Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Die Walküre with James Morris


 👍🏻
Conductor...............James Levine
Production..............Otto Schenk

Brünnhilde..............Hildegard Behrens
Siegmund, brother.....Gary Lakes
Sieglinde, sister.........Jessye Norman
Wotan......................James Morris
Fricka, Wotan's wife.....Christa Ludwig
Hunding.................Kurt Moll

This performance of Wagner's Die Walküre streamed today from the Metropolitan Opera, played at the Met on April 8, 1989.  One forgets.  James Morris is the most intensely emotional Wotan that ever existed.  Everyone is wonderful.  Hildegard Behrens indeed seems like a goddess.  Gary Lakes has that true Heldentenor sound and pairs well with the ever great Jessye Norman.  Who could top Christa Ludwig, and I actually recognized Kurt Moll under all that makeup.

I liked the set for not distracting from these magnificent singing actors.  All was as it should be.

One forgets.  One forgets that in his prime James Levine was truly a great conductor.  Why he wanted to go on past even merely competent we will never know.

One forgets that this is the greatest Wagner performance ever assembled, that James Morris towers over Wotan like a true god.  Thank you for the reminder.

#ad

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Salome from San Francisco



 👍🏻
Garrett Sorenson - Narraboth
Elizabeth DeShong - A page
Greer Grimsley - Jokanaan
Nadja Michael - Salome
Kim Begley - Herod
Irina Mishura - Herodias

I loved seeing this again.  I mean, of course, Salome from the San Francisco Opera.  I saw it live here, 11/2/2009.  Each of the main characters represented their role to a T.  This opera is based on a play by Oscar Wilde and follows the original closely in German.

The biggest problem with Salome is that Salome is 15 and the voice required to sing her is about 40, I would say.  Nadja overcomes all this.  She convinces as a young woman insanely in love.  I don't know what would improve on this.  In the house I could not see the dance well enough to tell what was going on.  It turned out to be very sexy and merely suggestive of nudity.

I also found Greer Grimsley beautiful and believable.  This Johanahan might lure young women to follow him with his charisma. 

As an overall theatrical experience, this may just possibly be the best.  I'd have to watch Maria Ewing again to be sure.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Met nightly streams -- to July 5

This is the list of operas streamed from the Metropolitan Opera on Demand.  The collection on line goes back many years before the start of the HD in movie theaters series, but only this series has been streamed for the pandemic.  On the left is the stream date and on the right is the date when I first reviewed this.  I missed Die Meistersinger and Madama Butterfly which I deliberately avoid.

And for week 8 we have added operas from before HD, including one for Pavarotti and another for Cecilia Bartoli.


16-Mar
Carmen -EG and RA 1/16/2010
1/16/2010
17-Mar
La Boheme -AG and Ramon 4/5/2008
4/5/2008
18-Mar
Il Trovatore -Dima and AN 10/3/2015
10/3/2015
19-Mar
La Traviata -DD and JDF  12/15/2018
12/15/2018
20-Mar
La Fille du Régiment -ND and JDF 4/26/2008
21-Mar
Lucia di Lammermoor -AN and PB 2/7/2009
22-Mar
Eugene Onegin -RF and Dima 2/24/2007
23-Mar
Tristan and Isolde -Nina and Stuart 10/8/2016
24-Mar
Das Reingold -Lepage 10/10/2010
25-Mar
Die Walküre -DV, JK, BT 5/10/2011
26-Mar
Siegfried -Jay 11/5/2011
27-Mar
Götterdämmerung -DV, Jay 2/12/2012
28-Mar
Die Meistersinger - JB  5/1/2003

29-Mar
Tannhäuser -JB 10/31/2015
30-Mar
Dialogues des Carmélites  IL 5/11/2019
31-Mar

