Once again, I want to thank the List for being a totally fabulous resource. The responses to my query about Le roi s'amuse have made my classes on Rigoletto much more entertaining, for me and for my upscale adult students. I envy, and shall strive to emulate, your scholarship (scholarhood?)
In addition, I must thank you for your alerts about Ewa Podles. Because of them, I made a point of attending her concert here for the Four Arts Society. This is a small but extremely well-dressed audience of the kind which supported Haydn. They dozed off during the wooden, out of sync Moscow Chamber Orchestra, but to their credit came to their feet for Podles (which they tended to pronounce Poodles). What a voice! I only wished she had seen fit to include at least one selection which showcased the beauty of her burnished mahoghany voice. Instead she sang five (count them, 5) baroque arias displaying her coloratura virtuosity. I was longing for something simple, even Caro Mio Ben, so I could luxuriate in her tone. (One doesn't like to carp...okay, maybe one does. But she does hassinate in the runs.)
There was something surreal about the evening. Titans of industry, delivering their bodies to the theatre because it is the Thing to Do, dozing off as a dumpy woman in black approaches the poorly lit stage, suddenly snapped to attention at the sonority of a voice that must be one of maybe five true contraltos in the last 100 years(Louise Homer, Marian Anderson, Kathleen Ferrier, Maureen Forrester??? Karin Branzell? Help me, Charlie, who else?)
Further adorning this week was the premiere of Palm Beach Opera's Rigoletto, a gorgeous production in the classic tradition. Eteri Lamoris as Gilda was the hit of the evening, a superb actress and a ravishing (as well as ravished) beauty with secure and lovely vocalism (although she skipped the high notes that assure an ovation). Gustave Andreasson impressed as Sparafucile. Young Stuart Neill sounds as large as he looks; despite his excursions into the dizzy heights of bel canto, one dares to dream that he might mature into the heldentenor repertoire. The rest of the performance was as satisfying as a meal in a great Italian restaurant.
I'd like to share a wonderful anecdote from the charming wife of widely-respected conductor Anton Guadagno. He was asked to comment on a production of "Aida" which was rather incomprehensibly set in Montana, cowboys and all (!) Maestro Guadagno responded, "Oh, I think the whole production was wonderful, except for the music. That simply didn't fit."
I hope this little story made you laugh, so that I will have repaid a bit of what the List has given me.
The Young Person's Guide to the Opera"