No-Schau

La Cieca hears that Ben Heppner has canceled today’s dress rehearsal of Parsifal at the Met; Mark Baker will go on. (He’s Heppner’s cover for the run as well.)

UPDATE: Baker went on, and as if things are not already exciting enough, the Met has rushed Gary Lehman into town to cover-cover.

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65 Responses to “No-Schau”

  1. actfive Says:

    Ben, we hardly knew ye! I have a ticket for Monday’s performance…Hoping Heppner Heals, though I ‘m still excited about Pape, Meier, et al.
    I wish the much-praised Vogt was the cover…

  2. Houndentenor Says:

    No you don’t. Vogt sang the entire role in falsetto. It was crap. Don’t believe everything you read. Anyone who enjoyed that countertenor approach to Lohengrin should be banned from the opera house for life. Lohengrin sits very high and that helped Vogt since he was only audible above the staff. Parsifal is practically a baritone role. You’d never hear him.

    Mark Baker will be just fine. I’m sorry Heppner is cancelling but what the hell is he thinking singing a role that sits way too low for his voice?

  3. Bill Bookbinder Says:

    I couldn’t disagree more about what was said hear about Vogt’s Lohengrin. It was inspiring and easily the best sung Lohengrin I’ve heard in 40 years. “Countertenor” approach? You should really get your ears checked.

  4. Baritenor Says:

    Ah, Mark Baker. One of my favorite underrated artists. He’s been singing at the met for a long time and has never got the kind of recognition he deserves.

  5. marschallin Says:

    Oh wow, Mark Baker. He sang with Cheryl Studer in St. Louis 2 1/2 years ago. But who knew? He was also Florestan to Studer’s Fidelio/Leonore in September of 2002 in, gasp, Thessaloniki, Greece (before you throw your tomatoes, darling Maria Callas sang there too). But who knew? At any rate, I thought I’d share the review of those Wagner concerts in St. Louis.

    “St. Louis Post-Dispatch”
    16 November 2003
    by Sarah Bryan Miller

    “St. Louis is a lovely place to live, but for some of us it has one
    severe drawback: There’s no grand opera. In particular, there is no
    Wagnerian opera. This is a hardship.

    That shortcoming was addressed this weekend at Powell Hall, when the
    St. Louis Symphony Orchestra imported three international-class
    Wagnerians, stoked up the orchestra and gave the audience a full
    measure of glorious music: the complete first act of Wagner’s “Die
    Walkure,” the Prelude and “Liebestod” from “Tristan und Isolde” and
    three instrumental selections from the “Ring,” all conducted by Asher
    Fisch.

    To its credit, the Symphony’s administration didn’t stint on the
    singers. Chief among Friday evening’s pleasures was renowned soprano
    Cheryl Studer, doing double duty as Sieglinde and Isolde, and singing
    gloriously as both. Studer doesn’t perform often in this country,
    which made it a special treat to hear her as her big, burnished voice
    rose over the augmented orchestra. It was an exemplary performance,
    flawlessly sung.

    Tenor Mark Baker, although planted in an infelicitous spot (the sweet
    spot for singers at Powell is just to the house right side of the
    podium), was well matched as her Siegmund, singing heroically as
    required by the composer. Although he was occasionally swamped by the
    orchestra, particularly in the “Wintersturme,” he never pushed and
    never sounded strained.

    Bass Eric Halfvarson brought a voice as dark and rich as premium
    chocolate to the role of Hunding, and filled the hall effortlessly.
    Menacing from the moment he stepped on stage, he was an paradigm of
    effective, understated villainy, creating a complete character without
    any of the usual assists of wig, costume and makeup.

    Fisch, while not an ideal Wagnerian, did a creditable job. He rushed
    the beginnings of the lyrical passages in “Walkure,” and his “Ride of
    the Valkyries” had some trouble getting off the ground. The “Tristan,”
    on the other hand, was lovely. The “Ride” loses a lot musically
    without its singers, but one can hardly expect the Symphony to bring
    in a girls’ glee for one short piece.
    “Dawn and Siegfried’s Rhine Journey” (strangely missing the first part
    of its name on the title page and the first part of its story in the
    program notes) wasn’t as crisp in its final bars as it should have
    been but did benefit from principal horn Jennifer Montone’s offstage
    solo, the best live rendition I’ve ever heard.

