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Subject: The one scene in Mefistofele I can live without
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 1 Dec 2018 18:17:11 -0600
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With all the discussion of Mefistofele being "weak" or "unveven", I've found that the only scene in it which I find VERY weak and feeble is the Garden Scene where Faust and Mefistofele are chasing Margharita and Marta around like a Marx Brother's comedy.  For me, both women come across as silly coquettes.  I once saw a production of this opera in Chicago where Guiaurov, Kraus and Tebaldi were doing this, and I found it banal and degrading in terms of staging, the music, as well as everything else. It made the characters look like clowns in burlesque. I'd be very happy if this single scene would be forever cut and deleted.  This little scene is, for me, a total and complete let-down, especially in terms of what happens before and after.  Margharita has a gorgeous Prison Scene and Elena has the beautiful Helen of Troy Scene.  In this particular opera, that's enough. 
> On December 1, 2018 at 5:45 PM Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> 
> Ditto to all except that, while I agree about Van Horn as a great talent,
> in my view his voice didn't have the heft for the kind of bass needed for
> this role (De Angelis, Siepi, Neri, Treigle, Ramey, ...). He is a
> bass-baritone and it showed, but what a magnificent singing and he did have
> the vocal range for the role, just not the right timbre to my ear. I do
> love this opera, though it is uneven as Bob said, but it has many of the
> glorious parts that I would not tire from listening over and over again.
> 
> Vesna
> 
> On Sat, Dec 1, 2018 at 6:12 PM Ron Magnuson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> > I heard it pretty much the way Bob did today, however I listened to all of
> > it.
> > The prologue was stunning in its beauty with stellar choral singing and
> > orchestra playing.
> > Fabbiano did fine with “Dai campi” but sounds continually forced to my
> > ears.  I never hear relaxed, free tone coming from him.
> > I liked Van Horn very much.  He sounded continually in control and his
> > interpretation was always interesting.
> > I simply do not care for Meade’s voice.  I do not hear beauty, color or
> > expression.
> > Check was ok.
> > I liked the choral work better than Bob.  They have a huge variety of
> > singing to do in this piece and they do it well.
> > The performance was compelling for me which usually means that the
> > conductor was doing his job.
> > This piece deserves to be performed more often.
> >
> > Ron Magnuson
> >
> > > On Dec 1, 2018, at 5:24 PM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > >
> > > Hello everybody
> > >
> > > I listened from the Prison Scene to the end. I had intended to hear
> > > the Prologue, too, which is a Wow, no matter how poorly sung, and I
> > > forgot.
> > >
> > > There is definitely an hour of good to great music in Mefistofele, and,
> > > outside of the Prologue, I think I heard all of it. Even some sections
> > > of the scenes I heard are hard to take, at least for me.But, there is
> > > some very impressive stuff
> > >
> > > The Singers
> > >
> > > Christian Van Horn is a very fine, maybe great singer, with range,
> > > musicality and depth of tone. I very much look forward to seeing
> > > how his career develops. I suspect greatness is in those cards.
> > >
> > > Angela Meade continues to disappoint me. Bad intonation, unpleasant
> > > entrances and exits from trills, too loud most of the time, and much
> > > too much "chest" all of the time. I've said this before; I'll never like
> > > her much.
> > >
> > > Michael Fabiano was in pretty good shape today. At times he shows
> > > strain. but then, a superb top above the staff will pop out. The voice
> > > is in better shape than a year ago, but red flags are still flying.
> > >
> > > Elena deserves better than Jennifer Check. She actually has among
> > > the most impressive music in the opera, and it will thrill when it
> > > receives the respect it deserves.
> > >
> > > An aside - I have no idea what that audience was responding to when
> > > they greeted Ms. Meade at the final curtain. They certainly did not agree
> > > with me, but then, that happens as often as not.
> > >
> > > The conducting sounded fine, though the chorus and orchestra were
> > > far from perfect, and the balances on the radio were not good.
> > >
> > > Bob
> > >
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