Surprise "silk purse" for Salzburg!

According to playbill.com, Cecilia Bartoli is replacing Renée Fleming in Salzburg’s all-star concert celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth on January 27. It seems Renaaay demurred from singing the concert aria “Ch’io mi scordi di te” for “vocal reasons.” (Good to hear it wasn’t because she had objections to the text or anything.) Bartoli will also sing the rest of Fleming’s program (Oh, snap!) consisting of “Exsultate, jubilate” and “Là ci darem la mano.” (Unfortunately, this turn of events means that Ms. Bartoli will not be available to substitute for Placido Domingo in the Met’s Cyrano.)

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45 Responses to “Surprise "silk purse" for Salzburg!”

  1. I also heard that La Bartoli was planning to stand in for “Jimmy” during one of his conducting nights at the Met (I think he was planning a manicure for that evening instead), as well as filling in for Mayor Bloomberg on some ribbon-cutting ceremony in Queens, but I could be wrong.

  2. LaMalipasta Says:

    Imagine turning up for Renay and you get Hehelia.

    Would you laugh or cry.

    What a world – to have such an embarassment of vocal riches.

    I wonder if the “worlds leading Rossini mezzo” would ever stand in for Powdles, say as Arsace or Malcolm – roles she seems not to be aware of?

  3. I don’t think Bartoli sings trouser roles.

  4. LaMalipasta Says:

    Nothing to do with the fact that she could nt sing them of course or do you have to wear the costume when recording?

    The reviews in Opera Magazine and The Gramophone of the latest “Prohibita” CD have all appeared next to full page ads. Is it a co-incidence that they are favourable?

    I m all in favour of recording the wonderful lost music – but am also suspicious when singers only record what they cannot be compared in.

    Surely Bartoli is the ultimate record company produced star – she never had a sensational success in an opera house that led to her fame – I had never even heard of her until Decca put out the film about her – “the wonderful new singer everyone is talking about” Really? Who?
    Decca executives I suppose.

    I quite liked her at first and I want to now – as I love the music she sings but I just cannot bear all the grimacing and aspirating – and HYPE.

    Perhaps Salzburg were nt keen to let Renaaay to do the cadenza in Exsultate Jubilate that she performed at the proms in London a few years ago – which consisted of a “skat” version of almost an entire aria from an early opera – Finta I think. Amazing – but not in a good way.

  5. Umm…Bartoli sang Cherubino.

  6. Just Another Tenor Says:

    She also sang Idamante

  7. celticpriestess Says:

    La Cieca, thank you again! I saw the news on parterre.com on Wednesday while I was working, and I was able to alert our station manager and the announcers so that they could let listeners know about Bartoli taking Fleming’s
    place. Thanks for helping us get it right here at WCNY!

  8. ffoperabitch Says:

    Regarding Arsace and Malcolm, does anyone think that she has sufficient power to get through these roles in a large house?

  9. ffoperabitch Says:

    And also, given her current centre of vocal gravity, so to speak, aren’t they now rather low for her?

  10. LaMalipasta Says:

    She never could have sung them on stage – and many Bartolistas denigrate Marilyn Horne!

    I am surprised that she did nt record them though -with a lot of help from the engineers.

    Music teacher friends of mine – when pulling up pupils for aspirating – are now often told “but Cecelia Bartoli does that all the time and she is one of the most successful singers in the world”.

  11. ffoperabitch Says:

    lamalipasta: that rather reminds me of my father’s argument that Charlotte Church can actually sing because she made a lot of money (from a gullible public). Perhaps the same applies here?

  12. marschallin Says:

    Well Well Well. It so happens that none other than CHERYL STUDER sang and documented LIVE the same piece that everyone is making such an undue fuzz about just because it involves the prostitute Fleming. Funny that we didn’t hear anyone remarking about La Studer’s performance when they should have. Oh and Studer also sang ‘Non mi dir’ that same evening and without all the sobbing we are hearing too much of. To wit:

    DON GIOVANNI:
    Overture; No. 23 Recitative & Aria: ‘Crudele!’ – ‘Non mi dir, bell’idol mio!’
    SYMPHONY No 29
    Recitative & Aria K. 505: ‘Ch’io mi scordi di te’ – ‘Non temer, amato bene’
    SYMPHONY No 35 ‘Haffner’
    Cheryl Studer, Bruno Canino (piano)
    Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Conductor: Claudio Abbado

    Live recording: Europakonzert, Music for Europe
    Prague, Smetana Hall, Wednesday 1 May 1991

    Sony Classical
    SLV46405 (laser disc)
    SHV 46405 (VHS) (11/1992) (77’27”)

  13. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    I was tempted to not say anything, but now I feel that I should.

