Cher Public

Heavy meta

The resemblance is downright Gehry.

If there’s one thing Renée Fleming is, she’s fair. So as not to play favorites at her Los Angeles recital last week, she performed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion while wearing Walt Disney Concert Hall. [Los Angeles Times]

  • Camille

    It IS great for the Gehry Hall, which has such a warm and mellow sound. The Dot might have been better served by long Swarowski-enscrusted crystalline ivory panels, though, and accompanied by long dangling Swarowski earrings.

    Renée looks a treat, no matter what. Go girl! Don’t ever stop!

  • August

    (((-: Nee Neé wearing Walt Disney Concert Hall. Best and funniest thing I’ve read since yesterday’s Kiri Te Kansas.

    • z. barf

      Not mentioned in the article is that she had trouble with her elaborate shawl. Not once, but twice it caught on the music stand, almost knocking it over.

      • quoth the maven

        She’s a klutz, always has been

  • Nelly della Vittoria

    Oh my gosh, that outfit is Maleficent-in-recital-mode and I LOVE it. (runs fleetly towards home sewing machine)

    • Camille

      Do you sew, Nelly? We have to talk.

      • Nelly della Vittoria

        With mere basic competency yet, dear C, though I grow very slowly more accomplished, year by year.

  • August

    The review article says that RF chatted between sets. What is it with the fairly recent trend of chatty recitals by American singers? Fleming does it, Radvanovsky does it. Who else? I think it is more turnoff than instruction. People show up to hear singing, not be talked to. At least I do. But if anyone attends a recital to be entertained or amused then they stepped in the wrong show. No?

    • Camille

      DiDonato, the first time I heard this done. With a mic, too. Very Vegas.

      Mark Padmore last year. More lecture with some demonstrations of vocal attempts.

      THAT’s what was refreshing about the Goerne/Trifonov. No BS and public relations. Just the music and what music.

      • August

        RF does the mic thing too in her appearances. Yes very cheesy in a Vegas mode. Yuck.

        • Camille

          Yes, she did it here, too, and it was not so much cheesy as so much a little girl trying to please and a bit insecure. Apologising for her need to sing the Ariadne excerpt which was fine, just not her usual standard. She’s a nice lady and well-meaning so what can you do?

          • August

            Which reminds me that apologizing (literally, through body language or tongue in cheek) is one more no-no. It’s another aspect of performing with dignity that must be cultivated in singers early on. I have seen pianists mess up and even hitting a wall with memory lapses yet never apologizing and carrying on as if nothing happened. That’s the way it ought to be.

            • Camille

              Especially so with the piano as it is SO easy to hit a wrong note. And who cares about all those clunkers with Horowitz in his latter days for the style you get, the heart and soul of it, and the madness, too, thrown in for the price of all the above.

    • Brackweaver

      I question the premise that it’s an American singer thing. Bryn Terfel chats. Isn’t Bartoli known to chat? I wonder how much interstitial (use that word twice in two days!) filler is the norm by Europeans in their native countries? OTOH I’m not into to much talk myself yet things change…

      • Camille

        Padmore talked about as much as he sang. For that I was grateful.

        • August

          (((-: Come to think of it, chatty recitalists may be useful after all.

    • fletcher

      She really just introduced the songs and said what they meant to her -- it was fine.

      • August

        She should be communicating what the stuff means to her through her singing and interpretations and not through mini lectures. Audiences don’t need chatty introductions. That’s why program booklets exist.

        • Camille

          That’s the problem Herr August—a lot of audiences DO need the input as there is not a vast cultivated knowledgeable group of people already informed of this music, as well as to feel less self-conscious and stiff at attending a “Classical Music” concert and that goes for New York as well as Los Angeles especially.

          We are not living in the age of middlebrow upward aspirants who think they should inform themselves of the recital program before they go nor have invested themselves in the idea of “Culture” as something they need to aspire upward socially. That world is largely gone now and moresonin the U.S. Many now feel entitled to a ‘special’ relationship with their pet diva/divo whom they would like to imagine their secret friend.

