I could go on singing ’til the cows come home

La Cieca has just learned the scheduled roster and repertoire for the Volpe Farewell Gala to be performed on Saturday, May 20 (and, if all this music stays in the show, part of May 21 as well.) Deborah Voigt will open the program with special material by Ben Moore, accompanied by Brian Zeger. The first of the James Levine stand-ins, Valery Gergiev, will then conduct selections from Ruslan and Ludmilla and Tannhaeuser. (Further baton duties for the evening are shared among Marco Armiliato, James Conlon, Plácido Domingo, Peter Schneider and Patrick Summers.)

The first operatic solo of the evening (“La speranza” from Semiramide) goes to Juan Diego Florez. Further highlights of the first half include a duet from L’italiana in Algeri (Ildar Abdrazakov, Olga Borodina), “O mio babbino caro” (Ruth Anne Swenson), “Una furtiva lagrima” (Ramon Vargas), “Ah non credea mirarti” (Natalie Dessay), the Count’s aria from Figaro (Dwayne Croft), “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” (Denyce Graves), “Tacea la notte” (Renee Fleming [!]), “Je vais mourir” from Les Troyens (Waltraud Meier), the Prize Song (Ben Heppner), and Marietta’s Lied (Kiri te Kanawa[!!]).

Frederica von Stade, Salvatore Licitra and Domingo (who sings, too!) will also perform a few songs in this segment, and after a “gala film” is shown, la Voigt will return to perform “Pace, pace.”

Susan Graham is first on after intermission with another Moore ditty, followed by Stephanie Blythe (“Ah, que j’aimes les militaires”), Thomas Hampson (Pierrot’s song from Die Tote Stadt), Samuel Ramey (Mephisto’s serenade from Faust), Dimitri Hvorostovsky and Rene Pape in arias from Don Carlo, and the double-barrelled mezzo excitement of Dolora Zajick‘s “O mon Fernand” and Ms. Meier’s Easter Hymn from Cavalleria.

Two numbers from Così fan tutte follow: “Ah guarda sorella” with Mmes. von Stade and te Kanawa, and “Soave sia il vento” with Fleming, Graham and Hampson. The baritone returns with Karita Mattila for selections from The Merry Widow, and then the audience will take a well-deserved bathroom break while the Met Ballet performs a jolly polka. (UPDATE: further clues suggest that this number will accompany an “open” scene change, so the audience will finally learn the meaning of all that yelling and banging that goes on while we sit in semidarkness for ten minutes at a stretch. It’s important that we see this now, because that spoilsport Peter Gelb has vowed to use some sort of voodoo “technology” to facilitate instantaneous scene changes, the way they do on Broadway, at the NYCO, in every European opera house, and, well, basically everywhere in the universe besides the Met.)

James Morris will then lead the Gods into Valhalla, and Susan Graham will bid us all farewell with “Parto, parto.” But wait, the show’s not over yet. In what might best be called the “TBA Segment,” we will (or perhaps will not) hear tenors Roberto Alagna and Marcello Giordani in arias from Cyrano de Bergerac and La gioconda respectively. The legendary Mirella Freni is penciled in for an aria from Alfano’s Risurezzione and a Puccini song, and then comes an item listed merely as “(34. L. Pavarotti).”

Returning to the scheduled program, Mattila, Heppner, Pape, Morris (and Matthew Polenzani) bring the curtain down with the finale to Fidelio under the baton of Maestro Schneider. At this point, La Cieca assumes, Rudy Giuliani will present Volpe with a plaque or something and perhaps make a joke about how he’s expecting Joe to be on time for work. And then The Beautiful Voice will be heard once more asking the musical question “When I Have Sung My Songs.”


106 Responses to “I could go on singing ’til the cows come home”

  1. Hans Lick Says:

    Rumors that Rufus Wainwright has been penciled in to sing “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man o’ Mine” at the Peter Gelb Farewell Gala could not be confirmed at this writing.


  2. Fernandoclassic Says:

    La Cieca,

    Will this performance be the Sat. Matinee on that Saturday? Please confirm so that I can schedule and synchronize my computer to record it? Thank you so much for the informationn you’ve shared. It is truly appreciated. Look forward to your response. Take Care!

  3. Fernandoclassic Says:

    La Cieca,

    Thank you very much for this valuable information. WOuld you please let me know if this will be the Sat. Matinee Radio brodcast on that day? I would like to know so that I can synchronize my computer and record the event. Please let me know. Thanks again for sharing the info. All of your efforts and dedication of bringing opera to the homes of millions of people around the world is appreciated. Great that you’re using technology to make it accessible to many! Brava! Look forward to your response. Take Care! Fernando

  4. darnokk Says:

    Glad to have you back and thanks for the info. I think I read awhile ago that the Gala would be taped and broadcast later on PBS.