    A) There is no reason in the world to make fun of an artist like Bartoli. This is a woman who is not only a fiece performer and puts her whole self into her interpretations, but she is an intelligent, passionate, and meticulous singer. Also, as one who is known for singing ‘runs’ – just because one sings CLEANLY doesn’t mean one singes ‘aspirated’ or ‘breathy.’ It’s called developing technique and articulation on the breath. Look, EVERY singer has something (we hope) that defines them individually – something unique, something different – if we all sounded the same, what the hell good would that do??

    Ceclia is a woman who takes extreme care when preparing music that she performs. Pianists I know who have worked with her (including Mssr. Thibaudet) all stated that they have never before seen a singer devote such intense care and energy to shaping and understanding each musical phrase that passes through her lips.

    As for being ‘suspicious when singers only record what they cannot be compared in’ – it’s a load of shit. Sorry, but I take that to be extremely offensive – being one who (as I mentioned in an earlier entry this month) spends a GREAT portion of my time trying to discover ‘new’ music that has been lost over the ages – pieces and operas that deserve to be recognized once again and presented to the modern ear. I think Cecilia having taken the time and the painstaking efforts of uncovering many of these Vivaldi, Gluck, Salieri, etc. masterpieces is something MORE singers should focus their time on and stop singing the same old shit over and over and over.

    Obviously, as a performer, no one wants to be compared to anyone else (lest it be a compliment), but real artists strive to leave their own personal thumbprint on whatever it is that they do. Bartoli is just such an artist. Yes, she may not like to fly, she may not have a HUGE voice, and she may make some ‘funny faces’ while she sings. Can you name a SINGLE singer that DOESN’T???? I’ll tell you right now – any singer that you list is probably one who lacks any expression either visually, physically, musically, and/or emotionally. We all have to make ‘funny faces’ at one time or another. The OBJECT of singing opera is to produce the most beautiful, in tune, well placed, well supported, and MOST RESONANT notes that one can possible produce. Often times, to achieve that, one needs to make ‘funny faces.’ Look a videos of Gedda, L. Price, Callas, Caballe, Horne, Kraus, Gruberova, Corelli, Del Monaco, etc…none of them sang ‘dead-pan’ and without utilizing their facial muscles to assist them in giving us listeners the best singing they could possibly give!!! The one singer I can think of at the moment who only sang with a pearly smile on her face all the damn time was Tebaldi, and as much as I love the lady, I don’t think the character Gioconda would have been smiling before she decides that she wants to commit suicide – also, take note…Tebaldi always smiled and the older she got, the flatter she got…maybe if she made some ‘funny faces’ I wouldnt’ dread listening to any of her recordings after 1955!!!!

    B) Bartoli DID record Malcom’s aria “Mura felice” on her first Rossini album – and no, there wasn’t any help from the sound engineers! I do believe that there is a recording of her singing Arsace’s aria somewhere as well. Let me also inform those of you who may not be aware, that just because someone is a “Rossini singer” doesn’t mean that they can sing ANYTHING that the man wrote. You know, he was an extremely prolific composer, a brilliant man, a great businessman (in fact, the person who pioneered the notion of copywriting music), and a man who understood the theatre and audiences better than most! The roles in his operas are so diverse, most people don’t even know about them because people don’t take the time to worry about them and perform and record them – and then when they do, they chide them for ‘trying to do things other people have never done before.’ B.S. Yeah, I’m a Rossini tenor, and I sing Rodrigo in his Otello, but I’ll never sing Otello – it needs a larger full-lyric almost dramatic tenor who can move his voice. Point being – just because YOU may equate Arsace and Malcom as ‘quintessential Rossini mezzo-roles’ doesn’t mean that they are!

    C) Nobody talks about Studer’s performance because Studer needs to stop singing. The woman would have been great if she just stuck to German lyric opera. She overused and destroyed her voice and it was a shame.

    D) Bartoli DID have a major success in a major opera house – several of them. But her debut as Despina at the Met is legendary. Period.
    Not to mention her performance as Donna Anna at La Scala with her broken leg and a crutch – she STILL went on and performed the hell out of the role. THAT is part of what makes a great artist.

