Saturday, April 29, 2006

How will it end?

J: the bcast is sounding gut
A: yeah
A: no warmup needed for KM today
A: she is on
J: seriously
J: wanna come over early for pizza and wine later?
A: k
A: that sounds nice
J: yes I thought that could be low key and pleasant
J: I love that line he just sang
J: that repeats a lot
A: yeah
J: throughout
J: oh fuck
A: jesus
J: hah!
A: what the hell was that???
J: oh no
J: haha
J: oh lord
A: man
A: that was such a wipeout
J: poor Hep B
A: damn
A: cue up the opera bloopers tape
J: haha
J: the strings in this part sound like the beginning of a newscast
A: haha
A: I wonder if that is any indication he might bail on later acts
...
A: !!!!
J: shit!!!!!!!!!
A: dude
A: he can't go on like that
J: I bet the cover will come on
J: poor Hep B
A: if i was backstage and had a good rapport with him I would be all "Ben, you are really, really good looking"
J: haha
J: Ben, you have a really pleasant face
A: there have been no mid b-cast substitutions this year have there?
J: no
A: it will be interesting to see how juntwait handles that
J: well
J: I bet they would broadcast the Volpe announcement
A: these are the moments that make or break a metropolitan opera radio network announcer
...
A: holy mother of god
J: ahhh!
A: he cannot do the third act like this
A: it's going to be a catastrophe
J: no....please Ben
A: those are such terrible noises
J: good lord please just put on the cover
...
J: maybe he is fine
A: yeah
A: it is like watching an ice-skater fall
J: I know!
J: you feel like "shit if he couldn't get through the SHORT program. how will he ever get through this?"
A: ha
A: "maybe the judges will forget...I mean, they have to see it's a much better presentation than that Korean chick, right?"
J: "cracking on F's is an automatic deduction Jim. And big one"
J: hm I want to get a sandwich, but i don't want to miss any falls
J: good work
J: OK, brb. let me know if he lands on his ass
A: oof
J: ech
A: blew the triple lutz big time
J: that was not as bad as the others
A: no
J: still a deduction
J: meanwhile, Karita is the one to beat tonight
...
J: weak
A: yeah
J: suckola
A: technically still on his feet but basically just skating out the end of the song
J: the people of Brabant are all
J: "ok, well, nice to see you. We'll show you to your swan now"
A: haha
A: "Just how fernem did you say that land was?"
A: It's like musical cruelty to animals for that poor schwan
A: end this thing now
J: haha
J: seriously
J: Swan OUT
A:: just quietly take yourself behind a rectangle and think about what you've done
J: haha
J: wow, well what a way to end his Lohengrin run
J: so what I want to know is
J: if the swan is the duke
J: and he brings back the duke
J: then does he like hitchhike back to the Grail?
A: "Hey man, look, my swan turned into naked little boy, can I get a lift?"
J: hah
A: I hope he has this figured out by Parsifal
J: he will. I mean....he is really good; who knows what was up

Say my name...

As mad props of every sort have already been served up for the current Lohengrin elsewhere, I shall be brief.

Seeing this Lohengrin carried some special importance for me, as Lohengrin was my first real foray into Wagner. Several years ago, I had idly mentioned I was interested in going beyond the excerpts which had whetted my appetite, but was procrastinating about blowing a lot of money on a set. A kind friend filed this away, and on my birthday that spring, the Domingo/Norman/Solti Lohengrin arrived in the mail. One cold and rainy April afternoon, I sat down with the libretto, started listening, and was immediately, and irretrievably, hooked.

Yet until last week, I had never seen it live.

How could anyone could hate this production? I can understand detractors if the original cast wasn't too game for the staging. But I also have a hard time seeing how that would be such a big deal considering the overwhelming success of the concept. I mean, do you really want a castle?

Methinks Lohengrin is really the toughest Wagner to yank out of Romantic kitsch. Even Tannhauser has the porn thing going for it. (And if you need reasons why this is justified and in fact imperative see the PW's excellent short post here). The truth of the matter is that Lohengrin is a more wonderful piece of music than could ever be done justice by a designer in 2006 trying to ape the style of 100+ years ago. Wilson's staging gives us this honesty, and I for one am grateful. For, as we all know deep down, the great love duet of the third act really has nothing to do with middle ages canopy bedding and the like, and everything to do with Karita Mattila, on her knees in a sea of simple blue fabric, plaintively raising her arms to her husband. That's the whole g-d thing, folks.

