Cher Public

tales of the silver platter

Wondrous Wenarto is back and more bloodthirsty than ever.

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The Wenarto interpretation is a worthy addition to the YouTube classics by Montserrat Caballé, Leonie Rysanek, Anja Silja and especially William Zauscher.  Read more »

I heard the world end

Before La Cieca departs on holiday from her podcasting duties, allow her to introduce The Podderdammerung Page. Once again, La Cieca scoops the universe: here on you can now listen to (or download) the entire Ring cycle, as featured on this month’s Unnatural Acts of Opera. What sort of Ring will you hear there? So glad you asked!

Das Rheingold:

  • Festspielhaus Bayreuth, August 11, 1951. Conductor: Herbert von Karajan. Wotan: Sigurd Björling; Donner: Werner Faulhaber; Froh: Robert Bernauer; Loge: Walter Fritz; Alberich: Heinrich Pflanzl; Mime: Paul Kuen; Fasolt: Ludwig Weber; Fafner: Friedrich Dalberg; Fricka: Ira Malaniuk; Freia: Paula Brivkalne; Erda: Ruth Siewert; Woglinde: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf; Wellgunde: Lore Wissmann; Floßhilde: Hertha Töpper

Die Walküre:

  • Act 1. Festspielhaus Bayreuth, 1967. Conductor: Karl Böhm. Siegmund: James King; Sieglinde: Leonie Rysanek; Hunding: Gerd Nienstedt.
  • Act 2. Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, April 4, 1955. Conductor: Josef Keilberth. Brünnhilde: Martha Mödl; Wotan: Hans Hotter; Fricka: Georgine von Milinkovic; Sieglinde: Gré Brouwenstijn; Siegmund: Wolfgang Windgassen; Hunding: Josef Greindl.
  • Act 3. Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York, November 1945. Artur Rodzinski, conductor. Brunnhilde: Helen Traubel; Wotan: Herbert Janssen; Sieglinde: Irene Jessner; Helmwige: Doris Doree; Gerhilde: Maxine Stellman; Ortlinde: Irene Jessner; Rossweisse: Doris Doe; Grimgerde: Martha Lipton; Waltraute: Jeanne Palmer; Siegrune: Herta Glaz; Schwertleite: Anna Kaskas.


  • Act 1. Covent Garden, October 1, 1957. Rudolf Kempe, conductor. Siegfried: Wolfgang Windgassen; Mime: Peter Klein; Wanderer: Hans Hotter.
  • Act 2. Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma della RAI, November 14, 1953. Conductor: Wilhelm Furtwängler. Siegfried: Ludwig Suthaus; Mime: Julius Patzak; Wanderer: Ferdinand Frantz; Alberich: Alois Pernerstorfer; Fafner: Josef Greindl; Waldvogel: Rita Streich.
  • Act 3. Festspielhaus Bayreuth, 1980. Conductor: Pierre Boulez. Siegfried: Manfred Jung; Brünnhilde: Gwyneth Jones; Wanderer: Donald McIntyre; Erda: Ortrun Wenkel.


  • Act 1. Festspielhaus Bayreuth, 1967. Conductor: Karl Böhm. Brünnhilde: Birgit Nilsson; Siegfried: Wolfgang Windgassen; Hagen: Josef Greindl; Gunther: Thomas Stewart; Gutrune: Ludmilla Dvoráková; Waltraute: Martha Mödl; 1. Norne: Marga Höffgen 2. Norne: Annelies Burmeister; 3. Norne: Anja Silja.
  • Act 2. Festspielhaus Bayreuth, August 4, 1951. Conductor: Hans Knappertsbusch. Brünnhilde: Astrid Varnay; Siegfried: Bernd Aldenhoff; Hagen: Ludwig Weber; Alberich: Heinrich Pflanzl; Gunther: Hermann Uhde; Gutrune: Martha Mödl.
  • Act 3. Teatro alla Scala, Milano, April 4, 1950. Conductor: Wilhelm Furtwängler. Brunnhilde: Kirsten Flagstad; Siegfried: Max Lorenz; Gunther: Josef Herrmann; Hagen: Ludwig Weber; Gutrune: Hilde Konetzni; Woglinde: Magda Gabory; Wellgunde: Margherita Kenney; Flosshilde: Sieglinde Wagner.


