27 April 2005

Radio Lies

Sieglinde excerpt exposé

A dozen readers were brave enough to tell Sieglinde what they thought of Monday's trick quiz, though I'm certain many more downloaded the two clips featuring Sieglinde's ecstatic naming of her brother/lover Siegmund. I shall not name the Sieglinde here (and no, it's not from the Lyric Opera), but this detail should be obvious to any reader of this blog. What may be a surprise is that the excerpts are from two performances, a few days apart, by the same artist. Excerpt A would be a fair approximation of what the auditorium audience experienced, while excerpt B is what the global audience heard via the radio broadcast. The difference is so stark (esp. the distortion of the dynamic range on the sweeping "Siegmund!" crescendo) that I don't need to say more--except to conclude, with queenly certainty, that the drastic compression protocol implemented for radio transmission can f*ck things up royally. Indeed, the dozen brave readers all indicated preference for excerpt A, though some have praised the fullness of the middle register of the "singer of excerpt B," yet another major artifact of close miking. In short, don't be a shut-in, girl; your radio lies like the ex-bf. Shut it off, sashay to the opera house, stand prettily in the standing room, and live in the glory of your diva's voice, undertones and overtones and all.