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Subject: Re: Heppner reborn in "Pique Dame" 11/24/08
From: Dominic A <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Dominic A <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 25 Nov 2008 01:50:58 -0500

text/plain (56 lines)

This is a poor understanding of what occurred Friday night.  I happened to be 
in the house tonight for Pique Dame and, as has been reported, Heppner was 
indeed in much better shape than the performance from a few days ago.  Only 
one crack this time, which was barely noticeable.

However, even if I hadn't heard Friday's "performance" (if you can call it that), 
I still wouldn't say that tonight's singing from Heppner was anything 
extraordinary.  While he warmed up in the second half of the night, he 
approached nearly every extended note in the score with extreme 
overcaution, as if to dip his foot in the pool before he jumped in.  The top was 
MUCH more secure tonight, but I did notice that Heppner seems to have 
developed a vibrato that is much more widely spaced than normal for a singer 
of his age.

To say he was 'reborn' tonight goes too far; he gave a good performance, but 
if he had given another good performance on Friday, nothing would be so 
great about tonight.  If someone gives a horrible performance one night, then 
a few nights later does exceedingly better *but still only up to par*, does that 
signal rebirth?  I don't think so.  

The other important fact here is that tonight's performance has no bearing on 
what he and the Met should have done Friday night.  Even if Heppner had 
performed the most impeccable Ghermann ever to grace the stages of ANY 
house, it still would not have excused the disaster on Friday night.  It's not 
acceptable to offer shit to an audience and then say "oh, don't worry...I'll 
make up for it next time!"  He should have still pulled out.  Tonight's 
performance doesn't change that.

Lastly, I'm not convinced that it was simply a cold that affected the tenor 
Friday.  Lots of singers have had colds and sung relatively consistent 
performances.  The "cold" he had may very well have exposed whatever else 
is going on with him, but it was not the sole cause of it.  For those who were 
either in the house or listened on the Sirius broadcast, it was obvious that 
Heppner was not simply having trouble in the upper tessitura, but couldn't 
even be consistent in his middle range.  There was nothing there.  On top of 
it, the few times where he did put together a connected phrase, he sounded 
fine!  There were no obvious difference in vocal color that normally come with 
a cold.  All these lead me to believe that something else is going on.

Congrats to Ben for a good performance tonight, but it's negligent to assume 
that he's totally out of the water or that an occurrence of Friday night's 
proportions can be explained by a common cold. 

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