These are the songs and the Program Notes that I sent to my mom as per earlier discussion. WordPress is being weird for some reason about displaying the player widget for the ones that are m4a and not wav files, but I think they all work. I also managed to include one very authentic Liederabend moment: before the Wolf song begins there is great hacking and wheezing from the audience.
This was my second go-round with this DVD. I watched it for the first time over a year ago, and while I stand my some of my previous judgements (the part where Neptune appears and smacks around a damp rubber octopus and the octopus goes thwack is one of those things that ought to happen in opera productions far more often, if only because I find I enjoy writing the phrase “damp rubber octopus” in conjunction with Mozart for some reason) I appreciated this musically and conceptually better than I did the first time around.
I have been listening to a lot of German songs lately, and this recital – songs, but not German ones for the most part – was a pleasant change. It was in the larger of Carnegie Hall’s two auditoriums, the Perelman stage, and when I was reading about the concert on their website beforehand, there was a little snippet of a conversation with Kožená herself in which she said something that implied she was aware of a potential mismatch between the size of that hall and the repertoire. Not in a critical way, just in a “this may be interesting” sort of way.
I was excited to get a chance to see this performance, for reasons – or rather a reason – that you’d probably guess. I love how Dorothea Röschmann (here, the Marschallin) sings, and I have never had the pleasure of hearing her live before.
Thinking about Verdi, and specifically about Don Carlos made me remember this, which is an item of a fairly specific type: the recital CD that is a pleasure to listen to but which you can make yourself sick of fairly quickly. This is nothing against Magdalena Kožená. She sings these arias about as lyrically and stylishly as it is possible to sing them. But it’s the kind of material that has limits as far as repetition goes. And I say this as a person who has a fairly high tolerance for repetition. (That Salzburg DVD of Clemenza? I can tell you right before Röschmann glances behind her in Act I to make sure that a pillar she thinks is there is actually where she expects it to be that that is what she is going to do. Because I’ve watched it that many times.)