Noilly Prattle: Verdi and McWorld—who could ask for anything more?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Verdi and McWorld—who could ask for anything more?

Another night of sheer delight at the Prague State Opera. I'm running out of adjectives and superlatives and I run the all-too-imminent risk of becoming repetitive: dazzling, awesome, stunning, Turkish delight (now where the hell did that come from), etc., you get the picture. I LIKED last night's performance of Rigoletto, enormously, to put it mildly.

Martin Barta
Nikolaj Visnakov
Marina Vyskvorkina
The two most important characters in this tragic opera/drama of Giuseppe Verdi, the court jester Rigoletto (baritone Martin Barta) and his maiden daughter Gilda (coloratura soprano Marina Vyskvorkina) were perfectly cast for voice, character and acting ability. Barta's deep warm-toned baritone was strong in cynicism and precisely nuanced in humility, regret and ultimately sorrow. Vyskvorkina's Caro Nome easily matched (and possibly exceeded) the Gildas I have seen performed by Edita Gruberova and Christine Shaffer. The weakest link in an otherwise flawless performance was perhaps tenor Nikolaj Višňakov as The Duke of Mantua. His tenor, while powerful enough to project into the audience, seemed less than natural, a little breathless and strained in the highs. Seemed to require noticeable effort; yet a more than competent performance. Frankly, I was moved to mistiness more than once, especially with Ms. Vyskvorkina's Caro Nome, and Mr. Barta's Cortigiani, vil razza dannata. Both were roundly applauded by an appreciative audience.
happy campers during
 intermission of Rigoleto

McD's in Mala Strana, Prague
The SO and I decided to walk back to Lesser Town in order to compose ourselves after the show. The chilly evening air seemed alive with a lot of late-night people on Wenceslaus Square. Unfortunately, all the cafes were closing and we wanted a nightcap of coffee and something sweet (other than T&A in a cabaret we passed along the way). We crossed the Karlovy Most (bridge) into our neighborhood of Mala Strana and the only place open was a McCafe not far from our flat. It was time to succumb to McWorld, so we stepped inside and had our nightcap. We decidedly got the best of two worlds last night.  

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