Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Butterfly Net

Ladies and Germs, Wellsung is back!

Here's the rest of the round-up, or some of it:

We're going to have to wait for a Parterre pan or paean, as JJ is doing it up for Gay City News, we presume.

JSU is opting for Idomeneo as a season kick-off but sent in a bulletin from Time's Square, as did our correspondent who actually treads the boards, singin'.

Alex Ross presents a few snapshots of the festival atmosphere on the plaza.

If I didn't link you, no slight is meant (well, I mean, with maybe one exception! Now where'd I put that I'm-just-joshin'-ya emoticon: ;) )

Only the fact that I'm moonlighting these days saved me from my suicidal, death-by-sleep-deprivation instinct to go to Gioconda tonight. I'm dying to see it.

Meanwhile I feel a little like weighing in on the Matter of Moppet v. Puppet. I'm pro-puppet, and it's not just because I think children onstage spell the end to any critical reception of a work of theater. [Remember those reports that Maria Ewing dragged her little mentally ill German love-child out with her for a Wozzeck curtain call because nobody can give a child anything but an enthusiastic reception?] I actually remember thinking during Being John Malkovich that I may have the issue with puppets that so many people have with clowns, so I wasn't pre-disposed to like it. In pratice, I think it works, primarily because it's so far removed from what you might imagine, a big floppy doll getting lugged around the stage. Two people work the puppet, so it has a...not exactly a realistic motion, but a subtle and stylized simulacrum. And honestly, it's probably less creepy to see a silent puppet up there than a silent child. Children are almost never silent for extended periods, quite the opposite. This is one reason Maury categorically avoids them.

And as long as I'm doing a kitchen sink entry: the quasi-new Cat Power album is fucking fantastic.


Paul said...

Hooray for opera season - as much fun as watching Opening Day at Wrigley Field, even down to knowing that the home team will (eventually) crap out. And L'shana tova to all your readers who are M.O.T.

winpal said...

Yikes, Maury, what was with the anonymous flame thrower over at the Wellsung site? I fear we may need to place you in a witness protection program for your blogging safety.

Maury D'annato said...

Paul, l'shanah tovah to you too. Apples & honey are as close as I come to religious observance!

Winpal: thank jebus I'm already in witness protection for my blasphemies against a certain spinto! (Actually I think you're a fan of her so you may want to join forces with aforementioned flame thrower...)

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

I'm with you on the puppet, even though I haven't seen the new Butterfly.
I last time I saw MB, they used an 8-year-old girl in a size small Carol Channing wig. They even had her run back onstage yelling 'Mama!!' after the suicidio.
Kermit the Frog wouldn't have been any less believable as Trouble.

When I see kids onstage, it all starts to smell like 'Annie' to me.

Maury D'annato said...

I think a hilarious directorial conceit would be an adult as little Trouble. A large one. Like Stewart on Mad TV, that kind of thing. I'm not very invested in Madama B. so I'd be fine with a version that went heavy on the comedy.

winpal said...

As much as I love the Divine Miss M., Maury, I would never flame you on your spinto sensibilities. You see, in my distant past (rarely acknowledged and certainly not on that other Mother Blog), I was actually guilty of disparaging a certain Signora Scotto. But I thankfully gained wisdom with age and am still doing penance for this youthful indiscretion. A glass houses and stones kind of thing is in play here. I'm sure you will see the light one day.

Now, should you start to wildly praise, say, Cristina Deutekom or Bruno Beccaria, I would be forced to unleash the flames of Hades. Otherwise, we're cool.

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

Bless you for being open-minded and eared enough to change your mind. Rare attributes these days.

But then, I see the wisdom of coming to admire La Scotto because I would give that woman a kidney if she asked. Both, actually.

Now Scotto was a Butterfly who could have made it work with a real kid, Stuart (standing by Cio-Cio's dead body: Look what I can do!), puppet, or Donald Rumsfeld.
But I doubt she ever did the high c# onstage...

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

apropos of nothing-
I imagine that you blogger types hate it when commentators change the subject, but I thought of you today Maury:
I got a used copy of the Domingo/Voigt 'Wagner Duets' just so I could hear Urmana's Brangaene. Not surprising that she has made the leap to soprano- the high notes were no trouble at all for her. A little too secure for my taste, actually: I think I prefer the 'habet acht' to be floated rather than attacked so authoritatively.
Most Brangaenin have probably floated the high note because they had no other tasteful choice, making a virtue of necessity. Urmana sounds like she could have Eve Harringtoned Miss Voigt out of the studio and done Isolde and Brunnhilde herself.

winpal said...

Meretrice -- yes, it was indeed her Butterfly that convinced me of the errors of my ways!

Wrong fach for Rummy. I believe he prefers to pull the strings on his puppets. But he is the right height.

Maury D'annato said...

Oh, by all means, change topics. It don't make me no nevermind nohow, if I may invoke the southern quadruple negative.

Um...I don't get Scotto either. I don't find her bad or fun to make fun of a la Millo, but I've never been able to find the quality in her singing that inflames everyone else so. On this one I'm actually a lot more open-minded and curious if one day she'll give me cardiac arythmia, but for now, not so much.

winpal said...

Meretrice -- I just listened to La Cieca's podcast of a 1967 Butterfly from Turin. Madame Scotto does indeed sing the high c#. It's a bit curdled, but you'll love it.

Well, Maury, I'll hazard a guess then that Diana Soviero also does not float your U.S.S Abraham Lincoln? Another great Butterfly, she kind of rounds out my Holy Trinity in the Church of Spintoism. I'm still reeling over the removal in the Great Purge from YouTube of her Suor Angelica death and Vissi d'arte concert performance (which I might venture to even describe as definitive).

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

I confess that I am high-priest in the church of Scotto; but unlike some other crazed fans, I don't make excuses for her faults.
Take her Norma, for instance: the repeated high notes in 'Casta diva' are anything but casta. But recitative/arioso sections of Act 2 (in which most sopranos are excrutiatingly dull) are devastating, and make that opera sound as good as everyone says it is. And her Act 3 recitation in 'Adriana' will make your blood freeze. Oh, how I could go on.
Suffice to say that if I had been at the Met on the night of that notorious 'Luisa Miller' catcall, they would have had to pry my fingers off that heckler's throat.

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