31 October 2007

It's not the length, but how you use it

Verdi AIDA, Met 30.X.2007; c. Ono; Carosi, Borodina, Farina, Dobber, Kowaljow, Kavrakos.

The Met decided to nix the third intermission of their classic production of Aida, intended to shorten the evening by a half-hour, but the opera actually felt longer, thanks to Maestro Kazushi Ono's funeral parlor treatment of the score. There were finely spun details and moments of ravishing beauty, but dispersed throughout a generally lifeless evening. It's not so much that his metronome's default setting is on largo, but that he is a metronome. I don't mind slow (cf. Levine), but what makes the music drag so much more is when there's only minimal variation in tempi beyond the most obvious shifts. To sustain life on stage, the opera's breathing and pulse must race and retard organically, and triply so for the romantic Italian rep. Instead, Ono appeared to be content in presiding over a grand autopsy. If forced to point out a plus: his mathematical articulation highlighted things I never noticed in the score. Oh, another "plus": I never paid much attention to the whispering male chorus in the temple scene (Act I, Sc 2) till last night-- Ono certainly gave me a few extra moments to notice it.

Despite the funeral in the pit, however, the Aida of Micaela Carosi is full flesh. In the long line of Aidas in recent years, hers is the most nuanced and thoughtful. She has lovely high notes, at times quite thrilling; an engaging dynamic plan, insterspersing more than usual mezza voces to make her fortes appear gigantic; an alluring stage presence. However, she has a tendency to wash off the vibrato in some of her mid-register notes, making her sound a bit whiny and wail-y, sometimes gray and dull. Moreover, there's significant wavering in pitch. She must address this unevenness. Olga Borodina is her same competent self, but the iconic status of Dolora Zajick's Amneris at the Met is a no-win situation for any mezzo. Franco Farina, temp-ing as Radames, wasn't the trainwreck I feared. Without the wobble at the top, and with less of that brute, rough delivery, it would have been an acceptable, if unmemorable, performance.

28 October 2007

What subway to take to Abu Dhabi?

Soon there shall be an "an adjunct of the Metropolitan Opera Company" in the United Arab Emirates. General Manager of the Universe Peter Gelb is buttering up sheiks and their respective Mercedes Basses (and vice versa) for a branch of the Met in the Middle East. Implications, should this plan push through, are much too profound for Sieglinde to contemplate on a subdued Sunday afternoon. (First thing that comes to mind: Anna Netrebko, tits, and a fatwah.)

What Canada thinks of this blog: as close to a box of baloney as you can get.

Hear this

The Rest Is Noise” is a great achievement. Rilke once wrote of how he learned to stand “more seeingly” in front of certain paintings. Ross enables us to listen more hearingly.
Thus the front page (!) of this weekend's NYT Book Review declares. Though Sieglinde's copy doesn't arrive till Monday (the last blogger to receive it, I'm betting), I don't hesitate to say, basing on his many articles that I've read and loved and love to reread, that Ross has enabled me to also "feel more thinkingly". (In every meaning of the phrase.)

ADDED: In fact it turns out that I'm not the last blogger to receive it. (Private to ACD: check if Amazon Prime is also right for you.)

26 October 2007

Call security

Someone has hacked into La Cieca's blog.

So far so good

[9:03PM] Lucia, first intermission. A thousand miles away, I'm listening via Sirius satellite. Young Stephen Costello, already an established success as Arturo, sounds divine in the primo role, so far. A joy to hear a pure lyric sing Edgardo. Marcello Giordani did something intense with the role, but he has substantial spinto in his voice to destabilize bel canto's easy flow. Costello, on the other hand, is pure sweetness. I look forward to the rest of the evening, and greatly regret that my schedule pulled me far away from this sparkle of the Met fall season. (Meanwhile, Roberto Alagna, the intermission guest and my hubby-in-waiting, is pumping out vats of charm.)

