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Subject: Re: Hampson destroying .... Luisotti the biggest scourge of all
From: David H Spence <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David H Spence <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 11 Mar 2017 22:50:51 -0500
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I might not have known what the comments I forward below, already posted
here, had I not listened in, having read from NY Classical Review what
follows:  'Where [Luisotti] succeeded was in creating texture, drawing a
luminous sound out of the orchestra and capturing the character of the score
even when a little out of sorts.'   How does one capture the character of
anything to a vital degree while 'out of sorts?'   That for starters.

I made it at least somewhat past the First Act of a San FranciscoTrovatore
with Marco Berti in raw condition as Manrico - much better than i could
muster today.  The Trovatore, occupying a much different sound world
entirely than the Paris demimonde of La Traviata, had this pushed, pumped up
quality to the orchestral sound, as though Luisotti had explained to himself
that the road to instant greatness on this would be to pop on a late-career
Karajan rendition of this and emulate what happens there the best he can. 
Needless to say, the results sounded highly contrived to the point of being
entirely disastrous.  Should it be difficult enough to digest a Trovatore
being conducted as though it is Gotterdammerung or Parsifal, I had to ask
myself this afternoon, how easy or the least bit bearable can it be to hear
a Traviata played similarly?

The problems people complain about, regarding the Decker production, pale in
comparison with where the real problems made themselves evident this
afternoon.  Rizzi, even conducting this production - a little less well than
how he did at Cardiff with Gruberova - and Welser-Most are practically,
either one of them, the present-day incarnation of De Sabata in comparison
with what I heard today.   

It is well known that what I heard this afternoon also played in our
cinemas, plus cinemas worldwide.  The prelude to Act One of La Traviata,
depicting the physical fragility of the woman depicted here throughout, is
marked three p's, lower than pianissimo, not a FUCKING mezzo forte.  The
person who posted, who I cite below, said it well, to summarize -
Siegfried's Funeral March NOT.

The Met, under Peter Gelb, it is very well known long by now - note the
infomercials to which cinema audiences get frequently subjected to at the
cinemas - is very sensitive about its own publicity, that is, more than
control.  When however the sound one is getting out the forces over which he
is impresario is hardly any better or sufficiently distinctive from what one
can get in a Pittsburgh, Portland, St Louis, or Houston, where is the
motivation then to make purchase of any tickets at all?   

This is not always true of what comes from the Met, but on such a standard
like La Traviata, it should, especially for a much publicized movie-cast,
never be true.  The banda music sounded over the air and I'm sure in the
cinema as well at an equal aural perspective as the orchestral music from
the pit.  The rhythms were stiff, the sound raw, the rushed feeling making
transitions from the end of one passage into the beginning of the next
passage contrived at best, and including some of the sounds the chorus
started making, entirely forced as well.  Rhythmic fluidity between
contrasting passages of Act One was entirely lacking.  

This is not the first time that work from Luisotti has been this haphazard,
downright sloppy - including for which movie-casts he has been assigned. 
Should the Met be sensitive in the least about their sales revenues, then
the artistic administration in charge there needs to ask themselves some
serious questions as to where their priorities lie.  

The bench-pressing one encountered from both Fabiano and Yoncheva this
afternoon, with a number of notes yelped, almost screamed respectively, was
in part due to the hardship of having sing over so much racket from the
orchestra pit.  I might have thought Vjekoslav Sutej, several years dead by
now, might have returned to life, just in order to mutilate, kill the
Traviata heard from the Met this afternoon.   One could tell Yoncheva's
concept of vocal production - that served her so well with Armiliato
conducting during an earlier run of this at the Met - Armiliato of all
people - went close to completely AWOL this afternoon.  Monochromatic?  You
betcha.  Note how heavy, dull the 'Scherzate?'s were so early on. Any
coaxing, accommodation from the podium to do otherwise?  Not in sight.  By
the end of Act One - who encouraged Yoncheva to take Norma on so early on? 
Scotto? - we were veering dangerously close to end-of-career Tomowa-Sintow
territory.  What a lovely sound at times with which Tomowa-Sintow started
out, as I reminded myself the other day.  I can only fail to come up with
sufficient invective for what I heard this afternoon - only the First Act.

Take heed, Met.




David H Spence





On Sat, 11 Mar 2017 14:48:50 -0700, Don <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>I have to agree; one of the worst Traviatas ever.  What was with that
>orchestra?  Besides having synchronization issues with the stage it was the
>loudest accompaniment I've ever heard in that opera; no nuance, crashing
>chords forte', booming base line; I know people have said Verdi was
>influenced by Wagner but this was not Siegried's funeral march. The violins
>sounded thin and scratchy as if the orchestra had been reduced.  I wonder
>if it was the transmission as they sounded like high school players.
>Hampson has lost any richness he may have had and his high notes were
>non-existent.  Di Provenza sounded like a song of desperation with no
>legato and apparently shorness of breath.  Fabiano did not sound as good as
>he has recently but I did enjoy Yoncheva who has a lovely quality to her
>voice but a sameness to her vocal production, a very monochromatic sound
>throughout.
>dond
>
>On Sat, Mar 11, 2017 at 2:04 PM, Paul Ferraro <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> I thought Hampson was the absolute worst Germont I ever heard (then, I
>> recalled PD, so Tommy is tied for the honor).  Fabiano needs to work on his
>> top - he did fine this afternoon with the exception of that muffled "C" at
>> the end of the cabaletta....Edgardo will be more of a challenge for him!
>> Yoncheva was quite moving & enjoyable, but what do I know - MY Violettas
>> include Sutherland, Caballe, Moffo & a 195? with Tebaldi & Warren who gave
>> the most memorable Act II I ever experienced.
>>
>> DonP.
>>
>> -----Original Message----- From: Ombrarecds
>> Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2017 3:33 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: Hampson destroying Germont
>>
>> The Met is a joke!
>>
>> Patrick Byrne
>>
>> Sent from my iPhone
>>
>>
>> On Mar 11, 2017, at 2:15 PM, gordon young <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>> All of the singers are dreadful! This could be one of the worst overall
>>> performances I have heard from the Met in many years. All are having pitch
>>> problems and their tops more shrieked than sung.
>>> Gordon
>>>
>>> On Sat, Mar 11, 2017 at 1:54 PM, A Katalin Mitchell <
>>> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>
>>> Can someone please explain to me why Thomas Hampson is hired to sing Verdi
>>>> Baritone roles at all, and even more lately? For me it is like chalk
>>>> scratching on a blackboard. Never could stand his high baritone in roles
>>>> he
>>>> could not handle, but by now he is unbearable.
>>>>
>>>> I am only listening, and it hurts more since I don’t have the visual
>>>> distractions from the pain…
>>>>
>>>> Kati
>>>>
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>
>
>
>-- 
>​Always keep a roll of baling wire and another of duct tape in your car.
>It's amazing how useful it can be.
>
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