Thursday, March 3, 2011

Enough Strauss

Christmas in March. Tonight Susan and I drove almost 40 miles to take in a concert by the Opole Philharmonic Orchestra of Poland. The two tickets were a Christmas present, her to me. So nice! But I have to confess, I did not particularly care for the program. It was way, way heavy with Strauss (Johann & Johann, Jr.) waltzes and polkas. In fact, saturated. It was billed as a "Vienna Gala." But, hell, you could have thrown in some Mozart or Beethoven or Mahler or Schubert or any of the other myriad composers who have some connection with the city. A little of the relentlessly bubbly music and frantically paced polkas these guys, the Strauss boys, produced goes a  long way. Not that the performance was bad. It was not; it was quite good, in fact, and I enjoyed it. It's just that this kind of music lends itself to playfulness, and there was some of that kind of thing, too.

The best part for me was four opera arias performed by soprano Izabela Matula, especially the final one: "Meine Lippen, sie kussen so heiss"--from Franz Lehar's opera Giuditta. Outstanding. The melody is so pretty. Check out this performance of the aria by Anna Netrebko.  Matula sang it every bit as well, but she stood stock still while doing so.


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