Monday, March 16, 2009

This Was Renee Fleming Weekend!

The weekend of March 15-16th was, exactly as the title indicates, Renee Fleming. No, this was not an officially sanctioned holiday, but with all of the performances I was able to see and hear with her in them, it might as well have been!

To begin, then, on Saturday the 14th, I was able to hear Antonin Dvorak's Rusalka live from the Met over the radio. The orchestration was lush and simply ethereal. The music was completely reminiscent of a "fairytale in three acts," as Dvorak himself described it. I love Rusalka's theme; it reminds one of Wagner's motifs he used to great effect to herald a specific character. Renee's performance of the Song to the Moon (I would print the Czech, but I cannot recall it at the moment.) was exquisite, as is customary of her. Aleksandrs Antonenko's tenor sounded often like a baritone, which confused me rather often throughout the broadcast, but his high notes were all there. I find that I do not like it all that well. Christine Georke sounded well in her role of the Foreign Princess, and I hope that we may hear her in some other more demanding role next season. Stephanie Blythe, as usual, sounded in excellent form as Jezibaba. Finally, I loved Margaret Juntwait's announcement of the broadcast. She can tell a most interesting story.

That evening, quite unexpected, too, I must add, on one of my local PBS affiliate's digital channels, I got to watch most of the Met's Opening Night Gala starring -you guessed it- Renee Fleming from earlier this season. Sadly, when my parents returned home, my father changed the channel before I was finished watching it, but I was able to see the entire La Traviata set and most of the Manon excerpts. I was ecstatic; I will be thinking of the experience for days. I understand that my local PBS station airs Met performances on one of their digital channels rather more frequently than I thought, but I do not get listings for their three digital channels, so I have to check my on-screen cable listings on days they are likely to show them, which are Wednesdays and Saturdays. Speaking of watching this event, I have another reason for being so happy to see it because our family just purchased a 50" Samsung plasma screen television with full HD resolution, so I got to watch it in HD! I do not mean to boast, but our former television, a 32" Sony bubblescreen model at least eight years old, was in such a state of disrepair that the screen blinked intermittently during the whole time the unit was on, not to mention the fact that we had to wait some ten minutes to see a picture at all. Despite the fact that I did not get to see all of it, I was pleased to see it.

As if this was not enough, the Met celebrated their 125th anniversary on Sunday with a splendid four and a half hour gala performance. Guess who hosted the event? Renee Fleming! I recorded the whole thing, but I have not yet listened to it. I still have to edit it to get all of the glitches out of it, but I am going to put it on CD-R's and listen to them in my portable CD player.

One more thing to hope for, though, is that I get to see Renee's recital in Tennessee. The tickets are reasonable, and I am coming into a sum of money adequate to get me there and back, so I might get to go if my parents allow me. It would be nice to meet Renee, although I expect that this sounds rather unusual coming from a young man. If I go and get a picture with her, I shall post it, and it just might turn into my new profile photo.

Thanks for reading, and God bless all of you!

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