Three Tenors, approximately

At last night’s Don Pasquale prima, Juan Diego Florez was “souffrant” but sang the first two acts, then ceded the role to Barry Banks, who apparently rose to the occasion beautifully. Eduardo Villa sings the final Luisa Miller tonight, theoretically opposite Veronica Villaroel, who did sing the performance on the 29th (was anyone there?) Neil Shicoff is still on the roster for next season’s Peter Grimes, but you can be sure the Met is lining up the most solid covers imaginable.

Oh, and if Massimo Giordano sounds a little tired on the occasion of his Met debut (April 5), cut him a little slack. Due to the demanding itinerary of the tenor’s diva/mother/author/reading advocate co-star, the only time a full day of rehearsals for the Manon revival could be set was on Tuesday the 4th, i.e., the day before Giordano makes his bow. (Actually, this one’s not Fleming’s fault: she doesn’t schedule the repertory and the rehearsals at the Met. But who had the brainstorm of scheduling a two-performance “revival” of this opera with only Fleming repeating her role from the fall, and knowing that she would not be in town until three days before Giordano’s first night?)

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72 Responses to “Three Tenors, approximately”

  1. Baritenor Says:

    If I can somehow find a way to blame this on Uncle Joe, I will

  2. JATM2063 Says:

    Excellent question about the “two night revival”. It sounds like the production is going to be shelved for a while, but they wanted to squeeze out just a few more performances so everyone can enjoy Renee. I don’t blame them. I like her in this part.

  3. Pittsblogher Says:

    Or Renee wouldn’t do ANY performances unless she got a broadcast. Even then, it’s the Met’s “fault” if they couldn’t engage the same principals for both segments of the run, or that they didn’t book Ms. Fleming far enough in advance that they could spece the rehearsal better.

  4. Baritenor Says:

    NEWS, LADIES, GENTLEMEN AND QUEENS, NEWS. THIS IS NOT A DRILL, THIS IS NOT A RUMOR, THIS IS NOT AN APRIL FOOLS PRANK:

    Wolfgang Sawallisch has Retired, citing his health as the reason.

    I always seem to be the bearer of bad news to this site: I was the first to report on the death of Sarah Caldwell, and I’m the first to report on this. Herr Sawallisch is a great conductor, and is the last living member of my three favorite Strauss conductors: Bohm and Karajan are the others. I’ve taken countless hours of pleasure listening to his recordings of Capriccio, Freindstag and Die Frau, not to mention his Wagner and Orff recordings. He’s a great conductor, and I’m very depressed that his career has come to a sudden end. I hope that he is happy with this desicion, and I wish him the best. I’m just bummed that I will never now be able to see him in action.

  5. squinted Says:

    Speaking of revivals, can anyone give me an idea what to expect from the upcoming Figaro cast? Soile Isokoski, Andrea Rost, Alice Coote, Peter Mattei, John Relyea…I don’t know any of these. I heard a number of the November cast performances were quite good, but unfortunately couldn’t make it for any of those dates. Thanks much.

  6. papagenodz Says:

    You wrote: Soile Isokoski, Andrea Rost, Alice Coote, Peter Mattei, John Relyea…

    Great potential, we’ll see what sort of ensemble they can develop. Isokoski is somewhat of a goddess, and Alice Coote is big time (I’ve seen her Hansel). Rost and Coote join together again for Lyric Opera’s Fledermaus next season. Peter Mattei has a glorious voice and Relyea is always enjoyable. Have fun!

  7. Baritenor Says:

    Alice Coote gave a great Octavian In LA, but watch out, she has a penchant for Canceling. b

  8. Alice Coote was quite good as Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina at SFO a couple years ago. Best singer, I thought, in a controversial production. I believe she has studied with Janet Baker. John Relyea has sung a good deal in SF — he’s a former Merola participant and Adler Fellow. Always has given solid, musical performances.

  9. jfmurray3 Says:

    John Relyea has a nice rich voice. Very dashing. (It’s so hard not to use the Thomassini “strapping”.) I heard him in a duo recital with Stephanie Blythe at the MET (Temple of Dendur). Both were fantastic. (The highlights of the show were 2 Don Carlo excerpts – he will be a phantastic Phillip and she will be an ebullient Eboli.)

  10. Off topic, I know, but I heard a very promising young Russian basso at the SF Symphony last night. His name is Mikhail Petrenko and he was soloist in the Shostakovich 13th “Babi Yar” with Rostropovich conducting. 30 years old from St. Petersburg. He has toured a good deal with Gergiev and the Mariinsky company to Covent Garden, La Scala, etc. His bio says he has done War and Peace and Pistola in Falstaff at the Met, and is engaged for upcoming Hundings and Sparafuciles. Wondering if the New Yorkers in this forum had opinions?

    I thought he was the real deal as a Russian bass. Plus, he sang with a great line, sensitive dynamic shadings and focused pitch (none of the ambiguous wooliness you often hear). He also had a real poignant soulfulness (the S13 is a pretty dour piece). Hard to tell how the voice might sound in the War Memorial or the Met, but it carried well in Davies Hall which can be acoustically tricky.

    If he doesn’t push things too soon and the voice naturally gains more darkness and weight, he could potentially be a fine Boris.

  11. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    coote is indeed a great singer in the making – she should be known much more. heard her several times and she is always very engaging – her dido in purcells DaA was very moving, even though it was ‘only’ in concert.

    isokoski is fantastic! always reminds me a bit of mattila (after all they are both finnish) but her voice is much more lyrical and she is mainly known for her mozart (she will sing the countess in london later on this year), but she ventures into lyrical wagner (eva and more recently elsa) too. she would make a great marschallin as well!

    andrea rost was never much my cup of tea voicelike, but she has a good stage prescence – same for john relyea, personally i find the sound of his voice too gritty…

    peter mattei (is he a swede?) has a great voice but i have only heard him once (troyens in concert) so its hard to judge from that…

    all in all i would say thumbs up though 🙂

  12. Canadienne Says:

    I have found Mattei to be a really interesting actor – never does the same thing twice. And he also happens to be an excellent singer. I was in the cast when he sang the Count in Chicago, and it was excellent.

  13. marschallin Says:

    Hmmm. Let’s see. What does Caldwell, Sawallisch, Isokoski, Coote, Mattei, Relyea, Petrenko, et.al. have to do with the original theme of this thread??? Surely baritenor can explain.

  14. marschallin Says:

    WHAT THE FUCK! Here are two essential Sawallisch recordings, made when complete opera documents were still being made and with ELITE singers with ELITE voices with distinct PERSONALITIES. And with genuine ensembles. Those were the days.

    DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN
    The Empress: Cheryl Studer
    The Emperor: René Kollo
    The Nurse: Hanna Schwarz
    The Spirit Messenger: Andreas Schmidt
    The Guardian of the Threshold of the Temple: Cyndia Sieden
    The Voice of a Young Man: Paul Frey
    The Voice of the Falcon: Julie Kaufmann
    A Voice from Above: Marjana Lipovsek
    Barak the Dyer: Alfred Muff
    The Dyer’s Wife: Ute Vinzing
    The one-eyed Brother: Jan-Hendrik Rootering
    The one-armed Brother: Kurt Rydl
    The Hunchback: Kenneth Garrison
    The Watchmen: Andreas Schmidt, Jan-Hendrik Rootering, Kurt Rydl
    The Slave-girls: Cyndia Sieden, Julie Kaufmann, Birgit Calm

    Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Conductor: Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Recording: February, March, November, December 1987,
    Herkulessaal, Munich
    EMI CDS 7 49074-2

    ELEKTRA
    Chrysothemis: Cheryl Studer
    Elektra: Eva Marton
    Klytämnestra: Marjana Lipovsek
    Aegisth: Hermann Winkler
    Orest: Bernd Weikl
    Orestes’ Tutor: Kurt Moll
    The Confidante: Victoria Wheeler
    The Train-bearer: Dorothea Geipel
    A young serving man: Ulrich Ress
    An old serving man: Alfred Kuhn
    The Overseer: Carmen Anhorn
    1st serving woman: Daphne Evangelatos
    2nd serving woman: Shirley Close
    3rd serving woman: Birgit Calm
    4th serving woman: Julie Faulkner
    5th serving woman: Caroline Maria Petrig

    Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Conductor: Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Recording: January 1990, Herkulessaal, Munich
    EMI CDS 7 54067 2

    Enjoy.

  15. a voice from the peanut gallery Says:

    Marshy,

    Again, what does Cheryl Studer have to do with this discussion?

  16. Baritenor Says:

    Marshie-
    I Only posted the thing about Swallisch. It’s geniune news-One of the great german Operatic conductors is retiring. I know it’s unrelated to the topic, but it’s big, BIG news. If you feel it okay to interrupt discussions with reviews of Ms. Studer (who is a fine artist, if not the be-all-end-all you make her out to be), I certainly feel it necessary to alert the postars to this kind of news.

  17. papagenodz Says:

    you’d think that with THREE (at least) of studer’s major recordings conducted by herr sawallisch, marschallin would have some sensitivity about this great doktor leaving us. true tunnel vision. wow.

  18. scifisci Says:

    i was lucky enough to be living in philadelphia when sawallisch was the conductor and it is truly tragic that his career is over. I’ve seen him conduct basically all major strauss works, he programmed them like crazy! As for his recordings, the Capriccio stands out for me, as well as as the Frau. And completely unrelated….I too am glad renee is back for some more manon. It’s one of the few of her roles i really think she does to perfection. I don’t think it really matters about the tenor….alvarez was off for the two performances i saw anyways.

  19. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    Hello all – I’ve been away from my computer and this site for a few days – I have had an intensely busy schedule wrought with rehearsals and work and auditions and settling future engagements and selection of repertoire for upcoming concerts over the next year as well as investigating some new potential repertoire.

    I will do my very best to keep things simple and to the point and respond to certain things – oldest to newest (as they appear on the main page of this website).

    1. ITDG…I can’t agree with you more about absolutely everything that you have said – about singers of old acting with their voices and not flinging themselves around stage – which, I personally, don’t enjoy having to do. As I have said before…I much rather have an interesting voice who gives a beautiful sound and can be expressive and meaningful in what they sing rather than rely on a singers physical capablities of delivering a role (to some extent – just standing there certainly doesn’t help). As for my comments about Tebaldi…yes, I am far too young to have ever seen her perform…but I have to be honest, I don’t think that I would have liked to. Maybe at the very beginning for her – in something like Minnie or Desdemona or Butterfly or Boheme or Giovanna D’Arco…however, of the videos I have seen of her and also from many many accounts of (unrelated) individuals I know who DID see her many many times – all have had similar comments about her acting – she smiled – alot. When Gioconda is getting ready to committ suicide, she probably should look full of anguish and despair and sorrow – Tebaldi, as one individual put it, looked like she was getting ready to sit down to a cup of tea.

    I personally never became a huge Tebaldi fan because of her out of tune and often shallow singing in the upper register. Her early recordings are pure gold and certainly there is so much of her artistry that shows in the voice, despite the vocal flaws. I still listen to her and appreciate her and her contribution to opera and I could never say that I dislike her…but she really doesn’t rank all that high on my list. This is just my own personal assessment of what I hear from her – and there are even some things that she has recorded where she was as flat as a table top and I was still moved by the moment.

    As for Arroyo, I obviously never saw her perform and there aren’t very many videos of her either. SHe even admitted that she wasn’t a great actress but it’s very obviously from both her recordings and from many conversations with her and her coaching methods that characterization and tone color and intimately understanding the words one sings and conveying them to the audience as well as bringing intensity and energy to ones performance are all important values to her even still today – perhaps they are values that she acquired over the years of performing and didn’t start out with – I don’t know and I’ve never asked – but it’s clear that the intent was there for a good long portion of her career.

    2. Regarding Esclarmonde – this is one of my FAVORITE operas and I only wish it was done more often. The role was written for a woman named Sybil Sanderson, a Californian that became one of Massenet’s muses (along with the mezzo Lucy Arbell who appeared in almost all the premieres of his operas). I highy recommend anyone to read the memoirs and writings of both Massent and Saint-Saens – there is some astonishing history and information to be acquired in their words. Massenet wrote Manon, Esclarmonde and Thais all for this same woman – who had a G below and a G above the staff – hence why he wrote Esclarmonde the way he did. However, what I find to be so odd is that three different voice types sing the three different roles. Agreeably, a Thais could sing Manon, but Esclarmonde is in a league of her own – it really requires a more dramatic voice than Dessay or Damrau could provide – the person who SHOULD have sung it is Edita Gruberova – and something tells me she still probably could if she wanted to. Then, we would have the high G’s as well – and some pretty spectacular ones, at that.

    I do LOVE Joan’s performances of that opera – and of significant interest – I implore everyone and anyone to find and listen to the live performance that was recorded at the Massenet festival somewhere in France with Fournillier conducting – I wasn’t able to find much out about the festival, but my impression is that they intended to perform each of Massenet’s operas in order and issue live recordings of all of them. Thus far I have only seen and heard Esclarmonde and Cleopatre (his last opera and a f***ing AMAZING one at that! Cleopatre’s death scene is one of the greatest works of music and art ever penned by anyone!). Denia Gavazzeni-Mazzola is the soprano on the Esclarmonde recording – she is a fierce soprano with a huge, honking voice and high notes for days. The orchestral, albeit, is not nearly as full sounding or as well balanced (I feel) as in the Bonynge performances…but this woman really shows you how this role needs to be sung! It’s fabulous!

    3. My dear friend (I hope you don’t mind that I refer to you as such considering that I enjoy our exchanges to be so refreshing and enjoyable) The Interpolator…I did manage to view a copy of that Offenbach “Reve” you mentioned to me. I can’t say that it was anything that appealed to me – it’s seems just a bit too character tenorish for me. The high C in the cadenza is a nice bonus, but knowing me, I would have put one there anyway!! It’s a bit wordy for something that should be dreamy. I’m not rushing out to learn it now, but I may find it interesting inthe future, especially if I use it, as you say, as an encore. It certainly doesn’t seem like a ‘bad’ piece of music – just not something that excites me at the moment. I’m a bit more interested in things that are flashy – if there are any arias, however, that you know that are flashy – high and fast – from the French or Bel Canto repertoire, please share! The rarer the better!
    I will say, however, I did fall in love while musing over an early 19th century manuscript/facsimile of the Carafa opera “Gabriella di Vergy” – not a long opera, but some brilliant music – also on Matteuzzi’s cd. I’ve already posed it to a conductor who has been very interested in me that might be willing to mount a production of it in the near future. Who knows? We shall see.

    4. Luisa Miller at the Met:

    Schicoff sang a total of 1 performance of the first act of the opera – Eduardo sang the remainder – quite beautifully, I might add. Alas, the production (and Eduardo agreed with me when I saw him perform last night) that the production must have been cursed. He fell and sprained his knee on his second entrance during the broadcast…Villaroel was having her under-the-weather issues (she did sing last night and, for having been ill, she was QUITE amazing – what a GORGEOUS chest voice and some truly beautifully spun high notes. She was a bit careful in some places, but I certainly and glad that she was and didn’t push herself…she really sang extremely well)…Alvarez was ASTOUNDING and the other singers whose names I don’t recall offhand all sang brilliantly – it was the first time in a LONG time that I actually saw opera being sung the way it SHOULD be from an entire cast, despite the offstage and health issues.

    5. Interpolator, I am so glad that you are one of the few here that stands by Fleming – I wish people would take your assessment of her and her abilities much more seriously. She IS a coloratura soprano, in many respects…and as for her high notes…all you other readers cannot tell me that the High Eb’s on her bel canto album don’t send shivers up your spine or that the Eb in the Houston video isn’t f***ing sublime!! The point is, she gets there, there is spin on the tone, it is in tune, it has volume, it has direction, and it’s a stern, solid High Eflat – actually, MUCH more secure than Joan’s E-flats were. On several live and studio recordings, one can hear that Joan could potentially lose the note – she doesn’t cause she’s a goddess and was amazing at what she did – but the facts are the facts.

