Don Opeatico's "Reviews" 



            Date: February 22, 2001 11:05 PM

            Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

            Subject: Bad news


            It stank. The singers stank, the conducting stank, the quiz stank,

            the audience stank, all the posts on the b'cast stank, the prima

            donna's perfume stank ...



              Date: February 23, 2001 12:28 AM

              Author: Jennifer Anderson

              Subject: Così b'cast


              Sounds like the guy I sat next to at the ballet.



              Date: February 24, 2001 04:38 PM

              Author: Linda Cantor

              Subject: Così b'cast


              Now that your question was used, it makes your post even funnier.

              I loved it. The opera isn't over yet, and the 'critics' are

              starting already.




            Date: February 26, 2001 08:36 PM

            Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

            Subject: Manon b'cast


            I listened to the Manon b'cast while operating a pneumatic drill,

            but the performance was so bad I turned it off after 30 seconds.

            They shouldn't do Manon till they get the singers who can sing it.

            Actually, there should just be a moratorium on opera till we get the

            singers who can sing it. Meanwhile, we can listen to rap or




              Date: February 27, 2001 10:57 AM

              Author: Odeen

              Subject: Manon b'cast


              Hear hear! Or is it here here? Why can't English be like all

              normal languages and not have words that sound exactly the same,

              but have different meanings and different spellings? There their

              anyone? Sheesh. Moving on..."Manon" was crap. What are they




            Date: March 04, 2001 09:45 PM

            Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

            Subject: Zauberfloete: Almost bearable


            This broadcast was almost bearable, except that Mary Dunleavy's Fs

            in altissimo (or whatever) were one 128th note flat. Sheesh, I sing

            Fs in altissimo all the time, and I'm a baritone! (A baritone

            practically untrained, at that.) Speaking of baritones, Keanlyside

            was good -- but why should I be satisfied with "good"? Is not an

            absolutely flawless performance my birthright? AND he didn't hold a

            candle to Schikaneder's performance (although Schikaneder did go off

            pitch once). The less said about whoever the blazes sang Tamino, the

            better. As for the Sarastro, when he came on I just had to turn off

            the radio and visit my favorite medium for a séance, so I could hear

            some *real* singing. Sylvia McNair's Pamina was pretty, but I was

            longing for a REAL singer (a Nooedl or a Millabout) to just belt it

            out. Cleavage is not enough, Sylvia (and yes, I could see it through

            the radio waves with my extra-sensory perception). Opera is Noise!



              Date: March 05, 2001 07:54 AM

              Author: Wendell Eatherly

              Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


              > Cleavage is not

              > enough, Sylvia (and yes, I could see it through

              > the radio waves with my extra-sensory

              > perception)!


              But what I don't understand is why was McNair made to look like

              Hei-Kyung Hong? Were there any notes from the Director in the

              program to explain that?



                Date: March 06, 2001 08:07 PM

                Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

                Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


                It has to do with othering the self, or something 



              Date: March 05, 2001 09:27 AM

              Author: Alan Bromberg

              Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


              Don O., your advance reviews are as perceptive as they are

              helpful. May we have the word on the rest of the season's

              broadcasts so I can plan which Saturday afternoons I can find

              something else to do?



                Date: March 05, 2001 09:36 AM

                Author: JUDSON

                Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


                Skip the ARIADNE, Alan. The sopranos will not be nearly so good

                as the sopranos who sang the last broadcast.



                  Date: March 05, 2001 10:15 AM

                  Author: Alan Bromberg

                  Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


                  Thanks for the tip. I'll be out of the country and would have

                  missed that one anyway, but now I won't feel so bad about it

                  (although I really would love to hear Dessay's Zerbinetta).



                    Date: March 06, 2001 08:09 PM

                    Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

                    Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


                    The Lulu will be good; the Boheme will, of course, stink;

                    the spirits I've been channelling lately aren't giving me

                    any more info at the moment.



