Monday, 16 March 2009

On Saturday we caught the first chunk of the BBC Radio 3 broadcast of Rusalka from the Met. Unfair, I know, to judge a performance from its first couple of scenes (we heard Rusalka and Jerzibaba but not the Prince).

I know that Renee Fleming gained plaudits for her recording of Rusalka with Sir Charles Mackerras at the helm. But her account of the song to the moon was pure diva. It was too slow and seemed to be milked for nearly every ounce of 'expression'. The result made Fleming sound far too old for the character, too mature. By contrast Stephanie Blythe sounded wonderful as the witch, beautifully focussed with a nice sense of line and definite malevolence. Her performance made me want to continue to listen!

Which I couldn't, of course, because we were en route to the Hackney Empire for The Magic Flute, part of English Touring Opera's Spring season. A review will appear in due course.

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