- Despite appearances, my experience of the La Scala Series La traviata was not All About Angela. There were other things. I liked Ramon Vargas and his voice a lot more in Alfredo than in Rodolfo. (And I liked him well enough there, but his Alfredo was just a bit more mellifluous and a bit more charming and, well, a bit more not La bohème.) Roberto Frontali's Germont père had the easiest flowing sound of the principal trio. The production is super traditional and kind of gorgeous; I liked it — Violetta gets fantastic frocks and I want to live in their country house. The La Scala Series experience is not as glossy or as full of features as the Met in HD moviecasts — sound and picture are both a bit scratchier, there's less sense of the audience, and there are no backstage shots and Conversations With Renée (or equivalent) — but still highly satisfying and, in its no frills way, sometimes a bit more immediate and exciting than the Met series. My hat is off to Greater Union Bondi Junction — screenings are in a smallish theatre, exactly the right size for the audience and for this kind of show. I didn't think any movie theatres still did reserved seating, but they do; seats are more steeply raked and further back from the screen than at the Chauvel, which, coupled with the small size of the theatre, means there are really No Bad Seats. The popcorn is brilliant, none of this upmarket (and admittedly tasty) "popped in olive oil" business like in Paddington; here it's your trademark fake butter flavour and a world of salt. Bought from a gargantuan snack bar.
- I don't suppose anybody out there has any idea who's singing Rodolfo for OA when La bohème returns in October? The website is still listing him as TBA. Otherwise it's basically a dream cast — the best people from the two casts we had earlier in the year. Amelia Farrugia as Musetta, José Carbo as Marcello and the scintillating Antoinette Halloran as Mimi. That's probably enough to make me see it again (yes, even though it's Bohème — I'm taking my Antoinette opportunities wherever I get them) but I'd like to know if they'll have a Rodolfo to match. Any clues welcome. Offer them anonymously if you like.
- Speaking of the scintillating Antoinette Halloran — any Wellington readers manage to attend her recital in the wonderfully named Sings Wellington series? Gorgeous Lieder in the first half and Poulenc's La voix humaine in the second. If you did — I am jealous. And a little in awe. I think anyone just performing the Poulenc is a bit special, but to do it with piano only and after already having sung the first half of a recital? Wow.
- Everything is booked and (touch wood) unjinxable now. So, my official schedule for San Francisco, in case anybody will be there and would like to say hello/stalk me (not so much the latter) is as follows:
20th June — Lucia di Lammermoor
21st June — Ariodante
22nd June — Das Rheingold (matinée)
23rd June — Lucia (again)
24th June — death by exhaustion (presumably)