                      Date: March 06, 2001 10:24 PM

                      Author: Becca

                      Subject: Così b'cast


                      We're waiting for the spirits to tell you about NEXT




                        Date: March 07, 2001 08:24 PM

                        Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

                        Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


                        The spirits charge extra for that; but the signs look

                        pretty ominous. I see a blind tenor singing in a

                        production sponsored by Phillip Morris. If you would

                        know more, you must cross my palm with silver.



                          Date: March 08, 2001 09:24 AM

                          Author: Vincenzo

                          Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


                          Phillip Morris? Well then, the opera must be Il

                          Segreto di Susanna!  



                            Date: March 08, 2001 08:54 PM

                            Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

                            Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


                            With Bocelli as the Count (or whatever; the husband

                            guy)? Thought that was a baritone role; but since

                            Bocelli isn't really an opera singer, it makes

                            little difference ...

                            Actually, it could also be Carmen (see Tenors,

                            Tantrums and Trills).



            Date: March 05, 2001 04:14 PM

            Author: Linda Cantor

            Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


            Please keep this up, guys. I love it. And your advance criticisms

            are as good as the actual ones that are posted. At least you have a

            sense of humor, which is more than I can say for some others. gggg




              Date: March 06, 2001 08:10 PM

              Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

              Subject: Zauberfloete b’cast


              What sense of humor? I am in deadly earnest.



            Date: March 05, 2001 04:31 PM

            Author: a tenor in Holland

            Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


        Amen.....I'll have to miss the ZauberflÌoete, unfortunate for me since it 

        is one of my all-time favourite operas....period. The advance review 

        does help ease the pain a little bit and helps  convince me that I won't 

        be missing any great event.

        Doe-doei ...............................................................TiH




              Date: March 06, 2001 08:11 PM

              Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

              Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


              Skip the entire season and time-travel.



                Date: March 07, 2001 11:28 AM

                Author: Odeen

                Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


                I'm sure those who get through "Lulu" will think it good, though

                Schafer is no Stratas, let me tell you. The rest, as Don O says,

                is pretty lame. I thought "Ariadne" would be good, but who are

                these ladies kidding? They were decent the last time around

                (when, of course, they did not get a broadcast), but now they're

                all wobbles, not to mention boring and shrill. I can't believe

                Domingo will be singing Parsifal again in a few years. Judging

                by his singing on the broadcast he needs to start singing 3rd

                Squire instead. Who is this awful Russian mezzo...Violeta

                Urmana? Violent Crap-ana, is more like it. Why don't these

                people go back to the cave they crawled out of and shut the iron

                curtain? And as far as "Boheme" goes...until they get singers

                capable of singing this thing we should retire this tired little

                opera. The production is awful (what was that endless rustling

                all through Act III?); the soprano was great just a few short

                years ago, but now she sounds like she's 90 and has gained 4000

                pounds. The tenor sounds like he's really starving. Talk about

                "method acting." I hope this Musetta pulled a Wellitsch, because

                there was certainly nothing to listen to there. Well, lots of

                screaming and hooting, but you can't get far sounding like that.

               (At least not if I ran the Met.) "Zauberfloete" only featured 

                one good singer: Kurt Moll. Everyone else should have been

                placed under that huge kettle from the "Macbeth" production and

                then crushed under it. Until we clone Wunderlich, Janowitz,   

                Peters, and Fischer-Dieskau, lock every score of this opera in a

                vault in Gringotts and let no one touch it because Mozart has

                been spinning in his grave so much that he'll be coming out in

                China any moment now. Tony Soprano should order a hit on Joseph

                Volpe for the atrocities he has inflicted on us this past

                broadcast season. I'm calling Texaco right now and telling them

                to stop paying for these broadcasts. They should just broadcast

                old recordings from now on. Recordings from a time when people

                knew how to sing. Sing! Remember singing??? Where is that arc

                Beverly organized? I'm hijacking it and leaving you all to

                suffer with these &^$F#F& broadcasts which, if I paid for them,

                would cost me a lot of money.



                  Date: March 07, 2001 02:00 PM

                  Author: a tenor in Holland

                  Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


                  Whew! Feel any better now, m'dear?