    And back on Guleghina…I don’t know who taught some of you abot vocal technique and what a “hole in the voice” actually means…but Guleghina does not fall into that category. Just because she has a distinctive sound and isn’t all lovely and pretty sounding like a damn soubrette doesn’t make her voice ugly or uneven. And what is with today’s OBSESSION with singers having “even scaled” voices?? I can’t think of a SINGLE singer of the past or present who has a completely smooth transition through the registers – some of the greatest singers that ever lived had these so-called “holes” in their voices – Callas, Price, Corelli, Caballe, Sutherland, Sills, Horne, Gencer, Domingo…the list goes on and on. That’s not to say that one’s voice should be choppy or disconnected…but a voice as smooth as glass probably isn’t a good thing in many respects – bland singing, lack of tone color, plain…at least, those are the things I hear and think of when I hear “perfectly even” voices. I’d much rather listen to someone who is disctinctive and can get around their instrument and make things work for them while at the same time respecting the composer and the style of the given composition.

    6. June Anderson’s debut in Norma at Chicago Lyric was a brilliant performance – I have the recording of it. The video of her doing it in Europe isn’t so good…a bit bland and boring…but overall I enjoy her rendition of it. Sadly, for us, June has had a serious thyroid problem for several years that has upset those glorious high notes (i.e. Dal vivo in concerto album and the Bellini album and clearly the BEST Cunegonde ever to walk the earth – God, her performances in that are SO thrilling!). Baritenor, I’m not so sure that I believe all that you told about Anderson and Bernstein and Hauman – Berstein was pretty vocal about how much her loved June singing the part. I don’t call your story false, but perhaps it was relayed to you with some exaggeration.

    7. Rysanekfreak…David really isn’t far off the mark from the type of repertoire that The Interpolator and myself sing. David is clearly I role I will undertake in several years – it’s too soon for me now – but it is a very lyric part and not at all attached to the “Wagnerian stigma” assigned to his other characters. If anything, it is written in a rather Germanic Romanticized Bellinian style…esp when one considers that Bellini was the composer whom Wagner most admired and sought to emulate in his early career.

    Interpolator, all that you say about keeping the lyricism in a voice while balancing it with the flexibility is very important. I myself, though at the moment specialize in Rossini and may be having quite a few Rossinian engaments over the next several years (which doesn’t disappoint me at all) I still try to use Mozart (Belmonte, Ferrando) and French repertoire (Nadir, Orfee, Leopold in Juive, La Dame Blance, Postillion, Diavlo, etc) and lighter lyric Italian roles like Fenton and Rinuccio amongst other things to maintain that balance. At the moment, I am waiting to include Donizetti (except Don Sebastiano) and Bellini (except Alvino in Sonnambula) and some Mozart (like Ottavio) into my repertoire because I don’t wish to force my voice to sing so constantly in the upper middle/passaggio area that is so required of these parts. As one who “lives” in the upper register…sitting on F’s and G’s is rather uncomfortable for me at the moment – so something like Nemorino is out of the question for a very long time to come – but something like Fille du Regiment (the arias are no problems) will come sooner. One has to be smart about what repertoire one sings, otherwise one can do serious damage to their instrument…much like Cheryl Studer (sorry, I know, I just can’t let it die!!).

    P.S. Callas juggled Brunnhilde in Walkure with Elvira in Puritani – not Isolda.

    8. I saw June Anderson sing a gorgeous Violetta at the Met about 2 or 3 years ago – no Eb, but I didn’t miss it – I have plenty of her amazing Eb’s on recording and would rather her sing a healthy Bb than risk a mediocre Eb at this time.

    And now it is time to retire seeing as I have very crazy full week ahead of me.

  20. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    I’m SO very sorry to do this…but I decided to watch this video clip of Miss Studer that Marschallin wanted us to view so much.

    Incidentally, the video is from her singing in 2001 – clearly, nothing recent to be excited about.

    I find it so funny that Marshie can sit there and rattle off so many blatent criticisms at artists like Gruberova and Fleming and Bartoli and Moffo and Sutherland and whoever else and actually attempts to discuss those singers vibrati and intonation and the core of their sound.

    I will admit that the video of Studer singing “Dich, teure Halle” was much better than I expected it to be (although this is the literature the woman should have sung and never left in the first place)…however, one cannot help but realize how the voice begins to shake as she sings above the passaggio (her G’s are very weak) – some intonation issues at the beginning of the aria and at the second Allegro section following, what I will admit was a very nicely sung recitative section. The High B was sung in true Cheryl Studer style – flat, faulty, and unfortunate.

    I cannot, however, go on without saying that Studer had immpeccable diction and that her intentions in phrasing were admirable – unfortunately, she doesn’t possess an instrument that is capable of executing them in the best possible way.

    Alas, I am unchanged in my thoughts about her performing and singing – the fact that she does sing this aria in a decent manner (minus the G’s and B) is not surprising since this was the repertoire that called to her in the early beginnings of her career before she went on to mutliate her voice and badly perform the glorious pages of Verdi and Puccini and the masters of the Ottocento, amongst other non-Germanic composers.

    By the way, Marshie…did you pick out her dress? Clearly her taste in fashion is just as poor as…oh well, do I really need to say it?

  21. Bill Bookbinder Says:

    For all of you who seem to remember June Anderson at the MET “2 or 3 years ago” your memories are mistaken. She has not appeared at the MET in 5 years — 2001 was her last recorded appearance.

  22. marschallin Says:

    Studer’s dress is nowhere nearly in poor taste as the tiresome drone of an effeminate shemale (ITDCS to you). The priss then goes on to accuse Studer of mutilating her voice and badly perform the glorious music of Verdi, et.al.; all this while coming all over Fleming’s face – and we know of no one who has mutilated more music since FFJ. FUCK YOU, ITDCS.

  23. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Come on, Book Binder, two, three, five, seven years… We all know that time flies on the opera stage.

    It seems like yesterday that I attended the premiere of that awful Norma that Anderson was covering. (The Adalgisa was stupendous, incidentally.)

  24. papagenodz Says:

    Thank you for mentioning Zajick’s Adalgisa. GLORIOUS.

    Also couldn’t help but respond to the claim that June Anderson was “the BEST Cunegonde ever to walk the earth.” This is a huge exaggeration. Yes, she sang the role well, but for my taste, her sometimes occluded diction and her lack of true comedic skill gets in the way of a rather gorgeously sung performance. Barbara Cook is the ne plus ultra of the role — she actually sang the thing, while sending it up brilliantly, breaking in and out of chest in an unforgettable way. Elizabeth Futral at Lyric gave a great read on it. As I’ve said before, I loved Chenowith in the role, until her lack of real legato in “Make Our Garden Grow” got in her way. Harolyn Blackwell was a disgrace no matter what anyone says. If you haven’t seen Natalie Dessay’s video of “Glitter and Be Gay” on YouTube, run don’t walk. And, to indulge in one extra bit of Fleming bashing: how about the war whoops on her Glitter and Be Gay on the American arias album, which to be fair, includes some of her VERY BEST SINGING: the Vanessa, both Susannah arias–especially Trees on the Mountain, which all three times I’ve seen her do this opera stopped time.

  25. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    Pagagenodz, you have listed some truly outstanding renditions of “Glitter and be gay” – clearly, Miss Cook’s rendition is at the top of the scale. Dessay is brilliant and Chenowith, if we are to consider the physicality of the part, truly superb. For my taste, however, Cunegonde is a dramatic coloratura role…particularly when Bernstein beefed up the orchestration in the 89 revision. There is something rather majestic about the way Anderson sings Cunegonde – she adds something very regal about the character and expresses both Cunegonde’s nobility and girlishness through the part. The one thing that I never cared for in the London recording is that, overall, all those singing adopted a slight British color to the vowels they were singing – which may have stood in the way of the clear diction, for you papagenodz. I however, have no problems understanding any of the words she, or any members of that cast, sang. One can argue that since the work is American, American accents should be used (of course, Crista Ludwig’s heavy German accent just made things all the more hysterical and comedic in that role since the Old Lady claims to be of more than just one nationality!), rather than British ones. But honestly, I think the argument is a moot point – but I do know people who make a very big deal out of it.

    I have not heard Futral sing the aria but I would love to! I do enjoy Flemings and she does give some good singing, but there are certain things that I prefer to hear when listening to that aria – the sustained High Eb is one of them, as opposed to the ossia line that Fleming sings. I just think that when a bitch can hold out a fierce Eb the way Dessay or Anderson does…it’s just totally thrilling and so exciting!!

    Also, we can’t forget Gruberova singing the aria! It was SO wrong for her, as her voice is just too big and her English is quite dreadful…but it’s still fabulous in it’s own way! HAHAHA that recording makes me laugh every time I hear it!

    Papagenodz, you’re also right about Flemings American Arias. After Fleming sang Susannah…it’s very hard to hear anyone else (other than Phyllis Curtain, of course!)!!

    I believe it was December of 2002 that I saw June Anderson as Violetta…maybe 2001…I will have to go look in the programs to be sure. Alas, Bookbinder…the time flies by very quickly and it seems like it was only two years ago that I saw her perform.

  26. I suggest everyone make a pledge to keep this forum dignified and avoid the name calling and profanities. Maybe there should be a detente on all Fleming and Studer discussion — hasn’t everything been said that can be said? Let’s just move on. There are a lot of smart and talented people on this forum — we can all learn much from each other and have fun too. Isn’t that why dear Cieca created this?

  27. marschallin Says:

    Apparently winpal hasn’t heard La Cieca at her best, has he or she? Don’t think La Cieca intended this to be a place for didactical prudishness.

  28. Perhaps not. I have only heard you at your worst.

  29. Baritenor Says:

    I’m not a big fan of Anderson’s Cunegonde. Compared to Cook, Chenowith and Erie Mills, all fantastic Cunegondes, not to mention Constance Hauman, Bernstein’s chosen interpretor of the role, Anderson is approprietly Regal but misses much of the (Blissfully corrupted) innocentence in Cunegonde. Plus, she was suffering from a cold when the recording was made, which had the effect of making her coloratura heavy and unweildy. Besides, contrary to what has been said here. Cunegonde is NOT a Dramatic Coloratura. I studied the score closesly when I played Pangloss (and a bunch of other characters) last year, and she’s written as lyric Coloratura.

  30. Baritenor Says:

    And speaking of Cunegonde, that video with Dessay on YouTube….she sings it quite well, but who let her wear that dress? It is obvious, as Dr. Repetoire would say, that Ms. Dessay has no gay friends.

  31. Dear ITDCS

    A few threads ago I suggested a useful book to Marschallin, which with all respect I suggest you might wish to browse through: On Writing Well by William Zinsser. You might start with the chapter called Simplicity followed by the next chapter – Clutter.

    Willym

  32. Just Another Tenor Says:

    ITDCS,
    I absolutely aree with you. Anderson made a remarkable and indelible impression on me as Cunegonde. Never mind her pairing with Ludwig, which is to die for. The heft in her voice adds a very emotional quality to her singing.
    However, I am surprised no one has mentioned Upshaw’s recording, which I find absolutely wonderful. She hams it up in the most wonderful way, gets those high notes, and leaves us wondering how she did it, sounded so good and made the aria sound short.
    For simple shock value, and perhaps the one recording of the aria i would keep just because it is so shameless, is Natalie Dessay’s live performance at Glyndebourne (for the EMI gala) The entire aria is FLAWLESS, the acting superb, and the interpolaed high G so cristalline it would stop anyone in their tracks.

    As far as accents in Candide go, I’ll take anything as long as it has diction. I on’t think an American accent needs to be imposed if it going to sound phony. We all have accents in languages in which we are not native. Even if one speaks perfectly that language, there will always be a small vowel thats gives one away. (This is not true of the cinema where things can be altered posterior to the filming, but onstage I have almost always found it to be the case) Rather than breaking the suspension of disbelief when that moment comes, I don’t mind if everyone has a different accent.
    However, if it could be done by an American cast, tat would beideal, I agree with that

  33. TheInterpolator Says:

    Wow — so much to say, so little time…

    ITDCS: I’m glad you got a chance to look over the Offenbach “reve” aria. Your observation about the piece looking suspiciously like a character-tenor aria is well-taken, and I thought the same thing when I first looked at it (and then promptly laid it aside).

    But then…I studied it for a couple of hours with Janine Reiss in Paris. I don’t know if you are familiar with her (and yes, she is ANCIENT), but she is, in my opinion, the greatest French coach I have EVER worked with for all things stylistic and “just plain correct” in French singing. Her work with the Bastille/Garnier, Covent Garden, and other major houses is legendary. (She did the musical prep for the Gheorghiu/Alagna recording of the Gounod Romeo et Juliette).

    Anyway, I was coaching up Romeo with her to prepare for my first time in the role. At the end of our couple of weeks together, she suggested this Offenbach piece — just as a little bit of fun after some really arduous sessions. She gave me the score, and I looked at it over dinner thinking, “No way…character tenor.”

    But then I ran through the piece with her (basically, when Janine Reiss asks, The Interpolator does not say “no.”) I discovered from her tutelage that it is NOT a patter-sing aria, and not a character piece, either — despite its appearance. This has much to do with tempo and style, or course…but let me put it this way: A real character tenor could NEVER get through this piece without imploding if he actually SANG it the way it is meant to be sung.

    This points up yet another reasons that as young working singers, we must always keep our futures firmly anchored to traditions of the past!! I absolutely needed someone of the stature of Madame Reiss too lovingly guide me through that piece, show me the (*very*) slow tempo despite the “look” of all those double-flagged notes, and show me how this stuff REALLY goes. (And I am very lucky that she took the time to do so!!)

    Well…Of all my faults and strengths, I *do* think that one of my “strengths” is breath-control and the ability to sing long phrases without unnecessary breathing. And THIS little piece stretches me to the absolute limit — PARTICULARLY on the return to the A section in which every-other-phrase is done in the quitest mezza-voce with no breath, yet the alternate phrases are sung out in the most passionate full-voice — and it was SUCH a thrill to add this to my post-program (aka encore) repertoire.

    After performing it in Paris, with Reiss in the “grade salle,” I saw that her prediction had come true: after a reasonably solid outing with that piece, half the audience was dabbing at their eyes. And please understand — that was NOT due to my singing, but rather due to the genius and magic that Offenbach’s music still casts over an audience all these many years later. Wow. What a privilege.

    And BTW, I certainly DO have some ideas that come to mind re: your penchant for little-known arias with in-your-face virtuosic requirements. Let me gather the titles and post as soon as I can. Deal?

    And what is UP with the Marshie’s language and vitriol on this board?? Sure, we all enjoy impassioned rhetoric, I suppose — and at least she has an opinion, I guess — but it doesn’t even sound like she enjoys opera itself, much less the talking about it. After all, resorting to imagery such as “coming on Fleming’s face” doesn’t even make a valid point. And besides, it’s clear Marshie would prefer Der Studer to come on hers, anyway.

    And WHAT precisely, Marshie, is effeminate about ITDCS’s posts? That’s ridiculous and simply exposes your biases; we’re not stupid.

    And as for “Willym” giving writing advice (or directing the posters to his preferred stylistic compendia), I must say that most posters on this board have developed such extremely personal characteristics in their writing that most of us could identify the poster simply from the content and form of their posts without actually seeing the screen-name.

    …and isn’t that the hallmark of good writing? If a writer’s voice is immediately recognized by the reader as being attributable to a specific person (or screen-person, whatever), then the writing HAS, in fact, served its purpose: to communicate specific ideas and images in a meaningful way.

    Certainly there are baseline rules of grammar and punctuation that are universally accepted as “helping” and “aiding” the writer to make his point, and stylisitc conventions (such as parallelism in serial lists, or don’t follow “but” with a comma, or the difference between “that and “which,” or…) should generally be followed for the clearest prose.

    But frankly, I rather enjoy the varied flavors and spices one finds on this board. I say keep it coming! (But not on Renee’s face.) Puh-leeze.

    And as for Joanie’s high E-flats being occasionally unsure — YES, I have thought the same thing many times (not that it matters, of course). But for instance, how about that high E-flat at the very end of the “Da te questa” cabaletta from Attila…that E-flat almost gets away from her, but I guess that’s why it is so exciting, right??