    I’m sorry if I am coming off rather harsh here, but I have personally found many of the comments towards Bartoli extremely offensive and undeserving! We are all entitled to our own tastes and what we like and don’t like – but don’t create nonsense just because it suits your ego…call a spade a spade – more singers should strive to be the kind of person, the kind of musician, the kind of scholar, and the kind of performer that IS Cecilia Bartoli.

  14. Thank you, ITDCS! I’m not a huge Bartoli fan, but I believe she is unfairly snubbed by too many.

  15. Il tenore di coloratura superba got at least one wrong. Bartoli indeed sang with crutches, but it was in Zurich and it was Elvira and not Anna. I don’t believe she ever sang Anna, but she did Fiordiligi (in Zurich and at the Salzburg Easter Festival).
    I also believe that she does not call herself a Mezzosoprano, but just a soprano. The reason behind this is that in the 18th century, the term soprano was used for all high voices. (Even Strauss did not specify a mezzo for Octavian in the Rosenkavalier score.) Ch’io mi scordi was written for Nancy Storace, who was the first Susanna and I guess must have had a similar tessitura to Bartoli. On the other hand, Exultate was written for the castrato who was the first Cecilio in Lucio Silla. He must have had an amazing range.
    In my opinion, Bartoli is a high mezzosoprano and the Rossini trouser roles are probably to low for her now.

  16. marschallin Says:

    ITDCS wrote “Nobody talks about Studer’s performance because Studer needs to stop singing.”

    And I must ask “who the hell is this ITDCS faggot?”

    La Studer is *still* singing, and wonderfully.

  17. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    How sad of a latter-day Countess Almaviva to desecrate Mozart’s 250th birthday with such a vile remark.

  18. rysanekfreak Says:

    Why are we over-Mozarting again? It’s as if 97% of the stuff on the Internet webcasts this week is Mozart.

    Didn’t we do this not too long ago for his deathyear memorial?

    I remember lots of Rossini in 1992 for his birth ear, but I am still angry that Donizetti went completely unnoticed in the US for his birthyear. And the same for Meyerbeer.

    We celebrate Mozart EVERY year, every day in fact.

    Let’s give the others a chance for once.

  19. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    Marcello…you are very right and I’m sorry for the blunder about Cecilia performance with crutches…I was rather outraged by the previous entries that I confused scenarios. I also did not take the time to double check the venue as it was late in the evening when I wrote the entry – my apologies. However, the main fact and point still stands about her courage and determination.

    Also, Marcello, what you have said concerning vocal categories of the 18th century and Bartoli’s tessitura are completely on the mark and I thank you for bringing those facts to light.

    Rysanek, I admire you for what you said. I too think that, in the US particurly, many great composers are left behind in the shadows of only a handful of major composers. I don’t think the answer is to neglect the ones that we already pay hommage to, but to begin including tributes to other great geniuses of the past.

    I didn’t quite understand it myself when I was told that 2006 would be a Mozart year…it has to do with the fact that he was born in 1756…which I will admit, may be too much. However, celebrating him on his birthday every year is not such a bad thing. I often try to celebrate privately the birthdates and deathdates of my favorite composers.

    And in response to someone who proves themselves to be an extremely ignorant, disrespectful, and cowardly individual with poor musical tastes (proving to us that they would rather listen to bland, out-of-tune, forced singing), I would never expect them to be able to even begin to comprehend how to enjoy and understand the elements that make a great vocal artist. But like they say, to each his own.

  20. marschallin Says:

    ITDCS sobbed: “And in response to someone who proves themselves to be an extremely ignorant, disrespectful, and cowardly individual with poor musical tastes (proving to us that they would rather listen to bland, out-of-tune, forced singing), I would never expect them to be able to even begin to comprehend how to enjoy and understand the elements that make a great vocal artist.”

    Do you mean like the vulgar, lowlife grotesqueries of a Renee Fleming?

  21. rysanekfreak Says:

    I suppose we are now going to have to celebrate the year in which Mozart cut his first tooth, took his first solo steps, potty-trained himself, and learned to speak fluent German, Italian, and French.

    Oh…that’s right…he was such a precocious genius that all of these milestones no doubt happened in the year 2006 as well, so we are (I hope) celebrating everything at once.

