Bare fordi man elsker opera

– er man ikke nødvendigvis god til at synge.

Det kan jeg da selv skrive under på. Det burde Florence Foster Jenkins jo også have kunnet, men hendes enorme formue og mange menneskers afhængighed af hendes gavmildhed betød, at hun ikke rigtigt blev konfronteret med sine ellers ret indlysende shortcomings i operafaget.

Feel-good mester

Hendes på mange måder sørgelige skæbne er blevet til en ret skøn film med Meryl Streep og Hugh Grant. De har tydeligvis haft en fest sammen med Big Bang-stjernen Simon Helberg under feel-good-filmens mester, Stephen Frears‘ kyndige hænder. I hvert fald spiller de alle tre fuldstændig forrygende, og jeg tænkte hele tiden på flere stykker af Moliére og Holberg, hvor fjolset først hænges ud, men siden bliver stykkets helt.

Hyklere og fedterøve

Florence kan jo faktisk ikke gøre for, at folk i hendes yderkreds fedter så meget for hende, at de lyver hende op i ansigtet. Personerne i hendes inderkreds har helt andre grunde til ikke at fortælle hende sandheden – de afslører sig i filmen.
Hugh Grant 2014

Og kan jeg så lige tilføje en lille fjollet sidebemærkning? Hugh Grant har aldrig været skønnere. Hans ungdoms lettere flødebollethed er erstattet af en langt mere klædelig moden flødebollethed tilsat nogle ganske klædelige rynker…

Share

Den fabelagtige Cecilia Bartoli

I sidste uge oprandt endelig dagen, hvor vi skulle ind og se og høre denne utrolige sangerinde. Jeg havde givet min mand billetterne (og damens seneste album) i julegave sidste år, så de havde hængt længe på køleskabet.

Jeg havde nok en forestilling om, at hun ikke live kunne leve op til pladerne. Men DET kunne hun, og så lidt til! Både hun og dirigenten, Diego Fasolis, besidder ikke så lidt showmanship, så vi fik masser af underholdning sammen med musikken. Det ledsagende ensemble I Barocchisti spillede selvfølgelig overdrevent godt – men det var jeg så ikke særlig overrasket over.

Koloratur, som Bartoli betjener sig meget af, tenderer jo mod det latterlige, og det er Bartoli fuldt ud klar over. Derfor laver hun også sjov med det – hvilken befrielse! Fasolis lignede fuldstændig en russisk mafioso, hvilket fik hans krumspring og store armbevægelser til at fremstå temmeligt barokke.

Da vi boede i England og gik til teater og ballet i London, tænkte jeg ofte over, hvor utroligt høj standarden er der. Men selvfølgelig tiltrækker London de allerbedste kunstnere, og teatrene må konstant levere topforestillinger, hvis publikum skal blive ved med at betale de helt eksorbitante priser. Jeg blev mindet om det ved denne koncert: Standarden var bare tårnhøj hele koncerten igennem, og vi fik virkelig valuta for pengene. I løbet af koncerten – der faktisk var ret lang – fik Bartoli publikum til både at gispe og grine. Det er altså flot!

Publikum var i øvrigt mestendels sure gråhætter. Det er mig en gåde, hvordan man kan optræde så gnavent, når man skal ind og høre en kunstner, som man har set frem til at opleve i næsten et år!? Jeg kom fx til at træde ind foran tre damer, der stod i kø. Jeg opdagede med det samme min fejltagelse og trådte tilbage, smilede til dem og undskyldte. Alle tre stirrede bare rasende på mig.

Videoklippet er en piratoptagelse fra en af de andre koncerter på den samme tour. Hun sang også den sang for os og havde endda den samme kjole på…

Share

What does my musical taste say about me?

Low self esteem, not very hard-working, kind or generous. However, creative. Indie.

High self-esteem, very creative, hard-working and at ease with myself, but not very kind or generous. Rock’n’roll.

High self-esteem, creative and at ease with myself, but not outgoing. Classical.

High self-esteem, creative, gentle. Opera.

I actually found this on DR’s homepage (Danish National Television), but here’s links to the Independent and BBC, who’ve both run the story. A team of psychologists at the Heriot-Watt University in Scotland are behind a study linking people’s personality and their taste in music. I can’t really tell what I like most of the above four categories of music, though I guess opera is my favourite.

From the above I can deduce that I’m certainly not hardworking. Hm. Giggle. Creative. Not really, you know! Not very kind? Oh my, and I thought I was such a kind person… Not outgoing. Hm, I know people who’d dispute that. And so on and so forth. Also, I can think of a couple of people, mad about indie music and really, really hardworking!

Another news story from Denmark can probably not be found in any British media, because it tells of a sentence passed by a Danish court.  Two women were accused of pirating – copying music files via the Internet. And they were aquitted, because the prosecution couldn’t prove that it was these two particular women, who’d done it – could have been anybody in their household, or even somebody hacking into their network.

Great, great, great!

I totally agree with Lawrence Lessig (law professor at Stanford and Internet evangelist) that the music industry must find itself another leg to stand on, because the sharing of music on the Internet is the future and not even an army of lawyers will be able to stop it.

Share

I always cry at the opera

Amidst our below mentioned circumstances, we went to the opera in our new local theatre in Woking. Most of the repertoire doesn’t really appeal to us that much, but I find La Traviata quite irresistible. The quintessence of opera, really! I was not quite sure what to expect from the Krasnoyarsk Opera and Ballet Company (from Siberia) performing on a Saturday afternoon in Woking, but I guess I was pleasantly surprised. Particularly by the soprano playing the part of Violetta – she was very good. Her counterpart Alfredo wasn’t as good, using much too much of that Russian vibrato. And then there was his hair. We just couldn’t keep our eyes away from it. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a picture of him – oh, how I would like to have shared that laugh with you… (but close your eyes and picture a very large man with a curly mane, cut short at the front and long in the back)

Another of the singers however is very prominently represented online – a qualified guess is that most of the posts are made by the (apparently very vain) man himself. If this has your interest, check him out yourself. He played Alfredo’s father, a baritone, a very prominent part in this opera and he did sing wonderfully, I have to admit. After a not so fantastic bit in the first act, he came back with a vengeance for the 3rd and 4th. His name is

Dmitri Hvorostovsky.

The accompanying orchestra – whether local or Russian I don’t know – was not up to scratch, I’m afraid, causing some wincing on my – and I’m certain of many on my fellow opera-goers – part.

However, it was quite lovely to hear and see this wonderful opera once more. And as I always do, I cried towards the sad, sad ending, as if I hadn’t known what would happen. But – after all, it’s opera, it’s supposed to be sad! And – hats off to the old guys, Verdi, Puccini, Mozart et al, it works – at least on yours truly.

PS: If you think you know nothing of opera and never want to, you’ll be surprised to hear the lead theme of La Traviata. Because you know it – although probably not in this version (with my favourite tenor).

Share