Saturday, March 15, 2008

Isoldilocks and the Three Tristans

Oh, actually, wait, I think it's up to four Tristans now.

I miss opera. Most of you probably haven't been keeping up on the Metropolitan Opera's current Tristan und Isolde travails, so I'll fill you in.

Beloved diva Deborah Voigt (the soprano who made headlines a few years ago when she was released from her contract with the Royal Opera Covent Garden in London to sing Ariadne auf Naxos because the director wanted someone to fit in a slinky black cocktail dress; at the time Debbie was sort of a cocktail mu'umu'u size, but since then she's had gastric bypass surgery and has lost well over 100 pounds) was singing her first Isolde at the Met this season, and they'd paired her up with reigning heldentenor champ Ben Heppner.

Well, Ben came down with a viral infection, so he was replaced on opening night by some guy named John Mac Master, who apparently...well...wasn't quite up to the job, if the reviews are to be believed. So last night was the second performance, this time with tenor Gary Lehman, in his Met debut, singing the demanding role for the first time in his life. Then toward the beginning of Act II (it's three acts), Voigt reportedly "lurched forward" and ran off stage; the curtain was brought down and it was announced that she had suddenly taken ill. Within ten minutes (!), they had understudy Janice Baird -- also making her Met debut -- onstage in costume to launch into the famous love duet. They apparently received a rapturous standing ovation at the end of the long night (about 12:30 a.m., according to La Cieca).

Next Saturday is the Met's live Hi-Def broadcast of Tristan into movie theaters around the globe, for which tenor Robert Dean Smith has been engaged and presumably Ms. Voigt will recover in a week to sing....

Meantime, sadly I am missing today's Hi-Def broadcast of Britten's Peter Grimes. My car is back in the shop. Transmission again. Ugh.


Jeffrey Cufaude said...

Cute and you keep up on opera. I definitely need to buy you a glass of wine or a cup of coffee when i visit Portland in May.

Jeff said...

What is this "car" you speak of? I'm not familiar with the term.

Anonymous said...

See, without this blog, I would never have know that heldentenor was a real thing.


Andy said...

heldentenor was a real thing

Well...I'm not sure that it is. It's kind of from the same realm as unicorns and centaurs; we revel in tales of how they used to exist and every once in a while encounter a rumor that one has been sighted.

Jess said...

I feel so much more worldly, thanks to your educating me on opera! Even though I know nothing of these things, all of these goings-on sound quite dramatic! Backstage must be like a zoo!

Anonymous said...

Peter Grimes: Saw it. You missed a masterpiece. Just stunning! And so was Teddy Tahu Rhodes: Oh My!