Is nothing sacred?

Which still-active soprano has not only begun teaching, but has quickly moved on to the next rung of the pedagological ladder, i.e., interstudio politics? It seems our heroine was invited to a student performance, only to find the teacher of the student in question also in attendance! Air was kissed for public consumption, but once our heroine exited the coulisse, the veteran professor sniffed, “How dare she try to poach from my studio!”


25 Responses to “Is nothing sacred?”

  1. papagenodz Says:

    My money is on Vaness.

  2. divademented Says:

    This is so vague that one hardly cares who it’s about. I don’t think it can be Fleming – so why bother? Isn’t she the only one worth trashing?

  3. Baritenor Says:

    Oohhh… My money’s on Dawn Upshaw.

  4. la divina due Says:

    wow. i would definitely have to say Vaness and the studio she probably was stealing from was Cuccaro.

  5. Canadian Basso Says:

    Cuccaro would have the appropriate response, but it would make much better copy if it were an indignant Zeanni.

  6. SDsoprano Says:

    Zeani has retired to W. Palm


    I could see Vaness kicking anyone’s A** that got in her way– a healthy American girl (thin or otherwise) I really don’t think she’s taken too much sh** from anyone during her career. Didn’t she push La Battle into the toilet early in her career? I do know that they got into it many years ago.

  8. paddypig Says:

    actually Vaness, for once did not react badly when La Battle (during a Nozze di Figaro)took over the first dressing room even though Susanna is second banana. Vaness did not get into it with her but the story obviously got out. Vaness came out looking good in that incident, Battle bad. Vaness seems to have kept her bad behavior more underwraps. I know Sharon Sweet used to bitch back stage about her to almost anyone who would listen


    I love Vaness and the few times that I’ve met her she was very kind to this old opera queen. Plus, I still feel that Carol, in her prime, could sing the shit out of Mozart! Who the hell didn’t have a fight with La Battle. Sharon Sweet’s opinion really, to me, does NOT matter! Isn’t she now singing gospel at her church?

  10. papagenodz Says:

    Teaching at Westminster Choir College, actually.


    There is NOTHING like an “I use to sing at the Metropolitan Opera” OR “I was Prima Donna assoleta at the Ellis Island Opera Company” kind of teacher. I just hope she imparts great experience to her students!

  12. BelleDVedremo Says:

    Vaness may have been the singer/teacher in question, but having met her I can’t imagine she would feel compelled to “poach” from anyone. This is all about the insecurity of the veteran teacher in question. And honestly, she has reason to worry. Vaness is not only an interntationally acclaimed opera singer, she’s a fantastic teacher.

  13. chienne méchante Says:

    Darn. It sounds like Carol Vaness. Why can’t we all get along?

  14. SDsoprano Says:

    Because Cuccaro is an a**

  15. Opera Enthusiast Says:

    Paddypig obviously doesn’t know his/her opera. Susanna is always the next to last curtain call, just before the Figaro. The Countess is NOT as an important role as Susanna.

  16. Flores para los muertos Says:

    I’ve always heard that Susanna is one of the longest soprano roles. I’ve never actually verified this, but I’ve heard it so many times I thought it might bear repeating.

  17. il stupendo Says:

    susannas must wear very comfortable shoes.


    To quote my mom–one of the most boreing roles too!

  19. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    Operaenthusiast – paddypig is correct both in that the Countess Rosina is considered the Prima Donna of Le nozze di Figaro – Susannah is Seconda Donna, despite the fact that she has more recitative than any other character in the opera world. Susannah may have more stage time and more action to deal with, but it is the Countess who has the two big arias.

    Curtain calls, my dear, mean nothing. Like I’ve mentioned before that in productions of Barbiere, they always give friggen Figaro the last curtain call when in reality it SHOULD be Almaviva. Why? Because Almaviva is on stage more than any other character, his characterization is the most complex (a singer portraying this role must not only at all times portray to the audience and Figaro the fact that he is the count, but he must always potray to everyone (except Figaro) that he is also the humble, poor student Lindoro, and then furthermore, at different times, respectively, show himself to Bartolo and Basilio that he is a druken soldier or the music teacher/abbey, while at the same time bringing the character of Lindoro through for Rosinia’s sake, and always keeping an undercurrent of his power and nobility as the Count). Not to mention that vocally, as I have discussed here before, his music is the most virtuosic, the most complicated, and has the most arias (esp if one includes the final ‘Cessa di piu resistere’). So tell my then, why is it that Figaro gets the final curatin call and not the Count? Just because Figaro is the “Title Character” or because his aria is most easily recognized with the public?? It’s B.S. if you ask me.

  20. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Policy at the Met for many years was – and possibly still is – that the title character gets the last curtain call. That means Octavian, Figaro in both operas, Manrico, Otello, Falstaff, etc. When the title of the opera does not refer to a character, then the soprano takes the final curtain call. Except…. well, Licitra had the last curtain call – after Voigt – at the Forza I saw last Tuesday. I don’t recall seeing that before.

    (Except during the last Sutherland season, when Pavarotti deferred the honor to her in Il Trovatore.)

