Monday, November 24, 2008

"To My Biggest Fan" Part II

I want to call it right now: I OFFICIALLY SAID IT BEFORE THE NEW YORK TIMES. If you will allow me to paraphrase, I first said that Patricia Racette is a powerhouse with a performance not to be missed as Cio-Cio-San last season!!!!!!! Get with the program, professional critics!!! Dare I say "Butterfly of the 21st Century"???? Oh yes, I dare. Scream at me all you want, you'll find that it's the truth.
I knew this performance was extra special when I started tearing up at Butterfly's Entrance. I always forget how beautiful Butterfly is until I experience it again. I heard her coming over the hill and I nearly broke my mother's ribs I nudged her so hard. "That's her! That's Patricia Racette!" What a nerd I am. Trust me, though, if you had been there for her "Un Bel Di" you would have cried as hard, too.
Can you not get me started on how realistic her portrayal is? I'm morphing into complete teenager mode. Ready for this? Patricia Racette's Butterfly is just so uber realistic that I can't even talk about it without have spastic convulsions. Even the coldest of hearts melts for Joe-Shmoe's Cio-Cio-san, so can you even imagine what the audience was like during the final scenes of Racette's Butterfly? I, at least, was a complete mess. During the curtain calls, in between clapping like a crazy person, I was trying to make sure my eyeliner wasn't running so as to look presentable when I met Patricia.

Oops! I gave it away! (Just in case the picture of the Green Room in the last post and of the playbill in this one didn't give you a hint.)
I'll start by saying that I am the worst at meeting famous people. I need to remember that these people are human beings too! What's wrong with me?????
Next I will tell you a little side story: In between saying "I can't do this" and hyperventilating I hear a group of men approaching the Green Room. My mom, who is standing outside the room, shoots glances at me and gestures like I know Sign Language. My heart is pounding as I see PATRICK SUMMERS, DWAYNE CROFT, AND MARCELLO GIORDANI WALK BY THE ROOM. Literally 5 feet from where I was standing. I had to hold onto the table while my aunts just laughed at me. I ran to the door to watch them walk away (don't call me a stalker, you know you would have done the same thing!), but I couldn't say anything.

After having sufficiently recovered from that, which means I was breathing, Beth Clayton walks in and says "Hi, I'm Beth. Patricia is just getting ready and we can go inside in a minute." She shook all of our hands and was soooo nice! She was so casual, in fact, that I almost forgot that she herself is a well known and extremely talented singer. Then I had to recover from that (does it get easier over time?) in time to walk to Patricia Racette's dressing room.

Once I got there all hell broke loose. I couldn't breathe, much less speak. We're some of the last to greet her, but here's basically how it played out, all casually and pleasantly:

Aunt 1: "Hello Patricia, this is one of your biggest, and youngest, fans."

Me: "Ms. were were so was just so amazing... you're so amazing." Hyperventilating, sweating, being overly nervous.

Aunt 2: "She's kind of nervous, but can we get an autograph?"

Patricia Racette: "Sure, of course!"

Mom: "Oh and a picture too!"

Patricia Racette: "Haha, oh great!" Even though she looks fabulous, she wipes her face and shakes out her hair.

After that we took the picture, said about a thousand "thank you"s, and then I stumbled to the car. I flipped out the whole ride home. I ranted about how "great, now she thinks I'm a freaky stalker and that I can't talk. They all think I'm a loser blahblahblah I'm such a creeper." The creeping comes with the package. =) Heehee just kidding.

All I need now is advice on how to approach famous people/my idols. Any pointers?
Parting Statement:
Viva La Racette! OMG she can't get any more uber amazing and down to earth.
Love you girlfraayyynnddd!!! =)
Happy Listening!!! =)
(Do I really have to apologize again for the lateness and the extensive length of my posts?)

"To My Biggest Fan" Part I

With the grueling demands of Nutcracker "Hell Week" (more excuses later) it was impossible for me to be near a computer much less logging on and updating this lovely blog of mine. Plus, I'm currently suffering from something called [by medical professionals] "Star-struck Dementia."
By some miracle of nature a friend of a friend got us (meaning my aunts, my mom, and I) backstage after a mind-blowing Madama Butterfly to meet Patricia Racette. But I digress.
I should start being careful about what I say before performances. At dinner I accidentally said, "The only way this evening could be any more perfect is if Marcello Giordani magically appeared as Pinkerton, but since he's in Damnation that will never happen." WELL. Isn't it ironic... We get the usually dreaded slip of paper in the program, I instantly grab it from my aunt and INVOLUNTARILY give out a "YES!" I couldn't have had better luck. I will admit to being less than enthusiastic at the prospect of seeing Roberto Aronica based on what I had heard from others.Marcello looked like he never left the set! He was so natural (when is he not?) and of course his voice was clear and beautiful as it always is. Since he makes a career out of stepping in at the last moment I shouldn't be so surprised at his ease and style. =) Speaking of style: his perfect Italian style moves me to such great emotion that in my "Score Desk" binder I wrote "VIVA ITALIA!" I wish he'd sub in every time I go to the opera! Vivo Giordani.
Maria Zifchak returned to repeat her role as the loyal and heart-breaking Suzuki. Besides being blessed with a smooth and rich mezzo voice she also possesses sincere acting abilities that, at a few points, stole the scene. Most notably when during one scene Suzuki, overcome with the realization of the heartbreak her mistress is about to experience, buckles over in sobs outside of the little house. My eyes were drawn to her completely. Did you miss these performances? Don't fret, Ms. Zifchak will be playing Albine in Thais. Don't miss that!!!
Some supporting roles (not to mention the puppet) that caught my ear were David Won as Yamadori, Keith Miller as the Bonze, and Greg Fedderly as Goro.
My aunts both saw an undercurrent in Dwayne Croft's Sharpless that I never even considered before. They both said, "Do you think he was in love with Butterfly?" Talk about a whole new perspective. It's interesting to think about: Does he want Butterfly for himself? He never really chastises Pinkerton for leaving her and never tries to convince him to stay, does he? Regardless, it was a beautifully sung and acted Sharpless. Seeing his name in the playbill was very reassuring because he has delivered consistently fabulous performance from season to season.
Happy Listening!!! =)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm at butterfly. Aronica is out, Giordani is in. Praise Puccini, the opera gods are smiling on me today!!!!!!