                  *ducking & covering*





                  Date: March 07, 2001 08:28 PM

                  Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

                  Subject: Zauberfloete b'cast


                  Stay tuned to this spot, where, once a week, we will be

                  giving you the real slim shady on precisely in what ways each

                  b'cast will stink.


                  The last really good singer was Florence Foster Jenkins.




            Date: March 10, 2001 09:34 PM

            Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

            Subject: Beastly Boheme b'cast 3/17/01


            This was the most outrageous insult of a broadcast I have had the

            misfortune to experience. I have e-mailed Volpe personally to

            complain. But I will give credit where credit is due and admit that

            Miriam Gauci's E# in bar 327 was bearable, but otherwise, she was

            simply incapable of producing anything that one could, with all the

            charity in the world, call a note. Lopardo shrieked his entire part

            in an unrelenting forte, turning "Che gelida manina" into a rather

            off-key "Di quella pira." Finley could easily have been a deaf-mute;

            in the words of the old song, "O That It Were So." The only thing

            more annoying than barely audible singing is barely audible barking.

            As for Ainhoa Arteta's Musetta, she bleated, wobbled, gagged, and

            vomited her way through the role with nary an indication of even a

            passing familiarity with the score. Bernstein (Colline) and

            Patriarco (Schaunard) gave a new meaning to the phrase "green eggs

            and ham." The production stank too, as was evident from the thumping

            sounds in Act II, scene 2. And what the blazes was wrong with the

            audience who kept laughing at this appalling shtick and even

            applauding it? During the risibly (if it were not rather shamefully)

            long curtain calls, I lost patience and started yelling at the

            radio, "Stop applauding, you idiots!!!!!!!" (and would that I had

            had an amplification system to yell it at the audience). To be able

            to yell that from the comfort of my home, and be heard, would be a

            deeply satisfying experience.


            Mosher was a bovine Parpignol, Thomas Hammons a ditzy Benoindoro,

            Richard Pearson a glutinous Sergeant, Garth Dawson an unspeakably

            smarmy Customs Officer.


            By the way, what was wrong with the quiz contestants? How could

            these self-important ignoramuses have failed to identify 17 sopranos

            singing a demisemiquaver "ah" in high F? I knew without even

            listening that they were Nilsson, Tetrazzini, Tebaldi, Callas,

            Milanov, Battle, Racette, Giordani, Streisand, Arteta, Bush,

            Clinton, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail (Bernheimer should at least have

            been able to get those), Xena the Warrior Princess, and Charlotte

            Church respectively. Pitiful!!


            I almost forgot to mention what a crummy overrated composer Puccini

            is -- what disgusting schlock! What is wrong with these so-called

            composers anyway? Are we not all sick of Rossini's

            spaghetti-and-meatballs stuffola, Mozart's powdered-wig confections,

            and Verdi's UPN sensationalism?



              Date: March 12, 2001 07:31 AM

              Author: Alan Bromberg

              Subject: Beastly Boheme


              Other than that, how did you like the performance?



                Date: March 12, 2001 09:43 PM

                Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

                Subject: Beastly Boheme


                Apart from that, it was great!




            Date: March 20, 2001 02:20 AM

            Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

            Subject:    TWO NAUSEATING NABUCCHI (3/20/01 and 3/24/01)


 I made the mistake of attending the March 20 Nabucco, and have to regretfully report 

that my foray into live opera was a failure.   There are, in fact, no more performances 

worth attending, and they   should just fire all opera singers, cancel all performances, and                

close down the voice departments in all the conservatories until  they get people who can sing. 

This will not happen in our lifetime.


 Maria Guleghina’s adorers, who would not recognize a flat note if   one screamed in their ear, will 

no doubt be disappointed to learn that several of the so-called singer’s flat notes DID indeed scream  

their way into the ears of all and sundry. I don’t know whether  these applauding imbeciles were

merely stupid, or whether they were  also masochists. All I know is that in the Golden Age, such an   

appalling performance would have been laughed off the stage of any  elementary school auditorium.