REPORTS FROM THE MORNING AFTER: Even from the broadcast, I sensed some signs of stress and tightness in Wolf's Crag, due in large part to Levine's penchant for thick, late-romantic sonority, as well as his duelling partner Marcus Kwiecien's trombone of a voice. But he finished the evening with a nicely spun final scene, graceful and sensitive, multitextured and rightly nuanced.

Reports from more credible witnesses are trickling in [parterre, opera-l 1, 2]. Costello is not rating as well in those qualities that are impossible to judge over the airwaves, those having to do with space presence and dimension such as vocal weight, ping, and projection. Much like Massis, who I thought, from last week's performance, would have done better in a smaller house and with a more sympathetic bel cantist at the podium. It's adding up to a work in progress: his weak points could certainly be overcome by experience and smart choices, but the graceful beauty of the voice, that elusive mystical property of singing, appears to be an authentic presence. A promising beginning to a fine career.

25 October 2007

Now playing

Check out Sieglinde's cool music site of the day, SeeqPod, which crawls the web for mp3 files and makes them available for playback on your computer. (No, I won't teach you how to download the files-- figure that out yourself.) Obviously aimed at pop stuff (it found 1006 files for Beyonce), but the likes of Maria Callas (36 files so far) and Richard Wagner (33 files) are there. But shockingly, no Anna Netrebko ... yet (it said "We'll start looking for Anna Netrebko right now, check back later"). Renee Fleming, with 7 files, shows Anna how it's done.

24 October 2007

Oceanliner s(t)inking

To appreciate the performance of the longtime soprano Maria Guleghina in the role, you must remember that Verdi wanted his Lady Macbeth to be “ugly and evil,” and her voice to be “harsh, stifled and dark,” as he put it in a letter.
Ugly, evil, harsh, stifled, dark: yep, that's my girl, Guleghina! You just wait hon, Sieglinde's coming to see you next week.

23 October 2007

Late edition: Maria Gavrilova

Puccini MADAMA BUTTERFLY, Met 19.X.2007; c. Elder; Gavrilova (d), Alagna, Zifchak, Salsi.

Rude of me to skip out of blogging, but been travelling up and down the country the past few days--but here's the gist: heart sank immeasurably upon seeing the lobby announcement that Maria Gavrilova (who?) was taking over for an ill Patricia Racette (overheard: she better be more than "ill"); sagging heart brought back to vigor upon the first notes of Butterfly's entrance, sung from Amsterdam Avenue, soaring to plaza fountain and beyond; Gavrilova ought to be covering Isolde and Sieglinde this season as well, with that terrifying sound; soprano in the usual two-tier mode: mostly plain yet still accomplished lower middle and chest, but once above the staff, cutting and rich and absolutely Turandific; a formidable sonic presence in the Guleghina tradition, yet brimming in emotion and sensuality; her Butterfly a thorough interpretation, actually more italianate than Racette; a (refreshingly) wide girl, in the quaint tradition of big-voiced sopranos: Bobbie Alagna's refusal to carry her off downstage at the end of Act I perfectly understandable.

Thus did Maria Gavrilova, in her Met debut, fill in for a success successfully. My partner confessed to being moved to tears. Despite having seen this thing a gabazillion times before, I was quite misty-eyed too. I once again give great credit to Maestro Mark Elder, who has continued to display complete mastery of this deceptively complex Puccini, which tends to either sag or melt into a saccharine creampuff under less thoughtful leadership. No hesitation to declare that this is among the best conducting jobs I've seen at the Met in many years. Bravo Maestro, brava Gavrilova!

20 October 2007

Why Sieglinde doesn't sit in the orchestra

Well, aside from the money thing. Was at tonight's Butterfly, happily perched in my usual box, but had family down on orche$tra level. So during the meditative humming chorus that ends the first scene of Act II, with Butterfly and Suzuki and the freaky bunraku boy preparing for vigil, they hear some guy behind them solemnly whisper to his seatmate, "He's not gonna come." And then, there was the lady to their right who just had to clear her staphy nasalwork whenever Butterfly felt like singing softly. Also old people who are into candy wrappers, plenty of them down there. Up where Sieglinde sits, Lois & Co. don't even so much as breathe for entire acts.