Bartlett Sher is Off The Hook and Peter Gelb: "Ghost"buster

Michael Kaiser, the head of the Kennedy Center, is the savior of New York City Opera.
He has promised to assist NYCO in finding a new leader while helping schedule the 2009-2010 season. It is made very clear in the AP report that Michael Kaiser will not be the next general manager/artistic director. He is only helping NYCO and guiding them into a new, and hopefully extremely exciting, era.
So, WWBD?? She'd find someone to help her beloved company. Good work, Bubbles. =)


It seems that New York City Opera isn't the only opera company at Lincoln Center to be feeling the effects of our economic crisis. The long awaited Met revival of John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles has been cancelled for, of course, financial reasons. The opera, that was supposed to show next season, was going to star Thomas Hampson, Angela Gheorghiu, and Kristin Chenoweth. Hampson and Gheorghiu will instead star in La Traviata, which will replace Ghosts. We have no report of Chenoweth, we figure she's "pop-u-lar" enough to find a new project.
Peter Gelb has said, however, that none of next season's new productions will be cut.
Personally, I don't think he should make any promises about that. New productions are expensive and God knows how this economic situation will play out in the next few months.

Happy Listening!! =)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ask Figaro: What Opera Am I?

Are you perplexed by the endless choice of interesting opera being exhibited at the Metropolitan Opera this season? Ponder no further!!!!
The Met has created a personality test that will match you up with a production that seems it could be made just for you! The questions may seem non sequitur, but if you look closely you can find hidden operatic meaning in them all.
Here is my "Perfect Metropolitan Opera":

Le Damnation de Faust

You are a visionary who appreciates big gestures in art, food, and love. You would rather attend 10 infuriating performances than one boring one, and your mind is like a great white shark on a feeding frenzy, gnashing its way to the next new thing. Broadway musicals are, generally speaking, your idea of time earned off from Purgatory. But are you ready to have your mind really, truly, and inarguably blown sky-high? Then you have to come and see the hallucinatory masterpiece from two artists whose imaginations are even more extravagant than yours, Hector Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, in a new production by Robert Lepage.

Nice build up. I like it.
It's funny, I've had this strange, but very powerful urge to go see Damnation.

Happy Listening!! =)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Who Can Save City Opera? and WWBD?

While sitting here going through tissue after tissue with probably the worst cold since tuberculosis I received the bad news the Gerard Mortier is officially "parting ways" with the New York City Opera. While some people foresaw this, I, being the idealist that I am, thought this talk of backing out would blow over and Mortier would make NYCO into a major house for modern works.
I should have seen it coming. The lay-offs. The co-directorship at Bayreuth. I just thought this was temporary. Silly, silly CaroNome.

What New York City Opera needs right now is a Peter Gelb. An influential businessperson who knows how to fundraise and get the crowds excited. They need Peter Gelb's marketing genius. This brings me to my next point:

Bartlett Sher's Obligation to Lincoln Center
Since we know that Peter Gelb could never double dip and help out NYCO (being the Met's "little sibling across the plaza"), I think that as the new director of the Lincoln Center Theater Bartlett Sher could take a temporary position as director of NYCO. He can learn from Peter Gelb's genius, take his own directing genius and put it together to put NYCO back on its feet. When they find another Mortier to take over, he can go back to just running the Lincoln Center Theater.

I have another point:
Poor Bubbles, she's rolling in her grave...
What could be worse. Only a year after her devastating death, her beloved opera company is going up in smoke. If only she was here, she would know what to do. She'd either beat Mortier into the ground, Sills-style, and make him stick to his promise using her charm and convincing Brooklyn attitude or just take over again. We need to ask ourselves "What would Bubbles do?" WWBD?

There's my two cents. Now NYCO needs to run with its own ideas and get itself together!
I hope things work out. It would be heartbreaking to see anything happen to such a wonderful company.

Happy Listening!!! =)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Endorse Bellini

Instead of pressuring you all to vote and telling who to vote for this Election Day 2008 (and you should vote, of course) I will instead give you some peace to meditate on the magnitude of the decision you are making for our country. For us younguns who can't vote yet your decisions are extremely important and will affect the rest of our lives.
So hear is some Bellini (in celebration of his birthday, which was yesterday) to ease your mind.
A compilation of one of his most peaceful and beautiful pieces: "A te o cara" from I Puritani.

Alfredo Kraus and Mirella Freni
Luciano Pavarotti and Joan Sutherland
Juan Diego Florez
Lawrence Brownlee and Norah Amsellem
Franco Corelli and Himself
Giacomo Lauri-Volpi
Giuseppe di Stefano and Maria Callas

Now go vote! =)

Happy Listening!!! =)