          While I understand your viewpoint and wish they would just shut up and sing, already!, anlot of people need a little gentle prodding to get past their iwn reservations and fears. When DiDonato used her mic, a lot of it was used to introduce a song cycle written for her by J Heggie based on Sister Helen Prejean, so a little explanation can be justified.

          It’s just that sitting in a hall silent for 90 to 150 minutes and being silent and minding one’s manners is HARD, teacher, and a lot of people want to be cajoled into it and congratulated for their good behavioir. Or that’s the way it appears to me. Bad behaviour in the concert hall abounds these days…don’t get me started on last night’s brusque and anti-social incidents. And the eternal coughing and sneezing! Oy!

          Hope you can understand where I’m coming from with this ramble.

          • Brackweaver

            I love what you wrote about the non aspiring/culture. I’ll never understand it.

            • Camille

              That’s what my husband rants on about especially as seen through his lens studying the affectless students he gets now. It’s just too much of a struggle.

          • August

            Okay. But isn’t the fact that the audience already went through the trouble of identifying the event, buying tickets (if not papered), commuting to the venue, dedicating a good chunk of time away from other activities etc etc good enough and indicative of their intent to hear singing? People have a wide variety of resources at their fingertips to prepare long in advance and little by little so I insist they don’t need or even require to be lectured. I understand that times have changed (and how!) but it behooves performers to hold firm and not fall for silly trends and such in the interest of attracting and growing new audiences, a futile exercise, as we are seeing often and repeatedly in venues all over the good ole USA.

            • Camille

              You know, I actually read an article somewhere recently (and know not where, either so can’t point you in that direction, sorry) about this trend and it said that it IS a trend that seems to be gathering a bit of momentum, so we may be stuck with it.

              Besides the singing of Goerne’s the other night, he wouldn’t even allow any applause in between the sets of Lieder!!! He had a hand gesture that forbade any interruptions! The postlude of Dicterliebe was played so very beautifully by Trifonov, however, that a few brave souls could not help but applaud it, however!

              I wish the Goerne concert model would be the coming trend instead, as it was a pleasure even if challenging to the incontinent!

            • trevor

              As Ivy suggested a while back, let them be catheterized.

            • JR

              I didn’t see this recital, but one a few years ago at Tully and his demeanor was almost angry--and definitely off-putting. Not to mention the swaying and waving. (In the swaying department, though, no one beats Bostridge.)

            • CwbyLA

              The few times I have seen Bostridge in recital, he always looked like he needed to poop as he was singing.

            • Well these days anything incontinent-challenging should be at least the scourge of the web, if not outright illegal. Maybe we should start some kind of incontinents’ party. Maybe it exists already.

              I don’t know Camille, artists can be more accommodating. Ivy Compton-Burnett, whose novels are all of easily manageable size, did say that the length of Henry James’s novels was unfair on the reader.

            • CwbyLA

              What I find off putting is this old fart way of constantly lamenting the good old days and how things should be. There should be a Republicans for Opera group here.

            • August

              You are drawing convenient conclusions. For my good old days don’t reach back as far as you think.

            • Nelly della Vittoria

              “[…] some we know to be dead though they walk among us; some are not yet born though they go through the forms of life; others are hundreds of years old though they call themselves thirty-six. The true length of a person’s life, whatever the Dictionary of National Biography may say, is always a matter of dispute.”

            • Camille

              Hear, hear, NelldVitt!

            • operadunce

              Okay, you’re not old, just really annoying.

            • CwbyLA

              I didn’t call you an old fart. I called your post “old fart way of lameting.” Do you need chatty Parterrians to explain to you the meaning of their writing?