[I'll add ecstatic words about Maria Gavrilova tomorrow. Right now I'm dead. Night.]

19 October 2007

Not a farewell

Mozart LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Met 18.X.2007; c. Jordan; Hong, Oropesa, Schrott, Pertusi, Vondung, Muraro, Murray, Kim, Leggate.

On the same day that the Yankees lost a great man, the Met may have also seen the last of a great soprano. I haven't heard of any future engagements for Hei-Kyung Hong, but I wouldn't be surprised if she turns up once again as a replacement for a high-profile cancellation in the future. But for now, last night may have been it for Hong, though from the kind of voice I just heard, she ought to be engaged by the Met for years to come. Showing little degradation or weakness, her sound is the same sparkling, poignant thing I remember from the first time I saw her many years ago, also in the same role. In an accomplished Figaro ensemble, she stood out, lending the Contessa a rare dignity and lighthearted charm, but with pathos and generosity. Her two arias shimmered in suspended time. Her presence gave the evening an air of elegance. New York values performance and excellence, and also loyalty and service. Twenty-three roles in the same number of years: Hong, the voice fresh and gorgeous as ever, should be cast by the Met for more.

18 October 2007

A simpler madness

Donizetti LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, Met 17.X.2007; c. Levine; Massis, Giordani, Kwiecien, Relyea.


A quick one; busy day. I'm pressing the "easy button", and claim how refreshing it was to finally hear a Lucia sung in an uncomplicated and fluid manner. Annick Massis brings to New York, beginning last night, a standard interpretation, on the heels of the other French soprano, Natalie Dessay whose face is still plastered all across town and the rest of my tickets, and whose overwrought approach to this bel canto is a tad problematic. But for Massis's ravishing top, you trade quite a bit of Dessay's miraculous volume. Here I'm surprised that James Levine, always a best friend of singers, does not scale down his Wagnerian orchestration for his tiny-voiced soprano, so her sound diffuses behind her duet partners easily, and her bland middle range swallowed mercilessly by the bright resonance of the Maestro's unforgiving strings. Perhaps to compensate for an unconventional sound, Dessay applied idiosyncratic shading and dramatic nuance to every other phrase of Lucia's music, varying from evening to evening (which now appears to be inspired by that drama-mechanic Meryl Streep, who she proclaims in the Charlie Rose interview to be the greatest actor in her mind), which could be exhausting to hear. In contrast, Massis brought but a breeze to the role, a light air, simple sparkling sun (if you can hear her)-- which made me sit back in bliss and enjoy this bel canto for what it is (and what it's not), though not so much, since Levine is still confusing Lucia with Otello. All this is saying is that, if Ruth Ann Swenson were only petite and had a marketable pop schtick (e.g., Angela's temperament, or Anna's boobs), problem solved.

[There was a misstep in the mad scene (aria proper) where Massis, in Lucia's ecstatic state, appeared to be going for another phrase entirely, losing Levine completely. Stopping to sing for a second (a terrifying eternity!), she rejoined the rest of the universe a couple of bars later. But the Melba cadenza returns too, along with the flute, and many many more sparkling top notes.]

UPDATE: I got a couple of e-mails protesting my implication that Massis is inaudible, which she's not, more or less. Lucky that key sections of Lucia's music are underlined by light orchestration (well scene, mad scene), so during these moments she's perfectly alright. But as soon as a duet is called for by the score, struggle ensues. With an aggressive pit, only her top notes, which are gorgeous, ring out over the commotion. Otherwise, her nonexistent chest (she seems to just declaim, in normal speaking voice, around this register) and her challenged passaggio just couldn't keep up with Hunding, Wotan, Siegmund, and Fricka (here called Raimondo, Enrico, Edgardo, and Alisa). I should apologize though for placing Massis squarely in the middle of the Dessay-Swenson hair-pulling bitch slap fest still unfolding in my mind. A polished artist in her own right, she most certainly doesn't deserve this location.

