Monday, November 24, 2008

Doctor Atomic, revisited

For those out there who were unable to see the ASO's performances of Doctor Atomic this past weekend or catch it during its recent run at the Met, this post serves as a look-what-you-missed compilation, brought to you by the magic of YouTube. These scenes are taken from the DVD, released this September, of the production directed by librettist Peter Sellars at The Netherlands Opera (hence the Dutch subtitles; just ignore those).

Much of the casting was the same from that production to ours, but these clips feature only Jessica Rivera (Kitty Oppenheimer) and Gerald Finley (J. Robert Oppenheimer). Finley originated the role at the San Francisco Opera and has performed it in every production since: at the Netherlands Opera, seen here; with the Lyric Opera of Chicago; the Metropolitan Opera; the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; and, in early 2009, he will appear in the role of Oppenheimer with the English National Opera.

If you did happen to see the semi-staged production, directed by James Alexander, in Atlanta, you might appreciate the excerpts from the bedroom scene, rendered more coherently here -- and taking place in an actual bedroom. (Semi-staged productions are almost always at a disadvantage, and ours was no different.) "Batter my heart" remains one of the most intensely exciting, wrenching arias ever written, and it was no less powerful in concertized form. The last clip is still more impossibly beautiful singing from Finley, my new favorite baritone. I haven't included any choral scenes in this rundown, mostly because we were much better than the chorus in Amsterdam.

The first two clips compose the bulk of the bedroom scene between Kitty and Oppenheimer. "Batter my heart" concludes the first act. "To what benevolent demon" comes late in the second act, just as the final countdown is about to begin.

"Am I in your light" - Jessica Rivera

"Long let me inhale deeply" - Gerald Finley

"Batter my heart" - Gerald Finley

"To what benevolent demon" - Gerald Finley

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oh, beatitude!

Tonight is the first of two Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performances of Doctor Atomic, and I am SO excited. As I phrased it in an email intended to persuade my friends to come, I am Barack Obama excited about it. I have a feeling that in the wake of this concert series I might go into a bit of post-production withdrawal -- sort of like what happened in high school after a musical was over, only on a much more compressed time frame. I certainly won't miss rehearsing until 11 p.m. and beyond after a long day's work, but the sensation of being invested and immersed in a single work for such a long time (chorally speaking) is one I have not felt in a while. I've realized in these past months that I have missed that.

(photo from

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

the wafflelectoral map

Strawberry waffles over blueberry? Really?

Looks like Texas got it right, for once. Georgia remains sadly misled.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Bake for Change!

There may be a deeper chronicling of my latest culinary adventure posted here soon, but in the meantime, bask in my newfound fame as a featured baker/decorator of cakes on Yes We Cake.

Inspiration struck early Sunday morning as I prepared to sing at church - blue velvet cake for my election party!
And since Georgia is rumored to be purpling, I decided I'd make it a Blue State Blue Velvet Cake. (Thanks to Matt and Tedd Lee for the scrumptious recipe.) Time will tell if my sugary soothsaying is accurate...

(more pics of the baking process can be viewed here)

UPDATE: As it has in five of the last six elections, Georgia went red -- 52.4 percent for McCain to 46.9 percent for Obama. (Non-spoiler Bob Barr won a whopping .7 percent of the vote.) My vision of a blue Georgia was only realized in icing this year. I see no need for further analysis of the cake prep process -- only viewing and admiring of its velvety blue interior!

We decided Southwest Georgia would be the first to go.
(I mean, Columbus? Albany? Cairo? All that Alabama border? Yeah.)

Blue has never looked more delicious.