Monday, December 25, 2006

We're Open Today

I do so hate it when everything's closed on, you know, that holiday, the one they have in December, with the suicides and the...you know, I read people spend on average $800 a year on gifts, which is just nuts. So I wanted to post something, in the spirit of not being closed, only I haven't gone to much I could write up. I did see Company again, and it is if anything, tightened up, Raul Esparza's 11:00 number even more intense. That's not much to tell you. Also, la sorella D'annato is in town and as she is crazy mad for Rent we saw that, and though I can't say much for the crowd, the show has happily cycled through every C-grade celeb that wanted to sing in it, so now it's just these young, not-half-bad kids who probably dreamed of being on Broadway, which I'm guessing Joey Fatone did not.

I got a recording or two, nothing new, just old stuff I had wanted for a while. Solti's Figaro, can you believe I didn't have it? When I was just getting into Figaro I had it in my head Susanna's entrance should have a certain lilting, easy quality and it turned out I had heard the Solti some time earlier and that's what I had in my head, the perfection that is Popp. If you haven't listened to it in a while, treat yourself. I haven't gotten to the Count's aria yet, but I'm looking backward/forward to it (having doubtless heard it years ago.) Also the other day on Sirius they were playing a Manon Lescaut excerpt that appealed, and to my shock it was Albanese, who I've never, ever liked. So I waltzed over to J&R, at this point practically the only game in town, and I bought that, the old studio deal with Bjorling. The croaky quality is indeed there in Albanese's singing, but it's forgivable. It seems to be finally getting me into the opera that may in fact be the first one I ever saw but has never really grabbed me.

Coming up: can I drag myself to Puritani after re-discovering at Caramoor what a lumbering bore of a thing it is? Well, it'll be hard not to, with the usual expectations about Trebbers (I really want much, much more vocal purity in things like "Qui la voce" but if anyone can enliven this walking Ambien of a character, it could be her) and my really very happy impression of Cutler last year. Also I"m trying to figure out what Amato is doing but their website is much in keeping with the air of charming disrepair one hears characterizes the company. That's right, I've never been to the Amato.

And of course there's the countdown to Jenufa. Well, that's all I got...

Aright, off to partake of the traditional Chinatown fare of the Hebrews.

18 comments:

Gregory said...

Hi Maury. Thanks for staying open...yeah right! I pop by the shop and you're already out to lunch. (Have an eggroll, Mr. Goldstone.)

Just wanted to say hello as I've been fairly quiet on here lately.
GP

Oberon said...

Think how we atheists feel!

Yes, if you go back far enough there's some palatable Albanese.

PURITANI has about 45 minutes of gold amid hours of filler.

Enjoy your Chinese, but don't tell Brenda Zwickel.

Maury D'annato said...

oberon: well, that's the lovely part of being a yid is you can be an atheist as well, which I avowedly and enthusiastically am (yes, enthusiastically...the idea of god really is too depressing for words.)

I acually read the opera-l kerfuffle of which you speak. Gevalt...

Maury D'annato said...

Artist formerly known as mezzo-G, don't sweat it. It sounded like you've had a lot on your plate. I haven't been fantastically good about commenting on anyone's blog, myself, which doesn't mean I'm not reading.

PietB said...

I like to re-light the hanukkiah and eat roast chicken with latkes and apple sauce, since the Chinese in my town ain't so hot. And this year there's a new icon in the living room -- my bro in Ohio (OHIO?) sent me an illuminated garden flamingo which only needs a gold boa to be perfect for the darks of the northern solstice. To all, a good night . . .

Sarah said...

That Solti Figaro has to be one of the most significant recordings of my life, not only my introduction to Figaro but pretty much to Mozart opera in general; in fact I think it was the first complete opera recording I ever really threw myself into. And then a few years later it got significant all over again on account of Barbarina.
And yes, Lucia's Susanna is absolutely perfection. But then it would be, wouldn't it.

Maury D'annato said...

I am trying with difficulty to think of something she sang poorly or even just adequately. It once occurred to me: any singer you can name, you can find someone with something bad to say about him/her. Except I've actually never heard anyone diss Lucia Popp.

straussmonster said...

Okay--the voice is very frayed in the last Vier Letzte Lieder that Lucia Popp recorded, and pinched at the top, but holy shit I don't care when I listen to it and you shouldn't either.

Maury D'annato said...

I always listen to the Tennstedt one anyway, from many years earlier.

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

The Solti 'Figaro' was my first Mozart, too. Allen sounded like a Count who could actually seduce someone, but how could he have thought to cheat on Dame Kiri? Perhaps it is another advantage of having Popp-- her Susanna is so full of sexy fun that she provides a foil to Kiri's heartrending creaminess.
And how about that Ramey, making Figaro sound like a hot- dare I say strapping?- romantic leading man. It is this recording that I think of when I hear the wobble in his voice (as on Saturday's Don Carlo); and I think, he gave us years of beautiful singing, and earned that wobble in the service of Verdi, so who cares about the wobble.

As for Miss Popp- can you help but smile when you hear her Rheinmaiden in the Solti GotterD?
It's like the sun is coming through the clouds.

Maury D'annato said...

Meri, I wonder if you've seen the video of Figaro from Paris, some of the cast the same. Popp's physical presence as Susanna is so sponatenous and clever. I wish there were more film of her.

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

Is it on DVD?
I have only seen a Figaro from that period with Kiri and Cotrubas (another big favorite of mine)-- Kiri's Countess has a swept-over beehive. Totally period-correct, if your Countess is supposed to be Tracy Turnblad.
(ooh! A John Waters Figaro! How much fun would that be?).

Anonymous said...

The Tennstedt/Popp VLL is soooooo slow, though, and that's my bete noire about recordings of those pieces.

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

Then you must not like the Fleming recording.

straussmonster said...

No, I do not like the Fleming recording. :)

Winpal said...

I love Popp's gorgeous Sophie on the excellent Kleiber Rosenkavalier DVD with Gwyneth Jones and Brigitte Fassbaender. I resisted getting it for a very long time, despite its glowing reviews, thinking Jones would ride roughshod over the Marschallin. Boy, was I wrong. She really is under control, and acts it wonderfully.

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

Now that sounds like another good recommendation for 'DVDs I didn't get for Christmas' post-holiday shopping.

I was rereading Maury's comment about 'Puritani' being a lumbering bore--
I have a couple problems with that piece:

-They have to cut the baritone's cabaletta because the over-sized, woofy voices that have traditionally been hired can't sing it-- does anyone know if the dude singing it at the Met is going to do the cabaletta?

-The all-sing finale to Act I sounds like the kind of 30's broadway number that Mel Brooks made fun of in Blazing Saddles. The Met should have a big swimming pool for the Puritan ladies to dive into.

-'Son vergin vezzosa' is completely silly, but tons of fun at the Sutherland tempo; but I can't help but picture the principals (singing backup for the soprano) bobbing their heads in time like singing flowers in an old b&w Disney cartoon.
I wonder how fast Miss Netrebko can do it? I bet she takes the Callas tempo.

Maury D'annato said...

I don't think the Figaro is on DVD, no.

Yeah, I wonder about Trebbers and what a soprano friend in college used to call "tweedly music." "Son vergin" is a lot of fun if it's crazy fast and showcases a singer's tweedle mettle, but otherwise it's just a bunch of scales and arpeggios. I'm honestly not sure about Libo-trebko-libo-net's tweedle capacity.

I'm sorry, I cant stop making idiotic jokes about her name that only work if you know Russian, badly.