Saturday, December 20, 2008

Never Believe What You Read on the Internet, or A Tale of Desperation Trying to See the Met's "Thais" at the Cinema.

This is a most depressing story that actually occurred today as I went to see the Met's Live in HD broadcast of Thais. Renee Fleming is without question my favorite female opera singer, and I was downcast and distraught for weeks after I was not allowed to see her in recital when she came to Oklahoma last year, and I was disappointed that I was not afforded an opportunity to attend the Met's Live in HD broadcast of the Opening Night Gala (I would have killed to witness that live at the Met), so I was excited that I could finally see her in something from the Met; at least I thought I was going to see the performance. Last night I had meticulously searched for data as to which theaters were carrying the series, and I providentially found that AMC theaters offer us this luxury. Knowing that it is only at select locations, however, I made sure that it was at a local mall theater, so my mother could easily deposit me at the theater and continue to manage various errands in the immediate area (You see, I do not yet drive. I do have a truck, but I do not drive. That must sound extremely strange.). The website of the individual theater claimed they had it, but to my astonishment when I arrived some fifteen minutes after it began, the rather perturbed ticket vendor rudely told me that the theater was not playing it, and that if I wanted to see it, I would be required to travel some twenty miles in the opposite direction from which I had come to go to another affiliate of AMC at another mall. I was extremely disappointed, to say the least. It seems as if I shall never see Renee Fleming live in anything!(It is one of my most fervent desires to meet Renee Fleming one of these days after one of her captivating performances. I shall, too, if I have anything to do with it!) Of course, it is not quite so bleak and grim a picture as I paint it because I have watched the TDK releases of her Manon and Capriccio, and I own her Eugene Onegin from the Met (Not to boast, but I received that and about $170 worth of other merchandise from having one of my numerous questions to the Met's Opera Quiz answered on the air.) I almost neglected to mention that when I tried to tune into the performance that my local radio station was having technical difficulties, and I did not get to join the opera until the second act! A partial consolation was that I have the Decca recording of it with Fleming and Thomas Hampson. With my sour luck today, I would wager that if I had had a laptop with me, I still would not have been able to tune in for any various reason the machine or the Internet wanted to offer me. If anyone else saw it, please give me a review of it.

You may have noticed the nice music player I have put to the left of my blog posts. I think here presents an opportune time to discuss my selection of music. First comes the traditional Christmas carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. It is done by Phil Keaggy and Kim Hill. I am not sure what part Ms. Hill contributes to the song, because Mr. Keaggy could play this song with all of the vocal and instrumental effects added without anyone else involved. This pays dutiful homage to Phil Keaggy's amazing talents. He is regarded as the world's premiere fingerstyle (classical) guitarist. The reason I know he could do this whole song himself is that he has a "looping" machine that he frequently uses to his musical advantage, though anyone will tell you he hardly requires it. He can generate almost any sound out of his accoustic or electric guitars with either his on-board controls or an e-bow. This is all I could really find from him that would adequately reflect his talents on, but if anyone is interested they need look no further than YouTube for some of his unbelievable playing. In fact, try watching these videos, and tell me your opinion of his abilities.

The Twilight and Shadow piece was the only suitable selection featuring Renee Fleming that I could find. I own four discs of hers, so I already knew much of what I desired to add to my playlist from her. To compensate for this, I may put up some YouTube videos on my blog to help us celebrate her voice.

As for Peter Kater's Water Ballet, I heard it once, and ever since then I have been hooked. Its simple, free flowing passages are none too difficult to play, and they are relaxing. To set the record straight, I do not like any of the New Age tenets or beliefs, but some of their music is quite enchanting.

All of the selections from Enya, another New Age composer and gifted vocalist, are simply beautiful. If you are not acquianted with Enya or her more traditionally Celtic sister Moya Brennan, I would suggest looking them up with Google after you listen to the tracks I have. Be forewarned, however, that there are quite a few songs attributed to Enya that are not done by her. Two of the most popular are Now We Are Free from the motion picture Gladiator and Adiemus. Enya usually does all of the instruments in the song through synthesization and all of the voices with the same process. She composes all of her music, as well.

Julie Andrews does the best rendition of this carol, I Wonder As I Wander, that I have ever heard. Since she is a Broadway, film, and television legend in her own right and any of my readers are likely to know her by name recognition, I will not say much about her, only that it is so sad that her voice is gone and that hers, Bernadette Peters' amd Liz Callaway's are the definitive voices for Broadway.

The 5 Browns' Gregory Brown does an impressive job with this Elegie, but this recording is done by someone else with what must be less experience, for they make considerable mistakes on this piece. I ought to know, too, since I know this piece by heart from listening to it so regularly. If one can hear Gregory Brown play this, they should not hesitate to listen.

As for the tenor selections, these are my personal favorites to hear and sing, though I have yet to sing Celeste Aida. The final two by the great Pavarotti are regretfully incomplete. In my opinion Placido Domingo sings E lucevan le stelle better than Pavarotti.

Thanks for bearing through my long post.


1 comment:

SarahB said...

Bless your heart! I'm sorry you missed the HD broadcasts. Hopefully, you'll be able to catch the broadcasts when they are replayed on PBS. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.