    At the conclusion of the three instrumental pieces, Fisch gave solo
    bows to a number of the principals, including, most deservedly,
    trumpet Susan Slaughter. But principal timpani Richard Holmes should
    have received one, too; his part is crucial. Oboist Lisa Lalev’s solos
    in “Tristan” were lovely.

    The bass trumpet seemed (to judge by evidence both audible and
    visible) to be giving principal trombone Timothy Myers a hard time.
    But the augmented orchestra (complete with Wagner tubas) played
    outstandingly overall, from the sweetest moments to the biggest. It
    was an evening to cherish.”

  6. Bill Bookbinder Says:

    Sarah Bryan Miller? Are you serious? She couldn’t make it in the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus and became a reviewer instead? Enough said methinks.

  7. marschallin Says:

    “He [Mark Baker] was also Florestan to Studer’s Fidelio/Leonore in September of 2002 in, gasp, Thessaloniki, Greece.”

    Make that September of 200*3*. But who knew?

  8. opera80221 Says:

    Marschallin, you never answered my question….didn’t Cheryl Studer, according to an article in the NY Times, have a heart attack back in November, and is semi-retired now?

  9. Baritenor Says:

    Let me answer it for her: Yes, she did. That’s an end to a career none of us want to face, and it’s sad, but it’s the truth. She is recovering fine though, apparently.

  10. marschallin Says:

    Sorry, baritenor, you are too ill informed for there is no end in sight. For instance, since the November stroke, Cheryl Studer has sung in Thessaloniki, Greece and in León, Spain.

    Thessaloniki Concert Hall, 15 January 2006, 9:00 p.m.

    An Evening of Viennese Operetta

    Franz Lehár
    Land des Lächelns: Dein ist mein ganzes Herz (M. Doukakis)
    Die lustige Witwe: Vilja-Lied (C. Studer)
    Die lustige Witwe: Lippen Schweigen (C. Studer/M. Doukakis)
    Land des Lächelns: Bei einem Tee a deux (C. Studer/M. Doukakis)

    Robert Stolz
    Ob Blond, ob braun, ich liebe alle Frau’n (M. Doukakis)

    Franz Lehár
    Giuditta: Meine Lippen, sie kuessen so heiss (C. Studer)

    Rudolf Sieczynski
    Wien, du Stadt meiner Träume (Wien, Wien nur du allein) (M. Doukakis)

    Johann Strauss
    Eine Nacht in Venedig: Schwips-Lied (C. Studer)
    Wiener Blut: Das Eine kann ich nicht verzeih’n ( Wiener Blut Duet – C. Studer/M. Doukakis)

    Thessaloniki Municipal Symphony Orchestra
    Conductor: Haris Iliadis

    ****************

    Then on 11 March 2006, she sang her rescheduled Liederabend in León, Spain (first scheduled for November) accompanied by pianist Jonathan Alder. Here is the review:

    http://www.diariodeleon.es/hemeroteca/noticia.jsp?CAT=114&TEXTO=4592703&txtDia=12&txtMes=3&txtAnho=2006

    domingo 12 de marzo de 2006

    Cheryl Studer, una leyenda en León
    por Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno

    “Aunque hubo que esperar algunos meses hasta su restablecimiento,
    mereció la pena. La impagable voz de la soprano norteamericana Cheryl
    Studer llenó anoche la sala sinfónica del Auditorio con algunas de
    las arias que la han convertido en leyenda viva del canto y una de las
    sopranos más cotizadas en los grandes coliseos wagnerianos desde
    Bayreuth al Metropolitan, de Munich a la Scala. En todos ellos y
    durante más de treinta años la Elsa por antonomosia de Lohengrin, la
    Elisabeth de Tannhaüser, o la Pamina de la Flauta Mágica, ha dejado
    su huella de eximia cantante y excelente actriz. Ante un público poco
    versado en el canto del autor de Parsifal, de Strauss o Barber y
    acompañada con excelencia por el pianista Johathan Adler, la soprano
    norteamericana bordó los Wesendonck-lieder de Wagner y derrochó
    lirismo y hondura en Allerseelen, y Seidem dein Aug und Befreit de
    Strauss, donde demostró una vez más que junto con Waltraud Meier es
    una de las mejores liederistas del momento. Grandioso recital el
    ofrecido anoche.”