Shorter rest of the production: Auguin pleased me very much, if there were times when I felt he didn't really have a feel/patience for the momentum of certain passages; Mattila takes a while to warm up--maybe this is the issue--but here she had me at hallo; Hep B sounded great--I do get the constricted thing, but man does he push through it to great effect; Devol was terrifying, as it should be--J thought better of her the second go round; Rene "Say Hey" Pape does yeoman's work comme toujours.

Fin.

FYI

Me and J hit up the Lincoln Center Tower the other night after having consumed a considerable amount of Stoli and duck. We both nabbed the '94 Neeme Jarvi Mazeppa. I will tell you now that it is awesome. I was pretty into the Met cast, but this one more or less trumps it on every count. Except for Larissa Dyadkova, who is the same count. Galina Gorchakova is exceptional; Sergei Leiferkus has all the feeling of Nikolai Putilin but with no wobbling; and where the Met Andrey (I have forgotten his name) left so much to be desired, Sergei Larin proves this is a tenor role to be reckoned with and then some.

I still stand behind that production in general. However, listening to the recording makes me realize how lame the "they come back from the dead" ending was at the Met. Best to let that last, beautiful, awful, sequence end as simply as possible. They just die in the snow. It is somehow sweet. Curtain.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

And following me into old age today...



No one tell Karita, ok?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tosca: An Addendum

An act of major negligence on my part.

I completely forgot to mention the surprise highlight of Saturday evening's Tosca Prima: Met premiere of bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen. Mr. Ketelsen sang Angelotti; his is one of the richest, most focused bass-baritone voices I have heard in some time. And he is quite young! So who knows where this voice could go...

So keep your ears open in act one. I think he is certainly going to be one to watch. I haven't been excited about a new baritone (tho it's his "bass-y" qualities I find most compelling) in awhile.

So, bravo to Mr. Ketelsen--who is a graduate alum of the acclaimed school of music at Indiana University.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Tosca: I Would Have Jumped, Too

As last night's 50% opera, 50% intermission presentation of TOSCA drew to a close, the duality of the experience became apparent:

Floria Tosca's only escape from potential torture or execution at the hands of Scarpia's devotees is to take her life into her own hands and throw herself off the parapet of the Castel Sant'Angelo. Curtain.

Similarly, Deborah Voigt's only escape from three hours of singing with one of the most disappointing assemblages of male singers in recent memory was to take the evening into her own hands and throw herself off Zeffirelli's monstrous recreation of said Castel.

I am inclined to be nice about it, as word on the street is that Franco Farina is a really nice guy. I would, though, like to encourage the Met administration to send him a nice fruit basket, or a gift certiificate to Outback Steakhouse or something, accompanied by a note informing him his services are no longer needed. YIKES. His Cavaradossi truly bordered on unlistenable. I found myself very easily counting the pulses in the vibrato of his upper registers--that is, when there was something there to discern other than an out and out scream. Seriously, every time he was on stage was a genuine source of frustration.

Much less egregious, but still questionable was James Morris' Scarpia. Morris is obviously a celebrated baritone who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career. It is OK, though, near the end of such careers, to realize that the goods are not 100% there anymore. His Scarpia was OK-ish, but lacked a crucial imposing quality (purely vocally speaking) and the bordering-on-violence-virility one truly wants from this role. As a result, the second act, which should always feel like the pinnacle of overblown Italian oepratic drama, felt a tad unbalanced and unenergized.

Voigt made impressive use of her enviable vocal freedom in this, her NY premiere of the role. In fact, her singing was pretty consistently exquisite throughout, with one notable exception. Something seemed to fall apart when it came time for "Vissi d'arte", which is really the evening's centerpiece for a Saturday-night-Zeffirelli- Tosca crowd at the Met. Strangely aggressive rushing on her part at the outset of the aria led to general unsteadiness for the duration, ultimately culminating in an under pitch, faltering ending. Very uncharacteristic for this singer. And, I have decided, not of great concern. The rest of her performance was so spot on; she is allowed her off moment. I am sure many of her other performances will be near perfect.

