Monday, July 30, 2007

Walkure: no seating til the first intermission...

J: are you going to listen to the 1045 one?
A: i guess so
A: is the early one in intermission?
J: I think so
A: i turned it on at like 10:10
J: I woke up too late
J: but I will do the 11:45EST one
A: I am a bit worried
A: there is a polish call in show on the station now
A: and this woman is not shutting up
A: whoa
A: i have both the polish stations playing at same time
A: it is a cacophany of poles
A: one of them just said bayreuth
A: cool
J: I hope it wasn't a typo
J: I am now fearing we missed act one
A: dang
A: one of the poles is giving a synopsis I think
A: shit
A: he just said brunnhilde
A: maybe it is for act II
A: balls
A: that is totally Act II horns
A: yikes
A: hojoto-no
J: cuh-rud
J: well, we'll have to hear the act 1 rebroadcast
J: there is something to be appreciated about L-Wats. Like, she's not awful.
A: for sure
J: there's a Ring in January in Berlin
A: neat
A: whoa
A: luana devol is the gotterdammerung brunhilde
A: they have stephen gould for the siegfried siegfried
J: wait LD is B-hilds in Berlin?
A: yeah
J: whoa
J: that could be, well, troublesome
A: no doubt
A: but it is awfully intriguing
J: there's also one in Dresden
J: but it would require being in Dresden for like all of January
A: they have a children's show running concurrently called "Klein-Siegfried"
J: that is sort of fucked up
A: ha
A: yeah
A: I don't have a sense of how cold it is in Berlin in the winter
J: oh huh
A: that production looks kind of neat
J: oh it does
J: I met Kevin Bacon in his boxers last night
J: what are you thinking of this?
J: the opera, not KB
A: oops
A: I fell asleep for a bit
J: hah
J: well, it was pretty decent I think
A: Pizhonka?
J: good I think---though harder to tell from act 2
A: yeah
J: Watson's coming off pretty well today
A: yeah
J: a little pitchy here and there
A: oof
A: way to jinx her
J: seriously
A: so hard to figure her out
A: there's a really amazing 'power' for lack of a better word
A: but then she goes and makes some really unpleasant noise and puts one back on the fence
J: yeah
J: I overall lean toward liking her
A: OK Theilemann
A: bring it home
J: they didn't go as crazy with the intermissions on this one. it'll come in at like 5:45
A: indeed
A: funny
A: on a related note, I do like this Albert Dohmen
J: yes
J: he sounds a tad old-ish but he still has it
A: as long as they can still realy spin the full lines, I think I like that in a Wotan
A: a reason I worry about whether I'll like Bryn Terfel's Wotan
A: it may be too smooth
J: huh
A: I think a Wotan should have a crust on it
J: then you may have not liked the Kirov Wotan
J: he was silky smoov
A: Wotan (trans.): "check out meine speer"
A: "it is big and scary"
A: that's the ballgame
J: well, the audience seems happy enough
J: and scene
J: ok, off to a potluck in Bayridge
A: I need to go listen to some Wintersturme
J: closest thing to Bayreuth I could get
A: ha
A: enjoy


That Glyndebourne Cosi looks very hott indeed.

What a great idea to make the Albanian prince get ups louche and sexy rather than louche and buffoonish. Maybe you lose a handful of cheap laughs but at least no one is scratching their heads about how they could fall for two doofuses. Instead its everything they liked in their lovers but more dangerous--same silly/intriguing/disturbing suspension of disbelief problem, but at least now it flows in the same direction as the subtext.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Shorter Rhinegold