    ************

    And Marshie can’t keep her dates straight: the Fidelios in Thessaloniki were indeed during September of 2002.

    Thessaloniki, Greece
    Eptapyrgio
    6, 8, 10 & 13 September 2002

    Ludwig van Beethoven: Fidelio

    Leonore/Fidelio: Cheryl Studer
    Florestan: Mark Baker
    Don Pizzaro: Franz-Josef Kapellmann
    Rocco: Dimitris Kassioumis
    Marzelline: Mirto Papathanasiou
    Jaquino: Yiorgos Panayiotidis
    Don Fernando: Akis Laloulis

    Opera of Thessaloniki Choir, Chorus Master Yiorgos Vagianos
    Belgrade’s National Theatre Orchestra
    Conductor: Dejan Savic
    Staging: Spiros Evangelatos
    Sets: Maria Kantartzi
    Costumes: Yiannis Metzikov

  11. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    there we have botox voice again *sigh*…

  12. calcio9 Says:

    I think Heppner agrees with Houndentenor … at a luncheon for Heppner when he was stil on RCA/BMG, I asked him if he would sing Parsifal. “Never, never” he said to me – way too high.

    But I disagree about Vogt – I thought it was beautifully sung and a breath of fresh air.

  13. marschallin Says:

    About Cheryl Studer’s minor stroke last November, it is sad that the press bureaus jumped pretty quickly to publicize the incident (and widely). I don’t know but maybe there was some form or another of glee behind closed doors: “well, at last we got rid of her”. BUT when she reappeared on stage two months later in Greece and then again in Leon (where the November stroke took place) NO ONE from the international press corps cared to publicize that. Amazing. Why?

  14. Luxie P. Says:

    Marshie: Because no one cares. That’s why.

    Even at her best, Studer didn’t have a solid enough control of her instrument to do standard rep consistantly and well. It may well have been an interesting voice, but it’s certainly too late to fix the problems she had (and it’s undeniable she had ’em), and give her the career you wish she’d had.

    It’s great to have idols, and to have moments of “I wish it could’ve been,” but the past is the past. There are many singers up and coming who could use some championing. Especially the great young singers who aren’t being heard.

    If you’re worried about the state of opera currently, and the quality of singers these days, why not put some of the considerable energy you seem to have towards backing the good singers NOW? Heaven knows they can use it…

    I know Studer is your pet cause, but it’s starting to get really old, and y’know, while you may have intelligent, thoughtful points to make, no one’s going to get them because all we can see is the dead horse you’re continuously riding.

  15. marschallin Says:

    luxie p, first of all, I don’t believe I care to have your permission to write about whomever I give a damn to write about and with what frequency. Number two, there is NO ONE singer dead or alive who is fully consistent, standard, well or whatever you want to call it. And that includes sweet Renee Fleming (in case you are a fan). Number three, when a “young” (in quotes because over here they are still praising old hags like Ramey, James Morris, and let’s not get into fave mezzos and sopranos here, old hags all) singer appears who has that elusive UNIQUENESS vocal and artistic factor, I imagine I’ll give them their due. But I haven’t heard him or her yet. Besides, by then I may no longer have the time or energy to adopt them as pets, be they horses or lapdogs. Have I made myself clear?

  16. Luxie P. Says:

    There is a difference between fully consistant, and being able to sing in tune, with some semblance of support and technique. Ever listen to that freakishly awful “Susannah” Studer recorded? Granted, that wasn’t the sort of rep she did well, but the point remains. If that’s “unique and interesting,” I’ll stick with safe and boring, thanks.

    And there are unique, interesting, GOOD young singers out there. It seems to me you probably aren’t hearing enough young ‘uns to find them, though. Even in the mid-level career area of established, respectable voices, there are some great singers. Lori Ann Phillips, Valentin Peitchinoff, Luretta Bybee, Marie-Adele McArthur, etc. Frankly, the best voices singing today aren’t at the Met, or even, sometimes, at the NYCO. They’re out in the regional houses, or in regional Euro houses.

    Hell, if you want a honker of an interesting voice who’s singing at higher levels, Eugenie Grunewald is a candidate. Not necessarily a pretty voice, but damned sure interesting.

    The best music always has and continues to come from the places you least expect it.

