Saturday, March 7, 2009

Madama Butterfly, Part 2

The Met's broadcast has ended some thirty minutes since, and I am still cataloging this performance of Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly among the greatest broadcasts I have heard. Patricia Racette did an excellent portrayal of Cio Cio San. I thought it was vocally moving. Act II was splendid and simply astonishing. I did not cry, but then I am not very emotional over performances, either; nevertheless, I loved every minute of this broadcast. SarahB, I now admit, and I stand gladly corrected, that Patricia Racette is the definitive portrayor of Butterfly of her generation. This opera does seem to be rather light in its demands upon the tenor since he sings so rarely compared to the soprano. Marcello Giordani was vocally sound throughout this performance today. As I said earlier, he is an all-purpose tenor, able to sing almost anything.

Natalie Dessay hosted the Opera Quiz, which, besides the performance, is my favorite thing about the Met broadcast season. For those of you who watched the Live in HD presentation, which Renee Fleming hosted, you missed it. Although she was not quite as charismatic a host of the feature as Rolando Villazon was some weeks ago, she did an admirable job, and the usual antics prevailed, one in particular being when the panelists kept using their bells to be recognized during the musical identification portion of the quiz when William Berger, the scorekeeper of sorts, incessantly asked them not to do so. Everyone, me included among this lot of people, who listened to the broadcast of Verdi's Il Trovatore knew the answer to a question concerning last lines of operas. The words "E vivo encore!" were given by Ms. Dessay to the panelists, and they could not think of what the opera was that this line completed or who said it, so I finally knew one they had forgotten! Perhaps I missed it, but I did not notice them asking the radio listeners a question this week. Next week during the broadcast of Antonin Dvorak's Rusalka, Ben Heppner, who, if you ask me, should be singing the role of the Prince opposite Renee Fleming as in the recording they made for Decca, will host the Opera Quiz.

Speaking of Rusalka, I cannot wait until next week to hear it. I cannot help wondering if this broadcast will surpass the recording. What do you think? If the working rehearsal that SarahB attended recently is to be of any indication, I think it shall. This performance and the entire Ring cycle should have been part of the Live in HD series this season seeing as how this is the final season for the production of the Ring, which I think is the best visual production of it ever staged, and how this production of Rusalka much surpasses in my opinion the almost contemporary vision of Robert Carsen's Paris production on DVD. The Met is getting a new production of the Ring cycle in 2010 by David McVicar, I believe, but I am almost scared to see it looking at the new production of the Ring at Los Angeles Opera. I hope the Met's new production stays close to the mythical, heroic, epic, Nordic tradition of the work, for if it is separated from that, then it is my belief that the story has little meaning.

Thank you all for reading, and God bless you.


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