Deep thoughts about elk

I was listening to an older recording of Don Carlos, one from the Théâtre du Châtelet from 1995 (Van Dam – José, not Jean-Claude – as Philip, Roberto Alagna as Carlos, Karita Mattila as Elisabeth, Hampson singing Posa, and Pappano conducting.)

I have never heard a rendition of this where Elisabeth’s big high notes in “de quels transports poignants” (text, in either French or Italian: “Ah!!”) are so bright and gleamy and seem to come as effortlessly as they do here for Mattila. It’s really kind of perfect, like Elisabeth’s poor happy little teenaged soul is just shining in the air there for a second or two. Also, Waltraud Meier (Eboli) cheats a bit on some of the ornaments in “au palais des fées” but that slower middle section of “o don fatal” was pretty magic. See also Posa’s death scene. Some day I will have listened to every extant recording of this opera, and if each of them has one or two moments like this that make them distinct, then the time will not have been misspent. Either that or I will have been institutionalized. One or the other.

Another thing I learned today: apparently in Finnish there is a word specifically for a car accident involving elk. This has nothing to do with Verdi, but I wanted to get it out there.

9 thoughts on “Deep thoughts about elk

  1. I watched/listened to that recording on DVD and loved both the singing (wow, Karita Matilla!) and the production. The sets in particular are gorgeous. How does the recording stack up compared with the other versions you’ve listened to? Also, please let us know that Finnish word for elk v car if you ever find out what it is. Single-purpose words are so cool.


      1. I’m going to listen to it again – perhaps the DVD version next time. I think I like it better than the other French version I have, though I should probably listen to that one again to be sure. And it doesn’t have the opening forest scene with the peasants in Act I.


  2. The Finnish word for a elk crash is hirvikolari. We have tens of thousands of elks running around in the forests, so it is a common word. However, in many languages unlike English, when you want to express a single concept with several words you write them together. Waldeinsamkeit, remember? So, if there ever would be an elephant crash in Finland
    we would have a word ready for that: elefanttikolari.


    1. We have a bunch of those too. I remember a few years back when a whole family travelling to the North west regional Cancer Centre in Thunder Bay was wiped out in a moose crash. It’s one of the reasons we put rtobust telemedicine infrastructure in in the north. Too risky to have oncologists driving long distances to clinic, especially in winter.


      1. You mean your medical system did something useful, logical, and practical based on external realities as proven by hard data? That would never work here. If rich people don’t have buildings to put their names on, we would never know who they were.


        1. Well I can’t speak for the health care system as a whole but I think the cancer system in Ontario does a pretty decent job of working with the evidence. Inevitably, as in any publicly funded system, there are political compromises but I’ve certainly been part of some very deep and thoughtful discussions around things like models of care. Of course, I’m biased too…


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