found the sets in Figaro last week at the Met rather dark for the opera -- the singers had spotlights on them but except for the 4th Act nothing in the opera takes place outside in the night. But the Wolf’s Glen Scene in Freischuetz should be shrouded in darkness with interesting lighting effects -- I am not so keen on Rigolettos in
        Las Vegas or Cosi fan Tuttes in Coney Island -- as
        in a repertory housesuch as the Met, Munich or Vienna, the novelty wears off. Mostly I go to the opera for the music, the conductor and the orchestra and primarily for the singing and the interpretations of certain singers in specific roles. That is sufficient to entertain me. But much of the early history of opera was the weaving of the music and spectacle -- at least until Gluck who made refinements in excesses. In 19th century France a ballet was often necessary to entertain the public though the dance itself was often merely for entertainment and did not enhance the story at all. So opera was more often than not a grand entertainment for the spectator’s delight -- When the Met did its
        acclaimed production of “The Nose” many non opera goers went specifically to see the fascinating production (while some traditional opera goers were turned off by the music itself). The Met is not in an
        easy situation -- productions (unless borrowed) are expected to last for decades and very few are found suitable for both the conservative traditional patrons and also for the avant guard -- there is no easy funding available for productions not created to last more than a season or two. A production must be created to envelop different casts (even Netrebko found the Salzburg Traviata not really welcoming after a few years -- and what could the Met have done with such a production of Traviata if they today had a Tebaldi, an Albanese, a Sutherland, Caballe, Gruberova or Cotrubas to sing it currently sitting on the roster with fans clamoring to hear “their” Violettas.) Gelb does not have an easy task to be sure.

        • MissShelved

          I won’t argue that any given story can’t be moved from place to place or from time to time — good directors can make interesting parallels to bring a story into focus for new generations. The Bondy Tosca, however, created a huge problem for the leading lady by requiring her to spend the entire first half of her opening scene not seeing the only thing in the room. Now if only someone can come up with a Mary Magdalene that doesn’t make one want to encourage Cavaradossi to find a new job…

      • I agree that Tosca is an opera that adapts less well than other, especially because of all the specific references. Of course, it doesn’t mean that it has to be an opulent spectacle to be successful. I think the look of Bondy’s production was just fine and it could have been better if it had had better direction and not tried to score its major points with over-the-top sexuality.

      • Lindoro Almaviva

        I have to disagree in principle. Storytelling is storytelling and when the storytelling is good and it gets to the heart of the issue, the decors can be secondary.

        Yes, Tosca is set in very specific times, but it is nothing that can not be fixed with a tweaking of the super titles. It is not as if the audience knows or understands the libretto, most people don’t, so generalizing the translation to avoid the name dropping and just giving the sense of the moment would satisfy most the audience. There will always be people that will bitch and moan that Tosca was not wearing an umpire dress and that the titles did niot mention Bonaparte. Those are the few and they should not spoil the fun for the rest.

        I have always thought that Tosca will translate well into WW2 (an idea that goes back to when Sills did the role before she was famous). I didn’t much care for the production, but the Bregenz production, set in modern times, worked welll because the production (and honestly the opera as a whole) was about corruption and power struggles. That theme is universal and can be set in just about any era. Here are some ideas:

        1. A Tosca set in Spain under Franco.
        2. Tosca under the Pinochet Regime.
        3. A Tosa during Apartheid. Tosca is black and Cavaradossi could be either white or black with the chief of police not only lusting after her but depending on the Cavaradossi, there are racist elements to his persecution.
        4. An all black cast of Tosca set in an African dictatorial regime.

        The same can be said for Angelica. Not all women take the veil after giving birth to a child out of wedlock, but they all face the same pressure of what they are going to do and in many cultures the ostracism of families where they are less than accepting. Angelica on the surface might be about a woman thrown in a convent to clean and atone for her sin, but the themes of ostracism, and family dynamics are universal and can be played in any era. Just watch LA’s production. The sets are 1950’s but the drama plays very well.

  • Ivy Lin

    Well the dress rehearsal is happening right now.

    • Savannah Dillard

      Do you know how it’s going? If so, spill!