    And where the HELL can I get ahold of Gruberova singing “Glitter and be gat?” That I’ve GOTTA hear.

    T.I.

  34. I was at the Pasquale premiere and can attest that Barry Banks ROCKED. Frankly, I thought he was better than Mr. Florez (which is setting a very high bar), because not only was he sensitive and musical and technically flawless, his voice isn’t marred by that funny little sheep’s bleat. He didn’t betray any sign of being nervous at jumping into an in-progress peformance of a new production on the heels of a popular artist.

  35. rysanekfreak Says:

    I just finished watching the concert in celebration of Julliard (Thank you, PBS), and I must say that Renee was watchable.

    She was gorgeous. The hair was good. The gown was divine.

    The “Vissi d’arte” is not for her, but she sang it. Too slowly, I fear. But she was quite good in the Siciliana (or Bolero) from “Vespri.” The woman has a remarkable trill. She displayed it three times. And she did not interpolate a high note at the end. Anyone who can trill like that will not get trashed or savaged by me…tonight.

  36. il stupendo Says:

    whether Joanie’s e flats sound as though they were slipping away or not, their tonal beauty in her prime is Supremely Elysian!

  37. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    Baritenor, I’m sorry to disagree, but I believe you are mistaken in your assessment of Cunegonde’s music. Yes, it can be sung successfully by lighter voices – and most often it is done by them – especially if one is doing a more musical theatrical version of the piece – which would also, therefore, require a smaller pit. But as the entire opus of Candide began to become much more operatic in style and orchestration, some of the voice parts also change. Instead of Candide being a, pardon the saying, baritenor (hey, it’s a real thing and obviously one of the reasons why you chose it for your screenname), he actually become a much fuller lyric tenor role – also the key of the Eldorado aria is raised up one step from Db to Eb. Cunegonde becomes a dramatic coloratura part – she should not be sung by women who are soubrettes and sing all the -ina/etta parts. As one who sings the Governor (not that crummy three-character mush in some productions that include Governor, Pangloss and Voltaire into one – CLEARLY the Governor is a HIGH lyric tenor part whereas Pangloss is a character baritone part) and is capable of singing Candide (in the higher keys, please) – I too am intimately familiar with the full and all existing vocal scores of Candide – I promise you, Cunegonde is dramatic coloratura. If you prefer a lighter voice in the role for your tastes, I cannot argue with that, but the role does make much heavier demands on the soprano when a full 90 piece orchestra is utilized.

    I also have to disagree with Anderson’s coloratura sounding heavy on the recording – it’s clean and clear and spun beautifully. A cold she may have had…but one cannot tell when listening.

    I WISH I could watch the Dessay video – but YouTube always crashes my machine – perhaps I’ll be able to view it when I get my new computer next week. I LOVE her live recording – I didn’t know it was from Glyndeborne – it really is quite stunning! And it’s obvious that she was hysterical because the audience responses are so lively and full of such energy – I wish I could see what she was doing!!

    I also agree that the accents shouldn’t make such a huge deal – for some people, it’s a serious business – and forget it, when it comes to French and German/Austrian dialects in singing…the wars that rage between teachers and conductors and coaches and critics and God knows who else – it’s simply mind boggling.

    In regards to the Pasquale, the way it was told to me by someone who was there that night…I will admit now that we were unable to hold a conversation regarding the subject in great detail, it was something that the individual was informing me about – but it seemed that Florez stopped singing somewhere after the start of the third act and just decided that he wasn’t going to sing the rest of it – the show stopped and then resumed in the exact place where they left off. As I just said – I am uncertain if this is true or not, the way the story was presented to me seemed like this is what happened. The individual neither confirmed nor denied that such a thing happened – I am merely posting it because if there is someone on board here who can validate or refute this notion, I am interested to know what exactly happened. La Cieca did not go into much detail in her post.

    Interpolator – all that you have said concerning that aria is precisely what I mused over while looking at it. The thought occurred to me that you wouldn’t have mentioned it, nor would be singing it, if the piece didn’t truly have merit to it – and I certainly don’t deny Offenbach’s genius and creativity! It does seem like one of those pieces where the deliverance and the style and the meaning behind the text truly preside in the absence of some grand melody. I will certainly keep the piece in mind for the future!

    I don’t recall exactly the name of the album that Grubby sings her infamous “Glitter and be gay” – you can easily find it though!! Either do a search for it or look it up on gruberova.com.

    Joan’s recording of the “Santo di patria” is one of the turning points in my life!! Also one who faired pretty damn good in that was Beverly Sills – thankfully she nor Joan ever attempted the role as they probably would have ended up sounding like Ricciarielli.

    Willym, I appreciate your suggestion, but I learned how to write from Melville, Hawthorne, Dickens, Poe, Conrad, Carroll, Lewis, and the great poets of the past. I apologize if my entries seem verbose, but i am one who pays much attention to detail and like to be thorough. I do make the effort to keep things as simple and clear as possible.

    And lastly, a short musicological anecdote. Rysanekfreak, you mention the slowness of Fleming’s “Vissi d’arte.” I’ve not heard it so I don’t know exactly what tempo she took – nor do I necessarily encourage a slow tempo in the piece.

    As we all know, I am all for keeping as close to a composers indications and directions as possible. Alas, “Vissi d’arte” is one aria where I don’t think it’s humanly possible to perform what he asks for.

    In both the published editions and in the manuscript, Puccini has indicated that the tempo of the aria throughout be at quarter note equals 40 – this means, if there are any out there who don’t read music (hey, one never knows who is reading!). that there are 40 beats per minute and that each solid rhythmical beat in the music occurs ever 1/40th of a minute.

    The bottom line: Each beat that passes in Tosca’s aria last over 30% LONGER than one second. This is the SLOWEST available tempo indication on any standard electronic metronome!! If any soprano was to actually take this tempo, they would surely die long before the aria ends! It is a truly lethargic tempo and the only recording I have ever heard where the singer does this tempo is an old recording with Cagnilia and Gigli (without question or surprise, Cagnilia is extremely flat on all her high notes through the whole recording). I, personally, don’t see how anyone could sing the aria at this tempo nor how a singer could possibly give the notes any sort of expressiveness or intensity at that tempo.

    Also of minor interest…in the score, Puccini (who was extremely specific in his notations and indications) puts the marking “Singhiozzando” just before the final “cosi?” in the aria – this literally means “sobbing” or “hiccupping.” At least we know that if a soprano takes a big voiced gulp of air at that moment, it’s not off the mark!!

    Incidentally, I have a very close friend – a fantastic Greek soprano who is rather reminscent in many ways of her famous Greek predecessor – La Callas – who, when she has sung this aria, does NOT breath after the high Bb “Si-GNOR” – but continues to the Ab and G in one breath – the effect is glorious!!!

  38. Baritenor Says:

    Il Tenore-

    I performed the so-called Three role mush (well, it’s actually a Seven-role mush!) when in collage, when I was still an offical Baritenor and not a Baritone, as I am known. But the Governor, in Bersnstein’s score, is also three roles- The Governor of Beunos Arias, The Merchant Vandendurer (Who sings Bon Voyage) and Prince Ragotski. Did you perform just the governor, or the other two roles as well?

  39. OperaGhost7 Says:

    ITCS, that is not what happened with Florez. After the first scene of Act III, there was a scheduled set change. After a couple of minutes, the stage lights went up and Volpe came out to announce the change of tenors. That first scene of Act III is a duet between Pasquale and Norina followed by the duet between Pasquale and Malatesta so Florez obviously wasn’t on the stage.

  40. einerlei Says:

    Interpolator:

    Write me re Gruberova’s “Glitter & Be Gay” if you GOTTA hear it. And you do.

    einerleidc@yahoo.com

  41. marschallin Says:

    I watched in horror as Renee Fleming gave us last night the expected one-woman-cabaret-show. Her singing of both pieces (Vissi d’arte and the Vespri Bolero) was mannered, vulgar, insincere and vile, with not a trace of italianita. It was as plastic and generic as, say, Starbucks brand-recognition. I have said this before and will again: the creature would better off producing a cabaret act and sticking to it. But please, leave classical/operatic singing alone and to those who can do it with dignity and idiomatically.

  42. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    baritenor, I have not done the role in a staged production as of yet – only in concert (although we cut the scene with the kings and princes in the boat) – yes, it’s true, the Gov also has the two other aliases – I refrained from describing them because the the characters together performed by one person makes absolute sense vocally – whereas, when he is combined with Pangloss, it’s a bit ridiculous. Someone tried to hire me to do the Pangloss/Gov bit for a staged production – but I turned it down because I am and never will be a Pangloss. I asked them to separate the roles if they would have liked to, the refused…then they offered me Candide which I also refused because they were using all the low keys. I will mention that I do interpolate a final High E-flat at the end of the Bon Voyage scene – that is such an amazingly fun scene to sing!!

    Operaghost – thank you for the clarification – I knew it had to be something like that (alas I am not very familiar with the score to Don Pasquale – the things I have heard from it haven’t really turned me on) and that he wouldn’t have stopped mid-scene – that would have been most unprofessional and Nelly Melba-esque.

  43. ITDCS – On at least one recording of “Vissi d’arte,” Caballe proceeds from the Bb down to the Ab to the G without breathing in between (and employing a maximum of portamento–almost as much as in the opening phrase, in which she reaches each descending note before articulating the corresponding syllable). I’m actually not a fan of this interpretation (though I haven’t heard your friend sing it)–it’s too, I dunno, controlled. She’s crying out to God–should it be in one ginormous drawn-out phrase? I prefer it punctuated with breaths, which seem to make it sound considerably more like weeping, or whatever. Just my preference. I would have loved to have heard RenĂ©e Fleming sing it, just to hear what she did with it–she seems to pay more attention to the score and less to unfounded past habits (without ignoring the valid ones).

  44. marschallin Says:

    Some things are worth repeating and repeating.

    Last night I watched in horror as Renee Fleming presented us with her predictable one-woman-cabaret-act. Her singing of both arias was
    mannered, vulgar, insincere and vile, without a trace of italianita. It was as plastic and generic and cheap and foul as, say, any Wal-Mart around. The media creature is better off leaving the classical/operatic
    rep alone and, instead, producing a cabaret show. Her
    classical/operatic “artistry” (fakery) lacks poise, dignity and idiom. Pure and simple.

  45. What a wonderful counterexample! How creative!

    I’m not about to trust your artistic judgment–particularly in such a subjective appraisal. I’ll decide what I think / how I feel after hearing the performance with my own two ears.

  46. tristanXX Says:

    SOMETHINGS ARE WORTH REPEATING, MARSHIE, EVERYONE ON THIS BLOG WILL CELEBRATE WHEN A HOUSE FALLS ON YOU

  47. As Renaay sings “Ding, dong, the witch is dead” accompanied by bookbinder’s munchkin tenors.

  48. With molto portamento and a bunch of wild interpolated high notes. Yay!

  49. Opera Enthusiast Says:

    This what happened to Juan Diego. The air in the house was hot. After Act I, the A/C was put on full blast. In Act II Juan started having a reaction to the colder air (allergy?). End of story.

    Barry Banks was sublime.

  50. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    Brett, I haven’t heard that Caballe recording of that “Vissi d’arte” – however, I have watched a video (one released, I believe, by the Bel Canto Society) where she sang a number of Puccini arias in concert with what I think was a German orchestra and she doesn’t breathe between the Bb and Ab in the video – it’s quite gorgeous. Tosca was not a role that was really suitable for Caballe – either vocally or drammatically. Musically, she does some very beautiful things, but the role was too heavy for her beautiful voice – despite the fact that it was rather large instrument.

  51. marschallin Says:

    brett wrote: “So, this Renee Fleming “drunkard” business is exceedingly bothersome to me.”

    And to us too, dear. “Drunkard” was used by me not only in reference to Houston but in reference to HOW RENAAAY SINGS AND SOUNDS ALL THE TIME. It matters not a fig if it’s Violetta or Phoebe Snow or Richard Strauss. The evidence strongly indicates that Renaaay does not need a director for drunken interpretive ideas after all.

  52. paddypig Says:

    ITSC, disagree with you about Caballe, saw her TOSCA several times,(listen to either the MET or SF broadcasts, or the videos from Japan with Di Stefano or Carreras) she was a wonderful TOSCA, she also sang SALOME with great success in Europe (it was one of her favorite roles) many times and even sang a respectable ISOLDE in Barcelona(ignore the awful blonde wig). I think sometimes modern opera fans get too caught up in vocal type. Caballe had a solid background before she became an international sensation working in those B opera houses in Germany, singing a huge variety of roles.She managed to have a forty year career!! Besides, almost every diva, from lyric to Wagnerian soprano to former mezzo usually tries to get her hands on TOSCA, it, with the possible exception of Carmen, is probably been sung successfully by more different vocal types than any other roles.

  53. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    paddypig, I cannot disagree with your assessment of Caballe’s talent and abilities, but I think our definition of what it means to sing Tosca successfully is very different. Tosca is a role that ranks alongside Abigaille, Lady Macbeth, La Gioconda, Minnie, and Turandot…if the wrong kind of voice sings the part, it is easily identified. Those types of heavy-hitter soprano roles cannot be sung by just anyone, though many try and very very few actually succeed. Act II of Tosca is vocal hell for any soprano. The top register nor the bottom register cannot be thin, or ill-placed. There must be a beautiful and yet a violent quality to the sound throughout the more violent passages – the part must be SUNG and not shouted as it is often done by many sopranos who are then hailed for their ‘dramactic interpretations’ – usually they resort to shouting and sing-speaking because their voices are not designed to sing the part the way it is written. The same thing goes for many Scarpias. I believe, if a singer cannot actually sing the notes on the page with all the intended intensity for the character and the dramatic moment and finds themselves needing to rely on other vocal devices such as speaking, phonating off the breath, producing throaty and harsh vocalisms (often signs of either bad vocal technique or the fact that a part doesn’t suit ones voice well) and resorting to “singing/speaking” alternative pitches not indicated by the composer means that the individual probably should not be singing in that part.

    Alas, on one hand,I could eat my words as two great interpreters of the role of Tosca are Callas and Price, both who utilize some of these alternative devices in their portrayal of the character. What separates them from other people who rely on those devices is that it is very obvious while listening to their recordings, that these women didn’t NEED to use them…I personally would have preferred if they DIDN’T do those things and stuck more closely to what Puccini had written. Par example: after the firing squad moment…Tosca is supposed to sing an ascending phrase “Ecco l’artista!”…which in that moment, though rather classical in it’s approach, is perfect for the moment and propels the musical and dramatic moment to climax on the downbeat of “-ta!” when they orchestra swells toa fortissimo. Leontyne in her recording with Domingo and Milnes, just shouts a couple of random notes before landing on the tonic C on the moment I just described. To me, this takes away the whole effect of what Puccini wrote into his score. As I have stated on numerous occasions, Puccini was so extremely meticulous and explicit in his instructions to singers – to not follow them is rather an injustice. He provides singers with opportunities to “not sing” and utilize other vocalisms to benefit the drama or the character.

    I’m going to be very very honest here. About two years ago, I performed Act III of La Boheme in a small opera scenes program in a very very small theatre, with piano accompaniment and equally light voices in the other parts – the only person who fit his role was the Marcello. The Mimi was (a rather fantastic) light lyric coloratura and the Musetta was an extremely small voiced soubrettina!

    At any rate, we all sang with our respective voices. I had spent a very LONG time deliberating whether I was going to sing the scene or not. The director had it in her head that since I have sung Fenton and Rinuccio (also in a very very small theatre with piano – I would never sing it with orchestra any time soon) and Nadir that therefore I could also sing Rodolfo. The difference is that I have sung the lightest tenors roles provided by each respective composer, Verdi, Puccini and Bizet…yes, those who sing Rodolfo could sing the other three, but those who sing those three may not necessarily sing Rodolfo. I probably will sing Rodolfo in about 15 years or so, and trust me I am in NO rush – I enjoy my coloratura and interpolated high notes and intend to stick with that for a good long while.

