Archive for the voigt Category

Love has a bitter core, Vanessa

Posted in gay gay gay gay gay, meine nippen sie küssen so heiß, voigt on November 20, 2007 by lacieca

Photo by Dan Rest, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Oh, all right, La Cieca admits it, this is not a photo from a production of Vanessa. She will say, though, that this is what a production of Vanessa should look like, and hold the scrim trees.

In fact, this is a scene from Lyric Opera of Chicago‘s new Die Frau ohne Schatten, which by the way your doyenne will be hearing next week. Expect a full report the first week of December.

Speaking of Vanessa, here’s a representative of The Younger Generation of the Gays with his take.

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Who’s the missing star?

Posted in bel canto, caballe, critic, fleming, met, midgette, nyt, scotto, voigt on November 14, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca was just wondering about something yesterday on opera-l, and doggone if Anne Midgette wasn’t wondering about the same thing today in the New York Times. (That woman haunts my dreams, I tell you. It’s like she’s inside my head. Now, where was I? Oh, yes…) The point that dear Anne and I (among others) have mulling is this:

There was a time when Norma was considered a rarity or at least an opera that could be revived only when a very special prima donna was available and willing. The first Met Norma, for example, was Lilli Lehmann, the house’s biggest female star of that era. Even given Lehmann’s réclame, her appearance as Norma was considered by at least one critic (W. J. Henderson in Times) to be a sort of stunt:

The opera was chosen by Fräu Lehmann for her benefit, and from a financial point of view her selection was a very wise one . . . . From an artistic point of view the choice does not seem to be so commendable. There is no artistic reason why Lilli Lehmann should present herself to the New York public as a colorature singer. She may have been actuated by a not unnatural desire to display her versatility, but to get up a performance of Bellini’s “Norma” for her benefit savors rather of self-esteem than of a strong devotion to honest art . . . . She demonstrated that her voice possessed far more flexibility and that she had a greater command of the pure ornamentation of signing that anyone suspected … It must be said, however, that Fräu Lehmann took many of the elaborate ornamental passages at a very moderate tempo and sang them with very evident labor, thus depriving them of much of that brilliancy which the smooth, mellow, pliable Italian voices impart to them. Fiorituri without brilliancy have no “raison d’ étre,” and no Italian diva of standing would have received half the applause that Fräu Lehmann did for singing these passages as she did. The audience was excited by astonishment at the fact that she could do it at all.

Well, that was a longer pullquote than La Cieca originally intended to use, but, goodness, that is such excellent critical writing, isn’t it? Anyway, back to the argument. Lehmann, Rosa Ponselle, Gina Cigna, Zinka Milanov and of course Maria Callas were all big established stars when they took on Norma at the Met. So were Joan Sutherland and Montserrat Caballé. If Shirley Verrett, Renata Scotto and Jane Eaglen received mixed reviews for their Met performances of the opera, it wasn’t because of lack of star power or clout — they were all extremely important names on the Met roster at the time of their casting.

Then there are performances from the likes of Adelaide Negri and Marisa Galvany — (covers who had to go on) and Rita Hunter, one of the many jumpers-in for Caballé. The presence of Hasmik Papian at the beginning of this year’s run of Norma should be understood in the same spirit, i.e., a late-in-the-game substitution.

Papian is going on for Maria Guleghina, who was pulled out of the beginning of the Norma run to perform the new production of Macbeth. So the question is, who ever dreamed up the notion of Guleghina singing Norma at the Met? True, she won a big popular success here with Abigaille back in 2001 and she more or less owned the role of Tosca at the house for about five years. But nothing in those performances (or, to be frank, her few attempts at the Bellini opera elsewhere) really shouts “this woman must do Norma at the Met.” So why would a revival of Norma be put in the pipeline five years ago for a singer who neither then nor now promises to display anything special in the role?

Which is why La Cieca poses the question: was this revival of Norma originally planned for a different singer? And if so, who? Deborah Voigt? Violeta Urmana? Renée Fleming?

Semi-ubiquitous

Posted in blog, camp, critic, diva, drag, filth, fleming, gay gay gay gay gay, gcn, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede, maury d'annato, met, midgette, nyco, nyt, our own, parody, podcast, review, voigt, youtube on March 24, 2007 by lacieca

Our editor JJ‘s busy week included a review of the Met’s Aegyptische Helena in Gay City News, and that panel La Cieca has been yammering about all week. As his presentation on the topic “Opera and Technology,” JJ introduced this little documentary about your own La Cieca.

Enchanted April

Posted in barihunk, broadcast, mattila, san francisco, voigt, wagner on March 20, 2007 by lacieca

Karita Mattila, bottomBeginning April 1, San Francisco Opera will begin broadcasting its regular season again for the first time since 1982. The opener is Manon Lescaut featuring Karita Mattila as the notorious party girl.

Says General Manager David Gockley, “After decades with no regular broadcast series, this is truly a landmark announcement for San Francisco Opera. Through these broadcasts, audiences in the Bay Area, across the United States, and internationally will have the opportunity to experience the great performances that San Francisco Opera is producing.”

