How deep is your throat?

Now (as always) La Cieca is on the prowl for tips on opera-related gossip. We’re talking future casting, hirings and firings, onstage and backstage misbehavior, random acts of charity, deliberate acts of skulduggery, and, well, all those wonderful things that make opera seem like it belongs in the same world with Lindsay Lohan.

In order to encourage her cher public to sing like so many beautiful little stool pigeons, La Cieca will offer the following inducements: for the best tip of the week, a CD of “La Cieca’s Greatest Hits;” and for the bestest tip of the month, an historical opera DVD.

Excited? Well, you should be. Send those tips to, and keep reading the box!


14 Responses to “How deep is your throat?”

  1. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Just received a letter from Carnegie Hall indicating that the Anna Netrebko recital scheduled for March 2 has been cancelled and refunding me for the ticket I have. The lady does “not feel artistically ready yet.”

  2. il lacerato spirito Says:

    Will she EVER be?? Hearing her in person in the Rigoletto was a large disappointment I thought she had great potential in War & Peace, and her Sempre Libera recording. But the 2nd recording fell short in my opinion. The Rigoletto, needless to say on here, she simply called in.

  3. meretrice i. d'oscena Says:

    Don’t judge her until you have watched the Salzburg ‘Traviata’ excerpt. You may still hate her, but it’s certainly better than the Met ‘Rigoletto’

    Scroll down to the ‘watch scene’ link.
    And yes, I see that they built her a sound reflector set. And shouldn’t all Set Designers be so considerate?

  4. rysanekfreak Says:

    I saw her in Russian opera a few times in San Francisco before she became the SuperDuperMegaStar that she is today.

    She was the ingenue lead in operas like “Czar’s Bride” and “Betrothal in a Monastery.” I’m tempted to say that she was Gergiev’s protegee back then, and he masterminded her conquest of the U.S.

    She was very good. Sweet and pure and charming.

  5. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Meretrice, thanks for the lead. Fascinating clip. Interesting that they included the entire Sempre Libera. Captivating visually although I need to figure out what it all means. Why does Alfredo crush the flower ? Who’s the old man watching from above? Was Germont pere ogling Violetta before Alfredo met her? The Baron? Verdi himself watching how his opera is performed?

    Not a complaint, but surely singing Sempre Libera while walking backwards and having the tenor embrace you goes beyond the call of duty. And from stageback!

  6. Just Another Tenor Says:

    Wow, Deutsche Grammophon can’t even spell the name of the town in which the production was held.
    On the pop-up window, they call the small Austrian town “Saltzburg.”
    I have not heard the clip yet, but that is some really bad copy editing on an advertisement page…

  7. Just Another Tenor Says:

    The precision of her singing is commendable, as is her fiery animal presence on stage. However, boy does she push when she gets to those top notes – it really sounds spread and uneasy. No wonder she skipped the Eb.
    Is Rolando playing Alfredo in this scene, or a vision of Alfredo projected from her mind? I would need to see the rest of the video to determine that. My guess is he is not real – he crushes a white flower. If the director has any background on the piece, she would have given him, earlier, a red flower. So the white flower holding Alfredo could be a vision of her imagination, of Alfredo returning once her “womanly problems” are over.
    But that is just a guess.
    Who was the old guy?

  8. Just Another Tenor Says:

    I don’t think the shortening of those top Cs was done out of any artistic decision, but rather a technical limitation.
    Also, why does she keep on replacing words such as “dee volar” with “ah”?
    It Sounds odd, and frankly does not make sense. To replace the big “Follie” in the middle of the aria (after Alfredo’s first incursion) with “Ah!” has been done in the past, but the “dee volar” change is a bit weird, and cannot be justified by any technical difficulty.
    Was she sick of repeating the word? If that’s the reason, perhaps Italian opera (notably her upcoming Don Pasquale) should be brushed aside of her repertoire.

