Monday, July 24, 2006

Tank: Ready.

By my calculation, I have to wait a full 271 days to hear what I anticipate will be the euphoric culmination of my last two weeks of concert-going:

Elektra--with Ewa Podleś as Klytamnestra.

I'm pretty hot for both right now--Madame P and Elektra have managed to get me all worked up on two consecutive weekends.

Most of you probably caught the broadcast of Elektra from Tanglewood on WQXR. They rebroadcast it last night. The only working radio in my apartment is a $29.99 boombox from Radio Shack. Considering my only other option was my tiny little iBook speakers, I went for the boombox. Even with the slightly oddly balanced recording (the voices were REALLY forward) and the crummy little radio, I was grinning for a straight 97 minutes. More than anything, I appreciated the memory jog to last weekend, when Maury and I were in fact there for this overall stunning performance. A couple observations:

Brewer's Chrysothemis came off better on the radio than it did in person. I think the subtler ways in which she was displaying her vocal committment and characterization got a little lost in the 5500 seat + lawn Music Shed at T-Wood. I think I'm into her. I hope the California audience at Festival del Sole this weekend realizes how lucky they are--she flew in as a last minute replacement to sing Strauss Four Last Songs for an ill Flem-ball.

The harsher edges of Lisa Gasteen's voice came through on the radio--somewhat less so in person. Regardless, t fact that she even gets through the role is damn impressive, and that she does so while conveying an alternating sense of vengeance and mourning is all the more remarkable. I look forward to her Brunnhilden.

Felicity Palmer stole the evening--both in person and on the broadcast. Her Klytamnestra was appropriately campy and...well she was fucking nuts. Yet she managed, at 62, to deliver a potent, accurate interpretation of the role. She was in as good a voice as any of the rest of them up there. And a hell of a lot more fun.

Levine and his orchestra squeezed every imaginable bit of fire out of this score--and as you well know, that is a lot. The whole thing could not possibly have been more exciting.

Unless of course it was staged, with Ewa Podleś as Klyt.

Clunky segue into Saturday evening at Caramoor.

Ditto to most of what Alex said. Though I am less sold on Manucharyan. I think I perhaps read his delicacy as a bit unenergized, though he pulled few surprising high notes out of his ass that were totally lovely and impressive.

Ewa P was obviously awesome. This sort of stuff is perfect for her, and she for it. Though as Alex pointed out, it will be even more of a treat to hear her sing a role in something slightly less lame. I am not a fan of the Bel Canto. There just isn't anything "Bel" about it. I can take something like Tancredi more than I can take, say, I Puritani, which I dutifully sat through two weeks prior. I guess it was sort of awesome to hear Sumi Jo sing scales and trills for 8 hours, but I'd rather listen to something with a bit more soul.

I digress for now. Point being--Spring '07, here we come. It'll be swell to hear Podles in a more fitting setting: in a bald cap, scaring the crap out of us while singing Strauss and cackling.

Sign me up.

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