Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Always happy to eat my words

Well, alright then: Andrea Gruber is singing a pretty high quality Tosca right now. Seriously. Didn't think she had it in her.

Cura doesn't so much have a great Cavaradossi in him, I'm going to hastily surmise.

ETA: um, Vissi ended in tears, but it always seems to these days. Voigt tripped on it, as did Millo. It's (obviously) a hard sing. I'm still pleased with the overall performance.

And then I'm going to take it back about Cura, too. Sounds like a real voice. Someone care to report on the loudness factor?

20 comments:

OperaGuyNY said...

Agreed. Except for the b-flat. It's pretty damn good.

Anonymous said...

Gruber a high quality Tosca? I;d hate to hear a low quality one. If this is your idea of a viable performance, I feel sorry for you.

Maury D'annato said...

I'm not really in need of anonymous pity just now. Run along and read someone you agree with. Sheesh, I expect people to disagree with me but condescension, well...I don't need the hits.

For the record, I didn't say she was Callas. I do think, on the evidence of the broadcast she's a better Tosca than Voigt (who I love) or Millo (um, figure it out) and I'm guessing better than Guleghina at this stage of the game. Those are the only Toscas of recent seasons I can call to mind. During a fish shortage, say the Russians in a really peculiar turn of phrase, even a crab is a fish. She sang some good, she sang some bad. Facts of life, bub. When the next Ljuba Welitsch steps up, I'll revise my list.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but you said she's a "pretty high quality Tosca". Being better than Millo, Voigt or Guleghina at this stage of the game is to be condemned by faint praise.

If you can't deal with people not agreeing with you, don't blog. Or close your blog to outside comments. To dismiss other people's opinions because they don't coincide with your's doesn't work. If you thought she was a high quality Tosca, explain why. If you thought she was the lesser of four evils then that's a different matter altogether.

Don't worry, I won't darken your door anymore. I used to think you were pretty perceptive about voices but not any more.

PietB said...

Always interesting to read comments from people hiding behind anonymity. Makes me think they really believe in what they're doing -- I mean, that's really stand-up, isn't it?

Chalkenteros said...

DAAAMN!

Maury, what did you do to this guy?!

Maury D'annato said...

anonymous: I was pretty specific about the fact that it's not disagreement that bothers me. Comments like "I feel sorry for you", especially when posted anonymously--those bother me. I don't disable comments because I delight in most of them whether I agree with the poster or not. But if they're sniveling, anonymous swipes I'm pretty likely to swipe back. Happy trails, pal.

OperaGuyNY said...

Maury: take your left hand, outstretch your thumb and forefinger, then do the same with the right. Put the tips of your thumbs together, cock your head and say "what-ever."
I really enjoyed last night, yep Andrea had some off moments, but let's all remember this was her first Tosca EVER, give the girl a break. I'm personally thrilled that she rose to the occasion and delivered, can't wait to see how this role grows on her.
After hearing SO MUCH criticism about her in the past, her awful Aida, her sketchy wide vibrato, her unsecure top, blah, blah, blah... With the obvious exception of the Vissi D'arte I didn't hear any of that. Her voice was focused, intense and passionate with a greater sense of Italianite phrasing than I've heard from her in a while.
Brava!

Maury D'annato said...

Yeah, the Aida was terrible. That was part of why I found last night encouraging. It's funny I'm having a little flame war a deux over defending her, since I came into the broadcast with a nasty attitude and am kind of tired of hearing continuously about how she's in recovery, but honestly on the strength of Act II (all I heard) if I weren't so tired of Tosca, I'd certainly go catch one in the house.

Winpal said...

During a fish shortage, say the Russians in a really peculiar turn of phrase, even a crab is a fish.

This is why I love your blog.

Gruber sang a surprisingly good Santuzza two years ago at SFO. Then last year she delivered a Forza Leonora that was an insult to Dungeness everywhere. It's a crap shoot with her.

Maury D'annato said...

Upon reading the dungeness remark, I nigh upon spit out my drink.

saneoperalover said...

Why do so many of you operas "lovers" - seem to hate the majority of opera singers performing today? Sure - some are better than others - but I respect them all.

Maury D'annato said...

sane: not sure if that was aimed my way. I do try to avoid the trap of being defined by what I disdain. If I really dislike someone's singing, I say so, but in the majority of cases I hope I'm diplomatic and keep things in perspective.

Winpal said...

Andrea Gruber, please turn out the lights when you leave......

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/11/03/MNGCEM5H4P1.DTL&type=science

saneloveralover said...

No- Maury - my remark was aimed at you. But on most opera blogs - too many people spend so much time making hash of so many singers - gets me down on occasion

Mark said...

I saw Gruber as Abagaille in SF like 8 years ago or so. She was really good. I could tell she was on. She was particularly nice in one of concertati that conclude one of the acts [can't remember which]. Verdi has written a lot of jagged dotted rhythms for A in that section that go up and down the range and Gruber prowled the stage and pegged them with rich assertive tone high and low-- it's the kind of moment you wait for in opera. I will always be interested in seeing her because I know that there is a real possibility that she will deliver the dramatic soprano goods. And them particular goods these days are not often given up to us starving fans. We have a soprano down here in NZ-- Margaret Medlyn (sic? too lazy to look it up) who is clearly intelligent and has a good voice. I have seen her in that Elgar song cycle (what IS it called? sigh) and as Kundry and she will be giving us her Turandot next year. All this is not exactly bad but,let it be said, she is forcing it. The voice is not that big; it is not able to compass the size of these roles that she is taking on. Reminds me of Marilyn Zschau as Brunhilde in Seattle in 1995--- it was so, like, no. Similar story with Van Ness' at best adequate forays into Verdi. Elena was not bad in SF but her Masked Ball Amelia was just terrible. Her voice was not made for that. And let me tell you there are few singers who have given me as much pleasure as Van Ness actually. What wonderful Mozart (her Elettra just burned the War Memorial down with the final aria--- loads of temperament and such wonderful singing!) and a nicely imperious and poetic Mathilde (W. Tell).

JSU said...

Guleghina's still got a lot of voice left. I meant to mention that in a post about Cav...

rysanekfreak said...

I find the current Met "Tosca"s to be difficult listening. All three stars seem to be in very bad vocal estate. I actually want Scarpia to be killed off in Act One.

I don't think I would walk across the street with a free ticket to attend these performances.

Anonymous said...

Andrea Gruber was awful in Tosca on 11/22. I'm just happy to find a blog where I can post a notice to anyone else wanting to experience superior opera in the US and find it comes up very disappointing.

Maury D'annato said...

Knock yourself out, anonymous, as long as you don't pull attitude with me. ;) See above.