How rude is it to say to people, "yeah, this isn't really the TALKY part of the library..."?
The library is where I get my internet, at present.
And so where I am listening to Werther from the Vienna State Opera. Actually, this sounds like it may be a studio recording, only I didn't think there was one with Alvarez. Maybe it's just really good sound. Alvarez notwithstanding, this was my third choice, but WQXR is now webcasting through some AOL dealio that doesn't, as it happens, work very well. So no Villazon/Netrebko Traviata for me. And the Beeb's website sent me some infuriating message about how I don't have realplayer, which I do, and so would not be listening to their Siegfried.
Werther is slippery, for me. It contains some music I like but overall I find it a bit unengaging. My in house experience of it is limited to the revival of the baritone version for Mr. Hampson. As some said at the time, it's like going to a rehearsal where the tenor is leaving out the high notes. Did not work for me. Nor did Graham's robust Charlotte.
Maybe it would have been more fun if they had hired, like, Podles to sing Charlotte and taken a really slow tempo for the whole damn thing and pretended the whole thing was being played on a victrola that was winding down. How's that for high concept?
Alvarez has just past the first tiny test, the leap of I guess a fourth on "paradis" in the lead-up to "O Nature." To sound idiomatic, it must be done with real finesse, and it was. The thing about Alvarez that makes one want to jump up and down and perhaps squeal like a little girl is that he combines the kind of legato and precision in dynamics to make that moment work, but can bust out the big guns he'll need for much of the rest of the opera.
Charlotte is one Elina Garanca about whom I know not even if she's a mezzo or soprano Charlotte. [Time lapse.] She's a mezzo. And perhaps intriguingly unpasteurized. Let's see how this goes. [More time lapse.] Yeah she's getting a B+ hereabouts. Good raw materials, deploys them with some chutzpah. Alvarez meanwhile remains highly wunderbar, especially in soft passages. Meanwhile, this being MY virtual opera house, I'm walking out after Pourquoi and and seeing if I can get Siegfried to work now.
God, it IS pretty, wintry music.