Following programs through November include Orleanskaya Deva (Dolora Zajick), Tristan und Isolde (Thomas Moser, Christine Brewer), Il barbiere di Siviglia (Nathan Gunn), Un ballo in maschera (Deborah Voigt), Don Giovanni (Mariusz Kwiecien) and Der Rosenkavalier (Joyce DiDonato, Soile Isokoski). Broadcasts may be heard on SF’s own KDFC and on the WFMT network. More details.

Event horizon

Posted in 2008, dessay, fleming, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede, mattila, met, netrebko, villazon, voigt on March 5, 2007 by lacieca

Now that we all know what’s what for the Met’s 2007-2008 season, surely it’s time to start speculating about what comes after, right? Well, La Cieca has been in touch with her stable of reliable sources, and what she has heard is more than a little intriguing. N.B. All this is as heard, of course, not an official announcement…

Opening night 2008 will be a Renee Fleming gala showcasing The Beautiful Voice in acts from La traviata, Manon and Il pirata. Also in the season’s opening weeks: Karita Mattila returns in Salome, Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon team for Lucia (HD simulcast for sure!), La Gioconda with the triple-diva goodness of Deborah Voigt, Olga Borodina and Ewa Podles, plus, for a little 21st century flava, the Met premiere of John AdamsDoctor Atomic featuring Audra MacDonald.

At the other end of the season, late spring 2009, the last revival of the rocks-n-rags Ring with James Levine conducting (start queuing for that one now) and the debut of DGG “It Girl” Elina Garanca in Cenerentola. In between, some hot tickets and some Sternstunden:

  • La sonnambula (Natalie Dessay/Juan Diego Florez)
  • Thais (Fleming/Thomas Hampson)
  • Rusalka (also Fleming)
  • La rondine (Angela Gheorghiu/Roberto Alagna)
  • Tristan und Isolde (Daniel Barenboim)
  • Eugene Onegin (Mattila/Hampson)
  • Cav/Pag (Alagna in both operas)

There’s more (a lot more) of course, but La Cieca hopes this is enough to get the conversational ball rolling.

Casting and recasting

Posted in gelb, voigt on October 17, 2006 by lacieca

La Cieca’s (of course) impeccably reliable sources are suggesting major casting changes afoot among the Met’s dramatic soprano roster. La Cieca hears that Deborah Voigt has expressed a strong preference for Italian roles in future seasons instead of the German vehicles she has mostly sung so far. Since Voigt’s rumored future engagements include a revival of Frau ohne Schatten and her first local Tristan, La Cieca wonders if the Italian parts are meant to be “in addition to” or “instead of.” La Cieca would sorely mourn the loss of a Voigt Isolde, though presumably Christine Brewer would be easy to slot into a production designed for Jane Eaglen.

Voigt is already rumored for a revival of Gioconda two seasons hence, and she has sung Lady Macbeth several times before. However, the Italian role most discussed for Voigt is the Italian role, Norma. Voigt would, according to speculation, replace the currently skedded Maria Guleghina during the 2007-2008 season. (Of course, La Cieca has said all along that a Guleghina Norma was wildly unlikely to happen.)

Meanwhile, our spy whispers that Andrea Gruber is as good as bought out of next season’s Fanciulla revival, with no replacement currently lined up. (Though right off the top of her head La Cieca can think of someone already who knows the role. You know, just saying.)

Rumors continue to swirl that Peter Gelb is divesting the Met of 14 leading singers he believes have no future there. The group reportedly includes such obvious candidates as Ruth Ann Swenson, Hei-Kyung Hong, Heidi Grant Murphy and La Gruber, plus a fresher face, Isabel Bayrakdarian.

Veils, song

Posted in blind, cher public, chicago, crespin, diva, met, sirius, voigt on October 16, 2006 by lacieca

As if those opera queens (you know La Cieca is talking to you, cher public) don’t already have more than enough to listen to, what with Unnatural Acts of Opera, plus Sirius Met Broadcasts, plus various streaming radio on the internet — well, now there’s lots more where that came from. Well, anyway, one more from where that came from — the Lyric Opera of Chicago, which will resume its broadcasts beginning this Saturday night, October 21.

This will be the first series of broadcasts from the Lyric Opera since the 2001- 2002 season, and LOC is kicking off the new broadcasts with a bang — the opening night of Salome, featuring Deborah Voigt‘s first staged performance of the title role. The live broadcast will be on WFMT, 98.7 starting at 7:30 PM Central Time, and La Cieca has just learned that the broadcast will be streamed live over wfmt.com.

This works out particularly well, since there is no live Met Sirius performance that night. La Cieca knows how harried you get, cher public, when you have to choose which broadcast to listen to, and one at a time is all she can handle as well, at least until someone invents the internet radio equivalent of Tivo.

Well, that’s Saturday night, but right now it’s Monday, and La Cieca has some podcasting to do. Tonight’s program, La Cieca hopes, you will find a special treat. The fabulous Regine Crespin is heard in recital at Hunter College on November 11, 1967, partnered by John Wustman on the 88s. This Unnatural Act of Opera program will be available beginning tonight, October 16.