Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Don't mind Maury. He's just typing.

You're thinking I've foresworn opera, maybe for a heap of mean and spiteful gold, but it's not true. It's just that this stretch of the year is kind of the styrofoam peanuts in the season.

I'm going, back, really. It's convenient, though, because it gives me some room to go to the theater and see things like the wholly satisfying revival of Shaw's Heartbreak House. Plays don't last a minute on Broadway, so git if you wanna see it. Support non-singing happenings upon the stage, much as we love the singing ones. Heartbreak House: singularly bad candidate for musical setting. In fact, it's a play that could have used a brisk edit, but you won't mind once it's Swoosie Kurtz, Laila Robbins (so unforgettable in Frozen, both of them. Please do go to nonmusical theater or they'll stop making it, and that will make me cry.) and Phillip Bosco chewing their way through it.

Unfortunately the Met doldrums have also given me time to spend somewhat less than two months' salary at Berkshire. One game I like to play is the one where I make myself feel better about the looming spectre of the poorhouse by thinking how much more I would have spent if I'd bought everything new. In this case $130 more, based on numbers I (of course) mostly made up.

The spoils:

1) the one I'm listening to right now: La Gioconda with Cerquetti, del Monaco, Simionato, Siepi. So far the only letdown is La Cieca. One wishes one could choose a different disability for her. La Muta? Anyway it cost $3.99 so who cares, Edith?

2) Now you're all going to have to line up and let me box your ears (sorry, Shavian moment) for not telling me there was a Gotterboomerang with Mechior, a whole one. I mean, except for I assume several hours of cuts since it's on 3 discs. I can't remember if I like Marjorie Lawrence, but I shall find out.

3) There's this decision process where another Borkh Salome seems more important than ongoing ability to repay student loans. The argument goes: Mitropoulos is betterer than Keilberth than solvancy is better than soup kitchens. You agree, right? I trust you do.

4) Irene Dalis sings all the parts in Parsifal. And conducts it. Fine, maybe she had a little help from Jess Thomas, George London, and Hans Hotter. I mentioned to the fellow who probably taught me most about the adoration of fine singing that Hotter is probably singing with a cane, and he said, "Oh, no matter what year it is, everyone always says 'pretty late for Hotter!' " or else if it's really early they'll say he's not fully formed. This is hard to dispute.

"Voce di donna", my ass. I wish I were La Sorda, and I don't mean Tommy.

As usual, when Maury D'Annato makes a sports joke, that's the last sentence of the posting, because the world has just ended.

Irrelevant ETA in the "itunes ain't right" department: want to guess how many songs by Michelle Shocked you can find on itunes? THREE.


Chalkenteros said...

Ok this is the second or third time I've heard of this fabled "Berkshire." Where is it? I assume you're not talking about Massachusetts.

Forgive me. I've only been in NYC since April.

Maury D'annato said...

It's in Lee, Massachusetts but also on the fabled internets.

Chalkenteros said...

Damn. I thought that there was some fantastic den of opera gold in the city that I had not yet discovered. I am too impatient for mail delivery to order things over the internet. Only iTunes satisfies my need for instant gratification. Alas, no libretti.

Maury D'annato said...

I know what you mean but itunes is so opera-poor. And Berkshire has such treats. Sometimes it's fun to wait for the package and try to make yourself forget what you ordered so it's like a present. Er, a present you pay for yourself, but still and all.

Willym said...

I do that with Priemere's DVDs Maury. Last week when I got the Verrett Macbeth (your clip sent me hunting for it), Berganza-Domingo Carmen (I was there the night they recorded it at the Opera Comique) and Strehler Falstaff it was like opening a Christmas package in October. Sadly the Falstaff is a bad print but the other two.... magic baby magic..

Louie Tremava said...

Hey, cugino! I'm reaching way back now, but I seem to recall that the preface to Heartbreak House (you DO read Shaw's prefaces and forget about the plays, don't you?) has Shaw's story about being taken to the opera as a child, followed by comments about London audiences during WWI. I think you'd enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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