    And no, you sure as heck don’t need my permission to talk about Studer all the damned time, but what are you accomplishing? What’s the point?

  17. rysanekfreak Says:

    Anybody want to try to finish this joke?—

    Renee Fleming, Cheryl Studer, and Debbie Voigt walk into a bar, and the bartender sez, ” _______

    (Please complete it. I need a laugh today.)

  18. Kashania Says:

    I must say that I was puzzled to see Heppner taking on a low-lying role like Parsifal at this point in his career, and just weeks after a run of Lohengrins. I would think that Parsifal and Siegmund would be the last Wagner roles that he would take on, but not yet. He’s still gearing up for Siegfried in Aix-en-Provence next year (a mistake, IMO). Parsifal should come later.

  19. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    “Hi, My name is Marschallin. Compliments of the house, here’s our specialty cocktail.”

    Oddly, two of the three were never heard of again.

  20. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Not related to Heppner but still within the German repertoire: does anyone know what happened to conductor Thielemann and the Met? He had been announced for the revival of Tannhauser a year or so ago and the new production of Strauss’ Helena scheduled for next year. Then his name disappeared from both with no explanation.

  21. marschallin Says:

    luxie p., if you expect to be taken seriously you must first learn correct spelling.

    It is CONSISTENT, not consistant.

    And I *really* don’t give a fig about the singers on your list. I *really*, *really* don’t. Sorry.

  22. calcio9 Says:

    Thielemann is very much “the man” of the Wagnerian moment.

    Conducting this year’s new Ring at Bayreuth, he is dating Wolfgang’s daughter and the rumour is that both will take over running
    Bayreuth when alte Wolfgang retires/dies/get fired/rises to Valhalla.

    He was Director of the Deutsche Oper when the Berlin Cultural Minister in a cost-saving move attempted to merge the orchestra’s with Berenboim’s Staatsoper. Public war broke out between the two conductors and Theilemann made a very anti-semetic remark about Berenboim. The plan was scrapped and Theileman left to guest conduct everywhere and record for DGG.

  23. Renee Fleming, Cheryl Studer, and Debbie Voigt walk into a bar, and the bartender sez, ” _______

    “What’ll it be, ladies?”
    “We’ll each have a bottle of your most expensive Champagne, and put it on Joe Volpe’s tab”

  24. Renee Fleming, Cheryl Studer, and Debbie Voigt walk into a bar, and the bartender sez, ” _______

    “Hey girls, where’s Cecilia? I haven’t seen them lately.”

  25. Thielemann is Music Director of the Bavarian Radio SO, succeeding one James Levine. His also very active at the Wiener Staatsoper, with a superb new recording of Parsifal with Domingo and Maier.

    If the rumours I’ve heard are true it would not be Wolfgang’s daughter he would be interested in……..

  26. rysanekfreak Says:

    …and the bartender sez, “Hey, Studer! Ben Heppner just called. He wants his thread back.”

  27. marschallin Says:

    No, he wants his theadbare voice back. That’s it.

  28. marschallin Says:

    Make that thReadbare. Nice, isn’t it, to recognize one’s errors.

  29. JATM2063 Says:

    Renee Fleming, Cheryl Studer, and Debbie Voigt walk into a bar, and the bartender sez…

    “Wow, one in each size.”

  30. JATM2063 Says:

    Renee Fleming, Cheryl Studer, and Debbie Voigt walk into a bar, and the bartender sez…

    “Sorry, we don’t serve porridge. And by the way, where’s Goldilocks?”

  31. JATM2063 Says:

    Renee Fleming, Cheryl Studer, and Debbie Voigt walk into a bar, and the bartender sez…

    “One voice coach, one pacemaker, and one bucket of KFC coming up.”

  32. JATM2063 Says:

    Renee Fleming, Cheryl Studer, and Debbie Voigt walk into a bar, and the bartender sez…

    “It looks like a scene from Macbeth.”

  33. JATM2063 Says:

    Renee Fleming, Cheryl Studer, and Debbie Voigt walk into a bar, and the bartender sez…

    “Last call!”

  34. Cynthia! Says:

    Thanks jatm2063 you made my day!!! LOL

  35. Renee Fleming, Cheryl Studer, and Debbie Voigt walk into a bar, and the bartender sez…

    “Are you here to apply for Erika’s waitress job?”