  5. JATM2063 Says:

    All things considered, the repertoire for the program is not a particularly exciting list. A tenor squealing Rossini, some unchallenging but popular selections (O mio babbino caro, Count’s aria). An awful lot of operetta. Graves (the token black artist) in MT rep. Two selections from Die Tote Stadt? Some dried up voices (Freni, Pavarotti). Some almost dried up voices (von Stade, Te Kanawa, Ramey). And of course, Renaaay, waaay out of her league, as the Trovatore Leonora, and then the show ends with more MT rep. Sigh. There are a few Wagner and Verdi moments that may be interesting, and of course Zajick is always fun. Waltraud Meier in Berlioz. Now that will be UGLY. I can’t wait!

  6. papagenodz Says:

    meier’s didon is glorious and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  7. I think Meier can sing the les troyens selection well.

    Anyone knows if Renaayyy is going to tackle the cabeletta following tacea la notte—that is, Di tale amor?! I am afraid of it.

  8. Bajazzo Says:

    You forgot the “[!]” after Debbie’s “Pace, pace”…

  9. DawnFatale Says:

    This is seeming less like a gala and more like a hostage situation – an appropriate metaphor for the Volpe regime.

  10. marschallin Says:

    And where is Cheryl Studer?

  11. Daniel Says:

    Oh Dawn – I can only wish I was one of the hostages.

    I think the program is really interesting with some really glorious bits dispersed throughout- and at least its not peppered with the “done to death” stuff. I love Die Tote Stadt- and sorry if I go against the flow but la Meier has never dissappointed me. (Admittedly I haven’t seen a great deal of her work).
    As for Delores – I think she’s orgasmic!

    Here Downunder I have no idea when I’ll get the opportunity to see this gala (probably not until it comes out on DVD) but its certainly something I’ll look forward to, including hearing Rennaaaay doing Leonora.

    I’m beginning to wonder if I’m just so “simple or uncomplicated”
    that I’m easily pleased, or is it possible that some of you are soooo spoiled you have the luxury of being difficult to please?

    I must write to my Uncle Mr Volpe and ask him what he thinks! 🙂

  12. Where’s the Meyerbeer? Oh, that’s right – Volpe vowed to never let a note from the master composer darken the Met’s doorway while he was in charge. Well, maybe those days are finally over?

  13. Daniel Says:

    Indeed Marschie – where is she? As her number one fan – perhaps you could inform us of what she’s doing lately or what her agenda is over the next 12 months?
    You surely know?


    daniel, Good word for Delora–orgasmic!

  15. Kashania Says:

    Who is Ben Moore and why does he have two pieces of his on the programme?

    It looks like a pretty good line-up. These grand Met galas are always lots of fun.

    W. Meier can be a very exciting singer, but the “Adieu, fiere cité” part of that scene is going to be ugly. Now, LHL singing that piece would have been heavenly…

  16. Kashania Says:

    Anyone else notice that Mrs. Alagna isn’t part of the line-up?

  17. actfive Says:

    Yeah, where IS Mrs. Alagna? And where IS Cheryl Studer?
    But seriously folks, I look forward to anything by W. Meier since she gave a demented performance of Isolde’s Narrative and Curse at the Levine Gala. My minimalist hair stood on end.

  18. sanyo, I’m fairly sure La Portaméenta will be singing “Di tale amor,” as well. I think she could have a decent Leonora in her. What comes out is another matter entirely. We shall see.

  19. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    mattila is doing merry widow again? she already sang that for levine (unless of course we hear a different selection … maybe lippen schweigen instead of the clock duet?!), but at least she gets some fidelio as well. and please, can she take over mariettas lied from te kanawa?!

    i think gheorghiu should make a guest appearance, singing micaelas aria WITH the blonde wig that created so much fuzz once 😉

  20. IreneDAdler Says:

    hab mir, I’m not sure I’m reading your sentence correctly, but the Clock Duet is from Die Fledermaus, not Merry Widow. I would love to see Karita in more operetta stuff. She was so elegant yet sassy and charming and funny all at the same time in the Clock Duet from the Levine Gala that I was deeply disappointed that I couldn’t find many recordings with her.

    I’ve never heard la Meier do any Italian stuff (it almost feels like it would be a waste of such a great dramatic German voice), but I’m sure it will be interesting.