  22. LaMalipasta Says:

    I will listen to the Mura felice with interest and would appreciate knowing where/when CB sang Arsace’s aria.

    I do think CB is to be commended for exploring the lesser known music. I was just a tad suspicuos as to why – and indeed could be completely wrong in being so.

    Someone should record some of the alternative arias Handel wrote for Rinaldo (yes even CB!)- there are 4 superb ones (2 each for mezzo and soprano) that have only been performed once – on the BBC in the 1970’s. They are printed in the appendix to the complete score.

    The film on CB came out a long time before her NY or London debuts – on British TV anyway.

    Watching her last night in the Exsultate just confirmed everything I thought about her singing.
    Though there were wonderful phrases/moments.

    I have never seen Callas (or anyone else) pull faces/grimace/strain to the extent CB does.

    As I said before I really do wish I liked her singing (believe me – I ve tried to) as I love the music she sings.

  23. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    well well well, i wouldn’t have thought that cecilia had started such a heated discussion. but then tempers always run high. alot of renee bashing going on and whatsoeverwhatsoforth… in the end it boils down to personal preference, doesn’t it?

    i have seen la bartoli several times from the mid nineties onwards and gotta admit that even though i did like her, i find her too freakish to listen to nowadays … is it like an italian mezzo schwarzkopf. maybe i am wrong but when she did a mozart/rossini concert at covent garden a couple of years back her rossini was amazing (with the only problem being that i find rossini very boring!) but her mozart i found completely out of style. but as i said it is personal preferance and i will probably get my head kicked in for having said that 😉

    furthermore i heard her doing berlioz’ les nuits d’ete under boulez. i sat in the fifth row and couldn’t hear most of her singing. that was definately a step out of her repertoire (cecilia and big orchestra together is a no-go!), which i think she has not repeated…

    anyway, i am off to hear emma bell in rodelinda next week … now that is a name to watch out for!!!

    ps. and i do like renee, for all her scatting and scooping, it is still a voice that sends me tickles down my spine….

  24. LaMalipasta Says:

    Emma bell was amazing as Vitellia in the wonderful ENO Clemenza – not broadcast of course – we got something dire from the Met instead.

  25. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    the clemenza at the eno was a success indeed! shame that the only thing covent garden could come up with for emma bell so far was ‘maskerade’ … as the soprano role in there is merely incidental.

    would have been nice to have her sing tatjana in onegin later in the year (i am sure she could do it) … not sure i am too keen on roocroft’s vibrato (homegrown talent doesnt always mean the cream of the crop).

    at least there will be a traviata soon at the eno with bell – time for me to venture there again

  26. rysanekfreak Says:

    Well, since this thread mentions “Rodelinda” and it involves coloratura references,let me tell you about the brilliant “silk purse” Dallas Opera just gave us.

    Ewa Podles as Bertarido!!!!

    Wow!! This woman is amazing. A true contralto. The voice is sort of “Marilyn Horne times Sam Ramey.” The audience was in awe of this incredible sound. The ovation after “Vivi tiranno” was wild, prolonged, and sincere.

    Two other singers of note:
    Christophe Dumaux…a countertenor. He doesn’t squawk like a dry oboe or hoot like a kazoo. He sounds like a mellow flute. A truly gorgeous sound. I saw him in “Agrippina” in Santa Fe and had the same reaction then that I had yesterday. Gorgeous. Great coloratura. The program notes indicate he will sing this same role (Unulfo) at the Met next spring.

    Paul Nilon…a great coloratura tenor with a real trill. The audience went in knowing that Ruth Ann Swenson (yes, she sang the title role…no other comment) and Ewa Podles would be the stars, but the audience was taken over by Nilon. He almost stole the show, but after “Vivi tiranno” and Rodelinda’s final aria, the balance shifted back to those two ladies.

    Dallas does only five operas per season, but sometimes they really come through with something spectacular. Ewa Podles as Bertarido!!!! WOW!!!!

  27. LaMalipasta Says:

    I admire Podles – though Ive been told she said she will not use chest voice (!) and some friends say her technique is faulty – because of that. Will have another listen to see if I can hear it.

    I also admire Paul Nilon – he is everything you say – 5 years ago he sang an aria from JC Bach s Temistocle and added one of the most beautiful and difficult cadenzas (including a wonderful trill) I ve ever heard – and I ve heard plenty. I did nt have my tape recorder with me, for once, and I ve never forgiven myself. He is on some of the early Opera Rara 100 years of Italian Opera sets. He was the Tito at the ENO recently.