Il Barbiere di Siviglia -JD, PM, JDF3/24/2007
1-Apr
Nixon in China 2/12/2011
2-Apr
Don Carlo  -Marina and RA 12/11/2010
3-Apr
Les Pêcheurs de Perles  MP, MK 1/16/ 2016
4-Apr
Macbeth -ZL and AN 10/11/2014
5-Apr
Norma -SR and JD 10/8/2017
6-Apr
Aida -AN and AR 10/6/2018
7-Apr
La Fanciulla del West -DV and Giordani 1/8/2011
8-Apr
Falstaff -Maestri 12/14/2013
9-Apr
Parsifal -JK and PM 3/2/2013
10-Apr
Roméo et Juliette -DD and Grigolo 1/21/2017
11-Apr
Don Pasquale -AN and MP 11/13/2010
12-Apr
Cosi fan tutte 3/31/2018
13-Apr
Rusalka -RF and PB 2/8/2014
14-Apr
Boris Godunov -Pape 10/23/2010
15-Apr
La Rondine -AG and RA 1/10/2009
16-Apr
Le Comte Ory  DD, JD, JDF 4/9/2011
17-Apr
Madama Butterfly -Racette  10/8/2007

18-Apr
Andriana Lecouvreur -AN and AR 1/12/2018
19-Apr
Der Rosenkavalier -RF, MP, EG 5/13/2017
20-Apr
Elektra 4/30/2016
21-Apr
Tosca ZL 1/27/2018
22-Apr
Les Contes d'Hoffmann  AN, 12/20/2009
23-Apr
The Merry Widow  RF 1/17/2015
24-Apr
La Traviata  ND, MP, Dima 4/14/2012
25-Apr
At Home Gala (liive)
26-Apr
La Cenerentola JD, JDF 5/10/2014
27-Apr
Anna Bolena AN 10/15/2011
28-Apr
Maria Stuarda  JD 1/19/2013
29-Apr
Roberto Devereux SR 4/16/2016
30-Apr
Marnie IL 11/10/2018
1-May
Aida  Price [before HD]  1/3/1985

2-May
Luisa Miller  SY 4/15/2018
3-May
Prince Igor 3/2/2014
4-May
Le Nozze di Figaro [before HD] CB, BT, RF 7/6/2005
5-May
Hamlet 3/7/2010
6-May
L'Amour de Loin 12/10/2016
7-May
Capriccio RF 4/23/2011
8-May
La Boheme [before HD] Pavarotti 3/15/1977

9-May
The Opera House 1/17/2018
10-May
Cav/Pag 4/25/2015
11-May
Werther JK 3/15/2014
12-May
Ades  The Tempest 11/10/12 11/10/2012
13-May
Ariadne auf Naxos  [before HD] 3/12/1988
14-May
Peter Grimes  3/15/8 3/15/2008
15-May
Lucia di Lammermoor [before HD] 11/13/1982
16-May
Rigoletto  2/16/13  DD PB ZL
2/16/13
17-May
Nabucco  1/7/17 
1/7/2017
18-May
Idomeneo 3/25/17  MP
3/25/2017
19-May
Lohengrin [before HD] 1/10/1986
20-May
Un Ballo in Maschera  12/8/12  SR
12/08/2012
21-May
Turandot  10/12/19 10/12/2019
22-May
Don Giovanni [before HD] 3/16/1978
23-May
Faust  12/10/11  JK
12/10/2011
24-May
Manon  4/7/12  AN PB
4/7/2012
25-May
La Damnation de Faust 11/22/2008
12/4/2008
26-May
Ernani 2/25/2012 2/25/2012
27-May
Manon Lescaut  [before HD] 3/29/1980

28-May
Les Troyens  1/5/13 1/5/2013
29-May
La Sonnambula 3/21/09 4/2/2009
30-May
L'Elisir d'Amore  2/10/18  MP
2/10/2018
31-May
Salome  10/11/08 
10/11/2008
1-Jun
I Puritani 1/6/07  AN
1/7/2007
2-Jun
Lulu  11/21/15 11/21/2015
3-Jun
Orfeo ed Euridice  1/24/09 
1/24/2009
4-Jun
Tosca  [before HD] 12/19/1978 LP

5-Jun
The Exterminating Angel 11/18/17 11/18/2017
6-Jun
Otello  10/17/15 
10/17/2015
7-Jun
Thais  12/20/08  RF
12/20/2008
8-Jun
La Clemenza di Tito 12/1/12
12/1/2012
9-Jun
Iolanta/Bluebeard  2/14/15 2/14/2015
10-Jun
Hansel and Gretel  1/1/08 
1/1/2008
11-Jun
Ghosts of V  [before HD] 1/10/1992