    As for Mrs. Alagna, I for one am NOT disappointed that she’s not coming. In fact, quite the opposite. I’ve tried and tried to like her, and to understand what all the fuss is about, but I just can’t. Her middle register is ok, I guess, but she just doesn’t have a resonant top. She is a good actress though. She did manage to make me feel sorry for her Violetta, but I just couldn’t sit through any of her arias. It feels like she’s singing “con sordino” (to abuse violinist lingo, which I hope you understand >.>).

    I watched that Carmen telecast with her as Michaela and, though it could the fault of the recording, I had a real hard time hearing her arias. I had no idea what “Je dis que rien ne m’epouvante” sounded like because I couldn’t make out any notes at all. And I own the L’elisir that she made with her old man. I do like her characterization of Adina, but I just really wish she had a cleaner, more resonant timbre, and maybe hit a handful more notes on pitch.

  21. Yeah, couldn’t they have Karita sing something she specializes in, like R. Strauss or Wagner or Janacek? Even Verdi or Puccini. But Léhar? WTF, mate?

    And I’ll second the blonde wig idea. Even better: Have the blonde wig suspended in the air while Gheorghiu sings the aria offstge. Hey, he said it’d go on with or without her, right?

  22. scifisci Says:

    gheorghiu DOES have a resonant top….in fact it’s probably the only resonant part of her voice. But it is disappointing she isn’t singing, though not surprising, considering the troubles she had with volpe. But alas perhaps he could have her sing just a single aria….adriana or tosca maybe?
    For some reason I do think renaay has a good leonora in her….I don’t know why, maybe an instinct?
    As for karita, I agree that she should be doing more than lehar….perhaps the final scene of salome?!!

  23. papagenodz Says:

    i had the same thought about voigt … a moore song and pace pace … with two pieces, ONE should be in your comfort zone. strauss on the whole is missing. i for one would love to hear a mattila, graham, dessay rosenkavalier trio. i guess you could say the same thing about meier: french and italian. if i were her, i would do the narration and curse again–one of the greatest things i’ve ever witnessed.

  24. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    irene, oops u r completely right! i can well distinguish my fledermaus from my merry widow – dont know how i could mix that up! must have been musically sleepwalking.
    and yes the clock duet at the levine gala was great (but her dress was admittedly not – she got much more of a classy dresser nowadays though!), so is her merry widow. there is a dvd from paris with her and skovhus as danilo and the widow and she looks ever so sexy and glamurous in the part….

    i also wonder why they always perform mariettas lied as a soprano aria. it starts as an aria but then the tenor comes in and the sing the ending as a duet. it is like cutting the tenor out of traviatas drinking song and doing it as a soprano aria with added chorus. nonetheless the korngold it is such a marvellous piece of music!

    brett i like the wig idea, as volpe defo said that it goes on ‘with or without her’, so as angela isnt appearing, the wig should. hehehe

    meier sings some italian repertoire, she usually has a amneris lined up every now and then. why dont they have her and domingo doing the big trial scene? or even better have them do the end of act 1 of walkuere. meier is ravishing in that role on stage! her berlioz should be fine though, after all it is a role she has sung a couple of times.

  25. Kashania Says:

    That comment about the wig suspended in mid-air while Gherghiou sings off-stage is priceless. LOL.

    Meier’s “Isolde’s Narration” was breathtaking. I’ll try to keep an open mind about her “Je vais mourir”. I do love the suggestion of Meier and Domingo singing the end of Walküre Act I.

    I, too, would like to see Matilla do something more exciting. And where’s Millo? She could rip through some verismo aria with great aplomb.

    I am as critical of Fleming as the next guy (well, perhaps not as critical as some), but I think she can do a fine job “Tacea la notte placida”, as long as she behaves.


    Yes indeed, Kashania, where the HELL is La Millo–I WANT to hear and to see her!!

  27. marschallin Says:

    And where is Cheryl Studer?

  28. OperaGuyNY Says:

    Yes, yes, yes – MILLO! MILLO!

    Must admit this program does have a “yawn” feeling to it…

    Dessay singing Sonnambula…great, but wouldn’t it be awesome if she sang, um, I don’t know… ESCLARMONDE???!!! or hell, give us a preview of her Lucia, or how about the mad scene from Hamlet! Now THAT would be worth taping…

    Even better, have a “surprise” guest…

    wait for it…

    Kathy Battle.


    operguyny, you mean a program with some imagination? NEVER! After all the singing of opera is A SERIOUS BUSINESS (Emphasis on the last word)

  30. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    For all these galas the “why so much of so-and-so” and the “why not so-and-so” are inevitable.

