This is so geeky but I had to share it. Blizzard entertainment made their own hour long version of the yule log but with all the Christmas carols sung by Murlocs. So funny.
Another recent song I’m listening to until it breaks on my Ipod. Love the Banjo music. This video is also incredibly goofy. 😀
So as the few people who read my blog know by now, I’m a horror fan. So, naturally, I’ve been a fan of Richard Strauss’ Salome since I was a teenage music student. There is nothing like it in the opera world, seriously creepy, gorgeous, lush, and rotten. It is a production sure to invoke discussion. Mainly on how far Opera houses will wade into the muck and emphasize the Grand Guignol. Will the opera diva playing Salome dance the “Dance of the 7 Veils” herself or will they pull in a body double?
Despite being a lifelong fan of the work, I never saw it on stage until today. Did I like it? Yes! It appealed to my inner teenager very much. However, this production did suffer from small voices. Now, to be fair…Strauss is a hard nut to crack. He is up there with Wagner pushing huge orchestral sound. In fact many times, I couldn’t help thinking that the orchestral score was the main attraction and the singers were there as superfluous sweetness sprinkled on top of an already too rich ice cream sundae. Still, it struck me as a sad that the MET couldn’t pull in Wagner level vocalists to perform this opera justly.
The singers who held up well were Kang Wang as Narraboth and Gerhard Siegel as Herod. Kang is still young, I think his voice has a few years to mature. But he filled the house with a good amount of voice. Siegel, being German, used his native language to great effect, shading his voice with a lot of intonation which cut through the orchestra. Everyone else was lost at sea in a huge, stormy and dramatic orchestral wave. Patricia Racette was an extremely beautiful and madly entitled Salome. It was just unfortunate that she doesn’t have the voice to power through the orchestra. She acted up a storm and made the character real not a cartoon villain. I think the part of her performance that was the most frightening was not when she was singing to John the Baptist’s head but when she kicked the hand of Narraboth from her leg as he was dying. Her dance scene was deceivingly tame until at the end it turned into a true strip tease with full nudity. The audience was silently shocked with the exception of a few nervous laughs.
The stage set was a bit odd. The time period was more “modern”, set some time in the 1930s or 1940s. The MET gave its spareness its own brand of lushness with opulent period clothing for the cast and lovely stage lighting.
The star of this performance was truly conductor Johannes Debus. He understood the score, its fallen romance, madness, bombast, and debauched evil. The Met orchestra responded wonderfully to his direction pushing itself to virtuosity and hitting all the right highs and lows in the score.
A good production all things considered, but it would have been better with bigger voices involved.
Heck, it has been a long time since my last post.
Not much going on by me right now. But I have this new band and their song that I love.
Yeah, it’s kind of middle age crazy on my part but I don’t care. LOL
Well, yet another Mozart opera and yet another production showcasing middling singers.
It is finally starting to feel like Fall now, my favorite time of year. And it gets me into the mood to look back, remember, refresh then renew. Ever since I was little, Fall always felt like the natural beginning of the new year.
The trees haven’t turned yet but I can’t wait for colored leaves.
This Glen Campbell song takes me back to my childhood and Fall seasons past in Alaska and Canada. It reminds me of trips on the AlCan highway. Talk about gorgeous, vast and sometimes a bit spooky. Maybe one day I will see it all again.
This song and the album its from is my favorite for the Summer of 16. I think it was released last year in Europe but only became available in the US this past Spring.
Its very hipster. I know, but I love it. The video is ridiculously gnostic as all the junk that comes from the music and movie complex.
I never thought I would say that I hated an opera production. Even the poor Met performances I’ve attended have never made me feel like I’ve been insulted.
But I loathed this production, I hated its relentless vulgarity and how it insulted my intelligence.
So we began with a thinly veiled “black mass” showcasing a Luciferian puppet complete with a crown that had the all seeing eye on its third eye chakra. Subtle. Then we had another character come out as the Whore of Babylon complete with imps wearing wigs mimicking the horns of Baphomet. To top it off, the whole black magic shindig was completed with an orgy.
I wish I was kidding but I’m not. That is what this opera subjected its viewers. All under the puerile guise of being “outrageous”. No, No, NO, they were not being outrageous. I could have seen what they showed on late night Cable. I could access hard core pornography on the web at any time, if I wanted. But that is not what I wanted to see in Opera. I highly doubt Andre Campra, the poor late composer, thought that his opera celebrated Lucifer.
I read an interview regarding the production beforehand. The creators were all about giving opera comique to contemporary audiences. Audiences who didn’t want to watch the same old historical piece. Well, this viewer wanted to see an historical production. I would have liked to see the opera staged in a fashion that the royalty of the early 18th century saw it. What was wrong with pretty costumes done in a comedy dell’arte style? It still could have been cheeky. I mean little Bo Beeps dressed in cute pastel dresses surrounded by masks can be cheeky. No one needed to see topless women. Yes, there were female dancers missing their bras.
But no, they had to push the YOU ARE IN HELL!!!!! style. So everything was a garish red. EVERYTHING. From the lighting to the sets to the ugly costumes.
All of this, I could have overlooked if Les Arts Florissant gave me good singers. BUT NO!!!! The supermodel types are back with their shitty voices that can’t be overheard over the orchestra. Which is really poor because Baroque orchestras are quite a bit smaller than what Verdi employed. Only three singers in the whole production were worthy, they were Rachel Redmond, Marcel Beekman and Cyril Auvity. The runners up were Elodie Fonnard and Jonathan McGovern. But really, besides the three who could actually sing and be heard over the orchestra, the rest should leave the stage…forever.
But the orchestra did well. At times the chorus was very good. When they were not required to hold black mass orgies.
All I can say is AVOID this production. But if you have to see it, then go. But don’t say you haven’t been warned. I’m hoping I can one day see a truly worthy Opera Comique staged in the beautiful, witty and sarcastic style that royalty of the day expected. But this wasn’t it.