    As with the Svenson performance of Rodelinda – we had a Rinaldo a few years ago which was meant to star David Daniels and (dare I even say it – pace ITCS) Cecelia Bartoli – Luba Organasova strolled on as Armida and blew them both off the stage. I don t believe she was on the subsequent recording.

    As for CG not hiring Emma Bell its hardly a surprise – they have one of the worst records for casting. The stories are endless. Olivero never sang there, Zeani only as a cover for Sutherland (and never asked back despite a huge success) Gencer almost the same story, Horne as Marie in Wozzeck (!) Adalgisa (with Mr and Mrs B) then nothing for 12 years until the Donna del Lagos. Cecelia Gasdia’s voice, “too small” apparently, despite singing at the Met and Verona. Rockwell Blake – never asked – which is why Florez was hailed by the London critics as if no one had sung Rossini s tenor roles properly before.

    When asked why Janet Baker had nt sung there yet (despite great success elsewhere) the casting director said – “I dont know whats wrong with her – we offered her the 2nd Norn and she turned it down”!!! She finally made her triumphant debut as a last minute sub – singing Dido in the Trojans (in English whilst everyone else sang in French).

  28. Emma Bell sang in Maskarade at CG in the autumn. Perhaps it is better to forget that prodcution,however.

  29. LaMalipasta Says:

    ….and if they re true to form they won t ask her back.

  30. baldtenor Says:

    Dear Marschallin: any criticism of ITDCS will go unheard in this forum. He is a STAR here, apparently. Everyone seems to thrill at his posts. However, I tend to agree with him regarding Bartoli. As for “La Studer”, I agree she did some great singing in the 80’s & 90’s which should not be over-looked, but I wouldn’t want to hear her sing today. Still you shouldn’t be called “ignorant, disrespectful and cowardly” for having an opinion ITDCS happens not to share. I’m sure now there’ll be some childish back-lash from more than one source for agreeing, if only in part and not in manner of expression, with someone who dares to criticize him.

  31. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    reg. emma bell and maskerade (what actually was the main topic that started this blog? i think it was gargolitis…) … methinks i said that she sang in it. production was great i found – just the third act dragged on and on and on and on musically.

    covent garden casting is bizarre indeed every now and then – why the heck didnt waltraud meier do anything there for ages till her fulminant ortrud of two(?) years back and last years wonderful sieglinde?! oh right i forgot that the ‘old’ casting director vowed that ‘this woman will never sing at covent garden again’ when she happened to fall out with him in the mid nineties as she asked for permission to start her rehearsals for sieglinde in the ring one week later than everyone else, as it would have been two days after a run of isoldes at bayreuth. obviously he refused and that was the end of that. luckily new casting directors change the attitude … and back she was.

    strange those politics…

    covent garden did some good decisions throughout the years though … who does remember joan carlyle?! she used to be the in-house soprano (unfortunately long before my time) … and is sadly underrecorded. but hey she publishes alot of her old live and radio stuff on her own website … http://www.joancarlyle.co.uk – and by the way, that suor angelica is a killer!

  32. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    baldtenor, actually, my description of a certain individual as “ignorant, disrespectful and cowardly” is not describing the individuals musical tastes, but rather their choice of vocabulary a posting whiched showed them to be, what seems, a rather immature personality. I think La Cieca would agree that good conversation manners are encouraged in these forums.

    I will say for my own personal tastes regarding Studer, I never found her voice quite to my liking. I will admit that here and there she has recorded some very impressive phrases in different arias and roles, but never found myself capable of accolading her for an entire performance. Perhaps the only one is Eva in Meistersinger – I did rather enjoy that when I heard it. But like I said in that other entry, she overused and abused her voice and her musical talents (b/c she is a very talented lady) and it is a shame. I have listened to a large portion of her recordings (I had to force myself to because I was determined to find SOMETHING that I could like) but eventually became far too annoyed and aurally upset to continue searching. I am certainly not adverse to listening to any things of hers that others may recommend as being ‘great’ performances from this woman. I always try to keep an open mind about singers and though I may close the door on a particular singer, I never lock it.

