Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Surprising Agreements and a BONK on the Head

I never thought this would happen in my lifetime, but I was always hoping it would. The New York City Opera and New York City Ballet have FINALLY come to an agreement. There will be renovations to improve the acoustics of the New York State Theater to the happiness of everyone who has ever loved City Opera. Good newssss!!!!

Sometimes things happen at the opera that are totally unexpected and have nothing to do with the action onstage at all, but they affect the mood of the entire night. On Saturday I saw "Le Nozze di Figaro" and in the second act, as we probably all know, the Count is in a tizzy because he thinks the Countess is hiding a lover in her dressing room. That's the simple version. Anyway, he goes to her desk/vanity and starts tearing it apart! Makeup, jewelry boxes, and an assortment of other things start flying around the stage while the Count is searching for the key to the dressing room. Suddenly, (the entire audience sees it) a ROUND little jewelry box thing starts rolling downstage. Everyone, except the performers and the orchestra, sees it coming, but we can't do anything to prevent it. The tension rises as it rolls closer to the orchestra pit. And closer and closer and closer and closer... *GASP* *bonk* Riiiiiight onto the head of the cellist. The conductor STOPS THE MUSIC and Simon Keenlyside and Anja Harteros turn in slight confusion. The audience is laughing hysterically and the poor cellist is holding her head like "whaaaaaat?" After a few moments of laughter and applause Simon Keenlyside gestures to La Contessa as if to say "It was her fault!" More laughter. After a long pause the music starts again and the opera resumes.
Later in the act I look down in the orchestra pit. The cellist is nowhere to be seen!!! I still don't know what happened to her, but she didn't come back to the opera! As much as I want her to be okay it was still REALLY funny. But I hope she's okay. =)

PS. I'm still clinging hopelessly to the Solti recording.

Happy Listening!!! =)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ah tutti contenti!!

Le Nozze di Figaro
~Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

November 24th, 2007

Figaro- Bryn Terfel
Susanna- Ekaterina Siurina
Conte Almaviva- Simon Keenlyside
Contessa Almaviva- Anja Harteros
Cherubino- Kate Lindsey
Marcellina- Marie McLaughlin
Don Bartolo- Maurizio Muraro
Don Basilio- Greg Fedderly

Usually in reviews you say "but the performer that impressed me the most" or "the performer that really stole the show," but in the performance of Le Nozze di Figaro you just didn't have that. It's not a bad thing at all, in fact it's a fabulous thing! The entire cast worked so well together and they were all so wonderful that it blended together perfectly.
Bryn Terfel as Figaro is about as perfect as it gets. It's said that these are his last Figaros before he moves to the Count, so I'm very glad I caught them! He's the best Figaro around, in my opinion, and I'm sure he'll be a great Count. Speaking of Counts... Simon Keenlyside was amazing. His voice is so beautiful and his interpretation was very interesting. He played the Count not just as a vain, good looking jerk, but also as a complete idiot! He made the Count seem like a big oaf who in the process of trying to kick Figaro's behind, tripped and fell on his face. Yes, it was intentional! This, in turn, I think made the Countess look stupid. She's trying to win back a vain loser! It makes such a dignified part look like a different person. It's funny how such a small change in personality can change the mood of the entire opera! Anja Harteros as the Countess was a great choice. Her voice is gorgeous and HUGE. She drowned out all the women in the final scene. Her two arias sounded amazing and I really hope the Met has her signed up for more in future seasons!! (hint hint, Peter Gelb!!) Ekaterina Siurina was our beautiful Susanna. Not only is she a lovely girl with an amazing voice, but she really embodied her role.
Another amazing singer was Kate Lindsey, who I first saw as Siebel in Faust at the Met in the Parks this summer. I was so impressed with her and I've been looking for her all season. I'm ecstatic that she ended up in this Figaro!! She's so cute, but she didn't appear girly at all in this trouser role, she played the hormonal adolescent very well. Marie McLaughlin, Maurizio Muraro, and Greg Fedderly were hysterical in their respective parts. These three roles are obviously the funniest in the show and the singers really brought it out.
Philippe Jordan was a perfect conductor. After all the times I've heard that darned overture I thought it would never sound fresh and new, but I was proved wrong. I noticed things, little things, that I didn't know were there before. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the beauty of the conductor and the beauty of the opera!!! You learn something new about every role and every note each time you hear a new interpretation.

