Monday, May 01, 2006


The thing that frustrates me is that a year from now, he'll sing something without any croaking, and people will say (as they did last time this happened, and the time before), "Heppner really seems to have come through his vocal crisis. I guess his technique is all patched up now." And the Rhein will overflow its banks, and we'll be righ back where we started, with apologies to Anna Russell. Evidence of what I'm talking about over at Parterre. And, yes, he sounded much better than this the night I went, but a musicologist friend informs me that very very strange musicology eminance Carolyn Abbate is actually writing these days about the effect Ben Heppner's cracks have on our listening experience. Speaking only for me and anyone who will sign my petition, I'd describe these effects as: wishing (hopefully without becoming one of those people) that someone would turn up another Melchior, or Vickers, or even Windgassen. Jeez, I don't hate his singing or anything, and he seems really nice, but it's getting to be like certain wines: odd years are fine; even years, let's just go see some nice Mozart.

Edit: Ok, this sounds unreasonable to me, re-reading. Heppner is a good singer. I guess I just wish we could stop referring to something so clockwork-regular as a crisis. Let's review: Heppner is a good singer. Heppner has a pretty, large, lyric voice. Heppner is going to fuck up in certain roles that require more than that, and if I don't feel like bracing myself for a lot of phlegmy sounds, I can always just skip those when he sings them, except I probably won't because there's no stellar alternative right now and I don't want to forego these operas altogether. The announced Siegfried in Aix sounds like a big mistake, but fortunately for everyone involved, I have a fear of flying matched only in intensity by my lack of funds for opera-going jaunts in Europe, so I will not be there, smacking my head, saying: it's not a vocal crisis, and he's not going to fix it. If this were the McLaughlin Group, and McLaughlin had just asked for everyone's predictions, I'd say: Heppner will sing Siegfried in Aix and then drop the role. And then I'd propose (platonic) marriage to Eleanor Clift for being so excellent. Anyway I'm probably wrong. I am not infrequently, it may be noted, wrong.


straussmonster said...

Did I send you that article, or only mention it--because you have to read the entire thing to appreciate the cracked-out nature of the enterprise, really...

Maury D'annato said...

Actually it was one of the others in my vast network (I started to say harem but decided that implied unsavory things) of musicologists that mentioned it. I haven't read it, though.

That's me, the world's first musicologist groupie.

straussmonster said...

Really? I know I talked about it chez the other place, but perhaps it was missed.

I'm jealous now, you know. :)

Ariadne said...

I hope you never ever stop blogging, M!

That whole post, most especially the "ps" is worth its weight in gold.

Gregory said...

Make a deal with me.

Maurry Don't Stop Blogging and Gregory No Stop Singing even though he too is terribly bored right now.

Onward, ho! (Not to make judgements about you, but you do have a harem.)


Gregory said...

sorry about the extra R. Why don't these comments have a way to fix errors?!!!

Maury D'annato said...

I know, it's totally annoying about the impossibility of fixing errors. Considering it's a fake name, I guess it's morally ok for you to misspell it.

I don't think I really felt like ceasing with the blog. I just felt like being asked to stay, ha!
The only drag of it is at times, one wishes just to go to the opera and not try to think of something to say about it later.

mezzogregory/manprano said...

You needn't feel like you have to dissect it for us. We come because we enjoy your "voice". Write about whatever you like. You won't loose readership if you diversify. Or, do what I did. Open a new blog for when you feel like writing about something very off topic. Just let us know where it is, so we can check in there too. But be warned, two blogs are maybe more responsibility than a hobby should carry, because the other will develop a loyal readership too. Weiche, Maury. Weiche!

Maury D'annato said...

All else aside, you've put it in my head that I will not go see Rheingold again until someone casts a countertenor as Erda. Besides Ewa Podles, I mean.

Ariadne said...

Great idea, Maury - a countertenor Erda.

GP when are you going to start that alternative casting opera company? Now that you've got Maury on it.

I'm thinking of a name for it... (ariadne thinks quick). How about "Opera Senza Rancor"?

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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