Posted 12 July 2010 - 09:49 PM
Posted 13 July 2010 - 03:35 AM
Posted 13 July 2010 - 04:58 AM
This gang, he learned after finishing his song, was a claque that expected to be paid for its applause, and most assuredly was compensated for the cheers it delivered for his second number that night.
If any claques remain at the Metropolitan Opera, Sting said with a chuckle: “I’m paying them, believe me. Out of my own pocket.”
Posted 13 July 2010 - 08:33 AM
One story Gobbi tells which is actually sort of charming is of a performance of Barber of Seville in an Italian house, probably ca 1940 where he sang Figaro to the aging but much loved tenor Tito Schipa. Gobbi sang a number which was vigorously applauded. He was a bit startled at how enthusiastic the reception was, it was more than he was expecting.
After the performance he discussed it with Schipa, feeling very good about the whole thing and then Schipa gently and graciously explained what had transpired. Schipa had a section to sing after Gobbi's piece and found the section a bit high for his, ah, mature voice to manage. So he had the music transposed and paid the claque to applaud Gobbi for an extended length of time so that several minutes elapsed. This way the bump of the key transposition would be less obvious. This was sort of an "everyone wins" kind of situation.
I think a paid claque hasn't been a part of the Met opera for a long time, if it was ever really a presence. But there are vigorous fan groups
were active through the mid 20th century. And while cash often didn't get passed, payments of kind did. I recall as a real newbie hearing ca 1970 from fans of the Italian mezzo Fiorenza Cossotto that the diva would gather up her fan group and invite them over to her apartment for a special lasagna dinner. This of course made the fans feel even more generous to their star and even more vigorous in their applause.
But I've always felt this kind of manufactured effects, whether positive or negative, was pretty disruptive. And the fans could be vindictive.
After Maria Callas' sudden, unexpected death in the late 70s, many of her colleagues were interviewed as to their memories and thoughts on the diva.
Most of course were very reverential. But not all. Renata Scotto, always very outspoken, chose to share her memory of making a recording of Cherubini's Medea twenty years earlier. Scotto explained that the conductor wanted to cut a section of MEdea's music and Callas wasn't happy with his decision. Per Scotto, Callas suggested cutting Glauce's(the role Scotto was singing) music instead. "Why she want to do something bad to me?" Scotto wailed.
The Callas fans, alreading in mourning over the passing of their beloved diva, were relentless. The next time Scotto sang a telecast from the Met (they were live in those days), a very well organized demonstration of boos greeting Scotto's first entrance in the opera. And there were other demonstrations disrupting Scotto performances over the next few years. When Scotto sang her first Norma (Callas' most famous role) at the Met, she was booed relentlessly by the Callas widows. But Scotto was tough and let it roll off her back like a pro.
Posted 16 July 2010 - 09:17 PM
Posted 24 July 2010 - 10:10 AM
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