Cher Public

The way we chat now

Several things got into my inbox this week, calling into question my dependability and accuracy. While I dearly love having things thrust into my inbox, I suspect you have me confused with Joe Biden. To me, accuracy is a petulant bauble tossed about on the turbulent sea of my disdain. (Eat your heart out, Anthony Trollope!)  

No! No! Four times No. I merely extend to you the enchanting blandishments of delight which those with the moral turpitude of a Horace Walpole might find sufficient to lure them into a Chat Room this afternoon, lolling in uxorious dollops of avian terpsichore flitting in fitful flights over a fondue of phlegmatic fostication. If you want details, then please proceed with haste to where details galore grow in gargantuan groves of glee.

Unhindered by the least tint if integrity, I offer a capsulization of today’s offerings.

Eleven performances are being heard for the first time this afternoon, and if I ain’t heard ’em, I can’t F.K. ’em. Still, steel could flash at any of the following.:

1. RIGOLETTO from Utah Opera. I understand that people do F.K. in Utah, but usually in groups.

2. Handel’s JEPHTHA from Welsh National Opera. It’s difficult to F.K. Handel because he won’t stand still.

3. Weinberg’s WIR GRATULIEREN is on a double bill with LADY MAGNESIA. I’ve heard the latter, and enjoyed it, which is the basis for my looking forward to the former.

4. Glass’ KEPLER from Spoleto. Is the Glass half-full, or just half-glassed?

5. ARIODANTE from the Bach Festival in (maybe?) Cracow. I see that “George” is rendered in Polish as “Jerzy,” which suggests that the Poles consider Handel either a sweater or a cow, and as I said before it’s difficult to F.K. a sweating cow.

6. TRISTAN UND ISOLDE in concert from Paris. One star does not a constellation make. Stemme, yes. Connolly, Rose, maybe. Franz and Roth don’t entice me.

7. BORIS GODUNOV from Madrid. Groissbeck is trying to move into the top tier of basses. Well, maybe, but I’d rather F.K. Uria-Monzon and Nikitin in Polish.

8. DIDO AND AENEAS from Malmo. The operatic equivalent of a quickie. (Maybe we could call it a ““) It’s over with before you know whether you enjoyed it or not.

9. PIQUE DAME. Wasn’t someone just asking what Alexanders Antonenko was up to? (Besides six-foot-three, I mean.) Well, here he is in all his sweaty glory. And isn’t that Elena Obratsova I see there, playing the Old Countess? Get out your F.K.s, folks.

10. IL TRITTICO from Vienna with Racette as at least two of the three heroines. The only way it could get any F.K.-ier is if she caro-ed the babbini as well.

11. THE DAMNATION OF FAUST from Vlaamse Opera. As long as only a few people have heard him, Michael Spyres can be touted as the next big thing in heroique lyrique tenoriques. But what’s he like if you really listen to him? Hands up everybody who would like to F.K. Michael Spyres.

Of those operas which have been broadcast previously, several have special appeal to spawn enough partisanship to provoke healthy discussion.

XERXES from San Francisco with Susan Graham (yay!) and Sonia Prina (yuch.)

LE NOZZE DI FIGARO from San Francisco. Luca Pisaroni (I’ll be on the veranduh), Danielle DeNiese (quite good, I thought) and Soile Isokowski (oh dear.)

LA GIOCONDA from Amsterdam — Eva Maria Westbroeck is okay, but Luciana d’Intino blows her out of the water. (Speaking of being blown out of the water, I’m still out on the veranduh with Luca) (and the dogs.)

ROBERTO DEVEREUX. Edita Gruberova has got to be Queen of the F.K.-ers.

LE COUR DE CELIMENE. Very few people have even heard of this opera, let alone listened to it. That’s a shame, because it’s delightful.

COSI FAN TUTTE. The Diva Who Never Was — Pilar Lorengar.

Not implying that these next are dead in the water, but there’s not a lot here to stimulate, one way or the other.

CARMEN from San Francisco.
NIXON IN CHINA from San Francisco.
NIXON IN CHINA — commercial release
Vivaldi’s FARNACE from Lucerne.
Donizetti’s LE DUC D’ALBE.
RUSALKA from Goteborg

  • Apropos of nothing:

    And the even more mind boggling

    • Why are my vids not embedding?

      • Batty Masetto

        OK, here’s #1 then (hope it works):

        Sanford -- the trick is not to use the YT “share” button at all -- copy the address from the address bar at the top of your browser, then add the necessary “v” to that.

        • SF Guy

          Batty--I’d never noticed that “Share” button before--and now I know never to use it. One learns so many things on Parterre…

    • SF Guy

      Here’s #2:

      (Couldn’t figure out #1--too many zeros or o’s or whatever…)

  • phoenix

    Re: yesterday’s broadcasts. I was busy all day with bullshit and I missed the Damnation de Faust from Belgique, but thanks for the good comments above stating that it is worth a listen -- I’ll try to catch it on a rerun.
    -- Did anybody listen to Boris from Teatro Real? I assume it might have been good -- or maybe not so much? -- Mussorgsky à la Viennoise en España.
    -- I tried the Götterdämmerung from Nederlands Nationale Reisoper on Neds Radio 4 archive -- Mati Turi sounded great to me as Siegfried(I like that kind of singing)- however, I drew a total blank on Kirstin Blanck’s Brünnhilde -- I found her to be dreadfully dull, so I couldn’t get past the first duet in Act 1. Maybe I am going hard of hearing, but the only time Mlle. Blanck supported her voice was above the passagio -- conversely, as she proceeded to her low notes, her tone & technique went downhill in tandem. She is, however, quite unique -- most singers ‘reach and screech’ to get above the passagio -- her ‘reaching and screeching’ were down below. Perhaps (if she were relaxed, confident and well-rehearsed) she would make an adequate Siegfried Brünnhilde.
    -- The only thing I heared that got me all hyped up was the 13 September Pikovaya Dama broadcast yesterday: mms:// I was expecting something generically dull, but it was anything but dull! I recorded it overnight and got up this morning & listened to it. It has been almost 40 years since I have heard Hermann sung as well as Aleksandrs Antonenko did in this performance.
    -- Unsubtle but dominating the proceedings (as Tchaikovsky wanted her to do) aged Obratzsova pumped out the old Countess with full force volume -- however, Yelena’s rough stuff style ran into kinky vocal competiton against the Lisa of Liene Kince. Mlle. Kince (who also sings the Götterdämmerung Brünnhilde in Riga) immediately became a phoenix favorite -- may she have a long & successful career -- and never lose her sense of camp! It was like I was 24 years old again hearing Nadezhda Kniplová for the first time!
    -- The following utube clip was taken from a great distance away where the sound also was not the greatest -- but it gives you a short idea of why I like Kince so much: