Vocal Fireworks

Ok, this happened back on the 15th, but I haven't had time to post it 'till now. And, technically I need to leave here in two minutes to go see Meet the Robinsons, so I won't have time to proofread this or anything. I seem to remember using a "driving a sports car" metaphor for this concert... that may not have been the most clear metaphor I could have chosen, I fear. Ah, well, we'll see.

My boss gave me her tickets to see Music of the Baroque's concert "Vocal Fireworks", with Jennifer Larmore. Totally fantastic, every bit as good as they promised it would be. Which is to be expected, as the conductor, Jane Glover, is a Commander of the British Empire, and Larmore is a Chevalier de l'ordre des arts et des lettres. So there you go.

There was a lot of back route driving in the first half, some lazy Bach (Orchestral Suite 3 in D) and some Handel, but we barely got above 30 mph all hour. I confess, I dozed through the Handel, but I had such lovely dreams...

Things became decidedly more exciting after intermission. My boss goes on and on about what a genius Mozart is, but I wonder if that's like exclaiming at the wetness of water--the difference between Mozart and Handel (at least the difference between the selected music tonight) was astounding.

The orchestra slammed into third gear (finally) and went off up a twisty little road. I'm not convinced that it was made for such speed, but they seemed to know what they were doing. "Va pure" was powerful and fun (and I could listen to Chevalier Larmore snarl "perfida donna" all night long).

They did a couple arias from Figaro, too, including "Voi, che sapete". This one involved the entire orchestra playing pizzicato, which was v. cool. My favorite piece ('though it wasn't the best of the evening) was "Non so piu", also from Figaro--fast and extremely fun. A little bumpy.

Finally the road straightened out and for the first time, in the overture to Rossini's Siviglian barbier the orchestra showed what it was really capable of. Zoom! Everything was a blur and I lost track of the speedometer. It became clear that this wasn't an orchestra designed for Sunday driving to market, but rather an enormously powerful machine that had only been in the lower gears before.

Larmore came out after the overture and sang "Una voce poco fa" and I think the engine started to whine a little--they probably weren't close to their breaking point, but the power in the room was tremendous. Five or six thousand rpms in fifth, screaming along with incredibly long, fantastically high "Yes, Lindoro will be mine" and I, for one, would not have stood in her way. Forget her hundred cunning traps (and totally forget that vipers do not set traps, anyway) if anyone tried to touch "where her weak spot was" I rather think they would have been atomized. Nothing left, I mean. Bam.

Amusing review, but homework is needed. Get Guilio Cesare, listen to every Larmore aria, then decide if Handel worships at Mozart's shrine. Ciao!