  36. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Boy, are we nasty today. Now we don’t like Voigt either?

  37. Fleming, Studer, and Voigt walk into a bar and the bartender says, “Sorry, girls, Moffo, Steber, and Jussi just drank up everything we got.”

  38. Baritenor Says:

    Ohhhh, that is mean! If only I could think of a better one….

    Re: the Update. I take it this may mean Heppner is out and Baker is In. As for Gary Lehman, I saw him in the role in November when he subbed for Domingo at the Los Angeles Opera. First thing you notice about him is how thin he is compared to the other boys in the band. Then you realize, with gratitude, that one part of him, at least, isn’t thin: His voice. He was a little lacking in Stage Presence, but I could blame that on the Robert Wilson production he was throwing himself into. He did very well: not only was he subbing for The World’s most popular Tenor in his home turf, but it was in a Robert Wilson production AND he was making his debut as a tenor: He was a baritone first. Good Luck, and Hopefully, he’ll get to go on!

  39. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    fleming, studer and voigt walk into a bar and the bartender says:

    “sorry guys, drag night is tomorrow…”

    oops and that from me who likes renee (shalt thou readst this i do apologize!)…

  40. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    two years ago marc, sweet and voigt walk into a bar and the bartender says: “sorry gals, the kitchen is still restocking after we had pavarotti coming in earlier … no food today. try krispy kreme two doors down the road”

  41. chiquita Says:

    well, about the only thing we know for sure about Thielemann is that a few years ago he won a lawsuit proving the fact that he never made said antisemitic remark.

  42. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    more on the thielemann case can be found here:
    http://www.andante.com/article/print.cfm?id=19705&varticletype=NEWS

  43. leontyneschiava Says:

    Actually, Gary was a tenor then a baritone and now a tenor again. I sang a Faust with him a while back when he was singing Valentine- with a Marguerite who had done a Queen of the Night to his Tamino a couple of years earlier.

  44. Kashania Says:

    But, I still would like to know what happened with Thielemann and the Met.

  45. paddypig Says:

    fleming,studer and Voigt walk into a bar and the bartender says to Voigt “Can’t you read, it says no pets, take those dogs out of here!”

  46. calcio9 Says:

    Nothing happened to Theileman and the Met – he has just been busy elsewhere. He was very involved in the preperation of the new Bayreuth Ring and I am sure Gelb will bring him back

  47. We have started with Hep’s travails, and done great jokes, now, could someone info me on whatever happened to Julia M. Johnson?n She made 60 Minutes, and seemed to be on a Ricarelli-type role and then vanished totally.

  48. Baritenor Says:

    Julia Migenes (Johnson or Not) just created the role of Harper in the Operatic version of Angels in America in France. She’s been quite active in Europe, I think.

  49. Just Another Tenor Says:

    She sounded quite great in it too! I was very impressed with her, and the state of her voice. It seems, though, she has given up singing opera as a pillar of her career. She is now mostly singing recitals and concert. Saw her do a great concert of Flamenco music, in which she danced too. very hot!

  50. Baritenor Says:

    I’ve always thought that JMJ was one of the few geniuenly sexy opera singers. I’ve been listening to her recording of KISMET over and over and over again to re-afirm the notion. Those duets with Sam Ramey: Sex personified.

  51. JM is booked to do her one-woman show “Diva on the Verge” at the Empire Plush Room in San Francisco Aug 11-20. Their web site ad has this quote from her: “I decided to make life easier for ‘Operanoiacs,’… I hope this helps them break the ice and open doors to the most wonderful world of the greatest antique of them all…Opera!”

    It goes on to describe the show as “an irreverent one-woman-show that mixes monologue and opera. Drawing on her experiences in opera, she sketches out the very humorous life of an opera singer, and mixes in some of the greatest arias in the soprano repertoire.”

    For those not familiar with the Plush Room, it is a fantastic venue for cabaret. Part of the York Hotel, it was originally a speakeasy built in the 20s. It is an intimate space with a beautiful stained glass ceiling. They host a whole range of great jazz and cabaret singers — Andrea Marcovicci, Wesla Whitfield, Rita Moreno, etc. Kitty Carlisle Hart (still going strong at 95!) performed there earlier this year to rave reviews.

    An unnatural act in the making?

