Featured Operas

This week

Aug
12
Mon
2019
LES TROYENS
Aug 12 @ 6:00 am – 9:00 am


LES TROYENS:Berlioz
Original Air Date: 02/18/1984
Levine; Norman, Sooter, Monk, Taillon, Plishka, Ahlstedt
MOD Audio SID.19330102
Norman repeated Verrett’s double assumption on this broadcast (Verrett’s was for the opening of the production in 1973 when Ludwig was indisposed–I was there, quite an evening). I rather prefer Norman’s Didon to her Cassandre, but this broadcast now takes its place in MOoD. Enee is close to an impossible part, but Sooter is no worse than Ronald Dowd was in Boston for Caldwell.

ARIADNE AUF NAXOS
Aug 12 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm


ARIADNE AUF NAXOS:Strauss
Original Air Date: 03/20/1993
Marin; Norman, Moser, Swenson, Mentzer, Stewart, Oswald
MOD Audio SID.19330104
For my money Jessye Norman is much better in her two earlier broadcasts (the first with Andrew Davis conducting, the second with Levine and subsequently telecast). Moser is not my preferred Bacchus, but Swenson featuring more of a lyric Zerbinetta (a la Guden) is very fine. This is Norman’s last Ariadne broadcast and in the new production for her. See the 1988 video (which is on DVD from DG) with Troyanos and Battle under Levine. Norman five years earlier under Levine has a sterling broadcast and telecast with King, Troyanos, and Battle.

DAS RHEINGOLD
Aug 12 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm


DAS RHEINGOLD:Wagner
Original Air Date: 02/22/1969
von Karajan; Adam, Reynolds, Stolze, Kelemen, Talvela, Ridderbusch
MOD Audio SID.19330105
One of Karajan’s only 2 broadcasts. This performance is available in MOoD, and if Adam is far from my favorite Wotan, Reynolds, Kelemen and Stolze are wonderful as Fricka, Alberich, and Loge respectively. Reynolds replaced Veasey who was will, and also sing Flosshilde (her originally scheduled role) with Shirley Love picking up the Rhinemaiden in the final scene. Milnes is an excellent Donner. I was in the theatre for this very special performance and still have wonderful memories of it. Karajan’s Met farewell is the following Saturday with the Walkure broadcast.

CARMEN
Aug 12 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm


CARMEN:Bizet
Original Air Date: 03/23/1996
Levine; Graves, Margison, Vallarroel, Leiferkus
SID.19330106
While Levine had done the fall series of performances (which includes Graves’ debut), Fiore did the whole spring series culminating in this broadcast. I double checked against the Archives. Graves was an especially attractive Carmen visually, but musically I felt she played too many of her trumps in the early acts. This is not the cast I would create were I the casting director despite Graves’ considerable physical appeal. I don’t understand the appeal of this performance. Levine is not my favorite Carmen conductor, and this cast does not have much to recommend it.

ORFEO ED EURIDICE
Aug 12 @ 9:00 pm – 11:55 pm


ORFEO ED EURIDICE:Gluck
Original Air Date: 01/09/1971
Bonynge; Bumbry, Tucci, Peters
SID.19330107
Bumbry premiered this final Rolf Gerard designed production complete in Courreges boots. She is in luscious voice for this, but how Gluckian one finds it might leave some of the more scholarly oriented very disappointed. When Mackerras arrived for a revival with Marilyn Horne we were in a different, but not necessarily more successful one. For the record, Gerard was the designer for the Webster Don Carlo, the Alfred Lunt Cosi Fan Tutte, the Peter Brook Faust, the Tyrone Guthrie Carmen, and the Garson Kanin Fledermaus among 20 productions over a 20 year period (only 2 in the 2 house– Romeo and this Orfeo). These productions rank among the great successes of the Bing regime. This is the premiere cast in a Rolf Gerard production (so out of ideas), but Bumbry is in luscious voice, if not your standard issue Orfeo. Why oh why is her effort not in MOoD?

