Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chi Mi Frena In Tal Momento?

Who dares to restrain me in this moment [of epic proportions]?

October 25th, 2008
Lucia di Lammermoor
Lucia- Diana Damrau
Edgardo- Piotr Beczala
Enrico- Vladimir Stoyanov
Raimondo- Ildar Abdrazakov
Alisa- Michaela Martens
Arturo- Sean Panikkar
Conductor- Marco Armiliato

As promised, here is a review of the birthday celebration Lucia. I took three friends to sit in the Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera House to see Diana Damrau, one of the great sopranos singing today, in Lucia di Lammermoor, one of the greatest bel canto operas ever written. I want to reiterate this because, not only did I witness an EPIC (to quote my friends) performance, but three of my friends did as well. I hesitate to say "converts", but they certainly enjoyed themselves immensely and have an added respect for this extraordinary art.

Really quick, here is the origin of "EPIC."
I usually use the thunderous applause after arias and during curtain calls to give my commentary. So after every aria/duet in the opera I had said "Beastly. That was amazing. Oh my gosh, beastly!" I figured I had used the adjective "beastly" (as a compliment, remember!) enough, so it was time for something new. After the mad scene I was dumbstruck. I couldn't even say anything! Suddenly my friend yells "EPIC! That was epic!" It was too perfect. The rest of the evening all we could saw was. "Wait, can you believe how EPIC that was?" "It was so EPIC, I can't even stand it." We even had to make up a new category of epic: Lucia-style Epic. =)

In case you want to hear about the singers at all...

Part of the epic-ness was the perfection of the cast. Looking at the list some of us may have been caught saying "Who?" Well, that question (and some of our prayers) were quickly answered.
Sean Panikkar as Arturo (while not exactly Stephen Costello *wink*) and Ronald Naldi as Normanno were strong supporters with beautiful voices and definite presence. An opera is only as good as it's supporting singers and these guys were great.
Michaela Martens as Alisa was, as last year, a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully, after the sextet you don't want to be heard, because this mezzo's voice is so big that during her high notes she drowns out everything else. It's a good thing. I love it. It's like proclaiming "Hello! I'm here! And I have a wonderful mezzo voice!!"
Ildbar Abdrazakov was a great Raimondo. He staggered onto the stage just before the mad scene in such a way that it made everyone in the audience nervous. Let's face it, we all know the mad scene is coming, but the horrified look he had made it so....real! His singing in the second act was great as well. His guidance to Lucia was heartfelt and very affecting.
No one likes Enrico. No one ever is supposed to like Enrico. He's a mean brother who has no consideration for his sister's feelings. Right? I guess not. Vladimir Stoyanov showed (me, at least) another dimension of Enrico. Sure, he is dishonest and mean to Lucia, but his intentions are clearer. With his deep voice and impressive acting Mr. Stoyanov shows a man who, in desperation, would sacrifice his sister's happiness for the "good" of his family's name. He is struggling, as head of the family, to maintain the favor the Ashton family had previously enjoyed. This all becomes clear through Stoyanov's personal interpretation of Enrico Ashton.

The real find at this performance was Piotr Beczala as Edgardo. He comes on stage and all of my friends lunged for the only pair of opera glasses we brought. Enough said? Well on the visual part of the discussion anyway... I'm always excited but nervous to see tenors I haven't heard [of] before. While I want them to succeed I'm always afraid they will disappoint. My worries were for nothing! Piotr Beczala possesses a gorgeous tenor voice with vibrant high notes and luxurious tone. He also has amazing acting abilities. Last year I commented on Marcello Giordani knocking over chairs for no apparent reason after he denounces Lucia. Beczala did that too, but here it looked normal. (Don't get me wrong, I adore Marcello Giordani, but his clear Italian style and knocking over chairs don't mesh well together.) Everything he did was perfectly relevant to the music and to the story. You really believed him and felt for him. This is a tenor to watch for! He is performing in two other roles at the Met this season (Duke in Rigoletto and Lenski in Eugene Onegin) so his name will be on every opera fans lips. Remember his name, because you won't forget his voice. <3
Diana Damrau. Lucia-style Epic. Lucia Ashton is not a half-insane girl who is clingy and weak and unstable. She's about as insane as any teenage aristocrat with a forbidden lover. She has a strong personality (demonstrated when she throws Edgardo's coat on the ground in Act I and rushes right back into his arms to elongate their duet) and a strong will (demonstrated in her duet with her brother, until she reads the forged letter). It's only, like I said, when Enrico shows her the forged letter that she breaks down. It's all downhill from the there. The wedding, the decrying, the mad sc-...we aren't there yet.
Diana Damrau. What a voice on this woman! You wouldn't know this was her role debut. You would think she'd been singing this for years! I've never seen a Lucia like this. All Lucia's are unique, but this was uniquely unique. It was Lucia, Diana Damrau style. That means it has sass, flair, it's piquant, vibrant. It's everything it should be, but with an edge. That edge is the mad scene. Every soprano is dying to do it, but only few get it just right. Need I say more? It's implied that she got it "just right." I've never seen a Lucia hobble in circles so many times, or stretch across the prompter's box and sing those extremely difficult passages. She had blood on her face, her arms, her dress. It was everywhere! Don't even get me started on this woman's high notes. THE HIGH NOTES! The High Notes. We know she has them from her Queen of the Night, but these are out of this world! All in all, it was ridiculous. It's ludicrous that those sounds can come out of a human being.
Never seen a Lucia quite like it. Beczala and Damrau have a warm and believable chemistry that had me thinking "Oh, I could see that." There was just something very different about how they reacted to each other. With some/most couples it's all about the love they share right now. Lucia and Edgardo are in love right now and yes our families fight, but now we are in love. With these two you can sense their past. You know that they know that they aren't supposed to be together, but it doesn't matter to them. You see the complexities of their relationship without them having to spoon feed it to you.

