Attila & The Nose@ The Met
In less than 24 hours The Met has had two of the season's most exciting broadcasts on Sirius and I, for one, am one deliriously happy man!
Last night I was glued to Shostakovich's "The Nose" - so much so I was two hours late to a party - I didn't care! I'm surprised that an eighty-plus year old work would still meet with "it's too modern" or it's "all wrong notes" type of comments - and that seemingly most or all of the few comments I've so far read have been so negative (though I shouldn't be surprised by that at all).
I found the entire affair - even just over the radio - to be absolutely mesmerizing; a a glorious romp of sound with contrasts of darkness and light that overlapped perpetually in a manner that grabbed on and never let go.
Friends who attended said it was a major event and a "must be seen" live experience. I would gladly have given up half of this years HD transmissions to have had "The Nose" and "From the House of the Dead" on the HD roster. Hopefully one of the companies sharing the production will have it telecast and become available on DVD. Even if it doesn't, I'll cherish and smile at the memories of this score so beautifully - and entertainingly played over the airwaves last night.
The follow up of the Attila of Verdi this afternoon makes it al - to me at least - all the more sensational. The already typically amazing Met band sounded - from the very opening notes of the prelude to the prologue - breathtaking - amazing. The richness of the string sound was particularly lovely.
I feared what might happen when Ms. Urmana was announced as suffering from and struggling through a cold. I was not prepared for the way she hurled her voice out in "Santo di Patria" - it wasn't necessarily "pretty" singing, but it thrilled me right to the core. Later in her Act I aria she nailed a perfectly executed trill and through in a pianissimi that Caballe would have been proud of!
Vargas sounded a bit frantic - but in a good, slightly unhinged way that is not typical of him. He seemed to be - like everyone else - caught up in the fervor and the fever of it all. Even the intermission features today seemed of a higher level, with nice interviews and blurbs from Messrs. Muti, Abdrazakov and Ramey (with some nice clips of Ramey's Met debut in Rinaldo).
I read what seems to be perpetual criticism of Mr. Gelb and The Met - but too little praise for the things that go right. Last night and today show him and
his company doing things very, very right. Two so very different, contrasting works of different eras masterfully performed. Bravi!
The sun is shining bright and the past two days my home has been filled with glorious sounds orchestral and vocal from The Met. What a wonderful world this can be when we let it!