Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Andiam. Incominciate!

The 125th Season of the Met has just kicked off with Renée Fleming starring in the Opening Night Gala.

The Gala, presented by Susan Graham, has been transmitted live to over 600 theaters from Honolulu to Buenos Aires but also to multiple giant screens in Times Square

The program opened with Act II of La Traviata, and continued with Act III of Massenet’s Manon, and the final scene of Richard Strauss’s Capriccio (but also included a red carpet report and live backstage reports).

At Times Square

Ramon Vargas as Alfredo Germont

Hampson & Vargas

It was a night "cool enough for couture" but I found even cooler Renée as Violetta Válery. Well, cool isn't the correct word. Horrifying would suit it better. I was astounded! Ugly sounds, a hillbilly italian pronounciation, a verismo Violetta. And all these are said by a Renée fan.

I think that the Traviata was the worst part of the night... Manon was OK...

.....and Capriccio was very good.

Here we go:


Manon's Gavotte


I couldn't believe my ears when on my way to work I listened once again to Act II of La Traviata. I was thinking "Ok, it was very late, it was about 2.30 in the morning in Athens when Traviata was on, I will give it another chance". Verdict is out. I insist. First part of Act II is totally atrocious. Renée´s singing is vulgar, out of style, her pronounciation is terrible, her manierisms are disgraceful.

Part two of Act II is a lot better. I found the tempi quite strange but the overall result was good.

Anyway...that's all. I was quite sad for what I heard last night and I was thinking about that beautiful night in Athens.

Salome tonight...and my Karita Mattila will rawk for sure!


ximo said...

My God! I can not resist the Barby/Flemming. These photographs, my God!

Ντέμης said...

Wow, I thought that Tebaldi was the last screemo verismo Violetta, obviously Reneé hasn´t learned her Callas lesson in Verdi. I believe though this tacky effect to be the result of her singing at the "safe" Met, where she knows that anyone is cheered and aplauded for singing anything. She would not have sung like that in Italy, especially at LaScala, I don't think she will ever forget that Lucrezia opening night ten years ago....
This behaviour was unfortunatelly also typical of Caballé, she would do her best and sing a superb Norma at LaScala in 1972 under maestro Gavazzenni and then she would go to sing that same role at the Bolshoi - en passant - and cheat the public.
Having said that, Violetta is not a role for an excellent Contessa or Marshallin or Fiordiligi like Fleming. Even Schwarzkopf failed in La Traviata (but she realized it early on and took the role out of her repertory)

Parsifal said...

Well, Ximo, the first pic of la Renee is the one I like most...It has a certain Vivienne Westwood quality 'even if the gown is not by V.W. But I think that the Galliano gown is beautiful and so...Galliano..

Thanks Demis for an excellent comment!

ximo said...

The dress is beautiful, the model ridiculous. NO PUEDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOR