Now even more tubular

Those geniuses at YouTube just made the service even more friendly, if you can imagine such a thing. Now La Cieca can insert into a web site a player that includes a choice of 50 different opera videos. You’ll want to bookmark the new Unnatural Acts of Video page.


41 Responses to “Now even more tubular”

  1. darnokk Says:

    Thanks for the Ewa Podles. We saw her in Milwaukee, wonderful voice but a rather unfriendly person. Saw Fidelio on Tues night with Erika S. She was very good. We had also seen her in Milwaukee in the dress rehearsal and the performance of Fidelio. It was unfortunate what happened on the broadcast, which we didn’t hear. We think she has potential. It is not a huge voice but it carries. Saw the Don Pasquale on Monday and Anna N. is wonderful. Also saw the Manon on Wed. The YouTube work with no problem on this end.

  2. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    A couple of totally unrelated comments: I’ll be attending a NYPhilarmonic concert later this month and see that the program includes Berlioz’ Les Nuits d’Ete with Ian Bostridge. I don’t recall Les Nuits being sung by a tenor before. Isn’t it written for mezzo? I know David Daniels recorded it.

    In anticipation of also seeing Lohengrin at the Met, I’ve searched through my old tapes and I’m listening to the Ortrud of Leonie Rysanek. My recollection is that at the time I was rather disappointed with that broadcast – some of the other singers were awful – but right now I’m ready for a Rysanek orgasm.

  3. You are too good to us La Cieca… time to make a donation.

    By the way what the hell was going on today on stage at the Met? I’m not a Renée basher but I haven’t heard that much cooing since St Mark’s Square – I thought they were setting up for the first act of Gioconda!

  4. Baritenor Says:

    I didn’t listen today…Work interferred (Damn it!) but if a fellow wanted to introduce himself to Massenet’s Manon (I’ve never heard it, shameful as that is), which recording should he buy? Which Manon? de los Angeles? Sills? Cotrubas? Gheorghiu? I’m really waffeling between Sills and Gheorghiu right now, please help.

  5. I vote for Sills. I’ve heard essentially nothing negative about it, and the tracks I’ve listened to are pretty amazing. The vocalism and interpretation–just stunning. And hey, Nicolai Gedda’s on there too. All the reviews I’ve read are glowing. Of course, I’d take Sills over Gheorghiu in just about any repertoire they share, or as individual singers…

  6. papagenodz Says:

    de los Angeles. Sayao is essential, too, and Sills’ set is great, but de los Angeles will break your heart into a million pieces. Fleming’s recording has its moments, as I think it was and still is one of her best roles. It just works for her, and the cooing when she does it matches this character more than some of the others she has inflicted that style upon.

  7. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    To “feel” Manon you’ve got to go with De los Angeles. Sills of course has better coloratura and all the others have something to offer, but De los Angeles and Sayao WERE Manon.

  8. Baritenor Says:

    I dunno… I’m not a fan of Henri Legay. But does the tenor really matter?

  9. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Oh yes, the tenor does matter. He has beautiful music. Still De los Angeles and Sayao are the recordings to have.

  10. scifisci Says:

    i don’t know…i’ve heard all the above recordings and i definitly think sayao is truly unique, as is de los angeles, however it is really the sills set which hits the mark all around. As much as sills IS manon, Gedda IS Des Grieux. the sonics are excellent, but the conducting can be a little heavy handed from rudel. Personally, i LOVE manon and own pretty much all of the major recordings. Gheorghiu is good, fleming’s dvd is good….but stick with the classics…sills, sayao, and if u have extra money, de los angeles. but stay away from cotrubas…
    Another interesting set to own is the D’oro set of freni and pav sung in some sort of conflated italian version. It’s essentialy a verismo romp, but quite enjoyable and refreshing.

  11. rysanekfreak Says:

    Go with the Sills “Manon.” On the LP set, at least, it includes all the ballet music plus a more ornate version of the Cours la Reine showpiece as an appendix. I don’t know how much of this ended up on the CD transfer. (I was almost surprised that Fleming did NOT sing this more glittering high-note alternative.)

    About Rysanek’s Ortrud…The first time I saw it (San Francisco), she ended The Curse by clawing at the air like a panther and then falling to her knees. Needless to say, hundreds of us started applauding and cheering, while the Perfect Wagnerites shushed us. Their shushing only encouraged us to make more noise. The cheering went on so long that the next lines from Lorengar’s Elsa got drowned out. Sorry, Pilar. But we had to do it. During the final curtain calls, there were so many bouquets flying across the pit that one of them hit Leonie right in the face…and everyone gasped in horror. What if one of those wire thingies had hit her in the eye?! The dangers of being a Diva Suprema! Those fatal bouquets.

    When I next saw her Ortrud, this time at the Met, the applause happened again after the Curse. And the final howlings at the end of Act Three were just too thrilling. This is the performance that I rushed downstairs to the railing with my flash camera and got three pictures of her solo bow while ushers came running at me. (What WERE those boys going to do to me? I managed to escape… surprising fast and nimble for an old Rysanek Freak.)

