Very, very popular like me

It looks like the NYCO is going to one-up Gelb’s Met by nabbing Kristin Chenoweth first. The Broadway divette is in talks to star as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance for a 16-performance stint at the State Theater in March 2007.


12 Responses to “Very, very popular like me”

  1. Boringwhitegirl Says:


    I just got the subscription form from NYCO. I’m dying to see Donna del Lago, sort of want to see Semele. Wasn’t sure I could really find 2 other operas that interested me, but thought I might want to see L’Elisir d’Amore until La Cieca convinced me I really, really didn’t want to. But now she’s convincing me I might want to see Pirates…

  2. il lacerato spirito Says:

    I was involved in the last go around of Pirates and had a ball doing it. I hope it is a repeat and not A Johathan Miller debacle

  3. il lacerato spirito Says:

    Whoops, it was Pinafore I was involved with….oh my, G & S all sounds alike ducking……

  4. Boringwhitegirl Says:

    That is the problem with G&S. It’s fun in small doses, but it gets old fast. And there’s something about a production described as Monty-Python-like that feels like it’s trying too hard. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Monty Python. But I like Monty Python doing Monty Python. Not sure how I feel about NYCO opera doing Monty Python via G&S.

  5. OperaGuyNY Says:

    I think I can see Kristin in this more than I can see her as Samira in Ghosts… Which they have got to transpose up for her. Anyway, she’s a great actress and she’ll definitely command some audience, I just wonder if her voice is too small for the Met. She’s a Met Audition Winner, did anyone see or hear her??

  6. Boringwhitegirl Says:

    It’s probably worth seeing, and you’re right, it seems to suit her better than other repetoire. Still, doesn’t this whole thing smack a little unpleasantly of a “Spamalot meets Wicked” high-concept log line?

  7. Baritenor Says:

    Look, I’ve done a LOT of G&S, everything from PIRATES to THE GRAND DUKE. I’ve ghad principle roles in eight of the twelve operas. Pythonespe productions are quite common, and though I prefer my Gilber and Sullivan straight, they’re a lot of fun to do and watch. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. Only a REALLY unreasonable purist could complain.

  8. la divina due Says:

    Once again….please stop with this need to have inappropriate voices sing opera. True….Pirates is not opera, but I still don’t want to hear her sing the part. There are so many singers with better voices. But, that is my opinion.

  9. RudigerVT Says:

    Kristi’s voice is not ‘inappropriate’ to a production of Pirates in the State Theatre. The recorded legacy of G/S leading sopranos is evidence of the preference for a rather ‘white’ sound. I don’t much like it. But it’s hard to argue that these nymphs-and-shephard voices are inconsistent with the Savoy/D’Oyly Carte tradition: they ARE the tradition.

    Granted, some of the most appealing recent recordings lean toward the operatic. Notable example: in-her-prime Sylvia McNair opposite Thomas Allen on the splendid Marriner-led “Yeomen” that also features a perfectly cast Bryn T. That’s a special case, being the grandest G/S work, and so-called purists tend to find that rendition overly opera-y and inauthentic. There’s something to that, but I for one really don’t want to hear an ‘authentic’ Mabel (Angelina, YumYum, Patience, etc.)

    Anyway, when it comes to Pirates, if you’re going to pump it up to fill a barn like the NYS, modifications are in order and compromises are the rule. The result is bound to be as distorted as the Met’s version(s) of Fledermaus, which seem to go from bad to worse.

    These works were conceived for a very different sort of venue on a very different scale. A ‘traditional’ Mabel won’t work at NYCO. A big-voiced lyric wouldn’t, either. And does anybody really think Natalie Dessay’s angling for a role premiere as the craftiest lass in Cornwall?

    Granted, there are probably 500 soprani who *could* do it: sing it well, act credibly, and do no damage. There are not, however, many (any?) bona fide stars who could fill that bill.

    Trust me, Kristi can sing the role (and sing it on the rather punishing schedule they run for their B’way/operetta-ish productions). Assuming it happens, critics will point to the beauty of her singing in the madrigal, and the unexpected power in “when the foeman bears his steel.” Everybody expects that she’ll nail it in “poor wandring one.” Hopefully the director won’t make her turn cartwheels, though she could.

    In addition, Kristi offers a very special presence on stage. You just have to see it to get it, and no, not in “Wicked.” She’s an extrordinary combination of brains, beauty, talent, and raw instinct. That all translates into a special relationship with audiences that is far more powerful than cutesy, obvious things most people know (and wrongly assume to be her true metier).

    As to the Met, I do think it would be unfortunate to re-tailor Samira, which fit Marilyn Horne to a T (not to mention giving her an Act-1 curtain call and an early night). I’d hate to see them subvert the pastiche element, though, by recasting the bit. I think it would have to be transposed, or it would end up in a B’way belt; that’d just be wrong. But, worse, it wouldn’t make historic sense (given “Ghosts” somewhat overstated po-mo ambitions).

    You’d think they’d be begging Ewa Podles. SHE would be a hoot.

  10. Just Another Tenor Says:

    At the risk of contradicting myself from the previous Chenoweth thread, I must agree. I listenedto the glitter and be gay, and she does have that opera instinct. the more lyric part sof the aria are sung in full voice and are really quite beautiful. I think going through G and S would be a wonderful way for the public to witness what she is capable of on more classical scale than the music she has been singing. No one should judge her ability to sing Adele on the basis of “Charlie Brown” or “Wicked.” I think if she does it, she will prove that she can do Legit singing.
    I wish her well, and hope she does sing it. I would go see it in a heartbeat.
    I also think if she does it well, it may mean a move of the production to Broadway for her… The performances will sell out too fast to accomodate demand

  11. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    All I’m going to say is that I hope Kristen gets up on stage and shows all you doubters what she’s made of.

  12. Now we are even criticsing them before they open their mouths! Who said we are a difficult audience? 🙂

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