Friday, March 15, 2013

Maestros & Divas. Still.

Sir Antonio Pappano's rant on diva cancellations, 13 March 2013--"this generation of singers [is] weaker in their bodies or don't care. I don't know what it is"--has naturally prompted a flurry of retorts. From the Metropolitan Opera, Fabio Luisi, managed to say roughly the same thing: "Most singers ... are simply too young, not prepared enough, with technical problems and then get the wrong roles. ... They start to cancel--and then they disappear." Singers were not long in responding.

Slipped Disc posts:
The Maestro and the Diva is an old, old story. Humphrey Burton so titled a move with Georg Solti and Kiri Te Kanawa (1990; Sony videotape, 1992). At a Music Critics Association conference on the question in San Francisco in 1995, the conversation turned to the practice of stand-ins for divas at the rehearsals. "How many rehearsals must the star come to?" asked a participant. Sir Charles Mackerras was heard to respond: "Well, if it's Te Kanawa and Der Rosenkavalier" (as it would be that night) "I'd just as soon do it on no rehearsals."

On the musicology of Divas, don't miss the prize-winning book by Philip Gossett: Divas and Scholars: Performing Italian Opera (University of Chicago Press, 2008).

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