  12. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    How about sharing those pics, Rysanekfreak?

  13. paddypig Says:

    no one has mentioned the Albanese Manon from 56 with Di Stefano. also worth checking out, the sayao version is wonderful and would go with either De Los Angeles or Sills on the commercial front.Rysanekfreak-those were the days when we had great stars. alas

  14. Baritenor Says:

    Yeah, is there anyone today who can sing Ortrud like Rysanek or my personal Diva, Christa Ludwig? Is Behrens still singing? It would maybe be a good role for her. Anja Silja may be able to pull it off still.

  15. scifisci Says:

    Oh how I would die for a diva like christa ludwig to sing ortrud these days! I doubt anyone is left who can sing ortrud like rysanek, ludwig, or varnay. Does anyone know about luana duval who is going to sing ortrud in the upcoming MET production?

  16. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    All the Manon’s listed are brilliant – Sayao, de Los Angeles, Albanese, Fleming…dare I even say this, considering that I find Gheorghiu and her husband to two of the most overrated singers that have ever participated in this industry…but I did once catch a rather legnthy run of a section from the recording of their Manon that was quite beautiful – I didn’t know it was them until after the Second act ended when it was announced – it was being broadcast over the radio in the middle of the night – I didn’t listen to the whole thing, but what I heard was probably the best singing from either of them. I would venture to say that the Sills/Gedda recording is the ultimate in terms of an overall recording – top to bottom…however, if one is going to listen for Des Grieux, I would have to recommend any recording with Alain Vanzo who was the greatest light French lyric tenor to ever walk on a stage…I don’t recall the soprano on his recording (it could be Spoorenburg or Mesple or whoever), but he is worth hearing!

  17. scifisci Says:

    gheorghiu is not really that much overrated…..alagna is, but angela must be given much credit for her violetta, manon, adina, magda, etc. She is a much more exciting singer than fleming (who is truly overrated) both on recording and in person. Fleming is nice in mozart, strauss, and even manon….but gheorghiu has a much more interesting voice and arresting stage presence.
    I agree about Vanzo, he is also superb in his live recording with caballe of lucrezia borgia.

  18. Baritenor Says:

    Yeah, but NOBODY beat Alfredo Kraus in Lucrezia.

    I’ve heard Luana Deval as the GOTTERDAMERUNG Brunnhilde and as The Mother in Hansel und Gretel. She was quite good as Hilde, but she really blew me away as Gertrude. Anyone who can steal a performance from Graham Clarke (Who was the Witch) is okay in my book.

    Thanks for everyone’s advice. Though I have yet to make a discission on the Manon issues (there are many factors: Price, avaliblity, Do I really want ANOTHER Bubbles role when I just got her three queens box set, etc.) your help has been invaluable.

  19. meremarie Says:

    Come on folks, if someone wants an intro to Manon, you have to remember that a certain French opera composer had something to do with it! You can’t recommend Sayao as the score is cut to bits whole scenes missing that ruin the balance and variety of the score that no matter how much it relies on stellar prima donnas has a whole roster of vividly etched smaller parts, which tend to go by the wayside when the Cours de la Reine scene is omitted, and the Gambling scene cut down. Sure, Sayao inhabited the role but her recording is for specialists – even the glorious De Los Angeles has a corrupt edition (no end of Act 1, many later cuts. Sills for starters probably and then if hooked, get all specialist about it! Remember Massenet, anyone?

  20. Operamans Says:

    I saw Luana Devol twice as Isolde. Twice a thrilling performance. I think that she will make a good Ortrud.


    Meremarie, I agree you can’t go wrong with the Sills. Beautiful recording!!

  22. Ortrud is a perfect role for the wild and wooly voice of DeVol. I wish I could be there to hear her…


    Ortrud is one of my fqvorite women in opera. Dealing with someone as dumb and stupid as Elsa can make anyone a little bitter!

  24. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    I always thought that Grace Bumbry would have made a great Ortrud.

  25. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Incidentally, considering all the talk we’ve had about the forthcoming Bastille Lucias, I see that the tickets do not go on sale until July. The last week of Lucias coincide with the opening of a new production of the Trojans. Something to drool about.


    ITDG, YES, YES Grace would have made a wooooooooooooooonderful Otrud. God, I would have love it. I have always adored Grace even met hewr once–she did a recital here in Dever. I nearly went crazy. She also had a gorgeous, very nice man that accompanied her. I have the signed program. When I met her, I told her that when she sings the role of Amneris, I felt the opera should have been named Amneris instead of Aida–She liked the idea!


    i meant Denver!


    Continuing my orgasm over Grace and Ortrud–Grace Bumbry could have blown ANY Elsa off the stage as she did to many an Aida including Nilsson!

  29. scifisci Says:

    Ah, how i envy those who saw bumbry as amneris! I love the “sass” in her voice…and I agree she blows away nilsson in her recording, and almost blows away price. Her Ortrud probably would have been much in the same vein. Judging from her Venus, it would have been magnificent!


