At Franco Alfano's Cyrano de Bergerac at the Royal Opera, the woman on my left was talking to her friend, so I turned to the man on my right and said, "How do you like it?"
He responded, "I've already seen it 10 times. My wife is Roxane [Sondra Radvanovsky]." We talked about his wife. She has an unusual voice. "Some like it, some don't," he said. I commented on how easily she penetrated Alfano's large orchestra, that she didn't seem to be working hard at it. "She isn't," he said. "She has that edge to her voice that cuts through. Birgit Nilsson had it. It's more sought after in men, but valuable in women, too," I said.
I listened some more and decided she has a very distinctive tone which is actually an enormous advantage. "Who had the most distinctive voice, recognizable in only one or two notes? Maria Callas." He said his wife was sometimes compared to her. I said, "She doesn't sound like Maria Callas. She sounds like herself."
We talked about the opera. "It's growing on me," He said. "It sounds like movie music." Then I told him that Alfano had composed music for the movies where he was called Frank. I told my story about seeing La Leggenda di Sakuntala (1921) in Rome. "Alfano definitely improved since then (Cyrano is 1936)," I said.
We decided that in this audience I had seen the most operas by Alfano and he had seen the most performances of Cyrano.
We changed the subject to Domingo. I said the part seemed too low for him. "Every singer has their sweet notes, and this role only gets up into that part of his voice once in a while."
"He wanted it that way," he said. You mean the part has been lowered??!! He said, "My lips are sealed."
Only then did I warn that I have an opera blog. I wished his wife a lot of luck.
SF Opera's 2019-2020 Season
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