    Anyway, I sang through the part several times before deciding that I was comfortable to get through the part without ever pushing or sacrificing myself for the music. I did sing it rather well and received an outstanding review from a critic who doesn’t offen say nice things about ANYONE. When it all boils down however, I had to sing certain passages in the score in a way that Puccini probably wouldn’t have enjoyed – I wasn’t able to sing some of the dynamic markings or changes that he writes into the score…or I had to sing in a way that was most healthy for me at the time in the more heavily orchestrated sections where a larger voice wouldn’t have to think twice!! I almost always use a full score when I study a role, even if I am performing with a piano. Just because a singer can sing something with a piano, doesn’t mean they can sing it with an 80-110 piece orchestra!! Paying close attention to what is actually happening in the orchestra – what instruments are accompanying you, what instrument is doubling your line, how thick is the orchestration at a given point and the dynamic level of the brass and strings…these are all things that singers SHOULD take more time to understand – it would only help them to A) make more appropriate decisions concerning repertoire for themselves and B) help them learn and perform the role in a way that is not only healthiest for them, but also much more in line with what the composer has written, and certainly much more enjoyable for the audience.

    I felt GUILTY that there were things in the Boheme score that Puccini asked me to do that I just simply COULD NOT DO given the nature of my instrument. It was fine for me at the time, since I sang with my voice (and my voice isn’t little, but it isn’t huge either!) and certainly had it been in a theatre that included more than 200 hundred seats, I would have most certainly declined as well as if the two sopranos had been cast with more appropriate voice types as well. It was a good growing experience for me at that moment in my career, but not something that I intend to repeat time and time again.

  54. paddypig Says:

    by your definition, I assume Albanese was not a good Tosca, and even Olivero does not seem to qualify by your definition (She was really the greatest Tosca of the last century). And while I love many things Price did, and she was the first soprano I really loved,and indeed she was one of the great spintos of her time,she was hardly a great Tosca (she was good and had the right vocal weight) but due to her poor Italian and generalized approach to the text and acting she fell way short of what most people seem to want in a Tosca. Leontyne was also notorious for coasting through many a performance and saving herself for the 11:00 aria (O patria Mia, Pace,pace, or Leonora’s last aria in Trovatore.) Studio recordings do not always represent what went on on stage. Also, doesn’t Norma qualify as one of those heavy hitting roles, one of Caballe’s most successful, she also had major successes with Gioconda and Turandot, with very fine pirates out there to prove it.Of course our right to disagree on what makes a great Tosca is what makes the whole point of live performance what it is. Every performance of an opera is different and every singer brings their own special talents -pluses and minuses- to a part, there is no one perfect performance. An ex of mine use to bitch at me saying why do you have 22 Traviatas . I responded with the fact that I did not have 22 Traviatas, I had 27 (now 40+) and they were all different, even the three Callas traviatas are different. the whole magic of live is there are very few definitive performances. Every artist brings different things to a role.

  55. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    Well, in opera, there are many fine lines to be drawn and crossed, and furthermore, an infinite amount of subjective tastes and preferences. For my take on the things you’ve just mentioned…Albanese was a good Tosca indeed, but definitly NOT the right voice for it. I have never heard any recordings of Olivero (I know…*gasp!*…it’s on my list, don’t worry) and people say that she was stunning in the part – I can’t comment because I’ve never heard her sing anything. Price was exactly the right voice for Tosca…I’ve never heard anyone before you comment adversely to her Italian diction…perhaps those whose ears are extremely fine-tuned to subtlties of vowel modefications and specific dialects may chance to recognize some of her southern-ness in her singing – but Price always sang with a foward placement and very pure Italianate vowels – and you clearly haven’t listened to her sing Ballo (either live or studio) or Forza or the Tosca with Mehta (that I described earlier) and her very close attention to text and coloring the words with her voice. Acting may not have been her forte, but she acted with her voice – it’s enough for me. It seems you are one who prefers to have a visual reference to the drama as well – I too enjoy it, but I take it as a luxury, I put more importance on the music and the singing and the aural expressiveness to a performance. I also don’t know if you are a singer or not, but ALL vocalists (at least the smart ones – and I’m sure that the Interpolator and other singers on this site will acquiece with me on this one) that we all need to pace ourselves throughout a performance. Sometimes this effect of “coasting” in reference to Leontyne is evident in her later recordings when the voice took on an extremely dark and very round timbre and a huskiness (which I happen to adore) to the middle and low registers. One example I can cite is her Forza recording with Domingo and Milnes – there seems to be some ‘uninteresting singing’ at times and certainly alot of scooping…but then there are moments of supreme ambrosia for the ears – the duet with Padre Guardiano, the 1st act aria, the 4th act aria and the scene following, specifically to mention. But if you listen to early LIVE recordings of Leontyne (especially the ones with Corelli)…listen to how Corelli screams his head off at the outset of the opera…Price is still right there alongside with him, but she’s only giving about 85% while he is giving about 95%…as the operas progress (specifically the famous Trovatore, Ernani – both with Corelli and Bergonzi – and a live Forza broadcast with Corelli, and the live broadcasts of Ballo and Aida with Bergonzi) She saves her real singing for the big crazy shit she has to pull in the second and third and fourth acts and drowns out everyone else around her – that’s when she kicks it up a few notches while the tenors and mezzos and bartiones are tiring themselves out – but she’s still doing plenty of hollerin in the meantime! The point is, she was a smart singer and didn’t try to out-do herself while singing all that heavy literature.

    Back to Caballe…Gioconda and Turandot were never roles for her. She may have a few lovely moments – but Caballe was a bel canto singer in the truest sense of the term!! She did branch out into quite alot of other repertoire, some rather successful – the lighter Puccini roles for instance – but Caballe in verismo and dramatic Verdi and heavy German rep just doesn’t sit right – it doesn’t fit the color of her voice, and it often did nothing to really show off what her voice was meant to do! Yeah, she turns some gorgeous phrases and makes us want to spit on her for being able to sing those unimaginably perfect pianissimi and those spinning loooooong phrases where she doesn’t breathe for about 20 days (ie. Rondine)…but those effects don’t always fit into the kinds of roles that she was applying them to – she applied them because in some ways, she HAD to – she wasn’t able to sing the parts the way they were intended to be – and when she attempted to, the voice bore a slight harshness that was unbecoming of her. She is still, without a single doubt, an amazing artist and made each of those ‘not so great roles for her’ hers and she made them work for her – same as Scotto in many ways – she got through them – we can play semantics with the word “successful” and what “success” means to each of us – but concerning the fach system (which really isn’t all that off – I don’t put blind faith into it, there are some things that are quite disputable) and taking the time to understand scores and composers intentions in the best possible ways really do stand as a fairly reliable precent upon which to base what type of singer is needed for a specific role or style. You mention Norma…she is a heavy hitter indeed…but she is still bel canto from start to finish – she was a role that stood out from everything else that existed in that genre and style up to that point (Leonore in Fidelio is the same – so is Medea as is Euryanthe) – Verdi’s “bel canto” is a breed of it’s own and cannot be placed in comparison to the masters of the Ottocento – a Verdi soprano is a Verdi soprano whether she is singing Oberto or Alzira or Desdemona or Alice!! And clearly, within that repertoire, there are specific voices to sing specific roles – just because you can sing Gilda doesn’t mean you can sing Giselda in Lombardi or Elisabetta! But Caballe did have a very large instrument and a solid technique, which is why she was able to get through without too much consequence (although it did get her in the long run) all of the, if I may use the term for lack of a better one at this time, “inappropriate” repertoire – but her training and her natural ability in singing bel canto repertoire (same as Joan Sutherland and Maria Callas – both with natural bel canto dispositions despite the fact that neither started in that repertoire) made her a true, red-blooded, outstanding and great Norma!!

    And you couldn’t be more right about every performance is so different – I too have alot of different copies of the same operas and intend to acquire more as the years go by. Someone once asked me: “What is the point of having 6 different recordings of Gruberova singing Lucia?” And I said “Because it’s Gruberova singing Lucia. Period.” And I can tell you, each one is entirely different from the next!!

  56. paddypig Says:

    No, I am not a singer, and this perhaps is what makes a difference in the way we view things. Too often American trained singers of this generation are very focused on sound rather than style. It is why to my ears so many younger american singers sing bel canto, Verdi, Puccini, Strauss and Mozart, etc. with little sense of the different styles. they sound the same in every role. I have all the Price recordings you mentioned and have listened to all of them often and love them all.The Tosca with Mehta was my first Tosca (I think I have about sixty Tosca performances on CD now),I have both forzas, Toscas, studio Ballo, not to mention Ernani, Tabarro,Butterfly, both Aidas,Carmen, Ariadne and two of the three Trovatores =. I think the only commercial recordings of Price I do not have are her third Trovatore and her first Requiem and the Cosi. I would never say she did not have a wonderful instrument, and on recordings one does not have to save oneself and yes the voice is dramatic, lush and often very exciting. what you are reacting to in the second Forza is not her saving herself as much as some poorer habits she picked up as she got older. I did not see her early live performances but saw the last few years at the Met. and I hate to disappoint you but yes, if it were not a broadcast she “saved” herself a lot for the big aria. It was quite noticable.(Mind you, I have never heard anyone sing Pace better!) I think her first AIDA is still the best studio recording of the opera available. I think the difference is that you see Tosca as belonging in the same category with these Verdi ladies and I do not. I prefer a Tosca who is more schooled in the verismo tradition. (Olivero, Scotto, Kabaivanska Gencer and of course Callas) as well as Bel canto (all these ladies did both Bel Canto and verismo. Olivero did not do much Verdi (only Traviata to my knowledge) but she was the supreme verismo artist and Cilea’s own choice for Adriana. Scotto, Callas, and Kabaivanska all sang bel canto roles as well as Puccini and were probably the most important interpreters along with Albanese) of Puccini roles. and while Price was never bad in the role of Tosca or Butterfly, she never really left her mark on them the way she did the two Leonoras or Aida. I really see the dramatic side of Puccini as much more important. you can stand there and just “sing out Louise” in Verdi. In Trovatore there isn’t much else you can do.Callas is the only one who made real dramatic sense of Leonora.The story is ridiculous even if it is fun. Forza is not much better and I basically thing the style of Verdi’s music requires less acting and more of an ability to produce sound over heavy orchestrations and full choruses and ensembles.(and I am not saying this precludes acting with the voice, Milanov, Tebladi, and Price did understand the dramatic side vocally and communicated this well _the reason they were all successful on commercial recordings) For this reason I think Tebaldi is so much more effective in the Forza video than she is in the Tosca video. Tosca, more like Butterfly, while she needs to ride a few moments of heavy orchestration and make an impression is much more a role that depends on a more intimate style of communication wtih the audience and understanding of character. Nothing is more boring that a Butterfly that just sings and does not act. Also isn’t bel canto based more on training than a type of voice in many cases. We have had many different size voices in roles like LUCIA (Callas, Sutherland, Pons, Gruberova, Scotto, Swenson, Sumi Jo) it wasn’t the size of the voice as much as the vocal training. You can pull off verismo and some Strauss (Salome and Elektra), along with Nabucco or LULU or Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk or Lady Macbeth with a faulty technique and have a career(it may not be memorable (think later Malfitano or Ewing who had successes in these parts while giving us some of the worst singing around -but most people cannot tell if you are singing well in Lulu or Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk)You simply cannot get through the bel canto roles without solid training and understanding of style. We had Sutherland, Scotto and Callas doing Sonambula wonderfully, now we will have Dessay, a much smaller voice, but equally well schooled doing the part in New YOrk in a few years. I think this is why so many great bel canto singers were also able to move into more modern Italian roles. And while I am being longwinded, the sad part of a great voice who was not a great musician, I liked Eva Marton in the eighties. It was a big voice, always impressive if a little brutal at times. However, after the MET screwed her out of the telecast of the RING and we did not see her in New York for about ten years, her return was a lesson. The voice itself was gone and because there was no great artistry behind it, she had nothing to offer her audience, however when Soderstrom returned as the Countess in Pique Dame, or Scotto did Klytemnestra in Baltimore, the musicianship, training and understanding of the part meant they still had much to give even after the natural instrument no longer was capable of meeting the musical demands of the part. they still gave fine performances. I guess as a non-singer and “just a fan” I want a singer who does more than just sings correctly and is singing the right fach that his or her teacher(s) has told him or her is right for him.(I still hear singers I know claim other singers are in the wrong fach- e.g. I do not know how many singers have insisted Zajick is really a dramatic soprano, etc) I want a sense of character and a sense of excitement. NOTHING IS WORSE THAN A BORING PERFORMANCE, NO MATTER HOW WELL SUNG!!!! Caballe never phoned in a performance, neither did Scotto, Freni, Ryanek, Sutherland or Verrett -Pavarotti often did phone in performances, Domingo occassionally (I think the worst for phoning in performances was probably Sharon Sweet, to her this was just a job and it showed)give me a real sense of total commitment to the part and an effort to give every audience 100% this may be my first opera or the only time I see an opera, as a member of the audience that is what I deserve. (another anecdote- after Gwyneth’s first Isolde at the MET, I was backstage in her dressing room with her when Jimmy came back and told her “You are the first Isolde I have heard who sounds as fresh at the Liebestod as she does in the beginning”, she responded very lightly with “Darling, I could go out there and sing the whole thing all over again!” and she could have- yet you always got the impression she was giving you 100%)

  57. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Paddypig, I’m with you. You say that “Too often American trained singers of this generation are very focused on sound rather than style.” I believe I’ve also said that in one of my postings.

    The case of Albanese’s Tosca is a good one. I knew she had sung the role at the Met and assumed that she would have been wrong for the part. However, I was surprised to read the following in Paul Jackson’s “Sign-Off for the Old Met – The Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts, 1950-1966” :

    “[Albanese] does win against the odds. Albanese’s Tosca is one of her most vivid broadcast portrayals. Her diva is a veritable whirlwind of passionate avowal. She is in excellent voice…, the tone pouring out in liquid legato in spite of the outsized demands the score places upon it. …. the soprano consistently shows her command of the vocal art. Phrase after phrase is lovingly shaped, the tone warm and beautiful. … Nor does the voice falter in the histerics of combat with Scarpia. Albanese bestrides the tortuous climaxes of the scene (that solid top voice is a priceless asset..) The knife is plunged with complete abandon, and a little laugh of pleasure escapes her as the villain falls – a delicious touch. … In the final duet (still fresh of voice), she spins richly colored tones..”

    Jackson’s subject is the Tosca broadcast of March 23, 1957. Barioni and Warren were her co-stars and Mitropolous was the conductor.

    Of course, that’s one man’s opinion, but it’s based on his listening to the tapes of quite a few other Tosca broadcasts.

    I like the fact that he could get so much just from the sound of the broadcast, without having to see the hystrionics, reading subtitles, etc. That was a real artist.

    Dorothy Kirsten was another singer who also triumphed as Tosca and Minnie, although some – including me – would have thought she was miscast in those roles.

    Real artists seem to have a way…

  58. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Has anyone considered that Marschallin and Cheryl Studer may be the same person.. ?

  59. I’ve often wondered if Marschallin was Ms Studers afterbirth.

    …and you just know what the bedroom’s like- a pile of Diva Studer’s opera program’s under the bed – none of which can be opened because the pages are all stuck together.

    I just hope he keeps taking the pills- I’d hate to see him get obsessive! 🙂

  60. ITDG I think you really hit the nail on the head –

    “Dorothy Kirsten was another singer who also triumphed as Tosca and Minnie, although some – including me – would have thought she was miscast in those roles.
    Real artists seem to have a way…”

    YES THEY DO! – and I’m glad to see someone finally acknowledge it in these pages. It’s a synergistic thing – where the sum of the individual parts is greater than the whole- and in opera it is the difference between being a good singer and being a star- and making a role come alive or not.

    Even when these extraordinary artists display human faults and shades of “ordinariness” (shrill notes, flat tone etc) they still bring something so unique and so special to what they do, your spine tingles in excitement.

