Cher Public

Broadcast: L’elisir d’amore

This week’s dose of love potion will be taken a little early, cher public: noon EST, but La Cieca is sure you’ll have plenty to discuss anyway. Photo: Karen Almond/Metropolitan Opera

  • Camille

    Rowna,
    Get those track shoes on and get over here!

    Does anyone know if Miss Pretty is now completely over her cold or whatever it was on opening night?

    • trevor

      Hi Camille,
      Polenzani is so good in this aria! And right at the opening of the act! I think people forgot today’s opera started at 12.

      • Camille

        Oh, you’re probably correct.

        Well, thus far not so bad but I don’t know if I’ll stick with it as I am in midst of my Babylonian excavations at present. And this is not my favourite Donizetti. Still debating whether or not to go. Kindnof always want to hear di Stefano in this and have him playing in the background of memory. You know how it is.

        Oh Miss Pretty sounding pretty, pretty good!

        • Brackweaver

          Alas, it’s delayed an hour for me so the chat is a little weird.

          • Camille

            Weirder than normal?

        • Bill

          Camille -- Yende seems to have a bit of a spread in her upper voice (not the uppermost top notes) which is worrysome and makes her in duet not blend so well with Polenzani who is quite attractive when he is singing softly, less so when he pushes his voice. So far nothing special about the Belcore

          The first time I ever heard “Una furtiva”
          was di Stefano singing on a London records LP with a variety of singers each doing one aria. Certainly a wonderful rendition --
          actually I liked the aging Berganzi singing Nemorino at the Met better than Polenzani in this broadcast -- what style Berganzi had ! A French singer named Benjamin Bernheim had a big success as Nemorino just this week in his debut in Vienna -- think he has been based in Zurich and the reviews seem promising -- does anyone know his work (to date)? Curiously when I first started going to the Met in the early Bing Years L’Elisir was not in the repertory. Practically no Bel Canto save Barbieri, Lucia and Norma (but the seasons were shorter starting only in November, performances in Philadelphia many Tuesdays, a post season of unscheduled hits of the season and then the tour.

          • Camille

            oho! That is more or less just what I am hearing as well and I hate to be a concern troll but it is not a good sign.

            Oh, I know that London Records recording as I had it too!! Yes, I have been hearing about this Benjamin Bernheim of late. There is a recital of his on Medici TV from, I think, Bordeaux which may still be available. And yes, Bergonzi was particularly always elegant and it is good he grew to be greater appreciated once Del Monaco and Corelli and the rest were safely off the scene.

            • ines

              A propos concern trolls…. Tomorrow I’ll hear Sonya Yoncheva at her Scala recital.. and on Friday she is scheduled to sing Mimi at the Met… moving fast…

            • Camille

              Well, I am beginning to think she’s just riding her pony as fast and hard as she can to make the big bucks to retire early. She’s no fool, from the sounds of her interviews, so if people open the gateway for her to go in, why not go for it while she may.

              She’s already done Mimì here so it’s not as important and they can always call up a dozen others should she call in sick. A Scala recital is a big deal. Please let us hear about what she sings!

          • actfive

            Bernheim is singing Faust at Lyric Opera of Chicago, opening March 3. Very excited to hear him.

  • SanRaphael

    Finally! An Adina with a natural-sounding laugh -- as opposed to the usual polychromatic descent…

    • Camille

      You mean HA!Ha!HA!Ha! HA!

      • SanRaphael

        And terribly affected-sounding -- such a laugh has put paid to many a potentially marvellous Sempre Libera

        • Camille

          Oh god yes!!! Magda Olivero’s hysterical overreaction being a prime example!

          • SanRaphael

            La Stupenda in the Pritchard Traviata.

            • Camille

              God I can’t remember that one anymore and I once had it. Well, La Stupenda was not exactly the soul of spontaneity!

            • southerndoc1

              And Tebaldi, no matter how beautiful the singing, always had a witch’s cackle.

