Too many tenors!

Well, no, of course, there’s no such thing as too many tenors, but it’s good to know we have so many high male voices around these days. One from the present (Rolando Villazon) and one from the past (Beniamino Gigli) are featured in Ed Rosen’s recently-debuted podcast, and one for the future is parterre favorite Stephen Costello, who just last night was a first place winner of the George London Foundation competition. Stephen’s performance of “Che gelida manina” suggests that, in his case, the future is very near indeed:

38 Responses to “Too many tenors!”

  1. marschallin Says:

    This performance is commendable and inspired. Bravo. Let us hope the young man doesn’t blow his voice and artistry before his time. It is refreshing to hear healthy and attractive young singers instead of the tired, old, wrinkled, ugly and deplorable Three (syphyllitic) Tenors. Time for the three hogs to get out of the public limelight, the sooner the better. Welcome to the young ones.

  2. This is good. I really hope he takes care not to continue opening the eh-vowels too much. And the low notes are not deep enough in the throat, perhaps, but seriously, this is a better tenor than any I’ve heard in the past year and a half. This is the kind of voice that should be on our stages.

  3. Maury D'annato Says:

    Holy shit. That’s good stuff.

  4. OperaGuyNY Says:

    Speaking of Tenors…

    Has anyone heard from our dear friend “The Interpolator”?? I went back and read some of the archives, and was wondering how he’s doing. I think I know who he is now (I’m not telling!), but more importantly I miss his wonderful input. I’m sure he’d have something to say about this post.

  5. il stupendo Says:

    Costello is my new Wonder Tenor! So cute!

    The Three Tenors may not be what they used to be, but who is? This is especially for Lucianissimo – he makes me swoon everytime! Bravi Maestri!

  6. OperaGuyNY Says:

    Oh, and Costello sounds GREAT and DAMN is that boy handsome! If he is careful he should have quite a career. I look forward to his future.

  7. il lacerato spirito Says:

    I agree with nick, He sounds quite young. But with a lovely clean voice that is looking for placement in certain notes…but the all over effect is a pleasure. Thanks Mme La Cieca!

  8. la divina due Says:

    I thought “che gelida” was a little too fast in places. he could have taken more time. he’s ok. i wouldn’t say that he is outstanding. i think he is a handsome guy with a nice voice. the trend now seems to be on the whole package and i think he has the whole package. congrats to him for winning the george london, what a tremendous accomplishment. but, i think his voice is not superb. sorry, but that is my honest assessment.

  9. JATM2063 Says:

    He is a superb singer already. Bravo! It’s really too bad, from the looks of it he’ll be bald by age 30! But for now he is very cute. It was a lovely performance. No surprise he won.

  10. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Operaguyny, I too miss The Interpolator. I suspect he may have gotten too self-conscious about his identity. A pity, because although we made a bit of a game of it, it was his input that we wanted.

    Interpolator, please, come back to us !!

  11. Welcome to the young ones, indeed. One of my favorites, Bruce Ford, is FINALLY starting to get some much-deserved accolades for his bel canto roles (early Rossini and Bellini, plus Meyerbeer’s Italian period). But who’s the next/future Alain Vanzo, with the voice and the star power to bring back much of the French repertoire rarely performed these days? Lalo’s “Le Roi d’Ys” or Gounod’s “Sapho” spring immediately to mind.

  12. Good stuff. I’m a bit of a diction freak, and it is lovely to hear some enunciation in among the lovely tones.

    I’m with ITDG and Operguyny, though: have we scared off the Interpolator? I miss the h-e-double hockey sticks out of his commentary. If all of you smart guys here who figured him out (not me; closest I got was that he PROBABLY wasn’t Schipa or Martinelli) chased him away, then you should all be forced to listen to my mom praise Andrea Bocelli ;>.

    Come back, Interpolator, Come back!

  13. OperaGuyNY Says:

    Hopefully The Interpolator will find his way back, I do miss all the shop talk. However if he’s who I think he is, he’s had a lot on his plate these last few months, so it’s perfectly understandable. Perhaps we did scare him off, or perhaps he’s still among us with a different Nom de guerre.

  14. I agree with Paul that the French repertoire is neglected. One tenor is Yann Beuron who appears in the DVDs of La Belle Helene and La Grande Duchesse de gerolstein.

    I’m going to hear him at the Opera Garnier with Susan Graham in Iphiginie in June , so I’ll report back.

    Paul Groves is singing Julien at The Bastille in Louise in 2007.

  15. marschallin Says:

    The Interpolator IS here with us under the disguise “Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba”. They are one and the same person. One thing is for sure, whoever he or she or they may be, IT is no Stephen Costello or Rolando Villazon, pace the stupid pseudonym “Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba”. Povero(a).

  16. OperaGuyNY Says:

    Sorry marchallin, you couldn’t be more wrong. They are indeed different people.