            • Camille

              In fact, so far as preparing in advance, I’ve recently gotten into the habit of reading up on the program for Carnegie Hall online BEFORE the concert as that way i’m not distracted by reading the notes during it. The other night’s program I really wanted to concentrate upon Goerne’s sometimes strange
              mien as he proceeded through the evening. He certainly doesnlive in his own personal vision of the music as he sings and that was most interesting to me as I’d not seen such introversion in a long time. It was rather a lot like spying on someone in rehearsal especially as he seems to he a bit into Eurythmics, or something of that nature, maybe a Deutscher Kunst thing, I don’t really know for certain.

              Anyway, very much more fascinwting than all that jazz with the talkin’ and the ‘splainin’.

      • quoth the maven

        This is very much a trend. Chamber music groups do it regularly now. The idea is to make the music more approachable for the audience. It can be especially effective in giving context to commissions and contemporary pieces--i.e., the very works that audiences tend to resent within the etched-in-stone traditional (i.e., wordless) concert format--itself, a 20th-century invention.

        • fletcher

          100% agreed. Fleming kept it warm and brief, and her longest remarks, iirc, were for the Shaw songs, which are new. There were no program notes. I certainly learned something new, and appreciated her comments.

          • grimoaldo2

            I am old enough to remember when classical singers talking to the audience in recitals or concerts was never,ever done.
            I think the first time I remember it happening was in concerts with Caballé. You couldn’t really understand what she said very well but it was delightful. I remember once at the Festival Hall she got a snapshot of her grandchild out of her handbag and showed it to the audience, of course you couldn’t see it in that huge place.
            Thomas Hampson would give spoken introductions to the pieces he was about to sing, sort of professor-like, interesting. Those were both twenty years ago or more, I have seen it done many times since then, I don’t see any harm in it, I think the old “rules” of never speaking to the audience and standing stock still without moving while singing at recitals or concerts are too stuffy for today’s world.

            • fletcher

              It was probably too stuffy for yesterday’s world too.

  • fletcher

    The dress itself was pretty ugly, I thought, but that fucking shawl was everything. Oh and the performance was very fine, especially the Brahms.

    • Camille

      You were there, then? What else did she sing? Any Strauss opera excerpts like here?

      • fletcher

        A friend pointed out to me that the program structure was taken straight from Price’s Carnegie Hall debut -- open with some Handel, move into lieder, some new music, then mélodies, finish in your operatic wheelhouse. The Caroline Shaw songs, a new composer to me, were exquisite, far and away the high point. She finished with some Broadway, which is very much Not My Thing, but the audience at it up it and I couldn’t help but smile at the big high note at the end of (what else?) ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’. She dedicated Bernstein’s ‘Somewhere’ to ~the Dreamers~, and I’m guessing she didn’t mean the Bertolucci film.

        • Camille

          oh my, that’s interesting. RF Ios nothing if not a busy little researcher.

          Oh NO! NOT “I could have danced all night!”. Oh dear, there goes the tea kettle……

          Hasn’t she learned NOT to yet? Too bad no R Strauss or Mozart.

          • Birgit Nilsson used to sing “I could have danced all night” as an encore and everybody loved it. Lots of applause and no negative comments.

  • Camille

    I’m guessing I’ll go see this one after all. More or less convinced at this point and I would like to hear Pretty’s voice when she is not ill and she seems now to have recovered. The voice does seem a bit too narrow for here, but you can’t have everything.

  • ChesterS

    It’s such a shame that the audience no longer wears tuxedos and gowns to show respect for the high, holy art of the Recital, as perfected by the post-WW2 singers. O tempora o mores!
    And to hear of singers cancelling part of the program because they spoke too long! What’s next?

    • Ivy Lin

      Are you kidding me? I don’t even have an evening gown. I guess I should just stay home all the time.

      • Don’t worry, Ivy, I haven’t got an evening gown either, but that doesnt’ stop me.

    • Bianca Castafiore

      They don’t even wear their emeralds at the opera anymore!!!!!!