Saturday, January 10, 2009

Is there an "Opera Singer's Guide to Cold Remedies," and a review of the Met's "La Rondine" Broadcast

First of all, as the title of this post suggests, I am currently inflicted with a cold. I have only had it for a few days, and I should be over the worst of it in a couple more, but I feel terrible! I hate being any kind of sick anyway, and I am very, very careful to steer clear of anyone who has the slightest symptoms of a cold (e.g. the dreaded "sniffles"). This is rather difficult, however, when everyone else in your family has one! I fended it off for a long while, so now, guess what? I have it, and the other remaining members of my family are pretty much over it.

While I have been thus plagued, I thought that opera singers, since they have probabaly the most to fear from colds and allergies and ailments of that sort, ought to have a book on various tried and true cold remedies. I could certainly use it right about now. In keeping with Renee Fleming's advice in her autobiography The Inner Voice, I try never to sing on a cold. Before I read Fleming's wonderful book, I did sing on a cold once, and it was months before I could pull anything above an F out of the air; I had to bulid up to all of my high notes. It is good that I am not involved in any productions at the moment because of this.

This talk of sickness brings me to my review of the Met's broadcast of La Rondine, which all of us loyal Metropolitan Opera radio listeners heard earlier today. Angela Gheorghiu sung the part of Magda, but before the performance began, The Met's General Manager, Peter Gelb came out onto the stage and told all of us that Gheorghiu had a cold and iterated that we ought to be patient if she missed any notes or anything. Angela sounded good despite her illness, but I did not have a score in front of me, so I cannot truly say whether she did everything right or not. I did, however, notice that she apparently was out of breath when she and her husband, Roberto Alagna, were singing a duet because it sounded like she cut off a hold before she was supposed to do so. Roberto was aware of this, and he stopped singing also to give the audience the illusion that this was the way it was supposed to be sung and to be polite. Speaking of Roberto, though, it seemed that there were several places where one could not hear him when others, mostly Angela, were singing. I cannot determine whether this was due to his place on the stage or if he was having volume problems. Renee Fleming hosted the Live in HD event, and she interviewed both of the stars backstage. Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato stopped by the radio booth to give an interview with host Margaret Juntwait, and it turns out that she will be hosting the next Live in HD broadcast in movie theaters around the world, which is Orfeo ed Euridice, I believe, on January 24th. I wish they were using countertenor David Daniels to sing Orfeo like they did when this production by Mark Morris premiered last season, but if Joyce's recommendation is to be of any indication to us, Stephanie Blythe is excellent in the role. To return to my original subject for this paragraph, La Rondine was a joy to hear.

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