Sunday, January 15, 2006
Heaven is a place on earth
Belinda Carlisle isn't gonna sue me for the subject line, do you think?
I am speaking, if it need be said, of Academy Records. Have just continued my streak of buying delightful operatic feed for the ipod at less than the cost of the two piece meal at Popeye's. You have to get up on one of those undignified stepladders and take a few gambles, but I'm not kidding, there are some finds to be fund up in that shit.
Exhibit A: Zurab Sotkilava Wears Funny Hats. [not actual title] [Actual Title: Zurab Sotkilava Glares Suspiciously At You While Sitting on What Appear to be the Palace Curtains] Now, this one was a total crapshoot, and the main thing that made me buy it was the Marina-Dmitri scene with none other than Makvala Kasrashvili. She's singing in the "Stars of the Bolshoi" evening at Carnegie next week that I probably won't go to, so for some reason that seemed like a really good reason to buy the cd. Also her name is really fun to say. Georgian is stress-initial, if you want to try it at home.
I've actually listened to less of this one, but my meaningless snap judgment review is that once you get past the Iolanta aria that constitutes the first track and is unhappily nasal in tone, the man sings better than he has much right to at 60, which is what I reckon he was when the thing was recorded. Lenski's aria has a real authenticity about it; though he's Georgian, and I think I just heard a little Georgian-specific phonetic mistake, the style is right. He also sings a few Russian folk songs including one called "Oh Nastasia" that I am really nervous will turn out to be a Russian translation of Rufus Wainwright's "Oh Natasha." Whatever, it's goin' on the pod. That's, like, as close as I have to a Ebert/Guy-Who-Isn't-Siskel thumb system.
Goin' on the pod. Not goin' on the pod. As if I dropped my participial g's.
Exhibit B: Ok, Alexandrina Pendatchanska's agent really should have told her to change her name to something that doesn't have nine syllables, something that trips more easily off western tongues, like "Whitney Houston." So much is true. Meanwhile, oh my god. Personal to B: you called this one. So, I've decided when they outlaw everything but going to church in this country, I'm packing my bags and moving to Bulgaria. I know, I know. Not everyone there is Ghena Dimitrova or, um, Whitney Houston, but they do have a lovely musical culture, or did at some point. I hope it hasn't gone the way of many folk musical cultures. Anyway.
Super high quality voice, very bright but chesty where it needs to be, and this was recorded when she was 24. That's just nuts. She's got some tricks down a lot of singers don't learn 'til a lot later, if at all. I listened to part of it last night at like 2:45 am but I'm pretty sure I heard a good trill, and the florid technique in the Traviata scena gives me no cause to doubt it. The e flat is there, and it's cake. So for the real test now I'm revving up "Ah non credea" and taking it for a drive. Trill: check. Gooey Bellinian Legato: check. Cabaletta: Check (!), although what is the conductor smoking (?) because I do not believe these are in fact dotted rhythms in Ah, non Giunge, are they? What the ending is reminding me of as much as anything is the the ending of "Oh Luce di Quest'anima!" on that first Naxos recital Organosova put out before kind of vanishing; in particular, the joyous shout of a trill at the end. A triumphant dash of singerly brio. So here's hoping Whitney will return to our shores and still sounds this good, and that's all I have to say on the matter.
Next up: in want of anything to review, Maury shoots the shit about all these season announcements. Expect little of substance!