Can you tell I am a fan?

I won't even touch the production, which just is what it is. As my opera-going companion said: "On a continuum spanning from Carmen to Turandot, this production is pretty much right in the middle." Though perhaps it is worth it to pop in and say goodbye to it--looks like a new one is making an appearance in a couple years, starring the Finnish Goddess of Awesomeness.

PS--Alex, Maury, and I are considering a trip to the Millo performance on May 16th. Because I *do* love a circus.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Million Dollar Tristan

J: man, T und I is so great
A: for serious
J: so, that Tristan Project thing
J: do they act it out?
J: or is it just singing with massive Bill Viola projections behind them
A: pretty much just singing with massive BV projections I think, but truth is people don't move around so much in it anyhow
J: right
J: and like
J: waity
J: oh I am so confused
J: www.billviola.com
A: ?
J: well it looks like in France it is actual staged opera
J: like it looks like there is "The Tristan Project" and like also a T and I production
A: hmm
A: I'm not sure
A: the pictures of the tristan project have been like a super minimal staged production with projections
J: right
A: oh man
A: I am watching
"million dollar baby" for the first time
A: I feel like it is about to get so, so upsetting
J: ohh
A: boxing is horrible
J: it is horrible
J: I have never watched that movie
A: oh holy jesus
A: clint eastwood sucks you in with his deceptively bad acting
A: and then it
A: all
A: goes
J: haha
A: to
A: hell
J: For the Paris Opéra premiere of this conceptual look at Wagner's work, director Peter Sellars decided to present Tristan und Isolde without the musical additions that maestro Salonen devised in Los Angeles. Hence, what premiered in Paris on April of 2005 is no longer "The Tristan Project," per se, but rather Wagner's opera, performed in one evening, as it has traditionally always been presented.
A: musical additions?
A: Tristan und Isolde (With Harmonica)
J: Tristan und Isolde with two pianos and percussion
A: haha
J: "Wagner would have been blown away"
A: "Look Waltraud, you need to be heard over two pianos and like a glockenspiel. So sing!!!"
J: so are there really not going to be tix cheaper than $275 for the complete Tristan Project? Jeez.
A: the fact that we're going to get a full T&I w/ Dvoigt an Hep B kind of makes me think f the Tristan project
J: yeah the TP would just be for the experience
A: tho Christine Brewer is said to be a thing
J: yes
A: wow
A: that is tough fucking movie
J: thanks KR
A: wait--did hilary swank win for that?
J: yes
A: oh good
A: that would be a bit of a crime against nature if she didn't
A: that woman's ability to inhabit masculine characters doomed to unspeakable tragedy is almost freaky
J: hah

Friday, April 21, 2006

Geburtstag!

OK, Mozart isn't the only one with with a birthday this year.

Happy birthday to ALEX! Woo!

Today he turns *27*. Wellsung has officially entered its late 20's.
Happpy birthday, A-sung.

xoxoJonathan

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Tosca: A Bit of Good News

Met supernumerary and willing informant "Orsino" has brought the following to my attention after this afternoon's TOSCA rehearsal:

"Debbie Voigt is fucking fierce as Tosca."

I know, big surprise, right? Orsino just has a way with words I tend to truly appreciate. He also said that Giordani replacement Franco Farina's Cavaradossi is "actually quite good", that his act iii aria "sounded pretty good" and most importantly "he seems like a nice guy".

Awww.

I will be seeing Ms. Fierce and Mr. Nice Guy on May 8th, and am a tad re-energized after this post rehearsal round-up. Thanks, Orsino.

Children and Art

I'm a bit late to the dance, but wanted to add on to the discussion the other week about Steve Metcalf's Future of Classical Music piece noting, among other things, that we need to stop turning to "the schools" as a way to solve the problem. Like ACD, part of me feels like "the schools" is a bit of a straw man, i.e., I've never heard anyone actually propose a nationwide regime of classical music appreciation, though plenty have called it out as the absurdity it is.

That said, I think what people really mean when they posit a link between music education and later music appreciation--children participating as amateur musicians--is more than just gravy. Contrary to how it is usually framed, though, we're either doing fairly well or already improving on this count.

