Saturday, January 27, 2007

I'd love to, but I have to groom the mule

Of the traditional, 100% representational productions at the Met, I must say Battlestaria Galacticana and Pagliacci are two of my faves. Yes, they indulge in the livestock fetish that has become one of opera's hoary cliches, but they evoke a real sense of place (says me who was in Italy exactly once, at the age of 13, or twice if you count that we flew out of Milan. Fool that I was, I didn't insist on a pilgrimage to weep at the steps of La Scala.) Well, Italy aside, they're nicely lit/lighted and the way the sets hold a crowd avoids some of the "Hi, we're extras. Watch us move our hands" effect. It's one of those productions it's hard to imagine them bothering or indeed having any good reason to replace for a long time. As opposed to things like their Gioconda, which they just won't replace since they practically never do it and in some sense, a new production of Gioconda (and I say this as one much devoted) is like buying a nice new silver chalice to serve Yoo-Hoo in.

The only quasi-substantial comment I have on the performances is that it's difficult to watch Krasimira Stoyanova and fully understand the marketing campaign behind Anna Netrebko. See, she has this neat, somewhat hootily Viennese voice that is pretty malleable, an lively stage manner that, no, doesn't really have the electricity of A.N.*, and she's not bad looking. I know, it sounds like I've just tried to compliment someone's dorky sister, but what I'm trying to say is this is a good, capable, well-endowed, watchable singer who you won't see on a poster in the lobby that says "Stoyanova is Habit-Forming!" which by the way, wasn't that the ad campaign for Nunsense? It's meaningless to compliment her by detracting from someone else, but it popped into my head, and that usually means it's coming to a screen near you pretty soon, unless my internal editor is having a rare sober day.

Licitra was Licitra and much better than in Verdi, at that. The Siciliana, sure, can be sung more prettily, but he's not lacking in heft, and besides, he gets a furlong's handicap for volunteering last minute for an indisposed colleague. The big Pagliacci to-do was dramatic and blustery and, well, better in tune. Zajick remains an extremely gifted singer I can't quite love, but I'm always grateful to a Santuzza who shouts her "Bada!" and "Mala pasqua!" rather than making that uniquely operatic noise that is meant to convey rage but sounds like a vocal warmup of some sort. And the low notes, my god, are not going anywhere. Alfio found Delavan in good voice but somehow out of his element. It's an awkward role...More and more I wonder if that Chicago Parsifal was his zenith or if he just needs to be singing more Wagner. We'll find out, as I think I saw he's on for Wotan somewhere, and soon.

Um, what do you guys think of Ataneli? The theme of today's posting is: I can't make up my mind. Either he's variable or I am. The house received him kindly. Russell Braun gets a pass this time around because I dug him but don't have any useful adjectives for him.

*Yeah, I feel like I'm blowing hot and cold vis-a-vis the Trebazoid as well. That's what you were going to say, right?

In continuing news of always-the-blogmaid-never-the-blogger, I once again was not quoted on the radio!

14 comments:

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

Battlestaria Galacticana is one of my favorites as well-
Apollo's aria 'Who wants a ticket to the gun show?' was a favorite of Corelli's, and who can forget the wig-pulling intensity of Gencer and Cossotto in Starbuck and Katt's searing confrontation duet 'Get the frack out of my face' in that Scala revival of '56?
And Siepi then came on to rumble his way through Adama's 'O Hera und Jupiter'... ah, the golden era.

When we would have too much to drink at voice department parties, I would do my best countertenor rendition of Six's cabeletta 'I've got resurrection goo in my hair'.

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

Frack, I meant cabaletta.

Mark said...

m i d'o!

I just lurve your pic of Scotto and the caption is divine. Beautiful. JUst beautiful!

Oberon said...

I like Ataneli in general though he has pitch problems.

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

Thanks, Mark-
Ever since I heard her recitation from Act 3 of 'Adriana', I have been Scotto's Love Slave.

Maury D'annato said...

Six must be sung by Moffo. Late Moffo. Um, not that I watch that or anything. I mean.

Mark said...

Oh yes. That recitation is kick ass and Scotto was just unsurpassed in it. Did you see her do it live? I only have the studio (I should probably truck over to Handelmania and remedy this) but let me tell you, after that I would have poisoned her too! Murder is the only proper response to being done down like that. Scotto has given me much pleasure over the years, though a fair amount of vexation in the final years. But many many performances that are just wonderful fun and so involving!

Sarah said...

From a fellow jilted blogmaid - who needs Norman Lebrecht and all his sneering anyway? Not us. We have...
Lucia Popp. There we go. Much better.

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

Would that I could have ever seen Scotto live. If I could go back in time and see just one, i think I would pick 'Suor Angelica' on a good night. I probably would have collapsed along with her at the end.
Or maybe 'Roberto il Diavolo'-- what fun it would have been to be a part of the riot that erupted after she sang 'Roberto, tu che adoro'

That 'Prophete' recording she did is fantastic too-- yeah, you get the acidic wooble some of the time, but she sounds completely nuts. So exciting.

Maury-
I was thinking of Netrebko for Six, if for no other reason than she would look good in the skimpy red dress. Mattila would probably have no qualms about the skin exposure required for the part, but I would want her to sing President Roslin (big arias: 'Bill' and 'Throw this thing out the nearest airlock').

Maury D'annato said...

Roslin=Carol Vaness. Hee.

JSU said...

I suppose I should mention that I spent more than one moment of Jenufa contemplating a certain resemblance of the star to Katee Sackhoff.

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

jsu, you're right. A compliment to both women. Sackhoff should be a star- she makes me think of a more beautiful, less affected Julia Roberts. More acting chops, same charisma.

BSG completely ignored at the awards, despite being light years above the likes of 'Grey's Anatomy'. Because the subject is too geeky. And here we are making jokes along those same lines- who, me? Watch sci-fi?

Maury, you are right again- Vaness would take a role like Roslin and chew every piece of scenery to splinters. Verrett from the 70's would have done likewise...
For the crazed hybrid that sits in the pool of goo and spouts insane gibberish, I was thinking they could unearth Stratas or Cotrubas.

Maury D'annato said...

Crazed hybrid? Hm, I think that must be season 3. No spoilers, please!! Again, not that I have any idea what you're talking about.

I'm sort of kidding, but I genuinely don't like sci-fi much. BG gets by my censor because there are no aliens with prosthetic foreheads. I have a clause against shows or movies that are about prosthetic foreheads.

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

That BSG is sci-fi is incidental- that's why it's so good.

And having Jamie Bamber sure doesn't hurt either...