  17. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Agree, they are two very different people.

    As for Paul Groves singing Julien…, hmmm, I’d think that to be a rather heavy role for him… I hope he knows what he’s doing.

  18. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Incidentally, am I the only one not enjoying Mazeppa this afternoon?

  19. OperaGuyNY Says:

    Nope. I’m having a hard time with it too. Though that last scene was much better. Perhaps I was expecting better tunes from him.

  20. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    The Forza tonight went extremely well – especially considering what was told to me by those who went to previous performances, the reviews and certainly from what I heard on the broadcast.

    Juan Pons was in very good voice tonight – far exceeding my expectations since so many people said that he wasn’t doing too well – he really was very good!

    Mary Phillips (I don’t remember if that was the chick who sang on the broadcast), though a little muddy in the low register gave some really intense and big High B naturals in Act II and gave a very good performance overall! She was also brilliant in the “Rataplan.” The only thing that didn’t go well wasn’t her fault – the conductor sped through a phrase towards the end of the scene in Act II and he didn’t wait for her. I was warned about that in advance and payed close attention to it.

    Salvatore was in good voice tonight and sang some particularly beautiful phrases in Act IV.

    Voigt came through in a way that really excites me about the future of her career. I used to be a very big Voigt fan for many years – I’ve heard her sing the shit out of Salome’s final scene and Samuel Barber’s “Andromaches Farewell” with NYPhil, a brilliant Aida with Olga Borodina, a sumptuously gorgeous Sieglinde opposite Domingo’s Siegmund, excerpts from a live Macbeth that she did somewhere that are incredible, etc. etc. Then I saw that Ballo earlier this season that really upset me. It was empty, vocally she wasn’t really with it, overly cautious, the whole cast crashed and even the orchestra seemed like it just wasn’t into the opera that day. I think alot of it has to do with the fact that after her surgury it is taking her a much longer time to get acquainted with her body and for the abdominal muscles to retrain themselves – it’s obviously had to be an extreme experience for her to almost relearn how to sing. What I can say is that what I heard tonight was infinitely better than what I heard in that Ballo and even on the broadcast. Even now, Voigt is using a healthy chest voice (something that her coach, Ruth Falcon, is known for not utlizing with her singers) which already makes the drama and the music that much more interesting! Voigt is also starting to move in a way on stage that I had never seen her do before – she is much more physical and active in portraying the characters – it’s no longer just a gorgeous voice, but now there is something visually stimulating that reinforces the voice in a way.

    I won’t say that it was a perfect performance…but I think that given the new physical challenges that Voigt is going through, she seems to be becoming much more comfortable in her skin and is finding the way to realign her voice. I have to say that her ‘Pace, pace’ was the best part of her performance – hell, the whole fourth act was brilliant on her part! I actually believed what I was seeing and hearing and her Bb on the last “Maledizione!” she held for a good 6 measures with a crescendo at the end – it was the best note she had the whole evening!!! Really, I have to admire her and commend her for her performance tonight. For those of you who may have been disatisfied with what you heard in person or on the broadcast with this run of Forza, tonight would have given you hope!

    Lastly, to describe the individual who had, what I felt, was a great triumph tonight – Mark Rucker – Verdi baritone extraordinaire!! I tell you people out there – this is a voice you MUST hear. Go to his website, he has some clips of his singing. Most baritones in the modern era (I cannot include Merrill and Warren and Siepi and Sereni and Milnes amongst others on this list) tend to be extremely visceral all the time. And though it can be so exciting to hear a fresh, vibrant lyric baritone…it is even better when you hear one that can bring it all in and give you a stunningly beautiful, soft, spun phrase. Alot of times, baritones with large voices, I have found, do something strange vocally when they want to sing something in the upper register with sensitivity and end up covering the sound or nasalize it or put it in the back of their throats. This is one baritone that never does that! It’s one of the only times I’ve heard anyone sing the Act II ‘aria’ (where Lo Studente tells his story) with such a variety of color and dynamics. To describe the experience more specifically:

    The way they staged his aria in Act II – he was standing on a large staircase, the people at the tavern all around him…just as he gets to the point in the story where he talks about how the girl is also dead, the character takes his dagger and plunges it into the bannister at which all the tavern-folk jump up and gasp. As Rucker performed, not only did the chorus gasp and freeze but so did the audience…the silence that followed before he crept into his next phrase pianissimo crescendoing to the refrain…each person in the audience was captivated and he held each of us there with him to the conclusion of the scene. At the end of the scene…Rucker interpolated a brilliant, perfectly in tune and full voiced High A natural (ala Milnes/Cappuccilli) which left the audience dumbfounded. There was a dead silence following it where it took a good 10 seconds before anyone started to clap – it caught the entire audience so off-guard they were simply baffled! Rucker also sang a High A at the end of the Act III duet with Licitra. But what really made the performance was his aria ‘Urna fatale.’ I had tears in my eyes and shivers up my spine following the aria – then he lunged into the short and bombastic cabaletta – never losing sight of the character or of his voice! Truly an outstanding performance!

