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Subject: Re: exterminating angel prima anyone?
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 27 Oct 2017 11:19:32 -0400
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I heard it on Sirius last night, and will be going to the HD encore.

This was my 2nd time hearing the piece, along with the broadcast of the Salzburg 
production, and though I'm still very much in the stage of getting my ears around the 
score, I do think it's a very intriguing and compelling piece, the shifts in music very much 
playing out the odd and absurdist psychodrama of the story. And there are many 
moments of stunning beauty, and even something that we might call "tunes" lol, in the 
mix - along with moments of eerie, unsettling, and cacophonous sounds - but all of it 
serving the drama perfectly. Ades' use of the ondes martenot (and it plays a huge huge 
role in the orchestration) is particularly masterful and emotionally grabbing. 

I didn't hear one weak link in the large solo roster of the cast - early on I wondered if Sir 
John Tomlinson (the Doctor) was in good voice, but as the performance went on he got 
stronger and stronger, and was having fun with the extremes of range that Ades gives the 
entire cast to work with. And extremes they sure are - not only do many of the vocal lines 
require large spans of range in short vocal phrases, but the tessitura of some of the roles 
is freakish - most notably Leticia, sung with impossible assurity by Audrey Luna, who of 
course played a similarly vocally punishing role in Ades' Tempest. I do tend to wonder if 
Ades may have to provide alternate vocal lines in such roles for future performers - I 
don't know how many singers other than Luna can approach music like this with the same 
assurity. (And even Luna can sometimes sound very shrieky on top, though I tend to 
think that's exactly the expectation of the writing, lol.)

My listening this time was enhanced by the discovery of an online-only copy of the vocal 
score (at http://scorelibrary.fabermusic.com/The-Exterminating-Angel-32254.aspx ) - 
anyone who is music-reader enough to follow along may find it's an enlightening help to 
do so. It also helped me appreciate the complexity of what the orchestra is playing. And a 
huge kudos to the Met orchestra as led by the composer. In this prima performance I only 
noticed one small glitch in the orchestral ensemble, right at the end of Act II (i.e. the one 
act break in the production), where a slow, gradual accelerando almost came off the rails. 
I'm sure that will go smoother on the next performance on Monday. 

Is this going to be everyone's cup of tea? No. There are going to be people who only hear 
the score as ugly, disjointed, cacophonous, overreaching, etc - well, so be it. Complain all 
you want. But for those of us that want to willingly go on an intriguing, surprising, ever-
shifting, often beautiful, often humorous/ironic, often dramatically moving rollercoaster 
ride of a musical psychodrama - enjoy it!! I sure did!


On Fri, 27 Oct 2017 10:14:09 +0000, Bruce Prentice <[log in to unmask]> 
wrote:

>No post about it?  Was anyone there?  Would appreciate some thoughts thanks
>
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