    Critisims of vocal technique may be common in here- but it is only one (albeit significant)dimension to the whole package of being a real opera star- it’s the overall effect that really counts.

    A friend of mine who saw Callas “live” many times, is still raving. In company one day I heard another friend say to him – “but vocally wasn’t she past her best when you saw her do her last Tosca?”
    “Yes”, he replied – “but she was always so magnificently ALIVE it was amazing and you couldn’t take your eyes off her”.

    Excuse me for saying so, but I can always overlook the odd vocal imperfection and won’t let them stand in the way of enjoying a performance IF the singer brings something special to the role and makes it live.

    Little wonder today I would rather
    listen to any of Callas’s Toscas, with all their “flaws” against many other “perfectly sung” versions by someone else- because in raw excitment others don’t even come close.

    To me this is what great opera is all about- it is far more than a one dimensional thing and it does even go beyond “just” the singing.

  61. paddypig Says:

    daniel and ITDG, EXACTLY, I am with you. ITDG I said the same thing about La Strega (AKA Marshie)and she let out a rampage of insults on me too. ITdCS- your homework is to go out and get the Olivero Tosca, Adriana, and
    Francesca, also any video made after she was eighty years old. the history of verismo is personified in this woman.

  62. paddypig Says:

    I also have quite a few Kirsten performances, (Boheme, Manon Lescaut, Tosca, Butterfly, and Faust, she triumphed I agree, but despite having listened several times, I do not quite know why, I think it must have been the physical beauty and glamour more than the voice and singing.. I will take Albanese over Kirsten in any of the above mentioned roles anyday.