A: where's the R-Gold?
A: is there an intermission or something?
J: no it starts later because it's short
A: ahhh
A: sweet
J: so it starts at 10:55 your time
A: crud
J: ?
A: I have to go to a lunch thing at 11:30
A: arg
J: blah
A: this isn't working out. I think I may need to request some time off
J: it's really true. stupid summer job.
A: HP5=awesome
J: oh you saw it!
J: yeah it's great
A: I should really stop listening to Polish talk radio
A: oh
A: dur
A: I was clicking the links for yesterday
J: ah
J: total dur
A: I was hoping for a bit more crazy Helena Bonham Carter tho
A: its really only a matter of time until Emma Watson shows up in Maxim
J: she is Hermione?
J: it's true
A: she is 17 tho
J: crud
A: born in 1990
A: DR was 1989
A: so that's all good
J: awesome
A: his wand is fair game
J: not sure it's the wand I'm after
A: hehe
J: which station are you going to do?
A: I'm going to try Bayern Klassik
A: I trust Germans for Internet Radio
J: yeah me too
J: though the Bartok MP3 was coming in nice and clear just now.
J: the Bayern seems solid
A: I might give the Poles a chance...this has been ok, though I have only heard talking as of yet
A: there's another country which must have some mixed feelings about Wagner
J: true
J: the 256K Bartok mp3 is playing through iTunes and has like a real radio sound
J: I am going to go with that for a bit
A: dang it
A: windows does everything possible to fuck with itunes
A: I think it might have put a hit out on my Firefox, too
J: the Bayreuth orch rocks
A: seriously
J: which Rheinmaiden do you think is the sluttiest?
J: I am going with Flosshilde, for sure
A: I might have to go with Wellgunde
A: Woglinde needs to step closer to the mic
A: its definitely not this one
A: she's the downer rheinmaiden
J: yeah
J: Woglinde says "Does he want to play with us?"
J: which is pretty slutty
J: bye, gold
A: auf wiedersehn
J: Tschuss, Gold
A: scheiss
A: i have to go
A: this sounds really good
A: I want to hear more Thielemann
J: yeah
J: went idle at 11:54:21 AM.
J: returned at 12:10:28 PM.
J: good Nibelungen squeal
J: earlier
J: went idle at 1:10:34 PM.
J: returned at 1:32:52 PM.
A: and I'm back just in time for the applause
A: crud
A: how was it
J: I missed a bunch of it
J: had to do some errands and we all had lunch in the editors room
J: but what I heard was great
J: the orchestra was like amazing
J: and the singing was all around solid I thought
J: the reaction is sounding positive

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Green Hill 2: Back to the Hill

A: hey
J: hello
J: streams are not as good today
A: yeah
J: right now I have the wmv from Bartok which seems to be doing OK
A: I think I have the m3u from them
A: there is some popping
J: yeah
J: I wish NDR Kultur would do it every day
A: such a fan of NDR Kultur
J: pop-frei, buffer-frei internet radio
J: I once again downloaded the Wagner Society application
A: what do you have to do to get some of their tix?
J: hopefully nothing too nasty
A: they have the goofiest web page
J: I know
J: it's dumb
A: um
A: have you read the reviews of yesterday?
J: no are they insane?
A: here
A: or
A: "Some Wagner enthusiasts were won over by the bold staging, which saw the singing troupe running around the stage adorned with outsized genetalia."
J: um it sounds insane. the boo-ing sounds aweomse
J: they boo'ed Hans Sachs and Eva!
A: she kept coming back for more?!?
A: damn you NDR Kultur
A: "At one point, sports shoes rained down on the stage."
J: wow
A: from the guy who replaced the dove at the end of Parsifal with a decaying rabbit corpse: " The enfant terrible of German theatre, Christoph Schlingensief, delivered a harsh verdict on Deutschland Radio, saying it felt like she had set the opera in a "fitness studio or a porn shop"."
A: Mad props for the Colonel, tho
J: act one of Pantyhäuser is awfully short
J: followed by an hour intermission
A: must be good revenue for whatever the Bayreuth equivalent of the Revlon Bar is
J: for serious
J: "I'll have a brownie and a decaf. And a sausage."