  9. bella figlia dell'amore Says:

    actually, just another tenor, if you’re talking about the upward runs starting on E flat near the end of “Sempre libera,” it is indeed semi-traditional to replace “dee volar” with “ah.” I have eight recordings of Traviata – it is done that way on three or four of them. Plugging an “l” into the middle of an upward run can interrupt the breath flow and throw off the tone quality if it’s not done extremely carefully – in fact, I just played back that part of my Sutherland recording, even she sings “ah,” and er…I’m pretty sure no technical limitation applied there.

    Whether Netrebko has any business singing Violetta, especially after that fucking abysmal Gilda at the Met, is another question entirely, and one I dare not even address.

  10. Just Another Tenor Says:

    I meant the ones right before that. “dee volar, dee volar, dee volare il mio pensier, dee volar, dee volar” It is traditional to take a big breath after the last dee volar and start the faster passages downward scales (F to Bb, G to C, Ab to Db, Bb to Eb, and high Db to Bb) on a simple “Ah” vowel. She does is earlier, which i have never heard on recordings. I went through all the ones I ave, and no one has ever done that. Look at mm 30-31 starting with the double bar beofre the Semre Libera, and their equivalent in the repeat.
    The upwards run starting on Eb (to Ab the first time, then to C the second time)which she sings while Alfredo sings in the background are traditional on an “ah” vowel and i could never fault that.

  11. bella figlia dell'amore Says:

    all right, now I’ve watched the clip, so I’m not talking out my ass anymore.

    ok, that is some fucked up shit right there.

    Number one, she can’t even sing a clean scale – upward OR downward. The aria IS hard, make no mistake, but it’s not as hard as she makes it sound.

    Number two, what is UP with the staging?

    For what it’s worth, I think someone – the conductor, the director, someone – told her to sing “Ah” there. The first time she does it she sings “Dee volar,” the repeat is where she does the “ah’s” – that’s got to be deliberate for some freaky dramatic effect. This looks to me like the work of some director who decided that Traviata is not about Violetta, Alfredo and Germont…it’s about his IDEA. Don’t even get me started.

  12. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    On a somewhat different subject, I attended the Hvorostovski recital here in Washington earlier in the week and was quite surprised to find the second half amplified. And I mean amplified, a la Broadway show. He sang into a microphone.

    I believe he’s scheduled to do the same program at Carnegie Hall next week. Will be quite interested in knowing whether he uses amplification there too. Would seem to me like a sacrilege for an operatic singer to use a microphone at Carnegie Hall. The sky is falling, the sky is falling !

  13. Just Another Tenor Says:

    Dear Tenore di Grazia,
    could you please share with us what was on that program that needed to be amplified? And in which concert hall in DC was this? It does sound odd that he would have wanted amplifictaion, but perhaps some of the repertoire might have justified it… Did he sing arias from “Cats” or “Phanthom of the Opera?”
    Hehe, I am just chuckling at the thought of him trying to sing that!

  14. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Just another tenor, The first half of the program consisted of arias from some Russian operas – Aleko, The Demon, Prince Igor and Nero – and orchestral selections from Mlada, Onegin, Khovanschina and The Snow Maiden. No amplification was used for this half.

    The second half consisted of Russian “war songs.” I should add that the orchestration for these songs – modern arrangements according to the program notes – was on the light side. The amplification was clearly not needed for the baritone to be heard above the orchestra or because the vocal demands were particularly hard. My best guess is that the intent was to give these songs a “popular” sound. The amplification was not on the level of “sound enhancement” but definitely on the style of current Broadway musical. Which is fine. The songs were simple but pleasant to listen to. Some rather beautiful. I just wished that the audience had been told ahead that half of the performance would be amplified.

    Perhaps Dmitri is trying to appeal to a broader public. He was introduced on a local morning TV show as the “new George Clooney.” And it was announced that he would meet with the audience and autograph CDs following the performance.

    The concert was at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.

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