October 14, 2008

This Week Instead of Radio 2

I promise: I won't keep obsessing on the evisceration of good programming on CBC Radio 2.* It's just that I'm still in the "anger" stage of the grieving process for an old friend. Still, as I remarked recently, there is a plus side, which is returning to my stash of old opera tapes. This morning in my car I was blasting a recording of Joan Sutherland, Alfredo Kraus, and James Morris in Lucia live at the Met in 1982. Here's the Sextet from that production, courtesy of YouTube (a bit scratchy, but you get the idea). Sure, Sutherland (at 56) is past her prime here (next week, maybe I'll get out my 'bootleg' tapes of her 1959 Covent Garden performance), but she still handles the trills and ornaments better than pretty much anybody else, and she knocks the big high notes right out of the House. Plus the excitement of performances like this comes in part from the tremendous appreciation expressed by the audience: I think I enjoy the applause almost as much as the singing (sadly, the YouTuber cuts it off). I have been listening to Lucia for many years and know almost all the words, including to the Mad Scene, and another fun feature of listening to it in my car is singing along in the security that nobody can actually hear me--my childhood dreams of being an opera singer came to less than nothing, but I can croak "Il fantasma, il fantasma" with the best of them.

*It's not that I like only classical music and opera. My own playlists include plenty of jazz, rock, pop, Broadway, folk, and 'world,' especially Greek and Balkan music. But I can get other kinds of music anywhere else on the radio (and often more listenable stuff than what I'm catching when I flip past CBC these days), and I don't mash them all up into one jarringly unpredictable playlist.

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