Ariane abbandonata

La Cieca has just heard that Carol Vaness has canceled her performances of Ariane et Barbe-Bleu at the New York City Opera this fall due to “injury.” The opening night of this Dukas production is scheduled for October 6, less than six weeks from now, and the word is that NYCO is scrambling rather intensely to find someone, anyone who knows this long, heavy and (above all) obscure role. (The only two names that La Cieca can think of are Geraldine Farrar and Grace Bumbry, and rumor has it neither of them is really enthusiastic about working with Leon Botstein.) Vaness’s name is still on the NYCO’s website, but her photo has been replaced by a symbolist logo of weeping eyes.

10 Responses to “Ariane abbandonata”

  1. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Did Shirley Verrett ever do Ariane? She sang in BlueBeard’s Castle at the Met. Close enough?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I remember the recording with Katherine Ciesinski who I understand is a professor these days at the Moores School of Music: don’t know if she’s still singing but…..

  3. Anonymous Says:

    The only Ariane in recent memory is French soprano Francoise Pollet, who sang it in the French provinces about 5 years ago. She was booed the night I attended her Met debut in LES TROYENS and that was over 10 years ago. I doubt she’s still up for it. The part is an absolute killer. Iva Pacetti, who sang the role under Toscanini’s direction, described the part as “terrifying in its length and vocal hurdles.” Hard to imagine the over-the-hill Vaness taking it on in the first place. I think NYCO would be well-advised to pay someone to learn the part on short notice or scrap the whole project entirely.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I bet Flanigan is brought in for a return. It’ll kill them to have to do it, but I can’t think of anyone else.

  5. il tenore di grazia Says:

    It’s the sort of role that Jessye Norman liked to sing years back.

  6. Met should hire Yvonne Naef then. She did a kick-ass Ariane at Opera House Zurich last season.

  7. Ooopsie, I meant NYCO.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    A replacement has been found and is listed on the NYCO site. She has already performed the role elsewhere.

  9. The Interpolater Says:

    But what is this non-appearance really saying about Vaness? Can she not SING the role? Was she merely HOPING she could pull it off, so she signed the contract and prayed like hell?

    Well, the problem certainly is NOT intelligence: I have sung with her, and she is smart as a whip (and she probably likes to use one). Yet precisely what are these alleged “terrifying vocal hurdles?” Bull. Look at the score, and now let’s be frank:

    The only “terrifying vocal hurdle” for La Vaness would be any actual, written, required pitch beyond a High C. If that sounds bitchy, allow me to disabuse the reader of such a characterization and remind the reader of Vaness’s D-less Manon (Mass, not Pooch) and E-flatless Trav (not required, but she’d kill to have it). And let’s hark back to that Met Clemenza and discuss (in hushed tones, of course) the way she approached the WRITTEN high D in that score.

    So — why did she cancel? Maybe it really WAS the “injury.” The Interpolater, for one, figured she’d probably do a good job with this. But I guess it’s back to Tosca in Austin.

  10. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Dear Interpolator, what can you tell us about Vaness’ appearance in Rossini’s William Tell? Mathilde is quite a role.

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