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Subject: Anja Harteros/Don Carlo/Most preposterous death scene
From: Vince Chau <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Vince Chau <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 29 Mar 2005 12:07:03 -0500
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Hello.

Since I am on moderation (the moderator has to approve all my messages to
Opera-L before they are posted) (which means that if I send two posts to
Opera-L on Friday, it might take until Saturday for those posts to be
approved and posted to the list, effectively limiting my post allowance to
two posts per two days, instead of the usual two posts per day for everyone
else who is not on moderation), I will make this post multiple topical (this
is not funny grammar, Al Dracher (Isaac)).

I have seen and heard Anja Harteros in Simon Boccanegra very recently (March
26) (I will also be seeing the Sunday matinee on April 3).  Excepting her
lack of trills (except for three good ones in the Council Chamber Scene) and
reluctance to float pianissimo high notes (save for one very good one well
after the Amelia/Gabriele duet), she sang a very good Amelia.  Her voice is
very round, full, and darkly tinged and she is capable of acoustic-seizing
(read: impressive) fortes.  Her big voice surprised me (it also reminded me
of the voices of Mirella Freni and Josephine Barstow).  I had thought she
was a lyric soprano.  In the Civic Theatre (it's spelled Theatre) in
downtown San Diego (capacity: 2967 seats), she sounded like a spinto, though
I can imagine that she sounds like a large-voiced soprano at the Met and
other larger theaters.  What do you guys think of her?

I have been listening to a wonderful broadcast recording of Don Carlo from
San Francisco Opera, October 1979.  The cast consists of Giacomo Aragall
(Don Carlo), Anna Tomowa-Sintow (Elisabetta), Livia Budai (Eboli), Wolfgang
Brendel (Posa), Evgeny Nesterenko (Phillip), and Stefan Elenkov (Grand
Inquisitor), conducted by Silvio Varviso.  Aragall has a gorgeous tenor
voice and sings his role very well.  Tomowa-Sintow is a very good
Elisabetta; she floats an ethereal pianissimo high note at the end of "Non
piangere, mia compagna".  Brendel is a good Posa, and he attempts the trill
in the first aria of his double-aria finale (death scene).  Budai is a
satisfactory Eboli.  Nesterenko is a powerful, steady-voiced, sonorous
Phillip.  Elenkov has a weird voice, and I would like to have had a darker
voice than his in this role (Grand Inquisitor).  This recording is,
unfortunately, cut.  Eboli only has one verse of her Canzone del Velo, Posa
only one verse of "Carlo, ch'è sol - il nostro amore", Elisabetta only one
verse of "Non piangere, mia compagna", etc.

It seems to me that Posa takes forever to die in his death scene.  This
reminds me of the final scene in the gorgeous and very good
Mandarin-language movie The House of Flying Daggers.  In this scene, the two
leading men battle each other, basically trying to kill each other to avenge
the supposed death of the heroine whom they both love (she is supposed to be
dead when the fight starts).  The fight takes place in a meadow (filmed in
Ukraine) with autumnal weather.  During the course of the fight, snow falls
and the season transitions into winter.  The ground is blanketed by snow.
The heroine miraculously staggers to her feet and implores both men to stop
fighting.  Then she dies.

By the way, I am sick of Gerald Waldman's hypocrisy and disingenuousness.
He has the audacity to attack Tebaldi, but gets angry when people fairly
criticize his favorite singers, Verrett and Tebaldi.  He also had the
temerity to say that Ferruccio Furlanetto's King Phillip (Don Carlo) is
pedestrian.  I saw Furlanetto in this opera in April 2004 at San Diego
Opera.  What I heard was a massive, rock-steady bass voice that was filled
with touching pathos during "Ella giammai m'amò".

See Andrew Bryne.  I CAN type a long message without typos.

Vince

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