  63. marschallin Says:
    Lend me an Editor…. “In life, democracy.In art, aristocracy.” — Arturo Toscanini —————————- “ÂżCĂłmo se siente? ÂżCĂłmo se siente ver que el horror estalla en tupatio y no en el living del vecino? ÂżCĂłmo se siente el miedoapretando tu pecho, el pánico que provocan el ruido ensordecedor, lasllamas sin control, los edificios que se derrumban, ese terrible olorque se mete hasta el fondo en los pulmones, los ojos de los inocentesque caminan cubiertos de sangre y polvo? ÂżCĂłmo se vive por un dĂ­a en tu propia casa la incertidumbre de lo queva a pasar? ÂżCĂłmo se sale del estado de shock? En estado de shockcaminaban el 6 de agosto de 1945 los sobrevivientes de Hiroshima.Nada quedaba en pie en la ciudad luego que el artilleronorteamericano del Enola Gay dejara caer la bomba. En pocos segundoshabĂ­an muerto 80.000 hombres, mujeres y niños. Otros 250.000 morirĂ­anen los años siguientes a causa de las radiaciones. Pero Ă©sa era unaguerra lejana y ni siquiera existĂ­a la televisiĂłn. ÂżCĂłmo se siente hoy el horror cuando las terribles imágenes de latelevisiĂłn te dicen que lo ocurrido el fatĂ­dico 11 de septiembre nopasĂł en una tierra lejana sino en tu propia patria? Otro 11 deseptiembre, pero de 28 años atrás, habĂ­a muerto un presidente denombre Salvador Allende resistiendo un golpe de Estado que tusgobernantes habĂ­an planeado. TambiĂ©n fueron tiempos de horror, peroeso pasaba muy lejos de tu frontera, en una ignota republiquetasudamericana. Las republiquetas estaban en tu patio trasero y nuncate preocupaste mucho cuando tus marines salĂ­an a sangre y fuego aimponer sus puntos de vista. ÂżSabĂ­as que entre 1824 y 1994 tu paĂ­s llevĂł a cabo 73 invasiones apaĂ­ses de AmĂ©rica Latina? Las vĂ­ctimas fueron Puerto Rico, MĂ©xico,Nicaragua, Panamá, HaitĂ­, Colombia, Cuba, Honduras, RepĂşblicaDominicana, Islas VĂ­rgenes, El Salvador, Guatemala y Granada. Hace casi un siglo que tus gobernantes están en guerra. Desde elcomienzo del siglo XX, casi no hubo una guerra en el mundo en que lagente de tu Pentágono no hubiera participado. Claro, las bombassiempre explotaron fuera de tu territorio, con excepciĂłn de PearlHarbor cuando la aviaciĂłn japonesa bombardeĂł la SĂ©ptima Flota en1941. Pero siempre el horror estuvo lejos. Cuando las Torres Gemelas se vinieron abajo en medio del polvo,cuando viste las imágenes por televisiĂłn o escuchaste los gritosporque estabas esa mañana en Manhattan, Âżpensaste por un Segundo enlo que sintieron los campesinos de Vietnam durante muchos años? EnManhattan, la gente caĂ­a desde las alturas de los rascacielos comotrágicas marionetas. En Vietnam, la gente daba alaridos porque elnapalm seguĂ­a quemando la carne por mucho tiempo y la muerte eraespantosa, tanto como las de quienes caĂ­an en un salto desesperado alvacĂ­o. Tu aviaciĂłn no dejĂł una fábrica en pie ni un puente sindestruir en Yugoslavia. En Irak fueron 500.000 los muertos. MediomillĂłn de almas se llevĂł la OperaciĂłn Tormenta del Desierto…ÂżCuántagente desangrada en lugares tan exĂłticos y lejanos como Vietnam,Irak, Irán, Afganistán, Libia, Angola, Somalia, Congo, Nicaragua,Dominicana, Camboya, Yugoslavia, Sudán, y una lista interminable? Entodos esos lugares los proyectiles habĂ­an sido fabricados enfactorĂ­as de tu paĂ­s, y eran apuntados por tus muchachos, por gentepagada por tu Departamento de Estado, y sĂłlo para que tu pudierasseguir gozando de la forma de vida americana. Hace casi un siglo que tu paĂ­s está en guerra con todo el mundo.Curiosamente, tus gobernantes lanzan los jinetes del Apocalipsis ennombre de la libertad y de la democracia. Pero debes saber que paramuchos pueblos del mundo (en este planeta donde cada dĂ­a mueren24.000 pobladores por hambre o enfermedades curables), Estados Unidosno representa la libertad, sino un enemigo lejano y Terrible que sĂłlosiembra guerra, hambre, miedo y destrucciĂłn. Siempre han sidoconflictos bĂ©licos lejanos para ti, pero para quienes viven allá esuna dolorosa realidad cercana, una guerra donde los edificios sedesploman bajo las bombas y donde esa gente encuentra una muertehorrible. Y las vĂ­ctimas han sido, en el 90 por ciento, civiles,mujeres, ancianos, niños efectos colaterales. ÂżQuĂ© se siente cuando el horror golpea a tu puerta aunque sea por unsĂłlo dĂ­a? ÂżQuĂ© se piensa cuando las vĂ­ctimas en Nueva York sonsecretarias, operadores de bolsa o empleados de limpieza que pagabanpuntualmente sus impuestos y nunca mataron una mosca? ÂżCĂłmo se siente el miedo? ÂżCĂłmo se siente, yanqui, saber que la largaguerra finalmente el 11 de septiembre llegĂł a tu casa?” — Gabriel GarcĂ­a Márquez to Puppet Bush, Jr. —————————- On 26 September 2000, the so-called great Mickey (Mouse) “I-have-not-attended-a-performance-in-fifteen-years” (http://listserv.cuny.edu/Scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind0309B&L=opera-l&P=R13279&D=0&H=0&I=-3&O=T&T=1)Richter performed a ‘plug-in’, heroically and by proxy, on behalf ofKlaus Heymann, the so-called authority behind —naXos—: {{ Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2000 21:40:41 -0700Reply-To: Mike RichterSender: Discussion of opera and related issues L@L…>From: Mike RichterSubject: Authoritative word on naXos’ methodsContent-Type: text/plain; charset=”us-ascii”; format=flowed The following comments are from Klaus Heymann, the force behind naXosand other labels, to our posts on their approach to recording opera. > Mike Richter wrote in response to Bob Kosovsky’s post [Bob Kosovsky of CUNY’s Opera-L: Homosexual, Jew, Liberal,Librarian, and – would you believe it? – Censor] >>Since the naXos label is being lauded by some as forecasting afuture path of opera, I have a question. I know several people whohave participated in naXos recordings of chamber music. All of themhave been paid a one-time-only fee, and have ceded the right toroyalties. Does this kind of contract also apply to naXos’srecordings of vocalists in operas or recitals? (I hate to think thatEwa Podles doesn’t get anything more than her initial fee for thatRossini recital of hers, naXos 8.553543.) ### Yes, singers are also paid a flat fee. Ewa Podles is very happywith her Rossini … she would like to do more recitals but the costof recording her with orchestra and chorus is prohibitive … westill haven’t recouped our investment in this recording. ### >>It sounds a bit exploitative to me, IMO. On the other hand, my not-yet-famous acquaintances jump at the chance to record for them. (Theyare allowed only two or three takes, with no chance of fancy editingto correct mistakes.) ### Most singers understand that recording opera is extremelyexpensive, especially under our perfect studio (not live) conditionsand are happy with our modest flat fees. Look at our Fidelio cast!The bit about being allowed only two or three takes and no chance offancy editing is nonsense … artists are allow as many takes asnecessary to get the music right. However, having said that, weexpect our artists to be well prepared unlike many big-name artistswho rely on the producer and editor to produce a good performance.### >>So I’m curious to hear whether vocalists are also bound to suchcontracts. I believe you have it right. My understanding is thatKlaus and his people search the globe for artists and groups whomerit the exposure and are doing (or are able to do) the works hewants to include in his catalogue. By providing one-time fees – oftenof critical importance to such artists – and exposure, naXos bothbenefits the artists and produces high-quality, inexpensiveprogramming. There may be exceptions in which royalties are offered,but that does not appear to be the rule. Of course, limiting studiotime also contains costs. ### We do not limit studio costs but our producer have the authorityto send poorly prepared artists home. ### >>The other major factor in naXos and its related labels keepingprices down is that they give up much of the promotion the morefamous marks employ. Since the recordings are focussed on the musicand there are seldom acknowledged “stars”, stellar advertising anddisplays are unnecessary. It is a different approach to marketing andseems so far to have been a most successful one. Mike Best regards, Klaus *********************(My apologies for the confusion in indenting of Bob’s original post,my reply and Klaus’s.) Mike mrichter@c…Opera: http://mrichter.simplenet.com/CD-R: http://resource.simplenet.com/ }} End of quote —————————- Thus spoke the authority. We re-quote: “Most singers understand that recording opera is extremely expensive,especially under our perfect studio (not live) conditions and arehappy with our modest flat fees. Look at our Fidelio cast! The bitabout being allowed only two or three takes and no chance of fancyediting is nonsense … artists are allowed as many takes asnecessary to get the music right. However, having said that, weexpect our artists to be well prepared unlike many big-name artistswho rely on the producer and editor to produce a good performance.” We ask: 1. Mr. Heymann seems to have contradicted himself by simultaneouslyaffirming that his artists are indeed allowed “fancy editing…to getthe music right” while ranting against the “many big-name artists whorely on the producer and editor to produce a good performance.” Whatexactly is the difference? Isn’t fancy editing what earns producersand editors their bacon, be it at naXos or Lucifer Classics? Or isMr. Heymann whining and bickering because Lucifer’s console is (orrather, was) bigger than his? 2. Mr. Heymann seems to have fallen prey to the epidemic virus ofunfounded critical prejudice and the politics of defamation andcharacter-assassination (the rate of infection appears to beabnormally high within the familial fraternity ofAmerican/Anglosaxon/Anglophile critical bedfellows). His words can beeasily formulized: “Big Name + Big Label = Little Music (orFalsity)”. No need to state the converse but we’ll do itanyway: “Little/No Name + Little Label = Big Music (or Truth)”. Whoexactly are these many unprepared big names? And how, where, andwhen? 3. A few years back, the authority was also quoted in “The BostonGlobe” – this other ‘plug-in-by-proxy’ courtesy of CareerHomo-turned-critic-turned-promoter Richard “local church mice are world-classpeople too” Dyer. Lately, Dyer has been heard advocating for theequal part Charity/Chimpanzee Acts that are The Three Mo’ Tenors,Andrea “Dunkin’ Donuts” Bocelli, Charlotte Church, Josh “popera boy”Groban, and Pavarotti’s latest pop dreck. [What is going on?] [“Maestros of the Pen: A History of Classical Music Criticism inAmerica”, by Mark N. Grant, Northeastern University Press, 1998, ISBN1-55553-363-9: n-o-t o-n-e f-o-o-t-n-o-t-e *not one* on Dyer —and this after a 25+year career behind him dedicated to latter-dayAnglo+Judeo+Homo+BlueCollar-centric bitchery, dishonesty, andhypocrisy. And just as long dedicated to sobbing after the footnote(but no reference), indeed, that was one Lucine Amara.] But back to the authority: “The market is shifting away from name artists, and the average musiclover is confused by bins crowded by recordings. What is thedifference between Riccardo Muti, Claudio Abbado and Riccardo Chaillyin a given piece? Whatever the difference is, it doesn’t meananything to the average music lover who gives up and chooses ourrecording because it is more reasonably priced, and the performanceis just as good. It is an absurdity for Plácido Domingo to sing ‘TheBarber of Seville’; our recording is a better performance of theopera. If Cheryl Studer were to come to me and ask to sing some ofthe operas she has recorded, I wouldn’t let her.” {Author: RichardDyer / Date: 19.01.1994 / Page: 61 / Section: Living Arts} We comment and ask: 3A. Funny but we bet that the suits at Lucifer Classics swear t-h-e-i-r barber gives a better haircut. Not that some of us (not nearlyenough) give a one-night-stand about Sir Domingo, at least not sincehis early 90s (and thereafter) publicity and musical circusprostitutions – this case of gonorrhea is treatable no longer. 3B. Let us cut to the chase: we propose that one encompassing reasonfor the present-day crisis in this wasteland is that the ever-so-important anecdotal and testimonial lore and the ensuinglanguage/narrative about the live stage experiences a-n-d about thedocumented legacies of certain important big-names (those immediatelypreceding the generation of today’s Ass-ociated Press “A List”)literally fell through a g-e-n-e-r-a-t-i-o-n-a-l and c-u-l-t-u-r-a-lc-r-a-c-k – an abyss, really. Little or nothing was said. Inretrospect, a lot of people in this abortion-gone-bad of a business(a system that, with escalating aggression, knows the price ofeverything and the value of nothing — a businessthat throws the baby, the bathwater, and the mother) have a lot ofanswering to do. Observe in comparison, if you will, how today’sdesperate and thus general(ised) press a-n-d the chintzy, nattyqueens (old and new, male and female) write about an integer to thefar left of zero (if that) such as one Ruth Ann Swenson or, forexample, Tibor Rudas’ Third(rate, if that) Soprano and division byzero (if that), one other Kallen Esperian. Simply impossible tobelieve… but sadly true. And this is the flip side of the same coin— and a penny it is — that places the 70+-year-old-Renata-Scotto-who-made-her-debut-in-1952-or-three-years-before-Cheryl-was-conceived-and-who-is-still-in-her-prime-and-getting-better-and-who-should-have-many-of-us-wondering-what-has-she-done-in-20-years on the coverof “Opernglas,” March 2003. Or the other septuagenarian MontserratCaballĂ©, a has-been-but-getting-better-and-still-interesting-yes?, onthe cover of “Opernwelt,” April 2003. Or the penny that pays forspace about Leontyne Price’s tremendously important, yes?,Meisterclass in “The Financial Times” (albeit bankrupt and then some)(see “Bernheimer, Martin”). Or the outrageously dumbo piece in “OperaNews” (keeping up with their recent tradition) by one “Siff, Ira”(who ought to know better) on the significant-other ofsoupy-pop-ballads-Duetto infamy, blue-collar teddy bear SalvatoreLicitra – why yes, the twofer even made it to the cover of“Opernglas,” October 2003. And a penny it is. And a penny it will be. In the realm of opera, this previous generation came “too soon” afterthe Marias and the Renatas and the Joans and the Montserrats and theVickys and the Mirellas and the Regines and the whoevers….and “toolate” for today’s democratic free-fĂĽr-Alles (think of thederegulation of the airline industry in the U.S.A. – surely it ischeaper to fly and with more options but the experience is ghastly –and look now, they is droppin’ like flies) in deadly mix with thequick fixes and seductions of HyperPublicRelations and HyperText. Fewartists can survive without some form or other of critical andpopular encouragement. It became fashionable sport (nah, Mob Rule –nah, Olympics — but becuz this singular marathon has and is beingrun by throngs-oh-so-bright, we have to coin it The Special Olympics)for too influential but equally ignorant, tin-eared and incredibly,corrosively partial critics (and their bedroom partners) to dismissthese artists’ work faster than they could say Compact Disc (andworse: to fully ignore too – consider the phenomenon, consider theindignity, consider the abuse, consider the calamity, consider thechicanery, consider the betrayal that is the Remarkable Eclipsing andBanishment by the press (we know of no greater form of disrespect) ofa certain v-e-t-e-r-a-nand c-o-n-t-e-m-p-o-r-a-n-e-o-u-s soprano whose stage appearancesare pre-judged to be just that: Appearances: Phantom Ships In TheNight, when noticed —- or to fully d-e-n-y the usual “criticalanal(ysis)” – is that what it is? – accorded dimmer lights (“MonsieurGiordani could not sustain pitch b-u-t the Sicilian understanding”[by coincidence, the same understanding which, according to theexperts, eludes fellow Southerner Riccardo Muti] – “Madame Phlegming[no other soprano before or during RenĂ©e is known to have “takenchances”] shrieked unnaturally, gurgling and flatting two high Anaturals and her overall intonation was insecure too b-u-t all that(jazzy) rhythmic integrity!” (see “Tommasini, Anthony” — and yet,you will look in vain for his promotional write-up on thatVerdi “Blanche Dubois” from Houston – *after* the event, that is) –“Hausfrau Void was in customary shrill and squally voice again lastnight and her top sounded tired, though no fault of her own, b-u-ther sofa scene was comfortably moving — that Svelte Lil’ Debbiedidn’t make that final F-sharp is none of your business.” – “Irish-American AFL-CIO Heroine Flanigan [who, by the by, tries (and iscarded) to “sing everything”] [no other soprano before or duringLauren is known to have “taken chances”] could not sing Reiza’s music[not that she can sing anything, mind you][she replaced DeVoid, whohad also cancelled all engagements in Vienna, and for the 2nd seasonin a row – not a bad thing when you try to remember – and try youmust – those ScheiĂźe AIDAs at the MET where Crayola connected themdots and none of the music – not to mention the brutal stupor thatwere Luciano “snotty handkerchief” Pavarotti and the ever-accomodating, yes? James “sweaty towel” Levine] b-u-t the visceralennui of it all”) – “Madame Shout squalledan Elektra consistently below pitch (that’s about 75% of yourevening) b-u-t it seems that the excitement of some level or other ofon-pitch faithfulness to and by die Juden and a few silent-movie campgestures secured her an unqualified triumph…and an onstage kiss toofrom Jimmy Boy (or rather, Jimmy the boy-paedophile – ladies andgentlemen, you too can have it all: from orchestras in Munich,Boston, and naturally New York to standing Os to gushing presscoverage to paid Christian holidays to state-sanctioned murder tostate-sanctioned looting to Presidential Pardons (see “Rich,Jonathan” – see “The Hassidic4 [that’s right, not one not two notthree]” – see “Hillary ‘some of my relatives are Jews’ Clinton” andthe race for the NY State Senate….provided you are “one of us”or “with us”) — but for how much longer? ….well, all that plusGaby is getting better and better and better, yes?” – “Madame Attilaspreads her top like butter on warm bread b-u-t her cool, Nordic,blonde looks carried the night [our bladders burst open when tryingto reconcile the paradox that is the pre(and post)occupation withAryan archetypes by these duplicitous pseudo-minorities in theindustry (you know who and what you are), habitually the first to crywolf at the whiff of perceived or real prejudice] — and moreimportantly, she took off her shoes! (but what we’d really like toknow is: what language was *that*, Querida?)” – “Debbie ‘CrayolaOpera Program’ Void’s French (not unlike the strangely clapped YawnUpshaw’s) and any language other than the Dixie Chicks is for andabout pigeons — merde — [Crayola’s sour and rusty tonal quality,let alone her musical probity, are more reminiscent of the gold yousee in soiled underwear than of the Golden Age, by far…and worse:as stupid as the laundry water you soak and scrub it in] b-u-ther ‘major’ contributions to Culture are ‘consistent.’ — or is itthe other way ’round? — B-u-t why give a hoot about such things,what with all that `Junoesque rhythmic integrity’! (see “Tommasini,Anthony” – yes, the promoter used that again [as in RenĂ©e Fleming] tosell his Debbie)” – “The consensus that Madame Shorties could notreally sing Konstanze is questionable and, in the end, unfair for sheis a gifted, six-foot taller……b-u-t more importantly, her name isnot Cheryl Studer.” – “Monsieur Hiccup proved once more that you cancrack loud and wide before a Manhattan audience of tourists as longas your name is not Cheryl Studer; b-u-t even better than that, theloss of 95-plus pounds, in cocktail with a widely broadcast SobStory, are sufficient to satisfy the most discriminating thirst ofthe-below-IQ-of-47.5 (that’s-50%-of-something-or-other-to-you)-and-minus-set and anyday’s coverage of the Arts in “The New York Times”” –“Maestrisssssimo of Legend, Gilbert “Lego Blocks” Kaplan, swears hecan conduct but one piece of music and one piece of music alone b-u-t, as one of “our chauvinistic own”, full coverage by “The New YorkTimes” is fully warranted – all that plus a recording medal from thesyphilitic Deutsche Grammophon” – “The authentically FRENCH LetItRainsounded anonymous and great b-u-t I blame the amplification for someharshness up top” — “Suzie B. Anthony’s soft-grained portrayals arejust that, soft. B-u-t her problematic top notes, at this early stagein her career already, should be of no concern to a superb evening.” –“Young Sondra mimed, for she couldn’t sing, while (the) Old Nellysang, for she couldn’t act – this one constituted a triple triumph –two for the price of one Cheryl Studer – you do the math.” – “Also inParis, cover-girl Marisol’s voice took a toll and she found herselfvoiceless b-u-t she mimed ¦with feral abandon and athletic grace!¦while Lulu, positioned at the stage’s edge in a black pantsuit andthe use of a chair and walker!, sang – this too became a triumph, yousee?” – “Everyone’s favourite poodle, Ewa Podles, showed up in Phillyand scored a three-register triumph with her debut as Eboli: a splicejob of all your favorite (and not so favorite) Eboli’s, on record orimagined. Inattendance for the Veil Song was Elena Obraztsova, Luciano Pavarotti,Cheryl Studer, and David Daniels, among others, and for facialexhaustion, we had the pleasure of Cecilia Bartoli’s company; comestoshow how much you can get away with provided your name is not…oh,never mind.” – “Schñfer is certainly no one’s idea of coloratura b-u-ther hip-hop Violetta in Berlin, under thetolerant/multidimensional/psychodepth baton of Barenboim, must beremembered as an important achievement –don’t ask but do tell.” —“Make no mistake, Christine is no one’s idea of coloratura. B-u-ther gang-rape Gilda in London (conducted by Sir Edward Downes of 1994fame) caused Mickey-Mouse-the-Great to significantly wet hispanties…” To wit… http://www.operajaponica.org/reviews/dvd/rigoletto00dvd.htm Verdi: RIGOLETTO Reviewed by Mickey (Mouse) Richter01 Nov 2003 Cast: Paolo Gavanelli (Rigoletto), Christine Schñfer (Gilda),Marcelo Alvarez (Duke), Eric Halfvarson (Sparafucile), Graciela Araya(Maddalena), Royal Opera Chorus, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House,Edward Downes (conductor), David McVicar (director), Sue Judd (videodirector) {{This may well be Rigoletto for our times. It is a drivenperformance without errors but without grace or beauty. Theproduction is brutal with full frontal nudity illustrating thedepravity of the Mantuan court. Sets are stark and brutal, movementsare exaggerated and explicit. Yet, on its own terms, it succeeds. It is beautifully recorded,visually and audibly. Downes offers a more massive and darker sonicpalette than usual with well-judged tempi and ample support for thesingers. Gavanelli’s jester lacks mirth and paternal affection, butone must acknolwedge his ease in the role and his brilliant, amplebaritone. Alvarez is the only one of the three principals with a truelegato, but he has few opportunities to exploit it. His portrayal isneither inherently evil nor naively wicked; this Duke complies withthe baseness about him rather than leading it. The voice is wellproduced over the range (he has the ‘Possente amor’ cabaletta buteschews the unwritten high D) though he sounds more brilliant thanbeautiful. Schñfer’s Gilda is hard rather than innocent, scarcelyless forward than the flirtatious Countess Ceprano. Halfvarson’sSparafucile cannot reach the depravity achieved so easily byGavanelli; Araya seems little more licentious than Gilda.The story of Rigoletto is brutal. If the beauty and romance ofVerdi’s score are diminished, this recording makes its violenceexplicit.}} Why yes, ladies and gents, even these public acts of levitation aredenied Midland, Michigan’s Prodigal Daughter — But then, takinginto account the desperate [in vain] efforts toward reconstructionand regeneration, toward opening new markets (undue over-exposure inArts Journalism and in Arts Ad(as in advertising)ministration – overwho counts – over what counts – and when and where — and why andhow and how much — and for how long — all this being the finalvestige of their former Imperial selves), what is the increasinglybrilliant, independent-minded, informed, impartial, cultured, mature,eloquent, and sympathetic Anglo/Judeo/Homo-centric PromotionalUniverse to do with a creature refusing easy categorization? – ofwhat value or use is the lady? – of what value or use is the artist? –who is neither aesthetic suppository (credit where credit is due toMr. James Jorden of Parterre Box Productions, certainly Ltd.) norpsychobabble nor English (nor pretender) n-o-r r-e-s-i-d-e-n-t n-o-rc-i-t-i-z-e-n n-o-r D-a-m-e nor Faerie Queene nor Greek (norpretender) nor black-and-blue (nor pretender) nor Slav (how could shepretend?) nor German (nor pretender) nor Austrian (nor pretender) norsqually Kammersñngerin nor French (nor pretender) nor Cinema ParadisoItalian (nor pretender) nor Eastern European (nor pretender) norSpaniard/Latin American bombshell (they are the flavor of the momentand how could she pretend?) nor Brasilian bossanova nor Argentiniantango nor Appalachian spring nor Yiddishbbuk nor Anonymous4 (that’sright, not one not two not three) nor Asian (how could she pretend?)nor Aussie nor Canadian — nor deemed sufficiently A-m-e-r-i-c-a-n —– n-o-r r-e-s-i-d-e-n-t nor MET-centric nor Manhattan/Queens/Brooklyn-ette nor Broadway belcher nor Saint Francis-can nor Angelena norChicagoan nor Texan nor New Mexican nor Washingtonian nor Saint LouisGal nor panderer nor tall nor thin nor heroine-overdose chic nor deafnor dumb nor blind nor blonde nor Blonde Ambition nor Barbie Doll norgrotesque nor grotesquely zaftig nor power hungry nor agenda drivennor faghag nor lesbian nor hairy chested nor cherub nor fashion ragnor glamour puss nor arriviste nor aspirant nor aspirate norpotential nor promise (what you hear is what you get, sweetheart) norapology nor antiquity nor preserved museum mummy nor soccer mom norsucker nor trend nor hip nor H.I.P. nor hip-hop nor joined at the hipnor hippie nor barefoot at Carnegie Hall nor folkie nor cantor norcastrata nor contralto nor countertenor nor counterculture noranarchist nor antichrist nor lyric mezzo nor soprano on the verge ofa mezzo breakdown nor vice versa nor chanteuse nor soubrette norstarlet nor coquette nor canary nor woodbird nor nightingale norcuckoo clock nor tic toc tic toc tic toc nor geriatric nor vanityrecord label owner nor downwardtransposer-Hochfinancier-conductor-doubleintendant-baritenor-voicecompetitor-crossoverpimp-moviemogul-realestatemagnate-restaurateur-sexsymbol-playboy-jetsetter (all inone and one for all and all in a night) nor married to one nor lazynor lovely nor beloved nor shrinking violet nor daddy’s lil’ lass normystic nor myth nor minimalist nor hyperbole nor Ăśberfeminist norKonzept nor symbolism nor ying nor yang nor Dreams and Fables normetaphysics nor philosopher (“Philosophier’ Er nicht, HerrSchatz…”) nor scholar (nor pretender) nor didact nor pedant norpeasant nor lecturer nor soapbox preacher nor symposium normusicologist nor composer (you know, like Callas who wrote all themmasterpieces now falsely ascribed to one Bellini, one Donizetti, andone other Verdi) nor paladin of the glorious avant-garde nor ostinatonor experiment nor rarity rat nor rat tat tat nor archaeologist norroom temperature nor Sponsored By Talbots nor Anglican Service norVivaldi postcard nor Handel MBA [opera’s answer to the 80s businessphenomenon — everyone has one — but look, ma, they is droppin’like flies!] nor Britten Ph.D. nor Janácek Nobel Prize nor stunt norparody nor caricature nor Hallmark Card nor Disney nor Ozzie &Harriett nor Will & Grace nor smiley face nor horseface nor humormonger (in any event, not the shtick you grew up with) nor camp normarketing-promo tramp nor clichĂ© nor slogan nor acronym nor t®ademarknor image-chaser nor sensation-seeker nor Eurogarbage nor ez-listenin’ nor pleasure ride nor automatic cruise control norsentiment-al nor cripple nor married to one nor victim nor tearjerkernor nostalgia trip nor tourist trap nor good-cause nor fund-raiser(so to speak) nor social worker nor United Way nor Red Cross norKatie Couric nor Walk For A Cure nor We Are The World nor Sound OfMusic nor Under the Stars nor Over The Rainbow nor Rainbow Coalitionnor Summertime nor Supper Time (nice tunes if you can) nor vanillanor cheeze-whiz nor fruit salad nor cotton candy nor apple pie normelba toast nor peaches in double cream nor cafĂ© au lait nor cinnamonroll nor dark chocolate nor civil/human rights centerfold nor gulagsurvivor nor married to one nor refugee nor married to one nor UNAmbassador nor married to one nor member of any one precious specialinterest group (you know who and what you are) n-o-r m-a-r-r-i-e-d t-o o-n-e n-o-r s-t-r-a-t-e-g-i-c-a-l-l-y w-e-d-d-e-d (you know who andwhat you are) nor politician nor married to one nor inter-nationalpolitical crisis parasite nor ad-minister of propaganda norgrassroots peace activist (you do know, don’t you, that them ancientfavourite warhorses of yours composed by Bach and Beethoven andBrahms and Schubert and Schumann and Wagner and Liszt were explicitlyAND implicitly inspired by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — oreven better, by the epicentric causes of Israel, Zionism, and ofUniversal Jewry — everything, and we mean everything, seems torevolve around this Axis, no? — ask Mehta and Señor Honorario undTolerant Barenboim — by the by, in a recent Chicago program of HugoWolf’s Lieder, the “Great Jewish Musician” [and we thought it un-Klezmer to allude to the man’s other career] in harmony with hisGerman/Christian sub-ordinates – a “physically handicapped baritone”and