Sketchy blog traffic.
Look, we blog curators welcome most any traffic, but this? Of late, similar Google search strings from all over the world (and not only from necrophilic Canucks) have shown up in my log. Thanks a lot, Terrence McNally.
More sketchiness: The complete track list from Angela Gheorghiu’s so-called Homage to Maria Callas is now available. Let’s see how the musical selections relate to Maria Callas, shall we?
- Arias from Medea and Il pirata: Fine. Both, pace my colleague Robert Seletsky, were important Callas revivals.
- Arias from La traviata: An important Callas rôle. But, honestly, just how many times does Mme Gheorghiu need to record this music?
- Arias from I pagliacci, La Wally, Adriana Lecouvreur, and Samson et Dalila: Callas recorded them but never sang them in public. What’s more, she never approved the release of the Samson aria, which was issued posthumously.
- Arias from Faust and La bohème: Callas sang the Faust aria during her Greek years and recorded it, but never otherwise sang it in public. She recorded the Bohème aria twice (Puccini recital and complete Bohème) but never sang it in public.
- Aria from Andrea Chénier: She sang it once during her Greek years, once for EMI, six times in Chénier at La Scala (not by any account her shining hour).
- Aria from Le Cid: She recorded it for EMI and sang it a handful of times (four or five) in concert.
- “Duet” from Carmen: Oh, do not get me started. But hardly a Callas speciality.
Someone enlighten me, please: Where is the “homage” to Maria Callas in all this? And again I ask: What need does Angela Gheorghiu, an artist of substance, have to stoop to this flimsy and cynical exploitation of the memory of Maria Callas?
It would have been relatively easy to put together a plausible homage to Callas: arias, say, from Armida and perhaps Haydn’s Orfeo ed Euridice (and maybe even the Stradella San Giovanni Battista); some Wagner (why not “La morte di Isotta” or “Ho visto il figlio” from Parsifal?); Vestale, Bolena, Ifigenia, Sonnambula (all or some) to represent the Visconti stagings besides Traviata; different Verdi (Macbeth? Vespri? Ballo?); and some of the bravura material (the Proch variations, Dinorah, Lakmé, or some such). In truth, the bravura material is probably beyond Gheorghiu at this point, but I think that she could handle the rest beautifully.