This 2003 Gallup poll for the American Music Conference found over 50 percent of households with at least one member with musical experience, and increasing rates of participation in private lessons, school programs, and other education. My mother, who has been running a children's and adult music education program in Chicago for the past 15 years or so, has seen enthusiasm for classical music education go from respectable to ravenous over that period. And why shouldn't that comport with the broadly recognized trend that significant numbers of children today, far from all being video game zombies, are in fact participating in extracurricular activities more than ever? They can't all be playing soccer, right?

Now of course, the horror stories about arts funding in public schools are serious, but I would suggest these relate to equity more than absolute access, and shouldn't necessarily make a difference when strictly talking about whether we get a critical mass of concert hall consumers out of it. Furthermore, instead of representing any turn on music education, such funding priorities are the work of generally reckless budget policy at the state and federal levels. The cold truth is that short of straightening that out, public school music education will remain under the axe.

Looking at Chicago, the reasons for this resurgence are clear: after many years of fleeing the cities for suburban isolation, the 1990s began to see more and more middle and upper-middle class parents choosing to raise their children in the city. These parents naturally expect the greater wealth of opportunities that comes with living in the city, and with strong resident communities of music professionals to draw on, increased music education is a given. They in turn set a certain standard for similar families in outlying areas, and the demand for music education and accommodating institutions multiplies.

Again, the equity issues are obvious here, and there's certainly no 'trickle-down' theory of primary education quality. But for producing more consumers of classical music, this can only be a positive sign. These students will be more likely to return to cities as adults as well, and more likely to participate in their artistic life. We're probably still on the early side of seeing this trend come to fruition, but I would be pretty surprised if it doesn't eventually translate into some bump in the crop of potential concert goers.

But ultimately I agree with Metcalf that this is only a small part of the story. Trying to get adult consumers interested in serious music by focusing on childhoods they've already had is an ass-backwards way to address the issue. We should be assuming that childhood piano lessons are as predictive of an appreciation of serious music as childhood literacy is predictive of an appreciation of serious literature. There's a connection there to be sure, but a lot can go down in between.

More on that to come.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Disaster on the Roosevelt Island Swan

J: I love that second act business where Ortrud is going nuts and evokes the gods
A: her evil pagan gods
A: they should call that song "This Christian bitch is going to get it"
11:10 PM
A: so, what is up with you on Friday evening? I am thinking of doing something earlier at the Loreley, this bier garten/bar on the Lower East side
J: oh terrific
A: !!!
A: something is going down with the Roosevelt Island tram!
J: yeah!
A: it is stuck or something
J: it is stuck
A: 4 hours on the packed tram!!
A: brutal
A: oh man, and they are over the river
J: ok how hard can it be to make them move
11:15 PM
A: it lost power?
J: I guess so
A: eww
A: they had to bring diapers
A: oh man
A: I hope this doesn't bode poorly for the trams
J: well evidently this is the first big problem
A: these motherfuckers on Fox who don't have anything else to talk about "Boy, they're sure taking a long time to get out of that basket, huh?"
11:20 PM
A: whoa
A: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes had their baby
A: "Yay, yay, yay," said actress and fellow Scientologist Kirstie Alley. "Bring her over so I can meet her."
J: shut up Kirstie Alley
J: oh did you see the Times review of last night?
J: you can see the Swan
A: I did
J: the Swan Fragment

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

My Boyfriend Went to Brabant and All I Got Was This Lousy Swan

Call me Ludwig.

For the past couple of months my work life has not allowed me the time nor the psychological respites needed to properly realize, in writing, my thoughts and questions about the handful of excellent (and a few less than excellent...) recent operatic outings.

But OH LOHENGRIN!!

How can I not use this opportunity to gush, to emote...to break away from working on the delivery of Marie-Antoinette crew contracts to Sony Pictures.

The truth is, last night's performance of Robert Wilson's breathtaking, austere production of Lohengrin is the first thing in awhile that truly inspired me to lay out some of my thoughts and IMMORTALIZE THEM FOR ALL TIME ON THE WELLSUNG BLOG.