            • PCally

              There’s an otherwise terrific Sempre Libre with Cuberli that is almost totally ruined by her continual interspersing of weird little giggle screams which I take it are meant to convey reckless abandon but sound like someone told a not very funny joke.

            • Camille

              Where did she laugh? I’ve only heard her Violetta in an old fifties broadcast and don’t recall if she cackled there. Aïda and Leonora don’t have much cackling?!?

            • Scott

              Tebaldi’s cackle always came in the first act of Traviata after “A fors’e lui” and before “Sempre Libera”.

            • Camille

              Never listened to her recording of it. Too afraid to. Thanks for the warning.

            • SanRaphael

              As demostrated by Stupenda’s Adina’s laughs in L’elisir with Pavarotti. No shade on the singing,tho!

            • Camille

              Never listened to that. Too late in the day for me. I want pre-1973 Stupenda.

            • SanRaphael

              It was 1970 -- is 1973 a Sutherland watershed?

            • Camille

              Wait--what?? That early? I thought it came out much much later. Or are there two versions of it like the Sonnambula?

              Well around 1975 it had changed. I actually like Aunt Joanie best between late fifties to around 1966. The 1972 is all that post Daughter of the Regiment stuff.

            • SanRaphael

              Just the one version, to be followed by Les Huguenots then on to the land of Turandot and Esclarmonde…

            • Camille

              Turandot I love but Esclarmonde is a, um, problem for me.

            • SanRaphael

              At least it gave us Jaime Aragall in Decca ffss.

            • Luvtennis

              Joan is actually in very good voice in that recording, Camille. And yes, it is from 69-70. I prefer the Devia/Alagna pairing, but the Decca is very enjoyable.

              I also avoid Joan’s recordings made after ‘69. As for remakes, the first versions are always preferable with regard to her singing. That said the later stuff suffers mostly because the early stuff is so unbelievably perfect in execution AND beauty of timbre.

            • Camille

              Yes it does suffer by comparison. Even if Pavarotti is along for the ride, it’s just not at all the same. In 1966 she was already 40, so there’s that, too.

              I kind of got my fill of it all by 1965 or 66 and went on to discover Caballé and Freni. Then, there was always de los Angeles for me, too.

            • decotodd

              I was lucky enough to see the tail end of Joan’s career in live performance which coincided with my opera discovery teen years (starting around 1980). But as much as I treasure those experiences, it is always the earlier recordings I turn to now, aside from the occasional video.

  • southerndoc1

    Supposedly this scene change was planned to be done in view of the audience with the new set moving forward, but it never worked out. Bad tech failure.

    • trevor

      Surprised?

      • Camille

        It caught “Machine-itis”.

  • It’s always a pleasure to listen to Polenzani. A Valletti-like sound.

    • trevor

      Cesare Valletti=one elegant tenor.

  • Camille

    Who is Dott Dulcamara again?

    • trevor

      Ildebrando

      • Camille

        Oh. I just don’t really get acquainted with him. He doesn’t really sound all that buffo to me like some I’ve heard.

  • La Cieca

    Please stop trying to make Susanna Phillips happen.

  • La Cieca

    The ineffable Matt Baume hosts a live version of his celebrated podcast “The Sewers of Paris” this afternoon afternoon starting at 5:00 PM EST, with Our Own JJ scheduled to be interviewed at 6:30 PM. The whole thing will be live on YouTube.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM8haqkMYyo

    • Camille

      What are the sewers of Paris? Is it JJ or La Cieca being interviewed?

      • La Cieca

        The Sewers of Paris is a podcast interviewing gay men about the types of entertainment they grew up hearing and seeing. Our Own JJ will appear as himself.

        • Camille

          Okay. Well that probably counts me out but maybe I will listen just to see how JJ is doing and I hope he will mention Lana Turner as a Ziegfeld girl.

    • Kenneth Conway

      I spot Pee Wee and Karen Carpenter. And on Leontyne Price’s birthday to boot! Obviously I must check out this podcast.

