Sunday, October 28, 2007

Setting oneself up for unhappiness

One of my less endearing hobbies is having a really specific test to see if I like a singer in a role which consists of judging the whole damn effort, all the hours of learning the words and blocking and everything, by how he or she manages some more or less inconsequential passage of several syllables. It could even end in the middle of a lexeme. You just never know. It's probably something I should talk to someone about. Do you think they make psychoanalysts whose specific task is to make one more able to appreciate perfectly good opera performances instead of pick-pick-picking?

The relevance of this to, oh, anything marginally related to anything, is that one moment of decision for me at last week's Macbeth vis-a-vis Zeljko Lucic was this: if, at the end of a dark, hard sing, a fellow has it in him to sing the words "ahi lasso! la nenia tua," at the point in the aria where they're all on one note (2:19 is the timing for Leinsdorf/Warren, Warren being someone who sets the standard) with legato and a hint of a sob, I'll forgive any other transgressions retroactively. You know what I mean? Can I get a "you're not nuts"?

Selfsame Macbeth is reviewed yonder in one of those reviews that you just never would have gotten to read in the dark years before the A.B. era. (Anno Bloggini) He's absolutely right, except of course that I totally don't agree with half of what he says.


Philip said...

I totally fell for Lucic's Macbeth with his delivery of the line "Tutto e finito!" when he returns with the bloody daggers after murdering Duncan. For me it was a real 'time stands still' moment which Lucic voiced with a chilling sense of the downward spiral of his life which is to follow. Macbeth will never again have a moment's peace.

Chalkenteros said...

Yeah, you're not nuts. I did this with Futral's Lucia in 2005.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean. For example, I judge a Simon Boccanegra almost entirely by the way he handles the word "figlia" at the end of the recognition duet with his daughter. (Of course, this is hardly an inconsequential moment; it is probably the most important moment musically in the opera.) Therefore, Thomas Hampson, who handled the word exquisitely, is the best Simon I have heard.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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