an “underpitch soprano” (see “Kubiak, David”) (the soprano is oneAngela Denoke, whose disastrous Fidelio Leonore at the SalzburgEaster Festival of 2003 under Sir Simon will surely have to bepatched by the studio wizards before the “Please-Save-EMI” hypecampaign unfolds) – were heard “r-e-c-l-a-i-m-i-n-g the true meaningof the ‘heilge Deutsches Kunst\'” — again, see “Kubiak, David” —kindly note, please, that no one else before `GJM & Co. GmbH’ hadaccomplished nearly as much, and in a mere evening — but we live n’learn — now we know that Herr Wolf wrote his songs inspired bypopulations everywhere holding hands – to promote future handholding.But Wolf was more than that – he was gracious and generous, whichstands as a synonym for: in addition to reaffirming the existence[and illegal expansion] of Israel, he also sought to reaffirm theexistence of a specific sexual-orientation population — and allthis, ladies and gentlemen, for a song) —where were we?, ah yes — nor married to one nor Adler Fella norCrayola Opera Program alumna nor Karajan-Harnoncourt-Cardiff-VeraRosza-Schwarzkopf-Ludwig-Auger-GeorgeLondon-RichieTucker-BelleSilverman-Albanese-Horne-Scotto-vonStade-Heggie groupie nortraveler along the Anglo Silk Road — the LandOfOz-BerlinStaatsoperUDL-LaMonnaie-ENO-Glyndebourne-NYCO-Glimmerglass-StLouis-SantaFe-SanDiego-DallasO-HoustonGO-FloridaGO-WashingtonO-n-such workshop ghettoes. [Imagine, if you dare.] E-N-V-Y = D-E-S-T-R-U-C-T-I-O-NbutS-I-L-E-N-C-E = D-E-A-T-H Enter into the equation the contemptibly stupid (discerning,discerning) audiences who (wanted to and still do) believe everythingthey read…and voilĂ , the science gives the (false) i-m-p-r-e-s-s-i-o-n of yielding the expected (forced) hubris. Then add the ones whostayed away from attending these artists’ performances because theywere simply told to do so (in so many words). Never mind the c-o-w-a-r-d-s who n-e-v-e-r attended, self-admittedly, but who later sawfit to publish obituaries passing for legitimate eyewitness report{BIDU SAYAO, 1902-1999 BRAZILIAN SOPRANO BROUGHT SPARKLE TOMET / “The Boston Globe” / Author: Richard Dyer / Date: 19.03.1999 /Section: Living (?) Arts}(again, check out “Maestros of the Pen: AHistory of Classical Music Criticism in America”, 1998, by Mark N.Grant, and see if you can spot “Dyer, Richard”). Never mind the h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e-s who, in addition to prematurely and irresponsiblyissuing death certificates (see “Davis, Peter G.”), years later werecaught with their pants down performing auto-erotica to the tuneof “Returns Triumphant!” (see “Davis, Peter G.”). Little wondermany ceased listening — and begin listening with others’ ears andwithout their own little heads and hearts they did. But leave it tothe bloodless (and if you don’t have blood you don’t need a heart andif you don’t have blood you will find yourself thirsty, very thirsty,guaranteed) – it is in fact their exclusive province – to accomplishsuch feats. No, they were/are neither Maria nor Renata nor Renata norJoan nor Leonie nor Gwyneth nor Anja — impeccable vocalists thatthey were — and why should they be? — Take the particularlycomplex case of a fascinatingly complex yet elemental yet thoroughlymodern, and yet not, artist…Cheryl Studer — was/is the backlashreally for l-a-c-k o-f q-u-a-l-i-t-y, for l-a-c-k o-f a-r-t-i-s-t-i-cw-o-r-t-h, for l-a-c-k o-f t-e-m-p-e-r-a-m-e-n-t, for l-a-c-k o-f p-e-r-s-o-n-a-l-i-t-y? A decade or so later there is a pregnant, pulsating and penetratingsense of panic and fatigue among critics, industry folk, and fanatics(naughty word but only and only when linked with you-know-who) alike,most shockingly noticeable within the gated communities of the oldand the jaded, who can be heard loudly cheerleading anyone (and wemean anything)…. [….as long as their names are n-o-t Cheryl Studer.] [God Willing.] [And yet more Enchantment/Jubilation courtesy of thePanacea/Schadenfreude of Cheryl Studer-Free Zones/Ground Zeroes.] [Sternstunde.] [God Willing.] [Young Ones – Do not be duped by the hollow enthusiasms of the age — ever seen a sad clown playing happy?] [But now, oh today….Music and Art….or rather, what passes forit….and every new product or stage appearance tossed our way by theStar System we hate to love (certainly a system long preceding butfatally ran to the ground by the quasi-empty rhetoric and prissinessof political correctness run amok and afoul, and the Gestapo-likecensorship tactics of the instinct/thought-control police, in concertwith the ‘World Music Congress’ – the Rudases, the Breslins, the SireJonases, the Mehtas, the Holenders (whose nose is long and arrogantenough to sniff all the way to the Volksoper and as far as Berlin),the Levines, the Maazels, the Heymanns, the Previns, the self-professed rap-music fans of the world (see “von Dohnányi, Christoph” –— Uncle must be spinning in his ashes — ladies and gentlemen, moreoften than we are led to believe, death CAN be in vain), The Due(tto)or Three or Four or Five or Six or Seven Whores – we are losingcount -, Best Friends & Co. Inc. Ltd. S.A. GmbH –– the Ozawas andtheGergievs too (following in the goosesteps, in the like-minded GrandGestures of Mehta and Maazel, Valery and Seiji would ratheraccommodate [and have] the Blind n’ Pop(ular) Lounge Singer than thelikes of Gorchakova — yes, to this level we have sunk) are primeshareholders (and puppets) in this repugnant jUdErEi – (that’s right)– i.e., by the Wish-Upon-a-Star System of Bocelli, of course, orHampson (now pretty much an undisputed by-the-book Straussian,Wagnerian a-n-d …hear hear…Verdian…of Stature, don’t you know?)or the Alagnas (f-a-k-e recordings of Verdi’s -Trovatore- for SireTony/EMI and Bizet’s – Carmen-, also for Sire-to-be Whoever/EMI —Grecian Approximation No. XXVI – we have lost count – has yet to singLeonora or Carmen where it counts) or the other Bocelli and MichaelBolton comrade, Fleming….well, all of it h-a-s sudden Meaning andNecessity, so the public relationists tell us….the Magic courtesy,n-e-i-t-h-e-r because of especially great voices nor exceptionalinterpretive wills nor because of bona fide personalities n-o-rbecause of remotely acceptable n-e-w music, but because: NUMBER 1: their names are n-o-t Cheryl Studer and NUMBER 2: …*in good portion and out of proportion* due to thePromoOp-Catchpenny that has become 9.11 and its aftermath — amonstrous crime monstrously debased by the Infernal Spinning Wheel ofopportunism and commerce and avarice and mayhem and revenge andmurder (widely disguised as justice) — a tragedy now symbioticallyhijacked to peddle everything from Arms Races to Military Buildups toFar Right-ism (see “Sharon, Ariel” — how come we don’t hear stringsof consistently shrill High Cs crying for h-i-s removal and disposalof h-i-s (that is, ours) Weapons Of Mass Destruction — the latestgovernment double-standard/media buzzword and insult to our dignityand intelligence — this time, however, we applaud Barenboim forbeing practically the only one playing FIDDLE ON THE ROOT of theproblem) to Nationalism to Patriotism to Requiems to Anglo-ZionistTerrorism — the latter conducted both musically and extra-curricularly, most prominently with (critical mass-destruction) Heavy- Metal made in the squeaky clean U.S. of A. and paid for with y-o-u-rhumble American tax dollar (as if you had a choice) and the blood ofy-o-u-r sons and daughters. — So why won’t Israel and itsBusiness/Washington lobbyists fight their nextdoor neighbors, which include Iraq and now Syria and Iran, all bythemselves and with t-h-e-i-r o-w-n currency and leave us all a-l-o-n-e a-n-d i-n p-e-a-c-e?] [Consequently, would that t-h-e o-t-h-e-r terrorists (for thereare two sets) went home too.] [Did we fail to add that the terrorists need the U.S. as much as theU.S. needs them?] [As it turns out, no other country — no other — is as arrogant,as infantile, as selfish, as bellicose, as disrespectful, asinsulting, as pervasively poisonous, as dubious, as abusive, asdestructive, and as dangerous as the USA (in “universal” coalitionwith its satellites: its former occupier the UK and the UK-occupiedPalestine, Israel). And we mean militarily, economically,politically, diplomatically, spiritually, culturally, andphilosophically – about the latter five, it is the stuff ofbankruptcy courts and all are on equal footing. Sviatoslav Richterknew (better yet, f-e-l-t) this and never came back. So did BrigitteFassbaender. Terrible.] [In other words, and in some order or other of appearance… NO MORE BLOOD FOR `THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY’NO MORE BLOOD FOR THE WILLIAM KRISTOLSNO MORE BLOOD FOR THE PAUL WOLFOWITZESNO MORE BLOOD FOR THE ALAN GREENSPANSNO MORE BLOOD FOR THE JOE LIEBERMANS (er, THE JOHN KERRYS)NO MORE BLOOD FOR THE LEFT-WING JEWISH LOBBYNO MORE BLOOD FOR THE LEFT-OF-CENTER JEWISH LOBBYNO MORE BLOOD FOR THE CENTERED JEWISH LOBBYNO MORE BLOOD FOR THE RIGHT-OF-CENTER JEWISH LOBBYNO MORE BLOOD FOR THE RIGHT-WING JEWISH LOBBYNO MORE BLOOD FOR SHARON’S SANDBOXNO MORE BLOOD FOR THE RIGHT-WING CHRISTIAN LOBBY(Surprise of surprises — The ever-clever Jewshave contrived to ingratiate themselves with thissegment as well, among all the others)NO MORE BLOOD FOR THE DICK CHENEYSNO MORE BLOOD FOR THE DONALD RUMSFELDSNO MORE BLOOD FOR THE JOHN ASHCROFTSNO MORE BLOOD FOR ARROGANCENO MORE BLOOD FOR OILNO MORE BLOOD FOR VENGEANCENO MORE BLOOD FOR THE TONY BLAIRSNO MORE BLOOD FOR THE MARIONETTE/MINSTREL ACTS OFSir COLIN POWELL, Dame CONDOLEEZA RICE, andSir KOFFI ANNAN] [Discuss, if you dare.] [About the new studio-product (’tis is what we call them fakery, no?)from EMI —IDOMENEO—, we have read puff like “a recording that n-e-e-d-e-d to be made.” — after all, it contains the antipodeanmissionary of all things English, Sir Charles; British Will o’ WispBostridge; the Bocelli collaborator Frittoli; and, to top it all, theNew (Age) Callas – the organically-grown, FDA approved, anodyne,pastel, drab as damp cardboard, and dull as fishwater, LetItRain Hunt(hyphen – I married a techie with composer pretensions + I too have alittle Sob Story in circulation – what is yours?) Lieberson. But donot for a second believe the ad-men….for this product is yet moreof the ho-hum variety.] [And don’t forget that LetItRain is an “a-r-t-i-s-t”, sensitive andmusical – albeit a very very VERY part-time one – but pleaseunderstand that very very VERY few others are as musical, let alonesensitive and artistic]. [About the GRAMMY®-winning but not-so-new DECCA —COCKSUCKER BLUES— , we have read fluff like “A New F-i-r-s-t L-a-d-y of Bel Canto –RenĂ©e Fleming very nearly manages to shake the insistent ghost ofMaria Callas.” (see “http://www.andante.com”) — But we are neitherdeaf nor naĂŻve nor stupid. You see, n-e-v-e-r e-v-e-r f-o-r-g-e-t,we insist, that sopranos of the caliber of Cheryl and Maria (to namebut two), frayed of voice and heart or not, n-e-v-e-r e-v-e-r s-t-o-o-p-e-d this low (below the navel) in the style department. But afterall, the new product (foreplayed in a studio some years ago but notejaculated for another 2 or 3) is being cart-wheeled under a neonsign that reads “bel canto” (yes, in lowercase and with the ‘b’dangling), complete with a $2 rebate incentive b-e-l-o-w its alreadyreduced repo artistic value – ya know, in the manner of the stereo-typical toupĂ©ed and polyester-clad used-car salesman – breathy,cajoling, cheap, cheesy, insincere, sleazy, slimy, slippery, sticky —in that order – and that’s the singing — a raw deal — a lemon. Hardto swallow, ain’t it?] —————————- IF YO NO KEEP `EM ENTERTAIN’ N’ DISTRACTED N’ IGNORANT N’ PLACID(O),WHO GONNA FIGH’ YO WARS? Blue-Collar/Working-Class Cheap Labor (and the aesthetics, or lackof, of — but why stop there? — how about the absolute absence ofartistic acumen? — see “Flanigan, Lauren” – see “Radvanovsky,Sondra” – see “Goerke, Christine” – see “Makarina, Olga”-– see “Guleghina, Maria” – see “Queler, Eve” – see “Oren, Daniel” –see “Chaslin, FrĂ©dĂ©ric” – see “Eastern Europeans” – see “the littletouring companies that could”) and Blitzkrieg-style Public Relationsand Marketing have been summoned to the cause of salvaging somethingor other from the debris of these self-appointed arbiters/stewards oftaste [tastes ranging from (Z)ubin to Purcell to Kirkby to (A)nalSex –the rawer the longer the harder the faster the deeper the sooner thebetter] and self-avowed “opera/music lovers\'” own making. And thushave the armies of businessmen landed, triumphantly, with portfolioschock-full with the losers, the useless, the amateurs, thedilettantes, the pedigree-less, the unaccomplished, the homo-geneous,the vocally faceless, the emaciated, the pretty, the photogenic, thegrotesque too, the church rodents, the H.I.P.-voiced, the H.I.P.-mannered, the pedigree-less, the correct, the obedient, the mega-amplified, the firefighters, the policemen, the heroes, theconstruction workers, the factory slaves, the custodians, theindustrial quality, the white trash, the divas next door; the divasnext door with the cute children as gimmicks; the divas next door whoare so nice and behave so well and who must reassure us about it; thedivas next door who seek psychotherapy and then have the distaste toannounce it; the vedettes next door who love all that jazz and thenscat and squat through e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g that is European a-n-dClassical and not — but then, in music that requires preciselythat, the phlegm gets in the way of that thang called swing; thedivas next door who thrive on wrestling, meatloaf, and fish n’ chips –— and look and sound it; the garish mansions next door who marrywell, transgenderly; the divas next door who, although already intheir 40s and beyond, must appease us by “taking baby steps toprotect their voices” and who swear that that’s why they will stillbe in their prime in extreme old age; the divas next door who swearwe will want to hear them then; the optically challenged, thephysically handicapped, the sob stories, more sob stories, thevictims, the politics of victimhood,the politics of sexual orientation, the politics of identity, thepolitics of race, the politics of reverse racism, the politics of we-are-holier-than-thou, the politics of lifestyle, the politics oftriviality, the politics of image, the politics of artifice, thepolitics of banality, the politics of favoritism, the politics ofpartisanship, the politics of corruption, the politics of indecency,the politics of Puritanism, the politics of fleecing, the politics ofthe willing, the politics of “coalition”, the politics of crassdeception, the politics of the willful, the politics of oppressiondisguised as liberation, the politics of extracurricular socialagendas, the politics of inadequacy, the politics of “The AmericanPeepole,” the politics of dumbing-down, the politics of the lowestpossible common denominator, the pedigree-less, the pedigree-less,the pedigree-less, and yet more of that. And some more sob stories.And not to be missed: the Teddy Bears (think of – well not really,since you can’t – the vocal troubles, the gross embarrassments ofstunt-ed live programs – everything from Beg Your Indulgences toPublic Regrets to Tosti to Walkouts – from, for instance, JuanDieguito FlĂłrez, the Brightman/Bocelli/Church/Sissel-comrade Domingo,the other Sissel and Bocelli comrade-in-arms Terfel, and Heppner – nomatter – the insulted audiences correspond to their own cheating withtears and Standing Os — but no surprise here, for it is nothing butanother perversion of our desensitized, demoralized, diseased,frivolous, diluted, confused, and vulgar days.) FUCK ME Even Joseito Carreras became the object of one of thesedemonstrations – and this in the enlightened and improved and newlyinnocent and important again (or so it goes) Salzburg of the summerof two-thousand-and-two-After-Christ — to you that’s 20+ yearssince the Spaniard lost IT — or almost a quarter century riding onthe [petty]coattails of his own sob story). HARDER PLEASE On the opposite receiving end we read the quasi-ecstatic notices onbehalf of Merola-ite but no one’s conception of sound vocalism (untilnow, mysteriously), Luana DeVol. And thus today’s so-called “A-List” (really, nothing but a paidannouncement transmitted by the “Ass-ociated Press”), the P®ops, thePops, the Popp Clones (she of the intellectual and revisionist andhyperkonzeptual and seminal and monumentally popular programs, rightSir Peter?), the GrĂĽmmer Clones, the Callas Clones, the TebaldiClones, the Sutherland Wannabes, the Steber Clones, the SchwarzkopfClones, the Sarah Vaughan Clones, the Price Clones, the JanowitzClones, the Freni Wannabes, the Janet Baker Clones, theFischer-Dieskau Clones, the Furtwñngler Clones, the Cut n’ PasteComposites — poor, pitifulfacsimiles a-l-l —, the Little Names, the Wannabes, the CrossoverHustlers, the Bubblegum, the New Age Mongrels, the Postmoderns, thePostmortems, the Multiculturalists, the Community Initiatives, theSoundbites, the Marketing Love Couples/Traumpaars (in the traditionof Peter n’ Ben, Sir Peter n’ Sancta Lucia, Galina n’ Misha, Richardn’ Joan, Edita n’ Friedrich, Dietrich n’ Julia, Anja n’ Wieland,Christoph n’ Anja, Christa n’ Walter, Walter n’ Elisabeth, Maria n’Ari, Plácido n’ Marta, Nicoletta n’ Luciano [we have lost count], nowwe have Arnold n’ Maria, Peter n’ Petra, Angela n’ Roberto, Mia n’AndrĂ©, AndrĂ© n’ Anne-Sophie — by the widest and longest possiblestretch of the imagination, her greatest career move since Karajanand since commissioning two or three (m)utterly charmless andobsolete b-u-t oh-so-rigorous! works for fiddle), the Exquisite, theDivine, the Fabulous, the Delicious, the Magnificent, the Paramount,the Fantabulous, and the Little Labels That Could all have itrelatively easy in comparison to that preceding generation. And thecritical standards — what standards? – whose? – of what era? —have reformed, or rather, have doubled and tripled….But injury isoften prone to insult. Hell, standards have liquified and thenevaporated vis a vis the new generation. It is no longer Sound MusicCriticism but Lowest-Common-Denominator Public Relations Spin [andmuch worse: the fixation with that elusive something known astechnique — technique and organization and perfection as ends inthemselves: music-making as athletic match: missing the forest forthe trees — but this is another angle for another day – or is it?].So much so that it has become strangely and suddenly k-o-s-h-e-r oncemore (Jesus!, how many more times are we going to hear about marketover-saturation?) to make records [and k-o-s-h-e-r again to bean “American Opera Singer”] (Remember when you and I were advised [orshould we say advertised?] to please r-e-j-e-c-t, swiftly andwholesale, them records [or anything containing Cheryl Studer — or,for that matter, any, and we mean any attempt at open discourse onher art? — Do you remember the longstanding efforts amounting to acampaign to discredit the lady and her work? — Must you be madeaware of the pall hovering over the mere mention of her name in somecircles? — You do not need to be told, do you?, of the air-tightatmosphere surrounding the lady’s name, tantamount to Can-Do-No-Right – not then, not now — Have you forgotten the p-r-e-v-e-n-t-i-o-n measures taken by the taste/censorship police in these forums inorder to curtail all possibility of even the minutest measurewhiffing of favourable discourse on her art?] — Oh, you know thelitany — something about digital and generalized and faked andfrigid and manufactured and calibrated and illusory and phony andphoned-in and un-necessary and un-fair and in-competent and in-personal and contrived and in-experienced and un-felt and in-expressive and ex-pensive and un-popular and over-exposed and underthe note and un-communicative and dull and null and sterile andperfect and flawed and clinical and precise and international(curiously, we hardly read such venom spouted at failed-serialist-turned-serial-partitur-surgeon Pierre Boulez) (and yes, yet again ourbladders burst open — consider that these traditionally liberal-anythinggoes-wandering-international minorities are the same onesseen n’ heard wailing like widows over the caskets ofnational/regional styles — but *try* telling them *that* — trytelling them that their notion of musical-personalities-and-music-making-as-china-doll has come unglued and undone — finished — orought to be) and this and that and that and this – beautiful even –artistic even – you know, the toxic byproduct of uncontainedKapitalismus – the same Kapitalismus, isn’t it?, that gave us suchgoodies as Meyerbeer HalĂ©vy & Sons, penicillin, Bocelli & Sons, cheapsentiments, more penicillin, Alan `my-competence-includes-championing-the-OJ-Simpson-cause-and-the-case-FOR-torture-but-,-as-a-Jew’Dershowitz, more penicillin, the Holocash, the Armenian, Russian, andChinese Holocausts no one *and we mean no one* made an Industry of,the current Holocaust under our noses in Congo no one hears or caresabout, Convenience Dictatorships, convenience stores, preservatives,PCPs, cigarettes, cancer, sunglasses, sunblock, suntanning, morecancer, opera glasses, the megaphone, the horn, the microphone, thephotograph, the (“fideistic” and most pleasurable) Maplesoncylinders, maple syrup, Marston Records, naXos, the phonograph, thelight bulb, gaslight, lamps, shades, nostalgia, animated pictures,the telegraph, the typewriter, carbon paper, the telephone, theclock, the metronome, the pitch fork, the antenna, the satellitedish, the radio, the television, bandwidth, TV dinners, thecalculator, the metric system, calendars, famine, feast, walkie-talkies, headphones, headsets, X-rays, MRIs, cat-scans, night visiongoggles, Google, Usenet, Yahoo, beepers, intercoms, elevators,escalators, bicycles, stationary bicycles, stationery, faster trains,the automobile, the jet plane, motorbikes, snowmobiles, surfboards,skateboards, rollerblades, ice skates, rollercoasters, houses ofhorror, houses of cards, houses of mirrors, Martha Stewart, Wal-Mart,Jerry Springer, NASCAR, The Vagina Monologues, Cori Ellison, AnneMidgette, Manuela Hoelterhoff, the efforts to erode the compositionand sound and culture of the Vienna Philharmonic (in the manner ofyour favourite American Affirmative Action country club or of yourfavourite International-sounding ensemble), trailer parks, fast food,junk food, malnutrition, gluttony, obesity, anorexia nervosa,nervousness, bulimia, lawn mowers, snow blowers, vacuum cleaners,detergents, mops, brooms, dust pans, rags, sponges, shags, wigs,afros, mini-skirts, bellbottoms, platform shoes, pajamas, lingerie,bikinis, stockings, lava lamps, disco, beat poetry, grunge, turbos,sedans, vans, buses, minibuses, limousines, tanks, bulldozers,canoes, motor boats, sail boats, battleships, submarines, B52s, F16s,space shuttles, robots, rockets, missiles, bombs, stealth bombers,torpedoes, landmines, telescopes, Star Wars, Nuclear Races, Weaponsof Mass Destruction, Agent Orange, palm trees, palm pilots, Napalm,Nepal, Free Tibet, Save the Whales, note pads, Post-Its, Hiroshima,Dresden, Vietnam (to name but a few of these insignificant mishaps,right?), MOABs (about the testing in mid-March of 2003 of suchdestructive a WMD in Florida, USA — about the latest sham, that ofSchwarzenegger in California, USA — that either fiasco failed togenerate as much environmental, moral, philosophical and whatnotconcerns all around as a photo-op, says everything we need to knowabout the collective swamp we are), Apaches, Indian Reservations,indians, cowboys, Kleenex (we often cultivate and later spoon-feedyou the Sob Stories but we also arm you with the tissue to wipe outthe tears — all on OUR terms), duct tape, gas masks, mascara,cosmetics, perfumes, Tammy Faye Baker, Mary Kay, Pink Cadillacs,Tupperware, bingo, lotteries, the welfare system, WICs, Vegas,Niagara Falls, casinos, Elvis, brilliantine, Crisco, hairspray, hairdryers, exhaust fumes, exhaustion, stimulants, sleep deprivation,sedatives, alcoholism, depression, depleted Ozone layers, syntheticfibers, fiberoptics, boxing, wrestling, rugby, frying bacon, monauralsound, analog tech, reel-to-reels, 8-tracks, the cassette, the LP,stereo systems, stereo sound, surround sound, boom boxes, faxes,paper clips, nail clippers, paper shredders, photocopiers, laserprinters, overnight mail, the (unfortunate and devastating to thetestimonials of a vast majority of contemporary artists) digitaltechnology, the PC, laptops, lapdogs, hot dogs, alarm clocks,wristwatches, dishwashers, ice boxes, refrigerators, toasters, ovens,microwave ovens, food processors, blenders, the CD, SACD, thewalkman, the minidisc, the famous (pitch re-engineered) Richter CD-ROMs, the (disgracefully influential, sound-engineering-bag-of-tricks-wise) Anglo/Judeo DECCA/Culshaw/Solti Ring, MTV, commercialinfrastructures, eBay, Spam, frozen French fries, burnt-thin-weakAmerican coffee, diners, Java, Starbucks, generators, engines,batteries, bartering, butter, department stores, super stores,supermarkets, mega stores, shopping malls, strip malls,overdevelopment, superstores, parking lots, overspending, high debt,low savings, high crime, rampant violence, credit cards, more creditcards, Carte Blanche (for some — you know who and what you are),bonus points, more fleecing, fees, fees, fees everywhere, morepenicillin, toothpaste, toothpicks, magazines, annual reports, filingcabinets, paper paper paper everywhere, papered halls, confetti, morepaper shuffling, bureaucracies, red tape, yellow ribbons,deforestation, tourism, eco-tourism, Chevron/Texaco, Tibet, Mt.Everest, B&Bs, R&B, hotels, hostels, motels, park benches, jacuzzis,T-lifts, plastic surgery, breast implants, Vail, Viagra, ski resorts,Park Ave., Madison Ave., boulevards, summer homes, increasingly shortvacations, ice cream, cotton candy, cotton balls, Q-tips, ear plugs,The Boston Pops, more wallpaper, formica, wood paneling, pop tarts,lollipops, soda pop, pop psychology, popcorn, corn flakes, vitamins,herbs, steroids, gymnasiums, hoola-hoops, pinballs, Chinese checkers,yo-yos, Yo-Yo Ma, Tan Dun, John Williams, Bobby McFerrin, PBS, Yanni,yet more wallpaper, more penicillin please, jams, jelly, jell-o, J-Lo, day-glo, go-go, psychedelia, fans, air conditioning, wallpaper,Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, 600+ variations on a theme, silk flowers,plastic flowers, fake spring water, faux marble, faux fur, fauxleather, animal rights, stuffed animals, andante.com, 12,000 othermusic websites, the pirates, special effects, the VHS, HTML, the WWW,Apples, Windows, ATMs, FTD, LSD, FTC, IMF, DNA, UPS, the cell phone,the LD, the DVD, MP3s, HMV, Opera In The Original (that’s English toyou, naturally and perennially), survivor shows, SUVs, BMWs, VWs,IRAs, 401Ks, BBQs, bb guns, water coolers, televised war crimes,video games, Andy Warhol, instant soup, instant gratification,Instant Opera, Opera For All (a noble Konzept but it’s just thatthe “critical masses” ain’t there any longer…nor do they care tobe), Shock n’ Awe, more penicillin, Toys r’ Us, CNN operas, soap,soapoperas, Oprah, Howard Stern, more penicillin, Hollywood blockbusters,Hollywood stereotyping (but seldom of “their own” — you know whoand what you are), Jewish Racism (an issue of semantics, for wehardly dare call it what it is), more penicillin, Sellars KonwitschnyNeuenfels Beito Wilson & Zambello, yet more penicillin, El Niño,septic tanks, latrines, toilet stalls, more penicillin, yet moreRegietheater, yet more penicillin, graffiti, tattoos, wax, S&M, M&Ms,teflon, styrofoam, disposable incomes, tax loopholes, tax havens,creative accounting, ENRON, insurance scams, for-profit health care,nannies, nurseries, nursing homes, retirement communities, inner-citysqualor, overpriced sneakers, gangs, segregation, not-in-my-backyardliberals, For-God-and-Country right-wingers, country clubs,fraternities, underpaid overseas labor, economies of scale, everwidening income gaps, The Gap, GNP, NASA, the NASDAQ, the NYSE, allout grossness, waste dumps, twisted metal, scrap heaps, junkyards,scaffolds, the ENO, more penicillin, karaoke, red light districts,peep shows, more penicillin, laxatives, aspirin, contraceptives,antacids, the legal and illegal drug culture, the corner drugstore,super drugstores, syringes, methadone, band-aids, prophylactics, testtube babies, petri dishes, no culture, bagels, pretzels, lox, hummus,Hummers, hybrids, Vilar gardens, Vilar foyers, Vilar lobbying, Vilartitles, Vilar entitlements, Vilar foreclosures, Vilar defaults, Vilarpromises, skyscrapers, corporate-filtered news and op-eds, supply andno demand, no supply and demand, overflow, overlap, overhead,exaggerated price markups, unpaid overtime labor, the cheapest laborsince slavery and then bread — the Economy of Volunteerism, theEconomy of Temporary Labor, outsourcing, more fleecing, multitasking,micromanaging, compartmentalization, specialization (and yet today wecelebrate in the best way we can, posthumously, the versatility,repertory escapades and consistently diamantine vocalism, yes?, of acentury+ ago of, say, the immortal [and Jewess] Lilli Lehmann or, forthat matter, of anyone – provided their last name is not Studer —and for that matter, how many of you experienced either one where itcounts?), teleconferencing, telemarketing, wireless technology (butwhat are we really communicating?), multimedia, microchips, silicon(perhaps all that sand in the Middle East, which includes Israel,could be put to good use – BLOOD FOR SAND? — nah, not worth it),underutilized solar energy, superhighways, software, hardware,peripherals, acoustically enhanced opera houses and concert halls,euphemisms, masked balls, virtual reality, cloning, artificialintelligence, Callas martyrs, more penicillin, Caruso, Ponselle,Callas, more Callas, more penicillin, Flagstad, Nilsson, more EMICallas re-re-re-re-re-regurgit
  64. tristanXX Says:

