Friday, 14 May 2010

Dramatic moments

You know we are so fortunate with radio, particularly the non-commercial variety, and I just love the quirky Emma Ayres on Classic Breakfast.
One of the snippets they have been playing this week is various tracks of Maria Callas.
Now, I have mixed feelings about opera but listening to these snippets has been quite wonderful.
She obviously had such force of personality that what ever happened on stage was dominated by her. Some commentators and critics have said she used to sing out of tune!!! I sort of get this, though it seems an extraordinary thing to say about someone who is arguably the greatest Diva of all time. (see this interesting little discussion about her vocal decline on Wiki)
But it is observed that her tonal quality was so unique that it doesn't actually seem to have deterred people from declaring her to be the "greatest"
It has caused me to think about my own Great Opera Moments...but the list get longer and longer so I will curtail includes:
  • The Greatest Disappointment-this week it includes never having heard Callas, but it could equally well be never having heard Pavarotti
  • The Most Amazing Year-I think this is right (at least in part) was 1980. Amazing for a wonderful production of Death in Venice by Benjamin Brittain at the Adelaide Festival, later in the year Joan Sutherland in Lucia di Lamermoor
  • The Most Luxurious Experience seeing La traviata in the Vienna Opera House
  • The Best Ever-Kiri Te Kanawa in Traviata at the Sydney Opera House
  • The best ongoing-never fail to be amazed at the ongoing youth talent that abounds in this fair city...even the G& S society has become youth oriented and found a new life to its productions the forthcoming Pirates
And so we could go on....what would you add?


Anonymous said...

'The Most I'm so Glad I did This Opera' : Opera in the Outback 1998 Kiri Te Kanawa with ASO under a clear starry starry night in the mid north.

'The Most I Wish I Hadn't done This Opera': Opera under the Stars, Elder Park approx 1986. I should've taken a chair!!!!! ... and a thicker blanket!

Anonymous said...

"Quirky" isn't the word I use to describe Emma Ayres. I think she is just awful and the best thing that can happen to me is to turn on the radio in the morning and find that she is sick or still in bed or something. I wish that she would take her bloody cello and ride her motorbike off into the sunset. The least I can hope for is that she learns how to say the "ou" sound correctly.

stephen clark said...

Love Emma I am afraid, and was quite disappointed when she was ill last week.
Guess you leapt for joy

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, it's a relief we are all different. I enjoy Emma's whimsical humour and her cello-playing, bike-riding persona. And the "ou" sound is charming, but an accent I cannot place in England(?)