Mezzo Alert of sorts: Mild und leise.

You need a break among all the gift-wrapping and something to disconnect from traumatizing encounters on the Christmas markets (drunk people with blinking antlers on their heads howling carols while pouring spice wine over your overcoat, for example)?

Fine, so Waltraud Meier sings more soprano than mezzo repertory these days with all those Isoldes, but it’s the roots that count, at least for the sake of this post. Other than that, Meier pretty much transcends categories. She also has one of the best dictions, if not the best, around today and her interviews and audience discussions are regularly lessons in witty repartee. She’s one of the best singer-actresses, period.

As my friend the dramaturg says, “when she comes on stages, the curtains burn up.” (the ‘burning curtains’ list is short. There’s Karita Mattila, there’s Catherine Naglestad and there’s Waltraud Meier. – Yes, I know that that makes at least two sopranos out of three, but I don’t care.)

mostly opera blogged yesterday that last season’s Scala opening (to my eyes and ears, for more interesting that this year’s) is now available on DVD – Chereau’s “Tristan” under Barenboim starring Waltraud Meier. And if you really want to disconnect from gift-wrapping and blinking antler carols for a few hours and substitute the hangover-inducing spice wine with a more potent potion, this “Tristan” is a great choice: overall excellence and Waltraud Meier rocking down the house with every phrase. No blinking antlers would ever dare to throw carols at her, I’m sure.

With Christmas ahead (and also without) I don’t have the 35€ at hand to buy the DVD, but this is where YouTube, once more, is the economically challenged opera lover’s best friend: Many, many thanks to promptersbox, who made the ENTIRE Scala Tristan available and is responsible for the wonderful Saturday night I had.

Of course, audiophiles and DVD collectors may sneer at the mere thought of sampling this production as a grizzly .flv collection, but until I happen upon spare 35€ (note likely anytime soon), it’s a fair enough deal.

Also, Waltraud Meier simply beats the grizzly. The woman could be an eight-pixel-creature and would still be burning up the virtual curtains on YouTube. – Behold!

3 thoughts on “Mezzo Alert of sorts: Mild und leise.”

  1. Hear! Hear! I can’t get enough of Frau Meier either. :o) She’s like the lyrical reincarnation of Astrid Varnay. Two of the most searing narrative and curse scenes I’ve heard are from them… that the diction is so clean makes the cut even deeper. Like they mean every word of it. If anyone I know in real life ever cuss at me like that, I think I’ll just wilt like to the ground and go ‘poof!’… chastised into nonexistence. 😉

    Good post as always, Anik. Happy Christmas a bit early!! 🙂


  2. @Smorg: ah, but what a way to go that would be…! 😉 Thankfully, there is an ample DVD selection available of Frau Meier, although I have to admit that it still floored me when I got to listen to her live. It was an open air on a sunny summer day and she did the immolation scene, and even though she was just standing their in her floral print dress, she managed to evoke an entire production around her with her diction and her intensity. I could swear that by the end, the air smelled singed.


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