This is not to say, obviously, that there haven't been other blog-worthy evenings:

I just about passed out over my love for Mazzepa, popped my Wagner cherry with Washingtonal National Opera's questionable Zamblello production of Das Rheingold (Starring Sacajawea as Erda!), was delighted at Don Pasquale, bored at Fidelio (despite my girlfriend Karita and her dance party), outraged at Mark Adamo's Lysisrata, and generally underwhelmed by NYCO's Don Giovanni.

Der Schwann, der Schwann!

Characteristically behind the curve, last night was my first experience with Wilson's production, and my first time hearing any of the singers in these roles. Admittedly, I went in wanting to love it. So imagine how pleased I was when I found myself utterly wrapped up in the whole experience.

Elsa von Brabant!

I have been considering proposing marriage to Karita Mattila. The woman is really pretty genius. I wholly understand those who have reservations about her, especially in certain repetoire. Her voice has some strange quirks up top, though it remains reliable. She is obviously a very skilled singer, and a bona fide actress. What pushes her into glittering divadom is a sort of unflinching committment to whatever it is she has been asked to do. Even in Fidelio, which is truly saying something. She completely immerses herself, physically and psychologically, in the beautiful austerity that is this production. She executes Wilson's slow mo staging with total deliberation and unmatched concentration. All the while, her singing is truly at its finest. Even those who are less enamoured of her were commenting on her exquisite sound. Her Elsa is truly a singular experience.

Protector of Brabant

Ben Heppner (hencforth known as Hep B) delivers the title role beautifully, though it sounds to be a bit of an effort now and then. Not problematically so by any means, but there is a tiniest bit of audible tightness--just a certain lack of vocal freedom, and the occasional loss of steam in his mid-range. But the upper registers are bright and thrilling, and he sings with heartbreaking sensitivity in the final scene of Act III. He really is the Lohengrin to beat.

Richard Paul Fink's Telramund was a nice surprise. His focused, powerful baritone sound was at once beautiful and appropriately sinister. This was my first time hearing him and he has found a new fan. I am wondering if he will be in the Met's Doctor Atomic in 2008--if memory serves he was in the cast in San Francisco?

Luana DeVol jumps in head first as Ortrud--she clearly LOVES being in this production. She does a sort of Baby Jane meets Norma Desmond thing and it is pretty hilarious yet at all times wholly appropriate. Her singing...well, let's just say I will buy it as Ortrud. It is not a beautiful sound--which is totally fine for this role. But, there is some unsteadiness up top, which is less fine. When she evokes Wotan and Freia I want feel like those Space Mountain/Austrian chandeliers are going to come crashing down (Freia forbid). I didn't really--you could feel her holding back just a tad. I am hoping in subsequent performances she will just let it rip...I think she hs the goods to do it. I give her my conditional stamp of approval.

So, Alex and I (and possibly Maury) are going back next week. I am already excited. Between now and then, I think all I have on tap is an Acis and Galatea at NYCO. So, that may be fine, but I will be in serious need of a Grail Knight by Monday.

Until next time, my Lieber Schwann(s).

Update: Maury, JSU and Sieglinde are all pleased.
Further Update: Steve Smith offers praise and some terrific required reading.

A Grail Knight to Remember

J: yay!!
J: wo0o!!
A: oh sweet!
J: it is fucking wonderful
A: !!!!
A: awesome!
J: the production is so neat
A: good swan?
J: well
J: it is a very robert wilson swan
J: let's call it a swan fragment
A: Der Wilsonschwan
J: the staging is wonderful
J: anyway KM sounded perfect
J: he sounded really great
J: Telramund was fabulous...the King was a cover
J: and was fine
A: neat
A: go KM
J: she fucking tore it up
J: and she and the crazy Ortrud really get into the Robert Wilson staging
J: it's all very posed and no one ever touches
A: what was the verdict on the 'Trud?
J: um
J: Scott liked her
J: and Greg's friend Alan liked her
J: she has a big vibrato
J: and it's definitely an "ugly" voice
J: some struggling up top
J: but she sounds right
J: and has a lot of power
J: and is way into it
A: dope
A: well that is gut to hear
J: the orchestra rocked out
J: and the orchestra all stayed and clapped for the whole curtain call--and the audience was very excited about the conductor
A: dude
J: the screaming from this audience was pretty genius
A: Wagner makes people crazy
A: it seems
A: mur
A: I am bummed I didn't go
J: oh I am not meaning to make you bummed
J: rather
J: excited that next week will be awesome
A: like bummed, but also stoked
J: right
J: I am a little obsessed with Karita Mattila. Not really because of her singing, which is very very good.
J: but just because she is such a presence and has a sort of strange but really wonderful voice
A: right
A: It makes me want to watch that Meistersinger video with her
J: it makes me want to go back in time and see the Salome
A: not the most ambitious time travel plans, but probably the most satisfying
A: PS, I had a funny moment in the laundromat earlier
A: where it was just me getting my clothes out of the dryer and this random woman
A: and Richard Marx' "Right here waiting for you"
A: comes on the radio
A: and all of a sudden it became almost uncomfortable
A: all because of that beautiful song
J: haha

