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Subject: Re: SFO "Damnation!" 6/26
From: Frank Cadenhead <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Frank Cadenhead <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 28 Jun 2003 15:42:43 +0200

text/plain (31 lines)

>When she calls for Faust's name it sounds like "Fooost"
>How SHOULD one really pronounce "Faust" in French?)

  That's actually pretty close.  I remember Denoke's French as
reasonable good.  What simply surprises me is the equanimity
with which the Parisians tolerate inadequate French at the
Bastille.  In the recent "Les Vepres" only the small roles were
actually French - everyone else was a big budget "international
star." Sondra Radvanovsky sang Americo-French, Giordani
sang the Italian version.  Michaels-Moore, the most musically
intelligent of the group, had the best French but still threw me
with his repeated exclamations "Moan Feeese! Moan Feeese!"
(mon fils).  For the second half, I moved from my seat to
another one where I could see the surtitles which was a big
help.  In my early opera-going days in San Diego I remember
Sills and Spiro Malas (who could easily pass for a sergeant in
any guardhouse in France) who seemed to love getting their
mouths around the vowels and speaking it like a native.  I did
not think then that it was an experience seldom to be repeated.
  Hugues Gall has the idea to just have "names" as the principals
so you usually get the "if it's Tuesday this must be Bastille" type
of performance.  The audience got lucky this time when Sam
Ramey got so involved with Lamase classes and Handi-wipes
that he didn't have time to learn his role of Procida.  I got to
hear one of the most instinctive and true Verdi bass-baritones
in many, many years, the Ukrainian Vitalij Kowaljow.  He's not
yet Leonard Warren, but neither was Warren at his age. And
who says the guys at the Met have no ear!  They've already
signed him up to sing an upcoming.....Timur!
Frank Cadenhead

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