And if I can do anything as well at 70-something as Pavarotti can still sing, I’ll go to heaven a happy soul. The TV cameras were not kind to the shoe-black-dyed eyebrows, but damn can he still sing. Visceral, exciting. Not without warts, and down a half-step, to be sure, but for godsake, get over yourself!
I’m an Oboe, Too…
If you haven’t taken the quiz (If You Were in an Orchestra…), hop on board. After reading about all the bemused bloggers who find out they’re all oboes, I was sure I wouldn’t conform. Shows how much I know. The kicker is that the real deal over at oboeinsight turned out to be a viola.
American Idol Beats Grammys
The Washington Post reports that last Wednesday’s Grammy broadcast was bested by the regular weekly installment of American Idol. I should probably be offended, for I guess I’m supposed to be a custodian of good taste. And this probably puts an unnecessarily Pollyanna spin on it, but I’m oddly encouraged. There’s something reassuring about shunning the untouchably professional music establishment for something far more raw, participatory… dare I say home-spun…
I had a surreal American Idol experience when I was flat on my back and under the influence of legal narcotics a couple of weeks ago. Lovely young woman walked onto the show and sang a few bars of Gilda’s aria from Verdi’s Rigoletto. It sweet in a teenage sort of way but it was irrelevant to the real opera world. Panel asked her for a pop song. Afterward, they told her that they didn’t like her pop stylings at all, but they thought she was a phenomenal opera singer. I hold her harmless, but Simon Cowell professes to know better. (And of course, I know he doesn’t, but still!)
Here We Go Again
Against my better judgment, more audition comments.
- Very understated. Definitely needs to turn on the heat.
- The makings of a real voice; severely manipulated, though
- The physical gestures are repetitive and only connected to the vocal production
- She seems either nervous or lost or sad; or all of the above
- The sheer footprint of the voice isn’t purely sumptuous, but she’s very expressive, the instrument is healthy and responsive
- He’s good, but his inventiveness doesn’t sustain him through this whole long scene
- Making good musical sense of the Stravinsky; the courage to invest in the phrasing, find the core of the intentions behind them
- Seems to have really grown into the voice since last year
- There’s a complicated underbelly to the sound, but it seems to be what gives him the bottom extension at this time
- Energetic for sure, but it needs more variety in the approach; feels a little assaultive after a while; there needs to be more than raw indignation
- I don’t find much worrisome about the picture; there are unfinished aspects, but it has the hallmarks of an exciting work in progress
- You can see and hear her executing everything she’s been taught, but it’s so hard to believe any of it
- The cabaletta shows potential, but again she’s not really driving the train; feels like the piece is pulling her along; that preternatural calm and lyric thing she does so well works against her; she needs to hang onto it but make it a vessel for fire, angst, pathos
- Doesn’t seem to be top-flight just yet, but he’s certainly good; doesn’t bring a higher level of depth and strength to the music, but serves it well; meets it halfway
- I could just use 10% less some of the time; the intensity actually has a counterproductive effect after a while
- Legato has to get better.
- Afraid she’s getting bad advice. Or no advice at all.
- Has the right color for the high-flying rep, but I’m not sure about the facility up there
- She always looks as if she’s working very very hard; perpetually intense, worried, concerned
- There’s lovely color in the midvoice, and the legato and traction have improved since last year
- I’m always pleasantly surprised by his sense of humor
- The Bellini is too placid; it needs moments of compressed, desperate momentum; she plays the obvious pathos just a little too much; needs to work against the grain a little.
- He doesn’t fully trust his equipment yet. But this is still one of the best renditions I have heard
As I promised, we’ll be back on the summer pre-production track next week. But I was reminded this week of a post I’ve been meaning to make on audition room “chattage.” So I’ll try to throw that in, too.
Meanwhile, the snow is piling up here in northern Virginia. Seized by the urge to go walk in it.