Sky rockets in flight
Says Betsy Ann “Yankee Doodle” Bobolink; “In honor of the upcoming holiday, today’s chat breakdown will forego the usual F.K. evaluation system in favor of rating each opera according to its ‘Ooo-Aah’ factor. ”
1:00-4:30 WFMT American Opera Network: AIDA—Sandra Radvanovsky ignites a Roman Candle, but every time it shoots up into the air, Marcello Giordani drags it down again. So this is an “Ooo- oh crap.”
1:00-4:30 NPR World of Opera: FALSTAFF—ROH This is one of those display pieces with spinning wheels and sort of the outline of something vaguely resembling Mt. Rushmore, but in sparklers, sort of.
1:00-5:00 CBC Two, Others: SHOWBOAT—This is supposed to be another big display extravanganza with five American flags and Lewis and Clark shaking hands over the 49th parallel, but the stars failed to ignite, and the stripes turned out green and yellow.
1:00-4:00 DEUTSCHLANDRADIO KULTUR: SARKA by Fibich. Lots of sparkle, and even some occasional eruptions of very exciting material (You can’t even begin to appreciate how hot I’m getting writing all this “eruption” stuff.)
1:00-5:00 FRANCE MUSIQUE: Monteverdi’s L’ORFEO. One thing about Monteverdi—he’s never flaccid. Tension mounts and mounts and mounts, and then the payoff comes in huge roiling masses of . . . of . . . of very exciting stuff.
1:00-4:300 WCNY, WQED: RINALDO from Chicago. Elza van den Heever just explodes into the air, flaming and glorious. Julia Kliter is not far behind, and David Daniels flames in his own particular way.
1:00-5:00 NRK Klassik: LOHENGRIN from Kunglige. One thing’s for certain—this performance does not feature Petra Lang. Or rats. I’d hate to see a fireworks display of a bunch of rats. Even pink ones. I like Michael Weinius as Lohengrin, though, but not enough to point my rocket in his general direction, and then light it. Or maybe I would.
1:00-4:00 RADIO CLASICA DE ESPANA: LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR from Berlin. With Diana Damrau and Piotr Beczala in the cast, this is sort of like a bunch of those whirly-around thingies that spin and spin and throw off lots of sparks but never quite floop-de-doop upward.
1:00-4:00 ANTENA 2: PELLEAS ET MELISANDE from Paris—Expressing one’s self in flaming imagery seems inappropriate for this opera, even with Natalie Dessay and Simon Keenlyside.
1:00-3:30 WRR: THE TENDER LAND—Quintessentially American, but somewhat lacking in John Philip Sousa-ness. Still, I always get very moist and sing along with “The Promise of Living.” Do they make grey fireworks?
1:30-5:00 BARTOK RADIO: COSI FAN TUTTE from Vienna. The Ooos and Aaahs are mostly for Mozart. While this is not necessarily a dud, it doesn’t really get off the ground.
2:00-4:00 CESKY ROZHLAS: Zelenka’s GESU AL CALVARIO. The height of tasteless would be an enormous crucifix rising high into the air.
2:00-6:00 ESPACE TWO: MACBETTO from Geneva. Okay, here we go, gang. Is Jenifer Larmore a dud as Lady MacB, or are we talking Captain Billy’s Whiz-Bang here?
2:00-4:30 RADIO STEPHANSDOM: WERTHER. Wow, talk about flaming high, this is Rolando Villazon, exploding in cascading bursts of brilliant light. And little wonder; his Koch is on fire too.
3:00-4:30 AUDITORIUM: Elgar’s STARLIGHT EXPRESS. And so we come to the end of our Independence Day Preview with the comforting strains of “God Bless America” ringing in our ears. Oh wait a minute. Elgar isn’t American. Fucking Brits.