Dear Marco Armiliato, I salute you. Love, CaroNome of Score Desk.
EPIC. (The chorus, too. Finally catching up to the orchestra!)

To Summarize:
My birthday performance was LUCIA-STYLE EPIC.

Happy Listening!!! =) =)
PS. I apologize for the lateness.
PPS. I always try to make my reviews shorter, but it never works. You can handle that, right?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Birthday Birthday Birthday!!!!


That's riiiight!!!!! Today is my birthdayyyyy! Not that I'm excited about it or anything...

I saw Lucia di Lammermoor with Diana Damrau last night with some of my friends to celebrate. I might actually be the first girl to ever have her birthday party at the Metropolitan Opera. Thank you, Peter Gelb!!! Hahaha.

I will have to talk about the epic-ness (aka beastliness) of Lucia another time, because I'm awfully busy right now!!!! Go Diana Damrau!!!! =)

Happy Listening!!! =) =)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Have Been Tagged

I never thought I would get tagged, but there you go. Learn something new every day.

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog. Leah was my tagger.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.

4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

5. If you don't have 7 blog friends, or if someone else already took dibs, then tag some unsuspecting strangers.


1. When I was in the fifth grade I got mad at my brothers and slammed the door to my room. My finger got caught in it, so I instinctively put it in my mouth to make it hurt less. It tasted really funny and when I looked at it my finger was covered in blood. Turns out some of the finger came off with the slammed door. We went to the hospital and all was okay. 10 stitches for my 10th birthday, which was a few weeks from then. Traumatizing? No. Weird? Yes.

2. While working at an internship near Union Square in the city, I had a bag of carrots that I didn't want for lunch. I passed a homeless man every day and I thought I would see if he wanted them. I gathered my courage, because I don't usually approach anyone, and I asked, "Excuse me, would you like these? I'm not going to have them." I was so proud of myself and I wanted to do something nice for him, but he said, "No. I don't want them." The weirdest part about the whole thing was that as I was walking away I heard the lady behind me say to the person she was with "Well, she just caught a druggie." Weird.

3. I used to play the viola. Then I switched to clarinet, and then to oboe. I quit the oboe when band wasn't a requirement in school anymore and it was after school instead. I had dance class, homework, and voice lessons. Something had to go. I slightly regret it. College applications are soon and oboes look pretty amazing.

4. I saw an Aida at the Arena di Verona last summer. It was the craziest thing I've ever witnessed. It started to rain, but then I channeled my inner Tosca, prayed to the Virgin Mary, and it stopped raining 15 minutes before the performance was supposed to start. Now we say in my family that God wanted me to see that performance.

5. I have only loved opera since February 2006. It's when my mom brought home the DVD of The Turandot Project from the local library. I didn't know what it was about, but Zubin Mehta came on the screen talking about how everything is about "color. You never see a gray dragon." Suddenly, the finale music starts playing and the most incredible production of Turandot ever (Florence) appears on the screen. I literally jumped onto the couch screaming "I KNOW THIS SONG. I KNOW THIS SONG. OH MY GOD I KNOW THIS." So this is love, mm-mm-mm-mm, so this is love...

6. Besides Opera, the loves of my life are: Ballet, Art, John Adams (c. 1776), British and Russian Literature, British History, and Broadway. Also, I'm an anglo-phile. It's pretty bad. I have a jar in my room that JOKINGLY says "Long Live the Queen." My friend and I both have one. We're saving up so that when the queen dies (far far from now) we can fly to London and mourn with the British people. We could possibly stay for the coronation, or however long it takes the princes to fall madly in love with us.

7. Here are some other random facts: My brothers and I have a game called "Random Sentence from Anna Karenina." I hated Der Rosenkavalier the first time I heard it. This blog has a binder that I bring to the opera house to write reviews in; it's sad I know, it's made so I don't forget any detail of the performance, so if you see a teenage girl walking around with a white binder or if you sit next to her, it's ME. I am a member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. I am on the opera-l list service, but I'm a bona-fide lurker. I have 7 editions of Pride and Prejudice in my room alone, I don't even know why. I am in love with Venice, Italy. It was my mom's idea to make this blog. It is my mom's fault I love opera, so whenever she gets annoyed with the loud opera music I remind her it's her fault.

