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« OperaNow! #154: No Spin Zone | Main | OperaNow! #152: THE ANGRY ONE?! »

OperaNow! #153: Sumi Jo's Sexy Eyebrows

Should Levine bow out gracefully from The Met?...Opera Orchestra of New York cancels Domingo's Simon Boccanegra...ENO launches online search for new "mini" works...Osvaldo Golijav: Musical Thief?...Fabio Luisi stands up for Andrea Bocelli...a sex trafficking opera...Kentucky Opera maestro steps down amid orchestra union dispute.

Oliver starts his series on Romeo et Juliette, Act 1 and tracks by Simon Keenlyside, Angela Gheorghiu, Andree Esposito, Alain Vanzo (and some mystery singers, dear listeners so get your score cards out!)

Plus Guess Who Died!

This week features Michael, The OC, and Doug Dodson.

And now, the eyebrows...

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Reader Comments (12)

Can anybody translate Jo from 2:18 to 2:29? Maybe someone who speaks Korean?
February 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe OC
Heya guys - sorry to disappoint, but Domingo was actually referring to his concurrent LA Opera run of Boccanegra on Colbert.

daniel (in LA)
February 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdaniel
Loved the Juliette clips but was hoping to hear what the others thought, too.
February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGale Martin
Sorry Gale, if I seem to cut them off it is because I can already anticipate their responses if I were to have asked them. But let this space be a place for all feedback on the clips chosen. What did YOU think?
February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe OC
I listen to this show while at my job so when the job intervenes then I have to tune out. But actually your content usually stays with me for days. So in response to your question, my least favorite were the first and the last. The first one was too bubbly--she just bubbled right from one technique to the other. I liked Sumi Jo's but I think the third was my favorite. Because I am working while I am listening I wasn't able to write down who was who. But it's a great feature. So, I hope you'll keep doing it and pointing out things to listen for. Thumbs up!
March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGale Martin
Interesting that you picked up on the Carmen who doesn't listen to opera. I saw the final performance of the run and her lack interest really showed. It had to be the least passionate Carmen I had ever seen. (I was really looking forward to her death, and even that was unremarkable. At least the set was interesting.)
March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark in Victoria
a reposting of a comment submitted by "zach" which was deleted by Stuxnet

"the devia recording is nice. i really don't hear any problem with her french diction. i know that every time oliver plays a recording of an italian singing french he comments on how poor their diction is. why? devia announced a few weeks ago that she will be singing norma i'm looking forward to that.

another good recording of juliet's waltz is the one renee fleming did on her "beautiful voice" recording. her trills are excellent.

another juliet that i like is anna netrebko, but her diction, coloratura, and technique in the waltz is pretty terrible, but i still like it. netrebko's singing is also very exciting in the poision aria. i was a listening to a recording of netrebko siging the poison aria earlier this week and i was amased by how she sustained the high tessitira for so long.

anyway, this is not one of my favorite operas. i have always liked i capuleti i e montecchi by bellini much better than gounod's romeo and juilet. i don't know why but i find all the duets very boring. just compare the act one duet between romeo and juliet from the gounod to duet from the bellini. i'm still looking forward to what oliver has to say...maybe it will help me like this opera more."

my response;

Netrebko: Waltz -meh, Poison -ouias!

Fleming: to my knowledge has never performed the role, so I had to disqualify her from the comparison, but I agree, on that record the trills are well-executed and thrilling.

Devia; She is one of my all-time fave's. This does not mean that she is infallible. One of the things that has preserved her voice is vowel modification. An egregious example of that same strategy is Joan Sutherland. Devia does not go that far, to be certain. It is a minor quibble that shows her technical acumen and allows her now to be peerless in her generation. The older she gets, the more stylish she becomes. Thank god for youtube, we can hear her over decades and see the artist evolve.

If you find this opera to be boring, I understand you better than our sparring has illustrated. It has taken me a while to love this opera because I felt like I had to wade through too much buttercream in order to finally taste the cake. This is not Gounod's fault, but the result of too many generations of different international styles being piled on top of each other- a babylonian Kitchen-aid stand mixer making everything taste the same. And then people go to France and fall in love with a real croissant only to search in vain for a real patisserie stateside.
March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe OC
Really enjoyed this podcast guys especially the clips. Really found Gheorghiu's entrance exciting stuff. Was also pleased to hear Mab la reine des mensonges at the start! Keep the baritone rep coming! ;)
March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCiaran
Listening to all the Juliets reminded me of a scene in Spielberg's film TINTIN from last year. There is an opera singer character who is performing a concert. The orchestra strikes up the intro to "Je veux vivre", but then the singer launches into "Una voce poco fa" from Barber of Seville. I couldn't figure out why they would do that. If it was meant to be a joke, I'm sure that 99.99% of the audiences world-wide would not have realized it.
March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEd in Palo Alto
Oliver, I have followed Devia's career quite closely and she has not sung Juliette from the Gounod, but she has sung Giulietta from I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Bellini).

Ed, the singer from the recent TINTIN movie was actually Fleming. You have it mixed up. They start with the intro from "Una voce poco fa" but then she launches into "Je veux vivre".
March 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterzach
Everything about this Sumi Jo video clip annoys me ..."No Sumi, the words are NOT optional" ... "No Sumi, you cannot just sing a bunch of random notes strung together to get through the openin phrase" ... "Yes, Sumi, you have to sing the FRENCH words" ... "No Sumi, you cannot just sing whatever tempo throughout" ...

Seriously, if a young or unknown singer tried presenting this exact rendition at a performance or for a competition they would get slaughtered. And she is a famous, opera star!!!!!!! Help me.
March 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoberta
She IS good Korean. Let's not discount that. Even in light of the Kim Jong and his desire to disband North Korea's nuclear program.
March 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterMichael Rice

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