Bergitas here. As usual, I like Sharon Sweet a lot more than most of you
did, but there are certainly problems there that need attention and I won't
pretend they're not there. For the first time, I heard some fairly
alarming pitch problems, particularly in the upper middle register- and they
were most evident during the Nile Scene. On the other hand, it was also in
that scene that Sweet managed to pull off some lovely semi-soft singing on
top. How about that last Fuggiam, for instance, and other moments as well?
It's no small feat (pardon the pun) to use such an enormous voice so
lyrically. There was also plenty of typical Sweet energy for the big
climaxes and I heard fewer ungainly high notes than in Forza, for instance.
As for shaping phrases and communicating text, she still ranges from barely
adequate to woefully inept, and there seems to have been little if any
improvement here. BUT, BUT, BUT. . . I think the basic sound is very
impressive and it bugs me that nobody bothers to say so. Say what you will
about her musicality or her communicative ability, (and I'm don't mean to
imply that those are peripheral matters) but surely it's only fair to take
note of the amazing size and rich depth of this voice and its tirelessness.
That really stood out for me in contrast to Michael Sylvester, who for most
of the broadcast sounded like Radames is just beyond his powers. He did
some nice things (and I was glad to hear him sing the O Terra Addio so well)
but he almost never rose to the occasion at the climactic moments and sounded
like he was merely surviving the afternoon. At least it's a pleasant sound,
and I think Sylvester does some nice musical things, but his performance left
me on the edge of my seat for all of the wrong reasons.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - I wish we were hearing Sharon
Sweet in German roles. (Kundry, Ortrud, Sieglinde, Elisabeth, maybe even
Brunnhilde someday). I have a suspicion that we would hear her at her best in
that arena. And after hearing Sylvester sing the Onegin aria at the Krainik
Gala, one wonders if perhaps he should think about a different repertoire as
Unfortunately, it's probably easier to pay the rent with Verdi than
Greg Berg Racine, WI