    I myself would be giving more exposure to the crop of many talented young/fresh singers the Met has at its disposal these days: Dessay, Frittoli, Urmana, Radvanovsky, Brown, Damrau, Gruber, Netrebko, Alvarez, Botha, Cutler, Filianoti, Polenzani, Vargas, Villa, Lopardo, Giordani, Banks, Kwiecien, Hvorostovsky, Maltman, Pape, Daniels, Naef, Graham, Kolena, Harteros, Racette, Terfel, et al And yes, Gheorghiu and Florez and Zajick and Borodina and Fleming and Millo and Hepner and Voigt and Mattila et al also


    itdg, I love your list and would LOVE to see at least some of those on your list in a gala–especially Hvorostovsky, Lopardo, Dessey, Gruber–oh hell the whole damn group!

  32. JATM2063 Says:

    THANK GOD there is no countertenor nonsense on the program. ITDG, your list IS more interesting. But you left off Bobby Alagna. Some special reason? Angie is there…..


    You mean to tell me there is someone else in this world that has a wee bit of trouble taking the countertenor voice seriously–I thought that I was the only Leper of this persuasion in the world–I’ve given myself a few lashes because of my problem–ouch!!

  34. marschallin Says:

    The disastrous junkie (Gruber)? Is that what you are clamoring for? Seems that there is no room for seriousness with some fans. Little wonder Studer left these shores long ago. And she is not alone. Why bother with all this infantilism?


    marchallin, an aria by Studer would be most welcome too!!

  36. tristanXX Says:

    studer left these shores because no one wanted her on these shores.get real

  37. Kashania Says:

    Now that it’s been mentioned, it is rather odd that none of the star countertenors is singing at the gala. Maybe Volpe doesn’t like countertenors. One would think that Daniels would be singing some Handel aria.

  38. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    jatm2063, Sorry about Bobby Alagna. By all means he belongs there. I just didn’t want to go on and on with names, only a representative list. It shows that we have many young and in their prime singers around now who could point towards a fun operatic future as long as…

    Or a different way of saying it, I’m sort of tired of the never-ending Freni-Domingo-Pavarotti-von Stade-Te Kanawa…et al galas, regardless of how great these singers were and how well they may still be able to sing.

  39. papagenodz Says:

    i have to say i was a little bummed because i secretly expected jessye norman’s name to be on the list. i know she’s been keeping a much lower profile these days, but she was a very important artist during some of this administration and she always turns it out in gala situations.

    also sad that there aren’t more older lady slots. wouldn’t it be amazing to get price, dunn, horne, elias, hell: albanese, one of the ladies who still sings from time to time, to do the equivalent of what birgit did at the levine gala. i guess it goes to show you how some of the artists ultimately felt about volpe, as well as how the administration brushes them off when they’re “done”


    papagenodz, yes indeed it is sad when the song has ended but the melody still lingers on (to quote an old song.) I’m afraid that only in death will the old divas and divos be remembered. At Bing’s gala for the old Met they paraded tons of the old Met stars out and had them on stage–very touching!!

  41. leontyneschiava Says:

    Just posted this same thing on the wrong blog- so here goes again- word from the Price camp is that she has removed herself from most things Metropolitan- don’t know if it is commentary on the current artistic standards or what- but I certainly wouldn’t look for her to be making an appearance. I would love it if Price, Bumbry, and Kat Battle would sing an Rosenkavakier trio for old times sake.I know for a fact that Lee still has the top notes!!

  42. JATM2063 Says:

    EEEEEWWWWWWW! Now it’s just getting weird…..


    From what I understand leontyneschiava, L.P. is rather bitter (like gaul) regarding the Met. She feels that she was treated shabby there in the last years of her career.

  44. Kashania Says:

    Papagenodz: I kinda was hoping for Jessye’s name too but I didn’t really expect it. I think she went through a period of vocal trouble. However, I’d guess that her mid-register is still pretty solid. How great would it be if she could do “Je vais mourir”? Her rendition on the radio broadcast was magnificent but that was 22 years ago…

    Predictable Norman Fan

  45. Kashania Says:

    I like seeing the older singers at these galas. I believe in having a good mix of young and old (and mid-career) singers at these things. Who would have begrudged the Centennial audience the opportunity to hear Birgit sing Isolde’s Narration at age 65?! Mind you, Te Kanawa and Von Stade, wonderful as they are, aren’t exactly Nilsson, but still, as long as they can still sing…

  46. marschallin Says:

    Be warned, Kiri and Flicka are way long past it but still have the nerve to face audiences with their barely audible and flat flat flat crooning. More annoying even is the graying board members, the establishment, who desire their presence and then hire these havebeens for these stupid galas.


    kashania, Norman sang in Boulder, CO not too long ago and she was wonderful.She sang Wagner’s lied for voice and orchestra–I won’t even attempt to spell it!

