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Subject: Re: Subject: Re: An Opera-L Christmas: Tchaikovsky, Rimsky, Puts, Leroux
From: Michael McPherson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Michael McPherson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 25 Dec 2017 13:50:47 -0500

text/plain (126 lines)

There is actually another Cathedral in New York City — The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine and the largest gothic cathedral in the world. While it is still unfinished, it is a magnificent structure and has great acoustics. Last night midnight mass was magnificent. In addition to the beautiful singing by the Cathedral Choir and orchestra, Susanna Phillips sang the Mozart Agnus Dei and a gorgeous Cantique de Noel.

I am amazed how many people I know who were born and raised in NYC but have never been to St. John’s. A pity.

Merry Christmas to everyone.


Michael J. McPherson
[log in to unmask]

> On Dec 25, 2017, at 11:57 AM, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Basile's book is a revelation for anyone remotely interested in the subject
> of music
> and the Catholic church in New York.  Last night's telecast from the newly
> renovated
> cathedral was a sad demonstration of how far we have departed from what was
> once
> a distinguished relationship.
> The book reveals something that struck me dramatically shortly after the
> calamity of
> September 11th 2001; the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra happened to be  in
> that week, and a memorial concert was quickly arranged, to be performed in
> St.
> Patrick's, consisting of a movement from the Buckner Seventh Symphony, and
> the
> Haydn SEVEN LAST WORDS, the text recited between each movement by a priest.
> The performances, needless to say, were deeply moving, and the sound, on a
> stereo
> equipped tv set, absolutely spectacular.  Nothing like it has been heard,
> that I know of,
> since that occasion.
> Our 19th century cathedral, at the beginning of the 20th, was  being
> utilized as a sort of
> concert hall; one didn't have to be a worshiper to hear some Bach,  Mozart,
> or Gounod,
> (tickets were even sold!), decently performed in an acoustically superb
> setting..   I don't
> know what renovation and a multiplicity of  microphoning set-ups have done
> but, simply
> put, the result is anything but superb.  If anyone can prove to my
> satisfaction, that Met
> mezzo, Tara Erraught, was actually on the premises for "O Holy Night"
> during this morning's
> Midnight Mass, I stand corrected, but I think I can recognize pre-taping
> when I see it.  A
> bit of deception on the part of the Archdiocese, is it not?  The last Met
> artist I saw actually
> singing the piece in the loft among the choir, was Michael Fabiano, several
> years ago,
> And , as we know now, the "tradition" began in 1970 with Placido Domingo; I
> would say
> began, and ended, with a tenor
> dtmk
> On Sun, Dec 24, 2017 at 12:03 PM, Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>> On Sun, Dec 24, 2017 at 9:18 AM, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> My other question, the one that seems to interest no one but myself, is
>>> doomed, as expected, no matter how carefully OPERA_RELATED it may
>>> be, to remain unanswered.
>> Maybe the answer, or most of it, can be found in the book FIFTH AVENUE
>> Salvatore Basile. A quick Google book preview leads to the chapter about
>> John Grady's tenure and 1970 as his first year when he made several major
>> changes in his musical direction at the Cathedral. One of them was to have
>> a Met opera soloist perform "O Holy Night" at the Midnight Mass that
>> apparently started by coincidence when the "rising" star Domingo did it
>> that same year despite his busy schedule. The author writes that it was so
>> popular that it became the annual tradition. He mentions the earlier days
>> of Pietro Yon's tenure there, his association with the Met Opera, and his
>> friendship with Martinelli, including his famous performances of Yon's own
>> "Gesu bambino" but apparently "O Holy Night" on the Christmas Eve wasn't
>> the tradition until 1970. I might have missed something as I only briefly
>> looked at the few pages mentioning it, but it sounds that this book could
>> be a good starting point in finding the answer to your query.
>> Tara Erraught, a mezzo from Ireland, is scheduled to sing it this year.
>> Besides many wonderful recordings of Christmas songs already mentioned, I
>> also like Claudia Muzio's Italian rendition of Reger's "Maria Wiegenlied."
>> Best, Vesna
> **********************************************
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