A: tasty
J: es schmeckt gut
A: I hope this Elisabeth is ok
A: maybe instead of finding someone to run it who can put on crazy naked productions they should get someone who can hire good singers
J: yeah that might be a thing to try
A: interesting opera-L bit on the poor singing:
A: and hoops
A: hm
A: I think I prefer a little more honey on my Elizabeth, but I can be down with this
J: that was pretty OK though the Elizabeth is a hair too dramatico
A: Chorus (trans.): Everybody come on down to the Halle, we're gonna have ourselves a sangin' contest!
A: I think I would like to see a Tannhauser production with a back country of Appalachia theme
A: the Venusberg would be like the cathouse in town
A: Elisabeth would be the buxom mountain girl
A: everyone would have banjos
A: eek
A: did T-hauser just blow a pipe?
J: I was away
J: damn
J: um is it on intermission?
A: yeah
A: are you getting the a capella Hungarian woman?
J: yes
A: we're not in Deustchland any more, Toto
J: damn NDR
A: this is absurd
A: the musical values have really gone downhill in this opera, huh
A: Tannhauser, as interpreted by 100 year old Slavic women
J: this is so horrible
J: stop buzzing, Hungarian people
A: maybe this is the background music the play on the lawn during intermission
J: enough!
A: dude
A: they should broadcast this on loudspeakers to get cults to surrender in standoffs
J: unless you are Muslim and praying, your singing is not allowed to sound like this
A: sweet lord
A: finally
J: they take like hour intermissions
J: during Tannhäuser
J: not that long an opera, folks
J: during which all of Hungary evidently starts wailing
A: some nice pics here, tho none of the meistercocks
J: huh
J: the video on that page makes me want to be in Bayreuth
A: Angela Merkel is so cute
J: it's all red carpet and mobbed
J: yay
J: I like this part
A: uh-oh
A: I think Liz may be tot
A: Wolfram (trans.): Um...wait. What exactly did she die of?
J: heh
J: see, I don't really know T-häus well enough for that game, which bums me out, cause it's so priddy
A: she dies of a broken heart or some BS
J: natch
A: then he sings this song about how nice she was
A: Then the Haus comes back
J: she expires a la Elsa, Gutrune,
A: wait--Gutrune dies?
J: she expired in this production
J: but like for no reason
J: she's just really bummed about everything
A: Bummers: The Silent Killer
J: Gutrune's like "I bet if I died you wouldn't even notice"
J: and I actually didn't
J: I thought she was Hagen as they were dressed the same
J: and I was confused
J: for the rest of the opera
J: knowing he had to also die at the end
A: ha
J: that character sucks
J: she obviously doesn't say the thing about no one noticing if she died
J: but she's sort of desperate for attention like that
A: its kind of unique among Wagner characters, no?
A: the super pathetic type?
A: you almost don't know what to do with her
A: it's like "look, Brunnhilde is going to be here in an hour and I think you might piss her off"
J: I think I am projecting some of the lameness on her
J: I think she just had the fewest unique character traits so I think of her as sort of pathetic and lame. And also, she uses a potion to get a man
J: who is not hers
A: the orch really sounds great
J: yes
A: then T threatens go to go back to Venus
A: and she shows up
A: and then he changes his mind
A: and dies
J: dies of indecision
A: more or less
A: then the pilgrims from Rome show up with the Pope's staff
A: which has blossomed
A: meaning that he has been forgiven
A: but it is a tad bittersweet, since both he and his woman are tot
J: wait, go to and click on "Macbeth" for a really kick-ass picture of Thomas Hampson
A: haha
J: isn't that awesome?
A: amazing
A: maybe she dies out of embarassment than Tannhauser keeps insinuating that she is a really, really bad lay
A: "we could have perfect holy love and my soul would be redeemend for eternity but...I'm sorry, baby, sex with you would just be SOOO weak"
J: is that basically how it goes?
A: more or less

