19 April 2006

The Rest

Luana DeVol's voice has a Turandot cut, with the kind of wide vibrato that gestures contempt, perfect for Ortrud's temperament. No Ortrud voice can be too big or terrifying, and I wish she let it all out during her performance Monday, but I totally understand the need to appear tasteful for one's Met debut. She gave hints of bad, however, during Ortrud's curse, which grabbed the vocal spotlight from Karita Mattila for that one minute. Please Luana, more venom, more hysteria, more raw decibel, and maybe longer finger nails. (I have a feeling you got lots of all that stuff.) Regarding stage business, Robert Wilson builds an Ortrud as visual antithesis to Elsa, and in DeVol he has found a compelling scene-stealer, a drag queen of the first caliber. (More drag material can be found in her glorious webhome.) All in all, an agreeable debut.

Ben Heppner, as Lohengrin, continues to thrill; I believe his voice has now settled into a good, stable equilibrium, which involved basically trading in some raw power for more top-note security. It's no longer as big as one would like, but it carries extremely well, and when the top notes come clarion, with that true heroic heft, oh boy it sounds marvelous. His elegant legato is the mayo on the french fries.

[RETURN FROM REST(?). I'm still negotiating with Sieglinde regarding the terms of her reentry into the blogosphere. (She gets a few dozen hits a day, she plays hardball like she's Maureen Dowd.) But change is afoot, for sure. Expect a gradual reappearance.]