16 October 2007

not really liveblogging the alagna radames

[8:03pm] Somewhere in the south this evening, 1000 miles away from the action. Marge J. hints at the subhistoric context of tonight's Met Aida: Roberto Alagna's first Radames since La Scala.

[8:15pm] "Celeste Aida" just wrapped; the Met, in love, showers Bobby with New York's customary bravos. I don't spend that much time listening to Bobby on the radio-- I'd rather hear him live. And for good reason. He does sounds (mildly) pedestrian over the airwaves. A bit goatish, under some unusual pain. (Still love him tho.)

[8:18pm] Dolora Zajick to the rescue!

[8:45pm] Intermission. Act I a bit underwhelming. Margaret Juntwait joins in the lethargy, and it's time once again to switch the Sirius off. (In the meantime, go Cleveland!)

[9:17pm] OK, I'm still here, but only to hear Zajick dissect "Ah! vieni, amor mio".

[9:21pm] As expected, La Zajick, celestial phenomenon, gives a ravishing set of "Ah! vieni, amor mio"s no one else in history could match. Does the audience realize this?

[9:29pm] The chest on the "FaraONI"! Brava, Dolora. We can all die now.

florida tuesday

Lost in midsentence
I count twelve white ibises
cross to the next lawn

14 October 2007

Nat a singer

Maury alerts us to Natalie Dessay's guest appearance on Charlie Rose, where she again claims to be not a singer but an actress first. More accurately, the label is "singing actress": doing the opera thing but with that burning ambition of graduating to the higher art form of theater ... someday. Metaphorically: I'm sitting (not so) quietly in my balcony box, and she's giving me the stiffest finger.

11 October 2007

Lucia trivia

Fall rain, enemy of cheap mascara, is how the Yankee fans among us feel this week. Also: how fans of good trill feel after seeing this Lucia; or how Lucia herself feels when a dog (claiming to be Macbeth) lurks in facades. Two evenings ago, I was back at the Met, for a third (!) Lucia. I've said all I could say about Dessay. (Also, my prima night comments are here.) Moving on: one nice thing I've noticed but failed to mention thus far is how refreshingly alive James Levine has been on the podium. He's using both arms. His right arm (the baton arm) has many more nuanced gestures than I can remember, and his left hand is back in full command of the prissy strings, with a very authoritative palm-up-curled-fingers gimme-more-tremolo posture. And he's vigorously singing along with his singers, like he used to in those DVDs from the 90s. I think this means another 20 years of healthy conducting. Of Strauss and Wagner and Mozart (but leaving the bel cantos alone, please).

Speaking of Wagner, Mary Zimmerman's Act I set does resemble Otto Schenk's Met Die Walküre. Coincidentally, in terms of pure volume and dynamics, her singers Dessay and Giordani can indeed hang with their Wagnerian compatriots sans size envy. They're deafening. I will also include the comprimario Michaela Martens, whose trombone of an Alisa absolutely dominates that Nabucco-like choral rah-tah-tah that caps Act II-- she's one fat-sounding Fricka in progress, Sieglinde declares. We need to hear more from that loud mouth of hers. Lastly, a third sampling of Stephen Costello confirms the observation that there's a little Calleja in his vibrato, though not as unattractively severe. Mama Cieca is being Ed Rosen to Costello's Giordani, which is interesting. No doubt we're all rooting for the young man's further success.

09 October 2007

Good tragedy on stage, bad tragedy at the ballpark

Puccini MADAMA BUTTERFLY, Met 08.X.2007; c. Elder; Racette, Alagna, Zifchak, Salsi (d), Cangelosi.

