02 February 2005

Signore, ascolta

Turandot at the Met

I interrupted my sabbatical last night with what would have been a check-up of Andrea Gruber's latest vocal state; however, yesterday afternoon, word got out that Gruber has taken ill (u-huh), and her cover, Rebecca Copley, would be singing the Turandot instead. Disappointing news, as I was aching to be witness to another Gruberfiesta (a.k.a. an orgy of singing on interest, capital, and the entire mango farm, not unlike a Guleghinaxtravaganza). The tone of discussions following the Met weekend broadcast had been mostly grim; as I'm a fan of pitch accuracy (esp. on top), and don't much mind prominent vibrato, I actually thought Gruber did a splendid job (considering the character has nothing beyond wrath and fire). But knowing that the radio lies in a myriad of ways, I have had to reserve firm judgement till I could hear the thing (again) live; now, the diagnosis will have to wait.

Regarding the substitute: there are valid reasons why some singers are destined to cover. That said, having Ms. Copley as back-up is a luxury for any major opera house. She knows how to extend her medium-sized, bright-colored lyric-like voice out from an expansive stage without undue strain. Her top notes are open (screamed on pitch is not a far description, if one's being unkind), and some of her middle seems almost spoken, but the over-all package remains pleasurable. The live Liu of Krassimira Stoyanova was a more pleasant experience to me than her radio performance: the warmth of the house has a way of smoothing out and clarifying the voice, and she benefitted markedly. She got the biggest ovation; the Liu almost always does.

Tonight, the Pelleas!