  48. marschallin Says:

    Excuse me, callasorphan, but here we are not expected (sometimes not allowed) to bring up performances from the provinces, especially recent ones.

  49. Baritenor Says:

    oh, Flicka definetly still has a voie. I saw her, what, three weeks ago in duel recital with Ramey. Gave a beautiful “Voi che Sepete” as an encoure.

  50. OperaGuyNY Says:

    Also notoriously missing…

    Anna Netrebko and Erika Sunnegårdh??

  51. la divina due Says:

    Operaguy I am responding to an earlier comment you made about Dessay singing Esclarmonde…..have you lost your mind? There is no way she could attempt to sing Esclarmonde…..if she is a dramatic coloratura, lord help us. But, as for Millo…..great god when will they learn. She is wonderful. It is a beautiful, exciting Italianate voice. Why not have Millo?

  52. opera80221 Says:

    Marschy, in Callasorphan’s defense, not ALL notable performances happen to be in your neighborhood…if we have to put up with your obvious frenzy over the obscure La Studer, you can hear some of us country bumpkins bantering over our idol worship. Marshy, you need to loosen up, go find the biggest man you can get…your dialogue is getting OLD!!

    WHY oh WHY don’t they use Millo MORE at the MET? Perhaps with Volpe leaving, maybe Millo’s return could happen, Hasmik Papian’s Norma, and Ewa Podles finally getting her just due at Sophie’s Barn could take place…until THAT happens, I’ll be happy to go to my obscure west opera companies to view what New York sometimes is missing out on.

  53. marschallin Says:

    La Studer obscure? Under which rock do you sleep? Speaking of obscure, I think the term applies more aptly to La Norman. Oh something to do with color. And where the fuck is Boulder?


    Thank you opera80221 for coming to my defense! We “musical outsiders” have to stick together. Believe it or not, I’ve heard and seen some great performances out here in the “sticks”! Once past the high altitude, some fairly well known singers have done some great things here in Denver and/or Boulder.


    marschallin, Boulder, CO., is a very lovely college town (home to the university of Colorado) It’s rather sophisticated without being stuffy. You should really come and experience it. I would certainly love to show you around! It’s one of the main reasons I’ve remained in this “neck of the woods”
    Hogs and quiches to you!!

  56. rysanekfreak Says:

    People keep asking where Studer is. I think she’s sitting in some Internet cafe in Vienna sending out messages about herself 24/7 to parterre box, rmo, parlour of opera lovers, etc.

  57. Kashania Says:

    I am familiar with Marschallin. He is a troll who writes about nothing other than Studer. Not to be taken seriously.

    If Te Kanawa is still in good voice, I think her duet with Flicka could be wonderfully nostalgic. In their prime, they were gorgeous Mozart singers and blended beautifully.

  58. marschallin Says:

    callasorphan, of course I know where damn Boulder, CO is and have been there. But you get the point. I am so sick to my tummy of the hypocrisy and double/standards here.


    marschallin, I’m glad that you’ve been to Boulder, CO. –It’s a wonderful town that always manages to sooth my soul!!

  60. Winpal Says:

    kashania, I agree wholeheartedly with your comment on Kiri and Flicka as excellent Mozart singers. My first Nozze at SFO back in the early 70s was with Te Kanawa, von Stade, Ingvar Wixell, Geraint Evans and Judith Blegen. Quite a cast. I still remember how beautifully Kiri sang Dove Sono, especially the beginning of the second verse — superb line and dynamic shading. She might not be demented or unnatural, but for roles like the Countess or Arabella, she is unbeatable in my book. Flicka was also great just last year as Despina in Cosi. She stole the show with her older and more knowing interpretation — much more interesting than the usual cutesy “ina” approach.


    winpal, I too have wonderful memories of Kiri and Flicka singing Mozart!! I even got to meet Kiri (in Boulder, by the way) she was very gracious. I evem have a note from her–one of my prized possessions!

  62. Winpal Says:

    Boulder rocks!!


    Thanks winpal–how right you are!!

  64. leontyneschiava Says:

    Ever run into a soprano named Sheila Smith out there, Callasorphan?


    I’ve heard of her; however, alas, never met her. The name does rings a bell–fill me in, please.


    On second thought, rdbellais, it is Sheila Flowers that I’ve heard of NOT Smith–however, please fill me in about Smith–so that when I DO hear about her, I’ll have some knowledge.

  67. leontyneschiava Says:

    Sheila Smith is a dramatic soprano in the Denver area. I sang Donner in a Ring Concert with her not too long ago- just wondering if you knew of her


    No I have not and I usually try to keep up with things–but hey, I’m getting kinda old. I hope, if she is good, that success comes her way and guess what? She’ll get her name taken in vain on this blog!!