Opening Day

A: i feel like the Bayreuth intermission show is going to turn into "Sprockets" at any moment
J: oh the b-casts are on?!
A: Act II is starting now
J: Act II of what?
A: Meistersinger
J: who's in it?
A: a bunch of people I don't know
A: and Klaus Florian Vogt
J: woo!
J: I may need to turn that on
J: hm Linda Watson is the Bayreuth Brunnhilde again
A: yeah
A: I don't know how I feel about that
J: yeah I am leaning toward disappointed
J: it's weird that real A-listers don't sing at Bayreuth athat much
J: like, there's no Mattila Eva or Voigt Sieglinde at Bayreuth
J: oh sweet little Klaus
A: it's awfully nice
A: I don't know why the lack of a-lsiters
A: I think I read in a voigt interview about how she wanted to but they were going to make her jump through all these hoops and she was like whatever
J: I wonder what sort of hoops
J: these streams come through nicely
A: which are listening to?
A: me too
J: keepin' it real mit dem deutschen radio
A: some of the others are not so god
A: good
J: this makes me feel like I am in Deutschland
J: the chit chat
A: dang it
J: what?
A: boss came over to talk to me and I missed the riot
J: suck
J: I see a Frau Ohne Schatten/Doctor Atomic weekend in our future
A: um
A: I have been listening to this interview in german for like a half hour now
J: me too!
J: I mean, I don't understand it
A: she has such a great voice
J: I know
J: all gravely
A: oh man
A: that's the 29 yr old chick who's going to take it over
J: wait what?
A: she's the 29 yr old great (or great great) granddaughter who is supposed to get the torch
J: oh wow
A: unless the Bayreuth board bucks Wieland Wagner's wishes and goes with her mother or cousin
A: who are both older
J: why does it go to her and not her mother?
J: is her mother not a descendant?
A: it's not like a right of succession, I don't think
A: he wants to give it to her to ensure it will be kept in the family longer
J: ah
J: ok
A: 29 vs. 66
J: and Wieland is what, a great grandchild?
A: I think so
A: tho maybe he is just grandson
A: He's pretty old
J: when Did Wagner die?
A: 1883 A: but his child with Cosima, Siegfried, was fairly late I think
J: so wait, it's Wolfgang Wagner who's in charge right?
A: right...
A: Wieland was the other one
A: maybe that was the grandson
A: wolfgang is the great grandson
J: Wieland and Wolfgang are the sons of Winifred and Siegfried
J: I mean, per Wikipedia
J: Wieland ist tot
J: Wolfgang is the father of Katarina, the 29 year old
A: did he do the famous minimalist postwar productions?
A: yes
A: wow, so the current Wagner family's Nazi connections were indeed pretty tight
A: like Wolfgang's mom was all buddies with Hitler
A: ah
A: right
A: Winifred the Nazi
J: exactly
A: I think there are damning pictures of Hitler playing with the children or something
J: oh with Wolfgang and Wieland?
A: yeah
A: lovely
J: Wolfgang will be 88 at the end of August
A: must be fun when they discuss old times
A: was that the summer we stayed at the beach or the one with Hitler?
J: haha
J:"no that year was Christmas at the Hitlers."
J:"the year before we went to that Hannukah thing at the Rosenbergs"
J: they take serious intermission at the 'reuth
A: yeah
A: I'm thinking there is some really nice summer sausage being consumed right now
J: oh totally
J:I'd ove to hear KFV do that part in G-dams right before Siegfried's death when he sings all the wood bird music
J: I'd love to hear, rather
A: oh word
A: it's funny when David sounds crustier than Walther
J: hah
J: yes
A: bring it KFV
A: what do you think therapy is like for Wolfgang?
A: "tell me about your mother"
A: "well, she was kind of judgmental...also, she was a big fucking Nazi"
J: hah
J:"ugh, she was like a total Nazi"
A: haha
J: "you mean, she was controlling?"
J: "no..."
J: "I mean, she made us sit on Hitler's lap"
A: haha
A: next door computer left
A: now I can giggle in peace
A: awesome
J: sweet
J: is that Jar Jar?
A: no
A: he's behind a wall
J: ah
J: and yet
A: there's this random computer next to me that people take once in a while
J: oh so priddy
A: super total priddy
J: do it again!
A: ha
A: yes!
J: haha
A: um
A: KFV needs to seriously never grow this stache again
J: ew!
A: delicious
J: yum
A: this part where Beckmesser comes back is such a chore
A: me and this Eva are no longer friends
A: uh...that's not the pitch, honey
J: I missed it
J: what'd she do?
A: she was shrill
A: and that was dicey
A: just there
J: yeah she is pretty mediocre
A: KFV's blending skillz are incredible
A: so
A: I realized the other weekend
A: there is a casino like a half hour away from me
A: in Indiana
J: oh man
J: yeah I found one in Yonkers
J: the slot machine thing with me is bad
J: have you gone?
A: no
A: not yet
A: but I've been reading about slot machines
J: oh?
A: not that you can do that much
J: right
A: but stuff like they try to confuse you about which the high percentage machines really
A: are
J: oh wow
A: and you have to read the fine print to make sure
A: and stuff about maximum coin machines
J: what are those?
J: like, $2 machines
J: ?
A: where you have a choice
J: oh right
A: not on all, but on some of them you should always play the maximum coin allotment to increase the probability
A: They are programmed to give higher percentages
J: yeah I read that too
J: funny we both did internet research on slot machines
A: yes
A: omg
A: someone is vacuuming in here
A: this better freaking end before the P-lied
J: um yes
J: it better
J: the Prettylied
A: Hans!
A: Sachs!
J: that was a nice note there
J: oh I do like the KFV
J: Kentucky Fried Vogt
A: Walther (trans.): the meisters can kiss my ass, now excuse me while I go do it with that guy's daughter
J: hah
J: which is fine coming from Vogt. Less fine coming from Botha.
A: true
J: "First I will locate my penis under the rolls. Then we will read the bible. THEN we will do it."
A: haha
A: apparently on stage right now for the "honor your Germant masters" bit, gigantic Nazi style busts of Goethe and Schiller are disintegrating into the stage
J: whoa
A: should make for some nice booing
A: this ending chorus is v. nice
J: it so is
J: whoa good booing already
A: damn
A: I hope that's for the Colonel
J: which
A: the first big applause
J: I wish they'd put the microphone back in there
A: seriously...the production people are going to come soon
J: that is sort of tepid for someone
A: don't cut out!
J: ah!
J: let us hear the boo-ing!
A: noooo!
J: neeeeeiiin!
J: is this a new production?
A: yeah
A: by Katharina Wagner
J: heh
A: nuts
J: I can't tell what was going on
A: wow
A: that entertained me for the entire day
J: that is excellent
J: I have had it on for 3 hrs 45 mins
A: I'm at 6:21
J: this is nice, it's sort of like the old TCF days
J: wow
A: I missed the first half hr or so
J: so, Tannhäuser tomorrow?
A: back to the hill!
A: I'll bring the wurst, you bring the wine
J: das klingt ganz perfeckt