Aug
13
Tue
2019
DON CARLO
Aug 13 @ 12:00 am – 3:00 am

somewhat better performance which is available on MOoD and on Sony Historical CD. [1/6/14]

COSÌ FAN TUTTE
Aug 13 @ 6:00 am – 9:00 am


COSÌ FAN TUTTE:Mozart
Original Air Date: 01/20/1990
Levine; Mims, Hadley, Troyanos, Hampson, Hong, Van Allan
MOD Audio SID.19330209
This performance is notable as Troyanos’ only Met season as Dorabella, and the same holds true for Hampson’s Guglielmo. She has a well regarded RCA recording from 1968 (!!!) very early in her career. I find Levine at his most inspired in Mozart, and especially so in Cosi. It will be his return opera to the Met next season and is scheduled for Live in HD. The ensemble is well drilled. Worth a listen. Updated note : Sirius subscribers have heard Levine’s return in Cosi already with the matinee broadcast and Live in HD to come in March 2014. I thought Levine lived up to his considerable reputation in the fall Cosis.

SIMON BOCCANEGRA
Aug 13 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm


SIMON BOCCANEGRA:Verdi
Original Air Date: 01/30/1965
Cleva; Colzani, Tebaldi, Shirley, Hines, Díaz
SID.19330210
This is Tebaldi’s final Met Amelia, but the Met still has not broadcast her 1961 effort nor the 1974 performance with Wixell as the Doge along with Tucker, Maliponte, Tozzi under Ehrling. For her final outing in this role Tebaldi still brings a lot of her vocal sheen.

MADAMA BUTTERFLY
Aug 13 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm


MADAMA BUTTERFLY:Puccini
Original Air Date: 12/15/1956
Mitropoulos; Albanese, Barioni, Elias, Brownlee, De Paolis
SID.19330211
No one surpasses Farrar’s 139 Cio Cio Sans (!!!!!!), and Dorothy Kirsten makes for a close third behind Albanese with 68, but Licia’s 72 firmly puts her at number 2. Generally I like her Butterfly more than her Violetta, and Mitropoulos gives excellent direction from the pit. Her last Butterfly broadcast is 2 years later under Leinsdorf.

DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN
Aug 13 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm


DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN:Strauss
Original Air Date: 04/01/1978
Böhm; Rysanek, King, Schröder-Feinen, Berry, Dunn
MOD Audio SID.19330212
This is the last of the 4 Bohm broadcasts starting in 1966 all with Rysanek and Berry; 3 of the 4 are with King, but the first three feature Ludwig and Dalis in their parts; Schroder-Feinen and Dunn are first rate presences as well. It is a shame that the 1966 premiere season and 1971 performances which have been on Sirius with some regularity have not made their way to MOoD. The 1969 broadcast is reported in the MetDatabase as having been on Sirius, but according to my records it has not been broadcast in the last four years. as has the 1971 Unfortunately Bohm never came close to the near completeness of his 1955 Decca recording at the Met, and a steady increase of cuts came with each revival. NEVERTHELESS, one could do much worse than hear one of the great Straussian ensembles he held together for over 2 decades in New York. Frau’s best moments are right up there with Ariadne, Elektra, and Rosenkavalier, and the weaker stuff is better than the weaker Rosenkavalier pages.

LE NOZZE DI FIGARO
Aug 13 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm


LE NOZZE DI FIGARO:Mozart
Original Air Date: 01/23/1960
Leinsdorf; Siepi, Söderström, Della Casa, Borg, Miller
MOD Audio SID.19330213
This performance has been on before, and chiefly notable for Siepi’s Figaro and Soderstroem’s Susanna. Soderstroem and Borg had made their debuts when this production premiered a few months before the broadcast with largely the same cast. Leinsdorf is second only to Levine in number of Figaro performances, Della Casa at 47 second only to Steber’s 55 Countesses and of course Siepi’s 79 Figaros, almost twice Pinza’s number and Mildred Miller at 61 holds the Met record for Cherubino. So solid performances all around, not least from relative newcomer Soderstrom as Susanna. There are many fine Figaros today, but I do miss Siepi’s combination of elegance and rich dark sound.

LA JUIVE
Aug 13 @ 9:00 pm – 11:55 pm


LA JUIVE:Halévy
Original Air Date: 12/13/2003
Viotti; Isokoski, Shicoff, Futral, Cutler, Furlanetto
MOD Audio SID.19330214
Viotti died only a year or so after premiering the Juive. He was a real talent, and Shicoff, Isokoski and Furlanetto all bring their considerable talents in a production transferred from Vienna. This is the Met’s first season since the mid 1930s and its only broadcast to date. Some early 1930s operas were broadcast but don’t exist. La Juive was never broadcast until 2003.