  52. hab mir's gelobt Says:

    thielemann has been very busy in vienna i think. DG has just issued a complete (live) parsifal from vienna on cd with domingo and meier – it was taped last year i think?! it is meier’s fourth ‘official’ go as kundry now, roughly 20 years since she recorded the role first under goodall. i know that there are four official radames’ with domingo … but was wondering if there are many other singers who recorded the same role more than three times for different official releases?

  53. papagenodz Says:

    you can get migenes’ act on DVD…some of it is hysterical, some of it is great, some of it is strange. the most enduringly memorable part is describing her stressful, abusive childhood with such humor and candor. i agree that she is a sex goddess–salome, carmen, lulu, hell, even when she was hodel in fiddler on the roof. it’s so ironic that when girls sing “far from the the home i love” in auditions they get twittery and sing entirely in their head voice, for the young migenes gives a masterclass in balancing the chest and head voices for emotional effect. on charlie handelman’s pop installment, she gives a thrilling don’t cry for me argentina. i hope we get to see this angels in america in america–it had her, hendricks, and roberta alexander, three of our interested artists who have more or less foresaken america for respect, fame, and employment abroad.

    i also love migenes’ singing in rags, which has a different chemistry than the live tape with stratas and they are both worth treasuring. so is migenes’ aldonza opposite domingo–one of the most unhinged things an opera singer has ever done.

  54. Thanks to everyone for filling me in on Migenes and RIcarelli. I wondered what had happened to them. Sometime someone might bring up an open ended discussion of Chris Merritt.

  55. CALLASORPHAN Says:

    Yes, what did happen to Chris????

  56. Baritenor Says:

    I think Angeles in America is being broadcast in the next couple of months on PBS. however, reviews of the opera where not positive.

  57. calcio9 Says:

    I was lucky enough to be in Paris in 2003 and went to Mattila’s first ever Salome at the Bastille and a slimmed down Merritt sang Herod. While not perfectly cast Herod, he did certainly sounded good.

  58. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    So, did Heppner sing or not?

  59. Chris Merritt is singing two performances of La Juive at the Bastille next season and also Tichon in in Katya Kabanova at Covent Garden. Careers can flourish outside the States.

  60. I have a dim memory that Chris M. was scheduled to come to the Met
    a few years ago to sing Manrico in Trovatore, but he didn’t show. And what happened to a production of Wolf Ferrari’s “Sly” the Met was planning to do a couple years ago? The old Met website had a plot summary of it.

  61. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Merritt had indeed scheduled for Trovatore at the Met and I have no idea why it never happened. He started as a high-notes tenor – Puritani, etc. – but I gather he lost the high notes. He seems to have been doing mainly character roles lately. Have no idea what the story is.

    And the Met did do Sly a couple of years ago for Domingo.

    Now somebody tell me what happened to a production of Mascagni’s “Il Piccolo Marat” that was announced some twenty years ago supposedly with Freni, Domingo and Ghiaurov. It never happened and have never read or heard a word as to why.

  62. Just Another Tenor Says:

    I am seeing Merritt next year in Paris, in September. He is seeing Herod again

  63. Hans Lick Says:

    The last time Merritt sang at the Met was the 2005-06 season in the small role of Katya Kabanova’s husband. He was terrible. He sang heavy roles he wasn’t ready for and there’s now nothing left. This, alas, appears also to be true of Mr. Heppner. (Vogt’s Lohengrin was silvery and exquisite, by the way. Not sure what other roles this makes him suitable for, but for Lohengrin he was superb.)

    P.S. A friend who was present Friday said everyone, including Ben, was splendid. I’ll find out, I guess, tomorrow night.

    Hans Lick

  64. Houndentenor Says:

    I heard Ben sing Parsifal on Friday night. No sign of his recent vocal problems. He sounded the teensiest bit tired near the end (they always do…it’s a long evening) but that’s really nitpicking. I would not have thought this would be his role but I have been proven wrong.

  65. rysanekfreak Says:

    The last time I saw Merritt was as The Leper in “Saint Francois d’Assise” in San Francisco. It sounded like a very difficult part to sing, and he was quite good at it. I never enjoyed his Rossini with those H’s above High Squawk that he used to bellow.

    “Maometto II” with Anderson, Alaimo, and Horne (San Francisco) was the last time I heard him take a stab at Rossini. The way he executed the coloratura passages?—well……

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