Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mercoledi Musicale + 1*

When I was an opera princess neophyte Anton Dvořák's Rusalka was something I remember reading about but it was seldom performed outside of, what was then, Czechoslovakia. The only thing that was ever heard from it was The Song to the Moon - Rusalka, the water nymph who has fallen in love with a mortal Prince, asks the moon to tell him of her love.

I saw it for the first time in London back in the 1980s and I recall it more for the revolutionary - now consider classic - David Pourtney production than the music. A performance of it here last season in an indifferent production made me more aware of Dvořák's incredibly beautiful writing for the orchestra. It has become cliché to say that the orchestra is almost another character but in this particularly work - as in Pélleas et Mélisande which we saw last week - I believe it is true.

It is nice to see it entering the repertory in many places now - New York, Boston, Paris, Toronto - and that more people are becoming familiar with it. The Song to the Moon is a wonderful introduction to it.

Here are two very different but each in their own way unique and extremely beautiful performances of it.

The death, from cancer, at an early age of Lucia Popp robbed the music world of one of the most remarkable voices of the later part of the 20th century. Her Mozart and Strauss were things of beauty. Silvery with a purity that is astounding, she never resorted to tricks she just seemed to open her mouth and the glorious sound rushed forth.

Frederica Von Stade is still very much with us though she is now on her "farewell" tour after a career that spans some 40 odd years. I was a "Flicka" groupie for a long while and followed her around a bit: Donna del Largo in Houston, Cenerentola in Paris, Ullise at Glyndebourne, Cendrillon in Ottawa. She was always a delight - on stage and in person. Hers is a different take on the Song to the Moon but again no tricks just sheer vocalism.

I'm not sure if these two glorious voices ever appeared together but I can only imagine what they would have sounded liked in Rosenkavalier or Cosi.

14 ottobre - Callisto I Papa

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Doralong said...

I am always thankful I have you in my life Wills to remind me, point out to me or show me beauty I either ignored being the philistine I am, or merely never understood or simply forgot here in my insanely busy parenting years.


And thank Nora & Nicky for the lovely get well card.

Doralong said...

Wow- that was a really poorly constructed sentence. Ouch!! Still on the mend- that's my excuse and I AM sticking with it.


that was beautiful...if i had a juke box i'd have it on there.

heldenhobbit said...

Sigh...che bellezza.....

Anonymous said...

Love that aria.

I'm a von Stade fan too. And probably even was in the Cendrillon production you saw. I was a "fairy godmother's helper" and got to put the glass slipper on her before the ball. Boy was that scary! It all had to be timed to the music and there were about two eighth notes to do everything. She was so gracious and told me not to worry if I got it on or not. She'd had to do the same when she was a beginning singer and understood that the shoe didn't always slip on like butter. She would deal with it.

And in this case it didn't either - at least on opening night. It was summer and hot and the shoe was some sort of plastic material. Thankfully, it happened only one of the nights of the run.


yvette said...

your love and devotion for Lucia Popp
is shared nearly every day by me,although I never had the chance to
see her perform.