Pons was non-entity. He did not exist.  Title role schmitle role, I saying. I can’t remember the names

of  the other singers, but they didn’t exist either. As for “Va, pensiero,”  yes it was encored. Rumor has

it that one of the choristers has been bribing Levine to continue these insults to  artistic integrity. But

as I was saying, I’ve never understood why  such a big deal is made of this little organ-grinder piece.

I got bored to death during the encore and called up my girlfriend on my cell phone and my

neighbour had the nerve to complain! I valiantly tried to explain that this wasn’t part of the opera,

being an encore, and furthermore, at least I wasn’t coughing, and she had been coughing (I distinctly

heard her; it was at .00065 microbels) during “Tremin gl’insani.” Why didn’t she asphyxiate? I

would have. The ushers came and dragged me out at that point so I missed the rest of the

performance; but that was no loss, as it stank. Nearly forgot to mention that the production made De

Mille’s The Ten Commandments look like Great Art.


 After that experience, I had to fortify myself to listen to the b’cast, for I was painfully aware

  of exactly how crummy it would be.  But I persevered, knowing how very valuable my                     
 opinion is and what a catastrophe it would be if I did not inform the entire Internet

 world of precisely how bad the b’cast was. I also had a lingering hope that it would not be 

as bad as I expected. Not as bad as I expected? It was worse, far worse. The only plus is that I slept

through most of it. I did succeed in staying awake for the quiz,  which stank. They should fire all

the quizmasters and quiz panellists and play recordings of quizzes from the 1950s.


            My posts do not necessarily represent my own opinions, let alone

            those of my institutions.



              Date: March 20, 2001 06:45 AM

              Author: Alan Bromberg

              Subject: Nauseating Nabucchi


              It's obviously fiction, since ushers would never have the temerity

              to remove someone using a cell phone!




                Date: March 21, 2001 03:16 AM

                Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

                Subject: Nauseating Nabucchi


                Rats; my deception has been unmasked!





            Date: March 26, 2001 10:12 PM

            Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

            Subject: Obligatory Gambler Review


            Now I know next to nothing about The Gambler, and from what little I

            know, I won't like it or, indeed, take the slightest interest in it.

            At least Lulu and Wozzeck are *about* something. But gambling ...

            who cares! But enough of this real  stuff; on to the review.

            Galouzine is far too fat to be a great artist. It is, of course,

            well-known that corpulence, not anything so pedantic as actual

            singing, is the proper criterion for judging a singer's performance.


            The only even acceptable performance was that of Eduardo Valdes in

            the role of Second Croupier.

            The Quiz Kids were admittedly rather better than the adult

            panellists, not that that is saying very much. But it did help that

            they had heard of Verdi.


            Peter Allen's performance was disappointing in the extreme. He was 

           consistently flat, and he made Russian sound like bad American.





            Date: April 02, 2001 09:57 PM

            Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

            Subject: Pestiferous Parsifal B'cast


            Everything about this broadcast, down to the tiniest detail, was

            wrong. Take, for example, the flower maidens. One glance at the old

            photos from Rhinegold (of Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, for

            example) will make it quite evident that female pulchritude is not

            what it used to be.


            Donna Racik's prompting is the worst I have ever heard -- even worse

            than Taupe's.


            Jay David Saks' audio direction has hit a new low.


            You know the old joke, repeated ad nauseam by so-called opera-lovers

            who gush over Donizetti-pop but don't have the requisite attention

            span for a real musikdramatisches Gesamtkunstwerk? The one where the

            performance begins at 6 p.m., you look at your watch three hours

            later, and it's 6:20? Well, thanks to Levine's languorous

            conducting, it was true today. Indeed, for about half an hour the

            conductor fell asleep and the orchestra played the same few motifs

            over and over again...


