Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Chick singers

This from soprano Diana Damrau is perfect. Note how the flawless singing, emphasizing the nature-character of those bird-call sounds, doesn't prettify the fact that this woman (the star-flaming Queen demanding that her daughter murder a guy) is nuts. The singer is willing to give this everything, even if it entails looking ugly.

The craziness is also signaled by Mozart's upside-down form, which begins with an aria and ends with a recitative finishing in the wrong key. Compare the Queen's Act I aria, when she's a "good" character, with the normal recitative-cavatina-cabaletta form: she's still extremely disturbing, but you don't know who to blame.

Here's a singer I love more, Natalie Dessay, giving us the act I queen in a less ambivalent portrayal, as just a nice lady who sounds like a bird sometimes when her suffering overcomes her.

In her act II return Dessay is so nuts you feel sorry for her, and at the same time deeply tender. which isn't as coherent in the show as a whole as Damrau is, but gives you a moment of singular beauty,

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