Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Belated Jenufa love

Since much not-ink has been spilt already on the finer points of the current Jenufa, I shall eschew the play by play in favor of a numbered list format:

1. The Mattila: If Karita Mattila, after she retires (God forbid), decides to become some kind of Finnish Mother Teresa, and then when she passes (again, God forbid), the Vatican starts taking calls for granting her sainthood seriously, and needs to drum up the requisite three miracles, I feel they might have a not unserious screening of her Jenufa. No one is cured of leoprosy or anything, but I think it qualifies as a minor opera-miracle. An operacle if you will. Quoth my previously unfamiliar seat mate at intermission, "Why don't they put her in everything? No, seriously..."

2. Forst: So, yes, I am bummed that I won't see La Silj. The reports suggest that being in the same room with her Kostelnicka is a bit like being impaled through the chest by some large blunt yet also pointy object, only more pleasant. That sounds awesome. But Forst, whose Herodias we recently enjoyed concurrently with the Dance of the 1/7 Voigts did not disappoint.

3. Silvasti: Silvasti's Laca is the stuff Laca-related dreams are made of. Wow.

4. Production: Mattila-epiphany seatmate pointed out how this production has really great blocking for opera. That plus the wonderful, spot on design helps really locate Jenufa where it should be: alongside the great realist human dramas of Chekhov and Ibsen.

5. General: Listening to this cast is likely diving into a giant bowl of half and half, that's how creamy the Slavic goodness is. It's Smetanalicious.

6. A-holes behind me: Don't you look like nicely dressed, well to do people in your 30s...and you're sitting in orchestra row P, so you must have money or actually care, right? Why then do you break into chortles at the precise moment when Forst shreiks "Fruit of Sin" before taking the baby to the river? We both know you know that's not supposed to be funny. Are you in middle school? Seriously people.

7. Insanity: One afternoon left, bitches who haven't been yet. I got on a plane and sacrificed my stats grade for it. What are you gonna do? Huh? Wanna go? Right now? Professing enjoyment of opera, living in the tri state area, and not seeing this should be grounds for finding someone criminally insane.


Chalkenteros said...

"operacle"?! I am so stealing that word.

Maury D'annato said...

Interestingly (by which I mean: not at all interestingly) Smetana means sour cream in Russian. Stress on the second syl instead of the first. My dissertation will be on dairy themes in opera.

I find my reaction to more and more things in the world is just that: Are you in middle school?

Alex said...

I think we've actually had this "conversation" before, after my learning that it means non-sour cream to the Czechs while in Prague last year. I was chortling to myself over "two smetanas no sugar" for a week.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heartfelt, spot-on post. I took the train up from Washington to catch this and had to wait until 3 a.m. for the return trip from Penn Station. It was worth every minute.

(I question whether the Vatican would consider Mattila for sainthood after she bared it all in Salome.)

Anonymous said...

The only musician who matches Janacek's trance in Jenufa is Camaron de la Isla (Shrimp of the Island), the greatest flamenco cantaor ever, who used to sing with Tomatito (little tomato) until he burst dead of a coke overdose in the 70's I think..But Camaron was a performer. As a composer no one matches Leos. He was more tomatoed than tomatito.

Anonymous said...

Actually, all native Czech words stress the first syllable. Even the word "obrazotvornost". Nerozumite?

Maury D'annato said...

Rozumim. Sort of. Only took a quarter of Cesky. The thing that's really nutty for a non-native speaker are words with vowel-length and accent that are (to our ears) in conflict, since long vowel-length feels like word stress. Like, I dunno, Navratilova. Oh, well, or Janacek.

p.s. to Alex, sorry, I totally forgot we had had this conversation. I'm always doing that to people. Me and my memory. "Hi, I'm Maury." "Yes, I know. I'm your mother."