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OperaNow! #245: This Opera had EVERYTHING!

James Levine learns Die Fledermaus...Google will plant you right next to an oboe player on stage...fake transgender Carmen...Opera in a limo.

This week in Oliver's Corner, YOU get to decide who is Bel Canto and who is just Can Belto.

Plus Guess Who Died?

This week features Michael, The OC and Doug Dodson.

Reader Comments (4)

I can't possibly be the only one who thinks the whole "male Carmen" thing is hokey at best right? Here's my thing, if they were mounting the production for a transgender singer who they wanted to feature, I could understand that but it sounds like it's more of a "hook", than any real desire to be ground breaking. Not to mention the concern that I would have as to whether a counter tenor could get through the role in a satisfactory manor, no offense to countertenors but is that final duet as thrilling that way?

December 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKurt

I was hoping someone could answer Oscar's question about the duplicating process used in schools a long time ago when I was wrong. Mimeograph was one word, but we called the final product a 'ditto.' I still remember the fumes, and the purple ink. Good times. Enjoyed the podcast, especially the discussion of Bel Canto. I remember when I read the book that I pictured Renee Fleming in the role of the opera singer and was hoping someone would make a movie out of it. Then I found out that she and Ann Patchett are good friends, so i makes sense that Fleming was the model for the singer. Turning it into and opera is even more delicious, except fewer people will be able to see it. I hope it is a success and plays somewhere close enough for me to attend. Happy holidays to you all.

December 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKilian Metcalf

Yeah, mimeograph and ditto were two different processes. With mimeograph you cut a stencil, and the machine pushed ink out through the stencil on to the paper. With ditto (or spirit duplicators, since Ditto was a trademark) you created a master that had purple (usually) wax matter on the back. The special shiny paper was dipped in solvent, which when run through the rotary press transferred part of the wax from the master. I'm sure that breathing those solvents would have taken years off of teachers' lives, if they weren't already shortened by the smoke in the teacher's lounge. Sadly, while I know little about bel canto, I'm filled with trivia about obsolete printing systems.

How involved was Joyce Didonato in the writing of "Great Scott"? That seems a comparable situation to Fleming and "Bel Canto."

Oliver, a local group is performing Bernardo Pasquini’s "La sincerità con la sincerità ovvero Tirinto" next spring. Since you're a baroque opera guy, I'm wondering if you've ever had an Oliver's Corner devoted to Pasquini, a composer completely new to me.

December 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterArthur

Oliver - I enjoyed listening to your comparisons of singers. Pol Plancon was my favorite of the basses you played. His tone production was less "manufactured' than the others, who had darker timbres and more wooden, inflexible sound. Plancon's rendition was much more satisfying overall, despite some deviation from the written notes, which didn't bother me at all, as I had no idea what is written in the score. I went back and listened to it several times, and am now addicted. I would certainly be buying a ticket to hear Plancon if he can be brought back to the Met in the near future.
JDFlorez's singing was discomforting and painful to listen to; hopefully he was singing with a cold and has since recovered. He was almost shouting on his top notes in order to make them sound. Begs the question, why are you playing him in such bad vocal estate? Unfair. Play a good recording of him, and we can all hear how irritating his sound is even when he healthy. The question then is; how wonderful does a singer's interpretation (and/or technical abilities) need to be in order to compensate for an irritating sound quality? Brownlee was very good - and his recording was much more lush than JDF.
More singing please on the show - that's why I love opera...singing.

December 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBobo

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