    I saw her! When I say she could blow any Aida off the stage, I mean it. I swear I saw the Aida fly feet first over the orchestra pit. No really, I DON’T remember who the hell the tenor, baritone, soprano were—just GRACE

  31. The very first opera I ever saw live was Carmen with Grace and Jon Vickers when I was 14 or 15. Saved my weekly allowance for months to buy tickets — a birthday gift for my father who LOVED Carmen (he had an old set of 78s with Swarthout, Vinay, Merrill, Albanese, and Leinsdorf that he cherished and was my introduction to opera). The final duet set the house ablaze and I was hooked for life.

  32. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Winpal, where did you see Bumbry and Vickers in Carmen? Do you remember?

  33. ITG — it was at San Francisco Opera, in 1966, and was Bumbry’s first appearance at SFO. The Escamillo was Frank Guarrera, the Micaela was Carol Todd. Jean Perisson was the conductor.

    The production was interesting in that they kept all the chorus and procession stuff at the beginning of Act 4 off stage. Just had Vickers on stage with a few beggars looking increasingly deranged as the hoopla went on out of sight. I didn’t particularly like this approach as I enjoy the color and swirling movement, but it did heighten the intensity with a singular focus on Don Jose. And few singers do focused intensity as well as Vickers.

  34. meremarie Says:

    Dearest Grace – I have heard several farewell recitals she has given at London’s Wigmore Hall – the voice is still incredible. Perhaps she was never the most profound artiste, but her grandeur and gravitas is undimmed still – and she is comfortably within her fach. Recent highlights have been Berlioz Nuit’s d’ete and Wagner’s Wesendonck lieder, sung with true passion, poise and gloriously burnished tones. What might she have been had she ventured into Ortrud, Kundry, Nurse in ‘Die Frau’and so on. She did herself in in her latter stages at ROH with a final Tosca, notably for Mae West wig primping, and unbelievably, a couple of Turandots. Very bumpy nights I’m reliably told! She’s scheduled to give a further recital at the Wigmore Hall in 2007 – which I believe is her 70th year. I shall be there, in my diamante wimple……


    I adored her as a mezzo with a few soprano things thrown in. however, my true feeling is, for me, she was the greatest as a fire-breathing mezzo! The opera experts in the 1980s perdicted she’d be voiceless in a year or so–she’s still singing rather well at 70! Her DVD tribute to Lotte Lehman proved that. She still looks fabulous too!

  36. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Bumbry and Verrett were extraordinary as mezzos. Truly the best Verdi mezzos of their generation and easily among the best ever. They both had some fine outings as sopranos – some better than others – but those never reachd the heights of their mezzo roles. We lost two superb mezzos and gained some now-and-then good soprano performances. A pity.

  37. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Bumbry and Verrett were extraordinary mezzos. The best of their generation and easily among the best Verdi mezzos ever. They both had some good outings as sopranos but those never quite reached their mezzo heights. We lost two superb mezzos and gained two now-and-then good sopranos. A pity.


    itdg, I completely agree!!! Verrett & Bumbry were two very Hot mezzos!

  39. meremarie Says:

    I still tingle all over when I recall the Verrett Bumbry joint recital at the Royal Opera in 1983. They opened with Laura and Gioconda’s bust up, (Verrett as Gioconda) which I think was the loudest thing I have ever heard – my ears rang! An abiding memory is of heads flung back and two enormously huge mouths as they both hit top C’s simultaneously at the end of the Anna Bolena duet – one expected chunks of masonry to descend into the stalls. And let’s not even get onto the frocks……..The second half was a lot quieter! The huge surprise was Verrett singing Desdemona’s Willow Song and Ave Maria, she conjured up the whole scene without a stick of scenery, compelling rapt attention with her command of the text, and floated the whole scene, communing with us with ravishing pianissimi – I nearly fainted. I remember it so vivdly because there was a gala the following month in which Domingo sang Act 4 of Otello with Kiri te Kanawa – a ‘real’ soprano, but who was so casual and bland and boring. When both ladies were on form – and they weren’t always the most reliable – they were shot through with genius – bless ’em. Heard both Verrett and Bumbry singing on a CD review of best Don Carlo recordings – and one is just doomed to disappointment now when one hears that role – no-one has come near in terms of fire, attack, and allure!

    I’m exhausted recalling the sheer excitement of hearing them live – I have to lie down now…….


    I have a tape of their collabration in the 80s–it’s great stuff. Grace said on the tape that it was a miracle they even did it without scratching each other’s eyes out!


    On the DVD of Samson from SF with Domingo and Verrett, Shirley sings most of the role deep within the stage while dear Placido stands near the front. She still almost blows him off the stage. What power! Back in the 1970’s I had dinner with her at a mutual friend’s home. She sang with what was known at the time as the Denver Symphony–we had Jamacian food–I’m still very impressed!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: