Off with her head tones!

Enrico Stinchelli and Michele Suozzo, the hosts of La barcaccia, are not amused by Edita Gruberova‘s improvements on Donizetti’s score for Anna Bolena. (They call her “Anna Mi Bemollena,” or “Anna E-flat-ena.”)


22 Responses to “Off with her head tones!”

  1. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    Well, they can go take a hike. As far as I am concerned…Gruberova’s recordings of the final scene (in it’s entirety, excuse me) from Anna Bolena are the BEST that have ever existed. I truly adore the recordings and performances of all those great ladies from Callas to Caballe to Sutherland to Sills…but none quite capature, for my imagination, the madness of Anna while she is locked up in the Tower of London – nor do any of the other ladies present, what I feel to be, a manner of singing a grande scena of that nature with the kind of virtuosity and ornamentation that was so part of the operatic heritage of the Ottocento. The dive of the era would often interpolate extra high notes and and frills…partially to show off, and partially to place a personalized ‘thumbprint,’ if you will, on their ‘interpretation.’ I personally ADORE the Edita’s High E-flat at the end of this scene – and the one here on this live recording is even more stunning than the one in the live recording that is included in the Nightingale Classics albums of “Mad Scenes.” I also love the fact that Edita sings the entire scene and does not cut anything out – there is too much good music and drama that is removed in performances done by the other great ladies (whether the cuts were their own decisions is a matter that would need much further investigation – clearly any of them COULD have sung the whole scene without cuts – and would have sung it magnificently.

    I love you Gruberova – keep on singing like you do and topping off those arias with notes that shake the floors of heaven!

  2. Ouch, that last note really hurts!

  3. LaMalipasta Says:

    Well said ITDCS. Gruberaova is fantastic.

    The people objecting to her ‘additions’ would , no doubt, be happy with the ‘traditional’ cuts.

    Do they think that the composers did nt expect singers to add their own ornanments? Singers were considered CREATIVE artists. Even as late as the 20th century Puccini and Mascagni wanted Fernando De Lucia to create their operas – with all his additions.

    The attitde expressed by these 2 stems from the period of the pre -eminence of the conductors. Remember Muti’s (and I mean MUTI’s!!!) Capuleti from CG with Gruberova and Baltsa – the repeats unornamented! No high notes. Why were repeats written – if not for the singer to decorate?

    The attitude of these 2 is symtomatic of the appalling state of the current Italian musical scene. I ‘ m reliably informed that Italian composers pre 1950 are nt considered to be ‘serious’.

    As you say ITCS these 2 can take a hike – and go listen to some Wolf.

  4. il stupendo Says:

    from Bubbles’s autobiography:

    ‘to do right by the job, a music critic needs expertise in conducting and singing, needs to know how to play at least a few instruments, and should have the command of a couple of languages besides english … don’t get me started on critics’

    thank Cher i’m just a lover of beautiful sounds!

  5. la divina due Says:

    ITCS you know how to articulate my sentiments in almost any given situation. I couldn’t agree more that Gruberova is amazing. Well said.

  6. Boringwhitegirl Says:

    I dunno. I found that last note quite an adventure myself.

    Does anyone know when these guys broadcast? My Italian isn’t great, but I couldn’t find any info on the website. Listening to them regularly would be a lot more fun way to stay in shape than reading Pinocchio, as I’m doing now.

  7. Baritenor Says:

    I’m fairly critical of dear Edita. It’s not anything specific, but just the genral melatic quality in her voice, and the kind of bawling coloratura she employs (shown to good effect in her video of Fledermaus.) Though, I will admit, she sings the hell out of Zerbinetta.

  8. il stupendo Says:

    Edita has this sexy way of singing the ‘s’ consonant!

    her take on ‘three blind mice’ is really lots of fun:

    ‘three blind miccccce! three blind miccccce! ssssssseeee how they run!’

  9. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    I love her. And I love her three queens.

  10. Baritenor Says:

    Has she recorded all three operas in their entieties, or has only Bubbles had that honor?

  11. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Recordings of the three operas are available on the web at very, and I mean very, high prices. I got a CD with excerpts from the three hoping to find the complete operas at some sort of reasonable price one of these days.

    A propos of Gruberova, we had a discussion on this forum some weeks ago about her Norma. Now I see in the latest issue of Opera News a review of what was supposed to be her first ever staged Norma. Were the other ones concert performances? Or did ON get it wrong? (That wouldn’t be a first by any stretch of the imagination.) Incidentally the review is rather poor.