    I also have to say that the clarinettist tonight was simply divine – he phrased the solo prior to Alvaro’s aria in the most beautiful way – even up on the High E’s and D’s, the tone was so mellow and sweet…superb playing!

    P.S. We’ve been through this already – The Interpolator and myself are two different people.

  21. Tutto Pazzo Says:

    Some sounds files from Costello’s management’s website.

  22. Tutto Pazzo Says:

    Or try this one:

  23. Opera Enthusiast Says:

    For Stephen Costello……
    “ingoiare le lacrime”
    Bravo………Buono fortuna, grazie!

  24. Opera Enthusiast Says:

    Cara La Cieca

    Is there anyway you can limit the amount of verbage of some blogs? ITDCS should be banned from the site until he/she gets an editor.

  25. Flores para los muertos Says:

    Oh, Marschie, you little ray of sunshine, you! Troll, troll, go away! Come again some other day.

    You are entitled to express your opinion, but there is no need to denigrate others in order to do so.

    Whether you like it or not, Deborah Voigt is a singer of consequence. (And what being an alleged faghag has to do with anything, let alone singing, escapes me.)

    If you find posts from ITDCS upsetting, you have the option to stop reading them. It’s not as if you must read a post in order to ascertain who wrote it. Happily for us, each post begins with, “Author’s Name said…”. When you see “ITDCS said…,” might I suggest you stop reading immediately?

    Or is it simply that you’d rather get your panties in a knot and spout off about it here?

    As a seemingly transgendered prince once sang to me, “Chacun à son goût.” If we’d all remember that, the world, or at least this forum, might be a nicer place.

  26. marschallin Says:

    “And what being an alleged faghag [Debbie VOID] has to do with anything, let alone singing, escapes me.”

    But sweeheart, she don’t sing well. Do you want it spelled out?

  27. Baritenor Says:

    Marshallian, do you like ANYONE but Cheryl Studer?

  28. paddypig Says:

    i think the marschaillin is cheryl studer

  29. marschallin Says:

    The marschaillin [sic] ain’t no cheryl studer. And your natural milieu, paddypig, is, well, a pigsty.

  30. tristanXX Says:

    It is sad to see someone who gets there kicks out of insulting people use this blog for that purpose. So many interesting comments and debates, and then some obnoxious person needs to make nasty, vicious and bitter comments about singers and other bloggers. Marschallin go away

  31. Baritenor Says:

    Can you answer my qeustion, marschaillin? I really want to knwo: Who else do you like?

  32. Just Another Tenor Says:

    Here’s what I don’t get: The fact that ITCS writes a whole lot – we’ve gone over this. If you don’t like it, skip it. God knows I’ve been enough of a bitch to him, and disagreed with him. Still, he does have interesting points to make. And he makes me think about things musical et al. As long as he is willing to receive criticism and he RESPECTS others opinions (he still seems to be working on that, “Cheryl Studer” case in point), I say please go on.
    As far as Marschallin is concerned: laugh everyone. She obviously wants to shock everyone, and you are all feeding into her game by reacting. Let her be a Troll, she is remarkabaly amusing. Let it be and live your lives. Her bitterness and aggressivity is hilarious. Step back and appreciate the humour of her nature. It really is that funny if you go back and read her comments over the past few months. Why take her seriously? Surely she CANNOT be serious in her meanderings!

  33. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Yes, yes, however, it would be so much nicer if the chat could be kept at a socially graceful level. Let’s use the screen-names to be funny, creative, clever.. but not as a cover for making derogatory remarks or insulting others.

  34. paddypig Says:

    bravo il tenore di grazia

  35. TheInterpolator Says:

    To those of you who have so politely and eloquently wondered “Where has the Interpolator been recently?”, I must admit that two of the most-proffered reasons are correct. Namely: (1) I have been very busy the past few months with several concerns, both personally and professionally, and (2) I was, indeed, concerned that some of my (more colorful) posts could find themselves plastered all over Lincoln Center Plaza or Place de la Bastille when I happened to be in the cast that day!

    At this point, however, I realize that (1) nobody cares THAT much about what I say here in this sacred forum to go to such outlandish trouble, and (2) even IF such a thing happened, it would be a tempest in a teapot of near-zero consequence.

    Again, I send my most heartfelt thanks to those of you who (somehow!!??) figured out my personal e-mail address and sent very sweet messages during a recent family difficulty.

