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Subject: Re: Todays R&J and random thoughts about HD
From: Ron Magnuson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Ron Magnuson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 21 Jan 2017 21:46:24 -0500
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I viewed the HD transmission today and evidently enjoyed it more that Bob or Vesna, which gives me pause as I treasure the opinions of both. I agree, however, that It was not a Gallic performance.  Vittorio Grigolo’s take on the role is definitely Italianate.  Having said that, I thought that he sang well, better than I have ever heard him, and gave a committed, fully invested performance.  He has grown impressively from his early performances.  Diana Damrau sang with more elegance and nuance with a voice that has lost some youthful sheen but still has a large pallet of colors at her disposal which she employs with intelligence and musicality. Bartlett Sher said that she moves as well as anyone on the stage today and I can not disagree with that.  She is a convincing actress.  The look on her face the first time she saw Romeo was priceless.   
Their voices blended seamlessly in the duets, each shading the dynamics to compliment their partner.  Ange Adorable evoked that magic moment of first love, restrained, as it is their first meeting, yet lovely in it’s simplicity. 
In Ah! Lève toi soleil, Grigolo played nicely against the chromatically descending harmonies reflecting the fading stars and then carefully developed the air climaxing on a gleaming High B flat.
The nocturne that opens what is really Act 11, softly and delicately evoked the stillness of night.  Gounod is at his best in these charming, gossamer melodies and Noseda shaped it perfectly.
Leading off the scene in Juliette’s chamber, the ritornello from the prologue with four cellos was a lovely evocation of their wedding night and the touch of mystery and tension born of thwarted happiness.  I succumbed, as I usually do to the mystery and throbbing sadness of this moment.
Nuit d’hyménée that paired the lovers, now in parallel thirds as they have become one, featured their ability to sing as one.
I found the scene with Frere Laurence entreating Juliette to drink his potion, wonderfully underlined by the creeping upward movement of the triplets to create an atmosphere of mystery, of dread.  The serenity of the “potion” theme provided a stark contrast to the dangerous and foolish advice that he was giving.
The two reunited in their final duet, both singing with the passion that doomed them from the beginning and that drew me into their tragedy.
Most of the people in the crowded room were applauding vigorously at the curtain calls.
This music must be a guilty pleasure for me.  I know that I am not supposed to enjoy it, cynical as I am reputed to be, but, alas, I find it irresistible. It was not a performance for the ages, but for me, it was a fine performance for this day.

Ron Magnuson

> On Jan 21, 2017, at 7:13 PM, Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> I couldn't watch or listen to the broadcast today and alas will not be able
> to watch the encore either. I did listen to the prima and had similar
> impressions as Bob had today.


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