Returning after 99 years for the Met’s annual New Year’s Eve gala, Bizet’s youthful exercise in Orientalia Les Pêcheurs de Perles proved a real crowd-pleaser in Penny Woolcock’s modest updated production with Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani and Mariusz Kwiecien on fire as the central trio whose romantic yearnings challenge their sworn vows of friendship and religious commitment. Read more »
Diana Damrau is a great flirt. Not that I condemn her for that. She toyed with my heartstrings in Traviata and Lucia and Sonnambula and Manon, but she never pretended we were going steady. In her first Carnegie Hall recital on Sunday, she brought her flirting and her acting skills, her superb diction (in both German and French) and her cool, seamless voice, to a good old-fashioned lieder program, the kind one hears less and less often. Read more »
“Hailed ‘the Meryl Streep of opera’…” begins one sentence of a promotional piece for a Diana Damrau recording of another opera, reproduced on the soprano’s website. This is a lofty claim, but I considered it as I watched Erato’s DVD memorializing the last of five 2013-14 Traviata productions (New York, Zurich, Munich, London, and Paris) in which Damrau sang her first Violettas.
There is, of course, a superficial similarity. Both women are attractive, refined blondes with German roots, and both can appear elegant or plain as a role requires. Both impress offstage as merry women and good storytellers, engaging in conversation and interview (I remember years ago hearing Damrau talk about the role of Strauss’s Sophie, and although she joked and laughed a lot, there was nothing frivolous about her insights). Both are admired technicians and hard workers. Read more »
The breaking news from San Francisco Opera is that Nadine Sierra will sing the title role of in a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor, replacing Diana Damrau, who will not.
La Cieca is sure that Meyerbeer fanatics will be delighted to hear that the Royal Opera House Covent Garden is preparing a new staging of Les Huguenots.
“’They’re young… they’re in love… and they kill people’ goes the tagline for the 1968 film Bonnie and Clyde, but the slogan could apply almost as well to the outlaw pair at the center of the Metropolitan Opera’s white-hot revival of Massenet’s Manon.”
Coming as Peter Gelb did from the music industry, opera lovers hoped that he would display a more distinctive knack for casting and an improved talent pipeline than Joe Volpe offered during the waning years of his tenure.
Divalicious Diana Damrau sings cuts from her new disc Forever tonight at Le Poisson Rouge, and, you, cher public, can see it livestreamed right here starting at 7:30 PM.