  • SanRaphael

    This is reminding me that when I saw L’Elisir at ROH last June, Mme Kurzak was out with a throat infection and it was clear from the get-go that M. Alagna was struggling: by the end of Act One he was sounding like D. Duck. After a protracted intermission, a music stand appeared stage right and Atalla Ayan sang while Roberto lip-synched. Saw Miss Pretty’s Adina a couple of weeks before.

    • Camille

      How did you like Atalla Ayan?

      And why is Alagna still singing Nemorino anyway? Isn’t it getting a bit late in the day for that? In between Otello and Don José?

      • SanRaphael

        He was appearing in the season’s Traviata and happened to be in the house. He did a great job, especially as he was pinch-hitting, hardly looking at the score, ideal timbre and placement for the role. (In fact, I was less impressed with his Alfredo).

        • Camille

          Interesting, as that was what I liked him as, his debut Alfredo here. Then he had to compete with Alagna in the Cyrano and he came up second best with that one and if I’d have been Roxane I’d probably gone with the big nose in the first place.

          He got through Alfredo’s cabaletta successfully enough and didn’t die on that last C, so I was grateful for that much!

          • SanRaphael

            Maybe I heard his Alfredo on a tense night, but he had trouble in that cabaletta, and somehow overall his characterisation didn’t impact as powerfully as it needed to; but a fine-looking feller, you could tell what Violetta saw in him.

            • Camille

              Interesting for on his debut he seemed not to be nervous here. Perhaps ill? Perhaps a Dear John letter he received in the mail that morning? One just never knows, it is such a precarious thing to sing.

            • SanRaphael

              One never knows, certainly, and that Traviata is a revolving-door show -- I’ve seen it with five Violettas (including Gheorghiu and Ailyn Perez) and those were just the ones I could get tickets for. Maybe AA made his entrance and found himself singing with an unexpected soprano.

            • Camille

              Quite possible!

              I look forward to hearing him again whenever that happens here!

  • Camille

    I liked JDF’s version better. There, I said it!

    • Florez rendition was one of the best pieces of singing I heard in the last few years. Nevertheless, Polenzani was truly endearing. Just wonderful.

      • Camille

        I’ll grant you that much, certainly, but Flórez sounded more carefully and scrupulously like a belcanto line and thpe of singer, to me.

  • southerndoc1

    Liked the conductor a lot.

  • southerndoc1

    Parsifal starts in five minutes -- open the bloodgates!

    • Camille

      Nein, nein, ik trink kein Wein!

  • CwbyLA

    I was at the HD presentation and had a good time. Pretty Yende’s personality fits this role very well. I thought both Yende and Polenzani did an excellent job. Polenzani appears to have slimmed down a bit and he acted very well. I also like his singing a lot and would go back to hear him again. However, I feel that there is something missing with him, perhaps charisma. I would happily attend his performances, whether it is in opera or recital, but I would not buy his recordings.

  • MissShelved

    Caught the HD — battle of the dimples! Liked Yende, liked Polenzani a lot better than his last HD in this role (and better than CwbyLA, I think). D’Archangelo was a delightful. A younger, more virile Dulcamara worked for me. If he (and others) got a little hammy, one suspects it was due to a younger than usual audience with a lot of very young kiddos. Liked the debut Belcore. Reminded me of a young Alessandro Corbelli (dimples and all).

  • rapt

    I also enjoyed the HD. Over the airwaves, in the first half Yende’s voice seemed to me a bit steely and intonation imperfect on high notes--but in the second half, almost as if it was a matter of warming up, the tone was beautiful and the tuning fine. My reservation in advance about going was Polenzani’s acting--but in the event I thought him very touching--neither stiff (as I feared) nor showboating (like some I might mention) but sincere and vulnerable. Maybe his voice doesn’t have the distinction of some, but I thought he did a superb job. Liked the others, too.