Mme Grisi Pasta of Trrill let me know a few days ago that Salieri's Prima la musica, poi le parole was to be broadcast on a station with an online presence. As a result I paid my long-overdue first visit ever to OperaCast. The timing of the Salieri means that sadly I shan't be able to listen to it, but this evening I thought I'd see what was on offer tonight. So imagine my excitement when I discover at 10pm that in an hour's time, WRHU Hofstra University's radio station will be broadcasting Die Csardasfürstin, starring my own adored Yvonne Kenny. It was all I could do not to run about the room shrieking. But I calmed myself down, figured it all out, set the oven timer to remind me and started looking for some background on the opera (found just about none, incidentally). Ten minutes before broadcast time I tuned in, and started stressing because they were broadcasting silence. However, I did my best to persuade myself that the opera, being played at 5am ET, was the beginning of the day's broadcast. Neverthless, at 10.59 my heart was racing; when a minute later a 'welcome' announcement started, my relief was immense.
Immense, yes, but shortlived, as the announcer continued talking and introduced The Saint of Bleecker Street. I beg your pardon? The Saint of Bleecker Street?! I was NOT happy. This wasn't just coal in my Christmas stocking, it was coal plus a nasty note from Santa. Here I am, every inch of my being geared up for the divine Yvonne singing operetta, and what do I get? Twentieth century American verismo. Ingiusto ciel.
I've checked out all the schedules. This was supposed to be last week's opera. But I suppose that's promising: there's a good chance that Yvonne will be next week. All I can say is she had better be. In the meantime, however, I'm sitting here listening to Gian-Carlo Menotti's The Saint of Bleecker Street. Which, apart from one major fault (ie, it's not Csardasfürstin), is actually quite good. If it were a movie, I wouldn't watch it, but as an opera it's not bad. I'm only semi-following the plot, but the music's enjoyable enough. I can see why people call Menotti a Puccini-wannabe, but true or not, I'm not really bothered. The singing is respectable and listenable, even if it's the music and text rather than the individual performances which are making things interesting. I think I rather like it really, enough even to think I'd like to hear it again some time. I suppose we could call it a silver lining, because chances are I otherwise would have taken years to listen to this opera, which I've always more or less assumed wouldn't much interest me. But honestly, I'd turn it off in a second for that Csardasfürstin.