Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Know What Boys Like

From an MSN article entitled "5 Dates No Guy Wants to Go On," one of those profound ruminations you see when you log out of hotmail, it would seem that Peter Gelb has not yet convinced the masses that Opera Is Fun:

If given the choice of how to spend a Friday or Saturday night, what guy wouldn’t vote for putting on some uncomfortable formal clothing after spending a couple of hundred dollars for tickets, then another hefty chunk for parking, all to hear overly-costumed and overly-made-up folks belting out tunes that don’t have a beat and don’t rhyme, in a language only U.N. translators can understand? Exactly. And yet we still get the evil look from girlfriends when we try to stay awake during Madame Butterfly by playing a video game on our cell phones.

If we must do something cultural and uplifting, at least make it ballet, where the women are in shape, wearing form-revealing clothing and moving their bodies in ways that cause us to imagine them with us in a variety of other non-dance situations. It ain’t Dancing With the Stars, but it sure beats counting down the seconds ’til it’s over when the fat lady sings.

Well, so, I guess that answers...some question I didn't really have.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Handbag ariettes

To the best of my knowledge, what she has sung:

-Che faro senza Eurydice
-Caro mio ben
-Pour mon ame
-Der Holle Rache [hat tip: Rysanekfreak]

What else?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sparsely, like parsley

Yeah, I haven't been blogging up a storm lately. I just haven't been feeling bloggy. This is not exactly me throwing in the towel, but I think the summer is going to be lean times, word-wise.

For the record it looks like the end of the season for me will have been last night's Fille, in which everyone was loosened up as if it were closing night, which I am told it wasn't. Madame Palmer chose "Pour mon ame" as her surprise for the little improvised scene. This scene was actually funnier when it didn't go on quite so long, but the immediate impact of hearing her sing the tenor aria was good for a laugh from the gut; the improvised line following, "C'est bien, Madame, mais mieux avec un tenor," good for an amused smirk and self-inflicted pat on the back for understanding that much French. One performance left--I'm rooting for Klytamnestra's nightmare monologue, though it has been suggested that "I am the Wife of Mao Tse Tung" would be a daring choice as well.

Barry Banks, in for his scheduled cover's-one-off, proved once again that he is more or less the equal of the flashier presence for whom he waits, poorly bewigged, in the wings. Seriously the wig was bad, or so it looked from standing room (for there I was, as if a younger man.) Anyway maybe the voice is a notch quieter than Florez, and his French probably the same little bit off. But to my ear, he sings with an extra soupcon d'elegance, an extra dash of dash. If I were one for having a private snit in public, I might say for all the controversy over singers and their weight, there is none over singers and their height. A short tenor simply doesn't get the starring spot, so there's no controversy to be had. But then Florez is no giant, so maybe I'm barking up the wrong sycamore. Whatever the case, he was given a star's welcome by the assembled public.

Dessay sounded tired, but not seriously diminished. My god, the unhealthy fantasies I begin to have about that woman, no not that kind, but of hearing her sing Tatiana or Violetta, things that might break her in the big hall, just because she is of all our sopranos the most alert, mercurial, dare I say smart.

I have a few drafts sitting patiently on their hands, something half-baked about Terfel, &c. And I still might go to Hazmikbeth even though the Lady in question did not overwhelm, Siriusly speaking. The trouble is there's very little to throw one's hat in the air about this summer. Krol Roger at Bard might be an interesting novelty, but there it sits on my desktop, unbelistened, despite the kindness of him who sent it for sending it. Glimmerglass is a bit of a wash, and so on, and so on. Anyway I'm supposed to be working on this miniseries about Germaine Lubin.

Also Gencer has passed from among us so what, really, is there left to say?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Beware of metaphors

...especially outside of your native language. Funny bit from the Times article about Muti stepping up to the podium in Chicago:

"When I left La Scala, I thought it was time for me to be absolutely free, like the birds in the air," he said. "Birds go around and they enjoy their happiness, their freedom. But sometimes it can happen they find a tree and they like to stop on a tree, and they didn't know about the tree before. It doesn't mean one tree is better than another tree. It just happens at the right moment in life."

Wait I got lost in there. You didn't know about Chicago before? Or are we actually talking about plants now? I hear eucalyptus trees are nice. I will say it is brave of Muti to take on the conducting gig if I am reading this altogether wrong and he has, in fact, become a bird.

Still hoping to go to Macbeth though I think it may be fairly well sold...