      • Ivy Lin

        No. I just saw ppl on social media checking in. Lisette Oropesa on her instagram says it’s “amazing.”
        https://www.instagram.com/p/BdRBWjBnfNJ/?taken-by=lisetteoropesa

        • Paul Johnston

          What else would she say….. or did you edit her and she really said, “it’s amazingly bad”

          • Armerjacquino

            So either she’s lying or Ivy edited her?

            You seem very invested in the impossibility of anyone having a different opinion to yours.

            Pro tip: when someone says they like something, it’s usually because they do.

            • Lying is a very melodramatic way of putting it. Another way of putting it is that she’s been a team player and rooting for the company with which she hopes to have a long career.

            • Armerjacquino

              The melodrama surely comes from the suggestion that someone who takes the trouble to say ‘I am enjoying this opera’ isn’t actually enjoying the opera. She didn’t have to IG anything and not doing so wouldn’t have done her the slightest harm.

            • Nah, I think you’ve supplied the melodrama all on your own. And you seem completely new to the idea of cheer-leading. There’s also the fact that Paul Johnston’s comment about Ivy editing Oropesa’s remark was meant to be a joke and you treat it like he’s suggesting something sinister. Followed by the patronising “pro tip”. The melodrama is all yours.

            • Armerjacquino

              Righty ho.

              The fact that you disapprove of something I’ve posted is not, shall we say, the biggest surprise of my life.

    • Paul Johnston

      I was there, it leaves a lot to be desired.

      • Fiamma Sacra

        Amen….. Boring as Hell… Villaume has no feel for Puccini, the direction was mangled if not flat out ignored…Grigolo still doesn’t know his part, hams his way thru the role as if he is a silent film actor and the Prompter will need to go on vocal rest, never mind Grigolo… Yoncheva is sloppy and boring and Lucic is the worst…. the Best singing of the night goes to the Jailer Richard Bernstein…. DOA…. sets by the way are glamorous but why there is a roaring fire in the middle of a story set in July in Rome, I will never know. Also Tosca jumps off a parapet where 1/3 the audience can’t see it… a befuddled stroke of idiocy

        • Paul Johnston

          So didn’t you think it was strange that the Te Deum procession was also staged far left like they were just passing by and going down an alley? This is the opportunity for great spectacle with amazing music and it it ended with a whimper. Griglio also needs to stop running around like he’s still playing Romeo and learn how to scream correctly in the torture scene. And Scarpia…..well I don’t even want to get into that.

          • Fiamma Sacra

            You are right Paul!! The Te Deum is a moment totally lost in a directors vision that seemingly has never been in a catholic service. No ferver, religiosity, Grandeur… nothing. Grigolo was a disgrace. All that talent and completely undisciplined, notes wrong, rhythms wrong, no phrasing, no character and he seemed to be singing in a foreign language the six phrases he learned without prompting.

            I couldn’t believe this was the dress rehearsal… Villaume is all Arms no talent… waving frantically and still just following. If I were Gelb I would have Anna and Yusef flown in… Ganidze is already in the house…. Don’t worry Tommasini will think it’s a triumph, that he is strapping, she is a Tosca for the ages and the production is a return to traditional family values.

            • Ivy Lin

              Uh I hate to point out the obvious but … is it a good idea to write off an entire production/performance based on dress rehearsals?

            • Fiamma Sacra

              Probably not… but nothing is going to change so…..

            • Ivy Lin

              The production won’t change much although post-premiere tweaks in NP’s are almost a given. The vocal performances will change a lot though. I’ve never heard a dress rehearsal where the singer was singing at maximum capacity.

            • ER

              I agree with Ivy. While the bones of the production won’t change, there’s often lots of tweaking that continues for weeks after opening night.

              judging singers through rehearsals is also tricky as you don’t know what percentage of full power they’re using.

            • H_Badger

              How long does it typically take to learn a role like Cavaradossi? This isn’t some obscure role, or Berg….(I’m not a singer, so I dunno).

              I loved Ganidze -- wish they’d bring him back.

            • Willym

              There is no set “service” for a Te Deum that I have ever encountered -- other than the priest being in a white cope accompanied by taper bearers and a thurifer. The priest faces the altar intones the opening words which are then taken up by the choir as he says the canticle in a normal voice. There is no censing of the altar or worshipers as it is not a Eucharistic service so I’m not sure what catholic service the director has missed? And it would normally be done at the High Altar not in a side chapel so them simply passing by the Attavanti Chapel would make sense.

