Sunday, January 25, 2009

The internet, in its wisdom...

has provided me at last with a response to Mark Morris' Orfeo production.

I did figure out a strategy for making lemonade (there is no such beverage as crapade so I'm not sure what you are supposed to do when life, or the Met, hands you etc.) which was to try to locate Burger King in the Standing Room of the Dead bleachers. He must be in there somewhere. Everyone is. A cleverer observer pointed out to me the kind of hilarious fact that all the dead people I could name standing up there (on what looks like this one scene from one of the Star Trek movies*) are not, in point of fact dead, at the time Orfeo is tooling around Thrace, on account of not having been born. Abe Lincoln, for instance: not dead back then.

But other than the bleachers full of pre-deadniks, Mr. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the opera? I'm glad you asked. Because I didn't enjoy it all that much, but this is not Stephanie Blythe's fault. She, indeed, gave the perfect Stimmdiva performance with gilded edges of Kunst (where does extremely well-judged ornamentation fall on that spectrum?) with the single exception of those few moments when Levine was busy proving you can be very, very good at some things and not have a clue about others. His pacing throughout was waterlogged, but "Che faro" was I guess the musical equiv of him taking a tire iron to Ms. Blythe's kneecaps. An assault, I think I mean. There was really nothing she could do. He frog-marched her through it at a vicious clip and all pathos was flattened underfoot. Elsewhen, however, she really lived up to the things people say about her that I have never 100% been on board with. No way to judge her physical performance from fam circ, and her saddled with a guitar and a gimmicky look to boot, but vocally it left nothing to be desire. Her chesty lows? A visceral pleasure.

Can't quite make up my mind about Heidi Grant Murphy, who for the better didn't sing Amore with bleached early music seriousness, but there's probably a happy medium I'd have liked better. I'm speaking of the vocal mannerisms, since the shtick is part of the production, and probably my very least favorite part at that. And without the lovely "Cet asile aimable et tranquille"--why this version of Orfeo, o Met???--I am finding myself without a very convicted opinion of De Niese, though it's a pretty voice.

Next up: Lucia, and then possibly the intriguing Measha Brueggergosman singing the Wesendoncks w/ Cleveland.

*Here is why blogging is bad. I have spent actual, non-figurative hours googling around to find this so I could insert a picture. All I have to show for my effort is he knowledge that the woman who played the whale scientist in what youtube reveals to be the horribly campy Star Trek IV went on to be the mom on Seventh Heaven, a swirling vortex of Bush era televisionary wholesomeness that...nevermind, I'm not going to finish that sentence. I'm going to take a minute to revel in the use of "Bush era" as a thing past and complete.

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