Orfeo jinxes his own happiness
I was watching the recent Lausanne Orfeo and started feeling critical as things went on. By Vi ricorda o boschi ombrosi I stopped for a quick break of “that performance you keep returning to”. If the YT comment section teaches us one thing it’s there’s no accounting for taste. I’m not saying my preference is law but it seems it’s strong enough for me to reserve a post for it. Here are a few different takes (there are plenty out there!):
Though I’m not a diction nazi, I think for Monteverdi a strong command of it is more important than in other cases. Just like how Gerhaher makes a wonderful case for the German language, so does ACA for Italian. I just love the sound of the sound of the words coming out of her mouth! (phrasing included, not just beauty) Which is a reason I gave you this black screen instead of this where you can also see her but the sound isn’t as good.
Next we have said Gerhaher, because I had never heard him sing in Italian before. I would say he’s not an ideal Orfeo and this production1 itself is a bit too German/neurotic but he is quite obviously fully committed and musical enough (plus the honey tone) to get my attention. The percussion also gets a thumbs up from me. If you wait, this video includes Boni singing Messagera’s lament.
Here we have a singer who has so far left me cold. I know he has a lot of fans but I just never quite got him (and speaking of Gerhaher, he came on top where Papageno is concerned, though Keenlyside was equipped with a duck hat). However, to my surprise, here he does a very commending (and commanding) job. It’s perhaps the most positive Orfeo I have seen and also the most magnetic (of the male ones); most Orfei seem rather self-effacing. Also, his athleticism gets him an extra cookie. I still feel his singing a bit too polished2 but susprisingly I have no other qualms about it.
Just goes to show you never quite know when you’re going to like a singer.
- When I saw the VW van my first thought was “hey, they stole it from Manrico’s over at ROH!” And it turns out that, yes, just like Kusej brings his boys in tighty withies everywhere and Guth his angels, so does Bösch travel in a beat-up VW van around his various stagings :-D ↩
- Though it fits the stylised choreography. ↩