Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How Bass-Baritones Amuse Themselves (David Bižić and Yuri Kissin)

Yuri Kissin
So this is how baritones and basses kill time when they are not on duty during the orchestra rehearsal. Well, some basses, baritones, and bass-baritones. And probably many tenors and counter tenors, and maybe even some sopranos, mezzos, and contraltos. Yuri Kissin and David Bižić give us a peek at what goes on in the back row when the conductor isn't watching.

There are parts of Don Giovanni that you just don't get to do if you are a bass-baritone. Say, Donnas Elvira or Anna. I think it'd be fun to have a beer or two with these wild and crazy guys. If you have a low tolerance for silliness, do not watch this video!

At YT, the poster calls this: 
A different Don Giovanni orchestra rehearsal 
I'd call it: When Serbia Meets Siberia


  1. Rob,

    Why do fine operas like Palestrina, Mathis der Maler and Doktor Faust attract only a small contingent of passionate admirers today?

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      That is a question that could take a DMA dissertation to even begin to answer. But for starters I would say none of those three operas are well-known outside of German-speaking countries. Although the goal is fine art, finances are a consideration, and I think many/most international opera houses are not likely to spend a lot on Hindemith, Pfitzner, or Busoni productions. On the other hand, I believe Zurich just did either Mathis or Cardillac not too long ago.

      What do you think the reason(s) is/are?


  2. Rob and Anon #1,

    A different anonymous here.

    I think I would agree with the explanation by Anderson, more or less. I think, though, that the opera audience's appetite for operas on FAUST is pretty much sated by Gounod's version. Even Boito, which is musically sophisticated and theatrically ambitious, doesn't have much of a following.

    Admirers of DOKTOR FAUST – I think baritones like Fischer-Dieskau and Thomas Hampson are big fans, and perhaps some conductors, but I don't know for sure. Perhaps they just felt an OBLIGATION to the art form...?

    I don't really think DOKTOR FAUST, MATHIS DER MALER, or PALESTRINA stand a chance with the general public. PALESTRINA of course has great qualities and there are magnificent musical episodes, but it is unwieldy – and extremely expensive to stage because of its large cast and low box-office potential. I was very happy to hear it twice in one week at the Lincoln Center Festival in July 1997. But you really have to be in 'the right zone mentally'. (Same is true for ST FRANCOIS D'ASSISE.) If you "surrender" to the composers' time sense, you reap rewards, otherwise not, and I have no quarrel with people who don't have the patience.

    Of the 3 operas, I think perhaps MATHIS has the best prospects, because it has something one can recognize as a story, a title character one can recognize as a human being, and built-in visual opportunities.

    None of this is conclusive, naturally.

  3. Oh man I loved this video! It's so hilarious, thanks so much for sharing! I do have a video where Anna Netrebko and Elina Garancia are doing that to a tenor/baritone duo backstage during a performance, it's quite funny too :) Have a wonderful weekend :)

    1. Thanks Bela. It's fun to see them having fun. I will have to look for the Netrebko/Garanca video. We have to remind people that opera is not always stuffy. Sometimes it can be fluffy, too!


Comments are very welcome! They won't be moderated; but rude, abusive, and/or radically off-topic posts will be removed.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...