Thursday, 16 April 2009

Waltraud Meier as Carmen

Waltraud Meier´s performance of Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera 1997 is by many, perhaps also by herself, considered one of the low points of her career. Waltraud Meier said of the experience: "I have enormous respect for Zeffirelli, but our two styles just didn't match..The staging was folkloristic, with horses on stage and that sort of thing. It was the most horrible time, but I don't think about it any more. A mistake? Well, my philosophy is that there are no faults, only errors. You learn from your mistakes and come through knowing more."

The production was also infamous for the "that wig goes on stage with or without you"-comment to Angela Gheorghiu´s initial refusal to wear a blonde wig as Micaëla. In the end, she went on with the wig. Plácido Domingo was Don José. James Levine conducted. The whole ting was filmed, but will it also be released on DVD? Maybe not.

But what was it like? Two video excerpts are provided with Waltraud Meier´s Carmen.

Habanera:

Seguidilla:

And the wig with Angela Gheorghiu:


Posted by BullLee2 and Gabba02 on YouTube

14 comments:

Tisorn said...

I think there's also a clip of Angela Gheorghiu singing Micaela's aria on youtube as well.

DB said...

Those looking for a Zeffirelli Carmen should check out the Carlos Kleiber 1978 performance on DVD where the video direction is also by Zeffirelli. Whenever you get tired of all the activity on stage you can just revel in Kleiber's glorious conducting or bask in Domingo in his absolute prime.
Zeffirelli regularly pans the camera towards Kleiber and the orchestra, who remain illuminated throughout.
And for Wagnerians, there's the bonus of the ubiquitous and always welcome Heinz Zednik as Remendado.

Beckmesser said...

Not very convincing, I daresay...

Mostly, you seem to have uploaded twice the same fragment (séguedille), or is it just my computer going wz2dhwxxk as it often does ?

Beckmesser said...

Thanks for uploading the Habanera as well...

Hmmmmm... what can I say now about these two short extracts...

- an apparently dull and more-realistic-than-thou production
- a blatant lack of chemistry between Meier and Domingo - they seem (and, in some respect, are) to be coming from two different operatic worlds
- very much like Berganza, when she sang her first Carmen late 70s early 80 looked more like Carmen's mother (but a brilliant one), here Domingo looks a bit like Don José's granddad (admittedly with dashing looks)
- as to Ms Meier... in spite of all the undulating and ogling and what not, she is freezing cold, isn't she ?
Not enough mediterranean in her, maybe ?

Anonymous said...

Okay, now you've all got me curious. I have the whole performance but have never watched it. Guess, that's on my agenda for this coming week!

Beckmesser said...

And here are the links to Georghiu as Micaela:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTG746uIFbQ

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jWqkJvdp-k

The blonde wig did indeed make it :-)))

Beckmesser said...

... and here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bw7pI7GmPXg
from 2'39, the first two verses of the Gipsy song (act II)

José Quintela Soares said...

Meier is right...and you too.
It's a poor Meier in Carmen.

marcillac said...

FWIW, I've never seen even a minimally dynamic performance of this production. No one has chemistry and even decent individual performances are hard to come by (by far the best being Pape as Escamillo). This is of course the more notable with people the stature of Meier and Domingo but it is a general problem.


Hopefully the new production will liven things up.


I would challange Beckmesser to the extent that while Meier is perhaps not adquately "Mediterranean", she can hardly be accused of lacking passion in most instances.

Beckmesser said...

Oh, absolutely, Marcillac, I couldn't agree more: one of my favourite opera video stuff is her Ortrud in Lenhoff's Baden (I think) Lohengrin, and I was lucky enough to appear on stage (me a humble monk in the autodafe scene) alongside La Meier in the Alagna / Mattila / Van Dam Châtelet Don Carlos production, back in 1996... a thrilling experience !

a said...

Personally I have always felt Carmen a difficult opera to pull off successfully. The simple and "versimo" nature of the story leaves the singers particularly exposed to incredulity - even more so today when we are used to more "acted" performances rather than "standard and deliver".

Domingo was far too old for the part in 1997 - and that doesn't help. If you going to a film like production then you are probably going to have to have "film star" looking principals to match.

Interestingly Elena Garanca and Alagna are doing it at Covent Garden in October - which certainly has the potential to be very good (production excepted)

Anonymous said...

Friends, look at this !!! Also in english.

http://operadream.blogspot.com/2009/04/tenorista-lawrence-brownlee-v.html

privaterealityshow.blogspot.com said...

Beautiful! I love your blog

Ida said...

My late husband and I attended to one of these performances back in 97. He was an admirer of Ms Meier, but her Carmen was so disappointing we left after the second act.

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