I chose to hear the (not so fat) lady at the Met over the depressingly fat lady at Yankee stadium who may have sung her song on the saddest night of this generation of fans. (Thank you, Joe Torre, we shall miss you.) Back to the Met: the scene I was anticipating most was at the end of Act I, when Minghella's beautiful production calls for the Pinkerton to carry the Butterfly through drapes of petals to the back of the dark stage as the curtain falls. Last year's mighty Marcello Giordani and frail Cristina Gallardo-Domas were a perfect picture; this season, we have Roberto Alagna, all too familiar with elevator shoes, and the full-sized (I don't want to say burly) Patricia Racette, who doesn't take shit from anyone. I took a huge breath with Bobbie as he lifted Pat off her feet, and held it for a few seconds, fearing he'd slip on Butterfly's stripped negligee lain on the raked floor.

It became a depressing exercise to call my sister for updates on the Yankee score during intermissions. That, mixed in with a happiness I felt to hear Racette again, the first after those magnificent Elisabettas of the Met Don Carlo last season, was an appropriately operatic juxtaposition. In the role of Butterfly, she's given an occasion to showcase the amazing breadth of her vocal talents: the power in climactic moments, the high and ascending pianissimi, the lesbianic chest tones. What I missed was the sense of vulnerability that Gallardo-Domas embodied (her physical body, her masterful stylized movements, her fraying voice), because Racette is so on top of her game right now that she makes this formidable role seem like a laughably easy sing. One petty thing: if she would only release those deafening fffff's (which I know she has) at crucial points of the opera--perhaps she doesn't want to come off too strongly?--then it would be a complete Sieglinde orgasm. There is no more argument: Racette is a topflight artist, the kind that a major opera house can build around for a generation.

Meanwhile, Alagna is just the most delicious Pinkerton, I could just eat him with roast pork and steamed rice. Bounding on stage, light-footed, arrogant and youthful: thoroughly the American lieutenant out for world domination. In my book, he can do no wrong, so I just took the sharpness in his top notes to be dedicated expressions of exuberance. Foolish infatuation on my part, what can I say: I, and the rest of New York, love the guy. We gladly offer him asylum from La Scala.

Maestro Mark Elder's reading: superb. The top of Act I pushed forward as fast as Alagna would let him, communicating Pinkerton's juvenility and fleeting concerns wonderfully. The love duet shimmered, never overhanded or severe, not gushing, not too melodramatic. His Act II descended slowly down the darkness of Butterfly's immeasurable sadness, the orchestration thinning, those quiet sections really quiet. Butterfly totally forsaken, even by sound. His virtuoso orchestra sounded transparent and light throughout, a joy to hear. Yes, there was a recurring tempo battle between stage and pit, but this should subside as the (short) run progresses.

(But the heavy cloud over New York today: that's how the city feels about Jeter's Yankees.)

07 October 2007

We live another day.

Don't wanna jinx it, but so what. It's the 7th inning, the Yankees lead the Indians 8-3. Always this time of year, the question for Sieglinde: Game 4 or the Butterfly?

end of season pangs

Four days ago, I predicted that the Chicago Cubs would sweep the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Philadelphia Phillies would slide out on top of a close series (3-2) with the Colorado Rockies in Major League division play. Right, so of course both D'backs and Rockies come out last night with awesome sweeps. More than a show of my natural actuarial talents, it's another demonstration of the cagey beauty of the game. Now the New York Yankees are facing similar elimination tonight, in a crucial game with the Cleveland Indians in the Bronx, when the Boston Red Sox are setting up to advance in the same kind of sweeping glory over the Los Angeles Angels. But hold the champagne, Cleveland. (And you too, Boston.) Singing fat lady aside (as in Gelb's opera house), the Yankee dominion is holding on to that cosmic truism "it ain't over till it's over", this while my Phillie compatriots (among them, my brother-in-law and my nephews, 5 and 7 years young) are lulling their hurt in another more poignant phrase, "there's always next year". Or more accurately, next century.