  21. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    Yes, that always seems to be the policy. For me, I think the last curtain call should be decided between

    a) who gets the greatest enthusiasm from the audience


    b) the singer who has the most to sing (or the most difficult music to sing)


    c) the character whom the plot centers around the most.


    d) certainly, if it is a farewell or debut performance for an individual.

    Those are just my thoughts about it – whether they are right or wrong – from the stand point of a performer, they seem to make much more sense.

  22. paddypig Says:

    opera enthusiast, in your sarcastic comment about me, you show your own insensitivity as well as your lack of knowledge of protocol at the Met. (I have worked there) The Countess always gets the prima dressing room, Susanna the second dressing room, Cherubino the third and so forth, ladies dressing rooms start from center to the left, and gentlemen’s dressing rooms start from the center to the right in descending vocal order. For example in AIDA, Aida has the left center dressing room, Amneris is to her left, Radames has the right center dressing room, Amonasro to his right. When an opera has two sopranos, tradition has dictated which one is considered which one is prima and which one is seconda.The problem was, Battle insisted on taking the dressing room reserved for the Countess, so what ever your opinion about who is the most important character in the opera is really unimportant, the MET’s protocol is what counts, despite your opinion to the contrary.

  23. Baritenor Says:

    I’ve never seen a production of FIGARO where the Countess was given a bow after Susana. The Countess may have the big arias, but Susana has more to do in recitative, ensambles and in terms of plot. She’s the soubrette and the Countess the Prima Donna, but Susana is the Female Lead. But Figaro, no matter how you slice it, deserves the final bow.

    Oh, and as for BARBER, I prefer to see Rosina taking the final bow. The plot really revolves around her. But all three principles have basically equal roles, and it doesn’t really matter who has the final bow.

    Does the Met really have Octavian bow last? I have ALWAYS seen Marie-Therese get the last bow. Because, let’s face it. No matter how good the Octavian, Ochs or Sophie, The Marshallian takes the opera, folds it up, places it in her back pocket and walks away with it.

  24. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    baritenor, I have to disagree with you on two points. I think it’s arguable in Nozze whether Susanna or Figaro get the last bow. Normally I would say Figaro since he is the title character and of the two characters he does have the most interesting music. Sorry, but Susanna’s are always so boring – same with the Countess – everyone sings those arias SOO damn slowly – I think Mozart rolls over in his grave everytime people overly-slow down his music (which they’ve been doing for at least 100 years now – poor guy). At any rate (because I could seriously go on for hours about Mozart tempi and with plenty of evidence to support my arguments)…I would say, give the bows to Susanna if she would replace those wretched arias with the beautiful substitutes that he wrote after the premiere. “Venite, ingnocchiatevi” would be replaced by a very grand and beautiful concert aria “Al desio” K. 577 and the droll (but pretty, and always too slow) “Deh, vieni non tardar” would be replaced with the much more superior and elegant aria (I forget the name of it since it starts with the same recitative – but Renee Fleming recorded it beautifully on her Mozart album).

    And baritenor, I’m so sorry, but as one who sings Barbiere, the action revolves around the Count, not Rosina. If the count didn’t fall in love with her and court her and pay Figaro to help him abduct her, she would have gone on to be forced to marry Bartolo and that would be the end of that. Remember that the opera’s original title was “Almaviva, ossia L’inutile Precauzione.” Admittedly, this title served primarily to avoid incurring the wrath of Paisiello’s entourage and fans – but none the less, they didn’t temporarily call it “Rosina, ossia L’inutile Precauzione.”

    I DO agree with you about Rosenkavalier. The Marschallin takes that opera.

  25. paddypig Says:

    curtain calls can me a major cause of tension in an opera house. the famous Gioconda in San Francisco caused a major feud between Scotto and the house and caused her to never sing with Pavarotti again, Briefly, San Francisco had scheduled a production of Anna Bolena for Scotto, the production got cancelled and was replaced with the Gioconda for Pavarotti. SF had already lined up Bumbry to do the title role. Scotto however decided to honor her contract and learn the role of Gioconda. She spent some four months learning the part. Upon arriving at rehearsals she discovered that the tenor for whom this production was put together was not there. He demanded private rehearsals in his hotel as he had not learned the part yet. Scotto was quite annoyed with this prima behavior to say the least, With her usual sense of committment she was ready to perform. During the international live telecast, all protocols were abandoned and Pavarotti took unplanned solo bows after several acts and took a second unscheduled solo bow after her solo bow at the end. When Scotto complained, she was told this was his house and he could do what he wanted. She politely referred to all the gente merde and never sang there again. She sang one more engagement wiht the big P. a Ballo in Chicago, (I was there, it was the first time I saw Scotto live) and while it was vocally exciting, he kept his distance from her.So as fans, to argue over these protocols and debate them only adds fuel to a fire. Whether we agree with who bows last, an opera house that sticks to certain protocols based on the roles in the opera, and not the relative star quality of the singer singing these roles avoids bruised egos and unprofessional displays of behavior by self-centered artists who will happily step over their fellow performers to get the applause.

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