Cher Public

2017 in review

Call it The Year of the Cancellation. The top 25 most read parterre stories of the year follow the jump. 

Among parterre’s more than three million pages viewed by the public (cher and otherwise) during 2017, the most clickable of all were:

Apathy greets announcement of Metropolitan Opera’s 2017-2018 season

An authentically reactionary revival of Franco Zeffirelli‘s sacred production of Puccini’s Tosca is the highlight of the Met’s 2017-2018 season. The tragically underrepresented Sir David McVicar, absent from the Met for nearly two weeks now, has consented to do traffic direction for the cast of Kristine Opolais, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel, all of whom will surely show up.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky is alive, his wife assures us

Florence Hvorostovsky has just posted to her Facebook page that the Russian news site reporting her husband’s death is mistaken. “My husband is fine and sleeping happily next to me,” she writes.

Renée! F!

I fucking love Renée Fleming. And I don’t give a fuck if you don’t.

The frailty of everything earthly

If everything you see is great, you are either new to opera or chronically easy to please. Neither condition is anything of which to be ashamed, but the development of standards over a period of years is something to be embraced. Standards make it mean more when something really is worth raving over.

Athánati

Born on this day in 1923.

The music, ho!

Here’s where the parterriani will surely gather to hear and to comment upon this evening’s monster gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Met’s incumbency at Lincoln Center, beginning at 6:00 PM EDT and ending heaven knows when.

Leaving blood on the shirt

The debate over live transmissions of opera to cinemas in HD isn’t going to go away.

Better call Gaul

A gnawing sense of déja vu kept invading my thoughts during the second half of Bellini’s Norma Monday evening: I was reminded of the Met’s Opening Night two years ago when the audience got a new dark, dull Otello that didn’t at all improve on the production it was replacing.

Turandon’t

From the perspective of current identity politics, Puccini’s Turandot is a disaster of epic proportions: a dumpster fire of misogyny and racism. Its plot concerns a Pekinese princess who avenges her female ancestor by slaughtering a host of misguided suitors. That is until a mysterious prince named Calàf melts her icy, bitter heart with his virile advances—a conflict and resolution tantamount to rape.

La fanciulla del West Side


Jonas Kaufmann
‘s Dick will highlight the Met’s 2018-2019 season, when the tenor sings a new production of Puccini’s La fanciulla del West in New York.

Purists

I suppose the most significant moment of the season premiere of Bellini’s I Puritani at the Metropolitan Opera occurred when someone—a deranged purist no doubt—heckled Javier Camarena from the balcony of the opera house for withholding the infamous high F during “Credeasi, misera.”

What’s wrong with James Levine?

La Cieca was just sent an announcement about “James Levine: 40 Years at The Metropolitan Opera, an extraordinary insider’s view of the legendary conductor’s Met career, illustrated with vivid historic photographs….” —but that’s not what’s on La Cieca’s mind here.

A voice that must be heard

The Metropolitan Opera’s new tagline, ‘The Voice Must be Heard,” was on bright display Monday night when, at the center of the company’s revival of Puccini’s La bohème, one found the rich and layered talent of Angel Blue.

Fifty shades of gold

Anticipation of events like the Metropolitan Opera’s 50th Anniversary bash turns me back into the newly opera-soused kid who begged his parents to let him watch the highlights of the Bing Gala on the family color television since the little black-and-white set in my bedroom just wasn’t good enough.

Carol Neblett 1946-2017

The New York City Opera reports the death of American soprano Carol Neblett.

Levine to return to triumphant debut opera

Those few of you who cherished meager hopes for any sort of artistic excellence at the Met might as well log off now, because the gala New Year’s Eve Tosca at the Met next season is going to be conducted by that hot young talent James Levine.

Broadcast: Norma

The cher public are surely already fluffing the sofa pillows and uncrating the snacks for tonight’s broadcast of the Met’s opening night performance of Norma

Broadcast: Aïda

Set aside Saturday afternoon, cher public, for listening and discussion of the new Salzburg Festival Aïda, featuring Anna Netrebko in her role debut as the titular princess in captivity.

Same steppes, different dancers

Is there any better Onegin today than Peter Mattei’s? Has Anna Netrebko ever sounded better? Is this not one of the greatest operas ever written?

Donna son io, signore, ed in mia casa

Though none of the three performances of Anna Netrebko‘s Traviata at La Scala was broadcast, an in-house in decent sound has surfaced.

Annals of gerontocracy

BREAKING: Placido Domingo, who, in 20 years of trying, has never yet got either the words or the rhythms right in the role of Siegmund, has been announced to conduct Die Walküre at Bayreuth next season.

Cast thy breadbox upon the waters

At approximately this time one week from now, La Cieca hears, the Metropolitan Opera will announce its 2017-2018 season. So what better time for a competition in which you, the cher public, attempt to predict the future?

The once and future queen

In addition to her first Met Aida performances next season, forthcoming projects for the one and only Anna Netrebko just keep gushing out.

“Norma,” bis

Sir David McVicar’s inept and dreary new production of Bellini’s Norma proved to be more satisfying than it had been on opening night when it returned to the Met Friday evening thanks to its new leading ladies Angela Meade and Jamie Barton.

Sommo giubilo, eccellenza!

Peter Gelb announces that the Met will return its 1980s glory days as a hideously overpriced theme park! David McVicar whinges about literally everything!