Archive for the broadcast Category

Shirley, no jest!

Posted in broadcast, diva, met on January 12, 2008 by lacieca

La Cieca hears that the one and only Miss Shirley Verrett will grace the airwaves this afternoon as an intermission guest during the broadcast of Macbeth.

Do join La Cieca in the comments section of this posting to enjoy this afternoon’s broadcast — especially the words of La Verrett!

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Željko can and Željko do

Posted in broadcast, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede, met, sirius, telecast on January 11, 2008 by lacieca

Željko Lučic will sing Macbeth for the Met’s broadcast and HD simulcast of the Verdi opera tomorrow afternoon, replacing Lado Ataneli, who is “indisposed.”

La parola scenica

Posted in broadcast, met, mp3, telecast on December 30, 2007 by lacieca

At yesterday’s matinee Hansel and Gretel at the Met (broadcast and simulcast), a disgruntled audience member expresses his distaste for the “forest” setting, just as Lisette Oropesa makes her entrance as the Dew Fairy. Top marks to Ms. Oropesa not only for singing her solo so enchantingly, but for continuing without a flinch despite the clearly audible shout of “Boo! Change the set!” (At least the fellow didn’t yell, “Bravo! Bravo Robert O’Hearn!”)

Di faci tuttavia splende il Costello!

Posted in broadcast, gualtier malde, met, our own, stephen costello on October 26, 2007 by lacieca

Our Own Gualtier Maldè reflects on last night’s Met Lucia:

The Met has often been accused and rightly so of ignoring young talent and waiting too long to hire up-and-coming new stars while hanging on to declining old favorites well past their sell-by date. Occasionally a promising new talent from the Young Artists Program will blossom quickly and get chances – Dwayne Croft fifteen years ago is an example.

However, it was a surprise when James Levine announced 26 year-old Stephen Costello for one performance of Edgardo in Lucia this season. He had definitely made an impression as Arturo on opening night and I have been told did impressively subbing for Giordani as Edgardo in some early rehearsals. It was with a mix of trepidation and excitement that I attended last night’s performance. Making a starring role debut at age 26 in a house the size of the Met is a daunting experience for anyone.

Well, how was he? This much can be said – he immediately got the audience on his side and got the biggest ovation at the end (admittedly many family members, schoolmates and friends were in the audience but not that many). His youth, sweet timbre, precocious poise and emotional involvement communicated to the audience. However, the role of Edgardo, though lyric, is demanding with a wide range of dynamics, vocal coloration and requires both declamation and floated legato. Costello’s voice seemed a size too small for the role in a house this large. Though he wasn’t inaudible, he definitely seemed lightweight vocally. He seemed boyish and slight next to Annick Massis who is hardly a Lucia in the Sutherland/Callas heroic mold.

The elegant phrasing and poised musicianship were juxtaposed against a voice that could turn shallow and a touch insecure when pressures mounted. Lyrical moments like “Verranno a te” and “Fra poco a me ricovero” were sweet and pleasing. Declamatory moments like the outbursts in the “maledizione” scene and confrontation with Enrico in “Wolf’s Crag” found the young man working close to his limits. The fact that he didn’t push well beyond those limits and lasted in fairly fresh form to the end of the opera speaks well for his pacing and intelligence. A naturally appealing and graceful stage presence, he gained in dramatic authority as the evening progressed culminating in a moving death scene.

However, at this juncture he might be wise to leave the Edgardo to smaller theaters and concentrate on roles like Ernesto, Nadir and Nemorino that could capitalize on his soaring upper register and boyish charm and let himself grow into roles like the Duke of Mantua, Edgardo, Rodolfo and Alfredo with time.

A salutory example currently singing on the Met roster is Matthew Polenzani who started modestly at the Met seven or eight years ago singing parts like Jacquino and Lindoro and now in his thirties is moving into Romeo, Edgardo and Alfredo internationally with superb notices. It isn’t a splashy overnight star trajectory but it worked for him and the Met and when the big star roles came, he was fully formed and ready to do them and himself full justice.

