Our apologies for the lack of action as of late. Something about January-February that makes one remember one's office actually pays one for certain services.
Just wanted to note that Emmeline, Tobias Picker's first opera, has been an enjoyable listen. There's a lot in common with AmTrag--a mezzo singing about God, a factory scene, Pat Racette getting knocked up--but quite an achievement nonetheless. The beauty of Picker is that he always ends up one step ahead of those who would musically dismiss him--of course you can say its Copland regurgitated by Stravinsky or some BS--but goddamn the man writes affecting opera. NOT musical theatre, mind you. I know musical theatre, and this ain't it. But honest to god opera--although he is A) not stuck in the idiom of 1950s academics or B) John Adams. I don't really know what's going to happen here, but it kind of feels like a living breathing opera tradition. That is a neat feeling.
On the Mozart tip, I've been hitting up the 1963 Bohm Cosi. As promised, it's awfully magical. That said, I guess I would quibble with the following: I'm very glad that today's tempi are faster in certain places; Alfredo Kraus sounds extremely nice in some places as Ferrando, but in others he is either sloppy or too heavy; Hanny Steffek's "funny" Despina voice is actually skip the track annoying. That said, the ensemble parts are sublime beyond words, Elisabeth Swarzkopf makes Fiordiligi happen in a way I didn't know possible, and Christa Ludwig's Dorabella is solid as an f'ing rock.
That's all for now. J should currently be watching a certain Miss Gheorghiu expire, so look for more later...