    I will say this much. One of the first opera recordings I ever bought was when I was around 11 or 12 years old…and though already well informed of instrumental music and had already been performing for several years as an instrumentalist, I was just begining to explore the world of opera thanks to some operatic complilation cd’s my parents had bought me from time to time. I had a recording of excerpts from La Traviata with Lucia Aliberti, Peter Dvorsky, and Rentao Bruson (I’m sure many of you know the recording) and though I knew nothing of vocal technique or what ‘good singing’ was at the time and was mostly concerned with admiring and listening to the notes put on paper by the composer I was quite taken by the interpolated High Eb and noticed it’s absence from the score.

    Well, since I had in my possession a full score to the opera, I was determined to find out what the rest of the opera sounded like and purchased the recording issued by the Met with Pavarotti and Studer. I knew who Levine and Pav and the Met were, I didn’t know who she was – I really didn’t know any sopranos at the time other than Callas and Scotto and Price. And I remember from the first listening – that very first duet, that Pavarotti sounded amazing, the orchestra was brilliant, and that there was something wrong with the soprano. I would force myself to listen to the recording because I was intent on understanding and learning the opera and the music therein…but something always grated on me when I heard the soprano sing.

    It wasn’t until college that I ended up familiarizing myself with Studer and her recordings and found that I really didn’t like any of them except for Meistersinger and her Queen of the Night (but clearly we know that there are far better Queen’s out there). And I tried over and over again to listen to this woman sing and every time it would anger me and upset me. When I was younger, it actually offended me that she would disrespect so much great music sounding the way she did (this was also during a time shortly before I even knew what fach’s were) – I felt the same way for Janet Baker and Schwartzkopf (sorry to those who like them, but I find nothing beautiful or moving about their singing). Then as I learned about vocal categories and how certain voices just aren’t designed to do certain things and studied vocal pedagogy, only then did I realize that for whatever reasons she had (and I make no claim to know) Studer took it upon herself to sing virtually every type of soprano literature available – that has been her downfall.

    My ears are really only most comfortable when she is singing lyric-german rep – the lighter Wagner, Strauss and some Mozart. I believe that if the woman had stayed and specialized in that venue, rather than take on a career as a jack-of-all-trades, she would have been much more successful venturing into other types of opera now in these later stages of her career and quite possibly would have been considered a great artist rather than a mediocre singer – and I mean no disrespect in saying that. From what I have been told, she is an extremely sweet and highly intelligent woman as regards learning and memorizing music.

    One last thought: Perhaps I was misinformed, but I was under the impression that this opera-zine was for the intended purpose of learning from each other and engaging in intellectually stimulating and rewarding discussions – not a haven for crude criticisms and name calling directed at either the conversational subjects or contributers. Not everyone in the world needs to share the same tastes – life would be pretty boring if that were the case. Why don’t we all try to be a little more open minded, huh?

  33. LaMalipasta Says:

    ITCS I certianly agree with you – we should have this forum for serious discussion and not abuse.

    I have read your postings in the past and you are obviously knowlegeable and intelligent.

    I think a good responce to “I hate so and so” is to say “oh she speaks very highly of you”. Its only singing after all not human rights abuses we re discussing.

    I do aplolgise if my remarks about Bartoli gave offence (and yes they were too flippant) but they were born out of intense frustration.

    Bartoli, despite her faults (and yes all singers have them) is a seriuos artist unlike some other record company manufactured stars.

    However in the mainstream Musical press in the UK no adverse critcism is allowed of certain artists. Bad review = no (or certainly less) advertising. Anyone who does nt believe this happens is living in the past. Just read the honest reviews Philpp Hope-Wallace – of just Callas for one. Do you think that this would happen with a major recording star these days?

    Things are slightly better in the daily press here where the record companies obviuosly don t have so much power.

    I certainly don t blame Bartoli herself. I did nt expect her to say to Decca “Please. Dont make me a star!!”

    However I think that it is dentremental to singing in general (and indeed to Bartoli herself) if honest, constructive, criticism is not brooked.

    I watched the Exsultate with an open mind and I still think that the faults, which I (and many others) hear spoil her singing, could have been rectified, or modified, a long time ago. It seems no-one is allowed to mention them.

    As I said before this is also especially frustrating for me as Bartoli is one of the few singers with the power to get CD s made of the wonderful music of the 18th and early 19th centuries. I love this music and as ITCS says too many artists just record the same old stuff over and over.