  69. OperaGuyNY Says:

    la divina due: I most certainly have not lost my mind. I was simply making the point that there are more interesting, exciting choices of repertoire that could be showcased at an event like this. Certainly Dessay is not Sutherland, and I LOVE me some Sutherland, but Dessay is one of the best coloratura artists we have now. And she’s french, Esclarmonde seems like a good fit. However, I’m not a coloratura so maybe I made a wrong call, but my point was…c’mon give us something to remember.
    “She sang the [insert aria here] and it was AMAZING!” Those are moments when divas are made.

    100% agree with Millo. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE me some Millo. God I miss her! May 16 can’t get here soon enough.


    OPERAGUYNY, You are sooooooooooooo right! Let’s have something that borders on dementia at these gala events–the same old money maker names are so boring. I’d wet my pants to get to see/hear La Millo again. She provided me with much joy in the early 1990’s.

  71. opera80221 Says:

    Callasorphan, if dear Marschy had been to Boulder, he shoulda gotten himself some hemp just to loosen up..whattahell is he talking about regarding hypocrisy and double standard? If we were to take a poll, how many people would see his bludgeoning this blog with praises of La Studer as constantly irritating? Legendary performer she hasn’t been and never will be, whatever role…she’s good, but not legendary.

    The reason why is simple….people with voices like La Millo or Zagick are instantly recognizable…they’ve got a level of personality and dementia that others, including in my humble opinion, La Studer doesn’t. What I’ve heard of La Studer compared to the gorgeous singing of Millo in the “Salce” from Otello, well legendary singing in my eyes.


    You know I’ve wondered so many times why, the hell, Delora and Aprile are not well known; however, opera80221, I’m just glad that others like yourself think (or wonder) as I do on this subject! Delora and Aprile’s recording careers almost don’t exist while we have tons of recordings by Mrs. Algana and La Bartoli–You all cool your jets, I’m not saying one damn thing against them! But just ONE recital by Delora–that is a sin!

  73. OperaGuyNY Says:

    Callasorphan: Here you go…

    “The Art of the Dramatic Mezzo-Soprano”

    But alas…I agree. HOW MANY CD’s does Gheorghiu have? Millo should have at least a couple. They’d probably be classic.

  74. marschallin Says:

    Sorry opera80221. La Studer may not be your cup of tea and that’s fine. But she has one of the most instantly recognizable voices in memory and she sings beautifully and intelligently. Unlike April Miller (certainly not my cup of water), the other diva does not need to sing in restaurants or church basements for a living. She also doesn’t need to hang on to certain NewYork-centric lapdogs to get gigs and publicity. In other words, La Studer has left behind considerable proof of her achievements and no amount of fag-centric bitchiness can take that away from her. OK?


    opera guyny, I do have that album; it’s great! I also have Millo’s Verdi on Sony which I treasure. However, I still lament that we have 100s of Gheorghiu and 1000s of Bartoli. I’m just asking for 2 or more from Delora and Millo. I’ve gone through this kind of thing from time to time down thru the years–always someone I adored was ignored while others that I was rather cool towards were ALWAYS in the spotight.

  76. Winpal Says:

    FYI, Dolora is doing Joan of Arc here at SFO next month (June 3-28) so you Denver guys should come check it out. Hey, it’s not that far and we need to fill seats! It was originally scheduled for 8 performances and 2 have now been cancelled!! Also, one of the Figaro’s also scheduled in June has been cancelled. Ominous signs given there were lots of empty seats during the fall. Gockley definitely has his work cut out for him.


    winpal, if my health would allow, I’d be there screaming at the top of my lungs. I do love Delora and I do love Joan of Arc!

  78. I do not see the famous Sunnegardh listed in the roster for the gala. And no one is on the list to sing any Rich. Straus. When Bing had his farewell gala Birgit came out and sang the Salome head kissing aria and blew the roof off the Met. Wouldn’t it be exciting if all the divas came out in a group and sang Moon of Alabama?


    Moon of Alabama? Now that would be too good!!

  80. When Mannie Holterhoff was writing opera reviews for the WSJ she was very against La Studer, as well as Malfetano, who must have crossed her at some time or other.

  81. In its arts section today the WSJ is looking forward to the Gelb era with its new modern productions plan. Uncle Joe does not get a very high rating for his endevors.

  82. Baritenor Says:

    Well, Maybe Unky Joe doesn;t like Strauss.