              The Zia Zef procession with Swiss Guards, the entire bloody college of Cardinals, a canopied monstrance and incense so thick it was like San Francisco on a foggy morning was obviously something to please the punters who were looking for that allusive beauty.

          • southerndoc1

            “So didn’t you think it was strange that the Te Deum procession was also staged far left like they were just passing by and going down an alley?”

            Actually, I’ve always thought it was a little strange that this enormous ceremonial procession wound up all crammed into a little side chapel where a painter is working . . .

            • Amika

              I agree the procession should be headed to the altar, not the Attavanti chapel

            • Armerjacquino

              For reference, the libretto* suggests that the choir is ‘at the back’ of the church. I agree, southerndoc, that productions which just fill the stage, ie the Attavanti chapel, at this point are creating a very odd geography to the scene. And the chorus should also be somewhere separate enough from Scarpia for him to be (a) confident in outlining his plan to himself and (b) able to forget that the Te Deum is being sung.

              As for ‘fervour and religiosity’, the first reaction of the chorus to being told about the Te Deum by the Sacristan is to celebrate that they’ll be getting double pay.

              *(Il canto sacro dal fondo della chiesa scuote
              Scarpia, come svegliandolo da un
              sogno. Si rimette, fa il segno della croce
              guardandosi intorno, e dice:)

            • southerndoc1

              Thanks for clarification.

        • H_Badger

          oh man….now i’m so excited for the live chat on NYE :-D

  • Ivy Lin

    Sorry a mispost. Here is what the Met posted:
    https://youtu.be/bLc6nfvgN8A

    • grimoaldo2

      Thanks for posting that Ivy.
      Does not make me wish I could run down to the box office and score some tickets,

      • ER

        gorgeous voice, but am I hearing the beginnings of a beat in the tone?

        • The extreme of her voice has had this for a while. I just hope she can keep her top in decent working condition because I’m such a fan of her voice and artistry.

    • grimoaldo2

      Without wishing to compare the voices or actual singing of the aria, here is Sondra R at the Met in 2011
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pryZos2oOk
      She starts off recumbent on the chaise longue thingy, then sits up and then stands up and moves around a little.
      Whereas Sonya Y is literally just standing there.
      Boring!

      • Ivy Lin

        Sondra Rad’s Tosca was one of the most ridiculous pieces of acting ever. The phonetic Italian, the “stabbing” of Tosca like she was checking if the turkey was ready … It was really awful.

        • grimoaldo2

          I was actually just trying to compare the “blocking”, or directed movement (or lack of it) of the previous version with the new one.

          • Ivy Lin

            Well Maria Callas didn’t do much but “stand there” either (or in the case of this video, sit). The difference is that she didn’t have to move physically to express the essence of Tosca in 3 minutes.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLR3lSrqlww

  • Countessa Salome

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT33Y8zRVdI

    Well looks like a very pretty and safe production.

    • Ivy Lin

      Sorry first one didn’t embed properly.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjPvj-1WHIc

      • Countessa Salome

        I’m sorry he gives too much way too soon and then he has nothing left to give by the end. I started rolling my eyes 30 seconds in.

    • GiacomoPuccini

      I’ve always found watching Yoncheva that if I turn off the audio I can’t tell by her facial expression whether she’s happy, mad, in pain, whatever. Her facial expressions look to me the same when flirting with Cavaradossi in the first act as during the Vissi d’Arte in the second. Or when Otello called her una vil cortigianna. Am I the only one?

      • Amika

        NO I totally agree her face is always frozen

  • Countessa Salome

    I would pay major money if this production was put on at the MET. Now that would sell tickets LOL
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjBAUjccPfs&t=2050s

  • Ivy Lin

    Um so I found this online. It’s the Mapleson Cylinders of Tosca in 1903, “live from the Met” in not-HD sound. What’s most striking about this clip is you realize how little Tosca has changed. You can imagine almost everything that’s going on onstage from the way Eames, Scotti and Marchi are reacting to each other. Eames screams at exactly the same time after the third “Mario” as basically every other recorded Tosca in history. I don’t think Tosca is an opera for the imaginative mind and deconstructionist director. There’s literally nothing to deconstruct. The fact that a performance in 1903 will sound exactly the same as a performance in 1917 speaks volumes about how minutely Puccini crafted the opera. It’s its biggest strength and biggest limitation.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTJv5qC62Bg