06 October 2007

No End In Sight

Check here to see showtimes near you. Read L. Paul Bremer's NYT Op-Ed article from 06 September 2007, oddly titled "How I Didn’t Dismantle Iraq’s Army", and then watch the filmmaker Charles Ferguson's video response, also in the film's official website (click on "Director Responds to Bremer's NY Times Op-Ed Article" below the trailer).

05 October 2007

[sort of live-blogging a random Friday evening, because it's not like any work or sex is being done on a Friday evening in these parts]

1. The NY Sun refers to Angela Gheorghiu as Roberto Alagna's ex-wife: typo or not? Join the debate at La Cieca's, in the midst of a totally unrelated post on some conductor with a sex life. BREAKING: I got an e-mail from a well-placed, but unverifiable, source that Angie and Bobbie are still in marriage bliss as they "can't keep their hands off each other". But the same can be said if the two are trying to strangle each other, so the debate continues. (Nevermind the nonexistent status of the NY Sun in the city's press totem pole--even below the Post, if you can believe it.)

2. Look, the armonica mama is outlasting Natalie Dessay in publicity! She deserves every press she gets. But should we call her armonica gramma instead, is an issue too. The article says "during Lucia’s first scene, when the character’s melodies are introduced by the glass harmonica, the sound is eerily beautiful and entrancingly strange." Which is indeed eerie and strange, because the armonica mama doesn't join the pit till Act II, long after Lucia's first scene. (Perhaps another one of Zimmerman's ghostly apparitions at work?)

3. Holy shit! Melky "Leche" Cabrera just saved a run. (I'm like screaming by my lonesome here in the Florida exurb.) Leche for prez!

4. Holier shit! Melky just hit a towering home run for the first run of the game! Leche for Met GM!

5. Aprile Millo, Wonkette with a devastating legato, is adamant about the defense of the golden age in her glorious blog. She declares that "being attractive in opera is not a new idea", as if to pooh-pooh our current fascination with hunkenthings and boobie lyrics. The difference with the new generation of opera babes however is that, we have digital video cams and rapidshare, so we're really just waiting for a clip of Costello having it with Kaiser to surface and spread. Or perhaps a tape of the closed-door rehearsal of the Romeo bed scene between Anna and Bobbie--perhaps real reason for Angie's visit and subsequent firing? Speaking of, I love that (a) sopranos are still being sopranos, and (b) sopranos are still getting fired for being sopranos.

6. Still holding 1-0 Yankees, top of the 5th inning. But shit, I gotta go do something else. (Don't know if this live-blog will resume later tonight. It's been fun though, right.)

7. [past 11pm] Just returning from a viewing of "No End in Sight", a documentary film about the appalling mismanagement and execution of the Iraq occupation. Sharp and damning, it is a must-see.

8. I see the Yankees lost a heartbreaker. Because of "flying ants"! I hardly believe I've seen everything in baseball--I'm still waiting for major lockerroom exposés of the "wide stance" persuasion--but this one's truly incredible. A friend says that this is solid proof that God is not a Yankee fan. Yeah, but apparently God isn't a Phillie fan either, so we're about even.

nothing of essence here

When I was being interviewed (for the Met general manager position), I explained to the board that if I was to take this position, we'd all have to recognize what was wrong with the Met. There was a reason the audience was declining. And it had to do not just with the marketing of the Met, but with the core artistic essence of the Met. It needed to go through a quiet revolution that would be exciting enough to engage a new audience.
Read that again: what's wrong with the Met, according to Peter Gelb, isn't just that they didn't think of advertising on the sides of buses or simulcasting performances in suburban multiplexes, but it's also in the "core artistic essence" of the opera company. However, nowhere else in the interview did he speak more about this supposed problem, which makes me think that by "core artistic essence" he meant things other than the Met's "core artistic essence". Basically, importing the Minghella Butterfly from ENO, kicking off a massive media campaign, and providing live video to Times Square on opening night are more of marketing initiatives than anything, inspired as they may have been. And streaming performances via satellite radio (in addition to the multiplex simulcasts) is more a creative repackaging of the same staid product than a serious realignment of any artistic essences. Moreover, bringing in new directors and launching new works aren't his innovations at all--Zeffirelli, after all, was once a new director (centuries ago), and there have been a number of world premieres of new works by youngish composers since the Volpe years. Which makes me wonder: did Gelb misspeak, is he looking to do a marketing job to recast his marketing accomplishments into something else, or is he really out to tinker with the real core artistic essence of the Met?