  83. Just Another Tenor Says:

    As far as Dessay and Esclarmonde: time to pull out the old history books. I believe the role was written for one Sybil Sanserson, light coloratura extraordinaire. Very light voice. The Sutherland recording, although it IS fabulous, is a travesty of the score, given the fact that many notes were latered, because La Stupenda did NOT have the high G written in the score. The role was written for a typical “French Coloratura,” (although Sanderson was American – and she had a small voice by all accounts. Dessay is EXACTLY the kind of voice that SHOULD be singing Esclarmonde.

    Von Stade was amazing as Despina last year in San Francisco. She still has the warm and cozy upper register. And she looks fabulous for a gal of 60 (or is it 62?)

    Jessye has gone through serious weight loss recently and is sounding fabulous again. She is slated for Dido and Aeneas in Paris in May, which is probably why she is not at the gala. By all accounts I have (including one director of the Chatelet) Madame Norman is back in top form and will wow audiences as Queen of Cathage.


    Just Another Tenor, that all sounds wonderful especially about La Norman. She and I go way back. I owned her first recording on Philips (Marriage of Fig, I think, with Davis conducting.) La Norman has certainly dropped a few kilos here of late

  85. Kashania Says:

    Thanks for the update, Just another tenor. That’s great news about Norman. I always thought with her careful choice of repertoire throughout her career, her voice should last well into her 60s.

  86. Kashania Says:

    Incidentally, what is the high note that Sutherland hits in that Esclarmonde recording. It must at least an E or F.

  87. OperaGuyNY Says:

    just another tenor: Thank you for the Esclarmonde info! See, I knew I wasn’t going crazy!! Can’t believe I let someone make me doubt my coloraturas…

    Kashania: Off the top of my head, I believe it’s an E-natural, I’ll have to check when I get home.


    operaguyny, I believe you are correct. I can remember a program where Joannie and hubby were discussing her ability in the higher register and she stated that she could easily do an E but never a high F at no time. Then he reminded her of her Queen of Night to which she replied that she just barely touched the F. Now I’m afraid that I don’t remember the year of the program; however, she was still active

  89. leontyneschiava Says:

    Joan also the Zauberflote arias down a half step- whicj I sort of like- it certainly gives them a little more weight


    I remember that it was something about her and a F. Oh well, when you sing that high only dogs can really hear it as Sills use to say!

  91. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    I love the high, high and super high notes of the Queen of the Night and would not object if someone were to transpose the arias even higher. Having said that, I’ll admit that the character gains from a more dramatic sound.

    I remember reading once that Toscanini had wanted Milanov to sing the Queen in Salzburg, with the arias transposed about a third I imagine. She declined.

    One of the most successful Queens in recent decades was Christine Deutekom, precisely because she had a dramatic coloratura sound.

  92. leontyneschiava Says:

    Callasorphan, I think Joan did sing them at some point in the original key and then transposed if I remember correctly- so she probably did refer to then in the interview


    rdbellais, I’m sure that you are correct. Sills said that when she sang that high dogs would be waiting at the stage door for her haha–Edda Moser could also let fly with some awesome Es and Fs and beyond. Early in her career.

  94. Can any of you relate why Ricarelli left the Met, and whatever became of her career? She was considered a star of magnitude in the 70s.


    ljc, I lived through her losing her voice. By the time she did the Othello film about all she could do was sing in almost a whisper in the upper part of her voice. She did, for a while, do some singing in Italy; however, it always seemed to end in a disaster–why she left the Met, I really don’t know


    Ricarelli was another singer they used to death having her even do Turondot (sp?). I loved her but always felt that there were other singers that deserved to be heard and recorded. It seemed once she became the “blond bombshell” the opera powers just wanted her to sing EVERYTHING and she did till there was nothing left

  97. I witnessed the extreme cruelty- Mme Riccarelli sitting onstage in an open air peformance of Aida – opened her mouth to sing just as the heavens opened and everyone had to run for cover.

    At the subsequent “replacement” performance two days later, she had left the country and had been replaced by a local.

    = one of my lifes regrets as I always liked Riccarelli.