Now, 7 Bloggers Tagged:

1. Crazy Daisy, the only not classical music blog I read, which is sad. =) You should be proud.

2. ACB from The Concert. =)

3. The one who introduced me to Patricia Petibon and unleashed my love of Baroque opera, Sarah Noble.

4. Olivia from Orchestra Ring.

5. Gert from Gertsamtkunstwerk


7. Please see above. I'm a young'un. I don't move in the higher circles of the opera-blogging world. If I ever found out that La Cieca or Opera Chic read this blog once I'd fall on the floor.

Happy Listening!!! =)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Have a Question About the Atomic Bomb?

Just ask Gerald Finley...
or Robert J. Oppenheimer.

If it's too much work to ask, just watch the Met's new Doctor Atomic trailer.

PLUS: Get ready for the Met Player, coming to a computer near you October 22nd.

Happy Listening!!! =)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And You Thought I Forgot...

You know, Columbus Day weekend and all that...

The Two Geniuses of Italian Opera:


Happy Birthday Pavarotti!!!! (10.12)
Happy Birthday Verdi!!!!!! (10.10)

Happy Listening!!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lucia Photo Gallery

Congratulations to Diana Damrau on her debut as Lucia!!!!!! What a feat, and at the Metropolitan Opera House! Any worry was for nothing because the reviews were awesome! Raving reviews from the New York Times, Seattle Times, The New Yorker, and the Associated Press are proof that Diana Damrau is the soprano to watch out for. Not that she wasn't before, she was always a force to be reckoned with, but now it's over the top!

The Metropolitan Opera has documented this historic debut in the form of a photo gallery in which Ms. Damrau looks gorgeous (and frightening!!!) as Lucy Ashton.

I can't wait to see her (for my sweet sixteen!!!!!) at the end of the month as Lucia. I'm so excited! I'm taking a few friends to see her and show them the majesty that is Donizetti, Lucia, and Diana Damrau. Is it too much to hope that I can meet her after? Maybe she'll stop by Fiorello's for dinner after the show, like me! =) =) Nah, it's definitely too much to ask for.

Happy Listening!!!! =)
and Congrats to Ms. Damrau again!!!!! =)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

From OverHeardInNewYork.com

One of my favorite websites...

Who Needs a Television When You've Got the City?
(a soprano is singing an opera aria in her apartment on the 4th floor)
Random man on street (screaming up to the window): Girl, you're not even gonna sing the high note?! Sissy!
Soprano (screaming out the window): Everyone's a freaking critic!

This being New York, you can expect that I edited some of the language. I just thought it was a very comical situation.
Bringing opera to the public isn't as satisfying for the singers after all...

Happy Listening!!! =)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Teddy and Isabel Sittin' in a Tree...

To the dismay of many a sighing opera fans, barihunk Teddy Tahu Rhodes is planning to be married in New York City, where they will have their home, this December.
I'll give you some hints about who he's engaged to...
She's a mezzo.
She's up and coming.
She is on my cool mezzo list.
She was in Romeo et Juliette at the Met last season.
She is the only mezzo I could possibly stand giving Teddy up to.
That's right! It's my favorite up and coming singer and fellow New Yorker, Isabel Leonard!!!! I wish them the best. They are both so cute and I hope they have long and happy lives together.
Enter opera's next big opera love couple.
Happy Listening!!!!! =)

The Catfight


Deborah Voigt and Olga Borodina fight to the death for Enzo's love...
I mean, Gioconda and Laura fight to the death for Enzo's love...

Or is it really Debbie and Olga? Hm...... Watch the video and find out...

Happy Listening!!!! =)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

September Birthdays

In the fuss of Opening Night I neglected to mention some very prominent birthdays from last month (my goodness, October already?).

Cornell Macneil on 9/24. One of the greatest (and my favorite!) Verdi baritones. That's not even mentioning his off the charts Scarpia. He happens to be my favorite Scarpia also. Just because he was the first Scarpia I heard/saw (with Behrens and Domingo on VHS) doesn't mean I'm biased! Of course not! His act I curtain sets me off on a rant every time.

Alfredo Kraus on 9/24. Acclaimed as one of the great tenors of out times, Alfredo Kraus always guarantees a perfectly sung performance. Truth be told, I never had much exposure to Alfredo Kraus, but as I'm looking at his youtube clips now I'm realizing that he truly is a legend.

George Gershwin on 9/26. Gershwin and the livin' is easy. A legend in his own, and every, right. You can not say enough about this American genius! I can't even speak, I'm so amazed by him. Could we ask for anything more?

Richard Bonynge on 9/29. I can't have Bonynge clips without having Sutherland clips. They're a pair! The great operatic love couple! He's also a legendary conductor, in case you didn't know. Mr. Sutherland? Au contraire! Mr. Bonynge if you please.

Happy Listening!!!! =)