Patience, it would seem, is a virtue I do not possess (not that I ever thought otherwise.) We will get the Met broadcast Tosca here eventually, but not for more than a month. And I was already missing my dear Maria von Hindenburg (aka La Guleghina). So I managed to acquire temporarily a DVD of her La Scala Tosca to keep me going. Thankfully things were a little more seaworthy than the recent performance Sieglinde laments.
You're right, it's scandalous that I should choose such a creature as my very first Tosca ever. But let's be honest: I wasn't watching this for an introduction to Tosca so much as a continuation of my acquaintance with Maria. And in that respect it was absolutely a success. I adore her still. 'Vissi d'arte' was not, shall we say, a shining moment, but I've never loved it too dearly anyway; for this particular Tosca I was much more interested in the high dramatics, the running, stabbing, jumping off buildings side of it all; and more than that, in some nice reckless singing from Maria. She delivered, and I was glad. And on Monday - oh agony, oh ecstasy - my Nabucco DVD arrives.
And speaking of uncharacteristic attractions: looks like I've gone and fallen for José Cura. The eagle-eyed might have picked this a few weeks ago, when I was rather taken by his appearances in a couple of Verdi galas. Well, this afternoon I went on a library spree, and among my haul was Mr Cura's Puccini arias. I'm really not supposed to swoon for tenors but it was really quite unavoidable. Unexpected, too, despite my earlier interest in him. I put the CD because I figured that, among the four I borrowed today, it was the least likely to distract me while I wrote something here. I was mistaken. And unable even to consider writing anything until he was finished. It's all just so very rich and beautiful. And so interesting too: for once, even in the big hits, I'm not just hearing the familiar tunes and the money notes, but the individual singer and his gorgeous, expressive voice. It's hard for me to pick out any favourite moments. 'Parigi! è la citte dei desideri' from La Rondine was a highlight, certainly. It's to the same tune as a Puccini song, as it turns out: I recognised it from Patricia Wright's glorious CD Serenata (the same CD contains Puccini's 'Sole e amore', incidentally, which has a few moments in common with 'Donde lieta.) Can I enjoy the high-note flourish at the end as much when it comes from a tenor instead of a soprano? Apparently so. The arias from Fanciulla were also excellent, and entirely new to me. And - although perhaps I oughtn't admit it - I loved 'Nessun dorma'. 'Non piangere Liu' was even better though. And if I don't stop myself there, I may never finish. I'm even considering buying his CD Anhelo, which Records Records is selling for $10.
Today was a bit of a money-spending day really. In addition to the Nabucco DVD and the library spree, I bought Marina Mescheriakova's 'Soprano Arias' CD. It's a Naxos disc, I've never heard of the woman before, but it was cheap so I thought I might as well own it. I also thought it was time I listened to some Grace Bumbry, given I shall find myself in her presence in less than a month. So I ordered a 3 CD set of early recordings from Amazon, which looks fabulous. And since I was already there, I succumbed to temptation and ordered a DVD of Giulio Cesare featuring The Goddess Yvonne as Cleopatra. (Funnily enough, according to this addictive little amusement, Cleopatra - along with Lucrezia Borgia - is quite possibly my Dead Celebrity Soulmate. I shan't complain about that!)