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Subject: Re: Rock Goes La Traviata (was re: Pop Goes the Tenor)
From: Paul Hand <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Paul Hand <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 15 Jan 1998 20:24:59 -0500
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    Dear Paolo,

    In your Thu 1/15/98  9:01 ("RE: Rock Goes La Traviata (was re: Pop
Goes the Tenor") posting you write:

>   "Two seasons ago I attended a Traviata at Wolf
> Trap featuring an amazing soprano from the Ukraine who's name, (Oxana
> something or other), but not her remarkable performance, currently
> evades me. [...]
>   When the Violetta came out there was a roar more typical
> to a rock concert   [...]  I was as
> moved by this mass of youth's reaction as I was by this wonderful
> Violetta and my umpteenth attendance at a Traviata."
>
            This sounds like the Musetta in Washington Opera's La Boheme
in the 96-97 season, Oxana Arkhaeva.  I found her performance one of the
most memorable, because unusual, of the season.  Not because of her
voice which was a good lyric soprano in the development stage belonging
to a 25-ish singer. Or because of her striking beauty.

            It was because of her absolute aplomb in this comic role.
She was completely confident and natural and flowing in every posture
and gesture and facial expression. The dramatic scene became actual life
at her entrance. Hers didn't look like acting. This was especially
impressive when she wasn't singing--seamlessly interactive with other
characters but never just filling in gaps with stage business. I never
saw her play to the audience, but she was always the natural focus of
attention in this Cafe Momus scene because of her uncommon stage
presence.  I'd like to see her in a dramatic role as you did Paolo.

            In general, I've been surprised and impressed by the
strength of acting among the singers from the former Soviet Union.
Vladimir Chernov in the televised Boccanegra and Forza, Galina
Gorchakova in the Fiery Angel video, Sergei Leiferkus in Fiery Angel and
as Iago to Placido, Maria Goulegina splendidly carrying off the
dramatically difficult last scene of the TV Chenier, a role that treads
dangerously close to bathos as played to a modern audience.  And I hear
interesting things about Madame Borodina in our postings.

           I'm looking forward eagerly to hearing and seeing the Kirov's
quartet of Russian operas at the Met in May.

            Paul Hand
            Tysons Corner, Virginia
            Washington Opera guy
            [log in to unmask]

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