08 December 2004

While she summoned Sicilian corraggio

The biggest loser was watching The Biggest Loser on TV

Unless I decide to sacrifice my entire Saturday morning for a standing room ticket (and I suspect the line for this one will be repressive), my first Sondra Elena became my last (this season), when, at 7:15pm, the ultimate minute of decision (takes roughly 45 mins total to do the subway, rush from Columbus Circle and sashay across the plaza, barter for ticket, push through throngs of queens in the lobby, scale the Svoboda/Dexter-like stairs, push through throngs of queens in the bathroom--Wagnerian patience required for combined Acts I-III, so one has to go--settle into my bleacher seat, check my program for any cancellations, sigh, and curtain), the battle decisively tilted body over soul.

Fortunately, a dear friend of mine captured my last Sondra Elena sighting, shown below for future generations to worship.

I Vespri Siciliani, November 16, 2004

The white trail disappearing behind the golden curtain is, yes, Sondra Radvanovsky, don't you know it. There's the conductor Frederic Chaslin to the right, and Leo Nucci in blurry motion gliding by the prompter's box; you can also see Francisco Casanova and Sam Ramey arguing who should exit first (should be easy to distinguish between the two).

This weekend's broadcast will be a memorable one, but I'm all anxious now about how Sondra's voice will record on the radio. I remember her Il Trovatore Leonora a couple of years ago: blew people's panties away in the house, but sounded acidic and overbearing on the transmission. We'll see. I predict Casanova will be much more warmly received at a radio distance than he has been live, for while he lacks big-house power and stage presence, the essential quality of his voice is attractive and his notes are all there. Nucci will rock, and Ramey will rock ... uhm, back and forth in an ever-widening wobble. Enjoy!