Saturday, February 24, 2007

septuagenarian huddle

It is about an hour and a half after the end of the Onegin moviecast that I attended. Lots and lots of septu-, octo-, sex-agenarians, which is to be expected. Except a lot of them were super mean/self-absorbed sons of bitches.

Thankfully, I only really had to deal with them while filing in and out and milling about during intermission. The problem with opera at matinee, in my experience, is that it can draw a certain crowd of those who don't really have developed aesthetics when it comes to opera yet talk as if they do. And talk, talk, talk, they do. Of course, it doesn't help that I was having an attack of misanthropy concurrently.

The moviecast seems like it's been really successful. The particular theater (or perhaps even the broadcast equipment?) seemed to have difficulty rendering bright incandescent light, issuing forth instead a sickly, pallid yet neon green. It's a shame, since it's obvious how much of the sets' beauty depends on subtle shadings of color and light.

Still, it was worth it. All of the principals have voices that are loved by broadcast sound equipment. They also all sang very well. Certainly not faultless, but really quite good. This is the best yet that I've heard Fleming sing -- it's so much less self-indulgent than other outings, and she always clearly directs the flow of the line. Several theories as to why this is the case: 1) she has heard and taken to heart criticisms of sonic wallowing; 2) Gergiev's conducting has had its impact in halting her sometimes aimless vocal beauty tricks; and/or 3) During the intermission interview, she had mentioned to Sills that she had first performed Tatiana when "too young." Perhaps a kernel of learning it so early, before some of her performance tics became ubiquitous, has innoculated her reading of the role somewhat.

I was going to finish the post with a youtube video of Mark Reizen singing Prince Gremin's aria at age 90, but it seems to have disappeared. Boo.

Oh wait! it's a google video! and posted by the Queen herself, La Cieca!

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