Misha Didyk's des Grieux received some vitriolic comments (mine was:
"beautifully sung, although not effortlessly and naturally projected"),
but now there is high praise from a source not usually given to such:
Tackling a notorious 'tenor killer' Music
San Francisco Opera's 'Manon Lescaut' has the right stuff
by Stephanie von Buchau
It's interesting that this dafke review appears on the same day
with Anthony Lane's decidedly minority defense of "The Fountain"
(http://www.newyorker.com/critics/cinema/), and Alex Ross' extreme
enchantment with Adams and Kurtag
Let a hundreds flowers bloom, I say.
Someone whose musico-biological background is impressive suggested that
Didyk is practicing "laryngal suspension," actually trying to drop the
larynx to create a larger "tube." That sounds worse than the results.
On the matter of the revival of curtain calls in the War Memorial at
"Manon Lescaut," see the next-to-last item of
Hands at the Opera House...
... On the subject of hands, Chapter 2: Once upon a time, hands at the
opera were used at the end of each act to applaud the artists, whether
they deserved it or not. Then some years ago, something inexplicable
happened. Intermission curtain calls disappeared altogether. And now,
to confuse us even further, during the current "Manon Lescaut" performances
there are curtain calls! Well-used to instant egress as the curtain
comes down after each act, most of the audience is caught in a situation
that requires them to walk ahead as they clap backward. (In the old
days of consistent curtain calls, the routine was simpler: First applaud,
What does the Opera administration say about this? There is no firm
new policy one way or another. But apparently David Gockley is bringing
back intermission curtain calls on an "as needed" basis. What would
constitute such a need? Perhaps when a major character is not coming
back later in the opera (the art form is rife with victims of fatal
misdeeds) or just had a big aria before intermission ... the
possibilities are interesting and many.
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