12-Jun
Gala 4/25/2020
13-Jun
Gala  4/25/2020
14-Jun
Rodelinda  12/3/11  RF
12/3/2011
15-Jun
Armida 5/1/10 
5/1/2010
16-Jun
Semiramide  3/10/18
3/10/2018
17-Jun
Iphigénie en Tauride  2/26/11 2/26/2011
18-Jun
La Forza del Destino [before HD] 3/24/1984
20-Jun
Akhnaten  11/23/2019 Not MOD
11/23/2019
21-Jun
Satyagraha  11/19/2011  Not MOD
12/8/2011
22-Jun
La Traviata  3/11/2017 
8/27/2017
23-Jun
Doctor Atomic  11/8/2008 11/8/2008
24-Jun
Samson and Dalila 10/20/2018  EG
10/20/2018
25-Jun
Manon  10/26/2019 10/26/2019
26-Jun
L'Elisir d'Amore  [before HD] 11/16/1991
27-Jun
Cendrillon  4/28/2018  JD
4/28/2018
28-Jun
Die Zauberfloete  10/14/2017 10/15/2017
29-Jun
La Fille du Régiment Pretty Yende 3/2/2019 3/2/2019
30-Jun
Die Walkure [before HD] 4/8/1989
1-Jul
The Nose 10/26/2013 10/26/2013
2-Jul
Carmen Rachvelishvili 11/1/2014 11/1/2014
3-Jul
Don Giovanni  10/29/2011 10/31/2011
4-Jul
Don Pasquale Sills  [before HD] 1/11/1979
5-Jul
La Donna del Lago JD 3/14/2015 3/15/2015
6-Jul
La Boheme 2/24/2018 2/24/2018
7-Jul
Il Trovatore [before HD] 10/15/1988
8-Jul
Cosi fan tutte 4/26/2014 4/27/2014
9-Jul
Francesca da Rimini  3/16/2013 3/16/2013
10-Jul
Eugene Onegin  10/5/2013  AN
10/6/2013
11-Jul
Madama Butterfly 11/9/2019

12-Jul
Tristan und Isolde [before HD] 12/18/1999

Featured Artists
AG Angela Gheorghiu
AN  Anna Netrebko
AR  Anita Rachvelishvili
BT  Bryn Terfel
CB  Cecilia Bartoli
DD  Diana Damrau
DV  Deborah Voigt
EG  Elīna Garanča
IL   Isabel Leonard
JK  Jonas Kaufmann
JB  Johann Botha
JD  Joyce DiDonato
JDF  Juan Diego Florez
LP  Luciano Pavarotti
MK  Mariusz Kwiecien
MP  Matthew Polenzani
ND  Natalie Dessay
PB  Piotr Beczala
PM  Peter Mattei
RA  Roberto Alagna
RF  Renée Fleming
SR  Sondra Radvanovsky
SY  Sonya Yoncheva
ZL  Željko Lučić

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Lorraine sings Dido

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson has left this to comfort us.  This is the first time I have felt a singer truly understood this aria.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Live from the Royal Opera


Today at 11:30 PDT we were treated to a live performance from the Royal Opera House in London.  The photo is of a rehearsal with David Butt Philip, tenor, and Dame Sarah Connolly, mezzo-soprano, preparing Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde.  This is one of my favorite things in the whole world and could simply not be missed. 

The ensemble orchestra was conducted by Antonio Pappano.  The chamber orchestra seemed to include only one instrument per part, including 2 violins, 1 viola, etc.  This seemed to work fine.  In the live performance there was also no audience.

Before the Mahler, Vadim Muntigarov performed a short piece representing the Royal Ballet.  There was a small fee to support the opera house.  I loved it.

