Cher Public

Kitchen confidential

On this day in 1936 the first all-sound film version of Show Boat opened at Radio City Music Hall.

Born on this day in 1681 composer Georg Philipp Telemann

Born on this day in 1918 soprano Sari Barabas

Born on this day in 1928 tenor Loren Driscoll

Happy 83rd birthday bass Marius Rintzler

Born on this day in 1941 soprano Rachel Mathes

Happy 61st birthday baritone Phillip Joll

  • laddie

    Just back from HD, La Donna del Lago. The singing was masterful and I, personally, have never seen Juan Diego Florez do better on the big screen. John Osborn was fierce with only one slight bauble during Act I. Joyce sang, as always, impeccably. Having heard Pizzolato sing Malcolm, it was hard to be impressed by Barcellona.

    The production hasn’t improved much since I saw it in Santa Fe; I dearly missed my glowing blue rocks. The Met obviously did more in the costume department though Larry Brownlee wore a very very fine wig that I am assuming was eschewed by JDF. It would have been nice to actually have seen a lake or a boat or the Loch Ness Monster…the blue-man troupe wore more clothes than they did in Santa Fe but I don’t remember those jazz hands so much. The close-ups on the HD really make it all even more unintentionally camp. Still, I come away with more than my usual respect for Juan Diego, long may he reign!

    • liza

      The radio audience was in agreement with you on the performances Laddie. And JDD and JDF were having such ridiculous fun it was hard to be grouchy about anything. But as to Barcellona, I asked why Malcolm was a trousers role. Someone posted a 66 page masters thesis on the subject of castrati/breeches roles which was enough to make one despair of the state of graduate education. But as it turned out our listeners had pretty good ideas on the subject; after the castrato role died out (I think the last role was written by Meyerbeer circa 1826)the trouser role was used to indicate youth, innocence (and usually a less than serious relationship) etc, and as dedication to voice and music trumped concerns with realism it may merely have reflected the composers sometimes whimsical ideas on sound. Although Rossini wrote one castrato part Malcolm is indeed a trousers role. What I find odd is that a contralto or mezzo often sounds more mature and graver than a tenor (I felt like I was listening to Elena’s mother.) So I’m still puzzled. Barcellona’s voice certainly didn’t convey innocence or even young love. Maybe a kind of emotional vulnerability or romantic longing such as sehnsucht. But Malcolm is such a throw away part, he seems to get in the way of the real story. Don’t we sort of need all those vocal pyrotechnics between Elena and the King to be ultimately consummated? Maybe you had to be there..?
      ps liked your comment on close-ups and camp, good one word summation of my feelings about the problem of HDs in general.

    • liza

      The radio audience was in agreement with you on the performances Laddie. And JDD and JDF were having such ridiculous fun it was hard to be grouchy about anything. But as to Barcellona, I asked why Malcolm was a trousers role. Someone posted a 66 page masters thesis on the subject of castrati/breeches roles which was enough to make one despair of the state of graduate education. But as it turned out our listeners had pretty good ideas on the subject; after the castrato role died out (I think the last role was written by Meyerbeer circa 1826)the trouser role was used to indicate youth, innocence (and usually a less than serious relationship) etc, and as dedication to voice and music trumped concerns with realism it may merely have reflected the composers sometimes whimsical ideas on sound. Although Rossini wrote one castrato part Malcolm is indeed a trousers role. What I find odd is that a contralto or mezzo often sounds more mature and graver than a tenor (I felt like I was listening to Elena’s mother.) So I’m still puzzled. Barcellona’s voice certainly didn’t convey innocence or even young love. Maybe a kind of emotional vulnerability or the idealized longing in sehnsucht. But Malcolm is such a throw away part, he seems to get in the way of the real story. Don’t we sort of need all those vocal pyrotechnics between Elena and the King to be ultimately consummated? Maybe you had to be there..
      ps liked your comment on close-ups and camp, good one word summation of my feelings about the problem of HDs in general.

      • liza

        oops. sorry bout that.

      • laddie

        Hi Liza

        Interesting discussion; however, I think Barcellona’s voice is probably not the ideal for Rossini trouser role and I would put forth this video excerpt from JDD in Comte Ory as a better one:

        • laddie

          Though this part is higher than the Malcolm I will add.

        • antikitschychick

          well not only that, Joyce makes a hot dude :-P. There really isn’t any role she can’t play; I’d even say that when it comes to versatility she’s pretty much unparalleled.

          • Porgy Amor

            She’s pretty funny in the interview on the I Capuleti e i Montecchi DVD, where, as Romeo, she bears a slight resemblance to a ’90s Roberto Alagna. She talks about how she wanted to keep the Christian Lacroix jacket that was part of Romeo’s costume, and that the tophat helped her get into the character. The minute she put it on her head, she was walking around backstage and saying to the women, “Hey…how you doin’?”

            • antikitschychick

              Ha sounds like a hoot. I assume you mean the DVD from her performances in Kansas with Nicole Cabell? Didn’t know there was a DVD of that.

  • liza

    Thanks Laddie. I see your point!

  • none

    I also saw the HD Met performance this morning and I am afraid I got the giggles during the first part. The clans (Met men’s chorus with bushy beards and really dreadful “highland” costumes) were all running around waving swords and singing about going to fight. It reminded me about the scenes from old Danny Kaye movies when,to get away from the baddies, he ended up on an opera or ballet stage in costume and performing! And, poor Ms Barcellona in that awful costume… I know she sings well, but what young lady would choose “Malcolm” instead of Juan Diego?! Actually, the second half of the opera really saved the day and I was glad I hadn’t left during the intermission.

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Loren Driscoll was born April, not March 14 according to other sources. Operabase gets it wrong . . . again!

  • I was also born on this day. And so was Johann Strauss Senior.

    • Buster

      Happy birthday, Sanford, and pappa Strauss too:

    • antikitschychick

      Happy Bday Sanford :-) hope there’ll be maNY more to come.