04 October 2007

Bad night. (Overflowing with respect for Joe Torre, but I have to disagree with the pitching change in the bottom of the 5th inning. Choice may have been limited, but to call up a rookie, Ross Ohlendorf, when the game, at 6-3, was still within reach, is indefensible. Postseason pressure on pitchers is extreme--and more so for those wearing the storied pinstripes. Definitely not the place or the time to give a Helmwige her first Brünnhilde.)

Sirius thoughts

Reviewing the Met's Romeo, NYT's Anne Midgette poses the question:

The ultimate measure for a singer should be, Is this a sound you want to listen to? The answer here was yes.
Which is, for opera lovers, the prime question. (It certainly addresses my lukewarm response to Natalie Dessay.) I uttered a "yes" to that question last week, and eager to relive those prodigal moments, I listened to the Sirius broadcast of the Romeo last night. I was quickly frustrated though, appalled by how unradiogenic Netrebko's sound is. This morning, to confirm, I accessed an in-house recording of her performance last week (don't ask me about my source, I have complete deniability). The tape confirms the same acrid sound of her Juliette: lazy in the pianos, just slightly under the pitch in fortes, sagging like an old mattress. But she's anything but an old mattress-- I mean, she's not that old. Thus, unlike the diva Renee Fleming, whose rich sound transmits perfectly from mic to speakers but whose boobs aren't that perky, Anna Netrebko, if behaving well, is probably better experienced live, in the (barest) flesh. The radio just can't communicate the sheer bigness of her voice--what Anne Midgette calls "a luscious sound that you wanted to bathe in forever"--and her tits. Moreover, you'll detect none of the brilliance of the jewels that attend her high fortes, and none of the bigness of her tits (did I mention her tits?), all of which made Sieglinde watery in some parts of her body last week. I know the radio-vs-live thing (a.k.a. cd-vs-live, etc.) is a tired subject, probably written about from the first Met broadcasts a century ago, but I think still worth repeating today, as the opera experience migrates further and further away from the four walls of the opera house. And the issue still fascinates me, so deal with it.

(I know, you're saying WTF, Sieglinde's lost it completely, what's she doing talking up Anna. Sieglinde's mumbling the exact same thing to herself, rest assured.)

Meanwhile, 6:37pm first pitch: chicken wings, here I come.

03 October 2007

[division series: yankees over indians in 4 games; red sox over angels in 4; phillies over rockies in 5; cubs over d'backs in 3.

league championships: yankees over red sox in 6; phillies over cubs in 7.

world series: yankees over phillies in 5.]

UPDATE: Phillies lost the first game this afternoon, *sigh*. But meanwhile: check out Cole Hamels, their (losing) starting pitcher, and you'll get one clue as to why Sieglinde's a huge baseball fan: specifically, examine his rookie baseball card and, more urgently, his default position on the mound. (Wipe that drool off your face before your mama sees you.)

02 October 2007


Submerged in a widening city of blogs, I can blow an entire day jumping from link to link. How much guilt for every minute spent away from work, for every "free" mp3 download? Used to be that "if you can't find it in New York, you won't find it anywhere" ... well, it's now the internet. The hardest thing to do these days is to click "close" on my browser. Is there rehab for this addiction? (Or a virtual prison, for those, uhm, unprincipled Akon-to-Zemlinsky downloads?) This is just wrong.