Thursday, May 17, 2007

Yesterday's Playlist

I listened to a couple amazing things yesterday while I was working at my desk:

The Julia Migenes Voix Humaine (God, that's twice I've mentioned her in two days; here she is in her element)

A live Toscanini Verdi Requiem from London in 1938 with Milanov, Thorborg, Rosvaenge and Moscona (this was a Testament issue that I borrowed from the Lincoln Center liberry), and another liberry selection:

Suzanne Danco live stuff with Anserment and the Suisse Romande: Britten Les Illuminations, the Falla Canciones orchestrated, Chabrier's La Sulamite (which in my opinion is infinitely more vivid than the Suzanne Mentzer recording), the Battered Broad aria (in Czech, surprising for that era, but not for the ever-fastidious Danco), the Enfant Prodigue aria and the Geneviève scene from Pélleas (does she sing that in the second Ansermet recording with Erna Spoorenberg?) She is amazing, sometimes a little fluttery, but it was never a sensual instrument. Her musicianship and diction are absolutely peerless, though!

Also a REALLY good Erwartung with Sinopoli and Alessandra Marc (aka Judy Borden), of all people! That disc also featured an interesting Pierrot with an Italian soprano named Luisa Castellani who specializes in contemporary music. Highly musical, one of the better versions, up there with Lucy Shelton and Jan de Gaetani and maybe even the sublime Mary Thomas, but not as lurid as any of them.

Sometime soon I will write about my experience performing Pierrot Lunaire, which I am supposed to repeat sometime soon with a major symphony orchestra (but I don't want to put the mouth on it, so I will say nothing more at present!)

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Blogger Will said...

Re: this post and the last one. It took me a bit of time to fully appreciate Danco but when the penny dropped, it dropped big. Elegant is one word I would use, as is clear. Great phrasing.

Julia--a creature of the stage, not that the voice was negligible (she made Lulu sound easy) by any means. I looked forward to eeing her on any of the few occasions offered to us in NYC.

Roberta Alexander--a wonderful Vitellia in Mozart's TITO. Sang notes that others faked , or in which they were just inaudible. Als, a very fine Jenufa both at the MET and in the Glyndeborne video. It's a crime that a voice like hers, still in excellent shape reputedly, isn't in demand. But artistry is less in demand than media-readiness these days.

We were so lucky to have ANGELS IN AMERICA here in Boston a couple of seasons ago. And it was excellently done and surrounded by many relevant side events by its producer, Opera Boston.

May 21, 2007 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger Counterleben said...

Hi Will,

I feel the same way about Danco. I used to find her pallid and of secondary interest, but that was before I had a keener ear for beautifully-sung French. And let's face it, so many of those great French singers did not have the most lush instruments. Bernac? Maurane? And some of those deliciously acidic sopranos, from Féraldy and Robin, Micheau through Mesplé (not discounting Dessay, for that matter)... what they lacked in sheer sensuous sound they made up for in the lusciousness of their diction and phrasing and musicianship.

I didn't realize that Angels in America had been done in Boston. I'd be curious to know what you thought of the piece. When it was premiered in Paris, the focus was on the three divas "d'une certain age"... now Migenes' voice was pretty much shot, but she is such a compelling stage animal. Hendricks, who of course received the most media attention in Paris, produced her sound in pretty much the same way that she always has, but the part seemed to have been written mostly in the middle-high range so as not to expose the vulnerability of either extreme. As I think I mentioned, Roberta's part was simply baritonal, though she was an extraordinary actress, although the writing gave no indication of what her current vocal state was.

Did you ever hear that Migenes studio recording of the final scene of Salome? Now that was something... scary in the most interesting sense of the word!

May 22, 2007 at 8:15 PM  

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