Princess Fire and Music

“Not since Delia Rigal,” comments one of La Cieca’s regular correspondents, referring to the ongoing (not to mention inscrutable) publicity juggernaut for soprano Erika Sunnegårdh. Now she’s headlining a revised concert program for the Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on May 14. According to an “URGENT” press release sent out yesterday, La Sunnegårdh will be heard in three operatic excerpts by Puccini, Mozart and Wagner. Her assisting artists on the program, Ben Heppner and Rene Pape, each will sing two arias. Changes to the original roster for this concert include James Conlon substituting for James Levine, Giacomo Puccini for Johannes Brahms, and Piotr Illitch Tchaikowsky for Charles Wuorinen. That’s at a $155 top, by the way. See you there?

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22 Responses to “Princess Fire and Music”

  1. hagen schmagen Says:

    Here’s the program, courtesy Carnegie’s website:

    MOZART Symphony No. 36, “Linz”
    MOZART “D’Oreste, d’Ajace” from Idomeneo
    MOZART “Madamina, il catalogo è questo” from Don Giovanni
    WAGNER “Siegmund heiss’ ich” from Die Walküre
    VERDI “O tu, Palermo” from I Vespri Siciliani
    VERDI “Niun mi tema,” Otello
    PUCCINI “In questa reggia” from Turandot
    TCHAIKOVSKY Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32

  2. marschallin Says:

    According to the “editor” of PlaybillArts, Sunnegårdh is a newly-minted “star” (decidedly in lowercase). Newly minted by whom? By the carpenter and his media minions? Wasn’t she the waitress who, in pedestrian fashion (already 40 and seemingly
    coming from nowhere), infamously tripped through ‘Abscheulicher!’
    during the live relay from the Met the other day, making a veritable mess of what was touted in advance as a “triumph”, and to the embarrassment of listeners worldwide? This is a star?

  3. OperaGuyNY Says:

    If I was Andrea Gruber I’d be very concerned!

  4. Baritenor Says:

    Oh, La Cieca, is it really fair to blame Ms. Sunnegardh for this whole mess? She’s a young singer, and I, for one, think it unkind to compare her to Susan Kane from Citizen Kane. She’s got talent and potential from what I heard, even if she did make that big goof-up in the Abscheulicer. It’s not fair to her. Sure, she’s probably not ready for this kind of exposure, but give her a few yeas and you’ll forget all about this. And Besides, this is all Uncle Joe’s doing, not her’s.

  5. Mother Fucker Tenor Says:

    Marschallin

    Is Erika someone that spurned your advances. You have more venom than a snake and the musical taste of one as well. I apologize to all snakes for the comparison

    Mofo

  6. We have seen Eriks three times in Fideleo (twice in Milwaukee) and feel she has the makings for good career. Would very much like to see her next year in Turandot. She does not deserve the criticism.

  7. opera80221 Says:

    Non-withstanding the gaffe in Abscheulicher, all I kept on thinking is that the voice was unbelievable ordinary….it would be great if she were to improve, and/or show us an unflawed performance due to nerves, maybe?
    BUT, what I’m offended at is neither the voice, neither the gaffe, but that theyr’e are so many BETTER singers that are not getting anywhere NEAR the press time…Hasmik Papian, Ewa Podles, and how many other much more seasoned singers can’t even the Met to sneeze in their direction, and the Met is Valhalla here? God help us if the same rules applied back in the 50’s, would Callas & Sutherland be looked over because a much more ordinary singer somehow caught the attention of the media? She might not have an agent, but it just smacks of a weird machine at work.

  8. il lacerato spirito Says:

    I agree with opera 80221

    I heard her Fidelio, it was rather small voiced. I can’t imagine her trying Turandot. She certainly is no wild actress. She is for all intents and purposes just another ordinary chick who caught the eye of someone in charge who wanted to make a statement. Whatever it is.

  9. But at least she has all the notes of Leonore: this is more one can say of, p.e., Waltraud Meier or, worst, Angela Denoke or Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet, even if, for the time being, these are bettet artists.

  10. I agree with artalbo. Did anyone hear Angela Denoke in the Salzburg Tote Stadt? She sounded like she sat on the stove top in her underpants.

  11. Baritenor Says:

    For my money, no one has sung Marietta right since Carol Neblett.

  12. chekurupi Says:

    Ewa Podles is getting a nod from Seattle Opera where I will see her in Julius Caesar. I heard Erika and will have to compare then.

  13. papagenodz Says:

    here we go again with another round of waltraud meier bashing … never mind that she is one of the most interesting artists we’ve got now … her leonore is terrificly exciting, it just shouldn’t happen at the met, and it’s not a natural fit for “karita’s” production. with as many isoldes as she has masterfully sung, you can’t say she hasn’t got the top for leonore. i’m so glad she’s back at the met for kundrys next month and can set the record straight.

