Well, that’s weird.

I learned something yesterday. I was talking with my friend R and we were reminiscing about our glory days in graduate school. One time, in December of 2008, we took a trip to the Met to see Don Giovanni. Neither of us were paying much attention to the cast list; we just wanted to hear the opera.

What I remembered most about the performance at the time was “mi tradì” – I still recall thinking, as the aria ended, “oh, now I get what that’s about!”

So after talking with R briefly about this among other things, I went and looked up who had been singing Donna Elvira at the Met in December of 2008 – and on learning who it was, I wasn’t sure whether to smack myself on the forehead or laugh, so I did both. I guess Der Rosenkavalier wasn’t the first time I heard Dorothea Röschmann live after all!

16 thoughts on “Well, that’s weird.

  1. Funny how that happens. I’ve not had that happen with anyone who wasalready famous but there have been a couple of occasions when I realized, much later, that I heard someone really famous before they were really famous.

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    1. I was a little oblivious at the time to who was famous and who wasn’t – it took me a surprisingly long time to get really interested in who was singing as well as what was being sung.

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      1. I think that’s probably not unusual. Apart from a handful of the really obvious there aren’t that many singers who would be well known if they turned up in a house they hadn’t sung in before.

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    2. I keep thinking I should get to more Washington National Opera performances for that very reason. to hear them before they’re too famous to appear there.

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        1. I think WNO is rather like COC or indeed most good opera houses, bar a handful like the Met, ROH, Salzburg. Most of the singers are not household names. There’s the occasional international star and there are usually several very good singers who are regulars in that house. Sometimes the two sort of overlap. Russell Braun, Michael Schade and Adrienne Pieczonka are pretty much fixtures in Toronto for example. But most of the major roles, in most of the productions, go to people who are thoroughly competent but not on the A list. I’m thinking the likes of Jane Archibald, Julie Makerov, David Pomeroy, Brett Polegato, Kyle Ketelsen. Then there are the youngsters who may be headed for greatness. Seeing Simone Osborne and David Lomeli sing together last season was one of those “a star is born” moments.

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            1. New York is unique. Even London and Milan don’t get the big names as often. I think one of the problems with the North American opera scene is that people always compare to the Met. Which is a bit like congress critters who think that $500,000 p.a. is a normal middle class income.

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              1. And constant comparison with the Met tends not to do justice to the potential effect on listeners of singers/opera houses/directors who are not big stars. One of my most memorable opera experiences ever was as a student in Boston, the first time I saw Don Carlos – none of the singers were household names, but it was still a transformative experience for me.

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                1. I know! God, I remember leaving the Four Seasons Centre after a Tosca one night hearing someone dismissing the singing as “the best you are going to hear in Toronto”. Adrienne Pieczonka and Mark Delavan!

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        2. We do get some, but it tends to be that they sing here, and next year they are suddenly hot. Or it’s a weird opera: Domingo sang (natch, he runs the place) but in one of Gluck’s Iphegenia operas. Maybe they put him in that opera to get people to show up, but I wasn’t biting back then. Sondra Radvanovsky was her last fall and we are expecting Patricia Racette in the spring. Ildar Abdrazakov was Don Giovanni this season. Right after his performances here, I started seeing his name in other places. So we DO get the names, but i think the conversation below hits the point, which is we are spoiled by the Met and expect all our opera singers to be superstars!

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  2. That’s similar, though not quite the same to me: After realizing I really liked her, I discovered I already had (for other reasons) several Röschmann recordings in my library.

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  3. How odd is that? Dorothea, in my opinion, was born to sing Mozart, I’ve never seen someone make such a connection with that repertoire. You’re so lucky to have been able to see her live!

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    1. I agree – she is one of the best singers of Mozart out there. (I’ve never seen/heard another Vitellia that can quite match hers!) I’m glad to have heard her in Don Giovanni, even if I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time.

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