Glyndebourne 2010

Posted by: Jon

Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/16/10 10:56 AM

I'm back, with all thanks to Andrew for making it possible in the first place. He also took a picture of me, at my insistence, in my opera-going finery (while declining to be photographed himself).
Photobucket
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/16/10 11:53 AM

Hm, rather a blurred picture, too. Sorry about that.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/16/10 06:09 PM

No apology needed -- you should see how many of my shots of the Cotswolds I messed up, one way or another. A mobile phone with a tiny screen just isn't optimum for quality photography, and I'm delighted to have any documentation of my presence at Glyndebourne -- it was such a dream combination of good food, good company, and near-ideal opera in perfect surroundings, I might think I dreamed it.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/16/10 06:22 PM

As I said, on Facebook....I'm jealous...and while I have you attention, take a look at the Botticelli roster...
Posted by: Kay

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/16/10 06:23 PM

The profile picture on Facebook is sharper.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/16/10 06:48 PM

Just smaller, Kay -- which itself helps with focus.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/22/10 07:39 PM

Should I report something more? Both operas (Billy Budd, Cosi fan tutte) are among my very favorites, both were excellently produced and performed. Both in what might be described as variable unit sets, the former rather monochromatic in scheme, the latter extremely colorful. Appropriate, in both cases.

The casts were splendid, and in the Glyndebourne tradition cast with stars-of-the-future more than established stars (though there have always been a few of those too). The name I knew best was John Mark Ainsley as Captain Vere. And the justly revered Sir Charles Mackerras conducting this Cosi production for the first time.

Glyndebourne is definitely my favorite place in the world to see an opera, and I can't recommend it strongly enough. Beautiful site, beautiful exterior and interior of the house, PERFECT acoustics for all kinds of music, great sight lines from many parts of the house, ultra-high performance standard, great restaurants for the dinner intermission... I could go on and on. I haven't a single negative to offer.

Thank you again, Andrew!
Posted by: Kay

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/22/10 08:45 PM

And when are you going to announce the hirsute news you just posted on Facebook?
Posted by: Jon

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/23/10 05:02 PM

I can't imagine that anybody cares. Only two here have ever seen me in person. Besides, I may grow it back next week.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/23/10 08:33 PM

That fast?

You know, it's funny but multiple years of back and forth on various message boards and you do KNOW people you've never "seen."

I find myself wondering what's become of some of the old GEnie regulars, who popped in here for a while and then disappeared.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/25/10 08:32 PM

Jon, get your picture taken before you start a new beard, hm?
Posted by: Jon

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/26/10 02:19 PM

You asked for it, you got it!
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/26/10 07:07 PM

Ah, thank you! THAT's the face I remember.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/26/10 07:26 PM

Barbara, you saw me with the beard! I've had it since 1976 without interruption. (That's why I decided to try a change this summer.)
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/26/10 09:50 PM

Here's the floating bed scene:

http://www.video4viet.com/watchvideo.html?id=4QAH_IpEG6o&title=Anna+Netrebko++Roberto+Alagna+%22va%2C+Je+T'ai+Pardonn%C3%A9%22+Romeo+Et+Juliette
Posted by: Jon

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/26/10 10:31 PM

Something I missed at Glyndebourne, evidently!
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/27/10 10:23 AM

Hm, am I having a senior moment here? Jon, I do remember when Kay later posted a picture of you, I was surprised to see you had a beard.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 06/30/10 02:11 PM

I've had the beard nonstop since 1976.

It's OK, I've done similar things. I greeted a musicologist colleague at a conference by saying I missed the beard he'd always had before, and he insisted (convincingly backed up by his wife and others) that he'd never had one.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 07/01/10 11:35 AM

::sigh:: I must not have been wearing my glasses.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 11/28/11 12:58 PM

By the way, I have now reviewed the DVD of that Billy Budd, and a CD recording of the Turn of the Screw Andrew & I saw on my first visit, in the pages of Opera News.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 11/28/11 02:18 PM


Turn of the Screw

I've heard this once...was it ever a Met Saturday broadcast? I'm afraid I don't remember it much.

Couldn't find Billy Budd.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 11/28/11 05:42 PM

I think The Turn of the Screw was a Saturday broadcast a few years back; I seem to remember listening.

Jon, I know it's your profession, but I still get amazed at how much you know to watch for, to listen for. Tell me something about you and Britten: Was it love at first sound? For me, he's been one of those composers I had to work my way into.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 11/29/11 12:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Barbara
I think The Turn of the Screw was a Saturday broadcast a few years back; I seem to remember listening.
A broadcast from where? Certainly it's not on the Metropolitan Opera Saturday broadcast schedule, as that company has never done the opera and never will -- not with a cast of 6 that almost never sings together and an orchestra of 13. But maybe a local station might have put a recording or broadcast of this opera in the Saturday-afternoon slot during the off-season; that happens a lot.
Originally Posted By: Barbara
Jon, I know it's your profession, but I still get amazed at how much you know to watch for, to listen for. Tell me something about you and Britten: Was it love at first sound? For me, he's been one of those composers I had to work my way into.

Yes, pretty much at first sound. Let me try to recall my first encounter with Britten....

I think I was just starting high school. I was interested in opera (without knowing many at all; I was first intrigued, believe it or not, by the stories) and my parents gave me a book of "stories of operas" for Christmas one year, the old Modern LIbrary volume. I saw The Turn of the Screw in there, and that piqued my interest because I had read the novella -- maybe for a class. So one time visiting the local library I saw that they had a recording of it, and I checked it out and listened to it, and I was immediately hooked. I found the music atmospheric and compelling, and I was hooked by the way it enhanced the story and suggested the mystery behind it.

