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Subject: Today's "Stars"
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Wed, 4 Oct 2017 12:28:27 -0400

text/plain (74 lines)

The word “star” is always fraught with multiple meanings.  

Opera was never really (at least in the past century) at the forefront of popular 
entertainment, but whatever it was then, it certainly is not now.  Gone are the days when 
an opera singer routinely made a news splash.  Instead, today we get Kardashians and 

While this list has always (understandably) had a tendency toward being Metcentric, there 
are other opera houses of note with many, if not necessarily all of them, doing far better 
than Sybil’s Barn.  

Stars there may not always do as well at the Met – for whatever reasons for which I won’t 
even venture a guess, though some will tell us these singers have “no star quality.”

One of the hardest working ladies in opera is Christine Goerke.  Anyone who’s “friends” with 
her on Facebook or other social media can attest this woman manages a herculean feat of 
balancing home, family and stardom.  “Star,” you say?, Yup.  While she lives near the Met, 
but seldom sings there, elsewhere - Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Canada, 
London  . .  . she sells out houses and has fans cheering her to the rafters.  

More than half the opera fan friends I have in the U.S. have never heard the name of – 
much less the voice of – Anna Caterina Antonacci, who fills halls and houses throughout 
Europe and has a following that is almost cultish.  

Canadian soprano/conductor Barbara Hannigan is one of the planet’s most incandescent, 
unique stars, specializing in difficult (and for some, difficult to love) music.  Her Lulu is one 
of the most enthralling portrayals of the Bergian bad girl one is likely to encounter.  While 
her name in Europe means “Sold Out” – she rarely is heard Stateside, but (lucky us) she 
embarks on a short U.S. recital tour (on my birthday in Washington, DC – dammit).  Next 
week she’s part of the New York Film Festival, before giving the U.S. premiere of Salvatore 
Sciarrino’s “La nuova Euridice seconda Rilke” at Carnegie Hall, Antonio Papanno conducting. 

Anja Harteros is a major star throughout Europe and a particularly sad absence on these 
shores.  Every performance I’ve been fortunate to hear her in created a “forever” memory.  
She was the one soprano who actually seemed to own Violetta in that last, garish, 
overblown Zeffirelli confection. 

Cecilia Bartoli:  See “Harteros” 

Though routinely reviled on this list, Patricia Racette has one of the most challenging 
repertoires of any soprano working today, embracing more 20th and 21st century roles than 
any given handful of divas combined.  She’s been “composer approved” for a number of 
world premieres, enjoys a successful "cabaret career" has appeared in several musicals, and 
in an ever expanding role base, including recent additions of Katerina Ismailova, Marie 
Antoinette, Elle, Minnie and Salome (everywhere) tosses Menotti’s Magda Sorel (“The 
Consul”) and Weill’s Anna Maurant (“Street Scene”) into the party mix, not to mention as 
makes her directorial debut in a new “Traviata.”

Others who enjoy great successes at (but more frequently away from) the Met include:  
Elina Garanca, Roberto Alagna, Bryn Terfel, Simon Keenlyside, René Pape, Gerald Finley, 
Lawrence Brownlee, Vittorio Grigolo, Michael Fabiano, Charles Castronovo, Thomas 
Hampson, Ailyn Pérez, Pretty Yende, Piotr Beczala, Joseph Calleja, Aleksandra Kurzak, Peter 
Mattei, Luca Pisaroni, Jarmila Novotná . . . 

Honestly, we’re blessed to live in an era where there are so many fine singers who, while 
perhaps not possessing the unique stamp or level of fame as their predecessors, are, 
nonetheless offering night after night of wonderful performances making audiences the 
world over happy to have a ticket - and/or at the very least, internet access to thousands of 
those performances.


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