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Subject: Re: A day at the races!
From: James Bodge <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:James Bodge <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 27 Dec 1998 07:33:59 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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At 07:53 PM 12/26/98 -0500, Bob Rideout wrote:
>Die Zauberflote - Met - Matinee
>
>I am fascinated that a "Traviata" can bring twenty or more posts, but, a
>"Zauberflote" garners nothing.  So much for "opera" as a generic term.
>More on that anon.  Anyway, this afternoon's broadcast from the "Met"
>was, overall, very good.  The conducting was, again, too fast, like "a
>day at the races" and it was only intermittently interesting.  But,
>Mackerras held it all together, and he kept everyone in time.  Goerne
>was marvelous on the radio (at least) and he is certainly one to watch
>out for in the future (though he says he doesn't much like opera as a
>performer).  Ms. Upshaw had good moments, I thought, though the voice
>had a rather raspy sound at times.  She phrases well, though, and her
>musicality comes through.  Paul Groves was wonderful, thought I, and he
>added several lovely and graceful appogiature.  The voice sounds very
>healthy to me and he sings with a lot of style.  The rest of the cast
>was servicable to very good, and the impression I was left with was a
>good one.  Mr. Mackerras, let them breathe, let them show some signs of
>personality.

Could we claim the holiday has kept listenership down, or at least
restricted the time for posting responses?  I'm much in agreement with you
about yesterday's ZAUBERFLOTE - as was Bill Fregosi, who phoned me about
1/2 hour after it ended.  I love Mackerras' way with Mozart and will excuse
him his brisk tempi.  The piece needs to keep moving; hearing the MET's
great orchestra bouncing along with him, but playing fully, with broad,
rich tone was delightful.  The men's chorus is fine, but what has happened
to the women and when will something be done?

I liked Upshaw rather more than you and found Goerne a little blank without
being able to watch him.  He certainly has a nice voice.  The new bass, Mr.
Selig, was much improved in Act Two - in Act One he sounded quavery and
ready to retire.  He, too, has a very attractive voice when it is in
working order.  Alan Held was his usual stalwart self in the short role of
the Sprecher, and the two Guards were good.  The boys were loud and cute -
which counts.  They harmonized well.  Personally, I like the Children's
Chorus best when they can just play "kids" and sing out loud and raucously
(e.g., CARMEN or LA BOHEME).

The Trio of ladies was solid, but I was dissapointed by Laura Aiken as the
Queen: she has good dramatic instincts and sounds like an angry woman, not
a chirping coloratura.  That's good.  But she has no high notes and they
sqwaked.  Not good.  It's one of those impossible roles: we want all the
other stuff (acting, good solid mature sound, imposing presence, et al) -
but we must have the high notes or the arias don't work.  Dennis Petersen
was a good Monastatos.

But the Quiz was awful.  Zeger's questions were repetitive and dull, and I
didn't always understand the musical sense of the answers.  This sort of
thing worked once: when Woitach or Crutchfield was involved.  They was
missed.  Three cheers for the acknowledgement of error regarding Leonard
Warren and the last line of PAGLIACCI.

I wonder how well the spruced up text for FLEDERMAUS will play on air?  It
ain't my favorite opera and I often miss broadcasts of it.  Next week I
expect to listen.

Happy New Year to all,

Cheers from Boston,

Jim Bodge  [log in to unmask]

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