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tonight on Leno

'Sphere perennial Straussmonster adds some interesting thoughts on Kirov G'rung to Maury's over at his place. Ah, opera...where one can get excited about new reviews of shows one is virtually guaranteed to never see.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mark Twain at Bayreuth, 1891

This is fun:
If you are living in New York or San Francisco or Chicago or anywhere else in America, and you conclude, by the middle of May, that you would like to attend the Bayreuth opera two months and a half later, you must use the cable and get about it immediately or you will get no seats, and you must cable for lodgings, too. Then if you are lucky you will get seats in the last row and lodgings in the fringe of the town. If you stop to write you will get nothing. There were plenty of people in Nuremberg when we passed through who had come on pilgrimage without first securing seats and lodgings. They had found neither in Bayreuth; they had walked Bayreuth streets a while in sorrow, then had gone to Nuremberg and found neither beds nor standing room, and had walked those quaint streets all night, waiting for the hotels to open and empty their guests into trains, and so make room for these, their defeated brethren and sisters in the faith. They had endured from thirty to forty hours' railroading on the continent of Europe--with all which that implies of worry, fatigue, and financial impoverishment--and all they had got and all they were to get for it was handiness and accuracy in kicking themselves, acquired by practice in the back streets of the two towns when other people were in bed; for back they must go over that unspeakable journey with their pious mission unfulfilled. These humiliated outcasts had the frowsy and unbrushed and apologetic look of wet cats, and their eyes were glazed with drowsiness, their bodies were adroop from crown to sole, and all kind-hearted people refrained from asking them if they had been to Bayreuth and failed to connect, as knowing they would lie.
And perhaps the finest burn on Gurnemanz ever put to paper:
An ignorant person gets tired of listening to gymnastic intervals in the long run, no matter how pleasant they may be. In "Parsifal" there is a hermit named Gurnemanz who stands on the stage in one spot and practices by the hour, while first one and then another character of the cast endures what he can of it and then retires to die.
And this is very nice, too:
Yesterday the opera was "Tristan and Isolde." I have seen all sorts of audiences--at theaters, operas, concerts, lectures, sermons, funerals--but none which was twin to the Wagner audience of Bayreuth for fixed and reverential attention. Absolute attention and petrified retention to the end of an act of the attitude assumed at the beginning of it. You detect no movement in the solid mass of heads and shoulders. You seem to sit with the dead in the gloom of a tomb. You know that they are being stirred to their profoundest depths; that there are times when they want to rise and wave handkerchiefs and shout their approbation, and times when tears are running down their faces, and it would be a relief to free their pent emotions in sobs or screams; yet you hear not one utterance till the curtain swings together and the closing strains have slowly faded out and died; then the dead rise with one impulse and shake the building with their applause. Every seat is full in the first act; there is not a vacant one in the last. If a man would be conspicuous, let him come here and retire from the house in the midst of an act. It would make him celebrated.
T-minus 23 hrs 'til Meistersinger...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Is that a schwert in your pocket...

