« We Interrupt This Ballet to Bring You... | Main | Tucker Gala 2008 »



I must come to Diana Damrau's defense as Zerbinetta. While I understand what Philip is referring to - as far as her giggling and such - I just need to say it did not bother me at all. I really liked her performance!

I've listened to a few broadcasts of this "Lucia" and Damrau doesn't bother me as she does Philip. I don't find the voice ugly or edgy. (Let's remember the first "Lucia" recording I heard was Callas - and I almost stopped listening to opera altogether. Talk about ugly and edgy. But I digress...) Beczala sounds fantastic and the final scene is a voice-killer.

The intermissions in this "Lucia" are interminable every night. Especially the second one. It probably lasts 40+ minutes. I realize everybody wants a big show, and directors and designers love to show off. But I think every production team, along with the technical director, and the house manager must draw a line somewhere. If a set can't be loaded on to the stage in 30 minutes or less - think about simplifying something. The Met's new "Il Trittico" is also becoming notorious for being too big to handle. A few performances had to start up to 30 minutes late because the stagehands (through no fault of their own, I'm sure) weren't able to set everything up on time. I don't think 4000 people are so anxious to see SOMETHING BIG that they're willing to wait around an extra half hour every night, after a long day at work (for most.) Give us a friggin' break!


The first Callas recording I ever bought was a Verdi aria LP. I was about 13 years old and I brought it home and put it on the turntable expecting to have a near-religious experience. I hated it and stopped mid-way thru the second aria. It took me a while to come to appreciate Callas and it was mainly via the live recordings. I never became a fan, and I only have a couple of the commercial recordings.

George R. Weinhouse MD

I agree. The composer and librettist have done all the work for the director. I wish directors would leave their hands off these masterpieces and let them breathe. I would much rather have a concert performance of an opera, with fantastic singers, than some director's misguided version that actually distracts from what one comes to the opera house for in the first place: the music.


Yes, if only opera houses would simply believe in the operas they are offering and then cast them well!


as you stated Philip you do not like Damrau so why both to review this opera ???I can never understand the critic who for want of a better word critiques someone or something they already have a preconcieved attitude to .We cannot like all singers it is humanly impossible but try to be objective next time without the long ditribe of subjectivity that you allow to take over your reviews.I find that the older versions of this opera are no different than todays they all have areas that are not complimentary to the opera itself or the singers.Damrau is noted as being a person who does her homework on her characters and yes some may be too much for your tastes but her voice has never been in doubt.This world has become so "perfect"that any shade of error is pounced on like a lion on limping prey.As the technology available to the music and recording world increases we find it more and more difficult to listen and enjoy live performances,so please learn to enjoy without being so picky.I take my hat off to anyone who can get up and sing and act for my pleasure night after night .Long may such singers be available to to us mortals in the gods.


I'm not a critic but an observer. This is my blog: I pay for it and I pay for my tickets to the opera. I will write what I feel, and you are not obligated to agree with it. Or even to read it.

As for learning "to enjoy and be less picky", after forty-five years of listening to opera and spending a fortune attending performances, I will be as picky as I feel like being.

As with all singers, Damrau has people who like her and people who don't find her all that stupendous. If you re-read my entry you will note that I thought she was much better in the Mad Scene than earlier in the opera.

I always go to the opera with an open mind, and even if a singer has previously not impressed me I will be the first to admit if he/she changes my mind. This has happened more than once for me over the years, notably with Dame Gwyneth Jones and the basso Jan-Hendrik Rootering. I'm hoping that I will eventually hear Damrau give a performance that will make me appreciate her.

I will leave your comment here even though it is full of typographical errors.

Finally, I wonder: how would one go about writing an "objective" report on an opera performance?

I'm closing the comments; I don't have time to bicker.

The comments to this entry are closed.