Archive for the domingo Category

Anna as Anna?

Posted in 2010, 2011, domingo, guest critic, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede, met, netrebko on January 15, 2008 by lacieca

La Cieca is loath to scoop dear Bradley Wilber, but rumors are swirling once again about future seasons at the Met. Perhaps the most controversial (among the cher public, at least) of these plans is a new production of Anna Bolena to open the 2011 season, with Anna Netrebko‘s pretty head on the chopping block. Further casting at this point is not set, though La Cieca is confident that speculation will run rife in the comments section.

Now, La Cieca is just going to suggest that we all don’t go off the deep end instantly and unanimously here, despite what at least some of may regard as perfect justification for doing so.

It does seem apparent that if Netrebko is determined to do bel canto (not saying “should be doing” mind you), then Bolena does make more sense than, say, Puritani or Lucia. Anna (Mrs. Tudor, I mean) relies less on vocal brilliance qua brilliance than those two roles, and the “fiery” character of the rejected queen is the sort of dramatic type that appeals to Ms. Netrebko’s lively theatrical instincts. We should also keep in mind that she now has more than three years of lead time and the availability of Scotto as a coach; as such she does have the opportunity to delve beyond a superficial reading of the music. (Again, no guarantees…)

It will also help, I think that the only “obligatory” sopracuto is the D at the end of the first act, a high interpolation so relatively that even Carol Vaness used to sing it.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Need La Cieca remind any of you that the duration from 2008 to 2001 is the equivalent of a century in Gelb Years. By that time we may end up with Christine Ebersole opening the season in Pikovaya Dama.

Your doyenne further has heard that the title role in Simon Boccanegra (2010-2011?) has been reassigned to Placido Domingo, with Thomas Hampson shifted into a revival of Macbeth — opposite whom, La Cieca cannot venture to guess, though it’s a safe bet the cover will be Cynthia Lawrence. Domingo, La Cieca hears, is already preparing an “out of town tryout” for Verdi’s noble corsair with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

But speaking of Macbeth, La Cieca regrettably has a previous engagement and so will not be able to take in this evening’s Lawrence/Ataneli version of the Scottish Opera. Any volunteers to serve as Guest Critic?

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Fleming-Bocelli ticket in 2008

Posted in domingo, fleming, gay gay gay gay gay, gelb, midgette, our own on January 14, 2008 by lacieca

The Washington National Opera has announced their 2008-2009 season will feature headliners Renée Fleming and Andrea Bocelli under the artistic direction of Plácido Domingo. According to an article by Our Own Anne Midgette in today’s Washington Post, The Beautiful Voice will grace a new production of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, an opera that has deep personal significance for the diva. Directing the opera will be “John Pascoe, a friend of Fleming’s.” Pascoe designed the leather jerkin Erwin Schrott sported in last season’s Don Giovanni at WNO, so his credentials as an FOF are already well-established.

Alas, Fleming and Bocelli will not actually share a performance at WNO, since his vocal contribution will be limited to a pair of performances of Rossini’s “Petite Messe Solennelle.”

Family values will be honored this season as Domingo’s wife Marta will direct La traviata and Keri-Lynn Wilson (Mrs. Peter Gelb) will conduct Turandot.

Le Scandale, 2007 edition

Posted in alagna, domingo, met, netrebko, rant, scandale, sirius on December 21, 2007 by lacieca

Cher public, La Cieca meant to turn in early tonight, but she got one of those bees in her bonnet. This particular specimen of Apis mellifera is the “debacle” (as La Cieca has been astonished to see it termed) of Anna Netrebko‘s Juliette last Saturday afternoon. Such harsh criticism La Cieca has rarely heard since the infamous Renata Scotto Norma. Even La Cieca’s own bitchery about Renée Fleming never (well, rarely) reached such heights of dudgeon.

La Cieca should remind herself that much of this accidie springs from opera-l, which most of the time is a valuable resource and all that, but it does seem to be a haven for every tongue-clucking old maid still hunched over her Philco every Saturday afternoon during the broadcast season. (Some of them predate Texaco, La Cieca thinks.) Anyway, the consensus over at opera-l is that Netrebko is kaput, over, finished — that is, assuming she was ever anything to start with. The Roméo et Juliette has been called “failure” and even (yes!) “debacle.” Admittedly , La Cieca occasionally amuses herself by throwing those terms (including the “d” word) around indiscriminately, but she has the defense that nobody with half a brain takes her babbling seriously anyway. On the other hand, La Cieca has her doubts that everybody over at opera-l shares her sense of light-hearted irony in these things.

Look. La Cieca regards herself as a very critical listener, but she simply cannot discern any “debacle” or even “failure” in last week’s Roméo performance. Netrebko was admittedly somewhat off her best form at the beginning of the opera. She did have a minor crack on the high D in her first cadenza, and for most of the performance her voice sounded a bit cloudy and thick compared to what La Cieca (and, you, of course, cher public) have heard on Sirius and in the theater earlier this season.

La Cieca hesitates to jump to the conclusion that this one performance indicates an inevitable downward spiral toward ruin for Ms. Netrebko. She prefer to take the more cautious position that Netrebko was simply having a “B” voice day instead of her customary “A.” The cause may have been nerves, or a mild case of acid reflux, or a minor allergy attack, or (who knows?) she may have been starting her period on Saturday. The point is, nerves and all the rest (including even dysmenhorrhea) don’t last forever.

As, it so happens, tonight’s Sirius broadcast neatly indicates. La Cieca tuned in at the beginning of the second act to hear Netrebko in fine fettle. Your doyenne will note also that in the bedroom duet tonight Netrebko is singing with a lighter tone and softer dynamics than she did opposite Roberto Alagna — the better to blend with Joseph Kaiser‘s less aggressive approach, one assumes.

