Echoing the sentiments of Alex and Maury: Must I really write about La Forza del Destino? What a mess. Not the performance really, just....you know...the opera. I don't know it very well, but I imagine the VOX recording I purchased for reference off Amazon for $1.99 will remain in its plastic shrink wrap.
Voigt sounded great, especially her splendid fourth act. So, I suppose all was not lost. Though why on earth her Met season consists of Leonora in this creaky heap of a production and a few Toscas (Tosce?) remains unclear. And knowing I have to wait a year to hear her sing something I am excited about only enhances the frustration.
Licitra--I don't totally get the deal with him. His Radames earlier this season was at least of consistent tone and of seemingly healthy vocal production. Tuesday night was like....well, you know in college how on the night before finals a lot of schools do this thing where like everyone leans out of their dorm room and lets out stress by screaming at a predetermined time?--the "primal scream" is what we called it at Columbia. Well, Licitra walked a fine line between singing the role of Alvaro, and doing the pre-finals primal scream. Both are neat. But I just found it so baffling. It is one of the most tense, uncomfortably produced vocal sounds I have heard in a long time. Yet, when it frees up it is absolutely glorious. So, there is clearly some sort of inconsistency in technique here. There is no way he is going to be able to keep this up. I predict he will have blown out what he has left within 2-3 seasons.
Delavan and Ramey both turned in listenable if unremarkable performances. Though in a couple of musically and dramatically dreadful moments, I was able to entertain myself by counting the pulses per second in Ramey's vibrato. I think he averaged about 2-3.
I can barely remember what I had for dinner last night (tho I think it was honey baked ham and american cheese on a roll, Kettle chips, and a seltzer), but I can certainly remember what I did on Sunday. I had my first real introduction to the astonishing Ewa Podles. Singing with the not-great-but-perfectly-good Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Ms. Podles had the crowd in a shockingly undersold Avery Fisher Hall screaming like a stadium full of me at a Dolora Zajick concert...er...point being, the crowd went wild. Like, insanely wild.
And never has a wild crowd been more justified. WOW. This is a f***ing magnificent voice. I mean, the woman sings like a fine baritone. She has richness and power in the lowest of registers--to a seriously shocking extent. There is almost something a bit freakish about it. But in the end, completely wonderful. On the program: A Rossini Cantata from Joan of Arc, Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death, and works for chamber orchestra by Haydn, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich. Ms. Podles also did two encores, not in the program--one of which I know was by Tchaikovsky, though I missed the title. Brava.
Kicking off my mezzotastic last weekend were Clifton Forbis and *Olga Borodina* in Samson et Dalila. . It's a swell opera; not my favorite. Clif and Olg's really delivered, however, and I was glad I spent the 3.5 hours in standing room orchestra. A first. Despite the inflated labia on display on the drop at the top of act II. Not only that, but it was my first time ever at the Met on a broadcast day! What a treat. The afternoon's "DVD Extras" were a panel with Rufus Wainwright, and of course the quiz.
Ok, I am running out of steam.
Question: Where does Margaret Juntwait hide at those things?
Answer: (She is a disembodied voice)