    And before going further, I admit to being flummoxed by the Marshallin’s insistence that ITDCS and I are the same person. As ITDCS correctly notes above, we’ve been through this before…and we are NOT the same poster. Same voice type, perhaps, but far from the same individual. In fact, I very much enjoy reading ITDCS’s posts — they are quite informative from several perspectives.

    Boy, after such a long repast from posting, I feel I have so much dish to unload that I hardly know where to start. I have been so busy singing in various parts of our wonderful world that I confess I haven’t read each and every word of La Cieca’s wonderful board lately.

    In fact, let it be known that the Interpolator actually stayed in a hotel abroad last week that (GASP!) had no Internet connection in the room for his laptop!! What to do!? (Well, go to the little Internet cafe down the strasse, naturlich.)

    I’d like to take some time and catch up on my Cieca reading, but before I do, please let me say this in response to the recent Voigt bashing:

    First, as noted above, she IS a singer of consequence — and I don’t think that is actually in dispute. Even IF one (such as Marshie) doesn’t CARE for her singing, she IS still a singer of consequence. Ms. Voigt has (and will continue to have) her pick of high-profile engagements, with her pick of repertoire, both domestically and abroad, for years to come.

    Second, I take grave issue with the Mashie’s assertion that she does not sing well. Although EVERY singer has an off-night (and even singers such as Sutherland, perhaps the most secure vocal technician of the 20th century opera stage, occasionally succombed to some human travail), Ms. Voigt is almost *always* vocally and technically secure in her delivery. She DOES sing well. Within the parameters of the repertoire she sings, she is up against a slew of vocal hurdles night after night after night that most singers simply WON’T face even if they COULD.

    Third, Ms. Voigt’s bravery, her personal integrity, her unflagging commitment to being a good colleague, and her desire to uphold the highest vocal and musical standards ALSO contribute to make her a prized singer in the American — and, indeed, world — pantheon of jugend-lyrisches sopranos. Yes, these qualities DO find their way into her actual SINGING — the actual SOUND, the actual PHONATION, the actual aomplitude, pitch, and color produced by her vibrating arytenoids. To say otherwise is either (1) stupid, or (2) willfully uninformed, or (3) born of outrageous jealousy.

    Fourth, having been privileged to sing in (at least) two different productions with Ms. Voigt, I can attest to her vocal consistency and commitment across a long run of performances.

    Those of you have figured out my identity (or at least *think* you have — ha ha) will probably know that I sang the Italian Tenor in Rosenkav with Ms. Voigt in a typically “high-profile” production. Having sung MANY performances of the Italian Tenor with Ms. Fleming, I was accustomed to a far different approach to Marie-Therese’s music, and I found it relevatory to be onstage with Ms. Voigt as she plumbed yet another facet of the Marshallin’s vocal and temperamental profile.

    Yes, she was a WONDERFUL singing actress, and the reviews bear that out. Interestingly, the reviews also mentioned that MY singing of the Italian Tenor’s big aria had a “more refulgent, powerful ring than Mr. Interpolator usually delivers” [translated from the German original]. I know that I can attribute that directly to Ms. Voigt’s singing — because, as we all know, good singing is contagious.

    How lucky I have been to sing such a wonderful (and short!) part with two such talented colleagues — who inspired me to experiment a bit vocally mid-career as they did. Of course, the part is so short that some experimentation is not truly dangerous. But again, how lucky I am!!

    One evening, I was in the wings (on break from a rehearsal downstairs) watching Ms. Voigt sing Chrysothemis’ big scene from Elektra. When she let loose with “Kinder will ich haben…” and soared up to that B-flat, I almost shat myself.

    No matter what your perspective, let this stand as truth beyond reproach: Singing such as THAT she delivered with “Kinder will ich haben…” and the final B-flat of “Pace” as described by ITDCS is indeed rare, exciting, glorious, roof-rattling. moving, exciting…and we are LUCKY to have it.

    And if you don’t agree, then I dare you to try it yourself and see how you fare.

    — The Interpolator

  36. OperaGuyNY Says:


    Glad to have you back man!

    Without giving too much away, I just want to say I’m SO very sorry. (and I’ll leave it at that!)

    We’ve missed you very much.

  37. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Alright, I guess I’m totally out on a limb. Every time I think I know who The Interpolator is, he says something to show me wrong. I give up. Not that it matters; it’s just my opera minutia knowledge pride that gets hurt.

    Yes, good to have you back. And whatever personal difficulty you endured, you have my sympathy and hope that it all works out alright.

    Now the show must go on. Tell us gossip !

  38. RickysKid Says:

    Dear Interpolator,
    I believe I may know your identity and if you are who I think you are, I am incredibly sorry and will keep you in my prayers…

    On a different note, hello everyone! This is my first posting here and I am looking forward to an enjoyable time on this site! The whole ‘blog’ thing is very new to me, as I have just attempted to make one. If anyone has any tips on how exactly to do this, they would be quite welcomed! Thanks again!

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