    why did they take your straitjacket off for so long marshie? what asylum do you write from? fortunately most people will see your name and just skip the entry as I did, but my are you suffering from dementia

  65. tl;dr

    (That’s “too long; didn’t read” for those of you unfamiliar with the abbreviation…)

  66. marschallin Says:

    Too long? In fact, long and hard, as you like it. How ironic.

  67. Well, we suspected it- we joked about it- we teased- but NOW WE KNOW FOR SURE- it’s official!
    Marschallin is four pages short of a score- madder than Lucia at Ophellia’s picnic! Let’s just hope she does a Tosca before someone throws her!

  68. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Marschallin, Have you considered that your rude diatribes may be generating ill-will towards Cheryl Studer? I never saw Ms Studer live but I remember some of her recordings with pleasure. Unfortunately, I expect that from now on I’ll associate her with your unkind comments. Not quite what you intended, is it?

  69. marschallin Says:

    ITDG, feel free to go ahead and associate whatever with whomever to your little heart’s content. It makes a smalltime fuck of a difference…not.

  70. OperaGhost7 Says:

    I was thinking the exact same thing, tenore di grazia…..

  71. a voice from the peanut gallery Says:

    Just when I was thinging that the marschallin was a just boor with one agenda, she proves herself to be a total nut case! Just hOW nutty will require a competent clinician armed with a DSM IV.

    . . .oh! and an anitisemite too! What a nasty piece of business you are Marsy! The less we here from you the better!

  72. Funny you both should say that- the other day I found a review of Ms Studer that was most derogatory. For one brief minute “basic self” wanted to gleefully taunt the warped Marschallin with it – then I realised that by doing so I would be going against the sentiment of my own recent posts.
    It is a great pity that an artist like Ms Studer, should have a nut case as a fan.
    It will be hard in the future, to see her name and mentally disassociate it from the ravings of someone who has serious problems.

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