Thursday, May 10, 2007

I know, I'm a deadbeat blogger . . .

Backyard view, Miami

. . . but life has been fabulous lately. I have no idea how to blog about it. Renee Fleming, Evgeny Kissin, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas. Strauss, Korngold, Dvorak, Sibelius. Vier letzte Lieder. Music, literature, conversation. Spring blossoms in New York, sunsets in Miami. I think I'll leave it at that for now, as I write this . . . im Abendrot . . .


I forgot to mention something, so I'll be lazy and link to other people who were also too busy to write more than a line or two (yeah, that's how bad it is). Alex Ross and Sieglinde both had praise for the Met's Mark Morris Orfeo, which, as I told my friends on opening night, I loved.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Just a flash: Angela Denoke stars in L'Affaire Makropoulos at the Bastille

Just wanted to write a brief note on Denoke's performance in Paris last night. It was a thing of astonishing beauty. She was every inch the diva, and yet her portrayal of Elina's ennui and solitude was heartbreaking. Her cool timbre was an ideal match for this part. There's one moment I will never forget. When Emily shows Gregor the scar on her neck, Denoke pulled down the right strap of her dress and exposed her breast*. So many men have tried to kill her, she says. Her body is covered with scars. The exposure of her breast was moving because it underlined her indifference to her body. She carries those scars, but they're only scars; her body is immortal. She has no use for happiness, because she knows that she will never die. How moving that she says she loved only one man in those 337 years. She reminds me of both Kundry and (Wilde's) Salome. Kundry's longing for peace. Salome's mysterious desire. All three characters are monsters, monstrous women who have to die, because only death can contain their desire. Good and bad lose currency. Love is impossible. They are alone, and this life is too small for them.

Krzysztof Warlikowsk production was filled with clever and thoughtful ideas. And yes, the King Kong moments were way cool. Yes, Elina is an immortal star (many of them, in fact), and she is, like him, a monster. At a Pleins Feux event with Gerard Mortier last week, Warlikowsk "answered" an audience question about the use of King Kong. (Actually the man asking the question referred to the "dinosaur," haha.) He said there were many, many reasons, and that he can't give one answer. But he mentioned the fact that King Kong is an ape like we are. He referred to the human "myth." "Eternity." "Contact with a myth that's irrational." It's funny, I get what he's saying. That's one of the interesting things about his production: it stimulates you, but you're not sure how to articulate what you're seeing.

The orchestra, under Tomas Hanus, sounded fabulous.

This opera needs to return to the Met. I'd love to see Karita Mattila in the Met's striking production. Catherine Malfitano starred in it under Sir Charles Mackerras on closing night of the 2000-01 season--that was my first opera at the Met!

PS: Věc Makropulos/The Makropulos Affair/The Makropulos Case--how should we call it????

* Later in the scene, she bared both breasts during an on-stage costume change. Yes, I'm aware that this is the soprano who allowed the tenor playing Herod to lick her breasts in a recent German production of Salome...