Aug
14
Wed
2019
LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN
Aug 14 @ 12:00 am – 3:00 am


LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN:Offenbach
Original Air Date: 02/05/1983
Rudel; Riegel, Devlin, Bradley, Cortez, Malfitano, Catania, Atherton
SID.19330315
This is not an ideal cast, but I have appended James Atherton who does the comic tenor quartet of roles. He was a fine singer lost much too early. This performance catches Malfitano as Antonia early in her career. She went on to do all the heroines. Julius Rudel probably has conducted Hoffmann as much as anyone and he conducted my first Hoffmann with NYCO based cast of Sills, Domingo, Treigle in Philadelphia in 1965. Rudel is second only to Hasselmans (from the 1920s) with 37 Met appearances as conductor. This is not my first choice cast, but Malfitano (Antonia only), Devlin, and Atherton with Troyanos, Morris,and Velis no longer around for the broadcast.

CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA / PAGLIACCI
Aug 14 @ 6:00 am – 9:00 am


CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA / PAGLIACCI:Mascagni / Leoncavallo
Original Air Date: 02/01/1941
Calusio; Roman, Jagel, Warren / Martinelli, Greco, Tibbett
MOD Audio SID.19330316
The star performers on this Cav/Pag are Martinelli and Tibbett, but the remarkable performance is from Stella Roman as Santuzza. She has many excellent broadcasts from the Met in the 1940s, but the only two which have made it to Sirius and MOoD are this Cav/Pag, and a Forza with many of the same singers under Bruno Walter in 1943. There is also a Bjorling Trovatore which has made the rounds of the private market. She’s not a perfect singer, but severely underrated.

Aug
16
Fri
2019
FALSTAFF
Aug 16 @ 8:00 pm – 11:55 pm


FALSTAFF:Verdi
Original Air Date: 03/16/2019
Farnes; Schultz, Pérez, Lemieux, Johnson Cano, Demuro, Maestri, Rodríguez
SID.19330535
Baritone Ambrogio Maestri brings his larger-than-life portrayal of the title role back for the first time since his Met role debut in the 2013–14 season. Robert Carsen’s insightful production—which moves the action to postwar England in the 1950s—features an exceptional cast that includes soprano Ailyn Pérez as Alice Ford and soprano Golda Schultz as Nannetta.

Aug
19
Mon
2019
I PURITANI
Aug 19 @ 6:00 am – 9:00 am


I PURITANI:Bellini
Original Air Date: 03/13/1976
Bonynge; Sutherland, Pavarotti, Milnes, Morris
MOD Audio SID.19340102
Bing delivered a lovely production, and the four principals all were well suited to their roles. This was a big break-out part for Morris and the Suoni la tromba duet with Milnes almost stole the show from Pavarotti and Sutherland. Sutherland is 50 for this performance, and amazingly is back ten years later for another Puritani broadcast. This 1976 is the preferred broadcast and deservingly is on Met Player. It’s just a shame it wasn’t videod as well (the first video of the modern series comes a year later). It is a fitting document to one of the strongest Puritani quartets ever. There is no arguing that Met casting was top tier, and this certainly lifted Morris up from being promising to being major.

KÁT’A KABANOVÁ
Aug 19 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm


KÁT’A KABANOVÁ:Janácek
Original Air Date: 12/25/2004
Belohlávek; Mattila, Forst, Silvasti, Ognovenko, Very, Kozená
SID.19340103
An excellent cast, but I just don’t warm as much to this work as to Jenufa. For these infrequent works, it is important they make their way to MOoD.

DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE
Aug 19 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm


DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE:Mozart
Original Air Date: 01/22/1977
Conlon; Valente, Burrows, Uppman, Shane, Plishka
SID.19340104
This Zauberfloete features old and new performers in a well-balanced performance. The conductor, James Conlon, was in his debut engagement; and the Sarastro, Paul Plishka, was doing his only series in the role (one of his first major roles). The talented Benita Valente was especially noted for her Mozart roles. On the lesser known and underappreciated front, we have a sparkling Rita Shane as the Queen of the Night. Finally, on the veteran front, we have Theodore Uppman, doing the last of his 60 Papagenos at the Met. Maybe most notable for a future Broadway composer Adam Guettel (RRodgers’ grandson) as one of the Genie. All in all, an enjoyable Mozart outing.