Well, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to attach myself to the perfectly perfect Solti Figaro for the next 24 hours. =)

Happy Listening!! =)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm Dreaming of an Onegin Christmas!!!

Word has reached my ears that the perfectly perfect "Eugene Onegin" telecast/moviecast from last season is going to be released on DVD just in time for Christmas!! It can be pre-ordered now on!! It's numero uno on my Christmas list!!!!

Happy Listening!!! =)

Monday, November 19, 2007

So much for promising myself I would go... Renee Fleming's La Traviata this season. And, of course, she conveniently decided that these were going to be her final Met Traviatas.

=( =( So, when my grandchildren ask "Grandma, did you ever see Renee Fleming as Violetta?" I will have to solemnly shake my head no. It's not completely my fault! By the time I got back from Italy every single seat for every single performance was sold out. The entire run! I'm not even kidding! Alright, I guess I'll just have to deal with her Desdemona ONLY. Well, yea, that's still pretty amazing. Seeing one of the greatest sopranos of this generation in one of her calling cards is, yes, pretty spectacular. =)

Oh, and by the way, Aprille Millo=life.

Happy Listening!! =)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Celine Dion + Maria Callas= ?!?!?! CONFUSION ?!?!

According to the amazing La Cieca, Celine will be playing our divine Maria Callas in an upcoming "biopic"????? Okay, maybe she just wants to and its not actually going to happen. Who knows, with Bocelli at the Met and a Charlotte Church Butterfly in place (just kidding!) anything is possible! =)

In other news...
Has anyone noticed that Aprile Millo has a beautiful blog? Well she does! It's wonderful and I check it all the time to see her new pictures and videos and see what news she has next!!! =) Yea, work it, Aprile!!!!!! =) It's called Operavision and the link is here. Enjoy because I do!!!

Happy Listening! =)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

So I saw Bocelli at the Met today... wait... WHAT??!?!

Okay, so I didn't see him. But somebody did. Andrea Bocelli was auditioning, yes auditioning, yesterday for his bffaeaeaeae Peter Gelb. Don't freak out, they're not thinking of putting him in an opera, but they are considering letting him have the house for a off-season piano recital. A recital which I will not be attending. =)

Yes, I saw the words "Bocelli" and "the Met" in the same sentence and I almost fell out of my chair. If they were hiring him for an opera, I would be the first to give Mr. Gelb a piece of mind, but a piano recital is okay. I mean, Bocelli has so many fans that Carnegie Hall might not be big enough!!!
Plus, didn't someone say something about bringing more people to the Met? Well, I guess this is one way!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dame Joan, Dame Gwyneth

Two great ladies celebrated their birthdays yesterday.

One is, in my opinion, one of the best sopranos who ever lived. Dame Joan Sutherland!!!

The other is not known for this part, but the first time I heard her she was the Marschallin alongside Brigitte Fassbaender and Lucia Popp. It's an understatement when I say she left a lasting impression!

Happy Listening! =)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bellini's Belated Birthday

Since my internet was conveniently down for the past few days, I couldn't wish the brilliant composer or Norma, I Puritani, and others a Happy, Happy Birthday!

Well, here's my birthday tribute to the great Vincenzo Bellini!!!!!

Montserat Caballe singing "Casta Diva" (btw, she's just about the greatest Norma there ever was)

And the luscious "A te, o cara" from I Puritani starring Juan Diego Florez (I'm not im love with the soprano-or his wig/hat- but I love this clip)

Happy Listening!! =)