  34. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    well said. and after all tastes differ and its a matter of perception. each singer has their own ‘way’ with performing the written music … and not even being technically immaculate appeal to everyone.

    after all that leaves space for discussion – and thats how it should be. if everyone liked the same style there would probably be five singers around that everyone was listening to and thats it … now how boring would that be? diversity is what adds the spice to the musical scene, n’est pas?

    ps. and as to bartoli … i think her early recordings are fantastic – same applies to schwarzkopf. but then, thats just me. (strangely enough janet baker never appealed much to me either, i cant fault her singing, but it just doesnt do it for me)

  35. LaMalipasta Says:

    ITSC I m sure many will agree with you about Studer.

    Whatever anyone thinks about her (and I dont dislike her) surely hardly anyone merits the huge amount of complete opera recordings made with/for her.

    Why did DG choose her for Semiramide for instance? Not exactly the first person that springs to mind when casting that particular role.

    This is just one of many examples of the stupidity/corruption?/ whatever in the the classical music recording industry.

    I suppose we get so upset by it because we expect something better – but really why do we? Its the way of the world surely.

  36. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    lm … isnt casting for recordings always influenced by whom the label has ready and available of up and coming rather than who would be best for the role?

    just look at teldecs last tannhaeuser and hollaender. elisabeth and senta are not really roles one thinks particularly suitable for jane eaglen (but then which are?) – and she truly succeeds in letting the recordings down. big voices rarely record well, whatever one thinks about her in any case. why not anne schwanewilms for senta (she sang the role on stage under barenboim) or angela denoke as elisabeth (ditto)?

    but then there has hardly ever been a perfect recording, and one learns to accept there to always be a ‘what if’ when it comes to casting…

  37. marschallin Says:

    Fair enough, ITDCS. But if you want to hear real vocal abuse and utter disrespect for composers and their music, listen any day to Renee Fleming. That ought to end the stupid slobbering over the creature, once and for all.

  38. marschallin Says:

    More sobbing and wailing over the death of the recording industry. We all know it is Cheryl Studer’s fault. Too bad they didn’t engage YOUR personal favourite for this or that role. Surely the damned recording would have triumphed and, who knows, even become a bestseller or praised by the NYT’s Tony Tommasini and his like. But look now, there’s NOTHING left of the little recording industry that would. Wail Wail Wail. And SHUT UP.

  39. at forty comments who the hell is going to read this? but to dear rysanekfreak who worries about global celebrations to mark the year mozart was potty-trained, i don’t think that’s likely to happen. a quick look at the multiple scatological incidences in wolfgang’s correspondence should (dare i say it?) relieve us all.

  40. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    ginerva, you gave me a good laugh when reading your entry – I’m glad to know that there are other people out there who are aware of Mozart’s “scatological” personality! For those who haven’t read them…they are quite special – a bit distrubing as well.

    lamalipasta – I myself have never heard CB sing Arsace’s big aria, but it is rumored to exist somewhere. The Decca website unfortunately isn’t geared towards the artist as much as it is towards Decca’s recordings of her.
    It’s amazing to me how defensive fans get about their favorites – whether it’s a singer, a sports team, whatever! You know, I’m a huge June Anderson fan – mainy because she was one of the first sopranos I had ever listened to and the quality of her singing on her albums “Dal vivo in concerto” (which does have the best ‘Bel raggio’ with the most fierce High E naturals ever put on recording!), her Cunegonde in the 1989 recording/version of Candide, and her Queen of the Night all made me fall in love with her as a youngster. I’ve acquired many of her other recordings over the years, some live performances, and even heard her do Traviata at the Met about 2 years ago, I think. Very little have I heard of her subsequently thrills me the way the above mentioned pieces did and still do. Many times I have received adverse reactions from colleagues of mine when I mention that I enjoy her singing. But even as a fan of hers, I can recognize and am not ashamed to admit my dislike for the Trovatore she did at the Met, or for that dreadful Lombardi she did with Levine, and let’s just say she was better off with Puritani and Sonnambula and could have left Norma on the shelf – although her debut in the part in Chicago was quite good. At the very least, I also understand that she has a severe thyroid problem and has made it difficult for her to interpolate those once stunning high notes that she had! I still find much merit to her singing, at least in terms of accuracy and technique even if it isn’t always the most invigorating or passionate performances. I’ve also heard some nasty stories about her work ethic in the opera house – unfortunately so much of it is hearsay through other people and so I don’t necessarily believe everything that has been spread around.

