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this is how I waste my time sometimes.

Random Too Youbage spawned by a random walk through wikipedia triggered by an off remark of pyat's. Note: I do not embed videos normally. Click the links.

Diana Damrau being as camp as pink ink! singing Glitter and be gay. Acting! And doing the 'full aspirated h' on the ha-ha chorus!

She also did a fair turn as the Queen of the Night ... She has three arias, and all three from this particular production were uploaded. You can find them (and others) in the Related Videos side-bar.
One of the comments on this, the "fancy show off" second aria, talks about the non-musical reasoning of the book - that this is the Queen of the Night enchanting Pamina into doing her will, cajoling, demanding, ordering, and finally using magic to coerce her.

Natalie Dessay also did it well, though she seems more to be bullying the girl into obedience. Remarkable for her being pregnant while doing this performance, which (according to the comments) was also true of Josepha Hofer, Mozart's sister-in-law and the person for whom the role was written.

By comparison, Luciana Serra did the same part and I don't think that production understood the book as well. Pamina doesn't seem to have the same sense of torn-between-dutiful-love-and-loathing-of-evil as in the production with Damrau. Serra has a beautiful voice, and arguably sang it better technically (though the costume did NOT help, the jiggles with each stattaco were distracting).

And since someone asked at one point whether an ordinary singer can sing opera, and based on my conversations with maus_merryjest some years ago, they can but it'll probably suck and it'll probably hurt their voice because they've learned bad habits...

Florence Foster Jenkins was a wealthy socialite and benefactor of the arts in the first half of the 20th century. She recorded her renditions of classical vocal works to give as gifts to friends. Here she sings Mozart's aria "Queen of the Night". Beware. This is an historical artifact, but not really a great performance. This is an extreme amateur trying things far beyond her skill and range, and it's admirable but painful at the same time.

OK, so Patrizia - an italian/canadian rock singer - did a rock version. She learned to sing rock and roll first, then learned opera, per her bio on her webbage. Also the video is creepy and bizarre.

Geez, everybody and their cockatiel has covered this, but other than children, socialites, and opera-trained people I cannot find a copy of this on YouTube that's by a regular ordinary singer. Probably a clue.

Well, there was ONE by a person who is studying operatic singing ... here ... and she explains that it's a very hard role, and that she may not be able to handle it.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 6th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)
Goodness - what comment of mine inspired this?
Jul. 6th, 2008 09:00 pm (UTC)
The auto da fe remark :) It led me to the Bernstein commentary about preferring the "H" to be pronounced, which made me look up performances of the song, which led to me being curious about Durnau's acting in other operas. Queen of the Night is one of the most interpretable characters, and has some of the hardest music, so many performers don't do justice to one or the other.
Jul. 6th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, and also - thanks for the Florence Foster Jenkins link. I've heard about her for years... but never HEARD her. Apparently, the critics of the day would write ambiguously insulting reviews - such as, "Ms. Jenkins voice is like the untramelled swoopings of some giant bird."
Jul. 6th, 2008 09:02 pm (UTC)
That's a very generous review, but the fact that she insisted that there was nothing wrong with singing, even if your performance was not critically acclaimed, is one of the reasons I admire her.

Nor did she sell these records - they were a gift to her friends, almost a challenge for them to sponsor better singers or they'd be stuck with her.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )