Thursday, April 2, 2009

The week as March turned into April

Well.... That was a rather eventful week. The weather was nice and cool so I got around town a bit gathering photos from various parts of San Diego. This is such a rich city when it comes to having many attractive features to visit. I made three trips to the coast (Ocean Beach, Sunset Cliffs, and Mission Beach), one shopping trip to the big 99 Ranch Market Asian food store up in Kearny Mesa (the economy being sluggish, having a good stockpile of instant noodles in the kitchen goes a lot to comfort), a short hop to Balboa Park, and another trip to Historic Old Town. Didn't see enough of any destination.... It seems that you can live here all your life and still never manage to see everything! Quite a change from hardly-anything-to-see Midwest that I'm so used to.(That's yours truly, just catching the sunset at Sunset Cliffs on the west side of Pt. Loma)

I also saw two performances of Verdi's Rigoletto at the San Diego Opera (playing at the Civic Theater in downtown). If you are interested you can find my review of them here. It's an opera every classical music lover ought to hear live at least once in their lives. Verdi was a genius when it comes to melody and he held nothing back composing this thing. I did make something of an amateurish mistake after the first show, though.... I wasn't all that impressed with the Gilda at the opening night, but, reading how everybody else appeared to have loved her performance so much, I started to wonder if my hearing had gone bad or something (doubt can be such an itchy condition... ). So what did I do? I went and re-tuned
my familiarity with Gilda's music by listening to Edita Gruberova's rendition of that sparkling character.

That, my friends, was a big mistake...No, it was a HUGE mistake! There is just no possible way that anyone mortal and singing today would come out sounding favorable as Gilda when you've got La Gruberova's singing stuck in your ears. It is positively inhumane how at ease she is in the stratospheric reach of her top register. The gal is actually playing up there! Listen to the way she sings those extreme notes from around 3:30 to 5:00 minutes marks... it isn't just the effortless quality of her singing that is jaw-dropping, but how she can actually shape those extreme notes to add to her expression of Gilda's naive fantasy about the Duke (who had fooled her into believing that he's a poor student by the name of Gualtier Malde). Listen to how she sustains the forward movement while climbing up the scale on those staccati, the full messa di voce, the pitch perfect coloratura with beautiful rubato, and a swirl of colors... all deployed at will for artistic purpose rather than to show off her superhuman control of the voice. No wonder her fans call her L'Unica!

And this woman is still singing roles like Lucia di Lammermoor, Lucrezia B
orgia, and, heaven forbids, Zerbinetta(!) today... at age 62!! Honestly.... if you can manage to catch her singing live somewhere in the next 2 years you've better not miss the opportunity. Gruberova had said that she plans to retire in 2012. Miss her when you have a chance to experience her live, and you'll regret it to your dying day. I promise.

Anyhow, our Gilda this week, L'Ubica Vargicova, is actually a pretty good one especially on the acting front. She looks and lives the part, though, with me being a lover of the mezzo soprano voice, it would take an extraordinary coloratura soprano to really hook me in. :o(
Oh, there is an additional perk to getting to hear one of Verdi's best opera live during this run at the San Diego Civic Theater, too. They're leaving the curtain up between Acts I and II so you can see the stage crew at work changing the set. It's a really cool thing to watch!

I also had a bit of an accident and can only use my left hand at the moment (and not much of it either since I've also managed to fracture one of the metacarpals there, too... Why hurt just one hand when you can get two in one shot, ay?). So.... typing isn't exactly fun for a few days. :oP Come to think of it. Not a lot of thing is fun either when you've got to use the non-dominant hand to do stuff. I hadn't realize how adept my right hand is at things like brushing or remote-controlling or spooning and stirring, etc. Health is sort of like that, isn't it? You don't really really appreciate good health until it leaves you (hopefully to return after a while).

Will leave you with a little slide show from one of the trips before taking off to catch the San Diego Symphony Orchestra and Corey Cerovsek play Respighi's The Fountains of Rome and the Mendelssohn E minor violin concerto tonight. Ciao!

Well, what do you know? I got so bored I managed to hen-peck my way to a review of the performance at Copley Hall last night after all. So, if you'd like, the review of the San Diego Symphony and Mr. Cerovsek's revival of Repighi and Mendelssohn last night is here.


Anonymous said...

Oh, dear... A fractured metacarpal! Holy cow, that must HURT. And IS quite uncomfortable. :( Hope your hand gets well as soon as possible.

Loving hugs,

Smorg said...

Hiya Arashi,
Thanks, matie. :o) Oh, the fractured left-index metacarpal isn't all that bad (unless I absent-mindedly try to type with that finger), actually. It's a hairline crack that goes long the bone rather than across it. The sprained right wrist is feeling worse, somehow. :o(

It sucks since it makes typing quite a chore... and I wanted to write up the Symphony concert from last night. Loved the Respighi piece. Didn't like the way Cerovsic did the Mendelssohn E-minor violin concerto much, but it was so well received by the audience he granted us 2 encores. They also did the Italian symphony, which was nice except when some idiot's cell phone started ringing (he let it ring for a while before turning it off!). :oP

So... I'm just loitering around listening to VK's CDs and DVDs for the rest of the weekend instead. She is a great mood-lifter (and so are you!)! :o)

Thanks a bunch for stopping by and for good wishes, too. Hope you're catching some good shows yourselves in Moscow!

Cheery hugs,
Smorgy :o)

Georg said...

Bonjour Smorg,

Just finished listening to Ms Gruberova singing. You are right, she has a splendid full voice, not shrilly at all.

Like you, I am living in the midst of nowhere. But even here, sometimes something happens. So we are having Carmina Burana in two months. Good music to look forward to.


Smorg said...

Bonjour Georg,
Edita Gruberova is really a phenomenal singer for me. :o) I can't believe how good she still sounds and what roles she still sings these days. It's mind-boggling. I'm glad you enjoyed the clip!

Oooh! Getting to hear Carmina Burana live sounds like something to look forward to indeed! :o) The only recording of that thing I have is the Ponnelle film with Lucia Popp and Hermann Prey. Quirky but splendidly sung, of course. I hope you'll have a great time there!

Thanks very much for stopping by. Bonne journée!

Smorg :o)