Thursday, March 02, 2006

Samson to Ewa Podles: You are My Destino

Working Backward.

Echoing the sentiments of Alex and Maury: Must I really write about La Forza del Destino? What a mess. Not the performance really, 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 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)


Anonymous said...

You would do well to listen to the VOX performance, maria Slatinaru is an excellent spinto, Herlea a truely fine baritone and the recently deceased Ludovic Speiss a fine though Slavic Alvaro.

As far as the mess is concerned, I think the problem is the dawn camp choruses witht he Preziosilla scenes in Act III. The problem is that they are obviously there to SET the scene and to give respite from the prior Alvaro/Don Carlo scene. However, in rewriting the opera, Verdi did away with a tenor aria and thus moved the tenor/baritone duet to the spot BEFORE the choral scenes and finished the act with the chorus and Prezisilla where they make no musical or dramatic sense. On top of that, many productions and recordings cut the "Sleale" baritone/tenor duet which made the choral/Preziosilla scenes even more disjointed. The VOX recording does this.

Try the PHILLIPS recording of the original St.Petersburg score, or fiddle with the cd remote and place the corus and Preziosilla BEFORE the "Sleale" duet and see what you think. It's an entirely different opera.

Anonymous said...

The Radio booth is at the back of the Dress Circle. Door is near the Restroom on the North Side.

darnokk said...

Yes, Ewa is the real thing. We heard her a year ago in Milwaukee in Trovatore and in a private recital. She is a temperamental DIVA. I doubt we will hear her again in Milwaukee. There is a pirate of the Trovatore.

Maury D'annato said...

Ok darnokk but do you have the pirate is the question!
MD', Podlomane.

darnokk said...

Yes, I do. I got it from Live Opera Heaven in NYC #LOH2194-2 on 2 CDs

Baritenor said...

I was at an Earlier Samson performance, with Marina Domashenko as the girl from Gazzah. And If no one else says it, I will...That girl can SING! Oh my god. She's got some pipes on her! And on top of that, she's a great actress, did a convincingly sexy Act one "dance" and was very, very sweet at the stage door.

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