Monday, April 17, 2006

Warning: Cat Nerdery Below

A: *link*
J: hahah
J: genius!
A: oh man
A: I can't get enough of that cat
J: haha
A: I think my favorite is this
A: like the perfect picture of those wierd moments when they temporarily get all zen about it
J: so cute
J: oh I want to bathe Andrew
J: I love those pictures
A: it is a bad day for the cats of people all across the country who are seeing those pictures
A: I'm totally bathing Samuel this week
A: altho he smelled like litter this morning, so he kind of deserves it
J: yeah
J: it is nice
J: andrew loathes the bath
J: but is all about the blow dryer
A: hehe
A: pictures are very much in order
J: yes
A: hrm
A: I don't know if I can rock the Lohengrin tonight
A: I feel dirty and all of a sudden have to finish this big thing by tomorrow
A: not like so big, but enough
J: well
J: at least you know we have tickets next week with nice seats and stuff
A: indeed!
A: I hope you like it
J: me too
J: I hope Karita is awesome
J: I think Hepatitis will deliver
J: Hep B as it were
A: Hep B in the haus, yo

"Sir, you do realize them da capo arias got a legal minimum, right?"

J: do you have any interest in Acis and Galatea Thursday?
J: I have tix if you want to go...it is nice and short
A: i would be into that
J: sweet
J: it is under 2 hrs *including* intermission
A: whoa
A: nice
J: that is about the right amount of Handel for me
A: Obviously, you must be ok with that amount of Handel
J: right
J: I mean like Rodelinda may be too much Handel
A: yeah
A: I am a bit worried about that
A: esp if it like permanently associates Renaay with Too Much Handel
J: right
J: I mean there is no law that one cannot leave before it is over
A: this is true
A: it is not like one would be arrested
J: that would be awesome

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Trebs 1, Haters 0

It seems critical opinion on Trebs' second Met outing this year is running the gamut from 'self-serving' to 'irresistible', with the former assessment's implication that her performance is a lot of ham for the plebes who don't see the disgrace being done to the temple that is Don Pasquale.

So at the risk of debasing myself, and with full admittance of my relative ignorance/underappreciation of Don Pasquale's more sublime virtues, I'm going to have to come down on the side of 'irresistible'. Yes, she obviously thinks she is cuter than a puppy playing with a kitten being watched by a baby squirrel. And yes, her stage time is stuffed within an inch of its life with assorted tics and mannerisms.

But A) I concur with her about her cuteness and B) I think she makes a more than credible case for the character. It's not just Norina's ambition which permits her to inflict herself on Don Pasquale, it's her outsize, at times bordering on destructive, wicked amusement with life, declared from the moment she opens her mouth in Act I. The sort of mildly unhinged personality that would make her game for a such a crazy plan. The sort of unhinged personality we can't get enough of even if they go further than we would ever dare. Trebs gets that giddy manic recklessness in the character, and uses it to honestly bridge the cruelty she does. And I mean, I wouldn't be saying this if all the mugging had fallen flat. But it worked, and she was delightful, and after all, shouldn't stealing your scene kind of be the point here? With all due respect, hamming up Don Pasquale's knowing little comedy doesn't seem like quite the same infraction as crossing Mozart's holy farces (ahem).

Plus, she really does sound great. More and more, I'm thinking there may not be a role out there which her voice was born to sing. Taken in a vacuum, maybe it's just not distinctive enough in any one area? But it is hella sturdy, beautiful to listen to when its on, and most important, deeply integrated into the character she is portraying. More than just voice, or just chops, she presents a package, and plays it to the hilt. And that is why she deserves her stardom.

