After an odd weeklong silence, Opera-L was finally abuzz Tuesday with talk of the Met's Lohengrin revival. Interesting to see more opinions. It's somewhat jarring, however, to read confident conclusions as to principals' vocal essences when this third performance was -- sonically speaking -- quite noticably Heppner's most and Mattila's least in-form evening of the run. (Not that either sounded bad at any point.)
Of course the phenomenon will repeat Saturday, when the close miking and dynamic compression of broadcast will add their own distortion. Nonetheless, strong opinions will take hold.
On the other side, performers surely know that most of each evening's audience will have just that particular impression for maybe the next year or more, and without being privy to the nuances of one's physical state at the time.
I've tried to include qualifiers in blogposts that go on isolated samples, though I'm sure I've neglected this at times. And though I don't much like extreme hit-and-miss performers, I do find the general unpredictability and uncertainty of the art positively stimulating. -- This is part of what charges an audience before the event, an energy with which some can do wonders (and which unfortunately fells others).