  12. Baritenor Says:


    What do you consider a reasonable price? On, her recordings of ROBERTO and ANNA are available for around 20 pounds each, about 40 bucks a pop. Full-priced maybe, but not extravigant. And her recording of Stuarda (with Baltsa and Araiza) is avable on the cheap from amazon sans libretto.

  13. First to apologize about my english, something I share with Vera G-B with the exception that I have never lived in America. This comment is about Gruberova. ITG asks about reviews of Gruberova performances of Norma. You can find information in the unofficial site along places to find her recordings (I have all of them plus several amateur video and audiorecordings)… I think Gruberova does not need any defense, but in America she seems sort of ignored… thas a pity, she is great, very exciting perforer and the voice and technic are beyond credibility… you may or may not like her, that is a matter of taste, but she has achieved in many of her roles something other (most) singers cannot dream of: a mixture of humanity, brilliance, beauty and perfection.

  14. Baritenor Says:

    I’m not really a Coloratura Queen (okay…I’m not any sort of Queen, but still…), though I do have my favorite high-flying Ladies (Dessay comes to mind as do Ruth Welting and, of course, Joan Sutherland) but even then Grubernova really isn’t to my taste. It may be a case of bad first exposure. The first time I heard here was in that awful video of Don Giovanni with Tom Allen and Muti, where she is definetly under her best.

  15. just another opera queen Says:

    Hi, everyone. Sorry for my english. I don´t find Gruberova performances of the bel canto repertoire particulary appealing, because the metalic quality of the voice. but as Zerbinetta and in her Philips recordings of Mozart´s Konzertarien I think she is splendid. In “Popoli di Tessaglia” she hits twice the G in altissimo Brava!

  16. il stupendo Says:

    Madame Edda Moser’s high Gs in ‘popoli di tessaglia’ are the best!

    they are so focused, so square on, and full of PING!

  17. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    Wow…that is twice in one day that the Muti-Allen-Gruberova-Araiza-Murray Don Giovanni has come up where the individuals (one who is particularly famous) stated that they didn’t like Edita in it. I thought she did a very good job in the role – considering that it isn’t one of the best roles for her, but certainly not a bad one. Admittedly, she doesn’t ‘look’ all that pretty or comfortable while singing it…but when I watched it a few years ago, I remember that I was so impressed with the vocalisms of the entire cast – particularly Edita and Ann Murray (who I had initially deemed as trash when I purchased the Solti Giovanni with Terfl and Fleming and Murray – I mainly only bought the recording because Solti was conducting – I was so impressed to hear Murray fresh and vibrant on the video, as I also did with a Cenerentola video of hers as well. I happen to think that Edita’s “Or sai ch’io l’onore” on the Scala video is extremely beautiful – it’s loud, it’s fierce, it’s balls-to-the-wall Mozart singing – I love it! And I loved most of Muti’s tempi throughout.

    ITDG…I can’t agree with you more that those recordings are far too expensive. I’m sorry, but with all the technology nowadays…CD’s should be the price of DIRT, much like LPs are today. It angers me to SUCH an extent that I would have to shell out over $30 or $40 for good recordings!! I know, I probably sound cheap – has nothing to do with that, I have extremely expensive tastes – but with my appetite for recordings and videos and scores, there’s no way at present that I could possibly afford to indulge myself to even a small degree. I, for one, don’t give a damn about having the libretto with a recording…I mean, it’s nice, but I can always find it somewhere else – the things I do like are program notes…discussion about the artists, the composer, the history of the composition, and pictures too! But just to go out and want to purchase the Gruberova RD, MS, AB, Puritani and Semiramide would cost something like over $200 – just for 5 recordings!!! It’s outrageous!

  18. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    ITDCS, Amen !

    I’ve been knows to be more than prodigal with my recording purchases but $40 for an opera recording impresses me as highway robbery. Matter of principle.

  19. Baritenor Says:

    I need a libretto for any Opera I’m buying for the first time. After that, I’m okay.

  20. For my money- Edita’s additions were, if nothing else, “great theatre” adding real excitement to what is all too often, a fairly “subdued” ending.
    God bless her!!

    While the old Italian “commentators” grumble in their soup of indignation, they will have no idea that they represent a minority of dinosaurs, who have no idea what really keeps audiences and fans interested and coming back for more.

  21. Leontyneluvr Says:

    I amazed that that quite standard interpolation is so revolutionary to the maestri’s ears!

  22. That high note…..and the scooping….warbled & annoying. And her diction…….and what’s with the breathy middle & shrieked high notes? And I thought Renay’s mannerisms were annoying….ICK! Gimme Bubbles, Maria or Leyla any day over that! The whole “Grubie – The Sacred Cow” Yadda Dadda because of her age is so damn annoying. *Rant over*

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