First, I would like to thank Leah and Erin for following my blog. I was beginning to think that I should bask in the solitude of obscurity, but they have pulled me out of that blissful realm and into my present world of identity. I cannot comprehend what they see in my posts worthy to read compared to their most insightful and entertaining blogs since their lives are likely to be filled with so much more in the way of live opera than mine, but I express my deepest, most sincere, humble gratitude to them. I hope they enjoy what they read. If anyone is interested in reading their posts, and they are well worth perusing, just click the links to their pages on the blogs that I follow.
Second, I desire to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I pray that however anyone celebrated the holiday that it was safe, merry, and providentially blessed. Mine, although it was lacking in festivities and even leisure time, was all of this and more. May God make this year a good one for all of us, and may we thank Him daily for all of the blessings we receive.
In the world of opera, much has happened and there is much which we have great cause to await with pleasure. Last evening at the Met, the production of Puccini's La Rondine was performed as a Gala with Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu. Despite my not attending it, I am sure that it was a grand occasion, and we who were not a part of it can hear a live performance of it January 10th, 2009, on the radio, or we can see it in cinemas across the country and around the world at 1:00 P.M., eastern time. I shall probably listen to it over the air knowing my rotten luck in seeing The Met: Live in HD transmissions. Some other Live in HD performances that are coming to a theater near you soon are Bellini's La Sonnambula starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Florez on March 31st, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor starring Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon on February 7th, and Rossini's La Cenerentola starring Elina Garanca and Lawrence Brownlee on May 9th. I should personally like to see Mary Zimmerman's new production of La Sonnambula. I cannot wait to hear Dessay sing Ah non credea mirarti..., but Renee Fleming's recording of it on her Bel Canto album is certainly my favorite. Anna Netrebko's version of it on her Sempre Libera CD is worth hearing also; the two sound different, not necessarily bad or wrong, only different. Fleming's sounds more tenderly sung while Netrebko's sounds best in the high notes. It is worth mentioning that Cecilia Bartoli and Juan Diego Florez released a recording of this opera (yes, La Sonnambula) with Bartoli as Amina. Bartoli, who may well be the world's greatest mezzo-soprano in the Italian repertoire, maintains that the original version of the opera was written quite lower for the prima donna. She cites performances by Maria Malibran and Giuditta Pasta, the latter of whom originated the role of Amina. Bartoli futher asserts that there was no "Malibran version" or a transposed version for mezzo-sopranos; be that as it may, three of the arias on this recording are transposed down for Bartoli. This would be a remarkable recording to own if her Vivaldi album is to be any indication for prospective purchasers. Nevertheless, I do not care if Donizetti wrote the opera for a mezzo-soprano; I still want to hear sopranos sing the role, especially if Natalie Dessay is performing as Amina. Compare Fleming's and Dessay's versions in the following videos from YouTube.
Well, that is all for now. I hope you all enjoyed this post and thanks for reading!