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Subject: Lella Cuberli seen live
From: David Shengold <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David Shengold <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 12 Feb 2018 01:36:42 +0000

text/plain (28 lines)

The first time I heard Cuberli was as Donna Elvira in a 1981 San Francisco Opera DON GIOVANNI -- my first ever live DON GIOVANNI--with veterans Siepi and Taddei, Vaness in amazing voice and the excellent Winbergh and Macurdy. (Pamela South was a very good Zerlina, and Jakob Will a solid Masetto). Adam Fischer, who has since gotten better, conducted rather ineptly. This was a matinee, and in the first act Cuberli sounded really distressingly off form. She came back after intermission and blazed through the trio, sextets, aced the big scena and the final scenes. A wonderful second act from her-- I've almost never heard such a turnaround in mid-performance.

I next heard Cuberli sing a spectacular Sifare in a Ponnelle-staged 
MITRIDATE, RE DI PONTO at Vicenza's Palladian Teattro Olimpico in 1984. Roderick Brydon; Curtis Rayam, Yvonne Kenny and Bernadetta Manca di Nissa were all also memorable. 

And yes, she was a vast improvement in the Met SEMIRAMIDE over June Anderson, who - as I believe Andrew Porter said-- acted it like a minor Windsor opening a Home Counties horse show. (My best Anderson experiences were in DIE FEEN at NYCO and in MAOMETTO SECONDO in San Fran, in both of which she was just wonderful.) With Cuberli one could believe she was a Babylonian queen who had schemed with lover to kill her her royal husband. The voice did not sound huge in the Met, but she was very stylish.

I wish I had heard a lot more of her! I too endorse that wonderful Fonit Cetra CD bel canto program, which has the fine mezzo Martine Dupuy as a fine guest artist. And she is terrific on the Barenboim da Ponte sets, despite the f-u-n-e-r-e-a-l tempi.

Cheers - David Shengold

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