            Why, you ask, do I have nothing to say about the singers? Well,

            frankly, because the subject is so depressing. The least bad of the

            lot was Wlaschiha's Klingsor, who sounded as though he truly had

            been castrated. Dramatic values, if not musical values, were thus

            well served (in a sense) by his performance. Domingo's taking a

            four-second rest where a three-second rest is called for, is simply

            unacceptable in anything purporting to be a professional

            performance. Someone needs to explain to Urmana the not-so-subtle

            distinction between a quarter-note and a quarter-note followed by a

            dot. As for the others: where did the Met get these guys? Are they

            so desperate that they're dragooning stagehands to sing such

            important (nay, vital) roles as Anfortas and Gurnemanz? And speaking

            of the stagehands, I know several seventh-graders who could do a

            better job than these slobs. They could at least sweep the stage now

            and then.


            I nearly forgot to mention that the intermission features, however

            interesting the subject may be in itself, were rather a waste.

            Bernheimer, Crutchfield, and the rest would clearly be better

            employed as high-school cheerleaders.





            Date: April 11, 2001 11:36 PM

            Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

            Subject:  Boring Ariadne and the Betrayal of Opera


            Well, this Ariadne was note-perfect in the boringly pedantic way

            that characterizes so many "performances' of the present.  In

            Mentzer's hands, the Composer's hymn to music might have been an

            accountant's financial report -- and, given current directorial

            "liberties," very probably was. There was no soul in this broadcast

            -- none. Is this not a fundamental betrayal of the passion which is

            the very essence of opera? Properly programmed robots could have

            done as well, if not better.


            Betrayal. That is the only possible explanation for the unacceptable

            "performances" that the Met has inflicted upon us this season.

            Today's singers, conductors, directors, etc., are not merely

            appallingly incompetent or else simply boring, as I once thought in

            my naïveté. They are EVIL. Critics are likewise EVIL. This explains

            the brutality of their nefarious schemes, wherein they differ so

            much from the online amateur critics like myself, who alone possess

            the Truth and whose reviews are sweetness and light. Even faced with

            such disgraceful performances as Carfizzi's, whose mangling of the

            Lackey's (too often underrated) role shows a total lack of personal

            worth, I have been merciful.


            Of course, there are online amateur critics and online amateur

            critics. Some of them, alas, are collaborators who conspire with the

            singers, conductors, directors, critics, and ushers to betray the

            operatic art-form from within.


            Everyone who disagrees with this review is EVIL.




              Date: April 12, 2001 10:19 AM

              Author: Odeen

              Subject: Ariadne

              I thought it sucked, too. Especially that Russian singer. We

              should have bombed those Russians when we had the chance.

              (Actually, we can still bomb them. Let’s do it. The vibratos in

              their voices are annoying also. Phew!) Voigt...Lord. Look,

              overweight people can't sing, act, move, nothing. She's good for

              the recording studio, if she's good for anything at all. Margison

              should be taken out back and shot. Actually, don't bother taking

              him out back. The ONLY person on stage worth anything was Waldemar

              Kmentt. Oh, that voice, the training (you can immediately tell

              he's from the old school of singers.) Okay, so it's a non-singing

              role, but you could just tell how great this man is. Let’s clone

              him in the soprano and tenor versions and stage this opera again

              with him singing all the roles!!!! Now that would rock!





                Date: April 12, 2001 09:16 PM

                Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

                Subject: Ariadne


                Write to Bush and ask him to do it. I'm sure he wouldn't mind.

                We should bomb the rest of Europe while we're at it.

                The Kmentt experiment sounds interesting; and his name is v.

                intriguing. But does he have the Bjoerling? That's what it






            Date: April 16, 2001 09:01 PM

            Author: Don Operatico (don_operatico@my-deja.com)

            Subject: Lustful Lulu b'cast


            Tha guy that usually does these couldn't do it today so I'm doin it

            instead. I rilly liked Christine Schafer's cleavage. With loox like

            that, who carez about anything so pedantic as her singing?

            I think it wudda bin better if they'd had that Bachelly guy in it.

            The muzak was good, almost az good az Snoop Dawggy Dawg.