In a recent Zoom conversation, Yankovskaya's pride and enthusiasm in the COT administrative and artistic staff was evident from the start. She praised their collective grit, acknowledging that their upcoming digital release, Rimsky Rebooted represents not just a "Plan B" pivot from live performance, but is rather a "5th or maybe 7th reimagining" of what they hoped to originally present to Chicago audiences.
Some listeners may prefer moderation when it comes to the tenor based pyrotechnics that ignite this recording. Soaring high notes and vivid vocal coloring create sure-fire thrills but thrills depend on relative rarity and risk being diminished by such concentrated exposure.
I'm going to write this as a live-blog, as one of the advantages of attending virtually is you can type as you listen, instead of having to remember all your thoughts from the concert!
Nagy and her group appear in the perfect environment for their naturalistic style of video that revels in dramatic fades to black, subtle cross fades and deft use of camerawork and lighting. The passing from day to night, from a sun-filled hall to one of intense lighting and dramatic shadow, is visually alluring.
Wrapping his selection of American art songs with works from poets who are celebrated and time-honored masters may partially explain why Powell has arranged the songs somewhat thematically rather than by composer. Whatever his rationale, "Billy in the Darbies" remains the soul of this undertaking.
On the micro level, the Twin Cities has a thriving opera and theater community filled with small grassroots companies. I hope these companies survive and continue to engage their audiences until live performances are safe.
Throughout his career his dedication to Shakespeare was unwavering. It was said that he could recite extended passages from Shakespeare's work with eloquence often surpassing that of cultivated speakers in his England, his adopted homeland.
Thankfully, Odyssey Opera thought a little ahead of the curve: for the next album in their recordings of newer opera, they have opted to put The Trial at Rouen on Boston Modern Orchestra Project's recording label, BMOP/sound, and with the same cast that performed it in December 2017, no less!
These are strange times, and I am still not convinced that going virtual is the way. Has it afforded us some opportunities we would not have had otherwise? Sure. Has it required us to get creative in ways we could not have imagined? Certainly.
This was a piece that did not feel as though it existed musically as a complete score but more so in the gathering of people together, in the physicality of the performance space, and in the unknowable magic that occurs in the moment of performance itself.