  14. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Come on, guys, let’s give Ms Sunnegardh the benefit of the doubt until we get a chance to judge her properly.

    For many of us all the hoopla about her debut is a turn-off but we don’t know that it was of her making.

    Anticipated debuts at the Met can (and probably should be) nerve-wracking. Often even the greatest of singers are not heard at their best at their debut performances. (Sutherland herself was reportedly rather shaky during the first act of her first Met Lucia.) Let’s hear a bit more of her before judging.

    Was she given the Met opportunity because the artistic staff thought she was good or was it a publicity stunt? I have no idea but in either case she may be just an innocent bystander.

    Funny, my friends know I can be very harsh on singers but for Pete’s sake, let’s give this woman a break for the time being. Who knows, she may turn out to be a new Kirsten or Birgit or Astrid or Helen… Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

  15. Baritenor Says:

    Yeah, It would. Who knows, Ms. Sunngardh may have great things ahead of her yet.

  16. operaman50 Says:

    Has it occured to ANYBODY that the week before the FIDELIO broadcast, Karen Slack was substituted in LUISA MILLER, making a FAR greater impression than Ms. Sunnegardh, with more style, flair, individuality and skill,… singing, technically, a much more difficult role……and receiving virtually no pre- or follow-up publicity? I’m just one person, but I haven’t been so impressed with an unknown — since Aprile sang her first DON CARLO broadcast!!!

  17. Having heard Miss Sunnegardh, I’m afraid we ARE already past the stage where we can make the claim that she is going to turn out to be a new Kirsten or Birgit or Astrid or Helen…….. the voice is grey and colorless. I’m sure she’ll make a competent C house lead, but to go through the motions of watching her be promoted as a major talent worthy of comparison to legitimately great voices is a bit tiresome, and besides, does her a great injustice, as she will disappoint anyone looking for an important instrument (which is what it’s all about), and be quietly dropped in a few years, a la Marilyn Mims, or Victoria Loukenitz, etc. And at 40, there isn’t much further development instrumentally that’s going to take place, unless someone has come up with a new medical supplement that I’m unaware of.

    I do wish some people wouldn’t take critiscm of the srtistry as criticism of the person. It really takes a fair discussion of whether the singer in question is really worthy of the attention into a catfight, which isn’t really neccesary. Although I do care whether a singer is a decent colleague, it shouldn’t really be an issue when we’re talking about vocal standards at the most important theaters.

  18. baryton francais Says:

    She’s singing Turandot? You’ve got to be kidding…

    All I can say is I hope she at least brings more listeners into the opera scene in the few years that she lasts, ’cause this artform could use an infusion of some young devotees…

  19. opera80221 Says:

    thank GOD baryton francais speaks up as well as obaysch…we need to put it to the managerial staff or whoEVER is in charge that the public aren’t operatic dummies…we’re schooled as to what we know, and don’t put Erika up against Kirsten or Birgit OR Helen…my ears hear what they hear, and no PR machine HOWEVER savvy will retrain those…..whoever is in charge of Erika’s PR machine had better remember the claque in Italy, hope it better NOT come to NY, and shake in their BOOTS…there’s no WAY Erika could even lick the boots of Hildegard Behrens in her prime !…SHEESH!

  20. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    I was just expressing a wish.

  21. julienned Says:

    I think that there’s something else at work here with Ms. Sunnegardh’s extraordinary press coverage. The press cover things that will draw readers. It’s that simple. Ms. Sunnegardh’s story is a great human interest story that has broad appeal.

    It’s easy to forget that most of America don’t care about the Met, opera, classical music, or who should be getting press coverage because of their artistry. This, to them, is a story of someone working hard, holding a vision, believing in themselves, and getting that rare break. The Met stands for something, even for someone who’s idea of singing is Faith Hill. It’s as simple as that. I doubt that even “The Machine” can really generate publicity like this without that factor.

    Many singers in the past have benefited from press like this. The press wasn’t interested in Callas because of her singing (at least not in the US). They were interested because she was the fancy trophy of the richest man in the world, she lost him to a president’s widow, she had a famous temper, and most importantly, she was constantly rejecting them (reporters). Nothing interests the press like trying to shut it out.

    Just a thought…

  22. JATM2063 Says:

    Now if she can just hook up with Renaaay’s PR team, she’ll be everywhere in 12 months. Interesting about her being so poor and all that. She actually lives (and has lived) in Riverdale for about two years now, I heard. Toscanini lived there and Roberta Peters lives there still. Not a cheap place at all. How did she afford it on a waitress’ pay?

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