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Subject: MET HD Hamlet on KCET in Los Angeles?/remembering Robert Baxter/Marco Vratogna
From: Chris Mullins <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Chris Mullins <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 4 Sep 2010 13:10:05 -0400
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I went to my DVR this morning to watch the PBS broadcast of the Met in HD
"Hamlet" from last season, which I set up for recording a few weeks ago
(maybe a couple months ago, who knows). 

The listing said it was the correct broadcast, but it turned out to be a
show on Big Band music (which was an all-white form, from what i could tell
from this show as I zapped through it) and then a Jack LaLanne program which
was basically a paid commercial. This is PBS? Jack Lalanne did exercises for
housewives for a few decades on local TV stations. Now he gets a PBS show?
By the way, he is, I don't know, 130, and looks very good for 130, and yet,
still completely awful. An advertisement for not living to 130, I would say.

At any rate, was it just my Dish TV? Did anyone else in LA think they were
getting the Hamlet and got something else? Did KCET ever broadcast it?

No sign of the "Armida" yet.

Let me add a few belated words on the passing of Robert Baxter. A couple
years ago when I posted more often on Opera-L one of my pleasures was
getting e mail feedback from Mr. Baxter. Always wise and funny. And he was
always very patient with my lack of love for Maria Callas, although
regretful. I wondered why I hadn't heard much from him or seen his posts on
Opera-L for quite a while, but I put it down to my less frequent
participation. I am truly sorry that such a fine person had to leave us
early, and in such an unfortunate way. 

Please excuse the abrupt change of mood, but allow me here to offer links to
a couple recent DVD reviews of mine on Opera Today. I highlight these
because they both feature a baritone I had not encountered before, Marco
Vratogna. I did a search on Opera-L and see Mr. Vratogna made a good
impression as Iago in San Francisco's Otello of a season or two back. And I
believe he has a good role in one of this season's Met HD moviecasts, though
I am too lazy to double check that.

I think he is a very good baritone, though I wouldn't try to suggest he can
compare to the greats. Frankly, it's his studly, well-built, bald-headed
physical self and effective stage presence that make me sit up. In the
"Edgar," he is the only cast member, including Jose Cura, who can make a
linen suit really look good. The links:

http://www.operatoday.com/content/2010/08/puccinis_edgar_.php

http://www.operatoday.com/content/2010/08/un_ballo_in_mas.php

I hope everyone is enjoying a pleasant Labor Day weekend. It's so nice we
have a holiday for laborers, even though absolutely nothing about our
current government and society concerns itself with anything other than the
wealth and happiness of the 2% of the population that have 90% of the wealth.

C Mullins (in the 98%)

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