Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kommt, ihr angefochtnen Sünder

My plans for the next few days are as follows: reading a monograph on the development of Europe in the Middle Ages (yes, all of it.) Then another one about marriage and canon law.  Then writing a lecture. Then guiding a museum tour.  Then giving a lecture.  Then attending a seminar.  I do not know when I will next go to the opera.  This is rather sad.  But here is some nice Bach:

Is anyone interested in forming a committee against dubious wardrobe choices?  I know Definitely the Opera has addressed this important issue.  And Magdalena Kozena's dress is a lovely color and appears to be a nice cut... but all I can think of looking at those sleeves is Anne of Green Gables.


  1. I would love to join your dubious wardrobe committee, especially if I can chair a Hair Subcommittee, in which we would condemn sopranos with bad extensions and discuss the perennial issue of Baritone Hair.

  2. Oh good! Consider yourself in charge of this important office. :) The bad extensions are mysterious and disturbing to me. Baritone Hair is an issue to which, I must confess, I have not given much thought, but it does seem as though it would bear investigation.

  3. But when it comes to puffed up sleeves, Gruberova is the standard against which all ought to be measured:

  4. I remand to you a countertenor: black pants, non-matching black velvet jacket, white shirt with top button undone, despite this a skinny black tie. YES the opera was in concert.

    And I swear I didn't make Baritone Hair up. It's mentioned on Parterre occasionally. Here are some excellent examples:

  5. Heavens! Gruberova's sleeves are taking over the dress! I confess I gasped at the Baritone Hair. I believe, I believe! Ramey and Hampson's manes have since acquired saner proportions, but I am hard-pressed to think of a baritone who habitually sports anything between a mane and a buzz cut (except maybe Keenlyside.)

  6. I can't stop laughing at that picture of the samples of Bariton Hair. There's even a mullet in there!

    Older generation baritones didn't do it. I can't explain what started it -- one can't blame the eighties for everything.

  7. iirc, things began to get dicey more or less here:

    and then escalated into a dangerous and mousse-laden game of oneupmanship, until, in the decade following, the pendulum swung waaaay over into a more Wozzeck-y Matthias Goerne / Thomas Quasthoff rough-shaven grunge look.

    Since then the threat level has been consistently at about DefCon 4.

  8. See, Cornell Macneill never did those things. Nor Tito Gobbi. What the heck happened around 1980? Was there a character in Dallas or Dynasty that changed baritone hair forever? Can we blame Bobby Ewing?

    What saves Goerne and Quasthoff is that they don't have enough hair for the Bobby Ewing Baritone Do. So... they got an easy way out.

    Now this is somewhat better: But there are signs that his hair is itching to break into the Bari-Do any moment now.

  9. "A dangerous and mousse-laden game of oneupmanship" indeed, S.! definitelytheopera brings up a good question: is a First Cause for Baritone Hair identifiable? Another question: would having one be more or less distressing?

    I agree that Hvorostovsky's astonishing hair occasionally treads the dangerous line between mane and mullet, but mostly with success, I think (at least recently. Dangerous mousse, if impressive vocal ardor, in 1989:

  10. Definitely flirting with the line there. Then of course it went white and it's been more like Conductor Hair ever since.


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