Well, enough scolding. A recent news story about Antonio Banderas‘ directing Carmen got La Cieca to thinking: how long before Angela Gheorghiu backs out of the projected Met production of the Bizet opera — and how thrilling it would be if Netrebko could be persuaded to jump in!

Oh, and just so you don’t think La Cieca has completely abandoned her position as Sultana of the Soupcons, here’s a tidbit. Your doyenne hears that among Netrebko’s la Gheorghiu’s upcoming projects (besides that unlikely Carmen and the perhaps even unlikelier Ghosts of Versailles) is a complete recording of Giordano’s Fedora opposite (who else) Placido Domingo.

Voices of Springfield

Posted in domingo, podcast on September 29, 2007 by lacieca

Placido Domingo stars as “himself” in what looks to be a steamy episode of The Simpsons this Sunday, September 30 on Fox. It seems Homer Simpson is tranformed into a tenor after he suffers a freak head injury (in other words, he’s no different from most tenors) and seeks the advice of maestro Domingo. Not about singing, mind you; rather, how to fend of unwanted groupies.

In honor of Domingo‘s debut in one of the few media he has not long since mastered, La Cieca presents an Unnatural Acts of Opera podcast featuring one of the tenor’s most spectacular live performances, Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana from Munich in 1978. Opposite Domingo is the Santuzza of Leonie Rysanek, with none other than Astrid Varnay sinking her teeth into the role of Mamma Lucia.

Singing is the lowest form of communication

Posted in domingo, youtube on August 7, 2007 by lacieca

In what La Cieca chooses to believe is a warmup for the title role of Simon Boccanegra, Plácido Domingo will appear as “Himself” on an episode of The Simpsons to air in the fall of 2007. According to PlaybillArts, the tenor/maestro/intendant will figure into a storyline concerning Homer Simpson‘s midlife career change to singing opera. (Hilarity surely will ensue.)

Longtime fans of Domingo will recall his duet with Miss Piggy of the Muppets and the running Sesame Street character “Placido Flamingo.”

The image of Mr. Domingo at right was created at Simpsonizeme.com.

To infinity, and beyond!

Posted in alagna, domingo, first emperor, gelb, levine, met, midgette, mortier, nyco on February 27, 2007 by lacieca

The delectable details of the 2007-2008 season at the Metropolitan (discussed this morning in a press conference with Peter Gelb, James Levine and representatives of the new season’s production teams) may be found on the Met’s web site. Our publisher JJ was there in the flesh, and he forwards his impressions:

The biggest news this morning was something unspoken. Instead, it was Levine’s body language, which (in contrast to previous years) suggested he is both comfortable and secure working with Gelb. Levine stayed for the entire press conference and was particularly attentive when Phillip Glass was speaking.

The press conference was as carefully staged as a Met performance. In fact, a lot more carefully than Simon Boccanegra. The meeting began at exactly seven minutes after 11 a.m.

Mr. Gelb reflected on the successes of the current season, which include:

  • An increased audience for the HD simulcasts, now up to 250 screens for Eugene Onegin
  • The box office (though “not necessarily a thermometer”) is running nine percentage points higher than this point last season
  • This season so far 61 performances have sold out, in contrast to 20 sellouts for the entire 2006-2006 season
  • Eight HD presentations are booked for next year
  • Opening night 2007 (new production of Lucia di Lammermoor) will be simulcast in the plaza, and the Met is in negotiations with NYC to show it in Times Square as well.

James Levine chimed in that what he finds “even more exciting” than the many innovations this year is that he sees a strong sense of follow-through. It is one thing to get new audiences into the theater the first time, but to sustain that audience you must offer them quality. He adds that he is pleased with how Gelb works with him on a day-to-day basis on solving problems. Levine will conduct the new productions of Lucia and Macbeth next season, plus revivals of Manon Lescaut and Tristan und Isolde, as well as the Met Orchestra’s Carnegie Hall series.

Tweaks to next season include revival of the Anthony Minghella Butterfly with Patricia Racette and Roberto Alagna, Barbiere and (as reported by La Cieca a while ago) The First Emperor.

Mary Zimmerman (funny, unpretentious and smart) talked about her production of Lucia. Scene changes in this staging will be done “a vista.”

Glass and associate director and designer Julian Crouch introduced Satyagraha. The composer stressed the political and social content of the work, and Crouch talked about how the set materials of corrugated iron and newspaper were suggested by the themes of the opera.

Stephen Wadsworth waxed un peu teachy-teachy on the subject of Iphigénie en Tauride (“Gluck was an ethnic Czech, did you know that?”), but, as Dawn Fatale pointed out, at least the set does not include a built-in shower. The edition of the score will be based on Gluck’s Vienna revision, in which Oreste is a tenor, presumably in order to facilitate the participation of Placido Domingo.

The other producers appeared on video. The most buzzworthy statement from this segment was from Adrian Noble, who says the design of his Macbeth is suggested by photographs by Diane Arbus.

The cutest stage director of the whole group was Laurent Pelly (La Fille du Régiment), with Crouch and Richard Jones (Hansel and Gretel) tied for second.

Zoe Caldwell will the the Duchesse de Krakenthorp.

In response to reporters’ questions, Gelb said that the Met has negotiated rights to release all its archival performances on CD, DVD, download on demand and “media not yet invented.” Anne Midgette asked if there were updates on new commissions by the Met, but Gelb declined to comment, saying that the Met would have a statement later this season.

And then, finger sandwiches and coffee on the Bass Grand Tier, where yet another of parterre.com’s web of reliable sources noted that the Gérard Mortier/NYCO deal is all but signed on the dotted line.

Here’s our genius!

Posted in domingo, obit, youtube on February 2, 2007 by lacieca

Goya, a later (and lesser) work by Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007).