Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Big Ben

I wrote this screed in The Buffalo News on Sunday about "Tristan und Isolde" in Toronto, at the Canadian Opera Company.

It was a thrill, as I wrote, to hear Ben Heppner. He is one of those singers who is, ahem, too big to come to Buffalo. And he was in fine voice. I hear he has had his problems recently, but then who among us has not.

Poking around on YouTube I came up with Ben Heppner singing the Italian Tenor's Aria from "Der Rosenkavalier." This piece is so much fun, the way it soars.

In this aria Strauss is definitely guilty of stereotyping! But the aria is so beautiful at the same time. It is cool how Italian tenors, among other tenors, have embraced it. Everyone wants to step into the spotlight and sing the Italian Tenor's Aria and show what he has got.

There is all this talk in the comments section of that video about that Strauss hated tenors and that was why he made this aria so difficult, that Pavarotti hated singing it, etc. I will have to investigate. You cannot believe everything you read on the Internet. There is so much wrong-headed stuff out there.

Any way you look at it, it is a beautiful aria, and I like how Heppner holds the last note. I also loved seeing everyone cheering him.


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