Saturday, May 19, 2007

Weird Synchronicity

I've seen hundreds of plays since I started reviewing for the Gazette in fall 1993, but I'd never seen one that incorporated an acoustic-era opera recording - that is, a recording dating from before 1925, when sound was transmitted to the wax master not through microphones but through enormous horns.

That came to an end Thursday, when Edith Tankus chose to accompany her climactic trapeze scene (see below) with "Caro nome" from Verdi's "Rigoletto," sung by, I think, Luisa Tetrazzini. (She's the soprano immortalized in Turkey Tetrazzini, the way her rival Nellie Melba was immortalized in Peach Melba and Melba Toast.) It was a magical combination, with the placid, unearthly ease of Tetrazzini's singing complementing Tankus' graceful, refined acrobatics.

The very next night, I saw the Star Bar Players' excellent new production of Noel Coward's "Hay Fever." Since they did this three-act play with only one intermission, they needed something to cover the scene change between Acts 2 and 3. And they chose an acoustic-era recording of the quintet from "Rigoletto." It was doubly appropriate, fitting both the period (the play was written in 1924) and the chaotic mix of emotions that characterizes "Hay Fever."

Two nights, two acoustic recordings of "Rigoletto"? What are the odds of that?

Edit: Finally got into the basement to dig through the old records. Nope, it's not Tetrazzini.

Weird Synchronicity 2: Two days after seeing "Hay Fever," I went back to see "Into the Woods" a second time. Both plays contain the line, "He's your father!"


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