Every now and then - not nearly often enough - when Michael Tilson Thomas
conducts opera (excerpts, concert performances) in Davies Hall, it begs
the question: why not more, why not next door, in the War Memorial? The
man is born to opera, and since his memorable "Flying Dutchman," nothing
proved the point more powerfully than tonight's Final Scene from "Salome."
Although strangely thin and perhaps not in the best of health, MTT
provided a Strauss of demonic intensity, the San Francisco Symphony in
prime form. The music stormed, moaned, screamed, collapsed on itself,
then soared to ecstatic heights, succumbed to ominous, sinister
undercurrents, and triumphed in Salome's gruesome climax and death.
If Strauss were in the hall, he would have shouted at MTT: "I can still
hear her!" because even against those rolling waves of the big orchestra,
Lise Lindstrom projected every word, every note with clarity, power, and
great tonal beauty.
Is this the same soprano whose S.F. Conservatory of Music performances
(Helena in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and Fiordiligi in "Cosi fan tutte")
I LIKED (?!) not many years ago? My ability "picking 'em early" must
have mis-functioned on those occasions and/or she has gone into orbit
during her recent European years. There is no heldensoprano role too
big for her. This Salome is also a best bet for everything from Turandot
Tonight was the first of a pair of farewell concerts before SFS departs
for a tour of Edinburgh, London, Hanover, Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf,
Frankfurt, and Lucerne. On the tour, the soloist for "Salome" will be
another San Francisco product, one Deborah Voigt. On the other hand,
if you want to hear Lindstrom again, she will sing again tomorrow, at
noon, in the second farewell concert, a FREE one, in Yerba Buena Gardens.
The tour repertory will make a gesture of including American composers;
two works were heard tonight: John Adams' "Short Ride in a Fast
Machine," and Charles Ives' Symphony No. 3 ("The Camp Meeting"). Unlike
Strauss, Adams was in the hall, and he took a bow, and did not shout at
MTT (as he should have): "Faster! Louder! Throw caution to the wind! Do
a warmup for `Salome'!"
The Ives was quite beautiful, especially the closing dissonant peeling
of bells quietly dying away, as a moron in the audience broke out in a
YIHAW!, shattering the mood, but - perhaps - impressing his moronic
Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony closed the program, in a stately, fine
performance, certainly with less intensity and inner tension as one would
expect from MTT. Well, except for "Salome," this was really a kind of
dress rehearsal for the tour. As for the Schlussszene, I cannot imagine
a better performance.
[log in to unmask]
The CLASSICAL mailing list is powered by L-Soft's renowned LISTSERV(R)
list management software together with L-Soft's HDMail High Deliverability
Mailer for reliable, lightning fast mail delivery. For more information,
go to: http://www.lsoft.com/LISTSERV-powered.html