UPDATE: the podcast of Das Rheingold is now online!

La Cieca is delighted and not a little bit frightened to announce that Unnatural Acts of Opera will present the first-ever podcast of Wagner’s tetraology Der Ring des Nibelungen beginning Friday, June 2 and continuing through the last weekend of the month. The series will consist of ten podcasts, each of a single act of the mighty work, and each act from a different live recording.

Artists featured include Bernd Aldenhoff, Sigurd Björling, Gré Brouwenstijn, Annelies Burmieister, Ludmila Dvořáková, Kirsten Flagstad, Ferdinand Frantz, Walter Fritz, Josef Greindl, Marga Höffgen, Hans Hotter, Herbert Janssen, Irene Jessner, Gwyneth Jones, Manfred Jung, Hilde Konetzni, James King, Peter Klein, Paul Kuen, Max Lorenz, Ira Malaniuk, Donald McIntyre, Georgine von Milinkovic, Martha Mödl, Gerd Nienstedt, Birgit Nilsson, Julius Patzak, Alois Pernerstorfer, Heinrich Pflanzl, Leonie Rysanek, Anja Silja, Thomas Stewart, Rita Streich, Ludwig Suthaus, Helen Traubel, Herrmann Uhde, Astrid Varnay, Ludwig Weber, Ortrun Wenkel and Wolfgang Windgassen.

Sharing duties am Pult will be Karl Böhm, Pierre Boulez, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Herbert von Karajan, Josef Keilberth, Rudolf Kempe, Hans Knappertsbusch, Clemens Krauss and Artur Rodzinski.

Meine lippen, sie kuessen so heiss

Leonie Rysanek sings the final scene from Salome in a performance of the Vienna State Opera on tour in Japan (October 2, 1980). Hans Bierer is Herodes and the conductor is Heinrich Hollreiser. (And remember, cher public, if you’re enjoying this content, visit the Amazon Honor System to show your appreciation!)

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A soupcon here, a soupcon there…

La Cieca hears that one of our most popular and beloved mezzo-sopranos is going to drop the “mezzo” part and push up into a higher Fach. Wouldn’t it be a tragedy if this American artist were to show such poor judgment? A quick look-in at Academy Records this evening revealed a tantalizing assortment of CDs on the WH Live Opera label. Promised delights include Anna Moffo as Melisande, Leonie Rysanek as Elisabeth, a Jon Vickers/Tatiana Troyanos Parsifal, and a Trovatore starring Renata Scotto, Luciano Pavarotti and Shirley Verrett! Have any of my cher public purchased these or other recordings on […]

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Sacred monsters!

Too late, I’m afraid, for a holiday gift, but what looks to be the must-have CD of the season has just become available. It’s a “new” Elektra, — actually a release of a live 1990 performance with the Valhalla-level pairing of Dame Gwyneth Jones and Leonie Rysanek as daughter and mother. (This is of course the same team that La Cieca has raved about incessantly for a decade now, whether in their 1995 Met or 1991 Orange performances.) This Claves release, in what appears to be superb sound, is from a staged performance of the opera at Grand Théâtre, Geneva, […]

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Winter camp

The hallmark of Camp is the spirit of extravagance. Camp taste turns its back on the good-bad axis of ordinary aesthetic judgment. Camp doesn’t reverse things. It doesn’t argue that the good is bad, or the bad is good. What it does is to offer for art (and life) a different — a supplementary — set of standards. (Susan Sontag, Notes on Camp) La Cieca extravagantly presents her very favorite camp opera, Salome, starring Leonie Rysanek in a live performance from Vienna in 1972. It’s the latest “Unnatural Act of Opera.”

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Flame on

Something for the weekend: La Cieca presents Act 3 of Die Walkuere as the latest Unnatural Act. The performance is a classic: Bayreuth 1951, Varnay, Rysanek, Bjoerling, Karajan.

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