11 October 2006

Balcony Box, Home Edition

Serious. The live Met broadcasts on Sirius, four glorious times a week, have been life-altering to a great number of opera fans across our etherland. While the quality of the "premium" stream (on the internet, at 129 kbps) is satisfying, there have been a handful of signal dropouts every broadcast, enough to annoy pirates and non-pirates alike. (Drivin' me crazee!) Still, it's remarkable how seamless the whole massive operation has been. Even Margaret Juntwait, the estwhile wrinkle of Saturday matinees past, has softened into a gentle fireside companion, delivering fresh and informative (borderline gossipy) off-the-cuff interviews during intermission.

Fake. The other night, while doing dishes, I hummed as Erika Miklosa navigated the stratospheric staccati of the Queen of the Night's music. Last week, Cristina Gallardo-Domas, close-miked, wobbled her way through Butterfly's music in an unattractive way, an encounter vastly different from what one actually hears in house. Indeed, physical distance buffers acidic textures, smooths edges, highlights stunning dynamics, while the Met's air and walls add warmth and depth to the vocal sound. Meanwhile, the endless Idomeneos and Giocondas continue this week. Distinction ceases.

Overload. Four times a week: a cruel prison sentence. Repetition, oversaturation, extreme exposure, beyond submission. Drowning in gigabytes of nicotine sound, paralysis shall set in. Soon a slow death midseason, in the claws of Sirius.