  98. leontyneschiava Says:

    Pity Riccarelli didn’t follow the Freni mold of growth and development- they seemed to have similar lyric voices in the beginning- Riccarelli’s Aidas were the start of her problems- her recordings of Aida and Turandot were highly negligiable

  99. la divina due Says:

    just another tenor and operaguy you are wrong about esclarmonde. yes, the role was written for sybil sanderson but no her voice was by all accounts a larger coloratura voice with the unusual extreme high notes most often associated with a lighter coloratura soprano. you were half correct. as far as dessay singing the role, have you heard the orchestration……too often we assume massenet is for lighter voices but his orchestrations can be overwhelming, especially in the middle voice. if dessay sang esclarmonde, then it would be the end of her career. she has been experiencing vocal problems and i would hate to think that she tackled repetoire too big and ruined her voice. the orchestration for esclarmonde could rival any wagnerian orchestra but the main difference is wagner did not expect you to sing difficult fiortura while the brass is blaring. i do commend you both for wanting beautiful obscure music but i think we should look into the correct voices required to sing it. perhaps gruberova would sing esclarmonde some day. i also agree that dessay has a lovely coloratura voice but i prefer to hear her in what she is comfortable singing. i am never in favor of singing music that’s too big just to appease the masses. i hope you both understand my point.

  100. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Ricciarelli was fired by the Met when she cancelled her appearances in Manon Lescaut sometime around 1985. (Freni replaced her.) Her voice had deteriorated significantly by then and she had become a chronic canceller. The Met had scheduled Ricciarelli to sing the Countess in a new production of Le Nozze the next season. Her voice had deteriorated significantly by then and Levine was wondering the wisdom of having her in Nozze. The Manon cancellation was the last straw or excuse, your pick.

    Some years later,to get Chailly to conduct a few operas, the Met had to allow him to pick his casts. He brought Ricciarelli back for a handful of Otellos with Domingo. That was it for Ricciarelli and the Met.

  101. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Ricciarelli was fired by the Met when she cancelled her scheduled appearances in Manon Lescaut around 1985. (Freni replaced her.)

    The Met had scheduled Ricciarelli to sing the Countess in a new production of Le Nozze the following season but was having second thoughts on account of her deteriorating vocal condition. Her short-notice withdrawal from Manon Lescaut was the last straw – or the excuse – and the Met cancelled her contract. (Vaness was the Countess in that production.)

    Some years later in order to have him conduct, the Met allowed Chailly to pick his casts. Ricciarelli then came back as Desdemona for a handful of performances with Domingo and Chailly conducting.

    And that was the end of the Ricciarelli story at the Met.


    itdg, her voice did deteriorate rather quickly much to my horror!

  103. la fille mal gardée Says:

    I saw Ricciarelli in the Otello’s they did at Covent Garden with Domingo and Diaz conducted by Carlos Kleiber. I heard Kleiber had wanted Te Kanawa and she wasn’t available.

    It was 6th January 1990 and is a night I will never forget. I had only been going to the opera for a couple of years and I just couldn’t believe that opera could be so great.

    A few years later, she was meant to do a concert in London with the English Chamber Orchestra. She never turned up and I was told, did not even tell them she wasn’t coming. The audience were only told as the concert had started. A shame, I never thought she had the greatest of voices, but I thought at her best she used what she had to great effect.


    la fille, In her very short prime she could be very good especially during the years that she was a little fluffy (pudgy) and had rather bad teeth. She seemed to loose it after she glamorized herself. (NOT that, I’m sure, it had anything to do with her deterioration)
    Try to find some of those old Philips’s recordings of her and Jose Carraras–they are really great!

  105. Dontcalluswellcallu Says:

    Right . Well Te Kanawaand Von Stade can still sing– very well. The Pace performed by Voigt will be exciting….Fleming will croon and pose and fake her way thru the verdi it will be filth and everyone will clap..etc….Dessay you will hardly be able to hear as though well projected will not “fill” the met nor will Flemings it will sound like Pamina. THe men will be fine …Heppner may be phlegmy hopefully not. Freni will be supreme and suprise you all with an absolutely huge voice now ….Florez’s tenorino will sound nasal and chirp out the high D’s in the Semiramide aria and fill his requirement…..And regarding ALL of this Studer blog- You know it is widely known here in Europe that she had married a very wealthy german speaking industrialist who the PAID for the orchestra etc.of ALL the DG recordings that were issued. Very very simple. She has been out of tune for years and although moments of sanity the voice really only worked in Wagner where she was not forced over A. Her kluckeratura is well known and that traviata,gilda, semiramide,constanza etc….ick. Very squeezed and frail. Her CGarden Aida was a flop no high C…so I think La Studer better stick with the Viennese rep..she is safer there. As for the gala? Well she does not need the money .

  106. Dontcalluswellcallu Says:

    Oh and regarding APRILE MILLO–she is a FABULOUS,stunning, correctly aligned soprano and is being ignored by the Metropolitan simply because she shows up “you know who”.. She will not be in this Gala- But lets get real.. Millo gets work in Italy while “you know who” will not be employed by anyone in Italy as they think “you know who” is well…crap. Aprile will be back in fashion sooner than later for all of you who are sick of “you know who”….

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