Friday, July 21, 2006

As promised

As video appendix to previous commentary on the Volpe Gala, its defining moment:

Natalie Dessay (and Elaine Douvas, et al.) in Bellini's Sonnambula finale. The set -- of which she actually makes brilliant use -- is from Act I of Zeffirelli's Traviata production.

A blogger in performance

Lower Manhattan's River to River Festival will present baritone and blogger Tom Meglioranza in a free recital this coming Monday at Pace. Having heard him last summer at the Naumburg finals, I think this event should be interesting -- worth attending.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

In case you were wondering...

I make no claims to being any sort of "superlistener".

(But I am -- to go off-topic -- a longtime Matt Kramer fan.)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The show must go on

A week after Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's shocking-if-unsurprising passing, online talk has already bubbled up about her possible replacement in next season's Met/Mark Morris Orfeo. With Hunt, it was the most anticipated event of the coming season. Now -- as it's probably impractical and definitely unwise to cancel the production -- things are up in the air. There's no official word (or strong rumor) on a substitute, just speculation.

From a purely vocal standpoint, I wonder if the house could do better than one of its own youngsters. I'd never thought I'd hear a sound like Kathleen Ferrier's, but Tamara Mumford's lower register has some of that great Orfeo's uncanny contralto timbre. Even more remarkable, I think -- and again recalling Ferrier -- is the pure, unforced seriousness of the young mezzo's natural manner. It's too bad opera has few leading parts for such a combination.

But I suspect it's unlikely that the Met would entrust a new, high-profile production to a twentysomething-year-old third-year Lindemann singer, no matter how talented. So if it's to be a "name" star, I'd like to see Vesselina Kasarova -- an excellent singer who hasn't yet been shown in her element in New York.

Naturally, I'm sure Peter Gelb et al. have their own ideas.

UPDATE (7/19): Via a helpful commenter, the replacement seems to be David Daniels. Those who've read the archives may recall that I consider the countertenor-in-old-repertoire phenomenon essentially fraudulent, and Daniels -- whose voice sits far too high for these parts -- doubly so. I've no doubt this choice will sell tickets, but what an artistic waste.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It at least makes a striking poster

The new Met season ad, which shares a font and other design elements with the graphics-overhauled Met website.

Friday, July 07, 2006

More Levine

A friend points me to this conversation with James Levine on today's Soundcheck show. Levine's finally back in action tonight, at Tanglewood.

Opera talk starts at around 8:40 of the clip.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A long-unexpected passing

I return from holiday business to find Lorraine Hunt Lieberson dead. Others probably heard and loved her more. I actually found her opera work not-quite-up-to-hype until I saw that first shockingly perfect Didon. The evening of that premiere was a triumph of the first magnitude, and I'm glad she saw one like that on our biggest stage.