In general, the first operas I liked (I tried recordings of several over a period of months around that time) were "non-aria" operas, the ones that got on with it and told the story without fuss. My first three loves, in fact, were Das Rheingold, La Bohème, and The Turn of the Screw, which all fit that description. Verdi and Mozart were much harder for me at first because of all the recitative and stopping for numbers that didn't try to advance the plot quickly (or, sometimes in Mozart, didn't try to be tuneful). I needed to see those in the theater to get the idea -- that happened when I got to Indiana U, which did 6 operas a year.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 11/29/11 11:38 PM

Story? You took to Britten immediately but balked at Mozart and Verdi because of interruptions to the story??? Oh, wow! But the aria-free opera is purer theater, yes, so that does make sense. You may be right that the broadcast of The Turn of the Screw I heard was a recording, but I've got it in my head it was live. Perhaps the Chicago Lyric? Or San Francisco? WTAE in Pittsburgh used to broadcast occasional performances by both companies, on an irregular basis.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 11/30/11 03:39 PM

And my description of Boheme was imprecise; obviously it has arias! But they don't have repetitions of the lines of text, and the orchestra keeps moving on to new moods and thoughts (none of the pages of oom-pah-pah that can put a kid off Verdi at first). Even the Britten and Wagner have solo passages, for that matter. But the whole thing played in my mind as theater in a way that I understand.

Mind you, I came to love Mozart and Verdi inordinately! But I wasn't yet used to the musical conventions. (In Figaro, the first I tried, it's maybe 20 minutes before we get to the first real melodic solo moment as I then understood it (Se vuol ballare), and there's an awful lot of chattering-with-harpsichord on the way there that my young mind kept weighing against the more eventful in-between stuff from the other composers I knew.)
Posted by: Rita

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 11/30/11 08:29 PM

Verdi isn't oom-pah-pah. He's thumpedy-thump.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 12/01/11 10:46 AM

Oom-pah-pah has to be German, but who? Obviously not Wagner.

I'm trying to remember what my first opera was, but I'm drawing a blank.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 12/01/11 11:45 AM

Rita, listen to almost any aria from Traviata or Trovatore or Rigoletto. Oom-pah-pah galore. (I love it NOW, but it cost me some effort and humility THEN.)
Posted by: Rita

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 12/02/11 04:52 PM

Well, OK, yes, I can hear oom-pah-pah in "Sempre libera" and "La donna e mobile"...and even in "Di quella pira", with a little effort. And "Parigi o cara". Not "Questo e quella", though. It just seems to me so many of Verdi's numbers (or maybe scenes) end with thumpedy thumpedy thumpedy thumpedy thump THUMP thump THUMP thump. Thump. Thummmmmmmp. (Can you hear it?)
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 12/02/11 06:31 PM

Well, dang! I can hear it.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 12/02/11 08:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Jon
And my description of Boheme was imprecise; obviously it has arias! But they don't have repetitions of the lines of text, and the orchestra keeps moving on to new moods and thoughts


It always bothers me when they stop for applause after "Che gelida manina"...Rodolfo and Mimi are kind of frozen and then she chimes in with "Si...." replying to his request to tell him about herself.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 12/03/11 09:40 AM

Yes, but on the other hand Puccini clearly put a full musical stop there, a completed musical cadence followed by silence -- pretty much inviting applause. It bothers me more (not a lot, but some) when people applaud after "Recondita armonia" or "Nessun dorma," because in both cases Puccini DIDN'T bring the music to a halt or invite applause in any way. Of course those moments will always be applauded anyway; as I said, I don't really mind terribly. But I recall a wonderful Trovatore at Covent Garden in which the conductor (Charles Mackerras) and the singers (Fiorenza Cossotto, Carlo Cossuta) played the long Azucena-Manrico scene so compellingly and meaningfully that none of us felt like applauding individual numbers until the curtain fell -- and then we let ourselves go in a big way.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 12/03/11 10:28 AM

Applause in the middle of a scena is annoying. I imagine it doesn't happen too often, but when it does -- that really grates.

"The Anvil Chorus" doesn't fit into oom-pah-pah. It's missing one "pah".
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 12/03/11 12:13 PM

My general rule is never to applaud anything except at the end of a scene or act. One exception is Zerbinetta's "Grossmaechtigen Prinzessin" in Ariadne auf Naxos. Another is "Ah, mes amis" in La Fille du Régiment.

I went to see Bellini's La Sonnambula (for the first time) at Covent Garden recently and don't feel like seeing it ever again, especially when conducted by Daniel Oren, whose tempi were really soporifica. And the audience couldn't understand that in bel canto many arias have a cavatina and then a cabaletta (with sometimes a tempo di mezzo in between), so there was applause practically all the time.

I've also noticed that in live radio broadcasts nowadays there are increasingly bouts of applause in between movements of orchestral works, mainly concertos.

Mr Grump
Posted by: Pete

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 12/04/11 09:27 AM

I recently attended a concert of Ferenc Liszt works--all single movement pieces, a lot of fireworks, very little music that I noticed. Anyway, applause after each piece, extended applause waiting for the encore.

I was asked by another attendee afterwards was this the same Liszt we always knew as "Franz Liszt"? I'm guessing that he is now considered Hungarian, not Austrian. Shouldn't it be
List Ferencz, then?
Posted by: Rita

Re: Glyndebourne 2010 - 12/04/11 03:45 PM

Yep, according to Behind the Name :

"Hungarian names consist of a family name followed by a given name. This is unique in Europe, where the family name usually follows the given name."