I just arrived back from Auckland. I went down yesterday to join The Old Girl as we went to see Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvasov with the Auckland Philharmonic (and another baritone geezer) at Aotea Centre.
Wow! Wow! And Wow!
This was classy stuff. Netrebko comes onto and off the stage like a galleon in full sail. Her voice is outstanding. Eyvazovf is no slouch either and he nailed most of what he sang.
We are lucky in little old Nuzil to see stuff of this calibre.
In the second half when Eyvasov sang Le Lucevan Le Stelle from Tosca and sang it beautifully, I was in heaven. I said to The Old Girl "Now I'd love to hear him sing Vesti La Giubba from Pagliacci as we'd heard Pavarotti sing both of these. Well blow me down - he came back on and sang a powerful version of Vesti La Giubba. Beautiful.
Not knowing that I was on a roll I again whispered to The Old Girl that if Netrebko was to sing that outstanding aria from La Wally then I'd need nothing else. Next moment on she sailed and launched into Ebben? Ne Andro Lontano. Stunning.
I thought that I'd died and gone to heaven but wait - there's more! Eyvazov came back on and sang Nessun Dorma from Turandot another that we'd heard Pavarotti sing. This was powerful and wonderful stuff only marred by the Kraut woman in the row behind us who felt compelled to clap over-vigourously and yell out 'Brava' at every opportunity. Silly cow.
The Auckland Philharmonic orchestra were great. There must have been about seventy of the buggers and they all seemed to know what they were doing. Five double basses seemed to be a bit of an overkill though. I told The Old Girl that the other four must have been spares in case of an accident.
I was disappointed that Gossamer Wump wasn't there though.
It seems that cost cutting has done away with him and one of the percussionists has taken over his role. To be fair though I only saw the triangle being banged once.
I was watching the percussionists and saw a woman stand up from her big drum (she was the same one who hit the triangle that one time) and move across to some upright organ pipes. She had a hammer in her hand and I thought "Hello, this'll be good". I watched the conductor Michel Tatarnikov to see if he knew what was going on and, to his credit at the very right time he looked up and pointed his stick at the woman and she banged the upright chimes thing. Magic. I was impressed with Tatarnkov as I'd disparaged him as I usually do with conductors as he'd turned up late just as all the others do. All the orchestra seem to make the effort to get seated and ready and it's always the conductor who strolls in later. Shoddy.