A: did you get to see any of the explosion thing in midtown?
J: not live
J: it looked fairly neat
A: it really did
A: arg
A: I am so anti-work right now
J: ugh
J: I know
J: me too
A: I wish the Bayreuth b-casts had already started
A: Looks like Klaus Florian Vogt is in Meistersinger
A: that will be neat
J: oh awesome
A: K. Flo. Vo.
A: did you see how that NYT reviewer kind of did a spoiler review of the Harry Potter book?
J: no!
A: isn't that evil?
J: horrible
A: apparently there is nothing super explicit, but it definitely crosses the line
J: it's like "someone dies, and it rhymes with Mary Trotter"
A: ha
J: I saw HP5 last night
J: I really liked it
A: oh sweet
A: I have to do that
A: Hermione takes off her shirt, right?
J: and jiggles her tits, yes
J: seriously though
J: it's good that Radcliffe is 18
J: because he has become really hot
J: and it would lead to lots of confused guilty feelings among certain viewers otherwise
A: it was dicey there for a bit
J: it really was
J: after the last one Laura P was like
J: " it WRONG that I find him hot?"
A: "if wanting to fuck Harry Potter is wrong, I don't want to be right"
J: haha
A: I think that might make a great bumper sticker
J: with like a suggestive flying broomstick on it
A: haha
A: yes
J: Nothung is awfully phallic in this rung
J: ring
J: did you see the video clips on the NY Times website?
A: ooh
J: there is a pretty great Walküre montage
A: no
J: half way down the page
A: oh my
A: that is a big sword
A: nice mullet, Siegmund
J: I know
J: he sounds good though
A: definitely
A: hrmph
A: I am jealous
J: it definitely trumps what we saw in DC
J: except for Domingus
A: nice
A: man
A: gergiev really has a heinous combover
J: not a goodlooking man
J: I was mixed on Sergeeva the other night
J: we'll see if she can pull off G-dams
J: I can't stop eating handfuls of almonds/raisins/blueberries
J: I have stocked the office with healthy snackage
J: but I can't seem to stop
A: it's kind of amazing how much trail mix one has to eat before one gets sick of it
J: I know
J: neat
A: dress code for Glyndebourne is black tie
J: no way
J: wow
A: I think that's probably #2 on the list of wet dream opera vacations, after Bayreuth
J: yeah that seems right
A: jeez
A: its appallingly expensive
A: 125 pounds for the cheap seats
A: wait--maybe 60
J: still
A: Bayreuth may be less expensive on balance
J: Bayreuth tix themselves are not a fortune
J: it's just the whole getting them thing
J: and the flying to Germany
A: and Bavaria has to be cheaper than anything within a stone's throw of London
J: true
A: where USD go to die
J: GBP kicks USD's ass
A: for reals

Friday, July 13, 2007

Rach 2

Had my second outing of the year to Ravinia last night(the Midwestern Tanglewood and summer home of the CSO for you unicoastal people). The first excursion included the exquisite Pinchas Zukerman playing Mozart and a bang up Mahler 5 (incidentally, the same thing I saw the last time I was at Ravinia the summer after sophomore year in college). But last night was unfortunately a little underwhelming.

One Olga Kern was the soloist for the Rachmaninoff, a huge sentimental favorite of mine. No doubt, she created some marvelous colors in the softer moments, nailing that sort of cavalier melancholy that runs throughout. But there were serious power problems in the fire n' brimstone sections, and that's really sort of a prerequisite for a good showing, no? The Rachmaninoff piano needs to cut through the strings like Brunnhilde through a 150-piece pit--no matter how nice your tone, the effect just doesn't work if the balance isn't right.

The Rachmaninoff was paired with the woefully uninspired choice of Rimsky Korsakov's Scheherezade suite. I mean seriously. You have an hour of Russian orchestral music to program and the best you can come up with is some kitsch showpiece? The Rachmaninoff isn't crowd pleaser enough? Not to hate on the symphony and its need to program for the stodgy, but this is one of those pieces that really ought to be retired to 33's with minaret drawings on the jacket. Sure, that theme is pretty the first 10 times. But after that its just torture. Look alive, CSO.

On an unrelated note, a coworker alerted me to a nice interview with Beverly Sills replayed on Fresh Air here.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Belated Sills Tribute

As a relative latecomer, I don't really have any of those primordial childhood memories of her which so many seem to share. For my part, she's always embodied something very specific about New York and New York culture's peculiar place on the American continent and in the national imagination, and I wonder whether its really understood amidst the "people's diva" epitaphs thrust into our obsession with 'elitist' culture.

Because it's not so much that she 'brought opera to the people', but rather that she carried the banner of that special mid-century moment when people understood and celebrated the possibilities of a decidedly American national artistic culture. When the country and New York City, notwithstanding its European deviance, could carry out a love affair that had nothing to do with terrible tragedy. It was a remarkable achievement in American democracy and national cohesion--and Sills, an extraordinary artist, unabashedly American, unabashedly New York, was undoubtedly one of its finest spokespeople.

Anyhow. Here are some tracks--nothing too special, just two from her Roberto Deveraux which I have a great affection for, and that Traviata Maury wanted to hear again. Wow. That Traviata is a heartbreaker.