October 8, 2008

Dear CBC Radio 2,

Thanks! Now that all the music you play during the times I used to listen to you (morning drives to work and school, afternoons home from work and school) is pretty much ****, and because I have only a cassette deck in my car, I've had to go back into my stash of old tapes, most of which are recordings from old broadcasts of 'Saturday Afternoon at the Opera.' Recently I've been playing a 1990 performance of Semiramide with Lella Cuberli, Marilyn Horne, and Samuel Ramey in the big parts. As a lifelong Joan Sutherland fan, I tend to find most other performers disappointing in roles like Semiramide, and Cuberli certainly has nothing like Sutherland's ability to throw off miraculous flights of coloratura. But she's an energetic singer with a rich enough tone to stand up to Horne's big voice. Horne (though not, as the NYT reviewer points out, in her prime by this time) is still spectacular, and of course Ramey booms out his part with his usual resonance and vigor. You never played much opera except on Saturday afternoons anyway, so now that you don't play much else that I want to listen to, there will be some compensation in dusting off these old goodies. Still, if you want to restore your old shows (and let Tom Allen get back to his old form), that would be great.


A Former Listener in Nova Scotia

P.S. Some of us are working between 10 and 3. People who aren't retired like classical music too, actually. And kids, who are in school during those hours (and not, sadly, learning much about classical music there).

P.P.S. If anyone wants to hear a bit of Semiramide, I found a great clip at YouTube of Sutherland and Horne singing the Act III duet.

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