27 September 2005

Current weather patterns

There's a tropical storm dissipating quietly out in the Pacific. Officials have agreed to call her Norma. One place she's surely not headed is the Met. We're all so busy with the Baroque renaissance to notice there's a Norma drought in our midst. Look here, the list of sopranos (and one daring mezzo) who've done the priestess on our stage (courtesy of the most holy Met database), including appearance year(s) and number of performances for each (in parenthesis):

1890-92 (6) Lehmann, Lilli
1927-32 (29) Ponselle, Rosa
1937-38 (6) Cigna, Gina
1943-54 (16) Milanov, Zinka
1956 (6) Callas, Maria
1970 (27) Sutherland, Joan
1973-76 (11) Caballé, Montserrat
1975 (5) Hunter, Rita
1976-79 (10) Verrett, Shirley
1979 (1) Galvany, Marisa
1981-82 (14) Scotto, Renata
1982 (1) Negri, Adelaide
2001 (7) Eaglen, Jane

Total Met performances: 139. Notice the three broad gaps: 1893-1926, 1957-1969, 1983-2000. Is there another gap developing this decade? Or was Jane Eaglen a blip (granted, a gigantic one) in the widening pattern of absence now spanning two generations? Meanwhile, can someone gather enough balls and whisper into Renée's ear that her time has come (this time, for real), that she's being called to duty, and that seconda donna Angela won't hesitate if asked?

Below, Sieglinde has organized a list of a dozen possible Norma-Adalgisa tandems to give incoming emperor Peter Gelb some initial options. (As far as the tenor role, Sieglinde thinks Giordani is the only reasonable choice for Pollione.) Here goes:

1. Fleming-Zajick (safest choice?)
2. Zajick-Blythe (my personal wet dream)
3. Fleming-Gheorghiu (a.k.a. bloodydivabitchslap)
4. Gheorghiu-Blythe (most likely?)
5. Gheorghiu-Borodina (voluptuous duo)
6. Fleming-Blythe (the other safe choice?)
7. Guleghina-Graves (drag in drag on drag)
8. Zajick-Guleghina (can you imagine)
9. Radvanovsky-Diadkova (compelling?)
10. Deshorties-Silja (just checkin' if you're paying attention)
11. Mattila-Meier (picture that for a second)
12. Moffo-Graves (that Scotto shall see how it's done ...)

Note, the last permutation is not entirely improbable. Ask Moffo yourself. (Hang around the standing room grapevine long enough and you start hearing things.) Anyway, what's up with this Met-Norma-phobia, and what are you waiting for, dear Renée?

Tropical Storm Norma [NOAA]

UPDATE: Norma has been downgraded to a tropical depression. Indeed. Watch her move away from the mainland as fast as she can.