    In the case of Horne, even she didn’t sing every Rossini mezzo role – and there were some that she did sing, but sang very sparingly like Cenerentola. It just wasn’t a role that suited her voice nearly as well as Isabella or Malcolm or Arsace did. There is still much to be appreciated from her recordings of the opera, but I don’t find them nearly as thrilling and exciting as some of her other roles!

    Marilyn was also a very smart lady, and she admitted that the three roles she should have avoided were Azucena, Eboli, and Amneris. However, she was a great musician and a fine artist that she was able to be convincing in these roles the few times she performed each of them – she also, thankfully, had a large enough voice to survive them.

    La Cieca, another addition for your ‘filth’ page (breaks my heart to even think about it) is that broadcast of Don Carlo in the 70’s with Scotto and Horne where, to my complete surprise, Marilyn got lost in both cadenze in the Veil Song. One would have thought that she definitly would have excelled in those passages – sadly, she either had a brain-fart or something because she loses herself on both verses.

    Anyone who is a Horne fan or who needs to become one – should all take the time to listen to her sing the complete aria from a Meyerbeer opera. I don’t have time at the moment to look up exactly which opera it is from – either Prophete or Hugenots – “O toi abbandone…something or other” – it’s an amazing display of what this woman was really capable of doing – especially in the cabaletta!

    Does anyone know the title off-hand? I’m not recalling it at present.

  41. papagenodz Says:

    You can hear Bartoli sing Malcolm’s “Mura felici” on Rossini Arias (DECCA, 425 430-2), conducted by Patane. The disc also includes two from Italiana, and one each from Tancredi, Otello (rather lovely, I think), the Stabat Mater, La pietra del paragone, and her perennial Non piu mesta.

    Enjoyable listening, and fun as a companion with Rossini Heroines (Decca, 436 075-2), conducted by Ion Marin (see Studer’s Semiramide, on which Jennifer Larmore also deserves some criticism, but Ramey does very well), and including arias from Zelmira, Le nozze di Teti e di Peleo (which she later recorded complete), Maometto II, La donnal del lago, Elisabetta, and Semiramide (Bel raggio, not Arsace).

    My personal favorite Bartoli Rossini disc, however, is Rossini Recital, with Charles Spencer at the piano (DECCA 430 518-2), which includes La regata veneziana, Mi lagnero tacendo, the cantata Giovanna d’Arco (which, as performed in Chicago with Barenboim at the piano, was my favorite live Bartoli experience I’ve had), and eleven songs. She treats each song so specially, and very little of it is mannered. Reminiscent of her fine, revelatory work on her Se tu m’ami disc.

    In all, she’s got three complete Rossini discs. If we can’t all agree that she’s a Rossini expert or the greatest Rossini singer of our time (surely Vivica Genaux and Ewa Podles would need to be discussed before such a conclusion could be made), we can conclude that she has made worthwhile contributions to the Rossini discography, presaging her gap-filling collections in earlier repertoire.

  42. rysanekfreak Says:

    Dear tenore,

    The “Prophete” scena you reference is from the beginning of Act V.

    O pretres de Baal… (recit)

    O toi qui m’abandonnes…. (cavatina)

    Comme un eclair (cabaletta)

    Yes, this is an extraordinary bravura number. Horne released it on one of her early recordings. Phenomenal. I tried to wear out the LP replaying it constanstly.

    Then, she did the “complete” recording with McCracken. She sang it at the Met, and then they took it on tour, and I was lucky enough to see it in Dallas.

    You hear stuff on records and you think, “Oh, well sure, they did it in the studio with splicing and retakes,” but then you hear the same thing live and you have to think, “Lord, have mercy! How did she do that!!!???”

    p.s. I want to know why Ewa Podles has not performed Fides. It seems like a perfect role for her.

  43. papertiger Says:

    Marschallin said:

    “just because it involves the prostitute Fleming”

    Rather unworthy comment coming from a Marschallin, unless she is referring to the lady’s Thais.

  44. LaMalipasta Says:

    The Anderson live LP is fantastic.

    There is also a very good live Anderson Semiramide (her CG debut) with Horne.

  45. tenchi67622 Says:

    Is it just me or does Bartoli look in the photo like she needs to get her flying monkeys to retrieve her late sister’s ruby (or silver if you’re a fan of the books) slippers from Dorothy

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