Friday, June 19, 2020

La Forza del Destino


  👍🏻
Conductor...............James Levine
Production..............John Dexter

Leonora.................Leontyne Price
Don Alvaro..............Giuseppe Giacomini
Don Carlo...............Leo Nucci
Padre Guardiano.........Bonaldo Giaiotti
Preziosilla.............Isola Jones
Fra Melitone............Enrico Fissore [Last performance]
Marquis de Calatrava....Richard Vernon

The live stream from the Met today is Leontyne Price's last performance at the Metropolitan Opera of Verdi's La Forza del Destino, March 24, 1984.  This was also one of her signature roles.  The first scene makes a lot more sense than the Munich version with Jonas and Anja.  There the whole family sits around a table.  In this version people come in and out depending on whether they are relevant to what is going on.  Talking about eloping with the father there is pretty silly.  The shooting is handled well.

In fact I think perhaps this is the most sensible production of Forza I've seen.  They are in a war and wear military uniforms.  What a concept.  Giuseppe Giacomini and Leo Nucci both look and sound similar.  One must work out a method to tell which is which. It is hopeless to choose who is better.  The cast for this performance is excellent from top to bottom.  Isola Jones is my favorite Preziosilla. 

Unfortunately a somewhat silly production makes this extremely gloomy opera somewhat more tolerable.  A trick ending would be tolerated.  The Munich version cuts a lot.

But we are here for Leontyne Price.  She is a singer to love.  Her Verdi is like no one else's.  She puts her own personal magic into the Italian's line.  Thank you for all the joy you have brought us.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Trittico Stream from San Francisco

ConductorPatrick Summers
DirectorJames Robinson

 👍🏻
Il Tabarro


Michele-Paolo Gavanelli
Giorgetta, Michele's wife-Patricia Racette
Luigi-Brandon Jovanovich

It's hard to like this opera.  It's rough and nasty.  Since their child died, Giorgetta has grown tired of her husband and their life on a barge and flirts with his employees, including the incredibly handsome Brandon Jovanovich.  In this opera Patricia Racette is overdressed for her environment.  However, they are in Paris, Giorgetta's native city, so we will cut her some slack.  There is much wonderful singing from our three stars.


Suor Angelica

Catherine Cook-Sister Monitor
Patricia Racette-Sister Angelica
Meredith Arwady-The Abbess
Ewa Podleś-The Princess

I realized watching Suor Angelica that I could not be a nun.  Obedience isn't something I do.  I guess that leaves out the army, too.  My mother knew exactly how to deal with this.

This opera is deep with religious significance.  Angelica has had an illegitimate child, it was immediately taken from her, and she was forced into a convent.  She has been here for 7 years with no news from her family.

Then suddenly out of the blue a high class carriage carrying her aunt appears.  The aunt is here not to see Angelica, but to get her signature on a document that disposes of the family wealth and titles.  Angelica has to ask to find out that her son has died.  These two together are wonderful singing actresses who thrill us and break our hearts.

Angelica knows about herbs and plants.  In short she knows how to poison herself and does.  She realizes perhaps before it is too late that she has committed a mortal sin, and begs the Madonna to forgive her.

Only Patricia Racette and Ewa Podleś came out for bows.  They were both magnificent, towering performances.  This was Ewa's San Francisco Opera debut.


Gianni Schicchi

Michael Harvey-Buoso Donati
Meredith Arwady-Zita
Paolo Gavanelli-Gianni Schicchi
Patricia Racette-Lauretta

Someone smokes in all three operas, but in this one they all do, are in a hospital room.  It is amusing that Buoso Donati gets a casting credit since he's already dead.  It would be strange to play a dead body.

The house that Gianni Schicchi acquires is apparently in a high rise next door to the Duomo in Florence.  There is, of course, no building in Florence anything like that.

Magnificent in the dual roles of Michele in Il Tabarro and Gianni Schicchi was Paolo Gavanelli. He was both very funny and terrifying (in the appropriate places--not very funny as Michele and terrifying as Schicchi).

This is Patricia Racette's masterpiece where she triumphs in three different roles.  Hers was by far the silliest "O mio babbino caro" I've ever heard.  Her Lauretta is virtually a child.