LA GIOCONDA
Aug 19 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm


LA GIOCONDA:Ponchielli
Original Air Date: 03/16/1946
Cooper; Milanov, Tucker, Warren, Stevens, Vaghi
SID.19340105
The Met doesn’t reach back into the 1940s often, but La Gioconda is a good opera to do that. This is from Tucker’s debut broadcast (his house debut is in the same role the previous season). Milanov, Tucker, and Warren really show the type of voices necessary for this work. The MOoD from 1953 substitutes Baum for Tucker, but you pick up Barbieri and Siepi. A major Gioconda omission from rebroadcast is the 1959 the only other Gioconda broadcast with Milanov and Tucker together. It also features Merrill and Siepi which is about as potent a male lineup as can be imagined. Sirius, Met, how about a look at 1959, and the addition of this 1946 performance to MOoD.

NORMA
Aug 19 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

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NORMA:Bellini
Original Air Date: 02/17/1973
Cillario; Caballé, Cossotto, Cossutta, Tozzi
MOD Audio SID.19340106
This is from Caballe’s first run at Norma with the reliable Cossotto; they are certainly a team. Cossutta missed the premiere, and this is his debut; he would go on to do 12 more Polliones with Caballe, Galvany, and Verrett and that is his Met career. Tozzi would not be my choice for Oroveso. Norma is one of Caballe’s best roles.

IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA
Aug 19 @ 9:00 pm – 11:55 pm


IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA:Rossini
Original Air Date: 03/09/1963
Strasfogel; Guarrera, D’Angelo, Shirley, Corena, Tozzi
SID.19340107
The only known I will vouch for in advance is Corena, one of his very best roles. Tozzi becomes more variable in this period, so I don’t want to praise a performance I have not recently heard. This performance could be anything from a train wreck to a secret gem. What I am sure about is that it is not the Zedda critical edition (not yet published).

Aug
20
Tue
2019
LULU
Aug 20 @ 12:00 am – 3:00 am


LULU:Berg
Original Air Date: 04/13/1985
Levine; Migenes, Mazura, Lear, Lewis, Foldi
SID.19340208
This performance was also issued in Sony’s Historical series on CD, but strikingly not in the Met Opera on Demand (MOoD) which features a performance from the season before with the same conductor, Figaro, Count, and Cherubino. Della Casa is swapped with Amara and Soderstrom (as Susanna) is swapped with Peters. Siepi is the chief attraction here. His Figaro is represented by 3 other Nozze performances, but strangely his Mephisto only has one streaming representation, but neither Bjorling (1950, 1959) nor a strong cast for his last turn at the microhones in 1969.

THE GAMBLER
Aug 20 @ 6:00 am – 9:00 am


THE GAMBLER:Prokofiev
Original Air Date: 03/31/2001
Gergiev; Galouzine, Guryakova, Alexashkin, Obraztsova
SID.19340209
This is the Met broadcast premiere of this work. Seven years later Galouzine and Gergiev are together again for another broadcast at the Met, but with Diadkova in for Obraztsova. Galouzine has been through a lot of heavy singing in the seven years, so this is overall the best bet for experiencing the Prokofiev. Unfortunately, the MOoD only has the 2008 broadcast. In the theatre with lot of intense visuals, this was a most enjoyable production. Even with audio only Gergiev and Galouzine are still powerhouses.

I VESPRI SICILIANI
Aug 20 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm


I VESPRI SICILIANI:Verdi
Original Air Date: 03/09/1974
Levine; Caballé, Gedda, Milnes, Díaz
MOD Audio SID.19340210
This is a performance where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If Caballe does not have every note in place, she is still very near the top of her considerable form, and the ensemble reflects the new production intensity and first appearance of a major Verdi opera in the Met repertory. Gedda has the most performances of Arrigo, the challenging tenor role. Tucker was scheduled for a run (including broadcast) the year he died, but none of the hearty tenors of the past had the right timing– no Corelli, Bergonzi, and only five for Domingo, and he was gone. This performance is available in Met Opera on Demand (MOoD) and is a strong performance.

