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Subject: Re: Met Requiem
From: A Katalin Mitchell <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:A Katalin Mitchell <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 25 Nov 2017 13:36:17 -0500
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Looking forward to next Saturday’s broadcast, maybe the unevenness will be fixed by then.  My “desert island” work, one cannot hear it often enough live.  And hopefully Antonenko will also feel better.  My only problem is that I cannot stand Furlanetto, even when he was in great voice his barking and overly melodramatic delivery drove me batty…. So I’ll take him with a grain of salt. 


On 11/25/17, 11:42 AM, "Discussion of opera and related issues on behalf of Jon Goldberg" <[log in to unmask] on behalf of [log in to unmask]> wrote:

    I heard the performance on Sirius last night - I'd be very interested to get any opinions 
    from anyone in-house.
    
    I think this was a case of "the whole is better than the sum of its parts" and "the end 
    justifies the means," as the "Libera Me" was one of the highlights of the performance. 
    There were certainly good moments and good performances all around, but also enough 
    glitches to wonder if the occasion (the first public performance, the dedication to 
    Hvorostovsky, etc) distracted a bit from the music making. There were quite a few 
    moments of ensemble coordination and of intonation that were truly off - things that may 
    and can certainly be fixed over the following week (I'm hoping that next week's Saturday 
    matinee comes off much better). 
    
    In general, the chorus and the orchestra were in top form. And although I don't feel that 
    Levine was on his best game, he did bring out things in the orchestration at times that 
    put his own wonderful personal stamp on things. (One moment that really stood out to 
    me was the solo quartet of bassoons toward the beginning of the "Libera Me" - right 
    before the "tremens factus sum ego" section - there was an attack and presence here 
    that may have not quite been Verdi's pianissimo marking, but certainly highlighted the 
    odd and eerie sound of the passage in a way I had never heard before. Quite cool.)
    
    The soloists were uneven - no way around that. The women were the highlight, but 
    Stoyanova (soprano) could at times be too light, and I did hear occasional lacks of 
    intonation from Semenchuk (mezzo) - though to their credit, the "Agnus Dei" was 
    beautifully done. Their "Recordare" was also quite wonderful, when pitch was centered - 
    but who the fuck was the idiot who had to ruin the moment with a "brava!!!!!!!" right 
    after the duet? 
    
    (On the subject of audience reaction, though - again, I don't know if this was prompted 
    by anything visual, such as a gesture by Levine, but oh, that long silence at the end of 
    the evening did seem to linger on forever...which was very moving.)
    
    I have always been a fan of Furlanetto, but oh, I think the voice is truly showing signs of 
    age now. He's still a wonderful interpreter, but there were times when I wondered if he 
    just had as much control to do what he wanted to do. I still enjoyed him a lot, though.
    
    But, the "control" issue brings me to Antonenko, who just has none, IMO. Maybe he 
    wasn't feeling well - I don't know. He can shout a Bb with the rest of 'em, lol, but his 
    attempts to sing quietly mostly failed (the struggle with the "Hostias" being almost 
    unlistenable). He just doesn't have a natural instrument for this piece. It can't just be 
    about the high notes, which were big where the needed to be (in the ensembles). The 
    exposed solo moments, where expression and flexibility are so necessary, were just not 
    good at all.
    
    So - a mixed bag of a performance IMO, but still one that worked into a triumph by the 
    end. And, because the chorus was clearly ON their game, the movements which featured 
    them were the highlights. Including a truly joyous "Sanctus," and that "Libera Me" with its  
    bravura a cappella reiteration of the Requiem's opening music...and that final huge climax 
    before the quiet end, which for me is one of the most irresistably moving moments in the 
    piece. In the chorus' perfect sense of attack and ensemble in that final build, you could 
    sense that everyone felt the same about that music as I do.
    
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