Showing posts with label stephanie blythe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stephanie blythe. Show all posts

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Stephanie Blythe sings Brahms, Wagner and Mahler

Stephanie Blythe sings Brahms, Wagner and Mahler. 2004. Further information here.

American mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe (born 1970) continue to receive rave reviews for her performances, most notably at the Metropolitan Opera in parts such as Orfeo (Gluck), Fricka (Walküre) and Ulrica (Ballo di Maschera). Her European performances are rather scarce, a contributory factor without doubt being her large physique, of which she said in a recent interview:
“If you bring weight into a conversation, all of a sudden that’s the issue. If someone wants to take a chance and cast me in a role that is unconventional physically for me, I applaud them. They recognize the fact that I can probably bring something to the role. When I was given Orfeo at the Met you could have knocked me over. I have seen people who are half my size do a role and look the part and not inhabit the part."

Weight issues apart, this disc documents that Stephanie Blythe has the perhaps most convincing dramatic mezzo-soprano voice of today, with an astonishing depth making one wonder if she perhaps really is a contralto. On this album from 2004, she sings the classic German concert repertoire for her voice type: Wagner´s Wesendonck lieder combined with Brahms´ Alto Rhapsody and Der Abschied from Das Lied von der Erde.

Stephanie Blythe´s contribution to this disc, in short, is simply superb. Not since Christa Ludwig have I heard such a firm and steady voice combined with a wonderfully unsentimental approach. My only quibble towards ms. Blythe´s performance is that her intonation is not always razor-sharp, particularly notable in the Brahms. But what a voice she has..

Unfortunately John Nelson´s Ensemble Orchestral de Paris does not entirely match this high level. Furthermore, much to my distaste, Hans Werner Henzes orchestration of the Wesendonck lieder was chosen for this recording, whose transparent approach I have never felt suits either the Wesendonck lieder in general or Stephanie Blythe´s voice in particular.

Stephanie Blythe with Schmerzen from Wesendonck lieder:

The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):


Sunday, 20 April 2008

MET HD 2008-9 schedule

UPDATE 22/4: The MET has now officially confirmed the schedule posted below (link here) without alterations. In addition the opening night is also transmitted, but only in North America.

Saturday, October 11, 2008
Franck; Mattila, Komlósi, Begley, Kaiser, Uusitalo

Saturday, November 8, 2008
Dr. Atomic
Gilbert; Cooke, Arwady, Finley, Fink, Owens

Saturday, November 22, 2008
Le Damnation de Faust
Levine; Graham, Giordani, Relyea

Saturday, December 20, 2008
López-Cobos; Fleming, Schade, Hampson

Saturday, January 10, 2009
La Rondine
Armiliato; Gheorghiu, Oropesa, Alagna, Brenciu, Ramey

Saturday, January 24, 2009
Levine; de Niese, Murphy, Blythe

Saturday, February 7, 2009
Lucia di Lammermoor
Armiliato; Netrebko, Villazón, Kwiecien, Abdrazakov

Saturday, March 7, 2009
Madama Butterfly
Summers; Gallardo-Domâs , Zifchak, Giordani, Croft

Saturday, March 21, 2009
La Sonnambula
Pidò; Dessay, Flórez, Pertusi

Saturday, May 9, 2009
La Cenerentola
Benini; Garanca, Brownlee, Alberghini, Corbelli, Relyea

I must admit I was surprised, that they are not (as yet) broadcasting the first Ring Cycle (the matinée cycle playing over four Saturdays). Still room for changes, I suppose, though the programme does look splendid, indeed.
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