Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

"Very fun." -- J. Bottum, Editor, FIRST THINGS

"Too modest" -- Elinor Dashwood

"Perhaps the wisest man on the Web" -- Henry Dieterich

"Hat tip: me (but really Cacciaguida)" -- Diana Feygin, Editor, THE YALE FREE PRESS

"You are my sire. You give me confidence to speak. You raise my heart so high that I am no more I." -- Dante

"Fabulous!"-- Warlock D.J. Prod of Didsbury

Who was Cacciaguida? See Dante's PARADISO, Cantos XV, XVI, & XVII.

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Sunday, April 30, 2006


So I listened to the Met's broadcast of LOHENGRIN yesterday. It was the "A" cast, not the cast I'm going to see on Wednesday. I chose the "B" cast for several reasons. We'll get the debut of a new tenor (Klaus Vogt) in the title role, and in the pivotal role of the villainess Ortrud, we'll get Margaret Wray, not Luana DuVol. I mean really, who wants an Ortrud who looks like this, when you can get an Ortrud who looks like this?

And it's not just looks. In yesterday's performance, DuVol showed dramatic power, but also an annoying wobble, not uncharacteristic in a soprano of a certain age. Wray, otoh, sang a Sieglinde last year that was very well received.

Yesterday, Ben Heppner, as Lohengrin, sounded his usual heroic self for the most part, but with some fraying around the edges. Karita Mattila was a glorious Elsa, and will be in the "B" cast too. (Btw, she looks better when she doesn't take make-up hints from Debbie Harry.)

Richard Fink sang Frederick of Telramund yesterday; on Wednesday that part will be taken by Greer Grimsley. Now, both of these singers appeared in last summer's Seattle RING cycle. But Fink played the Nibelung-dwarf Alberich, while Grimsley sang the god Wotan. Which do you think will do better as the disgraced but proud knight Telramund? Fink is a great Alberich, but it's the fate of great Alberichs not to be good at much else.

2. Velvet Underground and Nico

New acquisition; I like it. I can see how the folks who later constituted Blondie were inspired by this.

Sunday Morning -- nice; perhaps a bit too Joni Mitchell, though? (The less Joni Mitchell one is, the better.)

I'm Waiting for the Man -- meh

Femme Fatale -- great song! Cool intervals and harmonics. Clear progenetrix of Blondie's Little Girl Lies, Rip Her to Shreds, and perhaps even Maria.

Venus in Furs -- very good. "Celtic" sound, like several on this album; perhaps it's that electric viola they use.

Run Run Run -- meh

All Tomorrow's Parties -- sad and beautiful. Another instance of that "Celtic" sound.

Heroin -- Probably an anti-drug song: the singer rejects human connections in favor of illusions; doesn't sound tempting.

There She Goes Again -- meh

I'll Be Your Mirror -- nice

The Black Angel's Death Song -- nice; not Goth, despite the title and some of the lyrics

European Son -- eh??