07 December 2004

Neither Rain nor Sleet nor Snow

Just some typical city drizzle, really

But inside, the high summer heat of grand voices. Not quite as smoldering as premiere night, but still phenomenal; details at a later time. But while there's still Diet Coke in my bloodstream-- La Daniels didn't have the same level of umph tonight, his tiring middle range suffering from your everyday soprano passaggio predicament: can't grasp the core, dropping resonance and body (especially apparent during Vivi, tiranno!); however, his andanteish arias (with thin accompaniment) were ardently projected. (And WOWZA, what an "Io t'abbraccio" duet with Rodelinda!) My friend V says Daniels' voice needs some getting used to; I told him to f*ck off. Kidding! I agreed, insofar as not having a typical clean, lithe countertenor timbre (the kind Bejun Mehta for instance has); however, I argue that the smoky richness of his voice allows considerable emotive range, a great thing to have in a character who spends a lot of time in lamentation and really doesn't sing hard bravura till the very end. Renée Fleming verismo'ed her way through some of those slow movements; at times her dense delivery seemed at odds with the airy strings and harpsichord accompaniment, which is sure to irk the Handel purist. Renée couldn't clean it up for Sempre libera, how can she even begin to cleanse the vocal line for baroque? Anyhow, there's a seductive, separate beauty in her Rodelinda, unconventional, yes, but arguably as valid.

Tomorrow during my decaf break I'll maybe talk about the other singers, for a change.