Dear fellow opera lovers,
The following is intended to be a relatively brief and very subjective
discussion of the Operacast highlights available this week and listed on our
site. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or particularly scholarly
discussion. Others can fill that function far better than can I. Rather it
is my attempt to offer an accurate picture of how one dyed-in-the-wool buff
is reacting to the treasures available to us on the Web in the next seven
days. Obviously everyone's tastes are different so some of you may be very
intrigued by my discussion below while others may be quite disappointed.
But whichever is the case, I am confident that if you look at the schedule
listings now available on our site at http://operacast.com you will find a
few items there to satisfy and intrigue any opera buff. So stop by, take a
look, and enjoy.
One other thing to bear in mind: In the following discussion
I use Greenwich Mean Time as the standard. This means that if I'm talking
about an afternoon broadcast Americans should realize that for them the
broadcast will be in the morning; if I'm talking about an early morning
broadcast that usually means that it will be available to States' siders THE
PREVIOUS EVENING, etc. etc.
France Musiques gets an early start to the day with a broadcast of Pikovaya
Dama (Pique Dame) from January 26 of this year in the Theatre du Chatelet in
Paris. Two singers in this cast always catch my attention, Vladimir
Galouzine and Nikolai Putilin. Galouzine is the possessor of the richest
and most exciting dramatic tenor sound I've heard since Corelli. And there
are times when he uses it with great beauty and expressiveness. There are
other times when he is the merest screamer, and it seems usually to be quite
a roll of the dice as to which he will offer his audience on any particular
occasion. So keep your fingers crossed if you choose to listen to this
performance. Putilin is a rock-solid dramatic presence with a rich
expressive and at time beautiful voice, even if he strays into some rather
strained unsupported sounds at times. GMT 1815 Saturday, 3 hrs., 15 mins.
15 minutes later you may hear what promises to be the highlight of the week,
the wonderful Renee Fleming in Bellini's Il Pirata live from the Met. To
me, Fleming continues to be the most beautiful soprano sound in the world
today, as well as the most emotionally stirring when she is on top of her
game. She has received some negative publicity in this role, partially as
the result of a peculiar performance she gave in this role which was
broadcast live in Paris last year. But when I saw Fleming in person late
last year at the Met in this role, I can tell you that her singing and her
acting were virtually flawless throughout, with the sole exception of a
closing cabaletta where the voice was noticeably ragged and overworked.
Another gem in this performance promises to be the always clean and lyrical
baritone sound of Dwayne Croft who I was unlucky enough to miss last year
(Croft broke his ankle and a substitute stepped in). So, all in all, expect
outstanding singing and some electrically dramatic moments in this
performance. Don't miss it! GMT 1830 Saturday, 3 hrs. (Several streams
are offering this performance. In order to avoid overcrowding on any
particular stream, I am going to recommend a total of five streams, all of
which are roughly comparable in quality, though I will list them in
descending order of quality: WOI, KUAT, KVLU, WBAA (superb-sounding stream;
haven't heard its Met feed), and KSUI. In addition, two stations, Ireland's
Lyric FM and Alaska's KUAC, will be rebroadcasting this performance, should
1830 not be a convenient time for you. Lyric FM's rebroadcast airs today at
2000 and KUAC's rebroadcast airs on Sunday at 2100.)
The impressive Inga Nielsen can be heard as the Kaiserin in an OperaCast on
Espace 2 of R. Strauss' Frau Ohne Schatten. While the other cast members
are not that distinguished, I expect Nielsen will yield some gems, as she
rarely disappoints, except for a tendency to take a while to warm up. I
have heard fragments of this particular performance, and was quite impressed
with what I heard of Nielsen in this production. GMT 1900 Saturday, 4 hrs.
A classic live performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni, starring Cesare Siepi,
Leopold Simoneau, Lisa Della Casa, Rita Streich, Fernando Corena, and
Gottlob Frick, with Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting, can be heard Sunday
morning on WPRB. GMT 1130 Sunday, 3 hrs., 30 mins.
Estonia's Klassikaraadio is rerunnig on Monday a recent performance of
Fliegende Hollander with the new and much noted judgendlich Wagnerian
soprano Susan B. Anthony. I found her voice quite pleasant, if lacking
somewhat in variety of color, but of the poetic and expressive instincts of
this performer there can be no doubt. This is one interpretation that is
well worth the listen. The other cast members of this performance do not
distinguish themselves. GMT 1700 Monday, 3 hrs.
BBC 3 is broadcasting a live performance of Mozart's Zauberflote also on
Monday. For the most part, the cast is undistinguished, in my opinion,
including one performer, Simon Keenlyside, whose voice I find genuinely
unpleasant. However a performer who makes up for all of that is
interpreting Pamina that evening, and what a performer. Some of you may not
have heard of Dorothea Roschmann; you will. She is possessed of a
startlingly beautiful voice and an instinctive understanding of the
emotional truth of the music that is quite overwhelming at times. I am sure
she will make quite an impression on you. GMT 1925 Monday, 3 hrs., 25 mins.
(Be advised that this audio stream is sometimes unreliable, and you may hear
a gurgling effect in the sound from time to time.)
KPBX is broadcasting early Thursday morning (Wednesday evening in the
States) a performance of Elisir d'Amore with Scotto, Bergonzi, and Taddei.
If this is the same live performance I heard once already, prepare to be
delighted. Scotto sings beautifully, even if the voice is not at its
absolute peak, and Bergonzi's voice is totally flawless, and he turns in one
of the finest performances in this role which I've ever heard. I believe
the performance dates from around 70 or 71. GMT 0300 Thursday, 3 hrs.
Now if some of the above items intrigue and enthuse you then please feel
free to stop
http://operacast.com and pull up the pages containing this week's
On the other hand, even if none of the above piques your curiosity I urge
stop by our schedule listings and browse them. I believe the chances are
that there will be items in there to interest every operatic taste,
regardless of my
personal preferences as exampled in the above list. So please, browse,
sample, and enjoy!