The rest of the cast was very strong, with the exception of some getting lost in the orchestra by Simone Alaimo. JDF was stunning, Kweesh just as satisfying as remembered, etc. The production design is a neither here nor there bit of Schenk-tastic-ness, but I'm thinking the world would probably be no poorer if it never saw Don Pasquale in anything other than a literal take on its original setting. The real action is in the vivacious staging--quite amazing that the same director who virtually bolts his actors to the floor in the 'Ring' feels free to let them scamper all over God's creation here.

So, again, if you have a vested interest in Don Pasquale, its possible you should stay away. If you want a night of comedic opera to actually make you gleeful--as bizarre as that sounds--then Trebs has what you need. Go to her.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sunday night round-up

J: it was great not having rehearsal
A: so very, very nice
J: I really don't want to go to work tomorrow
J: I just want them all to go away
A: >:o
A: how was the rest of Manon yesterday?
J: it was good
J: she was sounding good and I liked the tenor
A: kewl
A: I saw Broken Flowers last night
A: such nice Bill Murray time
J: oh it is a nice movie
J: you shd see that movie Brick
A: oh that looks good
J: it is
J: drive-in season!
A: awesome!!!
J: woo!
J: there is one already open that looks really close
J: in Warwick, NY
A: oh sweet
A: I am watching Spiderman
A: on tv
A: and it just dawned on me
J: that she is Marie-Antoinette?
A: that tobey maguire probably didn't do any of the parts where the mask is down
J: huh
A: I mean, his voice when the mask is down must be dubbed over, right?
A: so all those parts when Marie Antoinette is giving him those nice looks, it is probably some random stunt dude
J: haha
A: BTW, have you/are you planning to see Don Pasquale?
J: oh yes---Tuesday, and I figured you and I could go together
A: oh cool
A: they are about to kiss upside down
A: done
A: G was so into that DP
J is idle at 12:43:29 AM
J is no longer idle at 12:45:04 AM
J: sorry--my parents called
J: yeah he loved the DP
J: and like he wasn't even going to go
J: because he hates the donizetti comedy stuff
J: but I was like "I am freaking giving you opening night tix"
A: and he was delighted
A: mexcellent
J: too bad we had to sit on stage and listen to Wawa Music
A: too bad indeed
J: I cut 8 out of 10 cat nails tonight
A: "B-"
J: hah
J: well there is sort of a curve becaue some were sharper
A: that is reasonable
A: Samuel needs some nail cutting stat
J: it is a tough task
J: and Samuel is pretty squirmy
A: I have to grab him when he is sleepy, and then it's very easy
J: Andrew let me do one whole paw with no fuss
J: and then caught on
A: when he is "in the mood"
J: haha
A: and I don't mean comforter humping
J: "Alex I'm not in the mood. mew."
J: he always in 'da mood for c-humping
A: true dat
A: Now I am watching Trading Places
A: I love not-cable
J: i have that on too
A: ha!
J: tho it is barely audible and I am facing away from it
J: neventherless
J: it is on
A: I had some good cheapo cuban tonight
A: that country is so great food wise
J: oh yum
J: what did you get?
A: pulled pork w/ port wine gravy and whipped plantains
J: um yum
A: it really was
A: note to selves if we are looking for somewhere to eat in westernly Soho
J: noted

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hey

I know its been light lately. Strang things have been afoot in the Wellsung universe. These nice mp3s from recent listening don't really make up for it. But perhaps they are a start, no?
  • Giuseppe DiStefano in the last act of Un Ballo in Maschera, 1957, La Scala, w/ Callas, Simionato, Bastianni, Gavazzeni conducting. I guess this is a pretty well known contender for best recorded Ballo of all time. To that I will just say "for reals". MP3
  • Even though I'm still kind of miffed at Barbara Frittoli for being so awesome in Cosi and then ditching out on Luisa Miller, I will post this take of her in a suprisingly disarming Pagliacci conducted by Ricardo Chailly. I don't love every second of her here, but when she's on she's so very, very on. MP3
  • And a little something to clear the palette, from Janacek's piano works. MP3