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Fountains of Vienna


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Since that soprano-tenor debacle happened just before I travelled to Vienna in April, I made it a point to snap a few pictures of fountains. Clearly there’s ample reason to step out of the hall for a glass of water.

Don’t give into confusion – that was last year. But since this year the same participants had another close encouter of the operatic kind (which means they didn’t meet at all, though they were supposed to) in the same opera, a unique chance to post my hitherto neglected draft appeared.

Bonus: here’s a fountain of Vienna from 2017, to belatedly celebrate this year’s no show/operatic tradition renewal:


A very slow burner

The (not so) recent (anymore) crop of unsatifying Alcinas has made me return to an oldie but goldie, namely the Stuttgart production. And because Catherine Naglestad is holding down the fort in the title role, I then watched a bit of Potato Clemenza specifically for her well paced Vitellia, after which I remembered earworm‘s hint that she is a very good Senta and found myself really enjoying that:

Next I’ve sampled her Wiener Staatsoper Salome and now I know why I didn’t like her voice so much in Mozart: because it is more suited to Wagner and Strauss. I also liked her very slow Vissi d’arte and I’m not a Vissi d’arte fan at all. In conclusion, I think I may be turning into a bif of fan of her. She sounded right in these heavier roles.

Operatic traditions valiantly upheald

When operatic traditions are being so heroically fought for, we all let out a sigh of relief and perhaps a bit of envy:

By now, you’ve likely read some [] posts about what turned into an historical night at Wiener Staatsoper on Saturday while you were listening to or watching Roberto Devereux, maybe even listened to a sound clip.

Ah, I forgot, diva behaviour trumps honest performance as far as opera history goes. Maybe we should have more of that, it seems to have gone out of fashion a teensy bit. But did our soprano (who else?) mean to upstage/take revenge at her tenor (who else?)? According to NYT:

André Comploi, a spokesman for the opera house, said in an email that it did not appear to be an intentional slight. 

Ok, cynics, she meant to grab a glass of water 😀 How about next time this happens (it will, somewhere in a tradition loving opera house) we get Tosca side with Scarpia and stab Cavaradossi instead? Then Scarpia throws her off the window at the end in the interest of closure. And the star baritone gets to encore an aria of his own choice (freestyle aria insertion, another opera tradition).

E lucevan le stelle

Here’s an unusual instance where I turn to a beloved tenor aria instead. Not being a Puccini aficionado, I first noticed E lucevan le stelle on the Calleja recital I wrote about a (good) while ago. However I wasn’t satisfied with just one rendition so one night in February I went through those of Caruso, Domingo, Carreras, Pavarotti, Kaufmann and Lanza.

My favourite by far was Carreras, who seemed to me the most Cavaradossi-like of the lot. Caruso, and to some extent, Lanza, amused me with their OTT dramatics which I found of questionable taste. Pavarotti was Pavarotti, which was his own downfall (I wanted a sense of the character). Domingo was beautiful but perhaps too bonhomme for Cavaradossi? Kaufmann’s version was pitch black in tone but came off muddled in details. Carreras truly shone here for me. Direct and clear, strong (but breathtaking pp touches), troubled (out of this bunch his tone reflected that best), just the right amount of drama, no trace of schmalz – gorgeous all around.