Here are my brief, half-baked views on a variety of topics:
A. The fact that Domingo canceled the appearance for the concert version
of Pique Dame at Chatelet which is on the radio now should be good news
for the audience. At this point, Galuzin gives a much better read that Uncle
Placidio could do. But, I guess everyone else on the list is listening to
B. It is simply a scandal that the only popularly distributed classical music
magazine in the United States in joined at the hip with the biggest
opera institution in the country. Here in France, Opera International's
editor, Sergio Segalini, really went off on Auntie Renee after her Paris Il
Pirata performances. He regularly slams Hugues Gall. I don't think this
would be possible with ON? Ask the guys at UK's Opera magazine if they
would like to become the house organ for ROH in exchange for more glossy
photos, the mailing list, etc. and be prepared to duck. It is really a pathetic
C. One of the theaters here in Paris has a discreet announcement in their
programs which gave the actual percent reduction of sound achieved by
putting a handkerchief over the coughing mouth. It was pretty impressive.
D. Cura. Who cares.
E. Isn't it all finally just a song? I was listening today to France Musiques
do some explorations. I heard Rod Stewart do Kern's "The Way You Look
Tonight" and a duet of Tony Bennett and k.d. liang., Maryanne Faithful doing
Weill. etc. All masters of vocal style. All this time I am still turning over in
my mind the trouble I am having with the American soprano Mary Mills who
is singing Marguerite in Faust here. She seems to have all the equipment
but doesn't seem to have a clue what to do with it. My point is, opera is part
technique, squillo, tessitura, etc but it is also finally singing a song. This
would be a process of finding that special gift inside each of you which
brings your special styling to the composers music. An individual art. It is
not just getting an "A" in Baroque Performance, etc. and winning a
competition. But, after you have the tools to sing an aria accurately, you
have to find the special individual gift you have to take that aria and give it
your personal treatment, your personal reaction to it, and show others how
deeply you feel about it. A lot of kids I hear today are great technicians
but are not showing me their soul. Sills, Callas, Flicka and The Pav could
all do that. Do they teach that in school or are you just supposed to figure
But, isn't this what art is all about? I go to contemporary art openings.
You see kids who have graduated with honors and have learned all they
need of the "vocabulary" of modern art. They turn out what they think you
want...what they did to get an "A" in class. Much of it is good, some of the
kids will have careers...but just occasionally you walk into a gallery and are
simply astonished by the mind-blowing originality of the work. This is always
found somewhere in the artist's head and is usually not taught in school.
How does Rod Steward find just the right way to emphasize the notes on
the page to massage it to life? How does Tebaldi? How come some others
with the same abilities can't? What a glorious mystery!
F: This has been repeated before but apparently needs it again. Before you
ask a question of the list, please put your composer/singer's name in the
search field of the archives of Opera-l. I wrote about the Opera du Rhin
production of Tote Stadt at Chatelet - which is now available in Europe on
DVD - a few years ago. It stars two fine principals, Thorsten Kerl and
soprano Angela Denoka. Recommended. If the search doesn't help,
then ask the question. It has actually developed into a quite fine resource.
G. Sound enhancement at the Bastille is not used normally - according
to the management - except (1) when there are sound effects (i. e. the organ
in Faust, electronic music in modern productions, etc.) and (2)
moments of dialogue which would otherwise have to be screamed to be
heard in the 2700 seat Bastille. I did notice that once in a Fledermaus.
I cannot refute their statements by personal experience.
In the unlikely event that anyone has read this far, I appreciate your dedi-
cation to my ramblings but suggest you investigate self help books on