17 September 2007

More than peanuts

Spent Sunday afternoon listening to the Sills tribute on the internet while waiting for my boiled peanuts to cook. In what developed into an afternoon of firsts, I hadn't known how long raw peanuts in the shell take to cook, and didn't want to use google, lest I disrupt the delicate Sirius stream, so I had no choice but to employ the same strategy that Bush is using in Iraq: taste every few minutes; who needs planning and information; keep it boiling till "success". My amateur Top Chef estimate was 15 minutes. Google would later reveal that at least 2 hours were needed. So picture the running back and forth between computer and stove the entire length of the broadcast. Finally, the peanuts cooked, in time for Henry Kissinger's tribute. Nuts-- perfect!

But prior to the Kissinger-peanuts combo, something odd happened. Rushing back from one of the routine peanut taste tests, I rejoined the tribute in the midst of a musical interlude. Nah, it's not Dessay, I thought, tone's much too warm; nah, can't be Netrebko either, too nuanced. Who else could it be. Just then the soprano unleashed an ascending set of open-throated high notes, and I knew immediately. Need I say I was floored. This is the Anna Netrebko that ought to be on display: comfortable in the repertory, of a lyrical disposition, appropriately restrained. The lazy, sagging nature of her tone (I call the "wet towel" syndrome), a deal breaker in bel canto, became an advantage: it materialized as a longing wail vital to a lament. I'm not familiar with Rimsky-Korsakov's "Nightingale and the Rose", but such things hardly matter when enchanted.

So here's an mp3 of the three magical minutes. (For those unfamiliar with Rapidshare: click the "free" option; enter the four-character code; click "download"; wait.) I expect to return to my default settings (i.e. antagonizing bitter venomous Anna-basher self) by the Romeo next week (or not?), but in the meantime, I thought I'd break from tradition, perhaps as a little tribute to a great and generous lady, Beverly Sills, who, in life's turmoil, seemed always be mindful of the brighter side.

[Private to the Met's and Sirius's legal departments: I expect to hear from you shortly. Don't disappoint me.]

UPDATE: OperaChic, in town (yay!), issues a report so comprehensive you'd think she's up for a job at the New York Times Homo Section. (Love the "pubic" shot!) ... SarahB, as always, delivers great pictures from the event ... Maury was there too, with the same wrong expectation that I had about the affair.