The evening really belonged to the elegant Lucia of French coloratura Annick Massis. Her voice is creamier and softer-textured than that of Natalie Dessay but she has a fuller and more reliable upper extension. A patrician stage figure, her acting was detailed and intelligent but lacked the “in the moment” intensity and spontaneity that Dessay brings to her work. There were pluses both musical and dramatic to Massis’ more calculated approach – she never lost vocal poise and beauty and her performance was consistent and beautifully paced.

The loss of some dramatic excitement definitely had musical gains and resulted in a performance that gave overall pleasure. The flute obbligato in the cadenza of the mad scene was reinstated for her as was about 95% of the traditional Mathilde Marchesi cadenza minus the top E flats. Those were abundant elsewhere and held to exciting effect.

Kwiecien shows greater command and suavity in his Enrico, singing more judiciously in the beginning but having lots of power when needed – especially in his climactic top notes. John Relyea has a hint of graininess and dryness in his tone that is worrying in an artist who is still fairly young. I miss the vocal velvet of his earlier days. He was solid but not exciting.

Mr. Costello came through his trial by fire with grace and made some new fans. Now, he needs to pace himself wisely singing lighter roles at the Met and letting his voice and technique mature in the smaller and medium size houses until he is ready to tackle the major lyric repertoire here and internationally. The stuff was definitely there last night, but in embryo. — Gualtier Maldè

Norma Rai

Posted in broadcast, callas, diva on October 17, 2007 by lacieca

Culminating the month-long Maria Callas mania over at Rai 3, this Saturday the Italian radio network will broadcast a newly restored version (“il cui audio verrà restaurato per l’occasione”) of the celebrated June 29, 1955 concert of Bellini’s Norma.

Co-starring with La Divina are Mario del Monaco and Ebe Stignani, under the baton of Tullio Serafin. That broadcast should begin at 2:30 PM New York time; everyone else will have to puzzle it out from there.

While this Norma is hardly an “lost performance,” currently available dubs of the broadcast are of frustratingly poor quality. Some are pitched incorrectly; others substitute bits of other performances from Callas commercial recordings or other sources. If this Saturday broadcast indeed presents a complete and cleaned-up version, joy will indeed be unconfined.

Oh, and here’s a direct link to the Rai 3 player. (La Cieca thanks dear Herman Melville for both the tip and the headline.)

Comme des garçons

Posted in broadcast on October 12, 2007 by lacieca

Metrosexual maestro Phillipe Jordan, currently gracing our Gotham at the helm of the Met’s Le nozze di Figaro, has been named for the next music director of the Opéra National de Paris, effective with the 2009-10 season. His appointment was announced Wednesday evening at a meeting of the company’s board of directors, according to PlaybillArts.

Maestro Jordan is not yet 33, which in conductor years is about 11.

The Paris Opera has been without a music director under the current Gérard Mortier administration since 2004, when James Conlon (now at Los Angeles Opera) departed the post. Since that time, Mortier has used a series of guest conductors, most notably (if that is indeed the correct word) Sylvain Cambreling.

PlaybillArts also spills the beans on an upcoming live webcast by William Christie and Les Arts Florissants of Stefano Landi‘s 1632 music-drama Il Sant’ Alessio, already one of the season’s hottest tickets for its Lincoln Center stand on October 29 and 30. The television channel France 3 will transmit the Thursday, October 18 performance of the work, live from the Théâtre de Caen. France 3 Normandy’s webcast begins at 19h45 Central European Time (1:45 pm US Eastern Time) with an introductory program (in French only). The performance itself begins at 20h00 Central European Time (2:00 pm US Eastern time ).

The winner and new diva

Posted in 2007, alex ross, broadcast, camp, chat, cher public, dessay, diva, maury d'annato, met, operachic, sieglinde, sirius, stephen costello on September 25, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca wasn’t “in the house” for the Lucia prima last night like so many of her colleagues; instead she hosted perhaps the most popular of all her online chats thus far. Approximately 120 of you cher public logged in at some point during the night, with 75 or so on average staying for the long haul. Say what you will about Natalie Dessay or even Stephen Costello, there was really only one genuine “star is born” moment last night, and here, as dear Mathilde Marchesi would say, is “la nouvelle Melba” —


Our nomination for Camp Diva of the 2007-2008 Season: Miss Blythe Danner!