I have a new favorite website. It’s French, it’s called “musicMe” and I’m eternally grateful to Céline for pointing me towards it.
While I have no idea how on earth to concept finances itself, musicMe is basically a site for paid downloads, (they also offer a monthly download flatrate) but other than most “30 seconds audio teaser” sites who sell music online, musicMe allows you to listen to full albums, for free. Not all of them, and not all of the time, but there is a whole lot of music to enjoy at a mouse click. And in pretty stellar quality, too.
Céline originally alerted me to Elīna Garanča’s “Bel Canto” album, which I hadn’t listened to yet. So for the past day, I’ve diligently been trying to find out why I’m not head over heels into her voice, since I should be, by all means. The album is wonderful, so is Garanča, and now I know that Bellini anticipated “Oh quante volte” for mezzo in “Adelson e Salvini” (just ignore the plot!).
Alas, I think I’m still not sure about the wonders of Garanča, so I’ll have to listen to the complete new “Capuleti e Montecchi” next. I know, it’s a curse… oh, the sacrifices we make for mezzodom!
musicMe proves to be a cornucopia for the financially challenged Ph.D. student opera dyke: 2 full albums of Vivica Genaux! 8 full albums of our favorite boy crush, Philippe Jaroussky! 9 full albums of Vesselina Kasarova! A whooping 19 (!!!) full Fassbaender albums with tons of Lieder goodness. On a side note, Spinosi’s recording of Vivaldi’s “La fida ninfa” (aka ‘the recording I couldn’t afford to get for Christmas’) is also up for entire and free listening (Jaroussky! Lemieux! Piau! Cangemi! Lehtipuu!). And, and, and… cornucopia, indeed!
At the moment, I’m listening to the entire Solti “Ariadne auf Naxos” with Tatiana Troyanos as Composer… I had forgotten how good this recording is. Added bonus: 1970s Gruberova as Zerbinetta. But really, it’s all about Troyanos.
Also, I’ve finally had the chance to listen to the “Era la notte” album by Anna Caterina Antonacci. Awesome. It’s all early monody – Monteverdi’s “Lamento della ninfa”, the dyketastic “Lagrime mie” by Barbara Strozzi, a “Lamento della pazza” by Sardello and Monteverdi’s trusted “Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda” (which is more commonly sung by tenors. I don’t think I have to point out that it sounds quite a different kind of interesting with Antonacci doing the storytelling…).
Since it’s a repertory that works via expressiveness and diction, Antonacci’s rock solid, mezzo-tinted middle register gets to shine (note to self: must finally get my hands on that ROH Carmen DVD) and her general approach of choosing expressive truth over sheer beauty of sound makes for a truly stunning interpretation. Antonacci may not be a typical early music voice, but she definitely gets the concept of monody.
But before I replay the album once more, I need to check out whether the announced “available on 30/o3” has actually come true on one particular recording: DiDonato’s new “Alcina”. — See you over there?