Adventures in Discworld

 Let’s check in with the world of mechanical reproduction for a second.

René Pape has a new Wagner CD! Daniel Barenboim conducts the Staatskapelle Berlin and Pape sings Wotan, Gurnemanz, Hans Sachs, etc. and… Wolfram? Just the Abendstern. With a guest appearance by Placido Domingo, who is not quite competing with Pape for roles yet, but sings Parsifal.

Tune into Oe1 on Saturday night to hear (but not see) Anna Netrebko’s much-anticipated role debut as Anna Bolena live from the Wiener Staatsoper. I will be busy at the time, at the Staatsoper, seeing Anna Netrebko’s role debut as Anna Bolena. The second performance, on Tuesday, April 5, will be broadcast on ORF and Arte TV and in movie theaters. In typically useless fashion, the Staatsoper website mentions the cinema broadcast but has no information at all about where it is happening, so check your proverbial local listings. It’s all over Europe but I don’t think it’s happening anywhere in the US. The production, as seen above (Elina Garanca as Jane Seymour–more flattering than the one available picture of Trebs), seems to be that old favorite, Goth Tudors in Space.

The Bayerische Staatsoper’s Rusalka directed by Martin Kusej that I just wrote about will be out on DVD in May, according to leading lady Kristine Opolais’s website. Watch it! It’s really good! And try to ignore the dreadful font choice on the cover.

 Do you think Tosca needs more red velvet chairs and women with severe hairdos (this time Emily Magee)? Then this new DVD of a Zurich Robert Carsen production is for you. (I have not seen it, I’m just extrapolating based on about every other Carsen production I’ve seen.) Bonus: Jonas Kaufmann as Cavaradossi. Wild card: Thomas Hampson as Scarpia?! At least they got the font on the cover right.

Soprano of the Future Mojca Erdmann has a Mozart and co. CD. (And she is doing her best “doe-eyed maiden” look on the cover.) I have not heard this lady yet, but she has a big-label contract, and those are rare, so I assume she’s on the upswing. You need another Mozart aria CD, right? Well, there’s Salieri and Paisiello and stuff too, so good on you for that at least, Mojca Erdmann.

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  1. Does she sound good? This isn't a Danielle de Niese-type record contract, is it? (I mean, De Niese is competent but when CDs are so sparse there are many other people who should be getting them before her, yet De Niese has lots of CDs.) The thought DID cross my mind, but it still seemed like someone newish getting a big contract at all was rare enough to be news…

    Erdmann's name is all over Met Futures so I guess I will be hearing a lot of her soon. So I hope she's good.

  2. I thought she was a bit harsh at the top end in Entfuhrung but she can sing and she's a good actress. Here's a clip of "Ach, ich fuhls"

  3. I saw Erdmann in Salburg last year in the world premiere of Rhim's "Dionysus." I thought she was great there both in the acting and vocal departments and am very eager to see her sing again. Of course as is often the case, given that it was a new piece of music, it's somewhat more difficult to get a sense of her vocal capabilities overall. But I for one am very excited to hear the new recording (and the Pape and Rusalka as well.)

  4. Zerb,

    Best Tosca I've seen – slightly better than last year's at the Met. You're absolutely right about the chairs which make for some clumsy moments in the 1st Act and the production seemed contrived as presented in the program but, chairs aside, the personenreggie was very good, the production looked great and the performances by the principles were beautifully acted and sung (Hampson sounded as good as I've heard him in the last 5 years though he was by far the weakest vocalist in the cast). Jonas was great but actually better last year at the Met, Magge by far my favorite Tosca, Corigniani OK though not really comparable to Luisi. In general a very strong recommendation but there is some related YouTubery so you can judge for yourself.

    Agree adamantly re DeNiese and am also dubious about Erdmann.

    The Pape CD looks great though the "Abendstern" does seem a bit of a stretch.

  5. I would actually buy the Erdmann CD and try to give y'all a review of it, there does seem to be interest, if CDs didn't cost so much here (usually 3-4 Euros more than in Germany, even). Sigh. Maybe the library will get it. I will probably buy the Pape, though, because I'm pretty sure I will like it.

    Marciallac, Carsenstühle!!! It's like at college where certain costumes and props show up in production after production, but that's just because the stock is limited, not because it's a random trademark. Will look it up on YouTube.

  6. Zerbinetta, wise up and buy CDs online at Amazon.Co.Uk. The poor ole sterling is no longer so sterling, so it's about 1-1:15 to the Euro. They'll deliver it to Austria as well. Consolidate a few other items and you might even get a free delivery :-))! Alternatively, wait for your love-struck friends to buy them first, then borrow them!

  7. Zerbi, for crying out loud. Go to the DG site and find the right media person and ask them to send you a review copy. You don't mean to tell me that you actually bought the DVDs you reviewed on LI?

    Most labels are now comp-ing alternative media. They do it on a case-by-case basis, but they do it. They would look at the blog, see if it's 'legit' and has a little bit of traffic, and then happily comp. In case you don't hear from a media contact, either they're not doing their job or your email went into their Quarantine folder. It's then and only then that you go and buy a CD.