Thursday, June 01, 2006

Volpe gala on TV

9:54PM: Cuts so far: "Entrance of the Guests" from "Tannhaueser"; Dwayne Croft; and Denyce Graves. All are quite justified.

Natalie Dessay sounds better on TV than she did in the hall.

TV fails to capture the gorgeous resonance of Renee's voice, which, as I've said, sounded like moonlight in the hall.

10:12PM: Ben Heppner gave a stunning performance, and watching it on TV wasn't painful because I knew he was going to make it.

TV confirms that Kiri cleared her throat after the first phrase of "Mariettas Lied." Oh, and that she still looks like a million bucks. Definitely one of the most beautiful women ever to grace the lyric stage.

10:36PM: More cuts: Deborah Voigt's "Du bist der Lenz" and Placido Domingo's "Granada."

The Ben Moore songs don't work so well on TV.

10:39PM: Stephanie Blythe did not deserve to be cut! Thomas Hampson's Korngold made it. Thought it wouldn't, given that he also participated in a duet and a trio. Hm.

10:44PM: Yes! Juntwait announces that the next two arias are from "Don Carlo," which means that Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Rene Pape are in. This also means that Samuel Ramey and Roberto Alagna were both cut.

10:53PM: Dmitri's performance is stunning beyond words. Yes, I remember his impossible breath control, but to see it close up is astonishing.

I heard feedback on my TV--clearly, his gorgeous voice cannot be properly transmitted electronically.

11:37PM: Dolora Zajick was cut. And Susan Graham's cute second bow after the Mozart. Stuff like that. Hopefully the curtain calls--and the mezzos--will be on the DVD.

As I first noticed when she sang Tove's last note in "Gurrelieder" here in February, Karita Mattila opens her mouth wider than any singer I know. We see it at the end of "Vilja," where she stops singing words and pours on that gorgeous crystal sound at the end, rising up to high B-natural.

11:46PM: Freni's boring and rambling speech was thankfully edited significantly.

11:50PM: I'm not happy that the Act II finale of "Fidelio" was edited. Only the finale of the finale was aired.

Yummy ovation shots.

11:58PM: Renee's performance of "When I Have Sung My Songs" was so moving. And you can see the camera flashes going off! Yes, there was a passionate audience in the house.

UPDATE (9:39PM, 6/2/06):

Watching a rebroadcast of the telecast, I notice that Susan Graham's Ben Moore song has a huge cut. Also neglected to mention that the Act III Lohengrin prelude was cut.

And I didn't mention the stunning Rossini, gloriously preserved for us. Juan Diego Florez gave a strong performance, and his voice records well. Indeed, like Dessay's, I think his voice might gain something in electronic form. The comic sensibility of Olga Borodina and Ildar Abdrazakov burns through the screen. Brian Large's brilliance for bringing out the intimacy of live performance never ceases to amaze me.

Another thing I neglected mention: from my seat I saw the monitor of the camera positioned in the front row of orchestra right, and it's a nice souvenir to see shots from that camera!

Oh, here's Dmitri again. Hard to pick favorites in an evening of such excellence and such diversity, but . . .

UPDATE (10:04PM, 6/2/06):

Rene Pape's is another performance very well served by TV. In the house, his inward performance didn't resonate with me as it could have. He was completely in character, and that can be hard on an audience--We have to adjust, get into the world of an opera we may not be familiar with.

UPDATE (10:39PM, 6/2/06):

I'm really glad to see Susan Graham's delicious Mozart on the telecast, because, at the concert, while she was singing, I was distracted by Kiri Te Kanawa, Natalie Dessay, Deborah Voigt, Thomas Hampson, Olga and Idlar, Rene Pape, and Matthew Polenzani, among others, all seated at the table on set. As Graham finished the aria, I saw Voigt say to Hampson (I read her lips): "She's good!"

UPDATE (1:22AM, 6/3/06):

Well, it's on again, and I noticed that the chorus bit preceding the L'Italiana duet was cut.

UPDATE (3:04AM, 6/3/06):

Saw Rene Pape's performance again, and I'm reflecting on what an extraordinary thing it is to have a well-produced telecast as a souvenir of a special performance. It happened three times in the last year: Renee's opening of Mostly Mozart last summer; the Higher Ground jazz gala in September, a benefit for Hurricane Katrina victims; and the Volpe gala. I also attended matinee performances at the Met that were radio-broadcast (Manon and Rodelinda). These archives bring to life, in your head, details of those precious, ephemeral moments (well, hours), and I can only be glad for them.