Thursday, April 19, 2007

God wants you to listen to Finnish art songs, Gaius.

I finally realized what it is I find torturous about piano+voice recitals, and not by going to a bad one, quite the opposite. Though also not out of sheer amusement at Karita Mattila telling her hairdresser, apparently, "Make me look as much like the blond Cylon that's not Xena, Warrior Princess as possible." That was just a bit of lagniappe.

I'll have to let someone else tell you how she does with Barber or Hugo Wolff, not that I didn't enjoy them, but lieder feel faintly like a lecture to me. What I can tell you about is the riveting thing she did with the Turina songs on the program, which basically involved a bodily connection with the songs you sometimes see in opera but almost never in recital--the most recent example of this I could ponit you to off the operatic stage was Bjork in the Meredith Monkathon at Zankel, doing the little playful/intense maybe self-indulgent yoga-meets-charades she does as she sang "Gotham Lullaby." That's right, I just compared Karita Mattila to Bjork, and there's nothing you or Matthew Barney can do about it.

Mattila danced. Not a stationary swaying, either, the deliberate marker of "oh yeah, I'm feelin' it." Not KM. She lifted her arms and moved around and threw her midsection into it. It was unexpected, a little bit insane, and enthralling.

Among her encores, "The Man I Love" which though you may not have known it, is subtitled, "Dear Renee Fleming, This is How you Sing a Standard."

13 comments:

OPÉRA CHANTEUSE said...

Maury, I so envy you...I have yet to see La Mattila live. There is no one like her. What was she wearing, by the way? Her fashion sense tends to be more esoteric, like her stage roles, than her counterparts, i.e. Gheorghiu, Fleming, Netrebko. Thanks.

-O.C.

Maury D'annato said...

Chanteuseleh, I'm so the worst fag ever. I can't describe a dress to save my life. All I can tell you is the first half of the program she was in white and the second half the dress seemed thematic, meant to suggest the black and gold engravings of Toledo (Spain, not Ohio!) I suspect Netrebko wouldn't have been caught dead in it but KM wore it well.

I've seen her live in quite a few roles at this point (and five times in Jenufa alone!) and for me, the thing she does that nobody can touch is Elsa. Hopefully she'll come your way sometime soon.

OPÉRA CHANTEUSE said...

Ha! Ha! Ha! Thanks for the description.

Anonymous said...

Esoteric, OC, would be kind. They were two of the ugliest frocks I've ever seen onstage. Off-the-rack in the worst way.
I wished I had like the recital better because I love her operatic performances. The Elsa and Jenufa are indeed wonderful. But her voice is so big and I prefer a more lyrical and delicate approach to art songs. Didn't care much for the dancing and acting bits either. And ALL opera singers should stay away from crossover.

Maury D'annato said...

anonymous, I'm surprised at you, um, within the context of I have no idea who you are. You didn't find the Gershwin to be successful?

As to the dancing, who knows. Part of me thinks what got me so revved up about it was a mix of embarassment and joy. She was radiant, in a ridiculous way.

Anonymous said...

Maury, I guess I don't like the operatic approach to singing standards. If you can't slip into a more popish voice and loosen up your diction a bit, then I think you should just leave them alone.

Stewball said...

"She was radiant, in a ridiculous way."

I think this is the opening line of one of Mrs. Parker's lost short stories.

of the kosmos said...

opera chanteuse, I describe the dresses on my blog. I couldn't take photos because I witnessed the recital in Boston's intimate Jordan Hall, where I wouldn't dare pull out a camera. I really, really liked them, and I loved the recital. The Gershwin was a high point.

PS "Anonymous" is a good friend of mine. She's dead wrong on this recital. :)

OPÉRA CHANTEUSE said...

Thanks, Khaleem.
-O.C.

Anonymous said...

I stand by my critique, and I'm not alone. :)

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

saw her Elsa in the SF about 10 years ago--- amazing is the only word for it--- radiant and heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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