The Maury d'Annato Prize for Underrated Singer of the Year goes to...Heinz Rehfuss, because I was listening to him on my ipod last night and thought: why is there so little of his stuff to be found, and why don't I know anyone else that has tender feelings about him?
Not quiiiite about opera: the movie of Rent is, overall, a resounding disappointment. The first hour is jaw-droppingly badly paced and captures not an ounce of the electricity of the stage show. (Yeah, I have my reservations about the material itself but it was a hell of a spectacle when I saw it...the crowd seemed to be full of screaming teenage girls with a huge thing for drag queens. For some reason I find that cheering.) What's interesting is that the thing I thought would bug me most, namely the fact that they're all ten years older than they're supposed to be, doesn't really get in the way much. Alright, perhaps because I'm ten years older, too.
What instead bugs me most is the detail sloppiness, I think, e.g. if it's 1989 and you're on AZT and heroin, you do not have a six pack like Rosario Dawson's, speaking of whom? Not such a singer. Although better than she was in the painful Shakespeare in the Park John Guare thingy. Ok and the heavy-handedness where the musical just sort of (I can't believe I'm going to use this phrase) rocks straight through the parts that risk death by treacle. In purely musical terms, it also lacks some of the punch, makes me wonder how the folks that made Chicago did it so much better other than plain old greenbacks. What I'm talking about specifically now is making voices that aren't that great (e.g. Ms. Zellweger/Ms. Dawson) or haven't aged entirely gracefully (Adam Pascal who, by the way, could someone give him my phone number and adjust his sexuality if needed?) sound right anyway. I suspect it's partly a matter of arranging and partly a matter of studio tinkering.
Current listening: Busoni's Turandot, which I ended up having to buy for stupid reasons, about which I am retroactively happy because it turns out to be rather zesty.