I loved seeing it again.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Metropolitan Opera in HD for 2020-2021 -- Begins 1/21


Jan 16, 2021 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Die Zauberflöte.   This is the old Julie Taymor production and will be done in German. 
  • Conductor Gustavo Dudamel
  • Production Julie Taymor 
  • Pamina Christiane Karg 
  • Queen of the Night Kathryn Lewek 
  • Tamino Stanislas de Barbeyrac 
  • Papageno Thomas Oliemans 
  • Sprecher Christian Van Horn 
  • Sarastro Stephen Milling


Jan 30, 2021 Charles Gounod Roméo et Juliette
  • Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin
  • Production Bartlett Sher
  • Juliette Nadine Sierra, she sang this for us in San Francisco this season.
  • Stéphano Julie Boulianne 
  • Roméo Stephen Costello  
  • Tybalt David Portillo 
  • Mercutio Joshua Hopkins 
  • Capulet Laurent Naouri 
  • Frère Laurent Ildar Abdrazakov 


Mar 27, 2021 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni   This is the old Michael Grandage production with an excellent cast.
  • Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin
  • Production Michael Grandage
  • Donna Anna Ailyn Pérez 
  • Donna Elvira Isabel Leonard 
  • Zerlina Hera Hyesang 
  • Don Ottavio Ben Bliss 
  • Don Giovanni Peter Mattei 
  • Leporello Gerald Finley 
  • Masetto Alfred Walker 
  • The Commendatore Ryan Speedo Green


Apr 17, 2021 Jake Heggie Dead Man Walking  This is a new production of an opera new to the Met.  It's not new to me since I was at the world premier.
  • Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin
  • Production Ivo van Hove 
  • Sister Rose Latonia Moore 
  • Sister Helen Prejean Joyce DiDonato 
  • Mrs Patrick De Rocher Susan Graham 
  • Joseph De Rocher Etienne Dupuis 


Apr 24, 2021 Richard Strauss Die Frau ohne Schatten.  This is a spectacular cast.
  • Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin
  • Production Herbert Wernicke 
  • The Empress Elza van den Heever
  • The Dyer's Wife Nina Stemme
  • The Nurse Evelyn Herlitzius
  • The Emperor Klaus Florian Vogt
  • Barak Michael Volle
  • The Geisterbote Ryan Speedo Green


May 8, 2021 Giuseppe Verdi Nabucco.  This will be Netrebko's first Abigaille.
  • Conductor Marco Armiliato 
  • Production Elijah Moshinsky
  • Abigaille Anna Netrebko
  • Fenena Varduhi Abrahamyan
  • Ismaele Najmiddin Mavlyanov
  • Nabucco George Gagnidze
  • Zaccaria Dmitry Belosselskiy 



May 22, 2021  Vincenzo Bellini Il Pirata.  This is a new opera for me.
  • Conductor Maurizio Benini 
  • Production John Copley
  • Imogene Diana Damrau 
  • Gualtiero Javier Camarena
  • Goffredo Nicolas Testé 


Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Record Sales

According to Google November, 2019, Cecilia Bartoli has sold 12 million records.

And June 4 is her birthday.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Lucrezia Borgia




Conductor - Riccardo Frizza
Director and Production - DesignerJohn Pascoe

Michael Fabiano - Gennaro
Renée Fleming - Lucrezia Borgia
Vitalij Kowaljow* - Duke Alfonso
Daniel Montenegro* - Rustighello
Ryan Kuster* - Astolfo
Blanche Hampton* - Princess Negroni
Elizabeth DeShong - Maffio Orsini

The most fun part of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia from the San Francisco Opera is Michael Fabiano in a wild blond wig.  We are used to him bald, but with hair he is completely gorgeous.  Sigh. 

I was present at the original performance series in 2011.  Hearing it again, I am most impressed with the ensembles.  Musically it is a joy, and with a film acoustic and balance problems are fixed. 

The production and singing are enjoyable, but it is clear that Lucrezia creates her own tragedy.  She has searched for Gennaro and has finally found him in Venice.  He shows her a letter from his mother.  No matter how dire the circumstances, she never tells anyone that she is his mother.  Not even him.  She's willing to risk killing him but not this.  She would not risk her own status.  It's ok for men to have illegitimate children, but not women.  So everyone dies.  One does not identify with this story.
#ad