“Exciting! Indomitable! Alluring! Rigid! Enormous! Pulsing! Penetrating! Riveting! The public shame of being flogged! Aching tenderness!” [NYT]
Agree. Harding is as much of a fraud as Bostridge.
Yes, Keenlyside has definitely relinquished Budd, as well as Pelleas, claiming he’s too old for those parts. I disagree, but what the hell, he knows what’s best for himself. right?
Keenlyside is scheduled (albeit in a concert version) to sing Pelleas twice in Paris in April 2011 with Mr. and Mrs. Naouri (AKA Natalie Dessay) as Golaud and Melisande.
Putting aside all other cavils about TT’s review and Gunn’s added weight etc., I want to call attention to two errors in that review, one careless, one egregious. The careless error: “when the Novice (the tenor Andrew Kennedy) is dragged on deck after having been flogged for a petty infraction, on orders from the malevolent master-at-arms, John Claggart (the bass-baritone Gidon Saks, in a chilling performance).” It’s the bosun who orders the flogging; Claggart doesn’t even appear until called upon to process the three men impressed from The Rights of Man.
But much more seriously, TT says, “. . . Vere, the well meaning but foolishly rigid captain of the Indomitable.” This so totally missed the point of Melville’s (and Forster’s libretto) characterization of this man. The conflict is between the laws of man and the laws of god, as it is in several other Melville works (see Pierre, or The Ambiguities). Vere understands, painfully, that his office requires administering the laws of man, of earth, as represented by the ship. “Struck down by an angel of God, yet the angel must hang.” It’s the ambiguity of truth that gets him, not rigidity. True, the epilogue represents him as less certain of his choice, and for that reason I find it poorly conceived, but in the opera proper, as in the novel, Vere does what he has to do but doesn’t like doing. That’s no foolish rigidity.
The label (Virgin) piqued TT’s interest. @Hippolyte, the “Beau Travail” film sounds interesting. Probably filed alongside “Polish Pleasures” in a certain ejaculatory critic’s DVD collection.
I guess we could say that they “usually” get… nobody! It just isn’t done that often there (or anywhere, of course)
I guess it needs to be pointed out periodically on this site that the Metropolitan fucking Opera is NOT “everywhere” in the opera world. The 2010-11 schedules aren’t even complete and it’s being done 3 places already: Vienna, Amsterdam and Dusseldorf, in addition to performances in the next few months in Paris and Glyndebourne; basically, 5 productions in a year. That’s more than some shitty Donizetti or Rossini or Verdi operas that get hosanna’s here.
Hearing the recording of that first production that’s been released, I’m always amazed that he is master not only of the light high lyricism one would expect, he also has more dark richness and bite in the dramatic moments than most Billys. He really was ideal for the role in every way
That’s a great CD, especially as it has the scene at the end of (the old) act 2 that was cut in the revision, where Vere addresses the ship. It’s a crucial scene in explaining why the crew follows Vere but poor Peter Pears simply couldn’t sing it. If there’s a tenor cast these days that can sing it, that company should do the 4 act version; I heard it in St. Louis (unbelievable choral singing) and it really works better than the 2 act revision.
BTW, Lucas Meachem is singing Billy in the Paris production, it’s in the middle of the run as I type this. He was a very good Frank/Fritz in the San Francisco Die Tote Stadt, hopefully the Paris performance will show up on the pirate circuit.
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