Spring is here, Spring is here.
Life is skittles and life is beer.
I think the loveliest time of the year
Is the spring! I do - Don't you? 'Course you do.
But there's one thing that makes spring complete for me...
...and that is not, Mr. Lehrer, poisoning pidgeons in the park, but rather the Met Council Final Auditions Concert Gala How Many More Words Are There in the Title of This Event? Actually it doesn't feel like Spring yet, but the Finals do help when it is damp, drizzly February in my soul and it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off. Or just excessively quoting actual writers instead of putting words of my own on the page.
I don't wish to go singer-by-singer this year, I don't think. There was nothing shabby going on up there, lots of fine craft such as you'd be glad to hear. I will pause for a moment to note my surprise that Carolina Castells was not among the winners, not so much on the basis of her "Klange der Heimat" which I can't imagine anyone making anything other than a bore, as her elegant, perfectly met-sized bel canto in "Ah, quante volte!"
Mostly, though, I'd just like to express my excitement at the young but not green talent that is baritone Edward Parks. Mr. Parks chose a big scena from The Pearl Fishers, or perhaps more accurately it was chosen for him, but nobody could argue it wasn't a fine choice, sure as he was of style and solid as he was of tone. In the second half, he sang "Mein Sehnen, Mein Wahnen" from Die Tote Scrim to a wildly enthusiastic ovation, of which I was an ovator. More than anything else we heard, this was star material. It wasn't about the diction or the high notes, both of which passed muster quite securely, but more generally about budding artistry. And jesus, he's probably like 23, as there was only one person over 25 on the whole program. Someone who sat nearer can confirm, but I think he might also be kind of dishy.
No huge surprises in rep. We got to hear "No Word from Tom," and "A woman is a sometime thing," along with the requisite "Ah, mes high C" and "Parto, parto" (go already! alright, I'll admit it, I am developing partopartophobia...though in this instance the obstacle course part of the aria was sung with much flair) oh and yes there was one nutty selection, which was "O pretres de Baal!" (punctuation possibly mine, not sure) from Meyerbeer's Le Prophète. Well also I suppose it is unusual to hear "Amour, viens aidez ma faiblesse" in the original Polish, as we were given it by Ms. DeYoung, if I may be so rotten. In "Du bist der Lenz," she sounded swell.
It might be fun to go back to the first year I went to this event and see what those folks are doing. I believe my favorite was Lisette Oropesa, who's doing quite well for herself. I hope Sundays young'uns are similarly on top in a few years' time. Best of luck to all of them.