MANON
Aug 20 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm


MANON:Massenet
Original Air Date: 12/18/1954
Monteux; de los Angeles, Valletti, Corena
SID.19340211
This performance is notable for the special qualities of Monteux , de Los Angeles, and Valletti, a performance to treasure. Once again I will put in a plea for the December 1959 broadcast with de Los Angeles and Gedda under Jean Morel, which has not been heard on Sirius at all.This performance is notable for the special qualities of Monteux , de Los Angeles, and Valletti, a performance to treasure. Once again I will put in a plea for the December 1959 broadcast with de Los Angeles and Gedda under Jean Morel, which has not been heard on Sirius at all.

IL TROVATORE
Aug 20 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm


IL TROVATORE:Verdi
Original Air Date: 02/18/1967
Molinari-Pradelli; Tucker, Arroyo, Cvejic, Merrill, Michalski
SID.19340212
This is a pretty standard Met Trovatore cast, though Juntwait in her introduction indicates it was the only time Arroyo, Tucker, and Merrill were on the airwaves together; Cvejic did not make much of an impression as Azucena. Paul Jackson is pretty hard this performance, primarily because of Molinari-Pradelli, and I don’t disagree. Mediocre conducting and a faceless Azucena adds up to less than zero Trovatore. Tucker and Merrill are very much up to the music after more than two decades before the footlights. Arroyo was a solid Leonora, but for me this is the great Verdi soprano role. In terms of music, possibly even more interesting than Violetta (both written so closely together).

DON PASQUALE
Aug 20 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm


DON PASQUALE:Donizetti
Original Air Date: 12/05/1970
Franci; Corena, Grist, Kraus, Krause
MOD Audio SID.19340213
This is a fine performance, but I would love to hear Corena from 1956 with Peters and Valletti in Schippers debut season. I also notice Pinza did a broadcast in 1935 which I think does not survive. Love to hear Pinza and Donizetti, though for the patter duet Corena is absolutely the last word, closely followed by Baccaloni. Corena’s 1965 broadcast with Peters has been on Sirius and is on MOoD, but that’s with Alva, not Valletti.

DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER
Aug 20 @ 9:00 pm – 11:55 pm


DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER:Wagner
Original Air Date: 02/16/1963
Böhm; London, Rysanek, Kónya, Tozzi
MOD Audio SID.19340214
This is a legendary partnership of Bohm with London and Rysanek. Bohm and Rysanek are together for two later broadcasts in 1965 with David Ward, and 1970 with William Dooley. This 1963 broadcast was swapped with Ariadne two weeks earlier when the Hollander cast could not be assembled. That swap denied the broadcast audience the chance to hear Della Casa’s Ariadne. There is no Senta like Rysanek. Rysanek and London are certainly a remarkable pair, and the applause for their Act 2 duet (in the 3 act version) regularly seemed unending. The Met Hollander premiere three years earlier with Rysanek and London was with Schippers. There is nothing like the finale. Tthis performance is on Met Player, and is far more thrilling than the studio performance with much the same cast under Dorati.

Aug
21
Wed
2019
TOSCA
Aug 21 @ 12:00 am – 3:00 am


TOSCA:Puccini
Original Air Date: 03/20/1999
Santi; Vaness, Pavarotti, Morris
MOD Audio SID.19340315
This is Pavarotti’s fifth and final Cavaradossi broadcast. I always find his voice a tad light for the role, but no one exceeds him in his honeyed delivery of the text. Vaness is a low wattage Tosca. Available on MOoD there is a 1995 performance of the Pav with Holleque and Pons. Best of all, at least for him is the 1978 telecast (on MOoD) and DVD with Verrett and MacNeil under Conlon.

FALSTAFF
Aug 21 @ 6:00 am – 9:00 am


FALSTAFF:Verdi
Original Air Date: 02/03/1996
Levine; Plishka, Daniels, Quilico, Horne, Bonney, Groves
MOD Audio SID.19340316
Levine, Plishka, Bonney, and Horne are all in the 1992 revival which is on MOoD, but with Freni for Daniels, and Bruno Pola for Quilico. My experience with almost all of the Falstaff casting in the Levine era is OK, but not really an ensemble. We still keep having the Bernstein performance overlooked (LB’s only other Met broadcast beside Cavalleria) from 1964. The bad luck continues with Rosenstock’s conducting from 1965 and Amaducci’s conducting fom 1967. The Dohnanyi performance from 1972 features Gobbi in one of HIS two Met broadcasts (the other is Otello, no Scarpia on the Met airwaves alas) with Tebaldi, Resnik, Paskalis in sterling support. This should be in MOoD.