Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Looking back, just for kicks

Addendum, last year's favorites, excerpted/edited with kind permission from Trrill :

"To my tastes, though, only two sang in a way that said 'get out of my way and hand over the mantel of greatness.' That one of these was 21-year-old Lisette Oropesa only goes to show sometimes you just got it, and time will only (we hope) make what is good better. This young chicky could sing us some fine vulnerable Mozart ladies or maybe a Lakmé or two at the Met or anywhere else, providing vocal loveliness and frightening accuracy for those who lap it up and fodder for the kind of people who love nothing more than to say 'her voice isn't big enough for the Met' to grumble at each other all the way home to put on their records of Zinka and cry. Just between you, me, and the ten-foot-tall autographed poster of Ghena Dimitrova on the wall here at the Palazzo D'annato, your friend Maury loves the thrill of a big voice as much as anyone, but some flavors don't come in extra large, and this is one. It's audible, it's beautiful, and nobody's asking her to sing Ortrud. For the record, her pieces here were 'Ruhe sanft' and 'Una voce poco fa.' The former was so appropriately, unobtrusively pretty that nobody got all that rowdy about it. The latter was actually funny, which is something of a feat, and the fiorature were beyond reproach, her pitch better than anyone else in the competition."

Ms. Oropesa's Lindemann Recital debut will be Tuesday, April 4.

"The other standout, it seems to us, was self-described-in-bio 'character tenor' Rodell Aure Rosel, who is more or less guaranteed a career. The Hoffmann aria, arteesteecally speaking, teetered on the brink of pandering, but the voce was all there, so really it seems ignoble to complain. The "Song of the Worm" (from Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles) gets points just for chutzpah in programming and yet more points for having the goods to back it up. This lad (and let me shed a tear here, moved as I am always by the success of fellow Children-of-a-Lesser-Height) knows what his career is going to be about and knows exactly how it's done. Never thought we'd utter this one but: move over, Gerhard Stolze!"

Ghosts of Versailles is on for 2010 or whenever...Peter Gelb, meet Rodell. looks like there were actually three I liked a lot, though, as I wrote:

"Also ridiculously young, bass Jordan Bisch pulled fast one by singing an aria from Aleko, an opera nobody has ever heard. Ever. The lowest notes ring true, he's bothered to learn good Russian diction (wise move for a bass, eh?) and the climactic note of the piece was held so long the poor fellow was gasping for breath, as were some in the audience. We approve of a singer who isn't afraid to look a little beat up after a good workout. At least it's not the bored look they seem to be teaching in conservatories everywhere."

...and that wraps up the "quoting myself because I'm just that self-absorbed" edition of MFI. Next up: Don Pasquale. Yeah, I know what I said.


Paul said...

As a self-avowed sucker for unknown operas (my current fave is "L'Ebreo" by Giuseppe Apolloni, which I have on a Bongiovanni CD), I was compelled to learn more about "Aleko." Apparently this Rachmaninov opera was the first one he composed, written while he was a student. Perhaps one of the compelling reasons to sing an unknown aria in a vocal competition is that no one knows when you've screwed up?

Maury D'annato said...

I always want to get familiar with lesser known operas just so I can say, "oh, yeah, it's not Pergolesi's best or anything" but then I run up against the problem that they're recorded by not always the very best singers. In fact I prefer to get to know new singers through works I know and vice versa.

But yeah, nobody's likely to know you're screwing up if you sing arias from Halka or Absalom i Eteri, or even lesser works of somewhat better known composers like I Lituani.

Paul said...

Funny that you should mention "I Lituani," since that was the opera I just finished listening to a few days ago! I liked it quite a lot, especially what Ponchielli did with the choral elements. And the fact that my "bubbe" hailed from there (Yurberg ca. 1905) is what got me interested, although I don't think "her kind" of Lithuanian was exactly what Ghilanzoni had in mind when he turned the Mickiewicz poem into a libretto -- in those pre-pogrom days, if you catch my meaning.

Anonymous said...

"Aleko" isn't performed much but Aleko's cavatina is something of an audition favorite because it has that fermatalicious penultimate C that sounds so impressive. And it's very pretty music! Yes, it was a student work but Chaikovsky, one of the examiners, was so delighted that he drew little stars around the mark on Rachmaninov's report card.

Maury D'annato said...

I seem to recall also Aleko is an exception to some Russian phonological rule, unless I'm thinking of Sadko where [perhaps?] the /d/ doesn't devoice before voiceless /k/. It could be that /o/ doesn't reduce in post-tonic position, but it tastes wrong when I say it that way, so I'm going to guess it's Sadko I'm thinking of after all.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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