Dear, oh, dear:
Phillip LeFaive just jolted me out of lurkerdom with his
note recounting how he overheard a friend get a Dutchman
at the end of a rock CD. He wrote:
"I took it back to the guy the next day and told him what he
had, and he thought it was cool. Then I said to him, I'll bet
there is some surprised opera lover out there who bought a
Flying Dutchman set and got YOUR group on it instead!
So how about it LIst? Anyone ever buy a Flying Dutchman
CD set, only to have the last CD in the group be some
strange rock group?"
Yeah, not a "Dutchman" but a "Don G." And a story goes
with it., as D. Runyon used to say:
Two years ago in fall I was in Prague with my OLOH. Of
course, there was more good music than you could possibly
consume in just a month's time, including a weird but expressive
"Lohengrin" at the Statni, and at the National a charming
but uninventive "Bartered Bride" (followed the next day by a
stunning "Vixen" that had me in tears at the end). Then, a big
bumber: The Estates was closed for repairs. Who hasn't wanted
to see "Don G." where it premiered? Much wailing, gnashing of
bicuspids. So we wander down to Old Town, and just happen to
come upon that great classical record shop across from the Hussite
statue. We go in, about as big a mistake as wandering into the
new Broadway Tower on payday. Great prices, especially on
the local label (Supraphon). I immediately salve my smarting
wound with what turned out to be a wonderful "Vixen"
(Hajossyova, Benackova, Novak -- what say you, Robert
Jones?) and some Haydn. Trying to be conservative, we pay up
and start out the door. Then my eye falls on a prodej, a smartly
posted "special" -- a "Don G." with a nice engraving of the Estates
Theatre on the box. My OLOH reminds me that I already have six
Dons. And never mind that this isn't one of them (for good reason
since it's got D. F-D in the title role, and I don't care how cerebral
he is, Celia, I still don't like him in this, and Arroyo is just OK, and
Flagello too anxious trying to be funny, Bohm deadly slow). Nonetheless,
O, folia, I buy it it the hope that somehow I will recover from not
it performed live in the home pitch. Ah, the lure of that box!
Back home a month later I crank up the Philips and sit down for
what I presume will be a pleasant if predictable afternoon with
my "special." Everything goes well through the first act and I
find I can even bear Bohm's beat. It's even slightly better than
the Fricsay, with Prague's National Theatre Orchestra instead of
the Berlin. Then, somewhere into the third disk and the second
act, just after Elvira's recit and the very first line of
"Mi tradi," the most godawful racket suddenly booms out of my
speakers. Even our dog, Elisabeth, who can take most of The Ring
in appreciative silence, begins to keen. It was Alice, a metal band that
had been playing at Bunkr, a local cult club for so long that someone
finally took them into a studio and recorded 5 tracks -- which wound up
on my disk.
"I'll bet that could be worth something someday," quoth Phillip LeFaive.
I pray not.
I still have it. Anyone want it?
Stephen G. Landesman
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"Wann geht der naechste Schwann?"