14 November 2005

Guillaume Tell

Rossini GUILLAUME TELL, Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall, 13.11.2005; c. Queler; Blasi, Giordani, Chingari.

[SCOTTO/MILLO PIC UPDATED: Many thanks to Leyla, Sieglinde's personal archivist.]

The night before, I decided I wasn't going to the OONY Guillaume Tell. I'm tired. I'm poor.

Forty-five minutes to curtain, I get a three text messages: (1) "Zaza is here she needs a ticket"; (2) "Scotto is n da lobby"; and (3) "Everyone here you crazy". I cave in. Therefore: quick Chinese dinner; rush to Carnegie Hall; grab front balcony ticket from scalping gentleman for $15 (score!); take crummy seat; switch seats during first intermission for a better view of the last two prima prima donnas. (I know, worthless pic; but I was far and it was dark; gimme a f* break, puhleeze...) But here are Renata Scotto (left) and Aprile Millo, seated in the center box, first tier, chatting about Marcello Giordani during the second intermission. Or about the Zazà of a lifetime (Millo asks: "Why you not come to the Zazà? Licia was there, why you not?"). Or maybe just about the best penne carbonara in Lower Manhattan.

I'm exhausted; no more words. Sieglinde gives the bottom line: Marcello Giordani is the reigning admiral of the High Cs; to have that kind of balls to bis Arnold's Act IV vengeance cabaletta "Amis, secondez ma vengeance" after 11pm: BRAVO DIVO! I've not heard pandemonium like this in a long while. Below, Eve Queler's curtain call, surrounded by the principal cast. (Angela Maria Blasi is in green.)

But wait. Before I collapse, I leave you with a zoom of the best pic I was able to take of Stephen Costello, in case you're interested. (Yet another crappy pic. Whatevah.) He has a light, easy tenor: luxurious in the cute role of the Pechéur. He can sing! All he needs now is a centerfold in Opera News.


UPDATE [the following morning]: I'm up. A few more impressions before I rinse Guillaume Tell off my ears with Roméo et Juliette, this evening's French buffet at the Met. Steve Smith summarizes the Hall's hysterical adulation for Marcello Giordani here (not since Semele ... haha!): an electrifying standing ovation (including La Scotto, La Millo, and La Kirschenbaum) after the cabaletta; then, Giordani whispers to Eve Queler, index finger raised, which I thought at first meant "Gimme a second to catch my breath," but soon becomes clear to me as a sign for "Let's do that f* thing again" when La Queler and orchestra start flipping their scores back a few pages. During the bis of the second stanza of the cabaletta (with the pumped chorus on his back), I tell myself "This guy is nuts, he's surely gonna do damage to that voice." But what a generous, joyful artist! Kammersängerin Angela Maria Blasi essays an attractive Mathilde; this is Sieglinde's first Blasi hearing; highly expressive, technically unblemished, she pings a la Cheryl Studer, like the smooth, round bottom of a fine porcelain bowl. Eve Queler, we all love her!, but that Overture is how a computer, taught the values of notes and pitch, would play it. The basic (sleepwalking) temperament of the orchestra never changes through the evening, but that's hardly a surprise. We go (and return and return) to OONY events to revel in the voices, which always fill in the missing blood and guts: this evening the voices deliver once again.