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Subject: Re: STRIKE!!!
From: David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 14 Oct 2018 16:09:56 -0400
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It wasn't Les but me who made the remark about 'spotty'.  I have been going
to the Lyric since 1964, when I heard the newly mended Tebaldi in 'BohŤme'
with that glittering star Renato Cioni as Rodolfo.  I'll give you Cossotto
and Ghiaurov, who sang there in their prime regularly.  There was one season
of Corelli, Vickers in a '66 'Otello', then a string of appearances by a
number of famous singers definitely past their prime, together with
innumerable second rate Italians.  Radvanovsky has been given many
mediocrities as colleagues, and that Ryan Center is their way of saving
money and short-changing both the opera and the audience.

When you look at Carol Fox's early years they were vocally incomparable --
Callas as Norma one night, Tebaldi as Tosca the next, and a 'Pagliacci'
where Gobbi was the Tonio but MacNeil sang the Prologue to save Gobbi from
attempting the high notes.  (And, I think, the only time Tebaldi and
Bjoerling sang together, as I recall in 'Manon Lescaut'.)

David Kubiak    



On Sat, 13 Oct 2018 22:46:28 +0000, Dennis Ryan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Hi, Les, and greetings all!      I view your description of Lyric Opera
of Chicago as having been "from a vocal and superstar standpoint, 'spotty,'
" as really unfair.  Keep in mind that Lyric only performs eight production
runs and one musical run each season, with occasional galas and recitals
added.  The Met does many MANY more runs each season and many MANY more
performances.  So it is natural that the Met attracts more superstar
singers and holds them longer.  Thus Lyric "appears" to suffer by
comparison.  Considering the difference in their respective outputs, Lyric
gets fully its fair share of superstars.  Furthermore, many of the "less
than superstar" singers at Lyric are graduates of the Ryan Center--often
used as "house singers."  I will stack up Lyric's "house singers" against
the Met's any day of any season.  Singer for singer, role for role,
production for production, Lyric more than holds its own.  I well remember
snide posts on this list, when Ryan School graduates have been cast as
Antonia, Crespel, Mephistopheles, Colline, Shaunard, Suzuki, or David 
trying to make us believe that Lyric only hired them because "Lyric gets
them cheaper."  Do not let "dissing Lyric," long one of the favorite sports
on this list, prejudice you against thinking about Lyric's high quality
clearly.  Folks here love to take potshots at Lyric's "lack of vision." 
Lyric performs what its public wants to hear, which is one reason for its
financial security compared with many other world class houses.  Lyric is
not about performing new and/or "adventurous" productions in order to please
a few posters on Opera-L who personally prefer less-standard programming. 
It does perform both "adventurous" and "new" works, but comfortably within
its understood mission, cognizant of its bottom line, and respectful of its
audience's preferences.  Bill Mason, unlike many other general directors of
art institutions throughout the world, always remained protective of the
financial integrity of his company.  Lyric, unlike many other American
opera houses, never has coasted on the financial brink because it had so
much "vision" that it spent money it did not have.  "Vision" has driven
several American opera houses to near bankruptcy and beyond.  No opera
house in the world has a "superstar" singing every night.  But with only
VERY rare exception, Lyric does have "thorough competency" singing every
night.  That's NOT "spotty."      Best,     Dennis Ryan 
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
>To: OPERA-L <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent: Sat, Oct 13, 2018 2:26 pm
>Subject: Re: STRIKE!!!
>
>David:
>    LOC has been, from a vocal and superstar standpoint, "spotty", but
not for as long as your post might infer.  Throughout the 1960's and
1970's, such singers as Nilsson, Sutherland, Horne, Kraus, Domingo, Gobbi,
Berganza, Corelli, Baltsa, Vickers, Tomova-Sintow, Bumbry, Freni, 
Cossotto, etc, were all included in a number of seasons.  
>    When Bill Mason became manager, the superstar singers were never
engaged.  Starting in the mid 1990's, Lyric Opera was rather short on super
power stars.  We've had Radvanovsky in some of her star vehicles -----
Aida, Ballo, Norma, Anna Bolena, as well as Matthew Polenzani in a good
number of performances.  But we DON'T get Florez, Kaufmann, Nebrebko, etc.
at all.
>    It seem hard to believe that this is a company launched by Callas,
Simionato, Steber, Tebaldi, Bjoerling, Tucker, Nilsson, Borkh, Bastianini,
Gobbi, Schwartzkopf, Moffo, etc. 
>> On October 13, 2018 at 12:54 PM David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> 
>> Consider the upside -- Chicago will not be subjected to the Lyric's
'Siegfried'.
>> 
>> As to its reputation, on the vocal side at least, the company was
>> extraordinary at the beginning in the 50's and has been spotty ever since.  
>> 
>> David Kubiak
>> 
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